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.
Although news of Prospect Park once again being interested in reviving “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” for the web seems to have been universally accepted, many soap fans have remained a little doubtful on the matter to a certain extent. Former “One Life to Live” and “Dirty Soap” star Farah Fath seems to share in that doubtfulness. The actress began a series of tweets just a short time ago that led into discussion of the company and its online plans. Note: The actress admits to have been tweeting while drinking Heineken, so if you find yourself easily offended. Please stop reading now.
In a posting on her Twitter page just a short time ago, former “All My Children” star Alicia Minshew revealed that she has been approached by Prospect Park to return to the soap in the role of Kendall Hart. “I’m so happy for all of you getting your ‘AMC’ and ‘OLTL’ shows back!” Minshew commented. “Many of you have asked me-Yes I have been approached. No news yet!”
Debbi Morgan, who on Saturday, January 5 announced she was returning to “All My Children” when it moves to the web later this year via Prospect Park, may have let the cat of the bag for one of her co-stars after responding to numerous tweets from excited fans. In response to Tweeter
@irishbangers, Morgan said, “It’s just terrific news, isn’t it?! Darnell is definitely on board, and I think Mike as well, but not quite sure yet…” For those wondering, Morgan is referring to Darnell Williams, who portrayed onscreen love interest Jesse Hubbard and Michael E. Knight, who portrayed Hubbard family friend Tad Martin on the soap.
Had “All My Children” remained on the air beyond its final September 23, 2011 episode, cast/crew and fans all around the world would have been celebrating the daytime soaps 43rd anniversary today, January 5, as the drama series debuted on this day in 1970.
Although “One Life to Live” debuted nearly two years before it, “All My Children” was actually the first soap opera created by Agnes Nixon that was geared towards the ABC Television Network‘s daytime audience. Initially, ABC thought the idea of “AMC” was too much for daytime television, especially with an untested series creator (Nixon), so the network asked the scribe to conceive a totally different soap opera (“OLTL”). With the success of “One Life,” Nixon was given the go ahead to move forward with “All My Children,” which took place in the fictional town of Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. The series debuted as a half-hour program and was owned by Nixon’s Creative Horizons, Inc. before being sold to ABC outright in 1975. “AMC” was expanded to an hour long serial beginning in 1977.
“All My Children” and “One Life to Live” creator Agnes Nixon has released an official statement on the news of Prospect Park once again moving forward with plans to produce online episodes of the soaps this year. Her message was posted on her official website as well as her official Facebook page just a short time ago. The statement is as follows:
Just about a month before announcing their decision to postpone plans to launch “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” on the web in early 2012, Prospect Park announced a partnership with Universal Music Group that would bring music, e-commerce and artist participation to new productions of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” So now that word broke that Prospect Park is re-rebooting both soaps for the web in 2013, we felt it was a great opportunity to check on the status of this endeavor.
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.
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.
- “I would love to play Johnny [Brandon Barash] because I love how he mixes his bad boy with his charm and sexiness and then he gets to flirt with all the girls in the cast,” said Rebekah Montoya, who was asked which character she would love to play other than her own. Bradford Anderson responded with a joke that it could also be that Barash has “phenomenal chest hair.”
- Although he was hosting the Q&A, Bradford Anderson couldn’t hide from another question from a fan. This time the actor was asked which version of Spinelli does he prefer portraying on the soap, “Do I like geek Spinelli or like just ridiculously weird Spinelli? The Jackal P.I. storyline was fun just because it was a challenge for me and I got to wear clothes that fit, so that was cool. It’s fun to go off in a different direction, but it’s always nice to come back home to my geeky self.”
- New to the cast, Erik Valedez was asked about playing a such a sleaze! “It’s a lot of fun to play a sleaze because I’m really not that guy in real life, I promise you,” the actor joked. “It really is a lot of fun to come in and play such a jerk. With that said, stay tuned! There’s going to be a lot more revealed about this jerk/sleaze bag Trey and I think I take my shirt off a time or two, so maybe you guy’s should keep watching.” Thanks to Valdez, more shirtless responses would soon follow.
- Kristen Alderson was asked about leaving the east coast and no longer working with her brother (Eddie Alderson, who portrayed Matthew Buchanan on “OLTL”). “Well, I still live with my brother so I see him every day,” Alderson said in a joking manner. “I grew up on ‘One Life to Live,’ and that was an amazing experience. It was definitely a big move in my life but L.A. couldn’t be any better than it already is. I love the weather, and I love this cast and crew. They’ve been so welcoming to me.”
- Next up was Robin Mattson, who was asked how much fun she was having with playing crazy Heather Webber. “It’s pretty fun!” Mattson said enthusiastically. “Well let’s see, I get to work with Roger Howarth and Tony Geary. That’s especially fun, in addition to having a wonderful son [Mattson said referring to Scott Reeves as Steven Lars] and his lovely girlfriend, who have been so gracious and generous with themselves in real-life to me, so I made some new friends and it’s been great to join some old friends and enjoy good times again.”
- Fans may have noticed an absent Sean Blakemore on the “GH” canvas, but it’s not because they don’t want to use him – he’s just an in demand actor! Blakemore was asked about his disappearance from the soap and let Valentini, like Burton before him, answer the question. “Just so you know, even before I started on the show, I got a call from Sean’s agent asking to let Sean go and do a movie. I said, ‘you know what, you got to let people do things and spread their wings’ and it wasn’t for a long period of time, but he went and shot a movie. He went and had a great time. As you know it takes time to build things and right now we’re in the process of building something that I think you’ll really like,” said Valentini to the pleased audience. ”What Frank said is absolutely true. You guy’s are going to be very pleased. There’s a lot of fun stuff coming up…interesting and I think I may have a shirt off? You guys will be excited. There’s a lot of funs tuff coming up in the fall,” said Blakemore adding to Valentini’s statement. “Sounds like everyone’s having a shirtless scene…I’m not! I subscribe the the Steve Burton method. I won’t take my shirt off,” Anderson jokingly said afterward.
- I was sitting in the dressing room and I was thinking ‘I can’t do this,’ and then the news broke that I booked it [the role of Maxie] so I was like ‘god I got to go upstairs and do this, I can’t give it away!’ and everyone was so kind and so welcoming and no one ever made me feel awkward in an awkward circumstance,” said Jen Lilley when asked about what was going through her head as she was about to take on the role of Maxie Jones from Kirsten Storms, who had gone on medical leave at the time.
- A fan of Jason and Sam wanted some intel on where the cards land in the couple’s future, but Steve Burton stated “We have been advised by Frank Valentini not to answer those questions, so if you want to tweet him please feel free. He does respond every now and then. He’s very interactive socially on the networks also.”
- The ultimate question fans have been asking about since 2001, when it was last seen, was whether or not the show plans on bringing back the uber popular Nurse’s Ball event. The question was of course directed at Frank Valentini. “I’ll just say this, I love music and I love Nurses.”
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.
(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”…