Renee Jones has made one of the most daring decisions of her life. The “Days of our Lives” actress has decided to quit acting and leave the NBC daytime soap after a 20-year career that has spawned one of the longest and most successful pairings in daytime with her character Lexi Carver and James Reynolds‘ Abe Carver.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On June 6, 2011, ABC finally announced (after months of rumors) that it had signed a deal with former “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric to host a new daily syndicated talk show, and that said show would replace veteran soap opera “General Hospital” in the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT/CT timeslot. Initially the decision brought fear to soap opera fans, who only two months prior learned that ABC Daytime’s two other veteran soaps (“All My Children” and “One Life to Live”) would be replaced by two new food and lifestyle centered talk shows (“The Chew” and “The Revolution”). Now nearly a year since the announcement it looks like Katie Couric may just be the lifesaver “General Hospital” desperately needs.
According to TV Guide‘s Michael Logan, sources have informed him that the talk show host and her executive producer (former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker) have expressed their concern to the Disney/ABC Television Group brass, producers of her new talk show, in regards to the poor ratings performance that has been “The Revolution” – Since the talk shows debut in January the program hovers at just over 1.5 million viewers on average. By comparison, “One Life to Live,” which “Revolution” replaced, averaged more than 2.3 million viewers on average and performed better in key sales demos during the same period of time on the year-ago. “Couric and Zucker want to see ‘GH’ get that slot because it’s a stronger show, Nielsen-wise, plus Couric does not want to face the wrath of ‘GH’ fans and risk the chance they’ll organize a boycott. Who the hell needs that? So she and Zucker want ‘The Revolution’ to go bye-bye,” the website stated.
With “General Hospital’s” recent uptick in key demos and total viewers since the new dynamic duo of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati (executive producer and head writer) debuted just a few short weeks ago, for the first time in over a year the soap finally has a fighting chance, but will ABC listen? “They may not have a choice,” said Logan. “In fact, they might even agree at this point. Our spies at Times Square Studios — the new tag for ABC Daytime — tell us the commitment to nonscripted shows remains firm in the ABC daypart but no one is doing handstands over the ones currently in development, which include a doctor show and a game show. While ABC technically has time (though not much) to replace ‘The Revolution’ with more reality, that option is looking way too chancy.”
Should ABC end up keeping “GH” on the air and canceling “The Revolution,” the soap will move to the 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM CT/PT timeslot beginning in September. According to sources, a decision on the eventual outcome on either series will not be made until at least mid-April.
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(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As “One Life to Live” winds down production on its television run, the show has landed the mother of all returns — literally. Agnes Nixon, who created “OLTL” and sister soap “All My Children,” will make an appearance on the show as, what else, a soap opera scribe.
TVGuide‘s Michael Logan is reporting that the 83-year-old Nixon will play Agnes Dixon, creator of “One Life’s” 1980s fictional soap-within-a-soap, “Fraternity Row.”
While the show is keeping mum on the storyline details, Logan writes that Nixon’s character will be interviewed by Llanview’s feisty television reporter Blanca Morales (Carolina Bermudez), and that the former soap parody will again become an integral part of the show’s final weeks on ABC Daytime before airing its final episode on Friday, January 13 and begins online production with Prospect Park.
Nixon will tape her scenes on November 17. They will air the week of January 9.
This marks the second time Nixon has appeared on “OLTL.” In 2008, she appeared as “Agnes” when Viki (Erika Slezak) went to heaven as part of the show’s 40th anniversary. She also made cameo appearances on “All My Children” in 2005, 2008, and September of this year.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With “One Life to Live” nearing the end of its run on ABC Daytime, the list of returning former cast members is increasing. And, while the list is impressive, it is lacking one important ingredient for long-time fans of the soap.
With the exception of Judith Light, who is rumored to be making an appearance as Karen Wolek in the near future (which has yet to be officially confirmed), no one (character or actor) from the first two decades that “One Life to Live” was on the air are said to be on the list of possible returns (and no, Tina’s recent return doesn’t count). But this is hardly a new development. The same thing happened more than years ago when “OLTL” celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008.
While this decision ignores nearly half of the show’s history and legacy, I can see where the writers are coming from in a sense. Aside from older, long-term fans who have watched the show since almost since its inception, and history buffs who like to research the early goings on in Llanview, the majority of today’s “One Life” fans likely have no connection to characters like Carla Gray, Steve Burke, or Elieen and Julie Dennison. Furthermore, several of the actors who played those characters back in the late 1960s and early and mid 1970s have since passed on. And, many of those characters would either no longer have any friends or family currently residing in Llanview or, if they did, no obvious reason to contact them now when they haven’t do so in twenty or thirty years anyway.
Even so, it would still be a nice way to honor the entire 43 year history of the show, and not just the last 23 years of it, especially considering that “One Life’s” early years were filled with storylines that were deemed rather controversial, ground-breaking, and unheard of it for its time, such as the light-skinned Carla Gray (whom the audience thought was white) kissing a black man. That kiss alone prompted an ABC affiliate in Texas to drop the show from its daytime schedule at one time. Or Cathy Craig, a young girl hooked on drugs, whose counseling sessions took place with real-life drug addicts in New York City’s Odyssey House. Even the soap’s original name “Between Heaven and Hell” was deemed too controversial by the show’s sponsors, prompting creator Agnes Nixon to compromise and go with a more traditional title.
That being said, I realize that the show’s last two decades have also had their fair share of controversial and socially relevant plots like the homophobia/AIDS storyline, Viki’s battle with breast cancer and enduring a heart transplant. But it was the success of those early storylines noted above the paved the way for the show to condition on with similar types of plots years later.
How interesting would it be for several of these characters who were last seen in Llanview twenty-five, thirty, or even thirty-five years ago to suddenly walk back into town? Even if Viki is the only person some of them recognize, what a nice nod to those long-time fans and to the show’s history that would be. It would also be a treat for newer viewers to finally see a character they may have only heard or read about suddenly onscreen interacting with Llanview residents we are more familiar with. I know it would be me, having been born more than a decade after “One Life to Live” aired its first episode, and I’m sure it would be for many others as well.
That’s not to say that I won’t enjoy seeing Gabrielle Medina, Lindsay Rappaport, or Alex Olanov returning once more, or that I haven’t like seeing Tina and Cord back in Llanview again. These were some of the characters I grew up with over the years. But is would certainly be interesting to see some of those I didn’t grow up coming back as well. With Tina, Viki, and Todd all together again, imagine if we got to see their other siblings Meredith and Tony again (even if only in spirit form) for instance. Sadly however, I’m sure that “OLTL” likely won’t even mention the names of many of these older characters in the final months. But even if they don’t much of those first twenty years of Llanview will live on through the “OLTL” anniversary books, Youtube videos, and old photographs. And that is better than nothing for a show that has been a part of my life for more than a quarter of a century now. However, I will be really ticked off if the show doesn’t ask Michael Storm to appear a final time as Dr. Larry Wolek. Just sayin’.
Moving on, congratulations to”Kelly” and “CBRVA83,” both of whom (for the most part) 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 was the name of the episode of “Kate & Allie” that Frankie Faison (Richard Evans) appeared on, and what character did he play? Answer: “The Bad Seed;” a detective. 2. What legendary television star does Melissa Archer (Natalie) consider to be her role model? Anwer: Lucille Ball 3. What U.S. city does Florencia Lozano (Téa) say that she wouldn’t like to live in? Answer: Los Angeles.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. 1. What small role did Peter Bartlett (Nigel) play in the film “Meet the Parents?” 2. To which magazine has Andrea Evans (Tina) served as a contributor? 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? I’ll have the answers in the November 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. Will a wedding go off without a hitch? Someone is discovered passed out. One man’s past catches up with him. And wedding bells ring, but it may or may not be who you think.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Have a safe and ghoulish Halloween and don’t eat too much candy.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — As Soap Opera Network reported late last week, Susan Lucci has added a scathing new chapter to “All My Life” scheduled to be included in the paperback release of her memoir on September 13. In the new epilogue, the actress who is known for being too well-mannered uncharacteristically blasts ABC Daytime Chief Brian Frons for what she feels is his mismanagement of ABC Daytime and his general arrogance. Following a weekend of book leaks, ABC released what could only be construed as a biting statement about Lucci’s book addition and conduct. On Tuesday – coincidentally or not – after getting information from an unnamed source, a Deadline.com article held back few jabs after revealing the actress turned down the offer to continue with “All My Children” online.
An epilogue is defined as a piece of writing usually included to conclude a body of work. On Saturday, September 3, as aforementioned, the New York Post not only revealed more juicy tidbits from Lucci’s new memoir epilogue detailing her feelings about the cancellation of the soap she put on the map in 1970, they also included a response from ABC in regard to it. An ABC Daytime spokesperson told the Post “we have all the respect in the world for Susan, and are sorry she felt the need to write this epilogue to an otherwise incredible career.” The negative connotation that statement ends on is hard to miss. Coincidentally on Tuesday, September 6, Deadline.com announced that Lucci officially turned down Prospect Park’s more than fair offer to remain with the show due to trying to “gouge the producers for more money.” According to the article, Lucci was offered the same pay she currently receives at ABC Daytime but demanded a raise and perks including more time off. The article implies that the future of “AMC” is now in jeopardy and “One Life to Live” will become the focus of the new venture due to Lucci’s lack of cooperation with the company that has licensed “AMC” and “OLTL” from ABC. In the same article it was also announced that the production company had secured several “OLTL” stars to continue post-ABC Daytime including Llanview’s main leading lady Erika Slezak.
For her part, despite the addition to the book being written before Lucci learned of the licensing deal with Prospect Park, the Emmy Award winner recently told TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan she has no regrets about writing what was on her mind. Just last week, Lucci seemed to be a good bet to continue with Prospect Park. Once again speaking to TV Guide Magazine, she had this to say about the venture at that time: “my heart is there… I think it’s a very, very exciting possibility. I think that Prospect Park, the men involved there, have a wonderful, successful track record.” This leaves fans and the press alike wondering if ABC Daytime’s hurt feelings about Lucci speaking her mind was the real culprit behind this sudden turn of events or at least the negative tone now surrounding her current negotiation stand with Prospect Park. Jamey Giddens, from Daytime Confidential, reports that this may not be the end of talks. “AMC” creator Agnes Nixon is still hoping to help Prospect Park reach an agreement with Lucci.
Whatever the case, on September 23, Lucci is slated to co-host “The View’” for a special tribute to “AMC.” “The View” is a part of ABC Daytime and the talk show’s daily hot topics may become even more heated if any of these topics reach the discussion table.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – Jacob Young is returning to the soap that started his daytime career back in 1997. This fall the Daytime Emmy Award winner will reprise the role of Eric Forrester (John McCook) and Brooke Logan’s (Katherine Kelly Lang) son, Rick Forrester, on the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
Four months after it was announced that “All My Children” would be ending its run on ABC in September and just a month after learning that Prospect Park, a 2-year-old production company, had picked up the show as part of its yet-to-be-named infotainment network set for a January launch, Young (JR Chandler on “AMC”) has become the second actor to bolt the daytime drama series. The first being Debbi Morgan (Angie Hubbard), who is heading to “The Young and the Restless” later this fall.
In an interview with TV Guide Magazine‘s Michael Logan, Young reveals that he will be returning on screen to “B&B” beginning Monday, September 26, which will also mark the first time in 41-years that “All My Children” was not on the regularly scheduled ABC Daytime lineup. “The Chew” replaces “AMC” on this date.
“When I started talking to ‘B&B’ I didn’t think it would happen so fast. But I guess it’s good that way. I was looking forward to wrapping up ‘AMC’ and having a bit of a hiatus, maybe a month or two to travel with my family,” said Young. “As it turns out, I’ll probably have my ‘AMC’ and ‘B&B’ schedules overlapping and be shooting both shows at the same time. I’m like, ‘You guys figure it out and point me in the right direction.’”
Although he hopes the deal with Prospect Park and “AMC” can come together even without him and Morgan, like many of his co-stars Young is concerned about the hiatus between the soap ending on ABC and taking off on the internet. Young thinks a January 16 debut is an optimistic time table for when “AMC” could end up back on the air considering the facts of the situation so far. His advice to his co-stars in the meantime is “to get out there in the business and see what’s crackin’. Anybody with common sense would do that.”
With Prospect Park yet to confirm details of when “AMC” will pick up production due to union issues, the company has been unable to reach out to actors to try and iron out contracts, leaving an actor exodus a strong possibility before the online version of the soap even debuts. Interestingly enough, news of Young heading back to “B&B” comes on the heals of that soap returning from a three week production hiatus.
In an interview with Soap Opera Network during the “All My Children” Fan Club Weekend, Young shared his hopes for fans who would continue with the show online and where he sees his character as the show comes to a close on ABC.
For more from Young’s TV Guide interview where he discusses both “AMC” and “B&B, click here.
About Jacob Young
Young put the character of Rick Forrester on the map on “B&B” from 1997 to 1999. The role was last played by Kyle Lowder (ex-Brady, “Days of Our Lives) in 2011. Young moved on to ABC’s “General Hospital” as Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke and Laura Spencer (Anthony Geary and Genie Francis), from 2000 to 2003. Keeping a track record of playing the son of some of daytime’s most important characters, in 2003, Young landed the role of Adam Chandler (David Canary) and Dixie Cooney’s (Cady McClain) son JR Chandler on “AMC.” That role had previously been played to much acclaim by Jesse McCartney.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — It was June 8 when newly appointed “General Hospital” head writer Garin Wolf previewed to TV Guide Magazine‘s Michael Logan that “sometimes they come back” in reference to what fans can expect from his tenure as the shows top scribe. Since then word broke that Leslie Charleson would be returning to the soap as Dr. Monica Quartermaine nearly a year after being placed on recurring status, but never seen or used since. Also expected to return in recurring capacities are Tyler Christopher (Nikolas Cassadine) and Ingo Rademacher (Jasper ‘Jax’ Jacks), who were both fired while under the Robert Guza Jr. dictated writing regime. Also showing their face for a lengthier stay than originally thought, and in a recurring capacity, is Constance Towers whose Helena Cassadine is finding herself a new boy toy after many years of lacking a 3 dimensional personality, the return of Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and more Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliott).
“I want to make this a nice, easy transition. I want to bring balance to the show. I’m very big on secrets and romance and triangles. I’m a child of [Charles] Dickens and Doug Marland. I love “Dexter” and “Desperate Housewives.” I’m very eclectic. I love to combine a lot of different things, which is what’s great about soap operas. I love multi-generational stories,” said Wolf of what viewers could expect from him directly as a longtime fan of the medium himself. Regarding “GH” specifically, Wolf made it clear that “this is an amazing cast and I want to use everybody. I want to mix it up and bring back the entertainment. I want to bring back the reality to the characters’ lives. If you’re a cop, what is your life really like? Even in the most outrageous storyline, there must be some kind of identifiable emotion. I don’t care if we’re talking about a mobster or a plumber — you have to watch and say, ‘I know how he feels. I’ve been there.’ And we really need romance. For me, that’s all about yearning and obstacles. You have to know who you are rooting for and rooting against. I want to bring back villainy — dishy villainy, fun villainy, dangerous villainy. This is going to date me. My earliest soap opera memory is having a crush on Ann Flood on ‘The Edge of Night’ when I was 7 years old. And I went from there to ‘Dark Shadows.’ Growing up, comic books were soap operas for me.”
All the fun and excitement fans have been hearing about from stars of the drama series, including Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), who has been very vocal on Twitter, kicks off on Tuesday, July 26, when Wolf penned episodes begin airing on ABC. Almost immediately fans can expect love, romance, fights for survival, passion, courtship, reconciliations, introductions, jealousy and even a touch of “Cougar Town” (think early episodes from the shows first season) to hit their screens. In response to what she knows of Wolf’s material, Grahn shared on her Twitter page ” “It’s going to be all about women. This team loves them. That’s not to say we’ll all be saints, but it’ll be about us. The pace will be picking up. The actors have worked with him [Wolf] before and they are all happy.”
Sources tell Soap Opera Network that with all returning cast members and the creative changes hitting “General Hospital,” you should expect to hear that those returning actors will be not be offered contracts. “All of these actors are being kept on recurring in an attempt to keep costs down in order to keep the show on the air,” said a source. The same also holds true for other daytime soaps as well. “This is a trend we can expect to see more of, not just on ‘GH,’ but in daytime in general,” our source continued. “It’s been headed this way for a long time,” a daytime star told Soap Opera Network requesting anonymity during Emmy weekend earlier this month. “We’re going to see less and less contracts and more people on recurring basis. Unfortunately this is the way its been headed and in order for daytime to survive, this is the way it has to be.”
The cost cutting idea is one that makes the most sense when you think about it. You’re not guaranteed to have to pay people who aren’t being used, so the big gamble will be either risk losing key players to current storylines or lose millions of dollars on stars you don’t use, only to see your show canceled due to budget constraints. In order to avoid this all together, it is also likely we will see actors continuiously picked up for cycles as they are used and then being dropped before the next cycle kicks in.
Long before ABC’s Upfront presentation got underway at around 3:45 PM on Tuesday, May 17, when invited guests began scuttling into the Avery Fisher Hall, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) looked to take attention off of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) by promoting its new fall programming with a rotation of more than a dozen Grayline and CitySearch NYC buses that were filled with wide open spaces or a lack of passengers in this case. While the seats may have been empty, no one could miss the colorful brand making its presence known while its competitor seeks a piece of the $9.2 billion pie during a crucial television season that lies ahead for the Disney/ABC Television Group. Insert the NBC peacock now featured on billboards in newly stylized glossy graphics.
(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) — TV Guide.com and TV Guide Magazine appear to have reconciled as the two became one once again on Tuesday, June 1.
Best known to its soap readers as the place to catch the latest column from long-time soap columnist Michael Logan, TV Guide Magazine and its online counterpart, TV Guide.com, were separated in the fall of 2008 after Macrovision (then owner of the magazine, website and television network) sold the magazine portion to OpenGate Capital for a mere $1, according to a report by AdAge.com. The separation of the two resulted in the magazine portion launching its own distinctive website, which did not include the legendary guide listings found on TV Guide.com and the magazine itself. The sale of TV Guide Magazine also severed ties between it and the TV Guide Network, which was purchased along-side TV Guide.com in January 2009 by Lions Gate Television. It is unclear at this time as to how or why the magazine had returned into the fold of TV Guide branded material, but as a long-time consumer of the brand either online or in print, it feels like your long-lost brother has returned home after years of neither of you seeing each other and everything is once again right with the world.
Interestingly, Damian Holbrook, a Senior Writer for the magazine, confirmed the re-marriage on Twitter when he stated “it feels so good!” to a follower who noted the re-aligned entities. No further comments have been made by TV Guide Magazine or TV Guide.com staff on Twitter or Facebook, which houses many pages for both staffs. In fact, many of the TV Guide Magazine staff Twitter pages, including that of Senior Critic Matt Roush, continues to link to the old website for the magazine indicating that the change over seems to have been that much more recent than anyone may think.