Life AfterNews

LIFE AFTER ABC: ‘AMC’ and ‘OLTL’ Actors Dish On Their New and Former Bosses

Disney/ABC Television Group
Disney/ABC Television Group

As the old saying goes, a happy employee is a productive employee. And that must be a mantra Prospect Park believes in. According to the actors who have signed on to the serial dramas, “” and “,” the production company — headed by and — has batted a thousand when it comes to being respectfully in charge. And the end result, as the performers preview, is pure magic.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Charley Gallay/Getty Images

First thing’s first: All of the actors agree that one of Prospect Park’s smartest moves was putting the shows’ creator, , back at the helm as a story consultant — a position many wish she would have had while the shows were on ABC. “Before we went off the air, this woman, who created this show, who is so brilliant with story, which made the mark for what ‘AMC’ had always been, was sort of shut out,” says “AMC’s” (Angie Hubbard) of one area in which ABC went wrong. “She became, to me, less appreciated…. during the [former President of ABC Daytime] era. We can say it now! It was a shame and a sin for her to be treated that way and not be able to have her participation and her input into the show.”

“Having Agnes on board is just an incomparable benefit,” says “OLTL’s” (Téa Delgado) in agreement. “Agnes is so honest about character. Things can go wonky every once in a while, but basically, it’s really about character, and I think that makes a difference.”

(Brooke English, “AMC”) also believes that placing Nixon in the captain’s chair was the exact right move and something that should have been done much earlier. “The fact that Agnes is involved is probably the… best part that we can have,” she says of the shows’ new direction. “[The storylines have] gone back to the integrity of the characters and what comes from them. But it also has intrigue, and it has pop. It has what it needs to move into a new medium.”

Crazy enough, “OLTL” already had the wow factor Barr mentions. As (Victoria Lord, “OLTL”) points out, the show’s ratings were up and growing when ABC decided to pull the plug. “That’s why people were so angry. Not just the fans, but the actors and people within ABC, too. ‘Why are you cancelling a show that is doing so well?’”

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

“ABC, they cut us loose pretty cruelly,” Slezak continues. “Just, ‘That’s it, goodbye.’ And it wasn’t Brian Frons who did it. People blame Brian Frons because he was the president of daytime. He didn’t do that. He didn’t have the power to do that. That was a Disney decision, and it was made by a lot of executives. Brian didn’t fight for us, but to blame Brian Frons, that was silly. He couldn’t have done that by himself.”

Fortunately, Prospect Park saw treasure in ABC’s “trash,” and the revamp of “AMC” and “OLTL” began. Slezak couldn’t be more thrilled, because, in her opinion, ABC lost something very valuable for very misguided reasons. “The excuse they gave was that people don’t want entertainment anymore, they want information,” she shares, adding that it was that thought that ultimately steered ABC in the wrong direction. “My great vindication was “The Revolution,” which replaced us, [was cancelled]… And ‘,’ thank God, is doing brilliantly. I think they have an audience that is 500,000 more than last year. So that tells you what people want to see.”

Vince Bucci/Getty Images
Vince Bucci/Getty Images

(Blair Cramer, “OLTL”) is confident that Prospect Park will blow ABC’s final “OLTL” success out of the water. “We were the strongest show on the ABC [daytime] lineup, and I do think we are going to come back stronger,” she previews. “You’re going to have the same exciting characters, and hopefully, we’ll have exciting stories to keep people entertained.”

That starts with Nixon, but Jennifer Pepperman, the executive producer Prospect Park chose for “OLTL,” will also play a large part in the series’ success. “She doesn’t want it to be the same [that it was],” DePaiva continues. “She doesn’t want to be in the shadow of what was… And she’s looking for solutions to make it better all the time.”

In fact, the entire Prospect Park team seems to be looking for ways to not only continue both soaps but also to improve them, from content, to actor relations and beyond — something “AMC’s” (Dixie Cooney) says was missing toward the shows’ final years on network TV. “When I first started working for ABC, it was phenomenal. There were wonderful people there, and they treated us incredibly well,” she says. “And they continued to try and have that same sort of graciousness for their actors, but I think things got kind of hard, because of the budgets. But this is an entirely different experience, and it’s not all having to do with the budgets or the way we’re being treated. [It’s] sort of like going from classical music to rock ‘n’ roll. You almost can’t compare it.”

“There aren’t so many restraints on the people that are in control, because it’s only them,” she continues about how the Prospect Park creative process is different than it was on ABC. “They don’t have to go through any bureaucracy or lists of anyone. If they want to do [something], they do it. If they don’t want to do it, they don’t. If they want to change it, they do. And you’re like, ‘Great! We can work with that!’ It’s a kind of fun feeling.”

“Everybody seems so happy,” Morgan says in agreement of the good vibes all around. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard [“AMC’s” new executive producer ] say, ‘We just want you guys to be happy, because you guys being happy is going to be great for the show.’ We’ve never had people caring if we were happy or not! [It was] ‘Just do your job!’”

The positive vibes are so strong, even (Jesse Hubbard, “AMC”), who usually steers away from doing press events, is having no problem participating in publicity for the show. “I was like, ‘Ginger, whatever you need me to do, I want to take part in this and [help] you be successful at this,’” he says.

The OnLine Network/TOLN
The OnLine Network/TOLN
Edward Herrera/ABC
Edward Herrera/ABC

“AMC’s” (Griffin Castillo) is also riding the positivity train. “From Ginger, to Jeff, to Rick, this crew… you’re able to talk to them, whether it’s you have an idea or you want to share something. It’s like they know that everybody who signed on wants to do this for the right reasons and wants it to be a success,” he says. “And I think that’s very important, having a great working environment and being happy about coming to work in the morning.”

Speaking of crew, that’s another element that won over the actors, particularly those on “AMC.” Prospect Park reached out to many behind-the-scenes people that ABC let go when it moved the show’s production from New York to Los Angeles in 2010. “We thought we might never see them again, and certainly, never thought that we’d be working together again,” says “AMC’s” (Opal Cortlandt). “And then, to walk in and to see them all there and to hear their stories of where they’ve been since we saw them last — some of them were working at Home Depot, and this and that and the other thing — and you have the A-team. It’s all back.”

“They’ve got an incredible crew and cast together,” “OLTL’s” (David Vickers) says in agreement. “And it’s almost like starting a new job rather than continuing an old job.”

And that positive feeling is rumored to be transferring to the screen in terms of enthusiastic acting and strong storylines. “I think the audience is going to love what they’re seeing,” opines (David Hayward, “AMC”). “I think it’s going to be very special for all involved.”

“All My Children” and “One Life to Live” both premiere on Monday, April 29 on , Plus and .

  • Noreen Harnik

    I am so excited for the return of these shows and so glad to hear how happy all the creative people seem to be about the new atmosphere they are working in. Can’t wait for April 29!

  • Jewell

    I love hearing this, and hopefully Michael E. Knight decides to return the next round of taping..

    • I hope that Michael E. Knight will return in the near future. The Martin family is the core family of the show.

  • Franny

    Awesome article!! I’m really glad everyone is so happy in their new environment….I’m thrilled to be getting our shows back!!!

  • yesss!! AMC & OLTL RULES!!! live on forever!! i hope they are till i die! i want michael easton back — and if not farah fath- maybe john paul- rex could come on at least time from time as a “guest”

    • I could care about farah fath, but so want john paul; i think she done him wrong!

  • tazzy

    Can’t wait!


  • CTwildheart

    I am so happy for all of them and for all of us. I get teary when I think about seeing my Pine Valley and Llanview families again…

  • KDP is delusional. OLTL was NEVER the strongest show in the daytime lineup. That delusion is why sh was so shocked by the cancellation. Everyone else who saw the show’s crappy rating knew it was coming.

    • That is NOT true, OLTL had ABC’s highest rating for their soaps when it was cancelled, ABC STILL can’t justify it’s cancellation!

  • Kyle

    OLTL did have the highest Ratings in Daytime television for ABC, and yes ABC still can’t justify their cancellation. Shame on them. Thank you PP, for a long bright future for OLTL & AMC!!!

  • If this works out well, I wonder if ATWT or GL could return? PP would be able to save cash, spread costs, by using the studio, cams and crew for an additional two shows in CT.

  • All I have to say is JOHN MCBAIN!

  • Margie11859

    I learned to speak English ( without an accent ) watching AMC, over 30 years ago. I was very upset when the show was cancelled.I stopped watching ABC as my way to protest. I am happy to pay the small monthly fee to express my support to the company who brought back the shows we love. Thank you for listening to the fans.