(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – Agnes Nixon is returning to ABC’s “All My Children,” for which she created, to once again portray the role of Agnes Eckhart, one of the longest reigning board members overseeing the fictional Pine Valley Hospital on the daytime soap. The character, who was created by Nixon herself, first appeared on the drama series in 2005 for the shows 35th anniversary. This time the character will be admitted to PVH under the care of David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) and Cara Martin (Lindsay Hartley).
In addition to sharing scenes with Irizarry and Hartley, Nixon will also interact with series star Susan Lucci (Erica Kane).
Incidently, when the episode airs on Wednesday, August 31, it’ll also mark the final date of employment for “AMC” cast and crew, at least for the ABC incarnation, as all contracts with Disney/ABC are set to expire on this date. Prospect Park, which picked up the distribution rights for the series from the Disney/ABC Television Group last month, has not formally announced who, if anyone, will be continuing with the drama series when it debuts online and possibly cable TV in January 2012.
via Press Release
Agnes Nixon to appear on All My Children this August
SHOW CREATOR AGNES NIXON SET TO APPEAR ON “ALL MY CHILDREN” THIS AUGUST
Agnes Nixon, creator of ABC’s daytime drama “All My Children,” returns to the show as Agnes Eckhart, a long standing board member of Pine Valley Hospital.
Nixon, often called the “queen of the modern soap opera,” created “All My Children” in 1970. She was a pioneer in daytime, writing for such shows as “Another World,” “Guiding Light,” “As the World Turns” and “Search for Tomorrow” before going on to create “One Life to Live,” “All My Children,” “The City” and “Loving.” It was on these shows where Nixon brought many current and important social issues to the small screen. She was honored in 2010 with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmys.
Nixon first appeared on “All My Children” in 2005 as the character Agnes Eckhardt, a role she created to celebrate the show’s 35th Anniversary. This time around, Agnes Eckhardt is admitted to Pine Valley Hospital where Cara (Lindsay Hartley) and David (Vincent Irizarry) tend to her. She also crosses paths with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). Agnes has a profound effect on all of the characters she interacts with that changes the course of their lives. Nixon’s first episode airs on August 31, 2011.
Hallmarked for its iconic brand of humor and satire, “All My Children” has been prized with more than 30 Daytime Emmy Awards over the past four decades including the three-time top honor of Outstanding Drama Series. Praised for its socially conscious foundation, the show has been at the forefront of such issues as AIDS, rape, abortion, alcoholism, spousal abuse and racial bias, among others.
“All My Children” premiered on the ABC Television Network on January 5, 1970, as a half-hour show; seven years later it expanded to an hour. Julie Hanan Carruthers is executive producer with Lorraine Broderick as head writer. “All My Children” is produced in Los Angeles and airs MONDAY-FRIDAY (1:00-2:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” may be ending their four decades’ long run on ABC in September and January respectively, however it won’t be the end of the road for either of the long-running, iconic daytime drama series. In a shocking development, upstart television, film, and music company Prospect Park Studios has purchased the rights from the network, who states that “the multi-year, multi-platform deal enables the soaps to continue beyond their finale dates on ABC.”
The news comes less that 24 hours after the New York Post first broke the news on their website reporting that ABC had sold the online rights to its recently cancelled shows “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the studios, and that “Prospect Park is said to be finalizing its current round of funding for its Hulu-style venture in the next month to 45 days. Other unnamed financial backers are involved.” The article was initally met with much skepticism from soap fans and well as from other media outlets who were claiming the Post article contained numerous factual inaccuracies.
In a joint press release this afternoon by ABC and Prospect Park, which was founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios chief Rich Frank, “We are privileged to continue the legacy of two of the greatest programs to air on daytime television, and are committed to delivering the storylines, characters and quality that audiences have come to love for over 40 years. ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are television icons, and we are looking forward to providing anytime, anywhere viewing to their loyal community of millions. Technology changes the way the public can and will view television shows. Now that there are so many devices available in addition to television sets, viewers are taking advantage of watching shows where ever they are and on any number of devices. The driving force in making the switch and attracting new audiences is to have outstanding programs that people want to watch,” the statement continued. “We believe that by continuing to produce the shows in their current hour format and with the same quality, viewers will follow the show to our new, online network.” Prospect Park is perhaps best known for producing “Royal Pains” for the USA Network and “Wilfred” for FX.
As part of the deal, which was brokered by the Disney/ABC Domestic Television Group, “Prospect Park will produce and deliver the two long-running programs to consumers via online formats and additional emerging platforms including internet enabled television sets. Under the terms of the arrangement, the programs will continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length. Additional details of the new productions and tune-in will be forthcoming from Prospect Park.” However, while the statement notes that both shows will continue to exist in their present hour-long formats, it is vague as to the frequency in which new episodes will air.
“From the time the shift in the daytime strategy was announced, our hope was to find a new home for these treasured shows. We are thrilled to license them to Prospect Park so the stories of life in Pine Valley and Llanview can continue to be told for the passionate and loyal fans that enjoy watching each day,” comments Janice Marinelli, President, Disney/ABC Domestic Television.
President of the Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group Brian Frons, who announced the cancellation of “Children” and “One Life” back on April 15 in favor of the less-expensive, unscripted programming such as “The Chew” and “The Revolution,” said in the statement that “‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are iconic pieces of television history that captivated millions of fans since their beginning over 40 years ago. Each of the shows have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history and informed our consciousness in their own way. We are so glad Prospect Park has assumed the mantel for these shows and that they will continue for the fans.”
The sentiments were furthered echoed by “AMC” and “OLTL” creator Agnes Nixon, who has been tirelessly searching for new venues for both shows in recent months, saying “I’m just so happy that ABC found a home where the legacies of ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ can continue. I’m excited for their future with Prospect Park. It takes a lot of living to make a soap opera a serial, and the wonderful teams on both shows have done just that. Together, we are a big family that keeps going, and I’m looking forward to working alongside these wonderful people as we ensure that the shows will continue with all the love and excitement we’ve always had. I also am so happy for our loyal fans, whom we love so much, and who have been so supportive over the last 40 plus years.”
“All My Children” will air its final episode on ABC on Friday, September 23, 2011 while “One Life to Live” will last air on the network on Friday, January 20, 2012.
Soap Opera Network will continue to follow this story and bring you further details as they develop.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After fifteen years of working in various positions on the “One Life to Live” writing staff, including serving as the show’s head scribe for the last three years, ABC has announced that Ron Carlivati will be joining “General Hospital” as a script writer. The move will fulfill the remainder of the three-year contract Carlivati signed with the network last September. A similar two-year deal was hammered out at the time with “One Life” Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
Despite the timing of the news, “OLTL” fans breath a sigh of relief, however, since Carlivati is not expected to begin his new duties until after the show wraps production sometime in mid-November. “One Life to Live” will air its final episode on January 20, 2012.
Carlivati echoed the sentiment in a press release, saying that “I remain fully committed to Frank Valentini and ‘One Life to Live’ as the show’s Headwriter until the series concludes in January of 2012. It has been my distinct honor to write for Agnes Nixon’s groundbreaking soap opera for the past fifteen years, and it will be with a heavy heart that I, along with my incredibly talented team, pen its finale. At that time, I am happy to announce that I will then be joining the writing team of ‘General Hospital,’ and am thrilled to be working once again with Executive Producer Jill Phelps as well as new Headwriter Garin Wolf.”
Wolf was just named “GH” headwriter last month by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, upon the firing of the show’s former head scribe Robert Guza, Jr.
The news of Carlivati’s move to the L.A.-based “Hospital,” was broken Thursday by “One Life’s” soon-to-be-departing leading lady Robin Strasser, who tweeted that ” JUST TOLD but NOT told it wuz SECRET: Ron CARLIVATI to #GH as script writer-hopes 2 b co-head writer? Yo,I’m taking heat for leaving early?” Strasser, as we previously reported, is leaving “OLTL” this summer to have back surgery. Her final tape date is Friday, July 1.
Carlivati, along with his writing staff, won a Daytime Emmy in 2008 for their work on “One Life to Live.” He began his daytime career on the soap as a Writer’s Assistant from 1996-1998, before being promoted the the position of Script Writer. In 2001 he was again promoted, this time to the job of Breakdown Writer. In May 2007, he was appointed Co-Head Writer (along with Dena Higley). In September of that year, he was named the show’s sole Head Writer following the network’s dismissal of Higley, where he has continued to serve (minus a brief hiatus during the 2008 Writer’s Strike) in the same capacity.
Click here to read an interview Soap Opera Network did with Carlivati in March of this year, one month before ABC announced the cancellation of “One Life to Live” and sister soap “All My Children.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Agnes Nixon, creator of the recently cancelled ABC daytime soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” makes a generous donation to the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication (ASC), to ensure that both shows, along with the defunct soap “Loving” (another of her creations), will never be forgotten.
Since first donating countless scripts from the early years of all three daytime dramas back in the ’80s, Nixon has helped add to the school’s collection over the years, handing over additional scripts as recently as 2009. “The Annenberg School is very well-known, and I believe Penn wanted the scripts as a piece of history,” she tells the university’s newspaper, The Penn Current, which reports that the school is in possession of “virtually every script” of “AMC” and “OLTL.”
Among the many scripts housed at the ASC include Erica Kane fighting a bear and the reunion of Jesse and Angie on “AMC,” as well as Viki and Dorian’s most memorable showdowns, and Todd and Blair’s rocky romance on “OLTL,” just to name a few.
The 83-year-old Nixon also commented on both shows’ cancellations, saying “there had been great rumors that the cost factor had become an issue. People watch more things during the day now, and that means less income from the advertisers for daytime dramas. Meanwhile the cost of creating the shows doesn’t change. The unions don’t reduce their fees. You have to pay the actors and writers. Bottom line, it’s money.”
She also reveals that will be working with the writers of each show to help pen their final episodes later this year. “We’re ending them but we aren’t ending them, if you know what I mean. It’s possible that some other network might pick them up, so we are ending them with a tune-in-tomorrow attitude. But fans should expect to see long-lost characters return to Pine Valley and Llanview during the final episodes. We’ll have situations that will bring them back.”
And what if the there are no takers for either show? Nixon admits she has prepared herself the possibility, stating “I worked very hard and I’m proud of what we did. I feel sorry for the people who will be without jobs because of cancellations, but that is life, and 41 years was a good run.”
Often dubbed the “Queen of the Modern Soap,” Nixon is remembered for tackling numerous controversial issues on her soaps over the years, including interracial relationships, drug abuse, abortion, AIDS, anti-war protests, homosexuality, and gay rights. She was awarded with a Lifetime Acquirement Award at the 2010 Daytime Emmys.
“All My Children” is expected to wrap up production in August and air its final episode on September 23, after a 41-year-run, while “One Life to Live” will stop taping in November, and broadcast its final episode on January 20, 2012, after 43 years on the air.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After 72 years on air between radio and television, CBS’s “Guiding Light” will cease broadcasting on the CBS Television Network due to low ratings. Love may save the world, but apparently it wasn’t enough to save television’s longest running daytime drama. Even with having its name published in the Guinness World Record Book and winning three Daytime Emmy’s for Best Drama Series (the most recent being in 2007), “GL” found itself unable to withstand the mass exodus of viewers from the traditional daytime soap format in recent years.
Consistently finding itself in the ratings cellar for the past few years, many sensed that the dimming ‘Light” would soon burn out on the long-running daytime drama.
According to published reports, Proctor & Gamble, the company responsible for producing both “Guiding Light” and sister soap “As the World Turns,” sat down with cast and crew members at their studios in New York and New Jersey on Wednesday morning to break the news that “GL” would be ceasing production this fall, with the last episode airing on Friday, September 18th after more than 15,700 episodes.
The news was met with mixed emotion by fans and cast alike. Long running “GL” castmember Ron Raines, who portrays the villainous Alan Spaulding stated that the “The numbers are really tough for all these old dramas. I don’t think any of the other shows want any of us to go off. We’re all in this together. What was it? 72 years continuous? That will never be touched. It is a very sad thing, but these are the times we live in. It’s very tough out there.”
“Being on the air for more than seven decades is truly remarkable, and it will be difficult for all of us at the show to say goodbye,” said Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler. “I’m proud of everything we’ve been able to do, including outstanding storytelling, our community service around the country with ‘Find Your Light’ and the launch of our new production model. This show has such a rich history, wonderful fans, and I’m honored to have been a part of the ‘GL’ legacy.”
This afternoon’s sudden announcement has sent shockwaves that have reverberated around the nation, as news of “GL’s” demise has dominated media outlets and online soap message boards. Lynn Leahey, Soap Opera Digest editorial director, calls the cancellation “heartbreaking” and said that “it was a constant in people’s lives” that hung around, unlike its prime-time counterparts that came and went. “For many of us, it was the first show we ever watched.”
Former “GL” Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps summed up her fondness for the years she spend at the helm of the long-running daytime drama “‘Guiding Light’ has a very special place in my heart. I began my career in daytime there as a production assistant and later returned as executive producer. It was a privilege (both times) to be a part of such a fabulous group of people who did such outstanding work. Some of the most talented actors, writers, and directors have walked through the doors of ‘Guiding Light.’ The industry will mourn the loss of this beloved show, but ‘Guiding Light’ leaves a rich legacy for all of us in daytime to treasure. I wish all my dear friends a gentle landing.”
Nancy Tellem, President of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, had this to say about the the show’s rich legacy, “‘Guiding Light’ has achieved a piece of television history that will never be matched, it has crossed mediums, adapted its stories to decades of social change, and woven its way through generations of audiences like no other. This daytime icon will always be an indelible part of CBS’s history, with a legacy of innovation and reputation for quality and excellence at every step of the way. While its presence will be missed, its contributions will always be celebrated and will never be forgotten.”
And, according to Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President of Daytime Programs at CBS, “No show in daytime or prime time, or anytime, has touched so many millions of viewers across so many years as ‘Guiding Light.’ We thank the cast, crew, and producers — past and present — who delivered this entertainment institution, the beloved characters, and the time-honored stories to our audience every day for seven decades. It’s been a privilege to work with such an extraordinarily talented group of people.”
Adding to “GL’s” woes within the past decade is the fact that several prominent CBS affiliates from around the country have either moved the soap to early morning or late night time slots, or removed it from their programming schedule entirely (such as KOVR-TV in Sacramento, California and WNEW-TV in Flint City, Michigan).
With sagging ratings, “Guiding Light” began to experiment with several different approaches to the traditional daytime model of storytelling within the past year. The sudser scrapped the familiar three stationary camera set-up in favor of portable cameras, which allowed producers to film cast members in various settings and locations outside the studio. Unfortunately, however, the changes did little to re-energize ‘GL,’ and largely had the opposite effect, resulting in turning off veteran fans and losing such popular cast members such as Beth Elhers and Ricky Paull Goldin (who have since moved on to ABC’s “All My Children”).
According to CBS, in 2008, the soap “premiered a brand-new daytime production model, featuring permanent sets inside its New York City studio and approximately 20% of the production shot in exterior scenes in the town of Peapack, N.J. In addition, directing and editing were changed to be done digitally and almost simultaneously, giving the sets a more realistic feeling and eliminating the need for production suites.”
In a press release issued by TeleNext Media, Inc., which oversees production of “GL” for Proctor & Gamble, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Brian T. Cahill thanked fans for their loyalty over the years and said that “We are honored to have been welcomed into the homes of multiple generations of ‘Guiding Light’ viewers. Cahill also gave “GL” fans a glimmer of soap by announcing that he and his staff are “working hard to find the show a new home, and we are exploring all our options to continue to bring loyal fans the characters and stories they love.” That ‘new home’ could come in the form of online episodes or moving ‘GL’ to a cable or satellite network following the soap’s departure from the CBS Daytime schedule this fall. However, given the recent failure of the now-defunct NBC soap “Passions,” which moved to DirecTV near the end of its run after being cancelled by the Peacock Network, the outlook for a new venue for “Guiding Light” appears bleak at best.
The demise of “Guiding Light” leaves only seven daytime soaps still airing on the Big Three Networks. ABC and CBS will each have three and NBC one. In terms of longevity, fellow P&G soap “As the World Turns” is daytime’s second oldest drama, celebrating its 53rd anniversary on April 2nd. The other six soaps (with the year they premiered in parenthesis) are “General Hospital” (1963), “Days of Our Lives” (1965), “One Life to Live” (1968), “All My Children” (1970), “The Young & the Restless” (1973), and “The Bold & the Beautiful” (1987). “GL” becomes the eighth daytime drama to be cancelled in the past twenty years, placing it with the likes of “Another World,” “Santa Barbara,” “Sunset Beach,” “Loving,” “The City,” “Port Charles,” and “Passions.”
“Guiding Light” was created nearly seventy-five years ago by the talented soap writer Irna Phillips (1901-1973). Long recognized as a daytime pioneer, Phillips created or co-created nearly a dozen soaps, three of which (“As the World Turns” and “Days of Our Lives,” which she helped Tim and Betty Corday develop) were still on the air at the beginning of 2009. Phillips has either direct or indirect ties to all but one of the eight present daytime dramas. Agnes Nixon (creator of “One Life to Live” and “All My Children”) and William J. Bell, who developed the concepts for “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” were at one time writers for Phillips on several of her soaps. This leaves “General Hospital” as the only remaining soap not either created by the late soap icon, or one of her protégés. “Guiding Light” paid homage to Phillips in a special 70th anniversary episode in 2007, which featured past and present cast members portraying Phillips, her crew, and some of the original “GL” characters while recording a radio broadcast of the show in the late 1930s.
Launched as a 15-minute NBC radio serial on January 25, 1937, “Guiding Light” would later make the transition to television, premiering on CBS on June 30th, 1952. The radio broadcast ran concurrently with its TV counterpart (and featured the same actors and characters) before coming to an end in 1956. “GL” first aired in color on September 11th, 1967, and expanded to thirty minutes the following year. In November 1977, it expanded once more, this time to sixty minutes. Ratings peaked in late 1981, but have steadily declined in the years that have followed.
Set in the fictional town of Springfield and focusing primarily on the Spaulding, Lewis, and Cooper families, “Guiding Light” has won an impressive 69 Daytime Emmy Awards and 12 Soap Opera Digest Awards during the soap’s long, record-setting history. “GL” has also broken ground over the years by tackling numerous controversial issues including teen pregnancy, cancer, alcoholism, sexual harrasement, abuse, Down Syndrome, and post-partum depression. It was also the first daytime drama to prominently feature African-Americans in frontburner storylines in 1966. ‘GL’ became the first soap to podcast audio only episodes in 2005. Veteran cast members include Kim Zimmer, Jordan Clarke, Robert Newman, Michael O’Leary, Grant Alexander, and Tina Sloan. “GL” also boasts a long list of distinguished alumni, including Justin Deas (who is tied with “One Life to Live’s” Erika Slezak and “General Hospital’s Anthony Geary for most Daytime Emmy wins, and remains a part of the cast), Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart, Allison Janney, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Taye Diggs, Hayden Panettiere, and Brittany Snow.
Originally known as “The Guiding Light” (‘the’ was dropped in 1975), the show focused around the character of the Rev. John Ruthledge, and his parishioners in the Chicago suburb of Five Points (the setting later moved to Selby Flats, before finally settling in Springfield). A continuously lit lamp in the Reverend’s study assured his flock that he was there for them whenever they needed him.
Even though the ‘Light’ will soon be extinguished, its legacy and rich history will continue to live on in future generations of soap fans. Thank you, “Guiding Light,” for your contributions to the daytime drama, and God speed. You will be missed.
Stay connected to SON as we continue to follow this story.
“Guiding Light” airs Weekdays on CBS. Anytime on CBS.com. Check local listings.