Breakdown Writer for “As The World Turns” on September 11, 2001
Tuesday mornings at “As the World Turns” usually meant all the writers, producers, CBS network folks, and P&G executives gathering in a conference room to turn pages from the breakdowns written last week, and sit through hours of notes. It was usually a day of neuroses and worry for any writer as our words were picked apart.
I remember being alone in my apartment that morning, standing in my bedroom getting dressed when the first plane hit. My roommate called from her office in Midtown, and we shared a far-more-nervous-than-either-of-us-wanted-to-admit chuckle about some moron who didn’t know how to fly before we hung up. Curiosity got the better of me, and I headed up the fire escape to the roof of my building. I live right over the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, so the Towers were right there in front of me when the second plane hit. At that point, over the undercurrent of worst-case scenarios flowing through my head, I had only one screaming thought pounding away – You. Have. To. Get. To. The. Studio.
JC Studios is much farther out in Brooklyn, closer to Coney Island than Manhattan. My friends… my family… the people I’d spend most days and nights with working and playing and laughing and producing and practically LIVING with were all out there. I needed to get away from downtown Manhattan and get to THEM. I called the car service we used, and at that point, the city was still about twelve minutes away from complete and total panic, so I was still able to get a car sent to my apartment. I packed up what I believed were the most important things in my life: my keys, my MetroCard, my Palm Pilot, three DVDs, a laptop… and an 88-key Casio keyboard. (Why the keyboard? I have absolutely no idea – all I know is that it made sense at the time.) The car picked me up – and by then, the march of people coming over the bridge had begun.
I got to the Brooklyn studio before the first tower fell. A few writers had made it in, our executive producer, and a few of the network executives. I remember being completely shell-shocked watching the Towers fall on the TV, while the executives decided that we should have the notes meeting anyway. I remember frantically scribbling notes in the margin about whether or not to tag a scene on Barbara almost catching Carly designing clothes for her fashion house, or to save that moment for the next act, as New York City fell into chaos on the television above, all the while thinking to myself “Does any of this matter right now??” (In the executive’s defense, I also lugged a full electric piano with me all over Brooklyn that day – people do strange things in those circumstances. There’s no explaining it.) I spent the rest of the day and night at that studio, sitting in offices with my co-workers and best friends, watching TV and wondering “When is it safe to go home? And do I even want to go home?” When I finally did, there was an inch of ash on my fire escape – the wind had taken it right over the water onto my apartment. I didn’t sleep that night – I was up until sunrise contacting everybody I knew to tell them I loved them. And I cried. A lot.
Ten years later, I choose to remember September 11th not by the acts of terrorism, or by the fear and anger, or by the ridiculous notion that how we tagged a scene with Barbara and Carly mattered at all in that moment. Instead, I remember the bonds of friendship with the other writers and production staff I felt that day. I remember that day by embraces. By a hand holding mine. By a shared look. By finding ways to even get a smile out of the person crying next to me. By holding on to the Oakdalians stuck at the studio for dear life and not letting go – and the way they did the same for me. (Even as they were saying “A keyboard, Tom? Seriously?” and I’d respond with “Dude, I just sat through the network meeting!” – yeah, those are the smiles I was talking about before.) There was so much dread that day, but I don’t focus on that now. Rather, I focus on the bonds that were cemented that day between myself and the cast/crew of “As the World Turns.” Their friendship, their warmth, and their unrelenting compassion got me through that day… and later that week when we had to keep writing, even as I was walking back over the bridge to help in any way I could, I remember the phone calls and e-mails and the way we all just pulled together, even as we had to face working. (My favorite network note from the following week’s breakdowns was “Why is every character in these outlines crying or angry or both?” )
But the show… and the city… must go on. Even now, to this day, those of us stuck in the Brooklyn studio that day remember the horror and the tragedy and the almost-insurmountable sadness… but above all of that, there’s a shared sense of connection. Of odds overcome. Of friendship and family. A bond that can never be broken.
That’s the only way I want to remember that day.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On September 11, 2001, the world witnessed the worst terrorist act in American history. It is a day none of us will ever forget. For the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, I asked those who were working within the soap opera industry if they would like to share their thoughts and memories about that horrific day. Here are the stories from former soap writers Tom Casiello, Tom King, and former soap writer/producer Lisa Connor.
Tom Casiello: “I remember being alone in my apartment that morning, standing in my bedroom getting dressed when the first plane hit.”
Tom King: “9/11 fell on a Tuesday, the day when normally we “One Life to Live” writers met to start planning the new week of outlines.”
Lisa Connor: “I was producing at “AMC” at the time. The morning was perfect. I remember walking down West End Avenue and thinking ‘this is the most perfect day’.”
Lastly, here is my 9/11 story along with Soap Opera Network’s Editor-in-Chief Errol Lewis, and Co-Administrator/Reporter Scotty Gore: SON Staff Remembers 9/11
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With his character murdered only weeks after finding out he was really Todd Manning’s (Roger Howarth) twin brother Victor Lord, Jr. and not the reformed rapist himself, Trevor St. John taped his final scenes on “One Life to Live” on July 22 after eight years on the show. Now that he has already left the canvas, aside from some possible flashbacks scenes, his former “One Life” co-stars take a few moments to wish him well and recall what they learned from him over the years.
Kristen Alderson (Starr), Kassie Depaiva (Blair), Kelley Missal (Dani), and Andrew Trischitta (Jack) all took part in the video send-off for St. John, wishing him well and recalling what they have learned from him over the years.
You can watch the video below:
NOTE: Please do not copy and paste the entire ratings. Thank you.
Numbers are based on Live+Same Day ratings
(Compared to Last Week/Compared to Last Year)
1. Y&R 4,425,000 (+12,000/-548,000)
2. B&B 2,727,000 (-200,000/-417,000)
3. OLTL 2,724,000 (-19,000/+349,000)
4. GH 2,486,000 (+18,000/-174,000)
5. AMC 2,480,000 (-11,000/+60,000)
6. DAYS 2,363,000 (-77,000/-80,000)
1. Y&R 3.3/11 (+.1/-.2)
2. B&B 2.1/7 (-.1/-.1)
3. OLTL 2.0/6 (+.1/+.3)
4. DAYS 1.8/6 (same/same)
4. AMC 1.8/6 (same/same)
4. GH 1.8/6 (same/-.1)
Women 18-49 Viewers
1. Y&R 831,000 (-21,000/-181,000) <—– new low (2nd straight week) *
2. GH 728,000 (+35,000/-153,000)
3. OLTL 722,000 (+10,000/+65,000)
4. DAYS 644,000 (+11,000/-34,000)
5. AMC 593,000 (-1,000/same)
6. B&B 532,000 (-32,000/-105,000)
* Previous low: 852,000 (August 22-26, 2011)
Women 18-49 Rating
1. Y&R 1.3/9 (same/-.2) <—– ties low (4th straight week)
2. GH 1.1/7 (same/-.2)
2. OLTL 1.1/7 (same/+.1)
4. DAYS 1.0/7 (same/same)
5. AMC 0.9/6 (same/same)
6. B&B 0.8/5 (-.1/-.2) <—– ties low
Girls 12-17 Viewers
1. Y&R 70,000 (+26,000/+21,000)
1. OLTL 70,000 (+31,000/+44,000)
3. GH 37,000 (+9,000/-5,000)
4. B&B 36,000 (+7,000/+3,000)
5. AMC 28,000 (+13,000/+14,000)
6. DAYS 19,000 (-1,000/+10,000)
Women 18-34 Rating
1. OLTL 0.7/4 (same/+.1)
2. Y&R 0.6/4 (+.1/-.3)
2. AMC 0.6/4 (same/+.1)
2. DAYS 0.6/4 (same/-.2)
2. GH 0.6/4 (same/-.3)
6. B&B 0.3/2 (same/-.3) <—– ties low (2nd straight week)
Men 18+ Viewers
1. Y&R 1,045,000 (+55,000/-78,000)
2. B&B 577,000 (-65,000/-96,000)
3. DAYS 512,000 (+46,000/-41,000)
4. OLTL 498,000 (-24,000/+50,000)
5. AMC 472,000 (-6,000/+1,000)
6. GH 416,000 (-41,000/-87,000)
Day-To-Day Ratings – HH/Total Viewers
For the SEASON September 20, 2010 through September 4, 2011
1. Y&R 3.6
2. B&B 2.2
3. GH 2.1
4. DAYS 2.0
4. OLTL 2.0
6. AMC 1.9
Women 18-49 Rating
1. Y&R 1.6
2. GH 1.4
3. DAYS 1.2
4. OLTL 1.1
5. B&B 0.9
5. AMC 0.9
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “All My Children” Episode Recap – Friday, September 9, 2011.
IT HAPPENED TODAY…
Amanda points out how adoption has been harder than she thought and Cara suggests Children of Hope which relocates children orphaned by war and offers to make a call for her. Jake and Amanda take Cara up on her offer. Cara explains to Jake and Amanda why she’s helping them.
A concerned David can’t get his mind off Cara. Cara tells Griffin she misses Griffin. David promises to find out where Griffin is. Cara is shocked by the results of her test. She’s pregnant.
Jesse insists Ryan drop his vendetta against David before releasing him. Jesse tries to keep the peace as Ryan and Zach get into it again. Greenlee questions if it would have been better had Zach remain gone. She confronts David about Zach. Meanwhile, Jesse takes Ryan for a walk to try to get through to him. Ryan knocks Jesse out so he can follow Zach’s trail back to David’s facility. Zach, David, Greenlee all end up at David’s facility where it is revealed that Zach apparently killed Griffin. A flustered David insists he didn’t want this while Zach proclaims his allegiance to David and Project Orpheus. Ryan charges Zach when he takes out a gun and a shot rings out.
Opal and Sam surprise Erica at her book signing. Sam gives Erica a lead on the facility she’s looking for. Erica searches for Mike Roy. David finally tells and irate Erica the truth, Mike is still dead. Erica blasts David. Film-producer Kit Sterling (John O’Hurley) approaches Erica with a convincing argument as to why she should let him bring her life story for the big-screen.
On the Next All My Children…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” Episode Recap – Friday, September 9, 2011.
IT HAPPENED TODAY…
John questions Tomas. John catches Tomas in a lie. John is paid a visit by Shaun, who claims to important evidence.
Elsewhere, Baz visits Starr with news that a label wants to develop their single. Starr is displeased to find out that the producer to whom they’ve been assigned is Rick, branching out to the music industry.
Later, Tomas seeks Baz out to have a talk about how he ratted out his father to John McBain. Natalie tells Brody what Victor’s secretary told her.
Echo passes through Angel Square on the morning of a flea market, intent on disposing of the gun. Echo bumps into Roxy, there to sell her wares, including her beloved Morris the porcupine. Nigel looks down his nose at Kim when she visits Clint again. Clint agrees to do what he can to help Kim.
Aubrey questions Cutter about Kim. Cutter dances around his history with Kim and claims they are no longer in touch. Cutter leaves and makes a stop by the flea market. Alone, Aubrey is pondering the Ecole Madame Laurent yearbook when there’s a knock at the door. She opens to Kim. At EOD Cutter is revealed to be in possession of Morris.
On the Next One Life to Live…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “General Hospital” Episode Recap – Friday, September 9, 2011.
IT HAPPENED TODAY…
Lucky fights for redemption. Meanwhile, Elizabeth catches a break on the drug case, only to run into major trouble.
Ethan convinces Edward to help Skye.
Sonny and Alexis discuss Kristina. Molly makes an important realization.
Sonny and Carly face off with Jason as a buffer.
Robin reassigns surgery from Patrick to Matt, setting the brothers against each other again. Later, Patrick has a negative run-in with Sonny.
On the Next General Hospital…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Never one to mince words when it comes to voicing her opinions on the behind-the-scenes antics of both Llanview and ABC, “One Life to Live” leading lady Erika Slezak (Viki) speaks out against her soon-to-be-ex boss Brian Frons and notes her optimism at the soap’s future with Prospect Park.
Slezak is among a number of daytime stars, producers, executives, and journalists who share their thoughts on “the rise, fall, and possible resurrection of an American institution” in the September/October edition of the magazine Mental Floss, in an special article entitled “Sex & Death in the Afternoon: An Oral History of the American Soap Opera.”
In the final section of the article, titled “Daytime Turns to Twilight (2000-Present),” the six-time Daytime Emmy winner takes a parting shot at the network’s head honcho, saying “I think that Brian Frons, the head of ABC Daytime, doesn’t believe in the genre. He never believed they could last. My biggest objection is ABC saying people don’t want entertainment anymore; they want information. That’s ridiculous. People always want entertainment.”
Earlier this week it was announced that the actress, who celebrated 40 years with “One Life to Live” in March and plays the show’s only surviving original character, would be remaining with the soap when it moves to online-only production with Prospect Park early next year. In a statement released on her official website, Slezak commented that “I am very happy to be going on with ‘OLTL’ and look forward to working with our new production company, Prospect Park. It’s very exciting to be moving into a new medium and I sincerely hope that our wonderful viewers will follow us there.”
Slezak also talked about the loss of long-time “OLTL” Director David Pressman, who died on August 29 at the age of 97, stating “Please express my great sadness at David’s passing. He was totally instrumental in my getting this job and more than that, he taught me everything about working on TV. I owe him such a lot and will never be able to thank him properly, or repay him. Aside from that, David was a wonderful and talented man and I will miss him and always think of him.” Pressman directed episodes of “One Life” from 1970-1998.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A look at what’s happening on “General Hospital” during the week of September 12, 2011.
THIS WEEK ON: GENERAL HOSPITAL
Skye exposes Tracy on Monday, September 12. Anthony has Tracy right where he wants her. Lucky and Dante discuss Lulu. Skye challenges Luke. Lucky and Lulu discuss Luke’s addiction. Luke watches as Lulu and Ethan share a conversation about life sans him. Patrick and Robin enjoy the pleasures of making-up on Tuesday, September 13. Matt and Patrick face off with Anthony. Shawn gets between Carly and Sonny. Carly has a very revealing encounter with Shawn. On Thursday, September 15, Jason makes a touching request of Spinelli. Sam’s wedding dress arrives.
The Inside Story: Love Lock-down
Spinelli is back but after ending up at the wrong place at the wrong time Maxie soon finds herself in need of his alter-ego’s brand of intellect. Lucky realizes what Siobhan’s clue means. He makes contact with Dante and Spinelli and together they search for a missing Elizabeth and Maxie. Dante questions Anthony and Johnny about Luzetta’s. Anthony sees a new side of Johnny. Spinelli updates Jason on the investigation. While Lucky and Spinelli follow separate leads on Friday, September 16, Elizabeth and Maxie plot their escape.
A Closer Look: Ain’t No Sunshine
Sonny overhears the cause of Kristina’s condition. An upset Sonny takes out his anger on Johnny. Olivia lays into Sonny after preventing him from committing murder. Kate gets reacquainted with Olivia and the conversation soon turns to the lure and pitfalls of loving Sonny Corinthos. On Wednesday, September 14, Molly freaks out when Kristina takes a turn for the worse. Shawn reaches out to Molly. Kristina is receptive to Johnny’s visit, but continues to reject Sonny. Sonny reels. Dante and Sonny face off. The topic of Sonny once again proves prominent for Kate and Olivia. Sonny and Kate come face to face.
GH ALERTS: WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 19, 2011
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A look at what’s happening on “One Life to Live” during the week of September 12, 2011.
THIS WEEK ON: ONE LIFE TO LIVE
Phylicia seeks legal advice from Téa, while Dani and Destiny support one another. Tensions between Phylicia and Nora begin to thaw on Tuesday, September 13. Rex and Shane learn Destiny is pregnant. By Friday, September 16, Destiny tells Shaun she went to visit Greg at Statesville to ask him about Matthew’s prognosis. Elsewhere, Starr isn’t pleased that Rick wants to produce her song. At the same time, Baz promises Rick that he will get Starr to change her mind.
The Inside Story: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Todd tells Natalie he wants to clear his name, and uncle and niece have a warm moment on Monday, September 12. Natalie tells Todd about his son’s involvement in Gigi’s death. Shaun has John listen to his voicemail from Victor. Natalie tells Brody she has doubts concerning her uncle’s guilt. Jack overhears Shaun talking to Starr and blames Todd for Victor’s murder. Todd confides in Blair. Téa remains despondent. Tomas makes a confession to Blair. Nate gives Dani his support, as does James with Starr. Blair helps Téa get ready for Victor’s funeral on Thursday, September 15. James helps Sam come to terms with his father’s death. Shaun overhears Jack calling the LPD. Jessica keeps an eye on Sam. Téa imagines she sees Victor and later bumps into Todd after leaving the cemetery. Jack tries to convince Dani to share his point-of-view. Mayor Finn orders the LPD to make an arrest in Victor’s murder case on Friday, September 16. And Todd’s attempt to get through to his son backfires.
A Closer Look: Gun Shy
Echo and Roxy search for Rex’s gun. Cutter holds his ground with Brody. Roxy reports the disappearance of Morris the porcupine. Rex questions Shaun. Cutter is concerned to see Kim with Aubrey. Bo and Nora interrupt Rex and Shane’s conversation about Jack on Tuesday, September 13. Cutter and Aubrey have a difference of opinion after finding a gun. By Wednesday, September 14, Rex receives another visit from Gigi, and seeks out Deplphina’s help. Clint offers to help Kim’s friend. Roxy contacts Delphina. Cutter lies to Aubrey. Echo thinks Rex should bond with Clint. Viki worries Clint will do something illegal for Kim, and the two share a close moment. Cutter refuses to go along with Kim’s ploy. Roxy confronts Cutter. Kim and Echo bump into one another on Friday, September 16, and realize they have something in common — Clint. Echo and Kim reach a deal regarding the gun. Rex overhears Clint on the phone, and thinks he knows what Gigi has been trying to tell him. And father and son team up to get information about Kim’s friend.
OLTL ALERTS: WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 19, 2011