(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — It has been three months since we’ve learned that “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” have been canceled and would no longer be seen weekday afternoons on the ABC Television Network or weeknights on SOAPnet. It has been a truly unique period for this industry that has seen fans rallying together to try and help save shows that have become part of their everyday lives. Whispers, rumors and reports were trickling in at a record pace, often times we would find our heads spinning. Weeding through the information that we received here at Soap Opera Network, we aimed to report what we felt had the most backing or we were able to verify through various other sources. Turns out we may have had a big inside source all along.
For the last several months, I’ve had multiple conversations with an individual that claimed to have knowledge of why ABC decided to cancel “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” This source at one point commented that it had something to do with the government and the Ethics committee in Washington, D.C. Sounded nuts, right? Well, it turns out this same person told me on Tuesday, June 28, that “your soaps were saved. They received the grant money they needed before their deadline,” which according to this person was the end of May. Again, I thought what they were saying sounded just a little too far out there, so I decided to leave our conversation at that. In retrospect, maybe I should have listened a little closer.
On Thursday, June 30, I had tweeted that I heard from sources that fans should continue to rally in support of “One Life to Live.” To be more precise, I said “got word today that @ABC has in fact been discussing options to keep #OLTL on the air, but it remains in the hands of fans. Don’t give up. The ‘someone’ you keep hearing about is now several people!” At that point “All My Children” wasn’t discussed as the conversation pertained solely in regards of “One Life to Live.” I had intended on reporting on this news on Tuesday, July 5, but unfortunately I caught the flu and had a high fever for several days. Now on Thursday, July 7, nearly three months to the day since ABC canceled “AMC” and “OLTL,” the network announced the shows would live on…only online thanks to Prospect Park, a television and media entertainment production company that was founded in 2009 and is run by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios honcho Rich Frank, who also serve as executive producers of the hit USA Network original series “Royal Pains.” In retrospect, what the person I had been speaking with said now makes perfect sense when you put all the pieces together. In return for saving our beloved soaps, the government gives a grant for what could be the next big medium, progression of sorts… Radio > TV > Internet Broadcasting.
Interestingly enough, Prospect Park hired Josh Barry, ABC’s former executive in charge of drama development, back in May to tackle the companies TV division alongside Paul Frank, the son of Rich Frank. According to Barry, his first order of business was “putting together a wide slate of projects.” Could that slate have included the uncanceled soaps?
On Thursday, June 23, we reported that ABC had indeed turned down offers they received to sell the soaps. Knowing what we know now, and putting the puzzle pieces together, it makes sense that a plan was in the works all a long to save the soaps, while also allowing ABC to retain ownership rights to both soap operas and receive millions of dollars in royalties each year from Prospect Park. Hence, ABC comes out a winner either way in this case. They no longer produce the shows, yet still stand to make money off of them as they move into the future. As opposed to selling them outright and watching another network or medium make money off of them. ABC can’t have asked for a better situation.
(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) — On “All My Children” for less than two years, Brittany Allen (ex-Marissa Tasker) managed to win her first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series after receiving her first nomination earlier this year. The actress spoke with Soap Opera Network: Backstage at the Daytime Emmy Awards about her time on “AMC,” being forced to move to Los Angeles when the show moved production from New York and where her future lies.
“I’ve been working my whole life in this industry and I put a lot of work and love into the show and it just…it feels really, really nice to be recognized for it,” said Allen on her Emmy win. As for what she’s been up to since leaving “AMC” in late 2010, Allen stated “I found myself living in LA, where I had always dreamed of living and completely available and prepared to audition for a variety of shows and movies. It’s had its ups and its down and its definitely been a transition, but for the most part it was a blessing when it came into my life and it was a blessing to have the opportunity to move onto something new as well.”
(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.”
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.
After news broke today that ABC would be bumping “General Hospital” from its long time 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT timeslot beginning in September 2012 in favor of a new Katie Couric talk show, the network was forced to calm the nerves of fans who are still reeling from the cancellations of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Unfortunately, the network is just delaying the inevitable to placate fans from believing that their favorite soap could be next.
“As you’ll note, we went out of our way to state that we continue to support the show,” Disney-ABC Television spokesman Kevin Brockman told CNN. “We have a long time between now and fall of 2012, so fans should be encouraged to continue watching and supporting.”
Brockman’s statement was echoed by Jori Petersen, Vice President, Publicity, ABC Daytime/SOAPnet. “The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of ‘General Hospital,’” said Petersen. “Rather it means that in September 2012, we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows. We’ll have options for the daytime daypart just like with do each year with prime-time. We believe in all of our shows and the ones that our viewers want will be the ones that continue. There are many options that could happen … only time will tell. We are simply giving ourselves options for the future, which is a smart way to do business. The best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it.”
If you read the statements clearly, no where does it state that “General Hospital” is indeed safe. Petersen’s “we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows” means that if “The Revolution” and “The Chew” are successful and “General Hospital” is canceled, they will join “The View” as the “three strongest shows” on ABC Daytime. Let’s reminds ourselves that ABC is giving back the fourth hour of its daytime schedule to affiliates beginning in September 2012 with the understanding that while Couric’s show will air in syndication (ie. not just ABC affiliated stations), it will air solely in the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT timeslot as Oprah Winfrey did in the 4:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT over the course of her 25-years hosting “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” This will be the deal breaker the Disney/ABC Television Group will make with affiliates looking for programming to air beginning in fall 2012.
Will “General Hospital” indeed be canceled? No one is saying that either, but unless “The Chew” or “The Revolution” flat out bomb and the network loses money, odds are “GH” will end in September 2012 to make room for Katie Couric.
Side Note: While we understand that Oprah’s show did not air at 4:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT in all parts of the country, the majority of stations airing her show were contracted to air the program during those hours.
(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.
As we all know, four weeks ago Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, visited the set of ABC’s “All My Children” to announce the cancellation of the 41-year-old soap live and in person to cast members while also canceling “AMC’s” sister soap “One Life to Live,” whose cast members learned via video feed of the 42-year-old daytime dramas fate. According to Frons, with “The Chew” and “The Revolution” the network will be saving between 30-40% a week on programming costs. It’s easy to see why as Soap Opera Network has your exclusive first look at the new programming that falls under the networks “It’s a Brand New Day” promotional campaign. Materials for the campaign will be sent out to advertisers and press outlets beginning next week as the network presents its 2011-2012 daytime and primetime schedule to Madison Avenue’s elite buyers at the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in New York City on Tuesday, May 17. Soap fans are scheduled to protest outside the event from 2:00 – 6:00 PM.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — While “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” were receiving worldwide attention after it was announced that ABC had decided be cancel both series on the afternoon of what is now known as Black Thursday (April 14), magazine publisher Source Interlink quietly made noise of its own that very morning when it announced it would be laying off more than half of its employees working on popular magazines Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly. Now comes word that the company, which handed over editorial, advertising, marketing and distribution control of the magazine’s to American Media, which runs such rags as The National Enquirer, has officially laid off the affected individuals.
In announcing the deal last month, David J. Pecker, Chairman, President and CEO of American Media, Inc. (AMI) said, “This agreement is ideal for American Media as both soap opera titles fit strategically into our entertainment group, which includes Star, National Enquirer, Country Weekly and TV Guide, reaching an audience of 37 million people. Advertising clients will benefit immensely as we will now deliver the most efficient ad buy in the celebrity category for consumers.”
“This transaction will allow our media company to focus on the continued growth and investment in our core enthusiast brands, while positioning our sales and services company, to focus on its long-term vision of fully capitalizing on the vertical integration of our wholesale magazine distribution assets,” noted Michael L. Sullivan, President & CEO, Source Interlink Companies. “American Media understands and values our history and commitment to the entertainment category, through our soap titles. Given the synergies in their demographic audience, this license agreement will allow AMI to support these titles moving forward where they will continue to provide an exciting and relevant product for our dedicated consumers. We are pleased to have identified the right partner and are confident that our soap titles are in good hands.”
While there is no word yet on who the magazines were forced to lay off, Soap Opera Network has learned that the announcement was made earlier this week. Just another sign that the economy is a bust. We wish those affected good luck in all their future endeavors.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Earlier today, Soap Opera Digest posted breaking news on their website when they reported that actress Cady McClain would be returning to ABC’s “All My Children” in the role of Dixie Cooney. Shortly afterward, Soaps in Depth posted their own version of the news. Who to believe? At this point, it doesn’t matter as long as Dixie’s back! Then again, Cady did return in early 2010 when Dixie, who died via poisoned pancakes (what were the writers thinking?), and her ghost/spirit was used to usher out Palmer Cortlandt, who had “died” on the soap a few months after his real-life portrayer, James Mitchell, passed away.
This will mark the second time that McClain has returned to a soap shortly after it had received its walking papers from its broadcast network. McClain returned her character Rosanna Cabot, which garnered her second Daytime Emmy Award in 2004 in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, to “As The World Turns” just weeks before the soap ceased filming after 54-years in production. McClain won her first Emmy in 1990 in the category of Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Dixie on “AMC.” “As The World Turns” last aired on Friday, September 17, 2010.
According to Soap Opera Digest
Soap Opera Digest has learned that Cady McClain will be back in Pine Valley as Dixie before the show’s September finale — and that the deal to bring her back was in the works before the show’s cancellation. McClain’s last appearance (as Dixie’s spirit) was in 2010, when Dixie welcomed Palmer to heaven in April.
According to ABC Soaps In Depth
Despite reports saying that Cady McClain will be bringing Dixie back to ALL MY CHILDREN before the soap ends in September, Soaps In Depth has learned that the fan favorite’s return isn’t completely carved in stone just yet. A source close to the actress shares that while negotiations are underway with AMC, nothing has been signed for McClain to reprise the role of Tad’s love.