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The Young & The Restless

Colleen Zenk Promises Y&R Fans “A Wild Ride!” (EXCLUSIVE)


After the end of her 32-year run as Barbara Ryan on AS THE WORLD TURNS, soap fans feared that Colleen Zenk had retired to Florida. But it turns out the Emmy-nominated actress was just waiting for the right role to come around! 

“Well, my agent has other things to say about that because there’s so many things that I just said, ‘I’m not interested. I’m not interested. I’m not interested,’” she chuckled. “And then this happened and I called him and I said, ‘Make it happen.”

When Y&R headwriter and executive producer Josh Griffith dropped Zenk an E-mail regarding the role of Jordan and the storyline surrounding her, the actress was immediately excited by the proposal. “I called him back within 15 minutes,” she admitted. “When Josh revealed some of the story to me and some of the backstory, I said, ‘That’s right up my alley and I know how to make that work.’”

Y&R Jordan Claire
“She is a find,” Zenk enthuses about co-star Erin. “That girl is fabulous!” Sonja Flemming/CBS

Fans suspected Claire was up to no good as soon as she began working for Nikki at Newman Media, but the plot has expanded to reveal that she’s been working with (or for?) her Great Aunt Jordan, and their scheme involves the entire Newman family!

“The first week is a wild ride,” Zenk promised. “It’s a wild ride. So lots of things will come out rather quickly as to why Jordan’s there and what has happened. Jordan’s reasons are quite personal as to why she’s behaving the way she is. It’s going to be a storyline that people aren’t going to want to miss an episode because he’s going to move quickly. The audience will lose out if they miss an episode.”

ATWT Susan Barbara Lucinda
Zenk remained with ATWT right up until its final episode in 2010.George DeSota/

After 13 years away from the daytime grind, jumping back in wasn’t exactly like riding a bike. “I was quite nervous, actually, the first few days,” she confided. “I mean, really quite nervous and working with people I’d never worked with before. I’d never met Melanie [Thomas Scott, Nikki] before. It turns out Haley [Erin, Claire] and I had met one time, years ago, but I didn’t even remember. She remembered. And Eric [Braeden, Victor], I’ve had one conversation with years ago when we did the CBS 50 years photograph.”

But Zenk was very familiar with Y&R. “I’ve watched the show for years,” she revealed. “I knew who everybody was. But working with them or the first time… it was nerve-wracking. But we fell into a rhythm right away. And once I got through the first few days and pages and pages and pages of dialogue, I was able to settle in a bit better. And now, it’s just a matter of me still trying to find my way around the building!”

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