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

Errol Lewis, Publisher and Editor in Chief
By Errol Lewis

( — DirecTV is gearing up for its debut of “Passions” after the daytime soap leaves its broadcast network roots behind for a more limited subscriber base.

Lindsay Hartley

Beginning Monday, September 17, “Passions” will make DirecTV’s Channel 101 (aka: The 101) its network home for its daily dose of drama, passion and mythical creatures. The soap will continue to air at 2pm, EST as it did on NBC for eight years. However, “Passions” will now air on a Monday through Thursday schedule instead of the typical Monday through Friday schedule it had become accustomed. Encore episodes will air each day at 7pm, EST with a weekend marathon of the weeks episodes airing Saturdays beginning at 10am, EST.

In January, after NBC announced plans to extend its “Today” franchise to four hours, it quickly became clear that the additional hour would come at the expense of “Passions.” Affiliates balked at the idea of giving the network back an hour for its daytime lineup, so the network had no choice but to cave by giving affiliates the “Passions” hour.

DirecTV is currently the multi-channel provider to 16.3 million subscribers.

“Passions” lasts airs on NBC on Friday, September 7, 2007.

  • Passions

    One Door Closes as Two More Open
    Wednesday, August 1, 2007 8:50 PM | By Errol Lewis

    ( — “All My Children” casts the contract roles of two new hunks and reveals the last airdate for Justin Bruening.

    Soap Opera Network has learned that soap newcomer Billy Miller has joined the cast of ABC’s “All My Children” in the contract role of Wes. The character is said to be involved with Babe Carey (Alexa Havins). Miller’s previous television credits include an episode of “CSI: NY” in 2006, where he played William Graham. Look for Miller on “AMC” beginning Thursday, August 30.

    Also joining “AMC” will be Sterling Sulieman, who was last seen as Chris on CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Sulieman is set to play the contract role of Dre, a young man who is part of a garage band that practices their music next to the Martin home. Dre will become good friends with Sean (Brent Weber) and Colby (Ambyr Childres). Sulieman begins airing on Tuesday, September 4.

    Bruening, who began playing Jamie Martin on the drama series in 2003, is set to make his exit from the series on Friday, August 24.

    Pictured: Billy Miller courtesy James/Levy/Jacobson Management

    • Billy Miller
    • Sterlineg Sulieman
    • Justin Bruening
    • All My Children

      By Errol Lewis

      ( — “General Hospital: Night Shift” premiered on July 12, 2007 with an average of 1 million total viewers and just under 500,000 viewers in Women 18-49. The reach the soap had was beyond anyone’s expectations at SOAPnet and the Disney-ABC Television Group. So what does the head of the company’s daytime division think of the premiere? “Obviously thrilled. There is a mass idea there where you put all of these ‘GH’ viewers and say ‘let’s come up with something that is spun out of ‘GH’ and put it on SOAPnet.’ It seems like a pretty basic programming idea, but you still have to make a terrific show and hope that people will watch it — and Jill and Bob have done that.”

      Brian Scott Frons

      On Saturday, July 14, 2007, Soap Opera Network was given an opportunity to speak with Brian Frons, [President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group], after the “General Hospital: Night Shift” press panel at SOAPnet’s portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour. In this five minute interview, Mr. Frons speaks candidly about “Night Shift” and how the show’s success relates to “General Hospital” and what changes are in store for “The View.”

      With the success of the “Night Shift,” could plans of re-airing the show on ABC be far away?

      “Not right now; I think that is certainly something we will consider for the future, but right now we are giving it multiple airings on SOAPnet and we are trying to use it as something to really draw people to the channel who haven’t been watching.”

      If there are no plans on airing the show on ABC, how will the network help promote the series?

      “I think that what we really have been using ABC for is as a promotional platform. This past week we’ve had longer than usual trailer’s for ‘Night Shift’ and ‘GH’ that pushed people to SOAPnet.”

      Any spin-off plans for “All My Children” or “One Life to Live?”

      “No, it is something certainly we will take under consideration. However, with ‘GH’ it was sort of a natural kind of thing as Robin and Patrick are always getting into trouble in the middle of the hospital. It was easy enough to imagine them being punished in some way – it just seemed to be a very natural idea. For the other shows it would need to be something that would make sense, like the McBain murders [One Life to Live]. We’d need to have something that we felt was right for each of the shows and that we had the time and the money.

      While watching “Night Shift” and knowing that Jason is currently involved in a murder case on “GH,” was it a last minute idea to add Steve Burton into the show?

      “It was something that came up prior to us writing the show. What happened was Steve has wanted to direct and he thought it might be fun if he could direct an episode and show up and do something new. Actors love to do something new and so the idea was kinda funny as we don’t talk about it, because you know usually everyone Jason kills is a bad person and deserves to die. Here we have the Angel of Death floating around the hospital, which we will deal with in the last episode of the series.”

      Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough

      “Night Shift,” the second spin-off of ABC’s “General Hospital” (“Port Charles” being the first), is set in the ER of Port Charles’ General Hospital. The series centers on Doctor’s Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) and Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough), who were sent to the Night Shift after the two performed surgery on a patient who lacked proper medical insurance without consent from hospital board administrators. The storyline may have started on “GH” but is continuing on “Night Shift.” However, once the primetime soap hit the air any continuity the soap may have had initially with its mother-ship may be whipped away.

      How will you deal with the continuity of both series as their storyline’s are sure to intermingle?

      “One of the early decisions we had to make was whether or not we think it is the same time. Because the tape schedule of ‘Night Shift’ was going be so disbursed we didn’t know exactly when the show was going to air or where we’d be in August. We decided that they [the shows] would live in their own separate universes. The relationships are transferred; some of the people would be in ‘GH’ and refer to what’s happening in ‘Night Shift.’ As Jill [Farren Phelps] said at the panel, if there was a preemption everything would be knocked out anyway.”

      Rosie O’Donnell left “The View” abruptly after contract negotiations and her battle with a co-host went too far. Are there any plans to help the talk-show keep its ratings inroads without the outspoken diva?

      “We are going to have an announcement by the end of the month. Barbara [Walters] will make it.”

      Any chance Sherri Sheppard (“Less Than Perfect”) could be part of the plan?

      “It’s possible.”

      “General Hospital: Night Shift” airs Thursdays at 11:00 PM, EST/PST on SOAPnet and is a production of ABC Studios. Jill Farren Phelps serves as Executive Producer with Robert Guza Jr. as Head Writer.

      • General Hospital: Night Shift
      • The View
      • Brian Frons

        Tuesday, July 3, 2007 10:45 AM ET | By Errol Lewis

        ( — According to the Hollywood Reporter, former soap stars Nathan Fillion (“One Life to Live”) and Lyndsy Fonseca (“The Young and the Restless”) are in negotiations with ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” to join the cast as series regulars for the primetime soaps fourth season. Actress Dana Delaney (“China Beach,” “Kidnapped”) is also expected to come on board.

        Delaney is said to be playing a character currently going by the name of Katherine, a former “housewife” who is coming back to Wisteria Lane after a ten-year absence with a younger husband (Fillion), described as “the best-looking gynecologist in town,” and her 17-year-old troublesome daughter (Fonseca).

        “Housewives” creator/executive producer Marc Chery, has been trying to get Delaney on the show since before filming the original pilot for the series in 2004. She was expected to play Bree Van De Kamp. Negotiations didn’t come to pass and the role went on to be played by Screen Actors Guild winner Marcia Cross.

        Fillion is set to return to ABC’s “One Life to Live” after a decade long absence as Joey Buchanan on August 17 for the soaps 10,000th episode. With the possibility of “Housewives” looming, do not expect the actors stay to be long-term anytime soon. He was last seen in FOX’s “Drive” this past spring.

        Fonseca has had a recurring role on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” since 2005. She was best known as Colleen Carlton on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” from 2001-2004.

        “Desperate Housewives” airs Sundays on ABC. Check local listings.


        • One Life to Live
        • The Young and the Restless
        • How I Met Your Mother
        • Nathan Fillion
        • Desperate Housewives
        • Dana Delaney
        • Lyndsy Fonseca
        • Marc Cherry
        • Marcia Cross
        • Kidnapped
        • China Beach

          Network Premieres Drama in the A.M.
          Tuesday, July 3, 2007 11:50 AM | By Errol Lewis

          ( — SOAPnet, the new way to watch soaps, has a secret that they don’t want you to know.

          Thursday, July 12 at 11:00 PM, EST/PST has been the designated premiere date and time for SOAPnet’s highly anticipated new original series, “General Hospital: Night Shift.” What you don’t know is that the network plans on launching the show a full 18 hours early as a special sneak preview.

          If by chance you are awake at 5:00 AM, EST/PST, you can catch a glimpse of what the doctors of “General Hospital” are up to in the wee-hours of the night as Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) and Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) try to save lives. Of course when all the action goes down, you just know Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) is just waiting in the wings as well.

          “Night Shift” is a primetime spinoff of the daytime soap opera “General Hospital.” The series also stars Bradford Anderson (Damien Spinelli), Kent King (Dr. Lainey Winters), Kiko Ellsworth (Stan Johnson), Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones) and Billy Dee Williams as Toussaint Dubois.

          “Night Shift” Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps and Head Writer Robert Guza Jr., will continue to run “GH” in the same capacity.

          Pictured: Jason Thompson, Kimberly McCullough and Steve Burton courtesy Craig Sjodin/SOAPnet

          • Kirsten Storms
          • Steve Burton
          • Jason Thompson
          • Bradford Anderson
          • Kimberly McCullough
          • General Hospital: Night Shift
          • Kent King
          • Kiki Ellsworth

            Soap Star Takes on Reality and TV Movie
            Sunday, June 17, 2007 1:40 PM | By Errol Lewis

            ( — Soap Star Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo, “All My Children”) is set to host “Age of Love” and star in an Oxygen original movie.

            On Monday, June 18, NBC will debut a new reality series in the vein of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” entitled “Age of Love” where contestants in their 20′s compete with women in their 40′s for the heart of Australian Tennis Superstar Mark Philippoussis. Mark Consuelos will guide Philippoussis in his quest to find true love with either one of the six “Kittens” in their 20′s or seven “Cougars” in their 40′s.

            “Age of Love” airs Mondays at 9:00 PM, EST/PST on NBC.

            In other news, Consuelos has signed on to star opposite Nadine Velazquez (“My Name is Earl”) in the Oxygen channel original movie tentatively titled “Husband for Hire.” In the movie Velazquez plays Lola, a successful Latina businesswoman who finds herself having to find a mate to marry or she’ll lose her claim to the family fortune. Nate (played by Consuelos) is the man she hires to play her husband-to-be. Mario Lopez (“Dancing with the Stars”) Erik Estrada (“CHiPs”) and Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”) round out the cast.

            Tim Perell and Howard Gertler of Process Media are executive producers with Kris Isacsson serving as writer-director. Filming on the project began two weeks ago in New Mexico. The film is set to premiere on Oxygen later this year.

            Pictured: Mark Consuelos courtesy Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

            • All My Children
            • Mark Consuelos
            • Mark Philippoussis
            • Mario Lopez
            • Erik Estrada
            • Tempestt Bledsoe
            • Age of Love
            • CHiPs
            • The Cosby Show

              “Life” Not as “Fashionable”
              Saturday, June 2, 2007 4:30 PM | By Errol Lewis

              ( — SOAPnet, the new way to watch soaps, bumps ABC’s “One Life to Live” in favor of new reality series.

              Soap Opera Network has learned that beginning Wednesday, August 1, ABC Daytime’s “One Life to Live” will lose its 9pm Wednesday night airings to new reality series, “The Fashionista Diaries,” which follows the highs and the lows of six assistants in the fashion world.

              According to a spokesman at SOAPnet, “Life” will fill the 12am timeslot for the thirteen week duration of “Diaries’” run. The ABC soap will remain in the 9pm slot for its Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday airings.

              “Diaries” takes on six contestants, Janjay Sherman from Minnesota, Tina Patient of Connecticut, Rachel Jacoby and Nicole Amendolare hailing from New York and Andrew Kanakis and Bridget Helene from Pennsylvania, as they try to be successful in the alluring, but highly competitive fashion, beauty and publishing industries. A team of two assistants will be placed at Jane Magazine, Este Lauder Companies’ Flirt Cosmetics and Seventh House PR. All six will then collaborate to produce Charlotte Ronson’s Fashion Show and After Party during New York’s Fall Fashion Week 2007, the biggest event in the fashion world.

              • Janjay and Tina will work for Flirt Cosmetics, part of the BeautyBank division of the Este Lauder Companies. They will report to VP of Communications Kathleen Pierce.
              • Rachel and Andrew will find themselves working at Jane Magazine under the direction of newly-appointed editor-in-chief Brandon Holley and executive editor Stephanie Trong.
              • Nicole and Bridget are based at Seventh House PR with Mandie Erickson, a partner in the company, and company publicist Matt Keys supervising.

              While all six prepare for fashion week, each episode will find the participant’s either competing with each other or working together as they struggle to accomplish priority projects such as the CFDA Awards, Charlotte Ronson’s Store Opening and the Flirt Cosmetics party honoring MTV’s Vanessa Minnillo.

              “The Fashionista Diaries” is a production of Disney’s Buena Vista Productions in association with Go Go Luckey Productions, producers of “Laguna Beach,” and Hour One Productions.

              The reality series premieres Wednesday, August 1 at 9:00 PM, EST/PST on SOAPnet.

              Pictured: SOAPnet courtesy SOAPnet

              • One Life to Live
              • The Fashionista Diaries

                14 Series See New Seasons
                Sunday, March 25, 2007 1:47 PM | By Errol Lewis

                ( — The ABC Television Network seems to have faith in its current crop of television shows as it becomes the first network to renew the majority of its series for the 2007-08 television season.

                On Wednesday, ABC announced that it has ordered second seasons for critical darlings “Brothers & Sisters,” “MEN IN TREES” and “Ugly Betty,” along with returning shows “The Bachelor,” Boston Legal,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Lost.” They join the already renewed “America’s Funniest Home Video’s,” “Supernanny” and “Wife Swap.”

                “We have had a strong year, with two of the season’s breakout hits, ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘Brothers & Sisters,’ and the solid performance of ‘MEN IN TREES,’” said Stephen McPherson, President, ABC Entertainment during the networks March Development Meeting in Los Angeles, CA. “We are pleased that viewers have invested in these new favorites along with our returning series. These shows provide us with a substantial foundation to make 07-08 our best schedule yet.”

                In addition to its returning series, ABC is developing 29 potential series for next season. The 13 drama potentials include such shows as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” the television spin-off of the popular 2005 film starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and the “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off starring Kate Walsh’s character, Addison Montgomery-Shepherd, who decides to move to Santa Monica, CA to work at the prestigious Oceanside Wellness Group.

                Of the 16 comedy hopefuls, the “Untitled Sachs & Judah Project” starring Scott Wolf, “The News” starring Jay Harrington and “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” starring Jane Curtain, are among some of the more highly anticipated new comedies vying for a spot on ABC.

                The ABC Television Network will announce its 2007-08 Fall Schedule to Advertisers and members of the press at Lincoln Center in New York City in May.

                Pictured: Calista Flockhart courtesy Bob D’Amico/ABC

                • Brothers & Sisters
                • Grey’s Anatomy
                • Ugly Betty
                • Desperate Housewives
                • America’s Funniest Home Videos
                • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
                • Wife Swap
                • Supernanny
                • The Bachelor
                • Boston Legal
                • Lost
                • MEN IN TREES

                  Friday, March 9, 2007 1:47 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

                  ( — Former “Days of our Lives” heartthrob and “Wildfire” cowboy, Eric Winter, has signed on to star in the Hugh Jackman produced CBS drama pilot “Viva Laughlin!”

                  “Laughlin!,” tells the story of Ripley Holden, played by Lloyd Owen (“The Young Indiana Jones;” “Coupling”) and his family as they try to a run a casino in Laughlin, Nevada. Winter has signed on to play Det. Peter Carlyle. Character description is unavailable at this time.

                  Also set to star in the potential series are Carter Jenkins (“Surface;” “Everwood”) as Jack, D.B. Woodside (“24;” “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”) as Marcus, Ellen Woglom (“The O.C.;” “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior”) as Cheyenne, Mädchen Amick (“Freddie;” “Joey”) as Mrs. Holden and P.J. Byrne (“The Game”) in an unknown role.

                  Since leaving “Days of our Lives” in 2005 after playing Rex Brady for three years, Winter has guest-starred in five episodes to date of ABC Family’s “Wildfire.” He has also appeared in such shows as “Love, Inc.” and “Pepper Dennis.”

                  Along with serving as an executive producer, Hugh Jackman, who got his start in television starring in the Australian series “Correlli” as Kevin Jones, is set to guest-star in the series. His character is not yet known, but it is said that his character will play a pivotal role in the direction of the series.

                  Bob Lowry and Peter Bowker created the project and will serve as executive producers. Paul Telegdy and John Palermo will also serve as EP’s along with Gabriele Muccino, who will direct the pilot.

                  BBC Worldwide Productions, CBS Paramount Network Television, Seed Pictures and Sony Pictures Television will produce the project for CBS.

                  • Days of our Lives
                  • Hugh Jackman
                  • 24
                  • Buffy
                  • The Vampire Slayer
                  • Joey
                  • The Game
                  • Eric Winter
                  • Viva Laughlin
                  • Wildfire
                  • Lloyd Owen
                  • The Young Indiana Jones
                  • Coupling
                  • Carter Jenkins
                  • Surface
                  • Everwood
                  • D.B. Woodside
                  • Ellen Woglom
                  • The O.C.
                  • Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
                  • Mädchen Amick
                  • P.J. Byrne
                  • Freddie

                    By Errol Lewis

                    ( — Vanessa Marcil is ready to give a makeover for Cosmopolitan magazine.

                    Vanessa Marcil

                    Marcil, who plays Sam Marquez on NBC’s “Las Vegas,” has signed on as a judge in the upcoming Head & Shoulders “Head-Turning Hair” contest. Procter & Gamble Distributing Company will serve as Sponsor. Other judges include trendsetter Shawneelle Prestidge and Head & Shoulders celebrity stylist James P. Hayes.

                    According to Cosmopolitan magazine, 80% of its readers found that Head & Shoulders shampoo products provided them with the best “Head-Turning Hair.” The magazine then wanted to find out who was the best head-turner.

                    By January 31, Women 18 and over were required to submit a recent photo of themselves, within the last six months of date of entry, and a statement of 50 words or less telling Cosmo’s judging panel and Procter & Gamble under the supervision of D.L. Blair, Inc, an independent judging organization whose decisions are final on all matters relating to the contest, why they were a head turner.

                    One of ten finalists will receive a three-day, two-night trip to New York, where they will receive a makeover from the Head & Shoulders Style Squad, complete with hair and make-up plus a consultation with a wardrobe stylist, and will take part in an advertising photo shoot that will be featured in the the June issue of Cosmopolitan. The remaining nine will each receive a Head & Shoulders gift basket.

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