May sweeps are a month away, but it looks like the upcoming onscreen drama won’t be able to hold a candle to the real-life drama brewing between Prospect Park’s “One Life to Live” and ABC’s “General Hospital.”
After Prospect Park’s plans to reboot both “OLTL” and “All My Children” for the web fell through in November 2011, the company was approached by ABC who was interested in transplanting the characters of Todd Manning, Starr Manning and John McBain to Port Charles as portrayed by their originators Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton. The understanding at the time between ABC and Prospect Park was that the characters would be utilized on “GH” until plans to reboot “OLTL” came back into play as Prospect Park didn’t want to hold the Llanview 3 from working. Since their debuts in Port Charles in early 2012, the characters have tested very high with both viewers and focus groups and have played a large role in the overall audience growth for “GH” compared to its 2011 performance in the Nielsen ratings. Unfortunately, things behind the scenes weren’t looking as good.
On the heels of “Days of our Lives” replacing the head writing team of Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas, Jr. with a new head writing team consisting of Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell, TV Guide‘s Stephen Battaglio is reporting that part of the deal NBC signed in order to keep Matt Lauer with the network late last week could include a possible fifth hour of “The Today Show.”
“Lauer’s new agreement keeps him in the coanchor chair of the morning show for four years and includes a program development deal, which could give him an ownership stake in a syndicated show outside of ‘Today,’ TV Guide Magazine has learned. The contract could earn him in the neighborhood of $100 million, according to people familiar with the deal. One idea already being kicked around is spinning off Lauer’s regular segment ‘Today’s Professionals,’ in which he spars over hot-button issues with a panel that includes Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The segment could also be developed into a fifth hour of ‘Today.’
The ink on Lauer’s new NBC contract is barely even dry, so discussion of how it impacts “Days of our Lives” is too early to tell if even at all. Additionally, the network giving Lauer a stake in a syndicated program doesn’t necessarily mean the end of “DAYS” or any indication of the network looking to tinker with its barely there daytime schedule, which consists of the long-running daytime soap and hours three and four of “Today” (aka: The Today Show 2 and The Today Show 3). A syndicated program could logistically air on any affiliate willing to pay the most dollars to air it. This includes stations that currently air network programming from ABC, CBS, FOX or even The CW.
If, however, the network does decide to add a fifth hour of “Today” on its schedule, it would greatly impact the future of “DAYS” as NBC’s current contract with Sony Pictures Television and Corday Productions, producers of the soap, is set to expire in September 2013. A decision on renewing the show for additional years will not be made until at least March 2013, according to sources.
The latest Nielsen ratings data shows “DAYS” hit a new series low in Women 18-49 viewers and tied its series low in Women 18-49 rating, the key sales demographic advertising rates are set and sold by.
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.
On Monday afternoon, TV Guide Magazine revealed news that “General Hospital” actor Jonathan Jackson has decided to exit the role of Lucky Spencer on the ABC daytime drama. Sources indicate to the magazine that Jackson was denied a lighter schedule following two years of non-stop drama for his beleaguered character and that ultimately played into his decision to get out of Port Charles. Jackson was also apparently disappointed that his character never got the opportunity to properly reunite with his former love interest Elizabeth Webber played by Rebecca Herbst. The four-time Daytime Emmy Award winner will last tape on November 17.
Jackson debuted on “GH” as the first-born child of daytime’s most famous couple, Luke and Laura played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, on October 29, 1993 at the tender age of eleven. In 1999, while still filming “GH,” Jackson landed a starring role opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in the film “Deep End of the Ocean.” Jackson excited his role on the popular ABC daytime drama later that year. Other notable film endeavors for the talented actor included starring roles on “Tuck Everlasting” and “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.” Jackson returned to “GH” in October 2009, controversially replacing Greg Vaughan who played the role from 2003 to 2009. When not acting, the 29-year old actor performs with the band Enation. Their music has been featured on the television series “One Tree Hill.”
Jackson’s last scenes on “GH” will likely air before the close of 2011. TV Guide reports that the actor has already taped his last scenes with his on-screen father. Jackson may see this move as not postponing the inevitable. ABC affiliates are currently lining up new programming to take over the 48-year old soap operas long-standing 3 o’clock time slot across the country for the 2012-2013 season.