After weeks of uncertainty, and initial evidence pointing to the contrary, Abby Newman’s belief that her husband, Phillip “Chance” Chancellor IV, was indeed alive on “The Young and the Restless” were proven correct when actor Conner Floyd took over the role beginning with the Monday, November 29 episode.
In an interview with Soap Opera Network, the Austin, Texas native talks to us about how he landed the role of Chance, working with scene partner Melissa Ordway, how excited his family was when they learned he’d be joining the show’s cast, and what his first couple of weeks have been like on set.
First things first: His name is Conner Floyd. The name may sound familiar to some, particularly fans of professional boxers Conor McGregor or Floyd Mayweather, which the actor admits, “It’s kind of funny. Anytime you Google my name all that pops up is Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor stuff.” Calling it a “double whammy,” the soap’s newest star notes, “You can blame my parents for that because that has been the story of my life. My high school football team used to spell my name wrong. That’s how common it is [laughs].”
Since being cast on “Y&R,” however, the Google search results now rightfully point to the actor who’s spent most of his life in Austin, Texas, which is where he started playing football before getting a full scholarship at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. “I played for five years there,” Floyd says of his college days. “Quickly after that, I decided to come out here [Los Angeles] and try this whole acting thing. I kind of caught the bug in college.”
While football was something he enjoyed playing, acting was a passion of Floyd’s that he never really pursued on a professional level until after he graduated from college. “I started taking these different classes and talking to some different folks, and I actually had some friends who had moved out here already and were giving it a shot as well. It sounded nice so I packed my bags, drove from Tulsa all the way here, and here we are.”
When he first auditioned for the role of Chance on “Y&R,” Floyd didn’t know initially which character he’d be trying out for. “They kind of give you dummy sides,” the actor explains. “They give you dummy names so you really don’t know who you’re auditioning for.” He further notes, “I was in Oklahoma filming a Lifetime movie at the time [and] got a call from my agent who said, ‘Hey, can you throw together a tape?’ So, I’m in my little hotel room in this little Oklahoma town and had to throw together my makeshift, on-the-go self-tape station [chuckles] where I got my girlfriend to read on a Zoom call opposite of me and threw together this tape. I really put my heart and soul into it. A couple of days later, I get a call from my agent, and I always know when my agent calls me she’ll go, ‘Hello’ and I go ‘Hey.’ She’ll tell me to hold on and then she’ll get my manager in, and they’ll go ‘alright.’ So you know it’s something big. I’m either in trouble or something good happened [laughs]. And, so they said I got a test. So I got back from the movie, here in LA, so then I had to come in [and] test with Melissa which was a good little process.”
After getting a callback from “Y&R,” Floyd flew to Los Angeles to screen test in person, which at this point he still didn’t know would eventually be for the role of Chance Chancellor. “I met [Melissa] in the waiting room which was awesome, and we kind of talked it up beforehand so it kind of felt good going into that room with her just because I felt we were already friends.” It didn’t hurt that she gave him a few hints about the character during their brief conversation prior to getting down to business. “[It helped me] adjust some of my choices acting-wise so that was nice,” Floyd shares while noting of Ordway, “She’s from Atlanta so she’s got that kind of southern route just like me so we hit it off there in that aspect. She’s so easy to talk to. She’s a sweetheart. We already had some chemistry going into the reading which was nice.”
While it only took a couple of days before hearing back from “Y&R” that he got the part, this isn’t the first time he’s auditioned for the soap. “I actually have auditioned for ‘Y&R’ before, probably like three or four times back in the day,” Floyd reveals. “I’ve been in once and I’ve taped probably three times if I had to guess, so yeah, I was pumped to get another opportunity. I always get excited when I get these auditions, and I’ve actually auditioned for ‘General Hospital’ a handful of times as well.”
Being that he’s auditioned for soaps a few times, and is now playing a major character on one, you’d expect Floyd to be a soap fan, right? Well, he is! “Yeah, I’ve watched ‘Y&R’. Obviously, when I moved out here and started getting these auditions I would do my research so I’d watch a few episodes just to get the tone and the rhythm of the show, and kind of see what everybody was about, but now that I’m on it…yeah, I’m definitely watching it!”
While his grandmother has since passed, Floyd remembered how much of a fan she and his mother were of daytime’s number one drama series. “Before I got on set I really wanted to catch up on the story so I dove deep into it. I spent a tremendous amount of time doing research and asking questions on the history of Chance to really inform my work,” he says. “My mom used to tell me back in the day my grandmother was obsessed with it. She was watching Eric Braeden [Victor Newman] and Peter Bergman [Jack Abbott] on TV, so I’m psyched I get to be in scenes with them now.”
Speaking of working with other actors, outside of Ordway, Braeden and Bergman, look for Floyd to also share scenes with Jess Walton (Jill Abbott) and, of course, Tricia Cast, who plays Chance’s mother, Nina Webster. He’s also been sharing scenes with Bryton James (Devon Hamilton) now that the show is spreading him around a little bit more. “My first couple of days were kind of solely with Melissa and now [I’m working with] Bryton James a lot,” Floyd teases. “I think he’s fantastic. It’s been awesome to watch his process on set and ask him questions. He’s been around the block for a while so it’s cool to watch him just be on set and kind of go through his day-to-day when it comes to coming to set and being prepared and rehearsing and blocking. You know that’s my favorite thing about being on this show is just watching all these savvy actors kind of do their thing. Pick up as much as I can from them.”
Did You Know? Floyd enjoys his time outside, going to the beach, and playing the guitar. He also graduated with a business marketing degree.
Being that soaps are a much different medium than a traditional primetime TV show or movie, it can be daunting to remember all those pages of lines but Floyd is up for the challenge. “It’s a load of material. The general consensus from people out here is you’ve got to come prepared,” Floyd explains. “I feel like this job is definitely going to excel my acting to that next level just because it’s going to fine-tune my craft [with] all these small details. I’ve had to try a couple of different things as far as memorization goes because they’re giving me two-page monologues… they’re giving me five-page scenes where we’re going back and forth, left and right, so it’s tough but I like it. I like the challenge. I’m definitely up for it.”
While doing ample amounts of research on his character, Floyd was given a piece of advice from several of his co-stars and those behind the scenes. “Kind of going into this thing everyone was really adamant about, ‘Hey, make this your own. Chance has been gone, he’s been through some stuff, so this is your character so bring whatever you want to bring to it,’” Floyd recalls of his earlier conversations. “It’s been really fun creating this guy especially with all the stuff he’s been through. Coming back now is definitely an adjustment for him. I’ve just had fun creating this on my own.”
As for what fans can expect from the character in the days and weeks ahead, Floyd teases, “Chance has had a long road back to Genoa City. It’s going to be an adjustment for him to get back to normal life. He’s been kind of in hell and back, and now he’s a father. He’s going to have to be a husband, and after coming from what he’s just been through it’s going to be an adjustment so you can definitely expect some struggle.”
All in all, the experience has so far been a good one for Floyd. “It’s a lot of fun dissecting this character. Every day I read a script and I find something new to kind of bring to the table for this guy. I’m just having a blast.”
With soaps running at such a fast pace, it can be hard to catch up right off the bat but Floyd has found the show’s cast to be very welcoming and intuitive, giving him tidbits on how to prepare, among other tidbits. “Since the first day I’ve been here, it’s been nothing but open arms. Everyone’s been so cool. Obviously, like we were saying earlier, they are kind of spreading me around now so now I’m with different actors and everyone’s been extra welcoming, extra nice.” He adds, “One of my first days I had this big monologue. It was this big welcome back, explaining to Abby ‘what’s been going on with me’ type monologue. I was pretty nervous coming into that, but this is how the soaps work. I sat down and I was prepping, and they said, ‘Alright, let’s give it a shot.’ I did my thing and they said, ‘Okay, moving on. One take. I was like, ‘What?’ That’s about as awkward as it gets. I’m like, are you sure you don’t want me to do [that] about eight more times? I got some more… But that’s the soap world.”
While soaps don’t typically delve into specific character traits, particularly whether a character is into sports or other activities, Floyd’s sports background could surely play a role in Chance’s background considering the character’s military experience. “He’s a military guy so I’m sure he’s a big team player, and I’m sure he’s played football,” Floyd says. “He might even play baseball, basketball, or something like that. I definitely think Chance is a sports guy since he’s got that kind of team attribute to him.”
Catch Conner Floyd as Chance Chancellor on “The Young and the Restless” weekdays on CBS. Anytime on Paramount+.