(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”…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Never one to mince words when it comes to voicing her opinions on the behind-the-scenes antics of both Llanview and ABC, “One Life to Live” leading lady Erika Slezak (Viki) speaks out against her soon-to-be-ex boss Brian Frons and notes her optimism at the soap’s future with Prospect Park.
Slezak is among a number of daytime stars, producers, executives, and journalists who share their thoughts on “the rise, fall, and possible resurrection of an American institution” in the September/October edition of the magazine Mental Floss, in an special article entitled “Sex & Death in the Afternoon: An Oral History of the American Soap Opera.”
In the final section of the article, titled “Daytime Turns to Twilight (2000-Present),” the six-time Daytime Emmy winner takes a parting shot at the network’s head honcho, saying “I think that Brian Frons, the head of ABC Daytime, doesn’t believe in the genre. He never believed they could last. My biggest objection is ABC saying people don’t want entertainment anymore; they want information. That’s ridiculous. People always want entertainment.”
Earlier this week it was announced that the actress, who celebrated 40 years with “One Life to Live” in March and plays the show’s only surviving original character, would be remaining with the soap when it moves to online-only production with Prospect Park early next year. In a statement released on her official website, Slezak commented that “I am very happy to be going on with ‘OLTL’ and look forward to working with our new production company, Prospect Park. It’s very exciting to be moving into a new medium and I sincerely hope that our wonderful viewers will follow us there.”
Slezak also talked about the loss of long-time “OLTL” Director David Pressman, who died on August 29 at the age of 97, stating “Please express my great sadness at David’s passing. He was totally instrumental in my getting this job and more than that, he taught me everything about working on TV. I owe him such a lot and will never be able to thank him properly, or repay him. Aside from that, David was a wonderful and talented man and I will miss him and always think of him.” Pressman directed episodes of “One Life” from 1970-1998.
(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) — “One Life to Live” fans have reason to celebrate today as a handful of the show’s current cast members, including six-time Daytime Emmy winner Erika Slezak (Viki) have already agreed to make the transition with the show from ABC to online-only distribution with Prospect Park. According to Deadline Hollywood the company, which leased the rights to “OLTL” and sister soap “All My Children” in July, Slezak, along with Kassie DePaiva (Blair), Michael Easton (John), and Ted King (Tomas) will all be remaining with the show after it airs its final ABC episode early next year.
“One Life’s” longest-running cast member, Erika Slezak has been with the soap since 1971. Kassie DePaiva first appeared on the show in 1993. Michael Easton made his “OLTL” debut in 2003, and Ted King joined the show back in February of this year.
According to a statement from Prospect Park, “Pending a final agreement with AFTRA, Prospect Park has confirmed that ‘One Life to Live’ cast members Ted King (Tomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and star of stars Erika Slezak who plays Lord family matriarch Victoria Lord, have agreed to deals to join the company’s new production of ‘One Life to Live.’ This marks the first confirmation of cast members since Prospect Park began planning for the soap production to live on the new online network beyond its finale January televised date on ABC.”
Furthermore, Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reports 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.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Moments before the announcement that production company Prospect Part had licensed “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” from ABC and saved it from imminent cancellation, it was announced that Debbi Morgan (Angie) had already signed on to “The Young and the Restless.” She will debut on the popular CBS soap this fall. Not too long after that, Jacob Young (JR) announced that he was unable to ignore the call back to “The Bold and the Beautiful.” He returns as Rick Forrester on Monday, September 26. At this moment, Prospect Park is still trying to work out a deal with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) that will allow them to begin negotiating with actors for a hopeful January 2012 relaunch of both ABC soaps. This leaves the actors of “AMC” with free time and a contract with ABC that dissolved earlier this week. In the September 13, 2011 issues of Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly, it is revealed that Alicia Minshew and Chrishell Stause have also both been contacted to join another soap.
Both actresses declined. Minshew, who joined the cast of “AMC” in 2002 as Kendall Hart, apparently would like to remain with the show if it’s feasible. The Emmy nominated actress does not want to make a commitment to another daytime drama without giving Prospect Park a fair chance to iron things out behind the scenes. Stause, who joined the cast of “AMC” in 2005 as Amanda Dillon, is planning to take advantage of being in the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. The stunning young actress who was scheduled to split ways with the soap in 2010 to go to Los Angeles changed her mind when it was announced “AMC” would be joining her on the West Coast. Stause does not rule out a return to daytime television in the future, but wants to try out different formats of entertainment for the foreseeable future.
Various actor interviews also indicate that red-hot commodity Susan Lucci (Erica), as well as long-time “AMC” stars Walt Willey (Jack), Michael E. Knight (Tad), Vincent Irizarry (David) and expert schmoozer Cameron Mathison (Ryan) share Minshew’s willingness to wait a while longer for Prospect Park to get everything aligned before making any major commitments that could impede the potential to join a relaunch of the soap. Mathison, in the meantime, has taken up one more part-time hosting job. Beginning on October 3, fans can see the “Good Morning America” correspondent hosting a new reality-series, “Ultimate Proposal,” a web-series that will be produced by Yahoo! The star who joined “AMC” in 1997 is also slated to begin filming a Lifetime made-for-television movie, “The Wife He Met Online,” opposite former “AMC” star Sydney Penny (ex-Julia). Lucci, meanwhile, has denounced rumors that she’s going to ABC’s prime-time series “Desperate Housewives” but has admitted to having had a good talk with its executive producer Marc Cherry. While waiting for things to take shape, the stunning 64-year old does plan on taking advantage of the time that has opened up and is pondering a return to the stage.
Production of “AMC” for ABC network airings ended earlier this week. The last episode of “AMC” on the ABC network is scheduled to air on Friday, September 23.
As previously reported, with “All My Children” wrapping production in less than a week, actress Debbi Morgan (Dr. Angela Hubbard) will be heading to CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.” Although her “Y&R” role has not been revealed, a CBS representative has confirmed to Soap Opera Network that Morgan will begin taping scenes beginning Thursday, September 1, which is just one day after her contract with the ABC Television Network is set to expire.
Morgan returned to to the soap that made her famous (“AMC”) back in January 2008 after a near twenty-year absence. She debuted in the role of Dr. Hubbard in 1982, but departed in 1990. In between her “AMC” stints, the actress appeared on the ABC Daytime dramas “Loving,” “The City” and “Port Charles” from 1993 to 1998. She portrayed Dr. Hubbard on both “Loving” and “The City.”
Alongside Daytime Emmy Award Winner Darnell Williams, Morgan created daytime’s first African American super-couple in the form of Jesse and Angie Hubbard. Morgan’s daytime career has also extended outside of ABC Daytime. From 1990 to 1991, Morgan moved on to NBC’s “Generations” and then to CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” from October 2006 to June 2007. The two-time Image Award winner has also had a successful career outside of daytime. She has appeared in numerous primetime series and films.
With “The Young and the Restless” filming roughly five weeks ahead of airdate, a representative has told Soap Opera Network that Morgan will begin airing on Friday, October 7.
“All My Children,” which taped in New York City for much of its broadcast run before moving to the Andrita Studios in Los Angeles after just a year and a half, will cease production next week. Morgan and Jacob Young (JR Chandler) are the only actors confirmed not to be joining the series when it relaunches on the new Prospect Park online network in January 2012. “All My Children” airs its broadcast television series finale on Friday, September 23.
Last Friday, I had stated on my personal Twitter account that I had been hearing reports that “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” might be heading to Bravo as a part of a cable deal with Prospect Park, which is reportedly looking for a cable network to supplement costs for its online network debuting in January 2012. Although it’s taken longer than expected to get an official response from Bravo, a spokesperson has stated that “these are all just rumors.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — It is full steam ahead behind-the-scenes of “One Life to Live” this week as the show works overtime to film their necessary quota of episodes before taking some time off before wrapping production on the shows TV run later this fall.
Beginning Monday, August 27, the “One Life to Live” studios will go dark for about two weeks before taping is scheduled to resume for the final stretch of the drama series’ run on ABC. The show will tape its final ABC episode in November before resuming production under Prospect Park and its online distribution outlet, for which episodes are slated to air shortly after the broadcast television series finale airs in January on ABC.
On Monday, Kassie DePavia (Blair) confirmed the fast-paced production schedule, tweeting that cast and crew were “Super busy at ‘OLTL.’ Shooting 9 shows this week. Hope everyone is enjoying the show.” Similar sentiments were echoed by Julia Davis, who does make-up for the soap and runs her own company called Julia Jovone Beauty, who tweeted that “Wow! Not tonight… Can’t believe they just extended our out time on set : ( # canceling dinner plans,” and later “Home from a long day on set. Very Grateful for all of my blessings. Time to bring this day to an end. : ).” And again today with “Morning Morning! Early start on set in Lllanview… In need of my morning Smoothie,” and “So prepared to bring this long day on set to a close. Grateful for my grind but exhausted out of my mind : ” And she throws in a little teaser for fans, saying “Ok time to break out my bruise kit on set!”
Cast and crew of “General Hospital,” which has also adopted some of “OLTL’s” cost-saving techniques, returned from a three week break in taping in July, and is currently on another one. So far this year, the soap has taken more than 15 weeks off from production. “All My Children,” which is scheduled to tape the final episode of its TV run next week, took a three week hiatus earlier this summer.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – Susan Lucci has taken to Twitter by announcing that she is heading into her final week of taping at ABC’s “All My Children,” although she doesn’t make it clear whether or not she will be moving on to the Prospect Park version of the soap when it debuts in January 2012.
Heading towards my last week of All My Children..very emotional time yet excited to see David Canary & Julia Barr again! – Susan Lucci
Wednesday, August 31 is the last day that cast and crew of “All My Children” will be employed by the network, leaving Prospect Park to sign deals with the soon-to-be unemployed talent in order to properly re-launch the show in the coming months. There is no official word on who is staying, although we already know that Debbi Morgan (Angie Hubbard) and Jacob Young (JR Chandler) will not be part of the soap when Prospect Park takes over as each are heading to “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” respectively.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Julia Barr will bring Brooke English back to Pine Valley on Friday, September 16, which means, if the soap can take a break from exploring Dr. David Hayward’s (Vincent Irizarry) God complex in-depth, Barr will air in six episodes at the most before “All My Children” airs its series finale on ABC on Friday, September 23.
Barr initially reported she was due to tape nine episodes. Her return was most likely impacted by the 41-year old soap being picked up for continuation on the internet – and potentially cable – by production company Prospect Park. ABC Daytime Chief Brian Frons recently reported that the move meant that the last few weeks of “AMC” script had to be manipulated to apply a more ongoing and less of a finale tone.
Barr joined the cast of “AMC” in 1976 as the troubled niece of delightful socialite Phoebe Wallingford (Ruth Warrick). For thirty years, fans were spellbound as Barr took us on a journey through Brooke’s many personal and professional trials and tribulations. Barr’s most memorable work as Brooke included her numerous verbal sparring matches with Erica, her romance with Adam, and the heart-breaking death of Brooke’s baby daughter Laura. In 2006, Barr was told she could only remain on cast if she agreed to a downgrade to recurring status. She decided to exit. In 2010, Barr returned as the love of Adam Chandler’s life to usher David Canary off the canvas in top form.
As previously reported, Sarah Michelle Gellar (ex-Kendall) pops up with Eva La Rue (Maria) on Wednesday, September 21 and is scheduled to tape those scenes this week, according to sources. Gellar will appear as a new character; La Rue appeared in two episodes of “AMC” in July and was scheduled to appear in three more episodes before the ABC finale.
Agnes Nixon will appear on “AMC” beginning with the Wednesday, August 31 episode and continuing through Thursday, September 1. Carol Burnett (Verla) will air on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7. Leven Rambin (Lily), Alexa Havins (Babe), Justin Bruening (Jamie) and, of course, Canary’s return airdates have not been released at this time.