SPOILER ALERT! For many months now, fans of CBS's The Young and the Restless have been led to believe that villainous self-help guru Ian Ward is the biological father of war vet Dylan McAvoy. But, as some savvy viewers have suspected, that's just not the case! In episodes airing this week, it will become clear that Dylan — played by Emmy winner and current nominee Steve Burton — is actually the son of Genoa City detective Paul Williams. To get the scoop, TV Guide Magazine sat down for a chat with Burton, one of the most disarming — and controversial — actors in soaps.
TV Guide Magazine: So how are things in Avery's kitchen?
Burton: Hey, watch it. We're done with all that cooking stuff! It's over! No more! [Laughs] I got no man parts left!
TV Guide Magazine: I still can't believe Dylan and Avery actually had a scene where they discussed whether or not she should wear an apron. Was that the ultimate challenge of your acting career?
Burton: Yes, it was. And, gee, thanks for the...support.
TV Guide Magazine: But now you've got a real storyline! Let's discuss. Dylan being Paul's kid instead of Ian's should shake up a lot of relationships in GC, no?
Burton: This affects everybody and that's when you know it's a great story. As we've already found out, Dylan and Paul have the same blood type and finally the news comes out that Paul is his dad, which is obviously a big shocker.
TV Guide Magazine: Except to those who have seen this coming a mile away. We've been getting hints of a much deeper Paul-Nikki connection for quite some time now.
Burton: The audience was guessing this eight months ago. "Paul is your dad!" And I'm, like, "No, he's not. My dad is Ian Ward!" I only found out about this a couple of months back, and I was very excited.
TV Guide Magazine: Dylan and Paul have never had much of a connection, so this could be interesting.
Burton: This is whole new territory for those two and for many others. You're going to see how this affects Paul and Nikki, and Paul and Christine, and Victor and Nikki. Do not miss these episodes, people!
TV Guide Magazine: How will Dylan react to having a new daddy?
Burton: Well, for one thing his PTSD is going to sneak back in.
TV Guide Magazine: But isn't this good news?
Burton: This is so much better than having Ian Ward for a dad and, when things settle, I think Dylan and Paul can do this. [Laughs] Hey, Paul can't solve a crime to save his life but, you know, it's gonna be fine. Does Victor know that Paul and Nikki had a roll around in the hay all those years ago?
TV Guide Magazine: I'm not even sure the audience knows about it. This seems to be new information. What'll happen with Paul and Christine's plan to have a child, now that Paul suddenly has one?
Burton: Dylan will go to Christine and say, "Hey look, Mom, it's me! A little older than you wanted but..." And Paul will be, like, "Honey, don't call me to come home in the middle of the day. I know you're ovulating but I have Dylan now!" [Laughs] Juuust kidding.
TV Guide Magazine: There's another little matter that leads to this big reveal — we find out Ian Ward can't have kids. He's just a lyin' loser! Doesn't this pretty much defang him as a villain? He's got no more hold on anyone, no real reason to remain in GC.
Burton: We love having Ray Wise here! He's awesome and I don't think he's going anywhere. Just wait. Ian is about to throw another wrench into the works.
TV Guide Magazine: Dylan and Victor make a surprisingly great team, brought together by their mutual hate of Ian. Will we see more of that?
Burton: I hope so. I love working with Eric Braeden. Dylan and Victor are such an unlikely pair but the fans seem to get a kick out of that. Everyone wants to beat up Ian Ward! [Laughs] It's like that movie Airplane where everybody's waiting in line to smack that panicky passenger. I don't know if there's any real bonding going on between Dylan and Victor. I think Victor thinks of Dylan more as a barnacle. "I don't know if I like you yet but when I get tired of you, I'm just gonna flick you off. You'll be gone!" But I hope not. I'd like to see more stuff for the two of us.
TV Guide Magazine: You've had to weather a lot of criticism as a result of your professional relationship with [Y&R exec producer] Jill Phelps — in fact, you're the quintessential FOJ, aka Friend of Jill — so let's talk about that.
Burton: Is there really anything I could say that's gonna matter?
TV Guide Magazine: Who knows? Let's give it a shot
Burton: No matter what I say, people will take it the way they take it. But go ahead.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, as you know, there is a loud contingent that thinks Jill wickedly masterminded your exit from General Hospital and brought you to Y&R where she proceeded to turn it into The Dylan Show — and a year and half later those people still won't shut up. How's it been to hear all that griping?
Burton: Listen, without the fans we don't have a show. I understand their frustrations and I know that they don't necessarily like change. I guess maybe my coming to Y&R upsets people because they don't really know the truth of what happened.
TV Guide Magazine: Which is...?
Burton: What you and I both know — that GH didn't make a deal with me. And that's the whole truth. My contract was up and they didn't want to play ball and make it work. At the time, I didn't want to throw anyone under the bus over there but of course, as soon as it was announced I was going to Y&R, people thought the whole thing was planned by Jill from Day 1, which it was not. I vividly remember my manager telling me how ABC Business Affairs had called him to say, "Hey, is Steve going to Y&R now that Jill's over there?" And my manager said, "No, he wants to make a deal with you! Quit dragging your feet. Make a deal." But they wouldn't.
TV Guide Magazine: Are you aware GH used your photo a while back when they were talking about your ex-character, Jason?
Burton: I heard about that photo. People were tweeting me, "Are you coming back to GH?"
TV Guide Magazine: It did seem intended to cause that reaction. Did they have to pay you to use that photo?
Burton: Yeah. [Laughs] I think I got 10 cents.
TV Guide Magazine: Were you glad to hear that Jason isn't dead after all?
TV Guide Magazine: Because you might want to come back some day.
Burton: I'm sure they're going to recast. Why wouldn't they?
TV Guide Magazine: Do you still watch GH?
Burton: I never watched GH. I don't watch Y&R, either. I don't watch any show I'm on. You know that!
TV Guide Magazine: Uh, actually I didn't know that. What's the problem?
Burton: I don't like watching myself, so the only time I see a bit of the show is in the makeup room or when we were looking at the Emmy reels. I never watch a full episode.
TV Guide Magazine: Oh that subject, congrats on the Emmy nomination! But why are you in supporting?
Burton: I don't really work that much! I don't know how anybody can say that Y&R is The Dylan Show. Now, you could maybe say that GH was The Jason Show, but that's not the case at Y&R. Who belongs in the lead actor category anyway? To my mind, it's the big guns — Peter Bergman and Eric Braeden and those kinda guys at Y&R, just as it was Tony Geary and Maurice Benard at GH.
TV Guide Magazine: So would you say this has all turned out for the best? Are you glad now that GH didn't ask you to stay?
Burton: As sad as I was that it didn't work out at GH — and, trust me, it was tough — this move has been amazing. I've made so many wonderful new friendships at Y&R and such good things have resulted. Plus, I get to spend a lot of time with my wife and kids back in Tennessee — obviously too much time because we're having another baby. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: And soon, right?
Burton: Just a couple more weeks. I get nine days off from Y&R so I can be home when it happens.
TV Guide Magazine: And you're sure the baby will be born then?
Burton: Oh, that baby will be born then. No question. July 7. C-section. It's all planned out and it's pretty exciting! The move to Tennessee has been so great. I have a life! I coach football, take the kids to tennis and everywhere else they need to go. It's been life-changing for me. People always go, "Man that must be tough flying back and forth across the country to do your job!" But when I was in L.A., I lived in Newport Beach and drove to the studio every day in bumper-to-bumper traffic — four hours round trip. Lemme tell ya, I'd rather be on a plane sitting in the middle seat in coach than do that again! So, yeah, this has all worked out for the best. I wouldn't even call it bittersweet. I really miss my pals over at GH. I was there almost 21 years. But this change has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.