From re-runs of soap classics “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” “Another World,” “Port Charles,” and “Falcon Crest,” to the launches of original series “SoapCenter,” “Soap Talk” and “General Hospital: Night Shift,” SOAPnet was defined as the “new way to watch soaps” for much of its near 14-year run. With just 2 days left before SOAPnet is no more, we thought it would be a great opportunity to look back at the inaugural year of a network that gave diehard soap fans their own platform to shout with glee through the death of a network that outlived its purpose.
Lisa Hackner has been named Executive Vice President, Daytime and Syndicated Programming, ABC Entertainment Group, it was announced today by Paul Lee, President, ABC Entertainment Group, with whom she will report. Hackner will be responsible for first-run development and production.
Prior to joining ABC, Hackner was EVP, Creative Affairs, Telepictures, which is a division of Warner Bros.
Vicki Dummer, who has been overseeing ABC Daytime since the departure of Brian Frons in January 2012, will remain in her position as Executive Vice President, Times Square Studios, Current Series & Specials, ABC Entertainment Group.
UPDATE 11:03 AM ET: In a statement released to Soap Opera Network, Jeff Kwatinetz, co-founder, Prospect Park, says, “Brian Frons and ABC cancelled the soaps. As the people trying to save them, why on earth would we ever work with him?!?!”
PREVIOUS: According to We Love Soaps, there are rumors floating around that Brian Scott Frons, former President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, may be secretly working with Prospect Park as it gets ready to re-launch “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” ironically, two soaps he himself cancelled two years prior.
As the old saying goes, a happy employee is a productive employee. And that must be a mantra Prospect Park believes in. According to the actors who have signed on to the serial dramas, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” the production company — headed by Jeff Kwatinetz and Richard Frank — has batted a thousand when it comes to being respectfully in charge. And the end result, as the performers preview, is pure magic.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As part of the growing changes at ABC Daytime, the Disney/ABC Television Group has announced Mirian Arias as its new Vice President, Daytime Communications. Arias replaces Jori Petersen, who headed up the division for a number of years in the role of Vice President, Publicity, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet. Although Petersen has left ABC Daytime and SOAPnet, she remains part of the Disney/ABC Television Group as the acting head of the ABC Family Communications team.
RESPECTED COMMUNICATIONS EXECUTIVE MIRIAN ARIAS NAMED
VICE PRESIDENT, DAYTIME COMMUNICATIONS, DISNEY/ABC TELEVISION GROUP
Wednesday, October 26, 2011, Burbank, CA . . . Respected Communications executive Mirian Arias has been named as the new vice president, Daytime Communications, Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG), it was announced today by Kevin Brockman, executive vice president, Global Communications, DAT G, to whom she will report.
Working closely with Brian Frons, president, Daytime, DATG, Ms. Arias will be responsible for all communication efforts for DATG Daytime, SOAPnet and ABC Media Productions, including corporate, consumer, marketing and affiliate-related publicity. She will also oversee all talent relation efforts for the division.
In making the announcement, Mr. Brockman said “Mirian’s extensive background in consumer communications combined with her more recent experience heading up digital communications for Syfy and iVillage make her the perfect candidate for this role. As important, Mirian is also regarded as a consummate strategist and an honorable and inclusive leader, all traits that will serve us well as we evolve our Daytime programming and corresponding communications initiatives.”
Mr. Frons added, “Mirian is a strategic public relations executive with the proven ability to innovate, build partnerships and lead a team. She has extensive experience liaising across business units to make the most of synergy opportunities, and I’m glad to have her leading our communications efforts.”
“I am thrilled to join such an amazing team of creative and strategic communication leaders,” said Ms. Arias. “ABC has a long-standing history of creating many of the most celebrated, acclaimed and award-winning programs in daytime, and I look forward to being a part of the next evolution of the brand.”
Ms. Arias joins DATG from NBCUniversal, where she worked since 2009. Most recently, she served as vice president, Communications, iVillage, overseeing both external and internal communications for the essential digital women’s brand. During her tenure, she more than doubled iVillage’s press penetration across broadcast, print, radio, digital and social media outreach. She began her career at NBCU as director, Communications, Syfy, where she was responsible for publicity efforts for the networks highest rated original series, Warehouse 13, along with other successful programming like Stargate Universe and Scare Tactics. In this role she also spearheaded publicity efforts for Syfy Digital, including tier digital sites Sci Fi Wire, Dvice and Fidget.
Prior to her stint at NBCU, Ms. Arias served as director of communications at Nickelodeon Networks where she was responsible for daily publicity on many of their hit programs including iCarly, True Jackson, VP, The Naked Brothers Band and Degrassi: The Next Generation. She also spent five years at Oxygen Media, where she was responsible for the communication campaigns for shows including Oprah After The Show, Conversations from the Edge With Carrie Fisher and The Janice Dickinson Project. She also served as international unit publicist for all Oxygen made-for-television movies including Romancing the Bride, Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber and Nadine in Date Land.
She began her career in communications at BWR Public Relations, where she handled publicity efforts for an array of film and television actors as well as corporate clients such as the Nantucket Film Festival, NIKE Entertainment and Source Enterprises. Educated at Boston University, with a degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations, Ms. Arias is a member of WICT, EPPS, NAMIC and PRSA, and currently serves as a citizen teacher for Citizen Schools, a non-profit NYC inner-city school initiative.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — October 8, 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of Soap Opera Network, an online magazine celebrating the world of soaps past, present and future.
Soap Opera Network began as an online message board on the then popular ezBoard (now called Yuki) platform by two individuals that wanted to start a more industry based discussion forum for fans of the soap opera genre with the idea that not only could one discuss the comings, the goings or the general news of the day, but have the opportunity to learn more about the names, the faces and the minds of the people that help make daily dramatic serials happen year in and year out. At launch, soap operas “All My Children, “As The World Turns,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of our Lives,” “General Hospital,” “Guiding Light,” “One Life to Live,” “Passions,” “Port Charles,” and “The Young and the Restless” were on the schedules of television networks ABC, CBS and NBC.
In November 2002, Soap Opera Network left ezBoard and became its own .com service.
Thanks to elaborate databases such as a ratings archive (how soaps rated over the years), episode count archive (who appeared in episodes of a soap opera each and every month and year), its end credit archive (who wrote, directed or produced each episode), including a listing of episode writers and directors along with profile pieces on more than 80% of the writers, producers and directors, Soap Opera Network has cornered the market on information surrounding the inner workings of the soap opera format.
Over the course of its ten years, Soap Opera Network has interviewed a number of daytime’s biggest stars and behind the scenes personnel including Susan Lucci, Erika Slezak, Melody Thomas Scott, Maurice Benard, Steve Burton, Sarah Brown, Hillary B. Smith, Robert S. Woods, Ilene Kristen, Ken Corday, Cameron Mathison, Cady McClain, Eden Riegel, Judith Light, Bradley P. Bell, Brian Frons, Maria Arena Bell, Sherri Shepherd, Daniel Goddard, Greg Meng, Marlene McPherson, Darrell Ray Thomas, Nancy Curlee, Melissa Archer, Kristen Alderson, Julie Pinson, Ron Carlivati, Frank Valentini, Linda Dano and many more.
Current Soap Opera Network staff is as follows:
Xavier Toups, Co-Founder
Errol Lewis, Editor in Chief; General Hospital Editor; Days of our Lives Editor
Angela Rosa, Managing Editor; All My Children Editor
Scotty Gore, Managing Editor; One Life to Live Editor
Venus Stone-Cutter, The Young and the Restless Editor
Gehrig Burnett Jr., The Bold and the Beautiful Editor
(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) — As Soap Opera Network reported late last week, Susan Lucci has added a scathing new chapter to “All My Life” scheduled to be included in the paperback release of her memoir on September 13. In the new epilogue, the actress who is known for being too well-mannered uncharacteristically blasts ABC Daytime Chief Brian Frons for what she feels is his mismanagement of ABC Daytime and his general arrogance. Following a weekend of book leaks, ABC released what could only be construed as a biting statement about Lucci’s book addition and conduct. On Tuesday – coincidentally or not – after getting information from an unnamed source, a Deadline.com article held back few jabs after revealing the actress turned down the offer to continue with “All My Children” online.
An epilogue is defined as a piece of writing usually included to conclude a body of work. On Saturday, September 3, as aforementioned, the New York Post not only revealed more juicy tidbits from Lucci’s new memoir epilogue detailing her feelings about the cancellation of the soap she put on the map in 1970, they also included a response from ABC in regard to it. An ABC Daytime spokesperson told the Post “we have all the respect in the world for Susan, and are sorry she felt the need to write this epilogue to an otherwise incredible career.” The negative connotation that statement ends on is hard to miss. Coincidentally on Tuesday, September 6, Deadline.com announced that Lucci officially turned down Prospect Park’s more than fair offer to remain with the show due to trying to “gouge the producers for more money.” According to the article, Lucci was offered the same pay she currently receives at ABC Daytime but demanded a raise and perks including more time off. The article implies that the future of “AMC” is now in jeopardy and “One Life to Live” will become the focus of the new venture due to Lucci’s lack of cooperation with the company that has licensed “AMC” and “OLTL” from ABC. In the same article it was also announced that the production company had secured several “OLTL” stars to continue post-ABC Daytime including Llanview’s main leading lady Erika Slezak.
For her part, despite the addition to the book being written before Lucci learned of the licensing deal with Prospect Park, the Emmy Award winner recently told TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan she has no regrets about writing what was on her mind. Just last week, Lucci seemed to be a good bet to continue with Prospect Park. Once again speaking to TV Guide Magazine, she had this to say about the venture at that time: “my heart is there… I think it’s a very, very exciting possibility. I think that Prospect Park, the men involved there, have a wonderful, successful track record.” This leaves fans and the press alike wondering if ABC Daytime’s hurt feelings about Lucci speaking her mind was the real culprit behind this sudden turn of events or at least the negative tone now surrounding her current negotiation stand with Prospect Park. Jamey Giddens, from Daytime Confidential, reports that this may not be the end of talks. “AMC” creator Agnes Nixon is still hoping to help Prospect Park reach an agreement with Lucci.
Whatever the case, on September 23, Lucci is slated to co-host “The View’” for a special tribute to “AMC.” “The View” is a part of ABC Daytime and the talk show’s daily hot topics may become even more heated if any of these topics reach the discussion table.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Susan Lucci’s memoir “All My Life,” a New York Times Bestseller, hit book stores on March 29, 2011. On September 13, 2011, the paperback edition of the book will be released with a new chapter where the actress, who is regarded as one of the biggest names on daytime television, tells fans what she really thinks about a multitude of events surrounding the ABC Daytime cancellation of “All My Children.”
In the new thought-provoking chapter, written before “AMC” was given a new lease on life upon being licensed by production company Prospect Park, Lucci takes on ABC Daytime President Brian Frons and the detrimental influence she believes his decisions had on ”AMC.” High-up on her list of management criticisms includes the 2008 hiring of former ”AMC” head-writer Charles Pratt, Jr. who had fans and actors alike running for cover with his quick-shot character assassinations. The Emmy winner also gives a detailed description of the days surrounding the announcement that the soap she helped launch in 1970 had been given the axe.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As reported back in June, the Disney/ABC Television Group has hired Katie Couric to host a new daily syndicated talk show that is expected to air on virtually all ABC affiliated stations, including the eight owned and operated stations that have already signed off on the deal. The show currently titled “Katie” will debut in September 2012 during the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT time slot currently occupied by ABC’s “General Hospital,” which will be forced to relocate to an as yet to be determined timeslot on the network.
According to TVNewser, Disney/ABC has begun sending marketing materials to station owners and advertisers in hopes of driving up support of the new show, which includes the first promotional poster for the talk show (seen at right).
“I think Katie is a unique brand in television,” said Jeff Zucker, “Katie” Executive Producer and former NBC Universal chief executive shortly after the announcement of the talker was announced in June. “The mere fact that you can just say Katie and know who we are talking about is evidence of that.”
Remembering the statements made to calm down “GH” fans, who are worried the 48-year-old soap will be the next canceled by ABC, the Disney/ABC publicity team stated back in the June the following:
“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 “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.”
According to TVNewser, “Social media and interactivity will play a big role in the show, which is still in the early stages of development. Disney-ABC is currently building out a few websites for the program, including www.TalkToKatie.com, which is expected to serve as a hub at which viewers and Couric can interact.”