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Erika Slezak on Prospect Park's dumping of OLTL, Alternate Finale Ending & Brian Frons!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

Six-time Daytime Emmy winner and the “face” of One  Life to Live, Erika Slezak (Viki) answered many burning questions from her fans in her latest newsletter on her website. Part of the Q&A happened prior to the final tape date of the series and the other part are new questions posed to Erika since Prospect Park decided not to continue in their attempt to move One Life from ABC to its then proposed Online Network.

Below is what Erika had to say about Prospect Park, if there was an opportunity to go back and shoot an alternate ending for the soap, and if there was an alternate version already shot in the can, and her thoughts on Brian Frons.  Plus, she addresses Valentini and  Carlivati’s move from Llanview to Port Charles.

Erika on Prospect Park’s decision to abandon bringing One Life to Live online: “I had great hopes that this would happen. In the beginning, after they announced that they were licensing the shows, they seemed to have everything in place. They were moving forward, they had money, and they were making deals with the actors, and had wonderful hopes for the show. Unfortunately, as time went by, they were unable to reach speedy agreements with the necessary parties and I believe their financing fell apart and that was the end. No money, no show! I feel that they were overly ambitious, because they really had no sense of what it takes to produce a daytime drama, 5 days a week, fifty two weeks a year. It is far more complicated than producing a night time show, where you are dealing with possibly 13 or 26 episodes.”

Erika on if OLTL filmed an alternate ending to the show finale in case things did not work out with Prospect Park, and if the show had an opportunity to go back into its ABC studio, once the news broke that Prospect Park was no longer going to bring the show online. “No, I don’t think alternate endings were taped, except one, which in this case now, will apply.  We are done with ABC – the studio has been emptied, the sets are stored, the lights are gone, the cameras are gone, and the studio is being refurbished for another show – I heard Millionaire, but don’t know if that’s true.”

Erika on if she feels Brian Frons is the one to be completely held accountable for the cancellation of OLTL and AMC: “Regarding Brian Frons, this was not his decision. Ok, he is the head of daytime, but he answers to a lot of people – he answers to Anne Sweeney, and Anne answers to Bob Iger. So, whereas he may have been in favor of it, this was not his decision entirely.”

Erika’s thoughts on Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati moving to General Hospital as their new EP and head writer: “I am absolutely delighted for Frank and Ron and I’m sure that they will do a brilliant job for GH. I spoke with both Frank and Ron this afternoon and told them how very pleased I am for them both and wished them all the best and offered my congratulations.”

So what do you think of what Erika had to say? Let us know!

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jp
Guest
jp

Thank you Erika for being part of OLTL all of these years. I truly believe you and the rest of One Life cast who agreed to sign to the online version would have continued the legacy of OLTL. It is still so hard to believe there are only a few more weeks left to see Llanview and all of our beloved characters. You will be missed terribly.

Donna
Guest
Donna

I will miss Ms Slezak and Viki Lord! She is a class act. I was very hopeful that OLTL would move to online and thrive; but it was not to be. Thank you lighting up my TV screen and hope to see you in the future soon.

Maxine
Guest
Maxine

Erika Slezak is one the of the classiest ladies in the world. I admire her for being the lady that she is. She is the best in my book.

Torrey
Guest
Torrey

A class act through and through….I love and am going to miss Erika (aka Viki).

arlyne zinstein
Guest
arlyne zinstein

A CLASS ACT!!! always kind words about everyone, the matriarch of llanview for all these years..6 TIME EMMY WINNER…….ENOUGH SAID…..

Linda Dowell
Guest
Linda Dowell

I’m sure she’s correct about Frons – he was answering to execs who wanted cheap cheap cheap (because they’re chicken sh@ts lol) – but I still loathe him, and will loathe him forever. 😀 I still wonder why they don’t continue the soaps as once a week night time shows – they’ll keep an audience, they’ll keep people employed, it would mean change, yes, but it could be done – and they could start them in the opening of a season and they’d have immediate, enthused audience and I have to believe they’d have easy advertising…was this ever thrown on… Read more »

Louise Kahler
Guest
Louise Kahler

Continuing the show at night, once a week would be great with me.
I’m sure some of the actors would not be interested, but hopefully the main
actors would give it a try. I’m sure that would attract advertisers.
‘Revenge’ is an evening soap and has great ratings. I don’t see why OLTL
wouldn’t succeed.

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Wow, that’s a GREAT idea, but once aweek would not be enough to keep up the MASS appeal of a long running soap with demanding fans. Twice a week at night would certainly be entertaining for the the actor’s, knowing they could get a new demographic of fans….. And 3 times of week would be GREAT, that way the actors could have a life. They give up alot to memorize ALL those lines, although it is rewarding with their opulant life styles BUT still…..time in that studio 12 to 16 hours, and then time that they MUST TAKE at home… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

As always, Erika Slezak shows and has, the most class of any actress I can think of. Never, in all of her interviews that I have read, has she shown anything less. I will miss seeing Ericka and “Viki”, but am very greatful for all the entertainment she has given over the last 42 years. The highest regard to you, Erika Slezak !

Jim
Guest
Jim

Erika has played Viki for a long time. I am excited to see what other characters she can share with us. As far as I’m concerned she is acting royalty, and is the Meryl Streep of Daytime. I remember when she started and assumed the role from Gillian Spencer. She has been class personified, even when she had ridiculous storylines. She sold them with flair and panache. She’s just downright brilliant.

Monica
Guest
Monica

I agree with everyone – Ms. Slezak is pure class. She was so gracious to answer these questions and be as honest as she could about this whole situation. Devistating for fans, but equally as heartbreaking for the cast and crew of OLTL. I agree with what she had to say about PP being overly ambitious. They seemed to have all their ducks in a row, but it came down to financing and convincing enough investors that they could continue to produce the show “as is,” while showing they could make money in the process. It’s business – investors want… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

Very well said Monica, very well said.

Heather
Guest
Heather

Good luck on your future endeavours Vicki.

Looking forward to see you in one of the other 4 soaps or on primetime. Whichever suits you best.

P,56
Guest
P,56

I hope Erika Slazak get her own show . I’l bet you all her Fans will watch her on a sitcom .. I just love her she is a Beautiful Lady

Brian
Guest
Brian

very good point… I’m sure that everyone thought of Judith Light after reading your post, and that Erika Slezak could do the same. I would watch Erika in anything she does in the future.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I don’t know what I will do without my Vicki. I am a fan for life. OLTL was a show about Vicki and everyone else. I Love you Erika and “THANKYOU” for the many, many years of exceptional work. I will follow you where ever you land and you will land on your feet. Your just too good to pass up. Best of luck on your next Endeavor.

aria
Guest
aria

As a GH fan, I would love the great Erika Slezak to come an visit Port Charles, under any capacity, she would be great.

Brian
Guest
Brian

hmm… it would be the one thing that would me make tune back in to GH.

Deb
Guest
Deb

Thank YOU Ericak for the years of entertainment you brought to me. I remember as a young child the day your show debut. Now we must say ‘good bye’ to a classy actress/character. No matter what the ‘times’ were, you always portrayed CLASS. I personally love watching the days you are on now, and today, with you and Clint kissing was MAGICAL to me. Do you how long I have wanted the 2 of you to get back together?? lol xoxo Enjoy your retirement, you worked so hard, you deserve to enjoy this next chapter in your life. Love &… Read more »

mike
Guest
mike

She is one great lady, talent,beauty and class.

Mfarris70
Guest
Mfarris70

Attn soap producers: I will watch *any* show that Erika Slezak appears on. She is a star.

Blake
Guest
Blake

Great article and great attitude, she is totally a class act! I’m glad she thought to save and invest her money over the years and doesn’t have to worry about working again.
But I will definitely miss OLTL when it’s off next month.

Joan
Guest
Joan

I think Frank and Ron should bring Erika and other stars from OLTL and AMC onto the GH canvas in their roles instead of all the newbies who can’t act. We would have one tremendous show!

Deb
Guest
Deb

I don’t think Erika would uproot her life and move clear across the country at this point in her life. She had a terrific run on this show, why would she move cross country??

Robert in Jersey City
Guest
Robert in Jersey City

Exactly. Port Charles just got a newspaper, Viki should be part of that.

lisa
Guest
lisa

The ‘face’ of OLTL for sure and a class act to boot.
We will miss you on our screens and hope we see you again soon.

Linda
Guest
Linda

I know that Brian got a HUGE bonus for saving money for ABC,,that is how big companies work. I worked for a large company, the higher ups have the people
fire or downgrade or whatever to save them money,,,then that person doing the
“dirty” work gets a BIG bonus for their effort.

I think Erika over the years, looking at the photos OLTL has been featuring, looks
much more beautiful, softer now and I would love her to be my friend!
Stay healthy and please keep in touch! We love you…Linda in N.KY!

michael
Guest
michael

i will you all, and really will viki just love and personilty’s disorder niki tommy jean prenices tori love you i been watching oltl for over 20’s years hope guy’s come back some day make it better then ever.

Digifan23
Guest
Digifan23

I knew for the very start that it just was’nt just Brian Frons fault as Erika said “he is the head of daytime, but he answers to a lot of people – he answers to Anne Sweeney, and Anne answers to Bob Iger.”

So in short
it’s not just Brian Frons fault it’s also Anne Sweeney and Bob Iger’s fault for killing AMC & OLTL and ABC’s Daytime no ABC/Disney all togeter

Robert in Jersey City
Guest
Robert in Jersey City

agreed.

leah
Guest
leah

whom ever is responsible for the demise of the soaps needs to be let go.. I still believe deep in my heart that Brian Frons trashed the shows and then sold the idea of dumping them to the higher ups… and how is it that OLTL could come in under budget-but amc and GH couldnt? It was all a matter of who was managing the purse strings… And Once frons left OLTL alone on the east coast the show took off running… so you know-i love my OLTL stars but I wonder how they could not see what Frons was… Read more »

Tally Haugen
Guest
Tally Haugen

I have been a fan of Erika’s since I was 14 years old, workig on a Disney mural in my bedroom..Id just been diagnosed w/Type 1 Diabetes and I was workig on something to keep my mind occupied.Viki was about to marry Steve Burke, and I got into her history with her beloved Joe Riley and from then on Ive been hooked! Over the years diabetes has whittled away at my body in various ways, Ive survived 2 cancers and am nearly 8 years C-free..During recoveries I have had OLTL for very welcome diversion and I owe them very much… Read more »

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

Thanks, Erika, For All Of The Fabulous Work & Delighting Us As Devoted Audience Viewers All These Years. I Know That We’ll See You Acting Again Very, Very Soon! 🙂

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Finally someone who knows what they are talking about and no name calling. We will miss you Ms. Slezak!

Jenna
Guest
Jenna

Brian Frons drove the soaps into the ground with his micromanaging. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

emtk
Guest
emtk

I have been watching OLTL for 30 years and am heart-broken. Why hasn’t anyone considered making it a weekly show? We just don’t want these wonderful characters to end.

Robert in Jersey City
Guest
Robert in Jersey City

Finally a word from Erika! Not too make you feel old, but I’m 46, and I’ve been watching since I’m 11….the Karen Wolek story…from the time Viki saw her at the hotel….to just last night and you’re in the diner…I’ve been watching you. 35 years, 75% of my life, I’ve been watching you. You were great and did great work. I will miss the show. Enjoy your new life and thanks for keeping me company all these years. From my days as a lonely teenager to my days now blissfully single again. All the best.

kathyj
Guest
kathyj

i knew it was to good to be true looks like prospect park tried but couldnot pull through and about brian frons he had alot input the higher ups listened tohis ideas about getting rid of the soaps and putting on two new shows that would not cost as much all of our soaps are gone all because of money what has the world come to where is quality tv to me it does not exist any more once the soaps were cancelled they were and always will be quality tv as for erika she is a class act have… Read more »

Catherine Climpson
Guest
Catherine Climpson

Hi Erika,

I just want to tell you that I will miss you terribly and the whole cast of the show. It breaks my heart to see it go; I wish it would have been on the air forever. I wish you the best, dear Erika, and I know that whatever you do from now on will be successful.
Good luck to you and your family, and God bless you all. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Catherine Climpson. Love you!!!!!!! 🙂

Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Oh, we will truly miss Erika Slezak and her creation, Victoria Lord… Viki. While I do not expect Ms. Slezak to relocate to the West Coast, it would be lovely to see her be given a strong short-term role on another daytime drama. But if I had my wish, I would want to see Ms. Slezak on the stage, on or off Broadway, in one of the classics. She is among those who defines what it is to be an actress. God love her!

Lianne Meuse
Guest
Lianne Meuse

I think she was too forgiving of everyone involved with the cancelling of OLTL and AMC. I ‘d have been mad for myself, other actors and crew. I hope it gets back on air somehow! I really will miss it when it isn’t on anymore! I love Erika!

Diane
Guest
Diane

Erika, I’ve been watching OLTL since the beginning. I can’t believe my Mom let me, but she was hooked too. You have always been my favorite. I consider you family and I think you’re a wonderful actress, a sweet person, and a class act. I still hope that someone, somewhere will have the sense to bring the soaps back. I think the fans deserve it and the advertisers would be smart to realize it, because believe me, I would definitely buy their products if they were sponsoring my beloved soap operas. If they come back to tv or the internet,… Read more »

Silas Kain
Guest
Silas Kain

Ms. Slezak is a consummate professional. She executes her craft and commentary with elegance and respect. As a devout fan of her late father Walter, I see so much of him in her. Her temporary absence from Daytime television is a huge loss. I remain hopeful OLTL will continue and she will remain a part of the Llanview canvas. The one thing which separates OLTL from the majority of soaps is that this was the little show which never had any expectations or respect. They continued, year after year, viewed as the red-headed step child. As OLTL makes its final… Read more »

gloeevalens
Guest
gloeevalens

Ms.Slezak,

You are the perfect example of a class act & when I read Hilary Smith’s article today on Michael’s website, I almost cried..I hope the all wonderful people who gave so much time & energy to a winning show have a wonderful future….whatever that may be…ABC doesn’t seem to recognize quality when they have it right in front of them…that is why unless my soaps get a return I will not watch ABC…guess it’s all about the cash register not quality..Good Luck to all AMC & OLTL cast & crewmembers…

Jared
Guest
Jared

Next to the word “CLASS” in the dictionary should be a picture of Erika Slezak’s face. What I will miss most when our beloved ONE LIFE TO LIVE leaves the air is how comforting Erika’s portrayal of Victoria is/was. Erika, you are a true lady through and through. God bless.

Jan
Guest
Jan

Women, too petty.
PROSPECT PARK you wont work IN SHOW BIZ again…dumb asses.
I had to say it.

Carly
Guest
Carly

Goodbye Vicky, It’s been a very long time (I watched from the very beginning) and you’ve been great. I will miss all of you. My heart was broken when Todd (Victor) left the sorrow only grows as I watch each day. I only hope Ron gave you all a proper ending and swan song. OLTL will always have a corner of my heart.
Carly

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

Thank you Erika/Vicky for many happy years of viewing pleasure. You and all of OLTL will be surely missed!!

Elizabeth Owens
Guest
Elizabeth Owens

She is such a gracious lady.

countrymom56
Guest
countrymom56

I thought that Erika gave a great interview that she gave to us. I have great respect for her as a person and an actress, and will miss OLTL when it comes to an end.

Kelly Crews
Guest
Kelly Crews

Ii am writing you with tear filled eyes. I feel like I have lost an entire branch of my family. As I try to get throuh your final episodes without crying I just want to thank you for all the years I have been able to share in OLTL programming. 33 years I have been watching. I guess I have enjoyed you most of all as you charactor Vickie and alternates. You were by far the lead player in this soap. So I wish you all the luck and any program you join I will be there watching as your… Read more »

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Thank your for the wonderful memories that you have brought to my life. Thank you for the hearty laughs, and wonderful story lines. I am very sad to see my ULTIMATE favorite show go off air, I truly hope that whoever can bring OLTL back on air will indeed do so. I’m very sad to see the show go. May God Bless each of you in your futures!

Louise Kahler
Guest
Louise Kahler

Erika is always a lady. She is quite diplomatic in her comments. I’m sure she is disappointed, as are we, the fans. What about Oprah picking up the show for her failing tv venture? What about shooting the show 30 minutes a day for the first year or two to see how it goes then increasing it to 1 hour. That should reduce some of the stress and costs. I wonder how much the union played in the demise of the proceedings. The union did not appear to be putting the actors first, if they did, the union would have… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Gosh, on today’s (Friday”s) show, I cried on on the end, BUT I never had THIS experience, I started laughing while crying when Clint had a “Red Fox ” heart attack (My honey does that to make me laugh when something shocking happens) anyway, Clint did the old ” over the heart, heart attack ” thing and positioned himself right down on the floor besides Vicky, I laughed while crying and thought and the same time: The writer’s of this markable show are brilliant…..

Joyce
Guest
Joyce

I am so broken hearted over the loss of this great show. Vicki Lord is absolutely the best and I shall miss her. I wish Erica nothing but good things in the future. Thanks for so many years of good TV. I won’t lower myself to watch the crap being offered on ABC. What a stupid move!!!!
RIP – OLTL

Carol
Guest
Carol

I CANNOT tell you how completely saddened I was when I watch the last episode of OLTL. If they wanted to take one off the air it should have been GENERAL HOSPITAL

Carol
Guest
Carol

I recorded both OLTL and GH because I work. I looked forward each day to seeing OLTL. GH I just whiz through because it JUST BORES ME. Nothing but guns and violence. At least the characters on OLTL seemed so real and interesting and I couldn’t wait to see the outcome. I WILL NOT WATCH THE RESOLUTION, yet another self help show. I want entertainment when I come home from work not something I have to think about and feel bad about myself so they can fix it. I AM JUST DEVISTATED ABOUT THIS WHOLE THING AND I HOPE THE… Read more »

1loveabcsoaps
Guest
1loveabcsoaps

Oprah is off the air, and Oprah’s show was about life changing, self help, being in touch with your spirit/ true self, weight loss issues, greed, over-spending, better relationhip with lover’s and families, clutter, health issues, overall living your best life. These shows/ this Revolution and Chew show is about these things. abc is trying to capitolize on Oprah’s message. If she were still on, the soaps would still be on, BC they wouldn’t be able to put these shows before her’s because it would be over sensation. Then, there would be no complaints about the soaps, they would of… Read more »

Tina Fowble
Guest
Tina Fowble

Erika is a class act and I cannot wait to see where she lands next. She has already stated she would move to LA if that is what it took so I know she will wind up on my screen again. I will miss her as Viki terribly because she was like a treasured family member to me.

News

Soap Smarts: How Daytime Dramas Are Using Ingenuity To Get Back Into Production During COVID-19

Daytime dramas seldom get the credit they deserve, and now they should be getting further credit for being the first back into production as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, and trying to implement new ways to keep their trademarks love scenes, intimate moments and two-person scenes somehow looking in tact; even though it will be far from how it was done in the past.

In the story from the Associated Press The Bold and the Beautiful EP, and head writer, Brad Bell – who’s soap was the first one back into the studio – commented on how the show is utilizing mannequins, or real-life significant others to help pull off close contact love scenes and how it is rather groundbreaking. “We feel almost like television pioneers all these years later because we’re the first ones out, blazing new ways of producing the shows with the current safety standards, and we’re getting the job done. It’s very exciting.”

When B&B scripts written pre-coronavirus were reviewed in preparation for shooting during the pandemic now, originally all the cinches and smooches were cut. But Bell found a solution whereby a remote actor recites lines as their on-camera scene partner responds in a “low, intimate voice” and engages in “beautiful, yearning eye contact” with an off-camera doll.

As far as the soapy embrace or lip-lock, B&B cast member Katrina Bowden (Flo) has had her husband and musician Ben Jorgensen stand in for her on-screen love interest, Darin Brooks (Wyatt) since returning to taping new episodes.

Photo: JPI

Days of our Lives EP Ken Corday noted to AP:  The “learning curve” is steep. Before the pandemic, “we were producing eight, one-hour episodes a week. That’s basically 40 or 50 scenes a day.  That’s going to be basically impossible to reopen, so to speak, at that pace. We’re going to have to be more careful. So will there be five shows a week, or more? Yet to be determined.  It will certainly cost more.”

B&B and now Y&R which heads back into production next week, and the others soaps, will be using the company called Reel Health, which launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the entertainment industry, and hires medically trained workers to monitor sets and enforce protocols developed by a company epidemiologist and in accordance with industry and government standards,

Alicia Rodis, a veteran intimacy coordinator who helped the actors guild develop guidelines for taping scenes of romance and simulated sex. shared: “Finding ways to put romance on the screen is inevitable and necessary.  At the end of the day, intimacy isn’t going anywhere. Physical intimacy is a part of the human experience. And we’re going to have to find a way to be able to continue to tell these stories, even in extraordinary circumstances.”

So, what do you think of how soaps are tackling taping episodes in the new normal to give their fans a sense of all that they love from their favorite daytime dramas during COVID-19? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

General Hospital Shifts Production Restart Date

On Friday, ABC’s daytime drama, General Hospital has now determined to push back their production restart date given the escalating number of cases of the coronavirus as the pandemic has worsened in Los Angles County.

According to Deadline: “GH is now targeting the week of July 20 to resume taping. The situation remains fluid as new infections have been soaring in Los Angeles.”

General Hospital was previously eyeing a return to production this coming Monday on July 13th, before the COVID-19 outbreak saw a spike in numbers.

While GH is pushing itself back another week, The Young and the Restless is at this moment preparing to start taping new episodes beginning on Tuesday, July 14th.

B&B is already back in production and Days of our Lives is now targeting a September 1st restart.

So, glad that GH is holding off a little bit longer to ensure safety first for all involved from cast, and crew? Comment below.

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NBA Great and LA Laker, LeBron James Buys B&B and Y&R Co-Creator Lee Phillip Bell’s Beverly Hills Estate

One legend is moving into another legend’s previous home.  Sources are reporting to The Real Deal, that Los Angeles Laker and NBA star, LeBron James has purchased the estate of the the late, Lee Phillip Bell, the beloved co-creator of The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless.

According to the report, James is in contract to buy Bell’s estate which was being marketed at 39 million.  It was unclear what James is paying for the 13,000-square-foot property, which sits on a 2.5-acre plot and boasts seven fireplaces, a pool house with two baths, lighted tennis court, and screening room.

Photo: JPI

Bell’s estate was officially put on the market on April 30

This is the third L.A. County mansion purchase for James, who signed as a free agent with the L.A. Lakers in the summer of 2018.  LeBron previously bought two homes in Brentwood, California for 23 and 21 million dollars.

Lee Phillip Bell passed away in late February of this year.  She was remembered during the just completed 47th annual Daytime Emmys In-Memoriam segment on the telecast on CBS.

So, what do you think of LeBron moving into the renowned soap opera creators home?  Comment below.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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