Michelle Stafford Teases Return to Y&R: 'I Spent a Long Time Researching' What Phyllis Has Been Up To

The Young and the Restless‘ Phyllis will be sporting a different but very familiar face starting this Friday, June 21, when Michelle Stafford steps back into the role she played for 16 years.

“It’s been six years since I’ve worked here and nothing has really changed,” the daytime-TV vet shared with Extra in the video clip below. “I think there is something here at CBS Television City that makes people just ageless!”

Stafford exited the role of Phyllis Summers in August 2013, after a 16-year run in which she went 2-for-10 in Daytime Emmy wins. Seven months later, she debuted on ABC’s General Hospital as Dr. Silas Clay’s presumed dead wife, Nina, who has since married into the Cassadine family. With her GH contract up, Stafford and ABC’s lone, solitary, remaining soap opera reportedly were unable to reach terms.

“Everybody [at GH] is so lovely,” Stafford told Extra. “And they were supportive of me coming back here.” (Guiding Light vet Cynthia Watros has since taken over the role of GH‘s Nina.)

Because Tognoni eventually took over as Phyllis, Stafford says, “I spent a really long time researching and reading everything that had happened to the character, watching every show I could, while I was away.”

And when she reclaims the role this Friday? “Phyllis is really kind of controlling her life again… and possibly the town,” her portrayer told Extra. “I’m just gonna leave it at that.”

Tognoni — best known for her turns as GL‘s Dinah (for which she earned her first two Daytime Emmy wins) and One Life to Live’s Kelly Cramer — took over as Y&R‘s Phyllis one year after Stafford’s exit. In her time with the CBS sudser, she netted two more Daytime Emmy nods, converting once (in 2017).

In a statement posted to Instagram, Tognoni said, “Five years ago, I was blessed to embrace the incredible character of Phyllis Summers Abbott. I am beyond grateful for the creative experience that Y&R has given to me as well as the amazing relationships I made…. I wish Y&R continued success and everything it richly deserves.

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