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A Soap Star Whodunit And It's Not A Soap!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

As many of you heard in our premiere episode of the On-Air On-Soaps Podcast that All My Children’s Jacob Young, along with his producing and directing partner, Mark Rozzano, have launched the new Soap Star Mystery Theatre in Los Angeles, which features lesser known, yet wildly entertaining works of legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie.  I attended last night’s opening at the Writers Guild of America in Beverly Hills, where several of Young’s AMC cast mates and other soap and primetime notables headlined the reading of The Unexpected Guest. Jacob had a huge hand in casting the roles of unusual suspects for the play.  So I had to ask when he looked at AMC’s Vince Irizarry (David) for the play, did he cast him against type, or can we expect to see his evil ways?  Young responded, “He is playing his type.” (Laughs) Ah, my first hint that Vincent was going to end up being the murderer!  Adam Mayfield (Scott) plays a servant/nurse who seems to be on the shady side, too!  Then I had to ask, who else from Pine Valley would he love to see participate in a future reading.  Young replied, “I was speaking to David Canary (Adam) and hopefully we can use him down the road.”  Next, Jacob with pride and a bit of sadness also gave his views on Canary’s upcoming retirement from soaps. “He is at a point now where his home is in Connecticut.  He has been stationary out here in LA for a while and it was always the plan for David to come out to LA with the move of All My Children for just a few months.  Regardless, if he were on the east coast or here in LA, he would have probably retired at the same time. He has had such a wonderful run and is a talented man and a workaholic.  He deserves a break.  Maybe he will get restless, and knowing David as I do, he might.  And I certainly do hope he comes back.  Working with David has been such a thrill for me and he is such a giving actor.  And I think his wrap-up story is going to be great.  When I heard it, I thought it was fantastic.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

The actors only had a full rehearsal and run through and that was about it for the Mystery Theatre reading.   It was sort of fly by the seat of your pants, which many daytimers are used to.  The star of the reading, Stephanie Powers (best known from television’s Hart to Hart) shared with me her utmost respect for the soap genre… something that is nice to hear for a change from someone on the outside of daytime television.  Powers stated, “It’s wonderful to work with all these daytime people. They are fabulous. They are absolutely ready to improvise and absolutely ready to keep it going.  If you don’t have the dexterity to change on a dime it can be tough, and the daytime stars are amazing.  What they do on a daily basis is phenomenal!”  So then I asked if Powers would be interested in stopping by Pine Valley and doing some scene work with Susan Lucci?  “Yes, but I don’t know if I could cut it. They work very fast.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Vince Irizarry filled me in on how he has been so busy at AMC that he was on overload prior to the performances. “To be honest with you a week and half ago I was dreading tonight, because I am working so much right now on All My Children. I did eight shows last week and six the week before, and another six this week.  I have been doing it the last month and half.  However, I am happy I did this tonight, and we pulled it together.”  Vince let me know that having Constance Towers (Helena, GH) up on stage with him as one of the suspects was a delight.  And what soap fan would not want to see a smackdown between two of daytime’s biggest all-time troublemakers?  And speaking of Constance Towers, she is one of my very favorite people in the world! She stopped by to speak with me about Helena’s… Lucky Spencers!  “Jacob Young was my Lucky.  I adored him and the first time I saw him, I remember Helena had him in a limousine.  I was taking him to revisit all the places he had been with his parents by torturing him and thus torturing Luke and Laura, because I was playing with his mind.  We are in the limousine and I looked into that face and those beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair.  And the thing about Jacob is his innocence, and he was so dear to work with.  And I saw him grow as an actor and he won an Emmy!  And now to be on stage with him is fun.”  Then we talked about Constance’s current 2010 Lucky, Jonathan Jackson. “He too is one of the nicest human beings you could ever hope to meet.  He is a great father and he is clean cut, and an intense actor. You get into a scene with him and he is wonderful.  I just expect him to win another Emmy.”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Robert Newman (Ex-Josh, GL) played the inspector in the piece and was supported in the audience by Kim Zimmer (Ex-Reva, GL) who told me she is hard at work on her book that should be a doozy!  When I spoke to Robert, it was the first time I had seen him since the Daytime Emmys and several months since Guiding Light went off the air.  I asked Robert if he has finally moved past the mourning process.  “Honestly, I think I got a wave of it and then my play Sessions closed in early January, and the next couple weeks it hit me hard.  I hit a wall.  My body gave up on me for a couple weeks and that came and went.  I have been keeping busy.  I just shot a Law and Order SVU!”  So, I had to ask will Newman plays a creepy guy, like many of the guest stars on the crime drama?  “I may play a freak, and it’s a fun group over there.” (Laughs)

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Robert and I went on to speak about the last episode of GL.  He stands by his opinion, that the ending was the way it was supposed to be.  “I think Guiding Light ended the way it was supposed to end.  I think it had to be Reva and Josh.  I am not sure why the kid was there?  (Laughs)  Kim and I joke about it all the time.  I think it had to be the last line of “Always” and panning up to a lighthouse. ”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Newman also looked back on how the powers-that-be handled the ending of the series with the cast and crew, and the balancing act that had to be done to finish the series long run. “In the end, I feel like we all handled it quite well and I think they gave us a lot of notice.  I have corporate friends who in that world, if they lose their jobs are told to clean their desk that day.  They gave us four months or so.  I think we just rose to the occasion.  I remember the day they told us about it and there was a lot of emotional stuff that went on.  And then we went to shoot and that phrase, “We got work to do,” constantly carried us through right till the last day of taping.”

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Along with Kim Zimmer there were a few other notables in attendance.  First, one of my favorite couples, Juliet Mills (Ex-Tabitha, Passions) and her husband, Maxwell Caufield. Catching up on old times, the three of us couldn’t help but discuss the hard times the US soaps are having as compared to the British ones, especially in lieu of Caufield’s run on the hit UK soap, Emmerdale.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Caufield expressed, “British soaps are in primetime and they are only a half-hour long so they move a lot quicker.  They are able to hold on to their audience, and it’s a different vibe.  They air between seven and eight o’clock at night.  So they have a huge captive audience.  Peyton Place was one of the great American soap operas at night.  And I can’t believe the American Broadcasters and networks have not thought about re-tooling these shows to air in primetime.  I am just getting over being shot in the shoulder blades by my wife, who didn’t take kindly to having a bigamist husband. (Laughs)  It was on Emmerdale.  It was shot in Yorkshire and in a beautiful part of the country.  There is nothing like consistent work, and that is why everyone wants to jump on these soaps.  All the more reason for the networks to cherry- pick some of the vintage actors that are out there.  So it’s not all about 20 year olds who are stripping down to the waist!”   On a side note, Juliet and Max did just celebrate Valentine’s Day where they tell me it’s always a special day in their relationship!  “We actually went out and bought a bed,” laughs Mills!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Hollywood legends Jerry Lewis  and Cloris Leachman came to see Jacob’s creation and were very impressed! (See pic to right)  So how was the play you ask?  Well I have to say; Jacob Young showed another side of his award winning acting, as the mentally challenged Jan Warwick.  He stole the show, and that is hard to do with the likes of the talented performers on the stage.  Next month, The Soap Star Mystery Theatre will continue with an all-new Agatha Christie play and some more of your favorites from daytime.  If Young and company can get more LA soap actors to get in on this concept (that is their plan), and have them rotate through the proposed eight different Agatha Christie mysteries, it will be a very fun series of shows and evenings for soap fans that could be better than a good old television soap opera murder mystery!

 

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Doe
Doe

Michael, this is a wonderful update on what Jacob Young is doing and creating, It sounds like great fun for actors and a different spotlight. Nice comments from Robert Newman on GL and its demise. I am sure all those actors are missing that long running show. Michael, you always have such interesting articles and interviews and insights on the soaps. Good work!!

Rose
Rose

I miss GL! What happen to the person that played Raven Husband? not Josh!

All My Children

TODAY: ‘Tainted Dreams’ Begins To Stream Episodes On PopStar! TV Platform

Beginning today on Monday, September 23rd, the series Tainted Dreams, which shows you the behind-the-scenes antics of a fictional hit TV soap opera, will stream its first two seasons for free on the on the Popstar! TV platforms.

To view: you can download the Popstar! TV’s mobile app or visit www.popstaronline.com to watch Tainted Dreams or for more info visit https://www.tainteddreams.com/#home-section.

For those who need a refresher: Tainted Dreams follows the cast and crew behind the scenes of a hit TV soap opera called “Painted Dreams”, and of course, it’s filled with lots of twists and turns

In addition, there is a bonus episode on Popstar! TV that gives some background on how all the characters came to be a part of “Painted Dreams”.

Courtesy: NYCBrandEnt

Sonia Blangiardo, the executive producer and creator of Tainted Dreams shared in a statement: “We are thrilled that there is more life for the show and that the new exposure will attract new viewers for the series. We’re excited to be in great company with the other shows the platform will be streaming and couldn’t be happier to be working with Craig and Jim Romanovich who has always been a loyal soap supporter.”

Tainted Dreams features a cast that includes: All My Children veterans Alicia Minshew, Walt Willey, Michael Lowry, Bobbie Eakes, Terri Ivens and the late Larkin Malloy, General Hospital’s Natalia Livingston, As the World Turns‘ Colleen Zenk, Austin Peck, Marnie Schulenburg and Kelley Menighan, Guiding Light’s Grant Aleksander, One Life to Live’s Ilene Kristen, Tonja Walker, Nathan Purdee and James DePaiva, Big Brother’s Jessie Godderz, The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Dina Manzo, and more.

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So, will you be checking out Tainted Dreams on its new platform? Comment below,

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All My Children

Cameron Mathison Reveals Cancer Diagnosis and Shares Heartfelt Message

One of our the best guys we know, Cameron Mathison (co-host, Home & Family and Ex-Ryan Lavery, All My Children), revealed over the last 24 hours that he has been diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma – kidney cancer, but treatment for him will be underway and the prognosis is good.

Cameron first shared the news on Monday’s Home & Family in a special announcement enlightening viewers on his health condition (watch video below) and later took to his Instagram and social media to share more details.   Of note: Mathison’s healthy lifestyle has indeed helped, and shown, that his cancer has not spread.

In addition, Mathison wrote: “About a month ago, I had an MRI for some gut issues I’ve been having, and during that MRI they fd a tumor on my right kidney. It’s consistent with Renal Cell Carcinoma … or kidney cancer. The good news is that it hasn’t spread to any other organs🙏🏼 They say my healthy lifestyle and diet has no doubt helped keep it from growing and spreading to other areas, as doctors think it’s been growing in me for minimum 10 years🙏🏼. I am extremely lucky that we found it early.” He thanked his doctor and his family, saying, “[wife] Vanessa, [kids] Lucas and Leila have been absolutely amazing with their love and support… as have my mom, dad, brother, and everyone at Home and Family, Hallmark, and ET❤️ My surgery is scheduled on September 12th, I was hoping to receive positive thoughts, prayers, or whatever you feel comfortable with, on 9/12 (my surgery is at 1pm PST) 🙏🏼.” He concluded, “Feeling very grateful and optimistic!”

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Send positive vibes Cameron’s way as he goes through his medical procedure this week, share your comments below.

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All My Children

8 Years To The Day Of All My Children & One Life to Live Being Canceled; Still Considered By Many Worst Move For Daytime

It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago today on April 14th, 2011, the soap world, its fans, and the cast members, learned of the heartbreaking news that ABC, in one swift move, decimated its daytime line-up when they announced the cancellations of long running series, All My Children (which would end at its 41st year), and One Life to Live (which would ends its run in its 43rd year).

At the time, ABC announced it would move to more lifestyle/entertainment series to replace these dramas.  In its place came The Chew and The Revolution, neither show is still on the air today.  Executives at that time pointed to research saying that times are changing and that their decision was “guided by extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want,” and blame, in part, “the changing viewing patterns of the audience” for the axing of AMC and OLTL

Then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons had joked to Deadline about the big announcement that he: “Pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.”  He added that “The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making.  A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go.  When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them.  Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew and The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama.  The way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”  Of note is that when it went off the air, One Life to Live was in third place among its competitors in the ratings.

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The press release that came with the cancellations stated: “To honor the core, passionate audience and their rich history both shows will conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Following the cancellations daytime reeled. The mainstream was sure it meant the endings of the soaps, period.  However, four shows illustrated that is not true at all.  For Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless all remain, and still whether they are up or down in their numbers/ratings, they remain relevant and important to the enduring daytime viewing audience.

Sadly, as with any shows, the end of ABC’s AMC and OLTL meant loss of jobs for so many working in front of the camera and behind the scenes. One Life was the last soap opera in production in New York at the time.  AMC was already being shot in LA to cut costs to save it.

Still in 2019, if you venture on to social media, especially Twitter, you see fans constantly missing its stars and the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, wanting this wrong rectified.  Although Prospect Park tried to revive the show with their online versions, eventually after legal battles that went on for a few years, ABC now retains the right to these properties,

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The good news is that many favorites from AMC and OLTL have found success and been hired on other soap operas, bringing their followings with them, whether it be on-screen, or in the writing, producing, directing or crew departments.

So, do you think the loss of AMC and OLTL consolidated daytime and made the remaining shows stronger so they would not be touched or canceled?  Do you think ABC should try to mount a resurrected AMC and OLTL or an amalgamation of the two?  Do you remember where you were when you learned the two soaps were cancelled? Was this the worst misstep of all-time for daytime? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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