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ABC and PEOPLE’s ‘The Story of Soaps’: What Was Your Review Of It?

Photos: ABC

Tuesday’s night airing of ABC and PEOPLE’s two-hour special The Story of Soaps featured many notable daytime and primetime soap stars, past and present, clips from backstage to classic memorable moments, and some participants who were providing commentary on the erosion of the daytime soaps in our culture.  Still others, maintained and realized that everything today is serialized from the news we watch, to some of Netflix’s most binge-watchable series, and of course, the birth of reality-programming.

Throughout the airing of the special, The Story of Soaps was trending on Twitter and social media either at the #2, #3 or #4 spots for the entire duration of the broadcast presentation, and the cancelled and beloved All My Children was also at one point trending.

However, known soap writers, journalists, ardent fans, and actors of the genre, were all on Twitter last night live-tweeting their thoughts as the special went down, and there was definitely mixed reactions and reviews, when all was said and done.

What the special did not shy away from, but tackled, was Luke’s rape of Laura at the campus disco on General Hospital. and how that moment now, as Genie Francis (Laura), so eloquently put, would be considered as ‘date rape’ in our culture.  The series even included a pivotal moment where Laura addresses Luke (Tony Geary) about the rape years later, after helping Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) through her rape ordeal.

John Stamos (Ex-Blackie Parrish, GH) got a bevy of “Right On’s!” for his comment that the soaps do not get the credit that they deserve and clearly came through as one of the soaps greatest supporters, as did former The Doctors and Knots Landing star, Alec Baldwin.

However, throughout the two-hours, Andy Cohen’s commentary was thread throughout; mostly citing soap’s demise and the creation of reality-programming and his “Real Housewives” franchise, that the special touted as the new soap operas.  It continued on the narrative that people preferred to see real-life drama then made-up drama on a fictional soap.  And while, that has been a trend in American culture for decades, the commentary came off as often out of place in a celebration of the soaps; and bringing in a lot of negativity to the special that soap fans were tired of hearing.

In a lighting rod moment, Cohen stated: “I know Susan Lucci doesn’t agree with me, but I think that the Housewives have replaced soap operas because truth is stranger than fiction. Soaps became kind of unnecessary because you could do it with real people, and they’re writing the drama themselves.”

The special did also address the cancellations of All My Children and One Life to Live, (which many were not sure they were going to do – given this special was airing on ABC), where One Life’s leading lady and six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki) said what we all wanted to sa ywhen the ax fell on the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, “People were horrified”.

Clearly, OJ Simpson and his murder trial and reality-programming were also given a chunk of time to show where the once mighty landscape of daytime soaps which once had 13 shows on the air, dwindled town to 4.  But, it would have been nice to see more time spent on how in this day and age, the people in this current landscape of the genre work so hard to get episodes done at an unbelievable pace, and how in that climate the performers still deliver gut-wrenching performances.

Photo: ABC

Former Loving, OLTL and Breaking Bad star, Bryan Cranston, did point out how the once powerful soaps, just don’t have the dollars they used to, and need to, to help with production costs and their taping schedule.

Viewers were reminded of soaps’ socially relevant storylines including hankie-inducing moments from: Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and Stone’s (Michael Sutton) HIV/AIDS storyline on General Hospital, to Billy Douglas being a gay teen coming out on One Life to Live, played by a young Ryan Phillippe.

There also did not seem time spent on the contributions of William J. Bell; one of the most prominent writers of the soap genre of all-time.

For many commenting on social media last night, there seemed to be a feeling of some glaring omissions of participants who could speak on this genre, who have been in the trenches as soap producers, soap writers, pundits, actors, and more, who were not included in the special.

So, what was your review of The Story of Soaps? How would you grade it? Do you feel it accurately reflected the history of the genre?  Were you happily surprised,  or when it came to the end where you over it, or somewhere in between? Sound off in the comment section below.  Below are some tweets from notables who have worked as an actor, a writer, and a journalist in the soaps.  

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Freeman Griffin
Guest
Freeman Griffin

Very mixed feelings. Like others have said it felt like a death knell – with too much Andy Cohen spouting self-serving rhetoric of how his shows are the new soaps blah blah blah and nobody countering it with other perspectives. Way too much ABC and not enough CBS and NBC soaps. Clips roared past way too quickly. A 10 part series on PBS with no network bias would be great. The importance of As the World Turns was almost completely absent (not to mention Another World and almost every other soap). The clips brought back happy memories, I would have… Read more »

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

It is indeed extraordinarily self-serving to suggest reality programming has taken the place of the soaps while ignoring salient context: (1) reality programming can be produced much more cheaply (so it’s not surprising that networks prefer it to scripted programming like soaps and want to tout it as a “replacement”) and (2) what people choose to watch to get their “soap fix” in the absence of substantial real soap programming is entirely different from what they’d choose to watch if they still had the full complement of soaps at their disposal rather than the badly weakened, largely plot-driven, anemic four… Read more »

Sassy Duck
Guest
Sassy Duck

Major disappointment. And, a self-serving platform for Andy Cohen, even if he did say that was where he was led during the interview. What a pathetic excuse. I cannot tolerate reality TV. It panders to the lowest intelligence level of viewers/demographics, and is so heavily scripted and edited to hook in viewers, nothing about them is ‘real’. It makes participants look like they don’t have a brain in their head. And, why was Jill Farren Phelps included? She has singlehandedly destroyed every single soap with which she has been involved. SMH. Didn’t mention Santa Barbara or Port Charles. Heavy on… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Sassy Duck…oh I agree. To me, that ANNOYING Andy Cohen got WAY TOO MUCH airtime during the special!!!!! As for that Jill Farren Phelps WITCH, I HOPE AND PRAY TO GOD that she’ll NEVER be allowed anywhere near B&B or DOOL…AT ALL!!!!!

Take care.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

He ruined the show. Although, I still loved it!

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

PBS, great idea!

Sherry
Guest
Sherry

Where are all the Good Soaps

Thad Bosley
Guest
Thad Bosley

I have to question some of the people chosen to tell us “the story of soaps”. For every legitimate choice like Lorraine Broderick, there was a fraud like former ABC daytime chief Angela Shapiro, whose ridiculous and failed plan to emphasize marketing over story helped lead to the decline of the genre. Her reign was thankfully short, but the destruction she engineered was long lasting.

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

This did nothing for the soaps..it was all about Cohen promoting his Brava network and his reality shows…those housewives series is so fake-nothing real about them..soaps were always new five days a week so you really cant compare…while other shows were in repeats we still could depend on soaps to bring us something new…too many cable channels hurt…costs hurt-as did the hour format…the hour did work for awhile but it eventually hurt with addition of more characters and filler moments…30 minutes meant fewer characters and easier to include all in few stories plus back then it was character driven…in the… Read more »

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

He’s the worst. His time took away from the daytime actors. Such a waste. Although, I still loved it.

James R. Poissant
Guest
James R. Poissant

Only one thing I have to say…Andy Cohen is a horse’s ass.

Amy
Guest
Amy

Amen!

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

A BIG ONE. Ugh.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Y-E-P…and even more unwatchable!!!!!

Joel
Guest
Joel

Overall, I enjoyed it. Yes it focused too much on GH/ABC but I appreciated the mention of Loving and Generations, two great shows that never got much attention.

Matthew Camacho
Guest
Matthew Camacho

The main problem with the whole documentary is that it was poorly planned and vetted. The special was called “The Story Of Soaps”. Not the story of celebrating reality TV. What do Andy Cohen, The Kardashians and Bravo TV shows have to do with the story of soaps? The reality TV franchise is a force to be reckoned with but it has NOTHING to do with drama. The parallels to shows like Dynasty and Dallas, Knot’s Landing, and Falcon Crest had their place. Those shows would not have succeeded without daytime television. The first hour of the special was informative… Read more »

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

I muted Cohen & the talentless Kardashian’s. – so ugh!

Jamesj75
Guest
Jamesj75

Bravo, Matthew! Your critique of the program and ideas for the future are most insightful, impeccable, rational, and illuminating.

This special was ostensibly an opportunity to champion and respect the soap genre, but, like the Daytime Emmys, it fails miserably in part by showcasing (and thus wasting invaluable screen time on) celebrities who have no link to daytime. After decades, the networks still just don’t understand their audience.

Momo
Guest
Momo

Haven’t watched yet, but Real Housewives is not real. It’s contrived. They’re not all housewives, not friends before being cast. Trips and scenarios are set-up so don’t call it real.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

Exactly. & Such talentless people.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Momo
And are ready to tear each other’s throats out at any given moment!

aria
Guest
aria

I had mixed feelings about the special too and to Andy Cohen, its not only Susan Lucci who disagrees with you about the RH franchises, wish I do enjoy, but sorry buddy they have not replaced the soaps. The landscape for all of TV has changed so to suggest that the soap genre is dead is wrong. Money is a big factor, so I believe soaps cut budget has hurt them significantly, still, as was pointed throughout the special almost all of tv is serialized a format clearly stlolen from soaps. Oh, and yes, clearly ABC wish only has GH… Read more »

Alison Armstrong
Guest
Alison Armstrong

It was great to have Bryan Cranston as a host discussing the importance of soaps and their impact on serialized TV series, such as Breaking Bad. However, there was far too much time spent on reality TV and not nearly enough coverage of the soaps themselves. I was very disappointed that my favorite soap, Port Charles, was not featured.

Momo
Guest
Momo

Santa Barbara wasn’t either. Sunset Beach. I don’t remember if Passions was.

Frieda Vanhooser
Guest
Frieda Vanhooser

I still miss All My Children. I made a vow to never watch ABC at noon the time AMC aired and I have not watched AMC at that time of day since.

Joseph Colleli
Guest
Joseph Colleli

Bring back All My Children and One Life to Live! Really Andy Cohen? Your dumb, fake Housewive shows are NOT preferrable to the soaps! Get real dude!

anne
Guest
anne

It would be nice to bring back All My Children and One Life to Live. However, in my opinion, not possible at all. ABC executives are not going to finance the return of those two shows.

Elizabeth Washington
Guest
Elizabeth Washington

No one wants reality TV.
Where did you get that idea?
It’s cleary a joke and has no story and no purpose.
I personally will not watch those shows they stink

Mark Y
Guest
Mark Y

What a bore. Not one thing new was shared. And what’s up with Andy Cohen dissing the genre in favor of his Housewives franchise? Real people behaving badly.

Michele Miller
Guest
Michele Miller

I really really really wanted to enjoy this and have a nice two hour break from our “pause,” but what a disappointment. If the focus was not only going to be on soaps then choose another title for the show. It was incredibly disjointed and didn’t know what to focus on. This should have been a celebration and booster for the soap genre Given the amazing talented performances over the years, but instead just came off praising reality tv and almost being proud of its power over the soaps, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth and… Read more »

Mariann Aalda
Guest
Mariann Aalda

Hi, “DiDi Bannister” of EDGE OF NIGHT here! The show did a disservice to the contribution of the black actors to the genre. Here’s a link to my Facebook post that addresses It. It struck a chord with a lot of people and has over 30 shares, so I’m obviously not the only one who felt that way.

https://www.facebook.com/mariann.aalda/posts/10219268276192574

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

Mariann, Thank you! I was particularly annoyed there was no mention of Angie and Jessie.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Mariann…I gotta tell ya’…to me, EDGE OF NIGHT was the ABSOLUTE BEST when it came to telling, unraveling and solving murder mysteries!!!!! Oh how I miss those days!!!!! Yep.

Mariann…thanks for listening. Have a good one.

Dustin Keene
Guest
Dustin Keene

I was very disappointed. It was supposed to be a homage to soaps not a place for Andy Cohen to spout off that reality tv is better than soaps. I don’t watch reality shows such as the Kardashians or the Real Housewives. It’s a waste of time. I was a big AMC fan and watched it from 1974 until it ended. I watched AMC when it was online and hoped it would continue. I haven’t watched another soap since. I would watch AMC if it was brought back

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

I LOVED IT! I got goosebumps watching the old scenes. Loved the Sonny & Brenda scenes. Loved the old footage. (I did not love Cohen. He didn’t need to be interviewed). UGH!

alic
Guest
alic

I too thought towards the middle of the show, what the h$$$ is this? I didn’t tune in to watch the self-serving promotion of reality shows or listen to how much trouble the daytime soaps are in. IMO , none of this belonged on the show, which I thought was supposed to be a celebration of the genre. I do not watch reality shows at all.
Of the soaps that remain on the air, I only watch GH and look forward to it returning, especially with the last episode ending in a cliffhanger.

Gloria
Guest
Gloria

I’ve never seen one minute of a “Real Housewives” show or anything to do with the Kartrashians. And I have no idea who Andy Cohen is but it sounds like he ruined this special so I will delete my recording-no need to watch. Get our soaps we have left back in production ASAP!

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Too fast to really remember or enjoy anything. As the host, Andy Cohen was right at home as he is in his real life Soaps, that he calls reality. I have watched those shows over the years and if he thinks they are better than script written, he is as nutty and unrealistic as most of the characters he is so crazy about.

Violet Lemm 2.
Guest
Violet Lemm 2.

Sorry, my bad calling A.C the host, when he was only a commentator whose comments were unneeded and as usual, didn’t know what the he’ll he was talking about.

Barbara from Atlanta
Guest
Barbara from Atlanta

I thought it was sad. So many clips of long-cancelled shows and actors no longer working in the business. It was a vivid reminder of how far the entire genre has declined in the past 15 years and how little of what was good about it remains.

gh#1
Guest
gh#1

I’m so glad to learn I was not the only one annoyed by the attempt to convince the viewers that soaps are no longer necessary because, “Oh my, we have reality tv!” I despise reality tv. Please skip the housewives, the bachelors and bachelorettes, etc. There is nothing REAL about them. And the O.J. trial? I was so glad when that ordeal was over and my soaps were back. I can get news on the evening news. Reality tv is just a means for the networks (are you reading this ABC?) to save money. I watch tv to get a… Read more »

Ray
Guest
Ray

I would love to see All My Children come back, if not to ABC, but to Hallmark. AMC never jumped the shark with crazy storylines at the level DOOL has done for the past few years. I would LOVE to see Bianca, Kendall, Erica, Jesse, Angie, Jackson, Opal, Brooke, JR, Krystal, Tad and Dixie on my screen again. I miss their faces and would love to see a new generation of young actors.

Lynda
Guest
Lynda

I want all of the soaps back. We never really got a final ending on the soaps that have ended. They really need to continue! It is sad for us that loved our soaps no longer have them. Reality TV is definitely not as good as some seem to think! Bring back AMC,OLTL & GH, B&B. & GH! I miss my soaps & so do so many others! Please & Thank You.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

I thought it was good. I really appreciated how much Bryan Cranston respected the daytime process. I was surprise Eric Braeden wasnt on much. Its an ABC show but Melody was on quite a bit. I wish they would have had longer interviews with all the current daytime stars and some from the past. Where was Ricky Martin and Jack Wagner? What about Kin Shriner? You can always count on soaps when a cooking show fails or a world pandemic hits!

view88
Guest
view88

LoL, I just watched it on YouTube. Didn’t notice much, except the same old ABC stories, justifying the cancellations, if you say it enough “they’ll believe it” sort of thing…
ABC,is what I’d call a ‘SLAG’,
at least ABC isn’t feeding the public ‘The Story of Oprah’!
just sayin’

All My Children

All My Children Alum Cornelius Smith Jr. Joins the Cast of Apple TV+ Limited Series, ‘Five Days At Memorial’

Daytime fans remember him fondly as the son of Jesse (Darnell Williams) and Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan), Frankie, on All My Children.  And now, actor Cornelius Smith Jr., is set to join a major limited series based on the acclaimed nonfiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sheri Fink, about the the first five days following Hurricane Katrina made landfall entitled Five Days at Memorial.

Written by John Ridley and Carlton Cruse, Smith will play a doctor, (something he is very familiar with playing since Frankie Hubbard was a doctor in Pine Valley!) named Dr. Bryant King, an internist and one of the few doctors of color at the hospital, who finds himself very much in the middle of the crisis.  He will headline the show alongside Vera Farmiga and Adepero Oduye.

Photo: JPI

The series will stream on Apple TV+, and no word yet as to when it will have its debut following its filming.

 

Since his time on All My Children, Smith has appeared on ABC’s Scandal, and had recurring roles on God Friended MeSelf Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker and Manhunt.

Deadline broke the casting news.

So, looking forward to seeing Cornelius back on our screens? Do you remember his work as Dr. Frankie Hubbard on All My Children? Comment below.

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All My Children

Tribute to Agnes Nixon Set Featuring: Susan Lucci, Erika Slezak, Debbi Morgan, Darnell Williams & Peter Bergman

Next week, circle Wednesday March 31st at 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST for a very special celebration of the life and times of the legendary Agnes Nixon.

As soap fans know, Nixon was the creator of All My Children, Loving, One Life to Live, and as well wrote for several other soaps, and to honor her The Locher Room will be bringing you a special episode, hosted by former soap publicist, Alan Locher, featuring actors who were pivotal to those shows.

Look for Susan Lucci (Ex- Erica Kane, AMC), Erika Slezak (EX-Victoria Lord, OLTL), Peter Bergman (Ex-Cliff, AMC, now Jack, Y&R), Debbi Morgan (Ex Angie, AMC and Darnell Williams (Ex-Jesse, AMC) to all take part, along with Agnes’ son, Bob Nixon, plus it has been noted that viewers will also hear from the iconic Carol Burnett (Ex-Verla Grubbs, AMC) who was one of All My Children’s biggest fans.

You can watch the livestream here.

Throughout her storied career Agnes won five Writers’ Guild of America Awards, five Daytime Emmy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2010 and was inducted into Soap Opera Weekly’s Soap Opera Hall of Fame among other notable achievements.

So, will you be checking out this special tribute to the one and only Agnes Nixon? Comment below.

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All My Children

‘Home & Family’ Canceled; Upcoming 9th Season to Be Its Last

In a turn of events, following the recent announcement that a retooled Home & Family was returning to production and will be back on the air three days a week beginning in April, comes word on Tuesday that the series has been canceled.

The upcoming ninth season will now be its last.  The Hallmark Channel morning show features former All My Children star, Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan Lavery) along with Debbie Matenopolos as co-hosts.

In a statement, a Hallmark Channel spokesperson shared:  “The 9th and current season of Home & Family will be the series’ last. For nearly a decade, the show has anchored our daytime lineup, featuring countless hours of cooking, lifestyle, DIY, health, entertaining, and decorating segments,” the spokesperson said. “We want to thank the heart and soul of the show, our incredibly talented cast and crew – led by co-hosts Debbie Matenopoulos and Cameron Mathison – for their creativity, hard work, and dedication. Our audience can look forward to more of the topical segments they know and love when the show returns on Monday, April 5, with a new one-hour, three-day-a-week format.

The final episode will air in the late summer on Wednesday, August 4th.

So, sad that the lifestyle show, Home & Family will conclude after this season? Comment below.

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