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Former SOAPnet General Manager Deborah Blackwell Has Passed Away!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

Sad news to report today.  Deborah Blackwell, who was in charge of bringing SOAPnet to the forefront in its original version passed away on Friday after a seven-year battle with Pick’s disease, a rare neuro-degenerative disorder.  According to Deadline.com, “Blackwell passed away at the age of 63 in Virginia, surrounded by family.”

Blackwell was named the cable channel’s General Manager from its inception in 2001 through to 2007. During her tenure, SOAPnet grew its programming slate via a slew of acquisitions of primetime and daytime soaps as well as its distribution as the genre enjoyed popularity.  Deborah brought Soap Center, Soap Talk, I Wanna Be A Soap Star, Soapography, One Day With...” and other series and specials to the all-soap network along with ABC same day and date episodes of ABC’s All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital and later added Sony shows Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless.

When Blackwell left her post in 2007, there was clearly a shift away from original programming to more programming acquisitions.  It was after Blackwell left that daytime soaps began to lose traction, leading to Disney’s recent decision to rebrand SOAPnet as Disney Jr.  

Before joining SOAPnet, Blackwell served as president of Idealab’s MyHome.com, an internet start-up. From 1993-99, Blackwell headed the TV movie and miniseries department of the William Morris Agency, packaging projects with such clients as Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover, Alec Baldwin and Drew Barrymore. Before becoming an agent, Blackwell was a development executive at Hearst Entertainment, rising from director to SVP.

So what do you think of the news of the passing of Deborah Blackwell?  Do you enjoy SOAPnet in its original incarnation before it became watered down and away from its original concept? Let us know!

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jimh(leave it to beaver)
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jimh(leave it to beaver)

Sad to hear about her passing…i miss soapnet…maybe had they kept it like its original incarnation and continued with original programing it might still be with us…i didnt even get Disney Jr., the channel is completely gone from my line up!!!

Mary SF
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Mary SF

She sound like a lovely woman who made a great contribution to her industry. Condolences to her family and friends.

Eve Jones
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Eve Jones

I am sorry to hear that Billy Miller is leaving the Y & R. He made Billy Abbott believable and likable despite his many sins. I’ve never seen the original actor, Tom David, in this role. I’ll give him a chance. We’ll see.

Tom
Guest
Tom

That is so sad. My condolences to her family.

Michael
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Michael

Sad news. I loved the original SoapNet.

gloria
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gloria

The years she was in charge of SoapNet were the best, I loved all the original programming plus having the chance to see my daytime shows at my convenience, to watch again even if I’d seen them earlier in the day. It was a comfort to turn to SoapNet late at night & see my shows again. I am sorry she is gone at such a young age & sorry for her friends & family.

Iakovos
Guest
Iakovos

Thank you, Michael, for noting this woman’s contributions and successes. Clearly, Deborah Blackwell was a savvy programmer and researcher and an ally of daytime. SOAPNET was an immediate hit with me and now I know who was responsible for that entertainment and opoprtunities for disucssion and education about the genre.

Shelly
Guest
Shelly

This is sad news indeed. I repeat what others have said, the first few years of SoapNet were the best. Anyone remember “Disfunctional Family Night”, replaying some of the best nighttime soap episodes. A true champion of the soap genre, may she rest in peace.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Such awful news!!!!! My condolences to Deborah Blackwell’s family.

MBmomof3
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MBmomof3

Sad news. I loved SOAPnet and it was truly at its best under her leadership. She saw the potential and brought it to the fans. She impacted viewers’ lives in a very positive way by bringing great entertainment into our homes. I hope her family and friends find peace and know that her business accomplishments were truly appreciated.

Gmbenet
Guest
Gmbenet

My condolences to Ms. Blackwell’s family, friends and all who worked with her at SOAPnet. While I never knew of her until the announcement of her untimely passing, I am certainly very familiar with her work. I thoroughly enjoyed many of the original shows named above. As soap fan I was pleasantly surprised by what I found when I discovered the existence of SOAPnet and I am confident my enjoyment of that network’s programming is what Ms. Blackwell envisioned as she created original shows for soap fans. If there is ever a Soap Opera Museum created, I do hope there… Read more »

Gary Anhalt
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Gary Anhalt

ya,id love watching soapnet.if i missed it.it still be on…

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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