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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.

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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.

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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
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 preferred more balance though. This is my favorite genre of entertainment and it is depressing that we no longer have ANY east coast soaps. The four remaining soaps are too plot driven and not enough character driven these days, and they are all west coast soaps, which has a different vibe than the east coast soaps (I love them all, just prefer east coast).

Michael (not Fairman)
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 we have left (they have their moments but they’re hardly representative of what good, satisfying soap storytelling used to be, and they can’t realistically fill the kind of need the soaps used to fill). As I pointed out elsewhere, you can’t tell “The Story of Soaps” in any honest way without including a substantial treatment of how network and sponsor interference and mismanagement helped kill them–and we all knew they weren’t going to go THERE. So I suppose it was pointless to expect an honest, genuine exploration of the soap genre. But this sounds worse than I expected–even more superficial/shallow and less self-critical than I would have thought.

Sassy Duck
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 ABC and lite on other excellent shows, both current and past.

It did nothing to celebrate and honor the history of stories that have grabbed our attention over the years. Or, that could continue to grab our attention if more committed and level heads prevailed (TPTB). It did everything to undermine the genre. I feel this is the beginning of the end. I don’t believe our beloved soaps can recover from either this show, or the pandemic. But, I would be thrilled to be proven wrong.

jaybird369
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
DMRR

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

Timmm
Timmm

PBS, great idea!

Sherry
Sherry

Where are all the Good Soaps

Thad Bosley
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
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 last 20 years the shows are more plot driven…

DMRR
DMRR

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

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

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

Amy
Amy

Amen!

DMRR
DMRR

A BIG ONE. Ugh.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Y-E-P…and even more unwatchable!!!!!

Joel
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
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 on the beginnings of the genre. It told the tale of Irna Phillips and Agnes Nixon but left out William Bell and his impact on the daytime industry. What about Douglas Marland? ABC is self serving in touting the Luke and Laura storyline. It was an important period for General Hospital but did they mention how they are basically leaving General Hospital to die? In the ideal world here’s what should have been done in two hours of television. Part 1 – History of the genre, from the beginnings to the successful period during the 80s and 90’s and towards the future for the remaining shows. Part 2 – feature the storylines that changed generations from Erica’s abortion, to Holly’s rape, to women in business with Alexandra Spaulding, to mental illness and gay rights. Show powerful performances from these stories. Part 3 – Speak with performers on these shows. Not just Genie Francis or Susan Lucci. Let’s face it, there are huge stars in the daytime world. Focus on the super couples. Focus on some of the greatest villains. They showed the scene where Valentine threw Ava off the turret but there was no explanation to why that scene even was placed there. Talk with the directors and producers – minus Jill Farren Phelps who singlehandedly did everything in her power to destroy the storylines of every soap she had a hand in. Did they ask her why ratings went down on every show she worked with? Did they mention she was fired from every show she worked on? Her and Andy Cohen must be laughing in a bar somewhere (a thought, i know most parts of the country are shut down) Part 4 – where are the remaining shows going now? What is their future? How can we protect them from ending just to replace it with another show with some wanna be starlet hosting a talk show about women who eat toe nails while really wanting caviar. They could have made an impact on the industry but instead decided to attempt to put another nail in the coffin. As for Andy Cohen’s comments regarding his housewives franchise, they are not real life drama. They are stories of made up in some think room. They do not cover socially relevant issues. They do not tell stories. They are instant pieces of gratification which is what is wrong with most… Read more »

DMRR
DMRR

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

Jamesj75
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
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
DMRR

Exactly. & Such talentless people.

Violet Lemm
Violet Lemm

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

aria
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 left geared the special more to showcasing their shows, ( maybe not fear, but smart) and or balance, but I wouldn’t spend time advertising the other existing shows, but thats just me. Oh and to my local station who had the bad timing to interrupt for a weather update during the Luke and Laura piece, Your Fucking morons. thank you not.

Alison Armstrong
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
Momo

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

Frieda Vanhooser
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
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
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
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
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
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 it was not enjoyable at all. I should have just watched yesterday’s GH again!

Mariann Aalda
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
Carrie

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

jaybird369
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 break from reality. If I want to watch rich people fretting about problems of their own making I’ll take my soaps, thank you. At least I’ll get some real story and great acting. I prefer fiction. It was great to see clips of old episodes but most of them zipped by so fast with little commentary about the characters and story involved. I really miss All My Children and One Life to Live. I was always an ABC soap loyalist and General Hospital is my absolute favorite. I did follow a couple of my favorite GH actors to The Young and the Restless and watch it now. Warning to ABC, if you cancel General Hospital I will delete my ABC channel from my tv’s channel list.

Ray
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
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
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
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

Eva LaRue Talks On Her Daytime Emmy Nomination, And Opens Up About The Loss Of John Callahan

For Eva LaRue, the past two months have been some of the most emotionally gut-wrenching and challenging of her life, following the passing of her ex-husband, father of her child, and dearest friend, John Callahan (Ex-Edmund, All My Children). The outpouring of support she has received not only from her former AMC cast mates, but the soap world in general illustrates just how dear Eva is to all of us, and how many people had special memories of their time with John.

While mourning the loss of Callahan along with their daughter, Kaya, there was some heartwarming and re-affirming news that any actress would love to hear. Eva was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series for her work as Celeste Rosales on CBS’ The Young and the Restless, and she is great company as her former AMC co-star Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) is also nominated along with her for his work on General Hospital.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country and world hard, but through it All My Children virtual reunions emerged as fans were engaged by the content, transported to happier times that brought them back to familiar faces in Pine Valley in which Eva participated along with her good friends, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and so many more, thanks to the EW. com weeklong event which concluded on Friday.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Eva in this very candid, at times heartbreaking, and open conversation where she shares details into the final days of her beloved John, her last moments with him, and how she tried to plan a memorial in his honor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For so many of us, 2020 has certainly seen more lows then highs, but in the end for Eva, to receive a nomination now (an award she was last nominated for back in 1997 as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work as Dr Maria Santos on All My Children) couldn’t have come at a better time. Here now is our conversation with Eva.

Photo: JPI

I’ve been thinking so much about you.  I’m glad we could do this, and in the midst of the tragedy of losing John Callahan, and then receiving a Daytime Emmy nomination.  What was your reaction when you learned you were nominated in a category with none other than your former AMC castmate and good friend, Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad, AMC, now Martin, GH)?

EVA:  Oh, I know!  He’s the first person I texted!  I was like, “Congratulations, Michael!  Did you ever in a million years think that you and I would be in the same category of anything?”  Then I said, “And when you win this, can I just borrow it for the weekend just to dress it up and take pictures with it… just want to borrow it, just babysit the trophy for a weekend, please?” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What did you end up submitting that landed you the nomination for your role as Celeste on Y&R?

EVA: I submitted a scene with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I have been friends for 30 years, if not more, and in all that time we had never worked together.  I met him when I was married to John O’Hurley (Ex- Dr. James Grainger) because John was over at The Young and the Restless at the time.  I went to a Christmas party with John to Peter and Mariellen’s house, and do you know who else was there?  Lisa Rinna (Ex-Billie, Days), and it was before she had gotten Days of Our Lives. She was dating Peter Barton (Ex-Scott Grainger, Y&R) at the time. We both ended up on soaps at the same time.  So, I submitted a scene with Peter, who is amazing, warm and open and such a great actor. Then I submitted a scene with my on-screen daughter Sasha Calle (Lola, Y&R) – I love that girl, and another one with Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) who has also been my great friend for a couple of decades. The other scene I put on my reel was with me and Jordi Vilasuso (Rey, Y&R) who I also adore.  He is awesome and such a sweetheart.  I only had two months worth of material to draw upon.  So, I just submitted the scenes that I liked the best, and they all were within story, and all made sense.

Photo: Getty Images

Where is Celeste supposed to be now?

EVA:  She went back to Florida, and that was that. I would never say never to anything, but it was always supposed to be a short stint, and it was great.

So not only is it you and Michael E. Knight, but Jeffery Vincent Parise, Chrishell Stause, and Elissa Kapneck. This Guest Performer category is loaded!

EVA:  I know! I know and love, Chrishell (Ex-Amanda) because we worked together on All My Children, too, right before I left, and she is a doll.  She just might be the sweetest, kindest, girl on the planet.  She literally might be the sweetest person who ever lived!  I don’t know the other two nominees personally.  So, I’m excited for them too.  It’s such a diverse category.  It’s just really fun to be nominated with all of them.

Photo: Hallmark Channel

You were nominated before, though, for your work as Maria on All My Chldren during the emotional baby switch storyline; working opposite Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica) for a lot in it.

EVA:  Yes.  I was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for All My Children, and I was nominated for Best Original Song.  I wrote a song when Maria came ‘back from the dead’ to All My Children, with a producer friend of mine from Miami Sound Machine.

Photo: Live with Kelly Ryan

So, you’ve been doing all of these All My Children virtual reunions, which is so interesting that in this pandemic, people are looking for content, and they dip back into these beloved shows.  Was it fun doing the EW.com Santos Family reunion with everybody?

EVA:  Oh yeah, it was really, really fun.  I only saw in the big picture everybody else’s photo who was a part of it, and the people who I actually do hang out with the most, and see the most, and talk to the most, are Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), and Sydney Penny (Ex-Julia).  I don’t see Sydney as much, but I do see her probably once every two years at least, but Sarah Michelle Geller (ExKendall) I see all the time and talk to all the time.  Kelly, Mark, and Sarah are the ones who walked me through that first week when John Callahan passed.  They literally were on the phone with me, the three of them, almost every day, but I got beautiful outreach, from what seemed like everyone.  This is when no matter how many years have passed since you have been in daytime, that the daytime family as a group – there used to be fifteen shows, now there are four – and people have bounced around and they are on other shows- – but the entire soap opera community reached out,   I cannot even tell you how much that meant to me.  It was overwhelming, and it was really, spectacularly beautiful.

Photo: JPI

I hope it was some solace to you knowing how much people loved John, and also that they love and care so deeply for you.

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EVA:  I mean, people who did not even work with John reached out.  Every soap was represented by getting a hold of me, sending a text or a phone call, or if they didn’t have my personal information, they tweeted, or whatever it was… literally from every reach of soapdom.  It was amazing.

And your relationship with John was amazing with all of the ups and downs you went through; that you remained such dear friends.

EVA:  We remained really great friends all the way.

Photo: JPI

I so remember when the two of you first got together and it was this storybook real life soap couple romance.  John was always so sweet to me.  I was so, so sad, and you know, my heart just broke for you.

EVA:  I think it was just such a shock.  I don’t think anybody, and even Kaya were talking about it, because she graduated this week, and her dad is not here.  We’re not having a graduation, because of COVID-19, which sucks on top of it, but we were just kind of talking through the feelings of it.  She said, “You know what’s weird?  I guess I never pictured dad getting old, and I always wondered why, and now I know.”  When I would get on John about his heart or his health, he used to always say, ‘Oh, don’t worry Evala, (he always called me “Evala”).  I’m going to be here.  I’m going to be here a long time.  I’m fine.  I’m going to be here to walk Kaya down the aisle and see her kids and all that.  Stop worrying,” Every time he said it to me, something in my gut said, “I don’t think he is.  I don’t think he is,” but I always just dismissed that.  But never in my wildest dreams did I think John wouldn’t make it to her high school graduation.  He was only 66.

Photo: JPI

I had heard you ended up running to Palm Springs to be near John.  I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

EVA:  The only good thing about this pandemic is that we had been shut down for only two weeks at that point.  Kaya and I got in the car.  John had some heart procedures the day before, on a Thursday.  I called him in the morning before he went in for the procedure.  I said, “Call me as soon as you get out of there.  Call me as soon as you come-to again, and you’re good,” and he said, “Okay, I will.”  I said, “I’m going to send Kaya out to you on Friday for the weekend, just so you have somebody to hang out and watch you, and I might come out too,” And then, I said, “Maybe, I’ll come down too in case you are feeling weak, just to watch out for you for the weekend.”   So, he called me after the procedure.   I said, “I cannot believe they sent you home! You just had some major heart stuff done.”  He said, “Oh no, they said I’m fine.  It was just run-of-the-mill heart stuff, angiogram…”  I was like, “Are you sure?”  He said, “Yeah, I’m fine.  I’m just tired.  I’m going to go to sleep.”  I said, “Do you want me to send Kaya out tonight?” and he was like, “No, no, no.  Send her tomorrow.”  So, in the morning, I called him at 9:00am.  No answer.  I texted him.  He always texted me like Johnny on the spot, and then texts me immediately back.  So, I call him again at 10.  Nothing.  His best friend calls me about a half-hour later, “Hey, I talked to John at about 8:00 this morning.  He said he was feeling really, really shitty and was going to go back to the hospital, and then, I texted him again at like 8:30 to just tell him something, and he hasn’t texted me back, and he always texts me immediately back.”  I said, “Oh my, God, I’ve been trying to get a hold of him for two hours; he hasn’t texted me back,”   I said, “You know what, I’ll call you back.”  So, I called his friend who lives down the street from John, and I said, “Go to his house, please right this second, knock on the door, jump the fence, knock on his bedroom, he might be asleep, I don’t know.”  So, he gets there, nobody is answering.  I said, “Break into the house please.  So, he did, and John was collapsed in the bathroom.  They called the paramedics, and as soon as they called me back and said, “John is unresponsive in the bathroom,” Kaya and I threw everything in the car, and what usually takes us two and a half hours without traffic, we made it down there from Los Angeles in an hour and forty-five minutes.

Photo: JPI

I don’t know how you made it down there in one piece. Thank, God!

EVA:  I drove so fast, like literally broke all land speed records and thank God because we got there just in time.  He was in emergency.  He hadn’t been put up in ICU yet, where we wouldn’t have been able to see him.  They weren’t going to let us in the hospital.  Thank God the person answering the door was an All My Children fan.  She was the one saying, “Sorry, no one is allowed in the hospital, no one can come in,” and I was like, “No, no, no, my ex-husband just came in.”  She said, “Was it Edmund?” and I said, “Yes, it was Edmund!”  She said, “Okay, follow me.”  Thank God for All My Children.  Thank God.  So, we followed this woman secretly, and we get to spend a half-hour with him in Emergency.  He was already on life-support, totally unresponsive, but we got to play John his favorite music, we got to just sit there and hold his hand and talk to him, and tell him how much we loved him.  Sarah Michelle Gellar called right when we were in the hospital in Emergency, and she said, “Put the phone by his ear,” so I put the phone by his ear, and she talked to John too, and she told him how much she loved him.  She used to always call him “GP”, which was short of grandpa, because she came on the show when she was 15, and she didn’t have a dad, and John acted like a dad to her – but she used to always call him “grandpa”, and he hated “grandpa”, so he was like, “You can call me “GP”, but not grandpa,” so she always called him GP.  I just put the phone by John’s ear, and what was crazy is that when she talked to him, his feet started twitching.  He started moving his feet.  Then, when Kaya was talking to him about Yankee season, he started moving his feet.  We were kind of hopeful that something was changing for the better.  We had about a half-hour with him, and then, they took him up to ICU, and then, we knew we couldn’t see him again.  They called us later that night that he had passed.

Photo: JPI

I am just so thankful that you got to see John one last time.

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EVA:  I thank God every day that we got to say goodbye, because if we hadn’t gotten there in time to say goodbye, I just don’t know.

It’s very rare that a couple after a divorce, who have a child, and went from romance to dear friends, end up maintaining that relationship so many years later in their lives.  I know so many people who were together at one point in their lives, for years, and they don’t even talk to each other now.

EVA:  Well, you know, like any divorce, the first four years afterwards were super contentious but then, by year five, we kind of had this major breakthrough, and from then on, he was one of my closest friends, and one of the things we always kept alive for each other was we loved to  dance together. We fell in love, I think, dancing because originally our characters on AMC met at this country-western bar, and we had to take country line dancing lessons on the show.  They hired a choreographer for us so that during those scenes where we were falling in love, we would actually be able to do a two-step! So, we went out and practiced at Denim and Diamonds, which was a big country-western place in New York City at the time.  We used to go out with a whole group of us.  It was me, and Teresa Blake (Ex-Gloria) and Kelly Ripa, and her boyfriend at the time, Winsor Harmon (Ex-Del), sometimes Walt Willey (Ex-Jack); we just had a whole crew of us who would go out country dancing.  John and I also loved singing together.  He had the most amazing gravely kind of rockstar voice, but his real talent was harmonizing.  He could harmonize to anything.  So, when he would come over, we would sit in the kitchen and sing, and sing, and sing until the late hours because that’s what we loved to do, and that’s what he loved to do.  That’s one of my favorite last memories of us.  He was just over the month before, and Kaya’s bedroom is near the kitchen, so she came out and was like, “Can you two shut up?”  It was like two in the morning and we were still singing in the kitchen. (Laughs)  John was my dear friend and my confidant.

Photo: ABC

Were you able to have some kind of service during this stay-at-home pandemic we are all dealing with, in order to mourn the loss of John?

EVA:  It’s been so crazy.  We couldn’t even have a funeral.  That’s what made it all the more heartbreaking.  There were less than twenty of us, and we just got on a Zoom call and memorialized John.   I thought we were going to do a big Zoom memorial, but it seemed so overwhelming and so impersonal, it just was rubbing us wrong in every way.  Every way we were looking at it, we were like, “Oh my, God, we just can’t.”  We wanted to invite everybody he had ever worked with, and we were like, “No, we want to do that when everything can open back up again, and invite every person, and have a party” because John was always the life of every party.  Maybe we can do that in the fall or next year.  I kept trying to write something for the small memorial we did do for three days.  I kept coming back to this one song, because John was always the consummate bartender, too.  I sang a song that Bette Midler sang on the very last episode of Johnny Carson.  It was “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and it’s about a bartender who has got a big personality and a lot to say.   I changed some of the words around a bit just to reflect who John was, and so, I ended up singing for it instead of speaking.  We always talked about that last episode of Carson; how stunningly emotional it was when Bette sang that song to kind of sing Johnny off for of all of his years on the air.  So, that’s what I did and because we loved to sing together, it just made sense.

Photo: HutchinsPhoto

I do think you touched upon something, earlier, too.  I don’t think any other genre would have that kind of unbridled camaraderie.  It’s such a family, like you said.  I don’t think you would find that quite like this; certainly in show business. 

EVA:  I really don’t think you can. Even though there is always a good amount of competition in the soaps as well; between the soaps it’s like they are any sports team, but there is always a level of respect, love, and familial connection within the community.  I think that is why they have stood the test of time.  I really do think that is what hooks our audience, that is what keeps them there after all of these years, even though unfortunately the genre is antiquated looking, there is something about it that is nostalgic, familial, and comfortable for people.

Photo: JPI

Every time I talk about All My Children, why do you think everybody go ga-ga for it, when it’s been off the air for several years now?

EVA:  It speaks to people’s childhoods.  It speaks to how we grew up.  You can’t undo nostalgia.  You can’t.  It’s in the way we grew up, the things we loved, the things that we scheduled our lives around, the people we fell in love with on the shows that we watched, who we cared about and loved their storylines. I grew up watching All My Children, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives.

It must have been a spectacular moment for you when you realized you were actually in Pine Valley and a member of the cast of All My Children then?

EVA:  It was amazing.  I was a fan when I got the show.  I was a straight up fan.  I fangirled walking through that dressing room hallway for the first time! I was trying to keep it in check, but you know … (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

So, in closing, you would say, “Thrilled to be nominated”?

EVA:  Yes.  So fun.  It has really been a rollercoaster of a couple of months here.  That nomination was literally the bright, shining spot in all of this.

So, happy to hear Eva is in the running for a Daytime Emmy? Were you moved by Eva’s sentiments she shared on her relationship with the late John Callahan? Do you miss Pine Valley’s Dr. Maria Santos? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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All My Children

All My Children Reunion with Josh Duhamel, Ricky Paull Goldin, Cameron Mathison and More; Later Debbi Morgan Live

It’s a big finale of the weeklong virtual celebration of the iconic All My Children.  On tap today in EW’s series to benefit Feeding America during the COVID-19, some major names from the history of Pine Valley and who had story with each other participating in the chat, premiering at 10 a. m. EST.

Taking part in the walk down memory lane are none other than Josh Duhamel (Ex-Leo), Ricky Paull Goldin (Ex-Jake), Chrishell Stause (Ex-Amanda), Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenelee) and Melissa Claire Egan (Ex-Annie).

But that’s not all folks! Daytime Emmy winner, Debbi Morgan will participate in a live virtual chat with EW.com today beginning at 3 p.m. EST/12 p. m. PST.  Now will be your chance to hear from the one and only Angie Hubbard from the beloved ABC daytime drama series.

Over the week, EW.com has posted other virtual conversations with notables from Pine Valley, you can check them out here.

So, will you be checking out today’s one-two punch of AMC favorites? Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Weeklong Virtual Reunions Kick-Off With Ripa, Consuelos, LaRue and Penny

Beginning this morning, Tuesday, May 26th, a weeklong virtual celebration with the cast of All My Children is on tap for fans of the beloved ABC daytime drama series, featuring a “Who’s Who of Pine Valley”.

The weeklong event is brought to you by EW.com and PEOPLETV.com and starts at 10 am EST/PST.   You can watch it right here.

Featured in the first installments are  the Santos family which includes: real-life marrieds, who met on All My Children, Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo), as well as Eva LaRue (Maria) and Sydney Penny (Julia).

Episode 2 coming up on Wednesday will feature: Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin), Cady McClain (Dixie Cooney Martin), Jennifer Bassey (Marian Colby Chandler), Jill Larson (Opal Cortlandt), and Darnell Williams (Jesse Hubbard).

The weeklong event is in support of Feeding America helping those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information and how you can make a donation visit ew.com/allmychildrenreunion

So, let us know what you think of the first installment featuring the Santos clan from Pine Valley as they reunite for a good cause via the comment section below.

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