(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With the Prospect Park era about to begin for “One Life to Live,” the show appears to be in better shape than its sister soap “All My Children.”
“OLTL” fans have reason to be optimistic about the show’s future after it leaves the ABC Daytime line-up in January. Ratings for the show continue to be solid and holding steady above “AMC” and “General Hospital.” Casting wise, the soap is an upswing. Hot on the heels of Roger Howarth‘s return to Llanview, comes word that several others, including Andrea Evans (Tina), John Loprieno (Cord), Kathy Brier (Marcie), Chris Stack (Michael), and possibly Tonja Walker (Alex) are on their way back as well. Rumors are flying that Prospect Park may be focusing more on “OLTL” than “AMC,” something which “One Life” never really experienced under ABC. And four of the show’s leading stars, including grand dame Erika Slezak (Viki), have already agreed to remain with the show when it transitions to the online distribution company in a few months (the others being Kassie DePaiva [Blair], Ted King [Tomas], and Michael Easton [John]).
Meanwhile, “All My Children’s” future seems less certain. Aside from strained negotiations between Prospect Park and “AMC” leading lady Susan Lucci (Erica Kane), there have thus far been no confirmed reports of any members of the show’s cast either being in serious talks with the company or signing on the dotted line to continue with the show. Furthermore, it appears increasingly more apparent that “AMC” may get the same treatment from Prospect Park that “OLTL” has gotten for years now from ABC.
Speculation on the matter was fueled last week by two separate incidents. First, Deadline Hollywood‘s Nellie Andreeva reported that “I hear that Prospect Park may reevaluate its short-term strategy for the two soaps and put its muscle behind the higher-rated ‘OLTL,’ while moving ‘AMC’ to the back burner.” That was followed up by a Soaps.com interview with “All My Children’s” Vincent Irizarry (David) who commented that “As far as I know, no, there hasn’t been. I’ve spoken to numerous actors from the show over the last few days and nobody from our show has been in contact with them. Except for Susan [Lucci, Erica], which we all assumed that awhile ago. So, that’s basically it. They’re moving [forward] with ‘One Life to Live’ right now and that’s certainly their right. That’s what they’re doing and for whatever reason that’s how it happened.”
Furthermore, unlike “One Life to Live,” “All My Children” will have a nearly four month gap between the airing of its last episode on ABC and its first episode of Prospect Park. “One Life” on the other hand, is said to be debuting on Prospect Park the Monday after its airs its final ABC episode on Friday, January 13, therefore maintaining the status quo for “OLTL,” while leaving “All My Children” fans in suspense and impatiently waiting for weeks for their show to return.
Personally, I find all of this extremely interesting, especially since there seems to have been a complete role reversal between the two shows. “One Life to Live” has always reminded me of “The Little Engine That Could,” endlessly trying to make its way up the hill to the top of the mountain (i.e. ratings), while all the more powerful engines (or in this case, the better known soap operas) just keep passing them by until one day when the little engine finally made it to the top after years of chanting “I think I can.” In a sense, it is uncharted waters for many “One Life” fans who aren’t used to their show doing so well. It makes me proud of the soap I have grown up watching for more than two decades now.
However, its one thing to get to the top, but it is quite another thing to stay there. And with the show’s writing, production, and directing crews under Prospect Park still up in the air, it leaves me feeling somewhat concerned, especially given the fact that current head writer Ron Carlivati still seems on track to join the writing staff of “General Hospital” once “OLTL” up production of its TV run in November. Granted, Carlivati isn’t exactly daytime’s best scribe considering “OLTL’s” overabundance of useless characters in idiotic storylines (e.g. the Nate/Deanna/Rick porn plot), and treatment of women characters, but he must be doing something right for the show to be climbing in the ratings as it has been. But like him or not, he does bring stability to the show and often draws upon the soap’s rather rich history (even if he usually twists it to fit his own agenda) when penning tales. Throwing in someone new, especially if they are not very familiar with the show could cause problems. The same can be said for Executive Producer Frank Valentini. For several years now, he has managed to keep “OLTL” under budget while running a tight ship. Finding a suitable replacement may prove difficult.
That being said, I think the show is in good hands with Prospect Park, and believe that it will continue to do rather well. Even so, I am well aware of the potential risks involved in moving an established 43-year-old soap opera from a television slot it has held for more than 30 years to the uncharted waters of online-only distribution. If it works, then wonderful, soaps will have found a new way to live on. If it fails, then at least soap fans can say they tried, and “OLTL” and “AMC” will be remembered for going where no other soaps have gone. Either way, it gives new hope for the daytime serial genre, proving that there may still be some life in the old “stories” yet.
Moving on, congratulations to “CBRVA83,” who correctly guessed the answers to my trivia questions from last time. In case you missed the clues, here they are, along with the answers: 1. What current “OLTL” cast member was the youngest soap star ever placed on contract with a daytime drama back in 2001? Answer: Kristen Alderson. 2. In college, what subject did Ted King get his undergraduate degree in and from what school? Answer: Business from UC-Santa Barbara. 3. What foreign language did Erika Slezak grow up speaking before learning English at five-years-old? Answer: German.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. See if you know the answers to these questions about some of the current and former cast members of “One Life to Live.” 1. Kassie DePaiva (Blair) appeared on what game show before joining “OLTL” and who was the daytime celebrity (and future co-star) was she paired up with? 2. What two wars did the late Phil Carey (Asa) serve in? 3. What is John-Paul Lavoisier‘s (Rex) real last name? I’ll have the answers in the September 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. Someone turns up dead. One man risks his life to save others. An unlikely person is put in jail. And one sister makes a shocking discovery about her sibling.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Stay safe!
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
“One Life to Live” star Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) had many fans in attendance at last weekends “One Life to Live” Fan Club Weekend Luncheon scratching their heads when she said “I was told by our executive producer [Frank Valentini] yesterday, that on Wednesday [August 10] we tied with ‘Y&R.’” Considering “The Young and the Restless” is daytime’s #1 soap, we thought she may have made a mistake too, but it turns out she wasn’t wrong at all.
(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.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Back in June at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, “One Life to Live” executive producer Frank Valentini alluded to Soap Opera Network that we hadn’t seen the last of Farah Fath despite her character, Gigi Morasco, being killed off. In our Twitter posting that night, we stated “according to Frank Valentini, more surprises in store for #OLTL. Have we seen the last of Gigi? Don’t believe what you see!” Come August, that’s never been more certain!
During the “One Life to Live” Fan Club Weekend, Fath herself shed a little light on her storyline when she shared with a fan that “the storyline’s not over.” So how can that be considering Gigi died in June thanks to carbon monoxide poisoning after being locked in a basement by Jack Manning (Andrew Trischitta), his buddy Brad (Frank Dolce), and Llanview High School cheerleader Hayley (Gaby Leyner)? Well Gigi’s heart may have gone to Clint Buchanan (Jerry verDorn), which conveniently occurred off-screen, but Stacy’s (played by Crystal Hunt) body was never recovered.
Interestingly enough, Stacy’s best friend Kim (Amanda Setton), Clint’s most recent ex-wife, returns on Friday, August 19. In the episode, the character will learn some interesting information from Rex (John-Paul Lavoisier) about the goings on in Llanview and shares these tidbits with a certain someone next week.
We wonder what that means? Hmmm…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — According to Gina Tognoni during Saturday’s “Girl’s Night Out” event during the “One Life to Live” Fan Club Weekend, her character Kelly Cramer will be departing Llanview on Wednesday, August 24, when Kelly decides to return to London to be closer to her son Zane. Meanwhile, Tom Degnan‘s Joey Buchanan may not be far behind.
In a soon to be published interview with Soap Opera Network, Degnan explains that Joey finally has the woman he loves in his life and he doesn’t plan on giving her up this time, which is why Joey leaves town to be with his lady.
Before Kelly leaves town, however, look for her, Joey, and the rest of the Buchanan clan pay tribute to Asa (played by the late Phil Carey) on the four year anniversary of his death. In addition, look for her to help her fellow Cramer girls give Dorian (Robin Strasser) a proper sendoff as she exits Llanview to launch her Senate campaign.
Tognoni was honored by “One Life to Live” Executive Producer Frank Valentini and show cast and crew as she taped her final scenes on the ABC soap back on June 24.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As we reported yesterday, we likely have to thank our federal government for providing the funding necessary for Prospect Park to pick up “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” which were both canceled by ABC on Thursday, April 14. The announcement that ABC would be licensing the two iconic soaps to Prospect Park was made on Thursday, July 7, but according to sources the financial deal actually came together back in May, just in time for what is said to be the deadline period for the government to hand out grant money to companies looking to invest in New Media. We thought it was crazy too, but we checked and it is definitely true. What we know about this deal is that upon their completion on ABC, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will be migrated to an as-yet-to-be-named Hulu-esque internet video service that would allow both daily soap operas to continue their storytelling for millions of online users and “be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length,” as fans have come to expect for more than forty years, according to the joint press release issued from Disney/ABC and Prospect Park. Translation: One hour per day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year will remain within the realm of reality. What wasn’t clear at the time was after both soaps complete their runs on ABC, they will also conclude on SOAPnet.
Insiders tell Soap Opera Network that even with the multi-year, multi-platform licensing deal with Prospect Park, the deal does not call for Disney/ABC to air either programs on their owned and operated networks, which includes SOAPnet, despite the channel now expected to remain on cable/satellite systems longer than originally thought due to some minor issues the Walt Disney Company had been having with the launch of its Disney Junior cable network. Additionally, when an ABC representative confirmed to Soaps in Depth back in late April that SOAPnet would “absolutely have programming” after “AMC” and “OLTL” ended their runs, they neglected to name which programming would be in place. Soap Opera Network has confirmed with the same representative that the programming in question will not include “All My Children” or “One Life to Live.” In fact, after yesterday’s announcement was released, the Disney/ABC Television Group made it clear that they are no longer in charge of the day-to-day operations of either of your favorite daytime soaps once their runs are completed on ABC and SOAPnet. If you want to know what’s going to happen next on “All My Children” after it ends on Friday, September 23, don’t call, write or email Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group. He is not in charge of that show and he will not be in charge of “One Life to Live” either after the series airs its final broadcast on Friday, January 20, 2012. Prospect Park, which at this time has no plans to release any further details surrounding the new venture beyond what was already reported, according to a representative, is in the early stages of what will surely be a drawn out discussion with the people that help make your favorite soaps as well as the unions these individuals belong to as neither union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), was prepared for this new business model when they last negotiated their contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which comprises The Walt Disney Company, among others. AFTRA is the primary union representing on-air talent for daytime soaps.
Now that “One Life” is continuing with a second one under Prospect Park, fans around the world are wondering how does this affect the storylines, how does this affect the cast, the crews, the writers and even the producers? Digging a little further, with last month’s announcement that Ron Carlivati, who currently serves as “One Life to Live’s” head writer, would be transitioning to “General Hospital” as a script writer later this year when the show completes its run on ABC, it really begs the question of what happens next? Not only for that soap, but for “All My Children” as well. “It’s too early to know,” said a ABC insider requesting anonymity. “The details are too fresh on everyone’s minds for it to be determined who will be running these shows, or particularly writing them, after they finish their ABC runs.” The same also holds true for who will be appearing on your favorite soaps as they transition to your computer screens as well, the insider informed us. In fact, according to “All My Children” star JR Martinez (Brot Monroe) in a twitter posting, “I will say this-my current contract was to terminate on August 31st. Now we must see who they want to keep & renegotiate with. Not sure…” It appears as though the termination Martinez is referring to holds true for all current contract cast members at “AMC,” leaving Prospect Park to renegotiate with the cast and even the crews in order to properly transition the series to the web in the “same quality” fans have come to expect. But back to Carlivati. He along with “One Life” Executive Producer Frank Valentini signed new deals with ABC back in September of 2010. The terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but it was understood to last two years for Valentini and three years for Carlivati, so does that mean the two will remain with “One Life” under the guidance of Prospect Park? Or has ABC opted to keep the dynamic duo under its charge leaving new blood to step in and head write and produce the show with the “same quality and in the same format and length” as before? As our insider said before “It’s too early to know.” There is no word on what this development means for “All My Children” Executive Producer Julie Hanan Carruthers or Head Writer Lorraine Broderick.
However, one of the big questions left unanswered are where will the shows be produced? “All My Children” moved its production to the Andrita studios in Los Angeles, CA back in January of 2010 in a multi-year licensing deal. Will the show remain in that studio? It looks like it will as the cost factor would be too great for Prospect to move the series once more. However, things look a little less certain for “One Life to Live,” which took over “AMC’s” New York studio space housed in the ABC Television Center. With ABC no longer producing the series it is likely the series will be moved to another facility or moved to the West Coast right along with “AMC” in order for Prospect Park to better manage the daily operations of the drama series.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After fifteen years of working in various positions on the “One Life to Live” writing staff, including serving as the show’s head scribe for the last three years, ABC has announced that Ron Carlivati will be joining “General Hospital” as a script writer. The move will fulfill the remainder of the three-year contract Carlivati signed with the network last September. A similar two-year deal was hammered out at the time with “One Life” Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
Despite the timing of the news, “OLTL” fans breath a sigh of relief, however, since Carlivati is not expected to begin his new duties until after the show wraps production sometime in mid-November. “One Life to Live” will air its final episode on January 20, 2012.
Carlivati echoed the sentiment in a press release, saying that “I remain fully committed to Frank Valentini and ‘One Life to Live’ as the show’s Headwriter until the series concludes in January of 2012. It has been my distinct honor to write for Agnes Nixon’s groundbreaking soap opera for the past fifteen years, and it will be with a heavy heart that I, along with my incredibly talented team, pen its finale. At that time, I am happy to announce that I will then be joining the writing team of ‘General Hospital,’ and am thrilled to be working once again with Executive Producer Jill Phelps as well as new Headwriter Garin Wolf.”
Wolf was just named “GH” headwriter last month by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, upon the firing of the show’s former head scribe Robert Guza, Jr.
The news of Carlivati’s move to the L.A.-based “Hospital,” was broken Thursday by “One Life’s” soon-to-be-departing leading lady Robin Strasser, who tweeted that ” JUST TOLD but NOT told it wuz SECRET: Ron CARLIVATI to #GH as script writer-hopes 2 b co-head writer? Yo,I’m taking heat for leaving early?” Strasser, as we previously reported, is leaving “OLTL” this summer to have back surgery. Her final tape date is Friday, July 1.
Carlivati, along with his writing staff, won a Daytime Emmy in 2008 for their work on “One Life to Live.” He began his daytime career on the soap as a Writer’s Assistant from 1996-1998, before being promoted the the position of Script Writer. In 2001 he was again promoted, this time to the job of Breakdown Writer. In May 2007, he was appointed Co-Head Writer (along with Dena Higley). In September of that year, he was named the show’s sole Head Writer following the network’s dismissal of Higley, where he has continued to serve (minus a brief hiatus during the 2008 Writer’s Strike) in the same capacity.
Click here to read an interview Soap Opera Network did with Carlivati in March of this year, one month before ABC announced the cancellation of “One Life to Live” and sister soap “All My Children.”
After a week of unconfirmed (by the show) firings of numerous actors, NBC’s “Days of our Lives” has now fired its co-executive producer, Gary Tomlin. The news was first reported by TV Guide Canada‘s Nelson Branco on Twitter. News of Tomlin’s firing comes on the heels of last months firing of head writer Dena Higley and the recent firings of actors Crystal Chappell (Carly Manning), Louise Sorel (Vivian Alamain), Bren Foster (Quinn Hudson), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane), and Tamara Braun (Taylor Walker).
It was in August 2008 when Executive Producer Ken Corday announced the hiring of Tomlin after confirming the ouster of Ed Scott.
“I have decided that it’s in the best interest of the show’s future to make this change in order to improve ‘Days’ both visually and emotionally,” said Corday at the time. “We at ‘Days’ are grateful to Ed Scott for all of his contributions and amazing energy over the past year. Gary Tomlin brings a long successful history of being an actor’s producer and a writer’s producer to our cast and crew and I know the viewers will see the immediate results of this change for the better.” Unfortunately for Tomlin his services were deemed no longer necessary.
At this time no replacement had been named nor was it clear whether or not Corday would take on all executive producer responsibilities himself.
Prior to joining “DAYS,” Tomlin began his career in daytime in 1973, when he was cast in the contract role of Bruce Carson on “Search for Tomorrow.” He later appeared as Morgan Simpson on NBC’s “Another World” in 1979. From 1980-1981, he was co-head writer of “DAYS” with Michelle Poteet-Lisanti. Later, he went on to co-head write at his old stomping ground, “Another World” for two years starting in 1984. In the late 1980′s/early 1990′s, Tomlin began writing scripts for “Santa Barbara” and directing episodes for both “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” In 1995 he joined “All My Children” as a producer. Upon the debut of NBC’s “Sunset Beach” in 1997 through its last airing in 1999, Tomlin was credited as the shows Executive Producer. He served as a director at NBC’s “Passions” from 2000-2001 and again from April 25, 2003 – April 2, 2008. He joined “One Life to Live” as its Executive Producer in November 2000, but his first credited episodes did not air until January 2001. He left the ABC soap in August 2003. He was immediately replaced by current “One Life” Executive Producer, Frank Valentini. Tomlin won the soap its one and only Outstanding Drama Series Daytime Emmy Award in 2003.
Due to its advanced filming schedule, Tomlin will be credited as EP until episodes scheduled to air in late August/early September.
A “Days of our Lives” representative was unavailable for comment at press time.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — ABC renews its commitment to keep “One Life to Live” on the air and a part of their daytime schedule through at least 2014.
Last Saturday, a story by the Denver Post left fans of the show feeling a sense of hope and confusion, stating that “ABC owns its soaps, unlike the CBS relationship with P&G. ABC’s ‘One Life to Live’ is soon to announce a deal to live two more years.”
Since the network does maintain ownership of all three of its daytime serials, an announcement that they they were planning to “renew” “One Life” for at least two more years does not and would not apply.
However, TVGuide‘s Michael Logan attempted to clarify the story Wednesday by reporting that he has learned from sources at the network that ABC’s commitment to “One Life to Live” has more to do with behind-the-scenes actions involving the show’s staff.
According to Logan, “OLTL” Executive Producer Frank Valentini, who celebrated his 25th anniversary with the show just yesterday (September 28th) has signed a new two-year contract to remain with the soap, while Head Writer Ron Carlivati, who has been with the show for 14 years (including the last three in his current position – with the exception of roughly three months in 2008 due to a writer’s strike) has penned a new three-deal to remain with the show.
Before replacing Gary Tomlin as Executive Producer in 2003, Valentini had worked in several positions on the show including stage manager, producer, and music composer. During his tenure with the show, “OLTL” has been either won or been nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards, including nods for Directing, Outstanding Drama (which it won in 2002), and Best Original Song. The show has also been earned GLAAD Awards in 2005 and 2010.
Carlivati held the positions of writer’s assistant, script writer, breakdown writer, and co-Head Writer before assuming sole head writing duties in 2007. Carlivati and the rest of the “OLTL” scribes won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Daytime Drama in 2008. They were nominated in the same category in 2002 and 2006. In addition, the writing staff was also nominated for WGA (Writer’s Guild of America) Awards in 2003 and 2006.
Look for a post-deal interview with both Carlivati and Valentini to be posted on TVGuide‘s website sometime next week.
“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Anytime on ABC.com.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Gary Tomlin officially takes over “Days of our Lives” from Ed Scott.
In the most unusual press release ever issued by a television studio or network, Sony Pictures Television and Corday Productions, Inc., producers of “Days of our Lives,” put rumors to rest and officially announced that former “One Life to Live” Executive Producer, Gary Tomlin, would be taking over Co-Executive Producer reins at the NBC soap opera. He replaces Ed Scott.
“I have decided that it’s in the best interest of the show’s future to make this change in order to improve ‘Days’ both visually and emotionally,” said Ken Corday, Executive Producer. “We at ‘Days’ are grateful to Ed Scott for all of his contributions and amazing energy over the past year. Gary Tomlin brings a long successful history of being an actor’s producer and a writer’s producer to our cast and crew and I know the viewers will see the immediate results of this change for the better.”
Scott was reportedly fired on Friday, August 15, after rumored battles with Corday and the soaps head writer, Dena Higley.
“I’m very happy to be back at ‘Days’ where I began behind the scenes in the early 80’s,” said Gary Tomlin, new Co-Executive Producer. “It’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to work with Ken Corday.”
Tomlin began his career in daytime in 1973, when he was cast in the contract role of Bruce Carson on “Search for Tomorrow.” He later appeared as Morgan Simpson on NBC’s “Another World” in 1979. His work behind-the-scenes began in 1980, when he joined “DAYS” as its co-head writer. He held the position until 1981. Later, he went on to co-head write at his old stomping ground, “Another World” for two years starting in 1984. In the late 1980′s/early 1990′s, Tomlin began writing scripts for “Santa Barbara” and directing episodes for both “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” In 1995 he joined “All My Children” as a producer. Upon the debut of NBC’s “Sunset Beach” in 1997 through its last airing in 1999, Tomlin was credited as the shows Executive Producer. He joined “One Life to Live” as its Executive Producer in November 2000, but his first credited episodes did not air until January 2001. He left the ABC soap in August 2003. He was replaced by current “One Life” Executive Producer, Frank Valentini.
For his work on “One Life to Live,” Tomlin won the soap its one and only Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award in 2003. The series turned 40 years-old on July 15, 2008.
“Days of our Lives” airs Weekdays on NBC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Anytime on iTunes. Check local listings.