ABC Family and Muse Entertainment have announced that production will begin this week on the new original Thanksgiving movie, “Home Again” (working title), starring Cameron Mathison (“All My Children”) and Jennie Garth (“Beverly Hills, 90210″). The film is scheduled to premiere in November as part of the network’s annual “Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas” programming event. Mary Kay Place (“The Big Chill”) will also star.
With Lindsay Hartley, Vincent Irizarry, Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams now all said to have been confirmed in joining the cast of an online version of “All My Children” later this year, and actress Alicia Minshew revealing she has been approached by Prospect Park, which plans to re-reboot the series later this year after a failed attempt back in 2011, it’s only a matter of time before we learn who else will or will not be following the soap online.
The big news of December 2012 was word that Prospect Park was taking another stab at moving ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web in 2013. The news was first reported by Deadline.com‘s Nellie Andreeva. In her initial reporting, Andreeva revealed that Prospect Park had made agreements with the unions SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America). Previously, while the company had planned on debuting the shows on the web in early 2012, no deals had been signed with either union or the WGA (Writers Guild of America). This hindered the company’s plan to move forward with the shows and resulted in a postponement that was announced in November 2011. In a statement at the time, AFTRA (prior to its merger with SAG) said that they were ”deeply disappointed to read that the executives at Prospect Park have decided to suspend their efforts to produce the long-running and popular daytime serials.” Additionally, the union had said that they “remain hopeful that an opportunity to revive these two popular series will emerge in the future, and remain ready to resume discussions should that opportunity arise.” The future took more than a year, but it appears to have finally emerged. However, although a representative from SAG-AFTRA confirmed that an agreement with Prospect Park had been made when pressed for comment from Soap Opera Network early last week, it remains unclear if said agreement had actually been signed. “Not absolutely certain it had been signed but can check that for you,” said the rep. Due to the holidays, we don’t expect a response on that little detail until at least tomorrow, January 2.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Former “All My Children” leading men Cameron Mathison and Thorsten Kaye are scheduled to help heat up the primetime schedule later this winter. Mathison is scheduled to hit the sheets with one of televisions original housewives on the last season of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives.” Meanwhile, Kaye will show up on NBC’s highly anticipated mid-season replacement, the musical drama “Smash,” where his character will turn the temperature up for a brassy and determined Broadway producer going through some rough personal and professional times.
Mathison will appear opposite former “One Life to Live” star Marcia Cross on “Desperate Housewives” this January. In the wake of an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Cross’ character, Bree Van de Kamp, will take up an interesting new hobby to mask her personal woes. The fiery red head will begin picking up random men at bars for drinks and hot sex. Mathison will make an enticing contribution to Bree’s nasty new habit on Sunday, January 22. Mathison debuted as Ryan Lavery on “AMC” in 1997 and, amongst various other projects, has recently been keeping busy as a correspondent for “Good Morning America.”
Last fall, a publicist for the NBC’s “Smash” confirmed to Soap Opera Network that, while scripts were still in the middle of being written, Kaye would be portraying the recurring role of a love interest for the character of Eileen Rand on the series. Eileen, played by Academy Award winner (“Prizzi’s Honor”) Angelica Huston, will be going through a very tense split from her business partner and husband - who both just happen to be the same man, Jerry Rand (Michael Christofer). When recently contacted for an update on Kaye’s role we were told there was “nothing further” to add at this time. As per Kaye’s official website, look for the actor to make his debut on the seventh original episode of the series which should air in March. Kaye started his daytime career on “One Life to Live” in 1995 and ended it, for the time being, on “AMC” in 2011. “Smash” debuts on Monday, February 6 on NBC.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After a successful three-city tour on the east coast, “A Tribute to Pine Valley,” produced and presented by Celebrity Events Group, Soap Opera Digestand Visit Myrtle Beach: South Carolina, is taking the show to the midwest. Beginning today, January 13, the tribute will hit three venues in Wisconsin and Illinois. The tour boasts a cast of some of “All My Children’s” most popular and sustaining actors for a question and answer session as well as an autograph and photo session where you can meet your favorite stars up-close and personal.
The tour as originated was slated to star Walt Willey (ex-Jackson), Michael E. Knight (Tad), Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan), Vincent Irizarry (ex-David), Jacob Young (ex-JR) and Julia Barr (ex-Brooke). After an injury sidelined Barr from attending the event on the east coast, Darnell Williams (ex-Jesse) stepped in and took her place. Williams, Willey, Mathison, Irizarry and Young will remain with the tour as it hits the midwest and have added some feminine energy to the mix this time around. Look for the beautiful Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall) to attend this weekends events. The opportunity to say thank you and goodbye to the loyal fans for potentially the last time appealed to the actress who notes to Soaps In Depth, “when am I going to have [another] chance to do stuff with [AMC] fans?” Taking note of the attractive slate of former co-stars attending, the actress added “when I saw who was doing it, I thought, ‘My boys! My boys are doing it, so I have to go be with my boys!’”
On Friday, January 13, the six actors will land in Green Bay, Wisconsin at Fox Cities PAC. The events will run from 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM. Tickets start at $38.00. On Saturday, January 14, the tour moves to Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Pabst Theater. The events will run from 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM as well. Tickets start at $35.00. On Sunday, January 15, the tour ends in Chicago, Illonois at the Rosemont Theater. The events will run from 3:00 PM to 7:30 PM. Tickets start at $35.00 here as well. For more information on these events and information on how to purchase tickets visit A Tribute to Pine Valley.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” gets ‘canceled’ for the second time in seven months as Prospect Park breaks the hearts of the show’s loyal fanbase.
What a roller coaster ride of emotions for “OLTL” fans in the past month. First the show tapes its final episode for its television run on Friday, November 18 in preparation for its move online with Prospect Park, only to be told five days later via a press release that the upstart production company was scrapping plans to transition “One Life” and its sister soap “All My Children” to the Internet due to a lack of funding.
This was an especially hard pill for many “One Life to Live” viewers to swallow, given that the news came only four months after it was announced that Prospect Park had licensed the rights to “OLTL” and “AMC” from ABC after the network unceremoniously axed the soaps in April after 43 and 41 years on the air, respectively.
Further adding salt to the wounds of ticked off fans was that the announcement to dump “One Life to Live” came only weeks after it was revealed that the company had decided to focus solely on the soap while keeping “All My Children” on the back burner for the foreseeable future. Add to this the fact that Prospect Park had reached agreements in the past few months with 13 “OLTL” cast members, along with the show’s head writer and executive producer to continue the show after it left ABC.
Talk about a feeling of déjà vu. My first reaction to the news about Prospect Park dumping “OLTL” was “not again.” Only recently had I begun to work my way out of the five stages of grief over the loss of my favorite soap opera, which I have grown up watching since I was a little kid. I had nearly come to terms with the cancelation and was coping with the fact that although the soap wouldn’t continue that my “Life” (no pun intended) would go on. Then came the news that Prospect Park was swooping in to save the day. After being skeptical at first, I slowly became lulled into a false sense of security, excited about “OLTL” getting another chance. I was thrilled at the possibility of still being able to see characters like Viki and Blair, who have become like a part of my family over the years. I was intrigued that the thought of actually setting down in front of my computer on a regular basis to watch “OLTL” and other shows. And most of all I was optimistic that the show would thrive online and continue to enjoy its current level of success (so to speak).
Then the rugged was pulled out from me…again. Going through the emotions again, I still hold out a small glimmer of hope that another miracle will take place, saving my favorite soap once more. However, this time around I am also becoming more rational in my understanding that “One Life to Live,” like all other things in life, must eventually come to an end. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much we hope they will. Just like losing a beloved family member, pet, or possession, we have to learn when and how to let go of something that we have loved and cherished for so very long. And, while it may be painful, time will eventually heal those wounds.
“One Life to Live” may be “only a television show” but to myself and millions of other fans out there, it has and always will hold a special place in our hearts. The characters are like family, and Llanview is like our second hometown. Throughout the years, we have laughed, cried, hurt, and mourned alongside the residents of the fictional Philadelphia suburb. We rallied around Viki when she had breast cancer, encouraged the Cramer girls as they tried to stay sane in a family with a history of mental illness, sympathized with Shane when he was being bullied, and learned about intolerance as Llanview was torn apart over homosexuality. We cried when Megan died, became depressed when Asa passed on, and smiled when each baby was born. We became Llanview and Llanview became us. So, while to many it may be only a TV show, to us it is part of the family. That’s why the 2:00 pm ET hour (1:00 pm for me) will never be the same.
And, like family, “OLTL” fans need to come together to celebrate the show’s long history, and allow it to bow out gracefully and not needlessly suffer through frivolous lawsuits, ineffective boycotts, threats of violence, and harassing letters, phone calls, and e-mails to ABC, Prospect Park, and others. Let’s show everyone what soap fans are really like and give “One Life to Live” a proper sendoff like Viki and the rest of Llanview deserve. That is the least we can do for four decades of memories. Sure we’re angry, but those types of things will get you nowhere. And at the end of the day, it will all be for naught as “OLTL” will still be canceled.
Let’s make these last seven weeks that “One Life to Live” is on the air the highest rated the show has seen in years and show ABC that they were wrong in canceling it and Prospect Park wrong in thinking that there aren’t people out there willing to help fund its continuation online. That is the least we can do for “One Life” for all that it has given us. I know that’s what I’m going to do anyway. And I hope you will do the same.
As with the show itself, my “One Life to Live” reporting duties here at Soap Opera Network will also soon be coming to an end, which includes this column. Barring any last minute changes, look for the final edition of “My View of Llanview” on January 30, just over two weeks after “OLTL” airs its final ABC episode. Thank you to all my faithful readers over the years, who have endured all my incessant ramblings and opinions. It has been one hell of a ride to say the least.
Moving on, no one guessed (either correctly or incorrectly) the answers to the trivia questions from the previous column. So I’m going to give you a second chance. Here are the questions again: 1. What role on “OLTL” did Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan, “AMC”) once audition for? Before taking over the character of Cristian Vega, what small role did David Fumero play? 3. What did Jerry verDorn wear to his audition for the role of Clint Buchanan that disappeared before his first episode aired? I’ll have the answers in the December 15 edition of My View of Llanview.
Now, before I wrap up this column, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and give you a quick sneak peek at a few things coming up a few weeks down the road. One man is forced to make a tough choice. Someone sees things from a whole new prospective. More than one secret is revealed. And one Llanview family spends Christmas with someone unexpected.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Stay safe and warm.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
via Press Release
After five months of negotiations with various guilds, hundreds of presentations to potential financial and technology partners, and a hope that we could pioneer a new network for the future, it is with great disappointment that we are suspending our aspirations to revive “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” via online distribution. It is now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get OLTL on the air in a reasonable time period following its January 13, 2012 ABC finale impossible.
We believed the timing was right to launch an Online TV Network anchored by these two iconic soap operas, but we always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, and unfortunately we couldn’t ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time. We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution.
While we narrowed in on a financial infrastructure, the contractual demands of the guilds, which regulate our industry, coupled with the program’s inherent economic challenges ultimately led to this final decision. In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion.
In our opinion, new models like this can only work with the cooperation of many people striving to make them happen, and we would like to thank and praise the numerous people who tried to help and showed us incredible support. We are extremely grateful to the fans and media who showed great support to us through this process, to ABC who did everything in their control to help, and we are especially grateful for the support and encouragement from many of the Soaps’ cast and crew themselves.
We hope that our efforts are not lost, and that we somehow created a dialogue and movement on the feasibility of first run, network quality content online.
Of special note, we would like to thank Frank Valentini (Executive Producer), Ron Carlivati (Head Writer of OLTL), Agnes Nixon, many of the cast of OLTL including Michael Easton, Ted King, Kelley Missal, Melissa Archer, and of course Erika Slezak all of whom signed on quickly and did all they could to help, as well as our own Christine Sacani. Cameron Mathison and Lindsay Hartley also get our sincerest thanks for their support. We feel terrible we couldn’t come through for them and we were very much looking forward to working together.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Monday afternoon, Vincent Irizarry received word of Jamey Giddens‘ (of Daytime Confidential) rather strong implication on Twitter that [Irizarry's] inability to reach an agreement with production company Prospect Park along with Agnes Nixon and Lorraine Broderick’s “story projections” were a major reason Prospect Park decided to reportedly halt early production efforts to move “All My Children” to the internet. The none too pleased Daytime Emmy Award winner responded to the claim on Facebook on Monday evening.
Irizarry was provided with an unexpected birthday surprise on Saturday, November 12 when Giddens revealed that his sources had spilled that “Prospect Park’s inability to make a deal [with] Irizarry is a factor in #AMC reboot stalling. Stories were to heavily involve David… [From a branding pt., Susan Lucci was their biggest casting factor, from story it was Irizzary].” When questioned on how that deduction was possible when neither an Executive Producer or Head Writer has been hired for the soap, as opposed to sister soap “One Life to Live,” which has signed talent to the aforementioned positions for their 2.0 incarnation as well as thirteen actors, Giddens added “Agnes and Lorraine worked on story projections for the show.”
On Monday evening, along with requesting the source of the claim that was stated to him in reduced form, Irizarry responded on his official fan page on Facebook and emphatically stated that “the part re: me and Lorraine is absolute rubbish. We are certainly not the reason [Prospect Park] has put the show on hold.” (Update: 11/16/11) This evening on Twitter, Vincent neither confirmed or denied the accuracy of Giddens sources but did state he felt Giddens comments were “terribly misquoted” to him by the original poster on his Facebook page. The posters original comment stated to Irizarry that it had been “reported that that the show was put on hold…because broderick and vincent cant decide if they want to sign.”
It had been revealed as far back as October 6 that Irizarry had finally been contacted by Prospect Park to join “AMC” as it prepared to go online. This discussion had not led to a signing before the reported stall in early production; similar to the results of reported discussions with major “AMC” names including Lucci (ex-Erica Kane), Michael E. Knight (ex-Tad Martin), Rebecca Budig (ex-Greenlee Smythe), Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall Hart) and Jacob Young (ex-JR Chandler). From the performers they reached out to, Prospect Park has only been able to secure Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery), Lindsay Hartley (Cara Castillo) and Darnell Williams (Jesse Hubbard).
Irizarry, who just turned a handsome 52-years old, has enjoyed a long and successful daytime carrer which began on CBS’s Guiding Light in 1984 as anti-hero Brandon “Lujack” Luvanoczeck. He played the popular role until 1986. In 1987, the actor joined the cast of Santa Barbara for a two year run as Dr. Scott Clark. Irizarry returned to the soap that put him on the map in 1991 as Nick McHenry Spaulding. He remained on the soap for five more years. Irizarry landed the role of Dr. David Hayward in November 1997 and remained an integral part of the ABC soap through to the end outside of a two year break between his two stints in Pine Valley where he landed on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With an amazing spirit that shines from the inside out and a very quick learning curve, Iraq war veteran and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez wasted little time winning over legions of “All My Children” fans after joining the cast of the popular daytime drama in November of 2008. The fearless 28-year old has gone on to win over the hearts of millions more since joining the cast of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Along with soaring to the top of the leaderboard on the popular dance show, the actor has emerged as arguably the most popular star of the 13th season and a role model to many who may have never heard of him before.
On November 1, Rick Jackson, the President of the Tournament of Roses announced the appointment of Martinez as Grand Marshal of the annual event that airs on January 2. The events theme for 2012 is “Just Imagine…” The theme celebrates the power of imagination, inspiration and determination to encourage people to reach higher and try harder. Jackson felt Martinez was the perfect embodiment of “Just Imagine…” Along with leading off the Rose Parade, Martinez will also toss the coin before the 98th Rose Bowl college football game. Former Grand Marshals of the event include Bob Hope, Richard Nixon, Walt Disney, Roy Rogers, Hank Aaron, Charles Schulz, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck and George Lucas to name just a few.
On Monday, November 7, Martinez earned a Tri-Union Diversity Award, along with the likes of television legend Bill Cosby. The Tri-Union Diversity Award is awarded by the three major unions covering actors – the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (AFTRA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). The award celebrates performers and organizations that “have taken an active stand to make a difference toward a more representational, multicultural community by helping build a foundation for diversity within the industry.” Martinez was chosen for the honor for providing a strong voice to both burn victims and disabled veterans in the industry as a performer on both “AMC” and “DWTS.”
Just this past Friday, which happened to be Veterans Day, Martinez enjoyed his second visit to “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” His first appearance was as a scheduled guest on October 12. The actor who within a month of his deployment to Iraq in 2003 suffered severe burns to nearly half of his body when his Humvee hit a land mine recently shared his personal story of triumph over tragedy with People Magazine for a cover story. He is on the cover of the November 7 issue. The aforementioned honors are not exactly everyday occurances for current or former daytime actors who have not made it in prime-time or films nor for war veterans. Along with being a fixture on entertainment shows such as EXTRA, Martinez also made a special guest appearance on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for its Veterans Day episode.
On “DWTS,” Martinez continues to show-off his quick learning curve and, in a first for the season, earned not just one but two consecutive perfect scores with partner Karina Smirnoff in the 8th week of competiton. On Monday, considered the favorite to take the top spot, Martinez joined soccer player Hope Solo, reality star Rob Kardashian, and probably his most fierce competition, talk show host Ricki Lake in the semifinals. Despite obvious discomfort from an ankle he injured in practice this past weekend, Martinez earned high marks for his efforts but landed in third place as Kardashian continued to show improvement. Tune in to “DWTS” tonite to see if Martinez makes it to the Finals scheduled to begin airing on Monday, November 21. Having made it to the semifinals in the current season of competition, Martinez has already out-danced former “AMC” co-stars and former “DWTS” competitors Cameron Mathison (finished in 5th place in season 5), Susan Lucci (finished in 6th place in season 7) and Aiden Turner (finished in 9th place in season 10).
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Prospect Park decides to move forward with plans for “One Life to Live,” while delaying the launch of “All My Children” for the time being. But why the sudden change of plans?
As Soap Opera Network Editor-in-Chief Errol Lewis expressed over the weekend, recent actions by the upstart online production company have made their decision obvious. To date, pending final agreements with the various unions, 13 cast members have agreed to make the transition with the show from ABC to Prospect Park, compared with only three for “All My Children.” Furthermore, “One Life” will keep its current head writer and executive producer and, at least for the short term, still tape episodes in the same New York City studio.
But what are the reasons for that? Some have argued that Prospect Park is giving “All My Children” some additional time off as a way to preserve it. In this argument, “One Life to Live” is turned into somewhat of a guinea pig, with its failure or success determining if and when Prospect Park would decide to debut a rebooted “AMC.”
Despite being the biased “OLTL” fan that I am, I cannot accept that assumption as a valid argument. First, “OLTL” has been the stronger of the two shows in the months leading up to “AMC’s” final episode on ABC in September. “One Life to Live” moved up in the ratings, routinely breaking even with or outperforming both “All My Children” and “General Hospital.” Creatively, the show was on an upswing as well, luring back fan favorite Roger Howarth to step back into his signature role as Todd Manning.
Also, if “AMC” was supposedly the stronger of the two, why was it’s final ABC airdate scheduled nearly four months ahead of “OLTL,” therefore giving it a momentum-killing hiatus when only a weekend will separate “One Life to Live” from the ABC and Prospect Park eras? The days of “All My Children” being more of a household or brand name are long since gone. Outside of Susan Lucci, who has become somewhat of a caricature in recent years, the show is about recognizable as “OLTL.” And speaking of Lucci, it worth noting that, while she was/is allegedly holding out for more money and fewer hours, “One Life” grand dame Erika Slezak was among the first four cast members to sign up with Prospect Park.
I sometimes wonder if maybe “One Life to Live” was the only soap that Prospect Park really wanted to license from ABC, and the network played hardball with them by forcing them into taking “All My Children” as well. Yeah, I know, probably just some wishful thinking on my part, but stranger things have happened. However, regardless of whatever went into Prospect Park’s decision, as a “OLTL” fan I am excited and optimistic about what lies ahead for the fictional town of Llanview.
From the flood of returning cast members and familiar faces in the coming months, to the show’s upcoming storyline involving the cancellation and fan campaign to ‘save’ “Fraternity Row,” to awaiting the start of the Prospect Park era, I am anxious to see what the future may hold. “One Life to Live” is back in its groove again, and now is beginning to show some (keyword ‘some’) resemblances to the “OLTL” I grew up with back in the 80′s and 90′s.
Moving on, congratulations to “CBRVA83,” who correctly guessed the answers to the trivia questions from the previous column. In case you missed the clues, here there are again with the answers: 1. What small role did Peter Bartlett (Nigel) play in the film “Meet the Parents?” Answer: An employee at an animal shelter. 2. To which magazine has Andrea Evans (Tina) served as a contributor? Answer: Healthy Cooking. 3. What former “Andy Griffith Show” actor did Barbara Rhoades (Irene) co-star with in a 1968 Western, and what was the name of the movie? Answer: Don Knotts, “The Shakiest Gun in the West.”
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. 1. What role on “OLTL” did Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan, “AMC”) once audition for? Before taking over the character of Cristian Vega, what small role did David Fumero play? 3. What did Jerry verDorn wear to his audition for the role of Clint Buchanan that disappeared before his first episode aired? I’ll have the answers in the November 30 edition of My View of Llanview.
Now, before I wrap up this column, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and give you a quick sneak peek at a few things coming up a few weeks down the road. Unexpected couples lock lips. One family member probes into another’s mindset. Someone learns that things aren’t always what they seem. And an old flame has a few tricks up their sleeves while cozying up to the object of their affections.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and don’t eat too much turkey!
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…