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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 Ben Jörgensen Reportedly Dead At 51

According to his former All My Children castmate, Brian Gaskill. there is sad news in the soap world today.  Ben Jörgensen who played Kevin on All My Children and Chris on As the World Turns passed away on Tuesday at the age of 51, apparently via suicide, although unconfirmed as to his cause of death.

Gaskill, who played Bobby Warner while in Pine Valley shared via his Instagram:  “Sad news to report. Ben Jörgensen who played Kevin Sheffield on All My Children has past away at 51 years old.  My understanding is it was suicide.  I have heard he suffered from Bipolar disorder but as I have not spoke to him in years I do not know all the details. I just want to remember the good times we had on the set of All My Children 24 years ago. He was a good guy and had the courage to play a gay teenager on tv back when it was nowhere near as common to have representation as it is today. He was part of an award winning storyline…but mostly we just had some good times back then…my condolences go out to his friends and family. Please everybody hang in there and reach out for help if you need it. ”

Since the time of Brian’s posting, friends, colleagues and fans have been posting tributes and condolences on the actor’s Facebook page.  You can view that here.

 

In this heartbreaking photo below from Steven Bergman, during his time on As the World Turns, Ben is pictured with the late Nathaniel Marston, as well as Jaime Nicole Dudney and Terri Conn.

Photo: StevenBergman

On All My Children, Ben was part of the important social issue storyline brought into the ABC legacy soap opera by the iconic Agnes Nixon, who was always trying to move the needle forward in daytime, as the character of Kevin was a gay high school student facing bullying, ridicule and discrimination for his sexuality.

Share your thoughts on the passing of Ben via the comment section below.    

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Sad news to report. Ben Jorgensen who played Kevin Sheffield on All My Children has past away at 51 years old. My understanding is it was suicide. I have heard he suffered from Bipolar disorder but as I have not spoke to him in years I do not know all the details. I just want to remember the good times we had on the set of All My Children 24 years ago. He was a good guy and had the courage to play a gay teenager on tv back when it was nowhere near as common to have representation as it is today. He was part of an award winning storyline…but mostly we just had some good times back then…my condolences go out to his friends and family. Please everybody hang in there and reach out for help if you need it. #Actor #Filmmaker #BenJorgensen #BenMonk #Life#Death#AllMyChildren #Suicide #sad #rest

A post shared by Brian Gaskill (@briangaskill) on

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All My Children

Hallmark Channel’s ‘Home & Family’ Returns to Production For Ninth Season; Premiere Date Revealed

Another daytime show is heading back to production amid the coronavirus pandemic.  Now comes word that Hallmark Channel’s flagship morning lifestyle series, Home & Family has returned to production at its Universal Studios set for its ninth season.

All My Children favorite Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan Lavery) and Debbie Matenopoulos will return as co-hosts .

Look for the new season to kick-off on Monday, September 14th at 10am EST.

In a statement, Home & Family executive producer, Tracy Verna Soiseth shared: “We are thrilled to be returning to our home for the new season. Home & Family is a daily destination of comfort television, and we are very happy to be returning with two hours of daily interviews, cooking segments, DIY crafts and our hugely popular animal adoptions.”

For the past several months. a daily series featuring the cast called At Home with Our Family has run across the show’s social media platforms during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Deadline,premiere-week guests are to include: Jenna Bush Hager, Danica McKellar, celebrity chefs Jet Tila, Carla Hall, Buddy Valastro, Curtis Stone, Rashad Jennings and Dennis Quaid.

So, glad to know Home & Family is also back in production? Comment below.

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All My Children

Michael B. Jordan Pays Tribute To Chadwick Boseman: “Since Nearly The Beginning Of My Career, Starting with All My Children When I was 16 Years Old You Paved The Way For Me”

Following the news of the tragic death of now motion picture icon, Chadwick Boseman late Friday, tributes and sentiments have poured in from celebrities, politicians and fans from all across the world.

Chadwick Boseman passed away late last week at the age of 43 from colon cancer – a battle he kept silent about for the last four years of life.

Photo: JPI

No one could be more intertwined with Boseman’s career than that of his fellow Black Panther star, Michael B. Jordan.  For Jordan took over the role of Reggie Porter on All My Children from Boseman after the late actor lasted one week, following standing up to, and addressing concerns, of racial stereotypes in the way that the part was written.  Reggie was introduced to Pine Valley as a gang member in 2003.  As previously reported it was Boseman who helped the soap opera improve the role that Jordan took over with some recommendations.

Now Michael B. Jordan has written a heartfelt remembrance of Chadwick that he shared on his Instagram, and what he has meant to his life, including how he showed him how to be better, to honor purpose and create legacy.

Read below Michael’s post:

“I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything.

I wish we had more time.

One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness.

I wish we had more time.

Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family , your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here.

I wish we had more time.

I’m more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets. “Is this your king!?” Yes . he . is!  Rest In Power Brother.”

What do you think of Michael’s tribute to Chadwick and how they have been interconnected dating back to 2003 and All My Children? Comment below.

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