Cleveland is getting hotter as TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” brings in soap stars Cameron Mathison (“All My Children”) and a returning Jack Wagner (“General Hospital,” “Melrose Place”) for guest stints.
On the Wednesday, January 30 episode of the hit series, entitled “The Anger Games,” Mathison will portray Bill, the buddy of Melanie’s (Valerie Bertinelli) boyfriend, Alec (Jay Harrington), who is set up with Joy (Jane Leeves). Meanwhile, Elka (Betty White) tries her hand at being Victoria’s (Wendie Malick) agent. In the end, gossip and secrets circulate among the group of women as things come to a head at their monthly game night.
Prospect Park first announced plans to move “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web back in July 2011 after striking a license holding deal with Disney/ABC Domestic Television. Sadly, plans fell through by November 2011 after apparent financing and union discussions fell through. Since that dreadful time period, Prospect Park has resumed work on returning the soaps to your [computer] screens, only this time with financing said to be in place and union deals already signed with the DGA (directors), SAG-AFTRA (actors) and the WGA (writers). With more than a year gone by since “One Life to Live” last aired, we thought it would be a great opportunity to see which stars have (so far) signed on to return to “AMC” and “OLTL” compared to the list circling back in 2011.
With Prospect Park now signing agreements with key unions SAG-AFTRA (actors), the DGA (directors), and the WGA (writers), with an expectation to begin filming episodes of “All My Children” as soon as next month, we wondered who you wanted to see act on the soap when it moves to the web. Your choices can include past actors as well as wishful casting (recast and new characters are welcomed). We also wondered who you want to join the writing team now that thousands of writers are at Prospect Park’s disposal courtesy of their agreement with the WGA, as well as who you want to direct episodes of the series. Keep in mind that Agnes Nixon, who created both “AMC” and “One Life to Live,” is currently working as a consultant for Prospect Park, according to Foz McDermott, head of production for TOLN (Prospect Park’s The Online Network). Also note that actors Jordi Vilasuso (Dr. Griffin Castillo), Darnell Williams (Jesse Hubbard), Debbi Morgan (Dr. Angela Hubbard), Vincent Irizarry (Dr. David Hayward) and Lindsay Hartley (Dr. Cara Castillo) are all confirmed as signing on to return to “AMC” when it moves to the web. Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall Hart) has reported that she’s been approached, while Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan Lavery) hope’s he can be involved. There’s no word yet on the status of Susan Lucci (ex-Erica Kane), who was the only original cast member from the first season of “AMC” that had remained with the show without interruption from its debut on January 5, 1970 through its final ABC broadcast on September 23, 2011.
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.