During tonight’s 65th Annual DGA Awards Dinner, held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles, “One Life to Live‘s” Jill Mitwell beat out “General Hospital‘s” Larry Carpenter, Scott McKinsey and William Ludel and “Days of our Live’s” director Albert Alarr in the category of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials. Mitwell won for her direction of the episode “Between Heaven and Hell,” which aired during “OLTL’s” final week on television (week of January 9, 2012). Coincidently, the title of the episode is based on the fact that prior to its 43-year run on ABC, which began July 15, 1968, “One Life to Live” was initially titled “Between Heaven and Hell.”
It was on Friday, January 25, when Soap Opera Network first reported that Prospect Park‘s “All My Children” was looking to recast the role of Cassandra Foster, the adopted daughter of Angela Hubbard (Debbi Morgan), who the good doctor found abandoned in a dumpster during her run on ABC’s “The City” back in the mid-1990′s. The character returned as an 18 year-old seeking comfort from mommy dearest in 2008 as played by actress YaYa DaCosta. Since then, the production company has now officially issued a casting call for the role. According to the casting call, the role is for an African-American in her early-mid 20′s, “gorgeous with an air of sophistication.” The character spent the majority of her time in Paris, France, which has helped her become “worldly, independent and a force to be reckoned with.” The role is contract.
Just a short time ago, Prospect Park released the following statement to Soap Opera Network regarding the latest developments surrounding its discussions with Disney/ABC Domestic Television and the use of the characters Starr Manning, Todd Manning and John McBain.
According to the company, shortly after deciding to postpone production of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” they made an agreement with ABC that would allow “General Hospital” to utilize the characters so that they could “stay alive with the fans and also so that the actors could remain working.” The company also tells Soap Opera Network that “Everyone at ABC and on the production staff of ‘General Hospital’ understood that this was a temporary arrangement until production started once again on ‘One Life to Live.’ Now the time has come to start production and Prospect Park needs to, once again, cast these characters including Llanview transplants Michael Easton (John) and Kristen Alderson (Starr).”
In a report by BroadcastEngineering.com, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will both begin production on Monday, February 25 for their online incarnations, which are set to premiere sometime in April exclusively on Hulu. NEP Broadcasting, LLC is currently constructing studio space for both series in an old factory in Connecticut, the website says. This would indicate that despite reports stating otherwise, neither show will be filming at the Stamford Media Center, where “Maury” is filmed.
Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.
“‘General Hospital’ is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing it’s decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.
UPDATE 8:09 AM ET: In an update to his original Facebook message, Easton says that he wasn’t trying to “upset anybody” with his previously mentioned words, which had sparked outrage across social media networks from fans of the actor and character, who were upset to hear of his pending exit from “General Hospital.” The actor also says that the matter between Prospect Park and ABC may “take some time and some very bright people to resolve.”
Michael Easton Facebook Message Update
THANK YOU (PART TWO)
Didn’t mean to upset anybody, was just trying to address the birthday stuff. Honestly not sure what the future holds but I think it’s going to take some time and some very bright people to resolve it. Thank you again for all your kindness and support…
PREVIOUS: 2:19 AM ET: As previously reported, Michael Easton along with Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth are currently at the center of a legal dispute between Prospect Park and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Telvision Group, over who has the right to use the characters of John McBain (Easton), Starr Manning (Alderson) and Todd Manning (Howarth)). In one corner you have Prospect Park and “One Life to Live” and in the other you have ABC and “General Hospital.” Unfortunately for the fans, no one is “winning.” According to one of the affected actors, after Friday, February 8, they “cannot be at ‘General Hospital’” any longer.
Although her name was among fifteen “One Life” cast members listed in a press release last week from Prospect Park as joining the online version of “OLTL,” Erika Slezak (Viki) confirmed the news today with a statement on her official website. Telling fans that she is “pleased” to join the upcoming online version of the show when production begins “near the middle of March,” the six-time Daytime Emmy winner says the new show will be “an exciting and groundbreaking adventure” and that she hopes fans will tune in.
Described as the love story behind “Doctor Zhivago,” the award-winning play “Lightning from Heaven,” written by “General Hospital” script writer Scott Sickles, will open for a limited engagement at New York City’s WorkShop Theater beginning Thursday, February 14th.
In a short video message on his Facebook page, “One Life’s” new co-head writer Thom Racina vows to fans that he and his fellow scribe Susan Bedsow Horgan will deliver on Prospect Park’s promise to breath “new themes, fresh stars and youthful energy” into the 43-year-old soap, saying “we’re gonna do it!”
Prospect Park‘s plan to blend “new themes, fresh stars and youthful energy” along with the familiar actors and writers of yesteryear for its version of Agnes Nixon‘s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” is beginning to settle in. According to a newly released audition script, the company is looking for a brand new “face” for the “One Life” canvas as the show’s original title “Between Heaven and Hell” becomes all the more real.