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

 
Casting

Paul Skipper/JPI

It has been three weeks since Ken Corday, Executive Producer and owner of NBC’s “Days of our Lives,” made his first move to save the soap from near oblivion with the firing of Head Writer Dena Higley and replacing her with former “Passions” scribes Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas. In the weeks that followed, soap stars Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker), and Francisco San Martin (Dario Hernandez) were all out of jobs. If those changes weren’t enough to signal a revolution heading toward Salem, it was definitely made clear with the firing of Co-Executive Producer Gary Tomlin along with the expected returns of Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans), Drake Hogestyn (John Black), and Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux) and the rumored returns of several former cast members including Mark Hapka (Nathan Horton) and Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Horton).

Since receiving word from Jeff Gaspin, the now former Chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment (now NBCUniversal Media), late last year that the network had decided it would renew “Days of our Lives” for two additional years, on top of its previous contract that was set to expire in September 2011, the daytime drama series has been trending downward in the Nielsen ratings. This is in direct contrast to the upward trend the soap had received prior to its renewal. In our interview with Corday back in May of 2010, he laughed when he said that “the show grew 10% in ratings from the previous year, which NBC can’t say about any of their other shows between 2008 and 2009.” Unfortunately, between 2010 and 2011, the drama series is experiencing a downward spiral and it’s no laughing matter.

In the latest ratings released covering the week of May 30, 2011 through June 3, 2011, it was revealed that “DAYS” is down a whopping 17% in Women 18-49 and another 15% in Households season to date (September 20, 2010 through June 3, 2011). Only ABC’s canceled “All My Children” had a bigger loss in Women 18-49 (down 22% season to date) with a much smaller loss in Households (down just 5%). So what can “DAYS” do to turn things around before seasons end? Not much of anything.

Unlike in primetime where scripted television airs mostly in originals from September through May, daytime scripted television airs in originals from September to September, therefore “season to date” would cover from September 20, 2010 through September 16, 2011. Why is this piece of information so important? “Days of our Lives,” now celebrating its 45th anniversary year on television, is currently filming at such a rapid speed that there is literally no way that Higley’s material will stop airing before the official close of this season, or is there?

Days after news broke that Higley was fired, it was announced via Twitter by Judie Henninger, an NBC employee who handles the networks promos for “DAYS,” that 17 episodes scheduled to tape before Higley’s ouster were being rewritten by the shows new writing team. While the tweets have since been deleted, Corday confirmed that Co-Head Writers McPherson and Ray Thomas were rewriting a number of episodes. “We didn’t have to reshoot anything, but we had to rewrite three weeks of shows yet to air and chart a new course,” said Corday in the June 14 issue of Soap Opera Digest when asked if any storylines were being changed. Interestingly enough, in the same response he confirmed that Chandler Massey‘s Will Horton would indeed be portraying the rumored gay character on “DAYS” despite the show itself still not confirming the news to the press directly. “We are telling a story dealing with the first gay character on the show and that had to have another look and the take on that had to be changed. It will be written much more slowly and carefully. It’s a story about one of our characters coming to grips with who he is,” Corday stated.

For her part, McPherson has joined Twitter to bring a voice from the new writing team straight to disgruntled fans who were thrilled to learn that changes were finally happening at their favorite daytime soap. In her first tweet on Saturday, June 4, McPherson said “Writing the first week of “our” shows! So exciting! Don’t miss 9/23!” This was our first indication as to when we could expect the teams material to begin airing, although it doesn’t make it clear if said material was part of the rewritten scripts or if they would be credited for a time prior to this episode as co-heads with Higley (when material is re-written…it remains based on the outline of the original writer leaving credit with said original writer and those that made any changes). While minor details still need to be sorted out, fans should at least expect a big party to kick off a new era for “DAYS.” On Saturday, June 11, McPherson tweeted “The excitement is building! Huge party with many surprises the week of 9/26! You are all invited! We promise you won’t be disappointed!” What are those surprises? You’ll have to tune in to find out of course. Until then, Soap Opera Network has learned exclusively that “Days of our Lives” will outline numerous changes in a press release going out tomorrow that includes the announcement of its new co-executive producer (rumored to be Noel Maxam), the ouster of Gary Tomlin, and the likely announcements of who is returning to the drama series beginning this fall.

Are you ready for better “DAYS?” We sure are!

“Days of our Lives” is a production of Corday Productions Inc., in association with Sony Pictures Television.



Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Francisco San Martin is the next actor out at NBC’s “Days of our Lives” as another week comes to a close where blood is spilled at the fledgling daytime drama series. The actor tweeted the news to fans before the show could make it official.

“I wanted you guys to hear it from me first; ‘Days of our Lives’ has decided to bring back some of the old characters and I’ll be one of the casualties,” said San Martin. “I couldn’t be more honored to have been a part of an amazing team, both cast and crew who are both incredibly diligent and talented. Thanx for the support u guys! lol You guys are in great hands, hopefully the changes ‘DOOL’ is making will get u guys even more into the show!”

San Martin’s firing comes hours after reports that Mark Hapka would be returning to the show presumably for his character Nathan Horton to reconnect with Molly Burnett‘s Melanie Layton.

No last airdate has been set. A “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment.



Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With the news that “Days of our Lives” has let Gary Tomlin go as co-executive producer and Soap Opera Network unable to confirm who is replacing him at this time, rumors began swirling that actor Mark Hapka would be returning to the daytime drama series just days after reportedly stating that someone in particular (possibly Tomlin) was in the way of his employment with the show.

According to a report on Soaps.com, the website stated that his character, Nathan Horton, will ” return from Baltimore a stronger person, persistent to get Melanie (Molly Burnett) away from Dario Hernandez (Francisco San Martin).” Hapka originally joined the “DAYS” cast in June 2009 until he was let go in January of this year.

While looking to confirm Hapka’s return, a “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment.



Aaron Montgomery/JPI

After a week of unconfirmed (by the show) firings of numerous actors, NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has now fired its co-executive producer, Gary Tomlin. The news was first reported by TV Guide Canada‘s Nelson Branco on Twitter. News of Tomlin’s firing comes on the heels of last months firing of head writer Dena Higley and the recent firings of actors Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), and Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker).

It was in August 2008 when Executive Producer Ken Corday announced the hiring of Tomlin after confirming the ouster of Ed Scott.

“I have decided that it’s in the best interest of the show’s future to make this change in order to improve ‘Days’ both visually and emotionally,” said Corday at the time. “We at ‘Days’ are grateful to Ed Scott for all of his contributions and amazing energy over the past year. Gary Tomlin brings a long successful history of being an actor’s producer and a writer’s producer to our cast and crew and I know the viewers will see the immediate results of this change for the better.” Unfortunately for Tomlin his services were deemed no longer necessary.

At this time no replacement had been named nor was it clear whether or not Corday would take on all executive producer responsibilities himself.

Prior to joining “DAYS,” Tomlin began his career in daytime in 1973, when he was cast in the contract role of Bruce Carson on “Search for Tomorrow.” He later appeared as Morgan Simpson on NBC’s “Another World” in 1979. From 1980-1981, he was co-head writer of “DAYS” with Michelle Poteet-Lisanti. Later, he went on to co-head write at his old stomping ground, “Another World” for two years starting in 1984. In the late 1980′s/early 1990′s, Tomlin began writing scripts for “Santa Barbara” and directing episodes for both “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” In 1995 he joined “All My Children” as a producer. Upon the debut of NBC’s “Sunset Beach” in 1997 through its last airing in 1999, Tomlin was credited as the shows Executive Producer. He served as a director at NBC’s “Passions” from 2000-2001 and again from April 25, 2003 – April 2, 2008. He joined “One Life to Live” as its Executive Producer in November 2000, but his first credited episodes did not air until January 2001. He left the ABC soap in August 2003. He was immediately replaced by current “One Life” Executive Producer, Frank Valentini. Tomlin won the soap its one and only Outstanding Drama Series Daytime Emmy Award in 2003.

Due to its advanced filming schedule, Tomlin will be credited as EP until episodes scheduled to air in late August/early September.

A “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment at press time.



Rick Rowell/ABC

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Monday, May 23, three days after news broke that Ingo Rademacher (Jasper ‘Jax’ Jacks) had been fired by ABC’s “General Hospital,” Soap Opera Network tweeted that we had exclusively learned that Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo (Brenda Barrett Corinthos) would be the next actor leaving the daytime drama series. On Thursday, May 26, just before the long Memorial Day Weekend, the actress confirmed our report when she revealed that her days with the soap were numbered via her Twitter page. Interestingly, the actress has been tweeting up a storm since revealing the news while keeping mum for nearly 3 months on her twitter account (it had previously been crickets since February of this year). Marcil Giovinazzo’s confirmation follows months of rumors since she revealed in an interview with Access Hollywood Live back in March that she was on her way out.

“I came back to honor my roots. These are the people that I grew up with. I haven’t been a regular on the show in 13 years. It was like going to an incredible high school reunion,” said Marcil Giovinazzo of her time back at the Prospect Studios where “GH” is filmed in her AHL interview. “We had so much fun. I have so much respect for these people. They work so hard. I loved being there. We shot the wedding for seven days. We just had the best time. There were all these insane things that happened and now after the wedding, there’s a lot of drama because now my time [on 'General Hospital'] is almost done.”

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, June 7, the actress revealed her last tape date will be this Thursday, June 9. “Thank you ‘GH’ for a great year. Best cast and crew in the world and in my heart forever,” she commented after revealing the date.

In the days leading up to her exit, the actress showed her appreciation for her co-stars, fans and crew including “General Hospital” executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. “My final days are near… will miss Maurice [Benard] and cast with every cell of my being. Should I keep Brenda’s thigh high stilettos?” was just the beginning of numerous tweets made by the actress back on May 26. It was followed up by the revelation that she’d be working on a cartoon series post “GH.” In her tweet to follower nygall33, Marcil Giovinazzo stated she was “working on an animated children’s show that I wrote with my sister and my son. GAGOO AND THE LAND OF CHOICES :)” On Farren Phelps, the actress said “My boss Jill says door is open. :) She”s lovely.” On Friday, May 27, Marcil Giovinazzo revealed that Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) “got me through first 3 months here. He’s breathtakingly talented. Wish we had gotten more together.”

While a “GH” representative was unable for comment at press time nor do we expect to receive one on this matter as it is ABC policy not to respond to actor tweets, look for Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo to last air in mid-to-late-July as the soap currently films 5 weeks ahead of airdate.



JPI

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A few weeks back I reported on my personal Twitter page that two actors would be let go by summer’s end and it wouldn’t be by their own choosing despite how it would be presented by the show. The firing of Ingo Rademacher was not one of those people I alluded to. In an official statement released to ABC Soaps In Depth on their website, the actor said “After 15 years on ‘GH’ portraying Jax I must say goodbye. I’m fired.”

While Rademacher’s departure does not come as a surprise, his firing comes hot on the heals of ABC confirming reports of now former Head Writer Robert Guza Jr. getting the boot this past Wednesday only to be replaced by scab writer Garin Wolf and Tyler Christopher getting kicked to the curb in March after learning his new ABC Family pilot, “The Lying Game,” was picked up to series. Christopher’s last airdate has not been announced, but he last tapes today in scenes we’re told he may have had a hand in writing.

“Yes, I know that’s sounds bad but sometimes little birds need a shove out of the nest to find their wings…. better late then never? I’m trying to find some humor in all of this. Even though this was not my call, I think my ‘GH’ days were almost up anyway,” Rademacher’s statement read. “I would like to thank everyone at ‘GH,’ the producers, directors, crew, my fellow actors and ABC/Disney for making my 15 years enjoyable and fun. It was always a great place for me to work and I will have fantastic memories. I would like to thank my fans and especially my ‘Jax Angels’ who have been there for me, supporting me in every way, from Day One. Thank you!”

An ABC representative was unavailable for comment at press time. A last airdate has not been set.



Donna Svennevik/ABC

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With his character Cole Thornhart serving a ten-year jail sentence for murdering a man and his on-screen mother Susan Haskell preparing to leave town, could Brandon Buddy be on his way back to Llanview?

You may recall that Buddy left the show last November after choosing not to renew his contract, following a much publicized Twitter hacking scandal. Now the actor takes to the social networking site again, this time to discuss the possibility of returning to “One Life to Live.

On April 13, Buddy tweeted a message to his fans, saying “As for going back to ‘OLTL’…. hmmm I’m not sure if it’s in my hands or not. I would love to come back for a little bit but only 4 all of u!”

Buddy played Cole, the son of Marty Saybrooke and the late Patrick Thornhart, from 2006-2010.

Kristen Alderson (Starr), Buddy’s former on-screen girlfriend recently tweeted in response to a question from a fan that “No, it was Brandon’s choice to leave [the show]…don’t feel sorry for him. =) It wasn’t ‘OLTL’s’ choice to not have him.”

On a related note, it appears that Cole’s deceased dad (Thorsten Kaye) may be returning to Llanview as well, since “One Life to Live” is currently casting a “Thorsten Kaye Body Double” for some upcoming scenes.



IMDb

NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has cast newcomer Bren Foster in the contract role of Quinn, a character previously known as Fletcher in a recent casting call according to Soap Opera Digest. The character is described as being a “charming businessman with an edge. He can be clean cut or not. He is sexy, mysterious and savvy, has an easy way with the ladies but can be formidable if crossed.” The World Tae Kwon Do Champion’s first airdate will be in May and he’ll share his first scenes with Nadia Bjorlin‘s Chloe Lane.

Prior to joining “DAYS,” Foster is probably best known for his roles in the Australian soap “Home and Away” and drama “Sea Patrol.” He recently completed work on two American films, one called “War Flowers” where he played the role of John Ellis, a confederate sergeant alongside actors Christina Ricci and Tom Berenger, and “Bad to the Bone” where he portrays the title character Donnor ‘Bone’ Mason. He appeared regularly in the short lived National Geographic series “Fight Scene,” which delved into the world of mixed martial arts, fighting back and special ops.

Foster was born in London and moved to Australia when he was three years old. He started his acting career while in high school.



JPI

The Tuesday, February 22 episode of “One Life to Live” will not only give viewers their first glimpse of Andrew Trischitta as a recast Jack Manning, but it will also be the day that the ABC soap begins telling the story of bullying in America. The topic, of course, especially hits home with many children as they prepare to go to school each weekday not knowing if they will be thrown into their lockers with a wedgie or hanging upside down waiting for their lunch money to be stolen by someone bigger than them. Some of them even contemplate the prospect of suicide, which is rumored to be where the show may eventually take the storyline down the road. Wherever the show takes the story, Soap Opera Network of course will be following them every step of the way.

Read More >>



JPI

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As previously reported, “Days of our Lives” has cast daytime newcomer Francisco San Martin in the role of Dario Hernandez, Rafe (Galen Gering) and Gabi’s (Camila Banus) brother. Interestingly, the actor previously appeared on “DAYS” in mid-November in the role of Javier Rodriguez, a sick patient that died as he was causing a deadly outbreak at Salem University Hospital while in the presence of Melanie (Molly Burnett) and Nathan (Mark Hapka).

According to sources, San Martin began taping his first scenes on Wednesday, January 5 and his first airate is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9.









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