How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of 'GH,' 'The View' and 'The Chew'; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of ‘GH,’ ‘The View’ and ‘The Chew’; Shows Also on Hulu Plus


Monday, July 20, 2009 9:55 PM ET | By Scotty Gore

( —
Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the best-selling memoir Angela’s Ashes, passes away at age 78, following complications associated with melanoma.

Editor’s note: While we here at SON don’t normally report on news outside of the soap world, in this case we decided to make an exception, given Frank McCourt’s ties to the daytime drama “One Life to Live.”

The eldest-born of seven children to poor Irish immigrants, Frank McCourt was born in near poverty in Brooklyn, New York on August 19, 1930. With the United States firmly entrenched in the Great Depression, work proved difficult to come by for his parents, Malachy and Angela McCourt.

Hoping to improve the family’s fortunes, the family packed up and returned to his mother’s hometown of Limerick in her native Ireland when McCourt was only three years old. However, shortly after arriving on the Emerald Isle, the family sunk further into poverty. Often unemployed, Malachy earned very little money, which he would often use to buy booze to support his alcoholism. By the time McCourt reached eleven years of age, his father moved to Liverpool in the United Kingdom to find factory work during World War II.

As the months went by, the elder McCourt send almost no money back to Ireland to support Frank, his mother, and his three surviving siblings (the other four children died of malnutrition and disease, even Frank himself nearly died of typhoid fever at age ten). In order to survive, McCourt dropped out of school at 13, held several odd jobs, and eventually stole milk and bread from area stores to feed his family.

At the age of 19, Frank McCourt returned to the United States, and soon found himself drafted and sent to fight on the German front. Following the war, he returned to the U.S. and, thanks to the G.I. Bill, was able to attend and graduate from New York University. Receiving a Master’s degree from Brooklyn College, McCourt embarked on a thirty year teaching career McKee, and later Stuyvesant, High School in NYC, where he taught English.

McCourt wrote his signature memoir Angela’s Ashes, illustrating his impoverished childhood in Ireland, in 1996. Among other things, McCourt notes in the novel how as a child, entire blocks of houses were forced to share a single outhouse, many of the homes were constantly flooded by torrential downpours, and infested with rodents. The highly successful book earned McCourt a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1996, and a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. It was during that year that he made a special guest appearance as himself on the ABC Daytime soap opera “One Life to Live,” where his brother Malachy was in the midst of the recurring role of ruthless Irish terrorist Thomas Kenneally (part of the group of men who tried to kill poet Patrick Thornhart). Malachy’s other soap credits include “Ryan’s Hope,” “Search for Tomorrow,” and “All My Children,” where he portrays Father Clarence each Christmas.

Following up on the success of Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt went on to publish two additional books; ‘Tis (1999) picks up where the first book left off and chronicles his new life in America, and Teahcer Man (2005) deals with his the challenges and obstacles he faced as young, inexperienced teacher.

McCourt was a long-time member of the American Federation of Teachers and National Arts Club. After receiving the Award of Excellence of New York City’s ‘The International Center,’ he was presented with an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2002, at which time he was also awarded an Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award.

Living in Connecticut at the time of his death, McCourt is survived by Ellen (his third wife), daughter Maggie (from his first wife), and three grandchild. He is also survived by three brothers (Malachy, Michael, and Alphie) and their families. Revealing in May that he had undergone treatment for melanoma and that he had since gone into remission, McCourt was in the process of taking home chemotherapy. However, after developing meningeal complications, Frank McCourt died at a New York City hospice on the evening of Sunday, July 19th. He was 78-years-old.

To read more about Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer Prize-winner novel Angela’s Ashes, click here.

Discussion: ‘Angela’s Ashes’ Author Frank McCourt Passes Away

Happy Independence Day from SON

Saturday, July 4, 2009 12:00 AM ET| By Soap Opera Network

( — Happy Independence Day to one and all.

On behalf on the staff and management of Soap Opera Network, we hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful 4th of July.  Celebrate the day with cookouts, fireworks, and honoring the brave sacrifices made by our service men and women in order to protect the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States.

Thank you for protecting our great nation, and ensuring that we remain the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Drive safely this Independence Day weekend, and be sure to wear your seat belt while on the road.  So have a great 4th of July holiday weekend and God Bless America!

Happy Father’s Day from SON

Sunday, June 21, 2009 2:49 AM ET| By Soap Opera Network

( — Happy Father’s Day to one and all.

On behalf on the staff and management of Soap Opera Network, we hope that fathers everywhere will enjoy their special day of pampering, praise, and love. Celebrate the day with friends and loved ones, and be sure to thank your father for the impact he has made in your life. 

Thank you for giving us safety, encouragment, security, and love in all that you do. May you have a safe and wonderful Father’s Day, and the understanding that your job is deeply appreciated and respected. Happy Father’s Day, and also enjoy the first day of summer!

Flag Day Greetings

Sunday, June 14, 2009 12:03 AM ET | By Soap Opera Network

( — Have a safe and happy Flag Day holiday. 

On behalf on the staff and management of Soap Opera Network, we hope that all of our members and guests enjoy the Flag Day holiday and that you take time to honor our nation’s flag and remember those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.  It is because of their bravery that we are able to fly the stars and stripes high in the air and enjoy the many right and liberties that make us the United States of America.    Happy Flag Day!

Texas Woman Takes Cue from Soap

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 1:35 AM ET | By Scotty Gore

alt( — A Texas mother’s real life baby drama shares eerie similarities with a recent storyline on “One Life to Live.”

In 2002, “One Life to Live” revealed a shocking plot twist — that Natalie Balsom and Jessica Buchanan were Viki Davidson’s twin daughters separated at birth.  To make the storyline even more convoluted, DNA confirmed that both girls had been fathered by different men, and that Viki could only recall giving birth to Jessica. 

To explain this bizarre turn of events, “OLTL” revealed that Viki’s sworn enemy (cult leader) Mitch Laurence, had drugged and raped her around the same time that she had convienced a child with husband Clint Buchanan.  For the next eight months, Viki unknowingly carried fraternal twin girls. When she went into labor, a sedated Viki still did not realize that she was carrying twins.  Her physican, Dr. Balsom (wife of Roxy, supposed father of Rex), kidnapped Natalie (fathered by Clint) on Mitch’s orders, so his daugther Jessica could grow up with the wealth, power, and presitage of being a Lord and a Buchanan.  Natalie, meanwhile, was subjected to a horrible life with mother-from-hell Roxy Balsom, and did not learn of her true paternity until reaching adulthood, at which time she attempted to con her newfound family members.   

But what appeared to be an absurd soap plot has turned into a real-life tale for a Texas mother.  In June 2008, Mia Washington gave birth to a set of healthy twin boys.  For the first few months, all seemed perfectly normal for the happy family.  That is until Washington began to notice that her twin boys facial features were anything but identical. 

In an attempt to clear up her confusion, the Dallas mother had a local lab run DNA tests on both her babies, and was shocked to learn that there was only a 0.001% chance that the twins could have the same biological father. “I have twins who have different dads,” the mom told the Daily Mail. “Out of all the people in America and all the people in the world, this had to happen to me.”

But how did it happen exactly?  Turns out that Washington cheated with a man named James Harrison.  The one-night stand left the Texas mum with a permanent reminder of her adulterous ways.  Son Jordan is the son of James, while Justin, the other twin, was fathered by an as yet unidentifed male. 

Doctors say that, while it is extremely rare, incidents such as this one have been known to occur.  According to Dr. Joseph Finkelstein, a Manhattan obstetrician and gynecologist,for something such as this to happen, the indiscretion would have to occur within one to two days and that “Once the egg is released and gets fertilized, the system shuts down, so although it technically could happen, it would have to happen in two days or less.” He goes on to say that the possibility of a woman having twins without any type of medical intervention, such as fertility drugs, is about 1 in 100.  In the case of Washington, since both babies were fathered by different men, there was never a health threat. 

“It’s not a baby issue since they had different placentas,” Finkelstein explains. “The two babies are totally separate entities. Babies can have different blood types even if they have the same father.” “It’s very crazy, most people don’t believe it can happen but it really can,” Genny Thibodeaux, from the Clear Diagnostics DNA Lab, told the Mail.

The Texas mother’s husband James Washington says he plans on raising both boys as if they were his own.  Additionaly, the couple has plans of telling the kids the bizarre tale when they grow old enough to grasp the situation. And the couple will welcome baby number three into the family this fall, as Washington is pregnant again (hopefully, she has learned her lesson this go around). 

The mother tells the Daily Mail that, “Five months ago we found out that I was pregnant again and our new baby is due to arrive in the autumn.  Right now I’m fully committed to taking care of my family and making sure their needs are met. I can guarantee there’ll be no questions raised this time around.”

Dr. Finkelstein points out just how different twins can become in appearance, even if they have the same  biological father.  In the movie ‘Twins’, you have Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito,” he says. “Think about how different those two look.”

So don’t be so quick to write off seemingly impossible soap plots in the future.  It’s often been noted that art imitates life, so who knows — they just may have at least a grain of truth in them after all. 

To read the full article, click here.

Discussion: Texas Mother Takes Cue from Soap

Memorial Day Greetings

Sunday, May 24, 2009 11:30 PM ET | By Soap Opera Network

( — Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.

On behalf on the staff and management of Soap Opera Network, we hope that all of our members and guests enjoy the Memorial Day holiday and that you take time to remember your dearly departed loved ones and all the soliders (past and present) who have fought for our freedom by paying the ultimate sacrifice. All Americans owe them a huge debt of gratitude for keeping our nation safe and secure. Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 16, 2009 10:06 PM ET | By Scotty Gore

( — It’s not every day that Soap Opera Network reports on news from outside the soap world, but this is one story that would make even the writers and executives at the Big Three Networks scratch their heads. 

Soaps are no stranger to drama, especially if it involves the kidnapping and switching of newborn babies.  For decades, the various daytime dramas have frequently employed the plot device to spice up otherwise mundane storylines.  On “One Life to Live” for example, only one (Joey) of the five children of town heroine Victoria Lord Davidson had a normal childhood.  Two others were kidnapped, and the other two were forgotten by their own mother until after adulthood.  “All My Children” launched an ambitious cross over storyline with “One Life to Live” back in 2004, in which a baby went missing in Pinve Valley, and was passed off as the son of someone else in Llanview.  Even today, soaps such as “Days of Our Lives” and “One Life to Live” are embroiled in baby stealing plots. 

All of which makes the real life story of Kay Rene Reed Qualls and DeeAnn Angell Shafer all the more intriguing.  In a plot twist that could only come from the twisted mind of a soap writer, the two women were switched at birth at an eastern Oregon hospital back in 1953.  Both ladies have gone on to live normal lifestyles, but grew up with the nagging feeling that, for some odd reason, they bore little resembalance to their siblings and other family members.   

In an interview with the Associated Press, Quall’s brother Bobby Reed, stated that an eighty-six year old neighbor to both mothers, recently shared her suspicion with him that the two girls may have gotten switched while in the hospital shortly after birth.  The woman who asked that her name not be released, claims that Marjorie Angell confonted nurses at Pioneer Memorial Hospital back in 1953, believing that she was given the wrong baby.  However, her concerns were quickly brushed off by hospital staff. 

After years of rumors and suspicion, both women agreed to take DNA tests back in March.  Shocked, but not unexpected, the results confirmed what had long been suspected. Shafer’s results showed that she had a  99.9% chance of being related to Bobby and Dorothy Reed.  Qualls results, on the other hand, revealed that she had a zero percent chance of being geneticall related to her brother and sister. “After seeing Kay Rene, I went home and told my husband, I don’t know why she’s doing the DNA testing,” she said. “I was shocked — she looked just like my sister’s twin,” Shafer told the AP

Both women, who share a May 3rd birthday, have declined the hospital’s offer to pay for counseling. “I’m trying to move forward at look at the positive,” Shafer said. “You can’t look back. It just drives you crazy.”  

To read the entire Associated Press article, click here.

In the recent past soap writers have often stated that they take their plot twists and turns from real life events, so it should be interesting to see which of the daytime dramas will put their own personal spin on this particular stranger than ficition story in the months and years to come.  In the meantime, viewers will have to contend with watching current baby swtiching storylines play out with their daily dose of drama.   

Discussion: Life Imitates Art: Real Life Stranger than Soap Fiction

  • The Bold and the Beautiful
  • All My Children
  • One Life to Live
  • The Young and the Restless
  • Days of our Lives
  • General Hospital
  • As The World Turns
  • Guiding Light
  • Kay Rene reed Qualls
  • DeeAnn Angell Shafer

    Happy Mother’s Day from SON

    Sunday, May 10, 2009 12:00 AM ET| By Soap Opera Network

    ( – Happy Mother’s Day to one and all.

    On behalf on the staff and management of Soap Opera Network, we hope that mothers everywhere will enjoy their special day of pampering, praise, and love.  Celebrate the day with friends and loved ones, and bless you for the sacrifices you have made and for the tough love you have given your children over the years. 

    Thank you for giving us safety, encouragment, comfort, and love in all that you do.  May you have a safe and wonderful Mother’s Day, and the understanding that your job is deeply appreciated and respected.  Happy Mother’s Day!

    Soap Opera Network Celebrates Seven Years

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008 11:31 PM EDT | By Scotty Gore

    ( — Soap Opera Network, an online magazine celebrating the world of the daytime drama, celebrates their seventh anniversary.

    Launched on October 8th, 2001, Soap Opera Network, or SON, was a joint venture by two ardent soap fans, with dreams of providing accurate, reliable, and timely soap news and information to the genre’s loyal and dedicated fans. Since that time, Soap Opera Network has grown to become one of the foremost sources of soap news, previews, interviews, and ratings information on the Internet.

    Based in New York City, Soap Opera Network became a division of the privately held firm Manti Incorporated in April 2005. Monthly circulation regularly surpasses 80,000 hits. Popular features include the “One Life to Live” column “My View of Llanview,” mySON TV™, a forum dedicated to online soaps and fan fiction writers, and a special section containing the latest news on your favorite primetime dramas. Popular past features include the SON Top 10 and SON Awards, celebrating the best of daytime. Earlier this year, SON became affiliated with several popular social networking websites, including MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Wikipedia.

    Present SON staff includes Errol Lewis (Editor-in-Chief), Xavier Toups (Co-Founder), and staff writers Scotty Gore, Angela Rosa, and Venus Stone-Cutter.

    On behalf of the staff and management of Soap Opera Network, thank you for trusting us as your number one source for soap opera news and information during the last seven years, and may the best be yet to come.

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