On Saturday, July 23, 2011, “General Hospital” held its annual fan club weekend event at the Sportmen’s Lodge Event Center. Incidentally, in the year that followed many were left wondering if the 2012 event would ever come to be amidst all the drama and rumors surrounding the cancellation, reincarnation (through the Disney/ABC Television Group/Prospect Park Productions deal that wasn’t) and ultimate demise of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and the possible effect it would have on “GH” itself. On July 21, 2012, “GH” did indeed holds its annual fan event – again at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center – with a renewed focus and much hope for the future.
“General Hospital” cast members Steve Burton (Jason Morgan), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber), Kelly Sullivan (Kate Howard/Connie Falconeri), Scott Reeves (Steve Webber), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia Falconeri), Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dominic Falconeri), Chad Duell (Michael Corinthos), Jen Lilley (soon-to-be ex-Maxie Jones), Drew Cheetwood (Milo Giambetti), Rebekah Montoya (Delores Padilla), Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara), Bradford Anderson (Damien Spinelli), Sean Blakemore (Shawn Butler), Laura Wright (Carly Jacks), Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer-Falconeri), Haley Pulos (Molly Lansing), Erik Valedez (Trey Mitchell), Robin Mattson (Heather Webber), Nathin Butler (Ewen Keenan), Lindsey Morgan (Kristina Corinthos) and Richard Steinmetz (Joe Skully Jr.), were joined by “One Life to Live” turned “GH” stars Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning) and Michael Easton (John McBain), along with the soaps new executive producer Frank Valentini, on the stage as they greeted some of the soaps biggest fans.
For more than half an hour they all took fan questions, while Erik Valdez created a running joke within their answers alluding to shirts coming off. Of course, it couldn’t be helped as Valentini revealed a new boxing set had been built similar to the steam room set seen frequently on “OLTL.” Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) arrived late and was only on hand for the fan autograph signing sessions that took place immediately afterward.
Before Bradford Anderson took the reigns from “GH” Fan Club President Debbie Morris, Valentini was asked if he wanted to say a few words to the audience gathered. While he kept his responses short and sweet, he did reveal that he had arrived late to the party due to an important commitment. “I was at the Director’s Guild meeting this morning with some of the directors from daytime,” he said referring to the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), which is the union that represents directors in movie and television productions – despite being an executive producer, Valentini frequently directs episodes of his soap operas. “This is my first fan club event. I’m really excited about the show and I’m excited about this cast and I think it’ a great day for celebration, so don’t let me get in the middle. Let me share it with you,” Valentini concluded.
Despite receiving pre-prepared questions, Anderson decided to take the unusual approach of giving the fans the chance to ask their own. He walked around the room and had each person he chose say their name and ask their question of a “GH” cast member. The first question asked was how much time the cast have off each year. While the question was directed at the entire cast it was agreed, in particular by Burton and Zamprogna, that Bradford should be the one to answer it for them. “As you guys know, we have a new episode practically everyday. So that means we have to make a new episode practically everyday, and what we’re doing now is we’re trying to do more in less time so that we can save money to keep our fare show on the air for all of you,” the actor answered.
Thanks to the presence of Valentini some of the questions directed at the cast ended up being directed at him instead – in part due to Burton’s insistence on Valentini answering one particular question that referenced the timeslot change for the soap. The exact question was “Do you think the change in the timeslot for ‘GH’ is gonna screw up the ratings?” Burton, deciding it wasn’t something he could answer, immediately jumped up and over the legs of his co-stars to hand the microphone over to his boss who was all the way across the other side of the stage. As fans and cast members laughed over Burton’s gesture, Anderson joked “Aren’t you glad you showed up Frank?” Always the trooper, Valentini said “I think there is always risks in having a timeslot change, but I believe that our audience is loyal enough, but more importantly smart enough, to say ‘okay, now we have to watch GH at 2 so we’ll take our naps at 2, we’ll take our lunch at 2, we’ll take our breaks at 2.’ Here on the west coast it’s at 1 o’clock and I think that’ll be better. I actually think on the west coast it’ll be better for us than on the east coast, where it’ll be more of a challenge.”
While not giving anything away, Valentini did reveal that “we have a really great story that’s gearing up for the fall and we’re going to get a lot of promotion from the the network,” which according to the producer includes the recent blurbs popping up that reminds viewers of the change just before the end of each episode of the soap.
On a posting on the Official “General Hospital” fan club web site, Debbie Morris revealed that “Yes, we are already working on plans for a fabulous 50th Anniversary Fan Club Weekend, like no other….so stay tuned!” If you were unable to attend this year’s festivities, make sure to keep one weekend in July 2013 (TBD) on your radar so you can go next time.
On Wednesday, March 28, the Disney/ABC Television Group and Nielsen Media Research announced they would begin measuring behavior in consumers using proprietary metering technology.
The two companies stated the measure would be a “new and significant initiative that will substantially improve understanding of how people use iPads for video consumption and other activities.” According to data released by Apple, Inc., makers of the popular iPad product, there have been more than 55 million iPads sold to date and another 3 million sold since March 16, 2012 (launch date of “the new iPad” aka: iPad 3).
The study was commissioned by the Disney/ABC Television Group’s ABC Research department, in which they asked Nielsen to create a proprietary, opt-in metered iPad panel that would “aggregate and measure video consumption, app usage and other activity over the course of a year.” Nielsen will seek approximately 200 individuals/households to download their new metering application on their iPad in order for the companies to measure the reach, duration, frequency and page views of their overall iPad apps and web browsing.
“We have been actively studying consumer tablet usage through our own data for two years, and believe Nielsen’s proprietary technology has the potential to deliver unprecedented additional details about consumer viewing patterns,” said Peter Seymour, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks. “This study will help us — and ultimately the entire industry — to better understand our consumers, the complete tablet environment and the role our content plays on this fast growing and popular device.”
“With our unique metering capabilities, this work with ABC represents a significant step forward in understanding how consumers are using and bringing the iPad into their day-to-day [lives],” said Cheryl Idell, Executive Vice President, Nielsen Media Research. “The insight gleaned from this study, using these metering capabilities, is an example of how we meet our commitment to deliver cross platform understanding to the industry and provide broader understanding of consumers.”
Preliminary results of the study was provided by Charles Kennedy, ABC’s Senior Vice President, Research, at the Advertising Research Foundations re:Think conference held at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City.
According to sources, as indicated by Seymour above, ABC has been actively following the usage of its viewers who watch their ABC programming on their iPad’s via the popular ABC Player application. Soap Opera Network has also learned that viewing of ABC programs on the iPad, and in particular on ABC.com, will play more of a role in the networks decision making when it comes to the renewal chances of its programming. For instance, “Happy Endings,” a popular comedy series airing after “Modern Family” on Wednesday nights, recently ended its second season with low viewership levels in total audience and key sales demographics. Although not confirmed by ABC at this time, TVLine.com reported that “Endings” is likely to be renewed for a third season. This would solely be based on its performance in online viewership as the series plays relatively strong on Hulu.com, ABC.com and the ABC Player on the iPad.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Thursday, March 15, 2012, the Disney/ABC Television Stations Group released a press release (see below) informing stations across the country of its plans to launch the long anticipated talk show “Katie,” hosted by news personality Katie Couric, on Monday, September 10. What wasn’t stated was “General Hospital,” which currently occupies the planned 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PT/CT timeslot for Couric’s talk show, is likely to air its final episode in that timeslot on Friday, September 7. As we all know ABC is scheduled to turn over the timeslot to its affiliates, which will allow them to air various programming across their stations, including the option of airing “Katie.”
via Press Release
PREMIERE DATE ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONALLY SYNDICATED TALK SHOW “KATIE”
“KATIE” TO PREMIERE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012
Executive Producer Jeff Zucker Announces Key Updates,
Hires for Katie Couric’s Upcoming Syndicated Daytime Show
Executive Producer Jeff Zucker today announced key production updates for Katie Couric’s highly anticipated nationally syndicated talk show, “Katie.” The live, weekday show has already been cleared in 94% of the country, and will premiere on Monday, September 10, 2012. The show is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
In an internal webcast to television stations that will air “Katie,” Zucker unveiled the show’s logo, and announced additions to the senior production staff including Director Joe Terry, who has spent the last 14 years as Director for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and Co-Executive Producer Kathy Samuels. Samuels is a producer with nearly 20 years of television experience, including live television and daytime talk show programming at NBC, Paramount Domestic, and CBS, and has been a part of several successful launch teams, including “Rachael Ray” and “Access Hollywood.” Zucker will serve as the day-to-day showrunner.
The webcast was conducted from TV One at ABC’s Manhattan headquarters, which will serve as home to the “Katie” set. The studio itself has a rich history, having served as the backdrop to the Kennedy/Nixon Presidential debates, and has housed broadcast programming including “Good Morning America” and election night coverage. “Katie” will broadcast live, weekdays in front of a studio audience.
“Katie and I are thrilled to share these updates with our partners and Katie’s fans,” said Zucker. “We now have our studio, a great-looking logo that exudes all of the qualities that we want the show to convey, and a terrific team with a diverse background of experience. We couldn’t be more excited about September 10. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author and popular TV personality. In addition to hosting the new nationally syndicated program “Katie,” Couric is also a member of the ABC News team. “Katie” will be executive produced by Katie Couric and Jeff Zucker and is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television.
For the latest news about the show, subscribe to Facebook updates from Katie, and follow her on Twitter.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — It was Tuesday, October 4 when Soap Opera Network first reported on the current status of union discussions between the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Prospect Park following word back in July that Prospect Park would be launching “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” on the web. Now more than a month later, and with news that “AMC” is being delayed for various reasons, an AFTRA rep tells Soap Opera Network that they are “still in discussions with [Prospect Park].” This at some point could place a damper on the company’s plan of launching “One Life” online in January if a deal isn’t reached in the next several weeks.
The latest the soap could go back into production, following the end of production later this week of its ABC run, would be towards of end of December. This all hinges of course on a hoped for deal with the unions including AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Producers Guild of America (PGA), among others. Prospect Park previously signed a deal with Disney/ABC to rent out the soaps current New York studio at the ABC Television Center for the programs initial run via Prospect Park’s Online Network (TOLN).
Soap Opera Network will continue following all aspects of Prospect Park, the Online Network (TOLN), “One Life to Live” 2.0 and “All My Children” 2.0 as details become available.
Beginning in September 2012, ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Florida will begin airing a new daily syndicated talk show from comedian and radio host Steve Harvey reports the Orlando Sentinel. The affiliate plans to launch the program in the soon to be vacated 3:00 PM timeslot, which will be ceded to affiliates nationally by the ABC Television Network at that time. Does this mean to ultimate demise of “General Hospital,” which currently occupies the timeslot? Before you say yes, let’s take a moment to think rationally.
As previously reported, the Disney/ABC Television Group (herein after referred to as the DATG) announced in June of this year that it plans to launch a new daily syndicated talk show of its own with Katie Couric as host. Appropriately titled “Katie,” the Couric hosted talker is already cleared to air on more than 60% of the country on a number of ABC affiliates including the ABC O&O stations in New York and Los Angeles (WABC and KABC, respectively). Although the initial idea was to give ABC affiliates a new program to air in the current “GH” slot as well as provide DATG with a broader profit share than that of a soap opera, the DATG’s ultimate goal is to make money. With “Katie” syndicated, any affiliate including affiliates from NBC, CBS, FOX, etc could pick up the series. This was confirmed on Monday, October 24 when the company announced that Seattle’s NBC affiliate KING had picked up “Katie” over the ABC affiliate KOMO. With news of WFTV picking up Harvey’s talk show, word leaked that NBC’s competing Orlando affiliate WESH Channel 2 had chosen to pick up Katie’s show, although there is no guarantee the station will air “Katie” at 3:00 PM as planned by the DATG in much of the country. So what does this mean for “General Hospital?” At no point has ABC or the DATG announced that “General Hospital” has in fact been canceled. This has been made ever more clear as a network spokesperson has repeatedly reminded us and our readers of the following:
“The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of ‘General Hospital.’ 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 we do each year with Primetime. 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.”
While that statement may not help calm the fears of the fans of “General Hospital” from thinking the end is near, the fact that WFTV has picked up Steve Harvey does not mean that the soap will be canceled just because various ABC affiliates are now announcing their post “GH” at 3:00 PM plans. Remember the affiliates didn’t make the decision to stop airing “GH” in its current timeslot. Disney/ABC, when it announced its deal with Katie Couric in June, informed their stations that as of September 2012 they will no longer be providing a national network product in the timeslot for the first time in more than 48 years. WFTV, by not picking up “Katie,” needed another program to air in the vacated timeslot as all the ABC affiliates will be doing beginning in September 2012. Some stations may find themselves airing other syndicated programs, including that from Steve Harvey, or even programming another hour of their local news. In fact, a North Carolina ABC affiliate is rumored to be putting on Anderson Cooper‘s new show in the “GH” slot beginning in September.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Saturday, October 1, the National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) met for the final time in 2011, as previously reported. One of the topics of discussion was Prospect Park and its transitioning of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web in January 2012. While exact details of the meeting are still unknown in that respect, a representative speaks to Soap Opera Network exclusively on where things stand at this time between the actors union and Prospect Park.
It has been nearly three months since Prospect Park announced that they had licensed the rights to “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” from the Disney/ABC Television Group with the intention of transitioning the soaps to the web beginning in January 2012. Since that time, AFTRA, better known as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, has been relatively silent on how the transition would be possible, until now. Soap Opera Network has learned exclusively that despite a number of actors from both “AMC” and “OLTL” signing on for the 2.0 versions of the soaps, talks between Prospect Park and AFTRA are still ongoing and that a deal between the actors union and the production company has yet to be signed.
Although “One Life to Live’s” Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan), Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and Erika Slezak (Viki Banks) and “All My Children’s” Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery) and Lindsay Hartley (Cara Castillo) have already signed on despite no official deal between AFTRA and Prospect Park, an AFTRA rep tells Soap Opera Network “we are still in negotiations with Prospect Park. There is no agreement as of yet, but we are in discussion and when there is something final to announce we will announce it.”
Many of you have wondered why more cast members from “One Life to Live” have signed on to the web version of their show, pending a Prospect Park/AFTRA contract agreement, while not as many have signed on from the “All My Children” cast, but the AFTRA rep assures us that “we’ve been keeping the cast members of both shows advised as to the terms of the progress and the status of the discussions with Prospect Park.”
Actors from “All My Children,” which ended its television run on September 23, 2011, are left in limbo in the interim of a deal between AFTRA and Prospect Park, leaving many to seek new soap roles (Debbi Morgan, ex-Dr. Angie Hubbard now on “The Young and the Restless”), return to the soap that launched their careers (Jacob Young, ex-JR Chandler returned to “The Bold and the Beautiful”), or just deciding to take a much needed break (Michael E. Knight, ex-Tad Martin).
(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.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Just weeks before the Prospect Park deal to pick up the production and distribution rights of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” from the Disney/ABC Television group was announced, ABC revealed that they had decided to move ”One Life” head writer Ron Carlivati to “General Hospital” as a script writer once production wrapped on the soap in November. Is that still the case two months later?
As you may remember, Carlivati along with “One Life to Live” executive producer Frank Valentini were signed to long-term contracts with ABC back in September 2010 that kept them both with the network through 2012 (Valentini) and 2013 (Carlivati), respectively, leaving a move for Carlivati to “GH” an obvious decision.
Two months after making the announcement to hand Carlivati over to “GH,” and 17 consecutive weeks of “One Life to Live” rating as ABC’s #1 soap in households and total viewers, you’d think there was a chance of the writer to continue with the soap once Prospect takes over, but you’d be wrong.
According to an ABC representative, plans for Carlivati’s move to “GH” are still in place “as far as [they] know,” leaving the millions of viewers currently on the edge of their seat courtesy of the “Tale of Two Todd’s” storyline to wonder what the soap will look like when it debuts online on January 16, 2012 and who will be writing it.
Details are slowly trickling in from Prospect Park, the new production company that will be handling production and distribution of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” once both series complete their runs on ABC.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – Agnes Nixon is returning to ABC’s “All My Children,” for which she created, to once again portray the role of Agnes Eckhart, one of the longest reigning board members overseeing the fictional Pine Valley Hospital on the daytime soap. The character, who was created by Nixon herself, first appeared on the drama series in 2005 for the shows 35th anniversary. This time the character will be admitted to PVH under the care of David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) and Cara Martin (Lindsay Hartley).
In addition to sharing scenes with Irizarry and Hartley, Nixon will also interact with series star Susan Lucci (Erica Kane).
Incidently, when the episode airs on Wednesday, August 31, it’ll also mark the final date of employment for “AMC” cast and crew, at least for the ABC incarnation, as all contracts with Disney/ABC are set to expire on this date. Prospect Park, which picked up the distribution rights for the series from the Disney/ABC Television Group last month, has not formally announced who, if anyone, will be continuing with the drama series when it debuts online and possibly cable TV in January 2012.
via Press Release
Agnes Nixon to appear on All My Children this August
SHOW CREATOR AGNES NIXON SET TO APPEAR ON “ALL MY CHILDREN” THIS AUGUST
Agnes Nixon, creator of ABC’s daytime drama “All My Children,” returns to the show as Agnes Eckhart, a long standing board member of Pine Valley Hospital.
Nixon, often called the “queen of the modern soap opera,” created “All My Children” in 1970. She was a pioneer in daytime, writing for such shows as “Another World,” “Guiding Light,” “As the World Turns” and “Search for Tomorrow” before going on to create “One Life to Live,” “All My Children,” “The City” and “Loving.” It was on these shows where Nixon brought many current and important social issues to the small screen. She was honored in 2010 with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmys.
Nixon first appeared on “All My Children” in 2005 as the character Agnes Eckhardt, a role she created to celebrate the show’s 35th Anniversary. This time around, Agnes Eckhardt is admitted to Pine Valley Hospital where Cara (Lindsay Hartley) and David (Vincent Irizarry) tend to her. She also crosses paths with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci). Agnes has a profound effect on all of the characters she interacts with that changes the course of their lives. Nixon’s first episode airs on August 31, 2011.
Hallmarked for its iconic brand of humor and satire, “All My Children” has been prized with more than 30 Daytime Emmy Awards over the past four decades including the three-time top honor of Outstanding Drama Series. Praised for its socially conscious foundation, the show has been at the forefront of such issues as AIDS, rape, abortion, alcoholism, spousal abuse and racial bias, among others.
“All My Children” premiered on the ABC Television Network on January 5, 1970, as a half-hour show; seven years later it expanded to an hour. Julie Hanan Carruthers is executive producer with Lorraine Broderick as head writer. “All My Children” is produced in Los Angeles and airs MONDAY-FRIDAY (1:00-2:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.