My View of Llanview: January 1 Edition

Thursday, January 1, 2009 11:08 PM EST | By Scotty Gore


(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A soap legend responds to previous column.

With the holidays over and 2009 beginning, I have made a New Year’s resolution to be more faithful to this column, my readers, the fans of “One Life to Live,” and the show itself.
I intend to devote more time and attention to this column, which truly lost its focus throughout much of 2008. So let’s celebrate by proposing a toast. Here’s to “My View of Llanview.”
I hope you will enjoy the revamped column and my thoughts and comments on “OLTL.”

During my hiatus from this column, I periodically received comments from “One Life to Live” fans that voiced their opinions on the latest Llanview happenings. Among the individuals leaving comments in my SON mailbox was former soap star Mariann Aalda. Now upon first glance, I’m ashamed to say that I did not recognize the name. I grew up watching “All My Children,” “One Life to Live,” “General Hospital,” and “Ryan’s Hope” and was unfamiliar with the name since it did not fit even my earliest of soap memories from the past 29 years; even though Ms. Aalda did make an appearance on “One Life to Live” in the early ’80s as Ed Hall’s first date following his divorce from Carla Gray.

My curiosity getting the better of me, I ran a Google search of Ms. Aalda and learned of her connection to now defunct soaps “Edge of Night” and “Sunset Beach.” For those still unfamiliar with Ms.Aalda’s work, she portrayed DiDi Bannister on “Edge of Night” and Lena Hart on “Sunset Beach;” she also portrayed Grace Battles on “Guiding Light” from 1990-1991. In addition, she had starring roles on “The Royal Family,” where she co-starred with Della Reese and the late Redd Foxx, and the HBO series “1st & Ten,” where she played the wife of O.J. Simpson’s character. Ms. Aalda also guest starred in episodes of such popular sitcoms as “Family Matters,” “Designing Women,” and “Grace Under Fire.”

However, Mariann Aalda’s career is not limited to acting. She co-hosted the talk show “Design for Living” on the USA Network and was a correspondent for the “Now!” entertainment show on WNBC TV. Aalda also helped write, produce, and perform in the in stage production “Herotique-Aahh.” Lastly, she currently writes a humorous “ethnic etiquette” advice column for the website BlackBerrySpeak.com.

Before we move ahead we must take a couple of steps back in time. Flash back to July 30th, 2008. In recognition of “One Life to Live’s” 40th anniversary, I dedicated an edition of this column to reviewing those four decades and discussing Agnes Nixon’s view for the soap she originally titled “Between Heaven and Hell.” That vision involved a highly diverse cast, characters, and storylines. Among them was the light skinned African-American Carla Gray trying to pass herself off a white woman and how viewers, not yet realizing she wasn’t white, jammed the ABC studios with phone calls, protesting her budding relationship with an African-American doctor. But that was 1968. The Llanview of 2008 was very different. Those two years are like night and day, which I also referenced in that July 30th column. I noted the lack of diversity in the current cast of “OLTL,” with only African-American actress on contract, and only a small handful more on recurring status. My last line in that particular column was a bit of personal commentary on how the sea of diversity in Llanview had all but dried up over the course of 40 years. I believe my exact words were “Forty years ago “OLTL” had a rather diverse cast, and many an African-American youth only dreamed of someday running for President. Today we have an African-American running for President for the first time on a major party ticket. However, at the same time, African-Americans on “OLTL” (as well as other soaps) have become nearly non-existent. The more things change, the more they stay the same I suppose. At least programs like “One Life to Live,” which helped pushed the envelope of what was acceptable in society during a turbulent time in American history, helped get us to where we are today. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of his nation today. And that is something that even this white boy from a small Kentucky town that is over 98% Caucasian can appreciate.”

It appears those very words, grabbed the attention of Ms. Alda, who responded with a rather touching, reflective, and intuitive comment. Here are the Ms. Aalda’s thoughts in her own words:

“As “…a white boy from a small Kentucky town that is over 98% Caucasian…” (your words) I was deeply moved by the bigness of your heart and astuteness of your observations. In the contract role of DiDi Bannister, I helped “integrate” the town of Monticello on “Edge of Night.”. As a bit of daytime trivia, my first day player day player role on a soap opera was as Ed Hall’s (Al Freeman, Jr.) first date after his divorce from Carla (Ellen Holly). Hmmmm….sounds like it’s time for me to make a return visit to Llanview! LOL”

Furthermore, Ms. Aalda went on to say that “FYI – Just wanted to let you know that I left the post, below, at “My View of Llanview.” Having been deeply saddened when I got my AFTRA newsletter with an article celebrating “OLTL’s” 40th anniversary — congratulating itself on having Al Freeman, Jr. as the first African-American to win a daytime Emmy…and then accompanying the article with a current cast picture that had not one person ‘of color’ in it. Yikes! Was I the only person struck by the irony? So I did a Google search and stumbled across your column…and felt much better, because you ‘got it’ — and took the time to write about it. Bless you! Btw, I also wrote a letter the producers of “OLTL” of my interest in “integrating” Llanview. We’ll see what happens! :-) -Mariann”

One can only imagine my shocked expression upon the realization that a soap star had actually read and appreciated something I wrote. I was practically speechless. It made me proud, excited, and left me feeling more confident about my writing abilities. It also made me wonder how many other soap stars, crewmembers, production members, and network executives have read some of my columns and articles over the years. And believe me, that is a scary thought.

I sincerely thank Ms. Aalda for her comments on both my column and on “OLTL,” and welcome her thoughts and opinions anytime. It was an honor to have such a talented actress read my column. I am also thankful for the opportunity to write a regular “OLTL” column for SON, and cover the daytime drama I grew up watching. Llanview has been like a second home to me over the years, so much so that growing up I would often imagine myself as a character on the soap interacting with the likes of Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, Andrea Evans, Phil Carey, Robert S. Woods, and the rest of the very talented cast. Although I no longer picture myself as a character on the show, I would still welcome the opportunity to make an appearance in Llanview, even if it is a non-speaking role. So Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini, if you’re reading this, please keep that in mind. I’m available.

Well, that’s all for this edition of the column. My thanks again to Ms. Mariann Aalda and to you, the fans of “OLTL” for muddling through my jumbled and, at times, incoherent ramblings about our favorite daytime drama. My wish for all of you is that 2009 brings you love and prosperity, and that it makes you healthy, wealthy, and wise. Take care, and I hope you will join me for the next installment of “My View of Llanview” on January 15th. Hope your Christmas holiday was wonderful and that you have a safe and happy New Year!

For more information on Mariann Aalda, visit her official website by clicking here.

And until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live” …..


Thursday, January 1, 2009 10:20 PM EST | By Errol Lewis

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — In honor of the first day of the year 2009 and the cold wintery weather outside, Soap Opera Network has decided to launch a new feature on its website in order to heat things up all year long. We bring you “Sex on a Stick” – a feature for the heart.

Twice a month or every two weeks, Soap Opera Network will be highlighting some of daytime’s sexiest male and female stars whether in steamy locals (LeBlanc, pictured right) or in everyday wear. For our first edition, we start with Christian LeBlanc.

He may have turned 50 last August, but “The Young and the Restless’” Christian Jules LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin) remains one of daytime’s hottest stars.

What Makes Him Sexy?

  • As if that picture wasn’t enough…
  • His love scenes with co-star Tracy Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin) continue to get audiences hot, bothered and begging for more.
  • Michael’s friendship with Phyillis Newman (Michelle Stafford) may not be sexually charged, but the chemistry between Michael and Michelle is obvious.
  • When he’s bad, he’s bad…but when he’s good…he’s damn good (Christian as Michael when winning cases even if he has to play dirty).

Did You Know?

  • LeBlanc took his Michael Baldwin character from Genoa City to “As The World Turns” and its city of Oakdale in 2005. Surprisingly, no one remembered him as Kirk McColl from the 1980′s.
  • Has won two Daytime Emmy Awards (2005; 2007) out of six nominations.

“The Young and the Restless” airs Weekdays on CBS. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.


 Discussion: Christian LeBlanc is ‘Sex on a Stick’


  • The Young and the Restless
  • Christian LeBlanc
  • Sex on a Stick

    Thursday, January 1, 2009 8:32 PM EST | By Errol Lewis

    (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After NBC slashed its budget and the show was forced to cut the fat, “Days of our Lives’” John and Marlena are set to ride off into the sunset.

     With the economy a bust and falling ratings across the board at NBC and all of its dayparts, NBC shocked the daytime industry with news that not only has it renewed the 43-year-old “Days of our Lives,” but it did so with the intention of cutting the soaps budget by 40%. The network left it up to Executive Producer Ken Corday and his Corday Productions, in association with Sony Pictures Television, to decide how they were going to keep the show on the air at such a reduced price. Unfortunately, that decision was easy – cut the most expensive.

    Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn are set to exit the NBC drama on Friday, January 23 as Dr. Marlena Evans and John Black say goodbye to their loved ones in Salem. With John’s memories failing him, it is anyone’s guess if all their happiness from the past will jog John’s memory and bring a brighter future for the super-couple.

    “There is never an end when a couple leaves happily,” said Corday in a statement released to Soap Opera Digest in November. “They’re [John and Marlena] not dead. Characters have left and come back [before].”

    Let’s hope Ken’s words hold true as we’ve learned that the duo will be left fighting for their survival just before making their [happy] exit.

    “Days of our Lives” airs Weekdays on NBC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.


     Discussion: Salem Says Goodbye to John and Marlena


    • Days of our Lives
    • Ken Corday
    • Deidre Hall
    • Drake Hogestyn

      OLTL PreVUE: Week of January 5 Edition

      Thursday, Janaury 1, 2009 1:39 AM EST | By Scotty Gore

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — New Year, New Surprises.

      THIS WEEK ON: ONE LIFE TO LIVE

      Alex Olanov has news for Dorian; Rex realizes what he missed; Bess blasts Viki; Todd does the unthinkable for Marty; Cole is tempted to do something illegal; Marty hooks up with someone new; Viki pokes a hole in Nora’s case; Renee finds an old friend at her doorstep; Beaver Calhoun searches for David; Jessica makes amends with Brody; Natalie flaunts her ring; Tea puts the screws to Lola; Sarah snitches to the government; John saves a life; and Layla compares Sarah to her mother.

      The Inside Story: The Smell Of Money
      Clint and Nora are taken aback by the change in David, and hope it buys them more time. In St. Blaze’s, Dorian learns all about David and the Buchanans from Alex. After overhearing Beaver Calhoun mention that he is looking for David, Dorian hatches a plan. Clint has a job opportunity for Jared concerning David. While temporarily tempted to accept Jared’s bribe, David claims that money is no longer of any importance to him. Back in St. Blaze’s, Dorian is able to get Beaver to tell her what she wants to know. Angel Mel warns Dorian not to go after the Buchanan fortune. And a happy Natalie reveals to Rex and Gigi that she and Jared are engaged.

      A Closer Look: A Fragile State Of Mind
      Hoping to end Marty’s pain and suffering, Todd follows her advice and jumps off The Palace roof, and into the chilly waters below. Meanwhile Marty is taken by surprise when John arrives on the scene. After learning the details, John races back downstairs. At the same time, Blair has a heated confrontation with Tea. While both women stare in amazement, John pulls Todd from the water, and manages to revive him by administering CPR. This upsets Marty, who vents her anger to John. However, John and Blair leave the scene together. Meanwhile, Marty is a bundle of nerves as she sits in Angel Square and later accepts an offer for a ride from a man on a motorcycle. Blair blasts Todd for his behavior and makes him take a long, hard look at his life. Viki is shocked to learn of Todd’s suicide attempt. Tea urges Viki not to abandon Todd, claiming he is not of sound mind. Marty and Brody’s former Navy buddy Wes recall the previous night’s events, and bond over their screwed up lives. John looks for Marty, only to find her in Wes’ room. Starr and Cole find it difficult to make it through the school day. Cole is concerned about his mother, and is later offered a joint by Asher. Back in Angel Square, Marty flies off the handle when John demands that she leave Wes’ room with him. John becomes worried about Marty, given her recent behavior. Blair parts company with Todd at the jail, but not before leaving Todd with a photo of his kids to remind him of the man he once was. Todd is honest with Tea about his plan to kidnap Starr’s baby. Tea warns Todd that Janet could destroy him if she were to return to Llanview. Meanwhile, Nora asks Talia and Antonio to track down Janet, while Renee has an unexpected visitor. Starr’s new science teacher is revealed to be Dr. Joplin’s son Schuyler. Cole is tempted to resort to drugs. And Nora asks Viki and Clint for permission to question Tess about Todd, only to have Viki say no.

      What to Watch

      • Sarah is surprised by the quick action of the I.C.E.
      • An I.C.E. agent tells Cristian and Vanessa that he knows the truth.
      • Layla compares Sarah to Tina.
      • Bess warns Viki to back off and says that neither she nor Jessica have forgiven her.
      • Tea subtly probes Lola for information about her mother’s death.
      • Clint is dismayed by the extent of Jessica’s illness.
      • Jessica apologizes to Brody and they agree to remain friends.
      • Rex’s realizes what he missed while watching Gigi with Chloe.
      • Sarah has it out with Cristian and leaves Llanview.
      • Vanessa demands Tea leave Lola alone.

      One Life to Live News and Headlines

      SON ALERTS: WEEK OF January 12, 2009

      • Monday: Janet is a wanted woman in Llanview; Cole gives in to peer pressure; Viki can’t turn her back on Todd when he needs her the most. 
      • Tuesday: Bo and Nora confront Matthew after finding drugs; Todd pours his heart out to Starr; Marty distances herself from Cole.
      • Wednesday: Brody has a revelation; Jessica begins to remember giving birth to Chloe; Tea does a number on Lola; Cristian falls for Vanessa.
      • Thursday: Dorian seeks Madam Delphina’s help in locating David; Tess begs Viki to help her uncover the truth; Brody wants answers from Wes.
      • Friday: Tess discovers what Bess did; Starr figures out Cole is a druggie; Dorian tempts David.

      “One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.


      Discussion: OLTL PreVUE: Week of January 5 Edition



      Wednesday, December 31, 2008 8:15 PM EST | By Errol Lewis

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After two straight weeks of repeats and interruptions, “General Hospital” is back in full swing with lots of drama heading your way.

      THIS WEEK ON: GENERAL HOSPITAL

      Jax and Carly come to a mutual understanding. Nadine makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with Equinox and its dealings with manufactured weapons. In honor of Ruby’s memory, Luke and Bobbie discuss rebuilding Kelly’s. Sam is unsettled when she witnesses how close Lucky and Elizabeth are getting. Robin feels the stress of motherhood. Patrick informs Sonny that Michael’s condition could be permanent. Sonny and Carly come to an understanding and work on re-building their relationship. Diane suggests that Alexis and she work on bringing Jax and Carly back together, instead of tearing them apart through a divorce. Johnny is arrested, and Ric offers help from Anthony. A surprising individual bails Johnny out.

      The Inside Story: Claudia and Her DVD’s
      Claudia has her hands on the latest Jerry Jacks DVD, but unfortunately for her Sonny is too close for comfort. Claudia tries to distract Sonny and hide the DVD before he grows suspicious on Monday, January 5. Carly catches Claudia in the act.  Carly gives Claudia a stern warning. Claudia is surprised by Sonny’s generosity and latest actions. Johnny learns of what Jerry’s been up to in the afterlife. Lulu grows suspicious of Johnny and Claudia.

      A Closer Look: When Spinelli Met Winifred
      On Friday, January 2, Spinelli met Winifred (played by Senta Moses), his “female counterpart.” On Monday, January 5, Maxie grows suspicious of Winifred, but is quickly calmed down by Spinelli’s words. Unfortunately, being the Maxie we all know and love, that won’t stop her from snooping. Winifred threatens Maxie, while Spinelli can’t side with Maxie this time. Thinking she is saving him, Maxie goes to great lengths (think bedroom) in changing his mind.

      What To Watch

      • Nikolas and Nadine seek Alexis’ advice on Tuesday, January 6.
      • Carly and Jax have a date on Wednesday, January 7.
      • Jax flirts with Olivia on Thursday, January 8.
      • The FBI is closing in on Spinelli and Jason retaliates against Sonny on Friday, January 9.

      General Hospital News and Headlines

      SON ALERTS: WEEK OF JANUARY 12, 2009

      • Monday: Claudia is fine with the way things are. Carly and Jax take baby steps to a reconciliation. Nikolas and Nadine take on the government. (What? Undecided)
      • Tuesday: Agent Rayner offers Jason a deal. Claudia pressures Sonny into offing Jason. Jax and Carly share a romantic evening.
      • Wednesday: Jason gets in too deep with the Feds. Kate spies on Claudia. Lucky and Sam are at odds.
      • Thursday: Sonny questions Jason’s morality. Claudia continues her search for the most incriminating DVD. Maxie puts Spinelli’s mind at ease. Natalia Livingston re-joins the cast as Rebecca, a mystery woman that plays mind games with Nikolas.
      • Friday: Jason and Sonny put their cards on the table. Ric is suspicious of Claudia. “General Hospital” kicks off a major groundbreaking storyline as Patrick recalls the events before disaster struck.

      “General Hospital” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.



      Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:21 PM EST | By Errol Lewis

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Secrets are hard to keep.

      THIS WEEK ON: DAYS OF OUR LIVES

      After asking the woman he loves and the mother of his “unborn” child to marry him at the beginning of the New Year, would EJ really want her to find out what he’s been up to soon afterward? Nicole finds pre-nuptial agreement paperwork that suddenly falls out of EJ’s briefcase. Care to explain Mr. Wells?

      Hope works her magic on Bo and convinces him to take a romantic break with her. It will be well worth it Brady. Lexie and Abe learn that Theo must undergo surgery in order to relieve pressure on his brain. Max offers himself as Chelsea’s date to the engagement party.

      A Closer Look: Lucas the Protector
      It’s bad enough that Daniel is with his mother, but does he have to sniff around Chloe too? Lucas is about to find out as the two duke it out. Of course, Lucas throws the first punch on Thursday, January 8. Kate tells Daniel that she thinks they should take a break from their relationship.

      What To Watch

      • John remembers seeing Marlena on a pier many years ago on Friday, January 9 .

      Days of our Lives News and Headlines

      • SON Top 10: Who was the best of the best on “DAYS” during the week of December 29, 2008 – January 2, 2009?  You decide! The SON Top 10 is back starting Friday, January 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM, EST.

      SON ALERTS: WEEK OF JANUARY 12, 2009

      • Nicole’s plan moves forward.
      • Phillip tries to fight his attraction to Stephanie.
      • Chloe and Daniel get intimate.
      • Brady is on to John.

      “Days of our Lives” airs Weekdays on NBC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.


      Discussion: DAYS PreVUE: Week of January 5 Edition



      AMC PreVUE: Week of January 5 Edition

      Wednesday, December 31, 2008 5:00 PM EST | By Angela Rosa

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Looking for trouble.

      THIS WEEK ON: ALL MY CHILDREN

      Ryan and Greenlee’s bliss is not contagious; Erica balks at the sight of the duo back together while Opal warns them against a holy union. Pete’s plot to grab Colby’s attention fails miserably. On Tuesday, January 6, Angie learns Rebecca may factor into her life a lot longer than she originally expected. Passion flares between Amanda and JR as Pine Valley’s newest millionaire tries to convince her former mark to stop drinking. The reveal of Taylor’s deception proves to be a positive catalyst for Brot and Taylor on Thursday, January 8.

      A Closer Look: Shaky Ground
      Erica’s hits a nerve (Bianca’s) when she voices her concern about the time Reese and Zach have been spending together. Is Miranda, Spike, Ian and Gabrielle’s mother’s mother full of bunk or just astute? On Monday, January 5, the effect Zach’s close proximity has on Reese prompts the architect to put the kibosh on their friendship. The tension between Reese and Bianca continues to mount despite Reese’s assurance that Erica’s concerns are completely off base. Greenlee scoffs at Bianca’s concerns but later takes notice of the dynamic going on between Reese and Zach. Still the cosmetic mogul and her fiancé urge Bianca against testing her fiancé. Erica, meanwhile, confronts Zach and Reese with her suspicions. Bianca decision to heed Ryan and Greenlee’s advice goes straight out the window when she finds Reese in Zach’s arms.

      The Inside Story: All In a Day’s Work
      A sedated Krystal unabashedly attends the grand re-opening of the casino on David’s arm. David’s good mood improves when Krystal makes her hesitant feelings about Tad’s imminent return obvious. A drunken JR’s behavior at the casino serves to further delight the menacing doctor. But has David gone too far? On Wednesday, January 7, Amanda is unnerved to find a bloody oar and no sign of either David or JR after leaving them alone on her yacht. Back at Wildwind, the situation grows increasingly volatile as JR violently restrains David and demands admissions. Krystal tells a concerned Opal about the pills she’s been taking. JR stops himself from killing David and walks out of Wildwind in disgust after realizing Krystal has been sleeping with David. Opal races to find Krystal when Tad arrives home early on Friday, January 9. Kathy, meanwhile, tells her father about David’s visits. Krystal’s day promises to get worse when JR arrives at the house poised to spill everything to Tad.

      All My Children News and Headlines

      SON ALERTS: WEEK OF JANUARY 12, 2009

      • Monday: Tad demands the truth from Krystal. Bianca’s plan backfires. Pete is heartbroken over Colby’s rejection.
      • Tuesday: The jig could be up for Aidan. Tad plays hardball with Krystal. Randi’s past comes back to haunt her.
      • Wednesday: Zach suspects that Erica is up to something. Aidan promises Annie that he’ll help her. Josh vows revenge against Zach.
      • Thursday: David has dire news for Zach. Aidan coaches Annie on what to tell Dr. Sinclair. Opal questions Krystal about David’s true motives.
      • Friday: Josh makes a desperate move. Amanda buys a pregnancy test. Angie and Jake team up to bring David down.

      “All My Children” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.



      SON Top 10 Returns!

      Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:47 AM EST | By Errol Lewis

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After a two year absence, the Soap Opera Network Top 10 poll returns just in time to ring in the new year.

      Who is Daytime’s Top Actress? Actor? Couple? Only you can decide as SoapOperaNetwork.com is proud to return to you the SON Top 10.

      When the last Top 10 ballot was cast on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 and the last results chart posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006, ABC’s “One Life to Live” was dominating the charts. Renee Elise Goldsberry (ex-Evangeline Williamson) was Daytime’s Top Actress for the 34th week (out of 96 weeks) and David Fumero was Daytime’s Top Actor for the third time in 31 tries. While he ranked a distant number 2 in vote counts at the time, “General Hospital’s” Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) held the record of most weeks in the Top 10 (169) and most weeks spent at #1 (91). Only “All My Children’s” Alicia Minshew (Kendal Hart) and “One Life’s” Michael Easton (John McBain) came close as each held on at 131 and 105 weeks on the chart, respectively. “General Hospital” was daytime’s Top soap as it ranked #1 for a record 73 weeks. “All My Children” was second with 66 weeks spent at #1.

      With so much history behind it, it is anyone’s guess as to why we decided to pull the plug on this once popular feature. Look for the SON Top 10 to begin accepting new votes on Friday, January 2, 2009 for episodes covering the week of December 29, 2008 – January 2, 2009.

      Discussion: SON Top 10 Returns!



      Tuesday, December 30, 2008 2:17 PM ET | By Errol Lewis

      (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — While we ring in a new year and anticipate more drama filled soap opera on daytime’s remaining eight soap operas, we won’t soon forget how much has happened in the year gone by.

      With 2008 almost but a memory, each of daytime’s broadcast networks have filled up on what you can expect to see on their schedules between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

       What you won’t see on New Year’s Day on ABC, CBS or NBC is a soap in sight. The day before, ABC makes us relive Tornado’s (“All My Children”) and Game Shows (“One Life to Live”), while 2007 comes to life again courtesy of “General Hospital” and its look back at the Nikolas and Emily engagement party that ended in tragedy. Of course, it would appear that ABC is gearing fans up for the return of Natalia Livingston to the soap (she first airs as a new character named Rebecca on Thursday, January 15). CBS and NBC bring us fresh episodes of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless.” “As The World Turns” and “Guiding Light” are pre-empted. 

      Wednesday, December 31: New Year’s Eve

      • AMC: Repeat – Another tornado hits as Jake is operating on Kendall and he pushes her gurney out of the way of falling debris. Greenlee is surprised to see Bianca with a baby. Bianca tells Zach she will keep the baby’s paternity a secret until Zach can tell Kendall that he is the father. Angie operates on Natalia and it is revealed to Tad and Frankie that Natalia is Jesse’s daughter. JR agrees to marry Babe. Babe admits to Krystal that she knows she is dying but doesn’t want JR to know that she knows and she says goodbye to Little A. Annie searches for Emma at the Chandler home and runs into Ryan. Pete and Colby search the tunnels for Adam and Erica (episode #9985; original air date 10/22/08).
      • ATWT: Pre-empted.
      • B&B: Fresh Episode – While airing a fresh episode to the east coast in its regular timeslot, the soap will air latenight on CBS’ West Coast (Pacific time) affiliates. Otherwise, the days episode will be made available on CBS.com.
      • DAYS: Fresh Episode.
      • GH: Repeat – Episode begins with a flash forward of Nikolas waking up and discovering a body and this is followed by a flash back to the beginning of the ball where Nikolas proposes to Emily. Nikolas announces their engagement to the guests and the couple shares a waltz. Sam and Liz have a catfight over Jason. Johnny sneaks into the ball to track down Anthony. Spinelli accidentally reveals to Lulu that he has feelings for her while Lulu tries to enjoy her time with Logan. Jason goes into action mode when he finds out that Anthony has escaped his home and is on the loose (episode #11420; original air date 10/31/07).
      • GL: Pre-empted.
      • OLTL: Repeat – Rex fights for his life in surgery and dreams of being on a game show where he competes against Brody for his life and for Shane. Rex flat lines. Gigi tells Shane the truth about who his father is and he reacts badly. Gigi fights for Shane’s forgiveness and asks him to wait with her for Rex to come out of surgery. Roxy gathers everyone in a group prayer for Rex. Natalie offers Tess a deal; if she is allowed out of the Secret Room to see Rex she will agree to give up Jared (episode #10281; original air date 10/1/08).
      • Y&R: Fresh Episode.

      Thursday, January 1: New Year’s Day (Welcome to 2009)

      • ALL: Pre-empted due to parades and sports activities on the broadcast networks.

      Friday, January 2

      • ALL: Fresh Episodes of all daytime soaps.

      Discussion: New Year, Old Memories: Welcome to 2009


      • 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

        Bryan Sheffield/Hallmark Channel

        (SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Vanessa Marcil, 40, may have quit daytime in 2003 and hit it big in primetime from then on, but she has never forgotten her roots. In fact, she put a little bit of herself in Kate Hewitt, her character in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie “The Nanny Express.”

        Kate loves her soaps – she watches her favorite daytime drama “Ray Loves Lisa” everyday. In it, Kate’s best friend, Lisa (Dorie Barton), is unable to admit she has a crush on bus driver Ray (Peter Dobson), whose route they ride everyday. Kate’s father, Jerry Hewitt (Dean Stockwell) has been suffering with heart disease since she was in High School. Recently out of work, Kate is desperately in need of funds to pay for her education – she is pursing a degree in teaching. She also helps out at her church as a tutor for under privileged kids. She’s a woman with a heart of gold. No wonder David Chandler (Brennan Elliott) finds himself smitten with Kate after she takes a job as the Nanny to his two kids, Ben and Emily.

        Ben (Uriah Shelton) and Emily (Natalie Dreyfuss) Chandler lost their mother in a deadly car accident on Emily’s 12th birthday. Since then, they have run off 20 Nannies through childish pranks and crazy antics. Nanny #21 (Kate) is no different. Want a scare by a rat? Check. Have more soap in the wash than clothes? Check. Cooking a meal at 350 degrees? Why not put it at full Broil? How about sprinklers getting you all wet? Kate has everything thrown at her, including a book, but she is the first Nanny who seems to be able to handle the Chandler children.

        While Ben starts to grow attached to Kate while she helps him with his homework, Emily makes it her mission to get Kate to quit and continue the Nanny cycle. She even goes so far as ensuring that her father falls for her dance teacher. Of course, this being a film starring Marcil…that won’t happen. Even after losing her father, Kate still tries to make amends with Emily by letting her know that she does understand where she is coming from. Emily takes her gift and rudely throws it aside.

        Florian Schneider/Hallmark Channel

        While I’m sure it was her father’s passing that causes Kate to move on, Emily gets her wish and Nanny #22 arrives just in time. Of course, Kate isn’t totally out of the picture and Emily finally sees the error of her ways.

        “The Nanny Express” is a predictable, rushed and ridiculous film that is only saved by Marcil’s on cue crying and Dreyfuss’ ability to play a rude, snotty daughter so well that you just might want to throw a book at her. Emily is a cold-hearted little brat, who you just can’t seem to feel sorry for. She may have lost her mother at a young age, but she has no redeeming qualities that I could find. Elliott plays a hopeless romantic, but lacks the ability to control an out of control child. Meanwhile, Stockwell may not have many lines, but he plays an ailing father well enough that you too will cry along with Marcil as he sees the light. Barton and Dobson’s Lisa and Ray deserved more, as far as the writing is concerned, as they are pushed aside and used only as a way for Kate to deal with her problems.

        Between flubbed lines (Vanessa, while having a drink with Elliott’s character and Elliott while talking to his on screen daughter during the birthday gift scene) and inconsistencies (Vanessa is wearing flats with her flower dress in one scene and knee high boots in the next) that went unnoticed, the movie is a flat out mess. The worst of all? You can’t catch a scene without some dose of music that is supposed to warm the heart, but borders on annoyance instead. If you are looking for quality writing, this isn’t for you. Otherwise, if you are looking for heartfelt melodrama, tune right in!

        An LG Films Production in Association with Larry Levinson Productions, “The Nanny Express” airs Saturday, January 3 at 9/8c on The Hallmark Channel.

        Larry Levinson is the executive producer, Randy Pope, Matt Fitzsimons and Michael Moran are the co-executive producers and Jim Wilberger and Erik Heiberg are the producers. Bradford May directed from a script by Judith Heiman Kriegsman, Stephen Langford and Riley Weston.