There's hell to pay on CBS's The Young and the Restless! Grieving dad Billy Abbott (Billy Miller) doesn't for sure know the identity of the hit-and-run driver who killed his little girl but his suspicions continue to mount next week when he learns that Adam Newman (Michael Muhney) — the creep who committed the crime — is making plans to leave the country. It all leads to a seismic climax Jan. 30 and then a switch in Billys, with the Emmy-winning Miller, who is leaving to pursue other work, replaced on Feb. 3 by David Tom. Look familiar? Tom played Billy from 1999 to 2002 and took home an Emmy of his own. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Tom — also known as Paul Cramer on One Life to Live and Chip Diller on Veronica Mars — about his unexpected return to Genoa City.
TV Guide Magazine: You've been away from Y&R nearly 12 years. Is it weird being back?
Tom: Not at all! It feels totally comfortable and I'm smiling from ear to ear. It's like I'm still waiting to snap out of a dream. It's so great to be back working with Peter Bergman [Jack] and Jess Walton [Jill], again. And, of course, there are so many people who are new to me. Twelve years away will do that! When I left, Billy was more of a boy. Now I get to play him as an adult, with all his adult problems. I'm stepping into some really big shoes here. Billy Miller is a great actor who did an amazing job in the part. I definitely have some challenges. Fans can be resistant to change but I think they'll be happily surprised at what's coming up.
TV Guide Magazine: How do things shift for Billy once he knows Adam killed Delia?
Tom: There's certainly no closure, but there's a change in the depth of his anger. Sooner or later, the healing process will have to begin. But, for now, he's furious that Adam did what he did and — even worse — kept it a secret. I can't even imagine what it would be like to deal with something like that yet, at the same time, I can relate. I'm an uncle now in my own life and if somebody did something to harm my little nephew, well...I would definitely want to make that person suffer as much as possible.
TV Guide Magazine: Should the audience give Billy a free pass for his grief sex with Kelly [Cynthia Watros]? Will his wife, Victoria [Amelia Heinle], find out about those two? She has to wise up, sooner or later, right? It's a soap
Tom: [Laughs] They don't call it daytime drama for nothing! It would be a mistake for me to take a step back and try to judge my character — I don't think you can't play him well if you do that — so I guess that's up to the viewers to decide. But I will say that something very big is going to happen with this. A fuse has been lit and it's getting closer and closer to an explosion.
TV Guide Magazine: They didn't make you audition for your old job, did they?
Tom: Actually, yes! But I was fine with that. I was in New York when they were holding auditions, so I put myself on tape and sent it in. The Billy recast was supposed to be a secret so they first told me I was auditioning for Paul's son. I said, "Won't that be kinda odd for me to come back to the show as someone different?" And they were, like, "Naaah...don't worry about it!" [Laughs] Now we know why. They finally told me what was really going on the day before my screen test because they had to — it was a scene with Billy and Victoria talking about Delia.
TV Guide Magazine: Billy and Victoria weren't a romantic couple back when you left the show. Isn't it a good thing your real-life sister, Heather Tom, is no longer playing that part?
Tom: [Laughs] It's a really good thing because that would be a little creepy-eeewy. No offense. I love my sister to death and she's an amazing actress with five Emmys. But I'm very glad she's now on The Bold and the Beautiful! Otherwise, I wouldn't have this job!