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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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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!!!

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

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.

That is so sad. My condolences to her family.

Sad news. I loved the original SoapNet.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 will be a prominent section created to remember and celebrate Ms. Blackwell’s work.

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

All My Children

Susan Lucci Joins the Cast of Jonah Hill’s Movie ‘Outcome’

Look who will be part of the ensemble cast in motion picture and film star Jonah Hill’s new film project! That’s right, none other than Susan Lucci (ex-Erica, All My Children).

According to Deadline, the daytime television icon joins other notables including Laverne Cox and David Spade who have been added to the cast of Outcome. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Matt Bomer (ex-Ben, Guiding Light) and Cameron Diaz.

In Outcome, which is written by, and will be directed by Hill, the dark comedy centers around Reef (played by Reeves), a damaged Hollywood star who must dive into the dark depths of his past to confront his demons and make amends after he is extorted with a mysterious video clip from his past.

Photo: JPI

Soap fans know that following her iconic run as All My Children’s Erica Kane, Susan went on to be featured in Lifetime’s Devious Maids in the role of Genevieve Delatour.  Since her Pine Valley days ended (when AMC was canceled in 2012), Susan has appeared in numerous shows and made numerous appearances.  n December of 2023, Lucci was awarded the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo: JPI

Outcome will debut on Apple and is an Apple Studios production. The film marks the latest collaboration for Hill and Apple Original Films, who are also developing a Grateful Dead biopic with Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions, to be directed by Scorsese, with Hill starring in it and as one of the producers of the project, as well.

So, intrigued to see what kind of role Susan plays in Jonah Hill’s new film ‘Outcome’? Comment below.

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All My Children

Jacob Young Shares Production Pic of Cast of His New Film Featuring Joan Collins and Nadia Bjorlin

Last month, during a livestream conversation on the Michael Fairman Channel, while promoting Jason Cook’s film, Four for Fun, and featuring soap notables Jacob Young (ex-AJ, AMC, ex-Lucky, GH, ex-Rick, B&B) and Brytni Sarpy (Y&R), Young revealed some intel on his upcoming movie project.

Jacob shared that he was set to direct, produce and star in a Agatha Christie-like murder mystery feature film, Murder Between Friends shooting in Prague.

The actor/director expressed, “I’m flying at the end of the March to Prague to direct, produce and star in a film with Joan Collins (ex-Dynasty). Nadia Bjorlin (ex-Chloe, Days of our Lives) is in it, and Toby Alexander Smith from Eastenders (ex-Gray Atkins). Plus, a couple of my Broadway friends and a very well known Czech actress (Hana Vagnerova). It’s very ‘Knives Out’ without having a hundred million dollars to shoot it, but still will be a lovely film nonetheless.”

Photos: JPI

Young is currently shooting the film’s principal photography abroad through April 17th.

Over the weekend, Jacob took to his Instagram to share a photo with the cast of the film where pictured is former Dynasty star, Joan Collins (ex-Alexis) and former Days of our Lives star, Nadia Bjorlin (ex-Chloe). In addition, former All My Children star, Trent Garrett (ex-Asher) is seen in director-mode kneeling.

Trent and Jacob are both co-directors of Murder Between Friends Joan Collins shared the pic on her Instagram citing, “This was the #secret I posted about several weeks ago!”

So, looking forward to seeing Jacob’s film when it is released with Joan, Nadia, and company? Let us know in the comment section.

 

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A post shared by Jacob Young (@jacob_w_young)

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All My Children

Barbara Rush, ‘All My Children’ and ‘Peyton Place’ Actress, Dies at 97

Veteran Hollywood actress Barbara Rush, known to soap opera fans for her recurring roles on All My Children as Nola Orsini, and on Peyton Place where she played Marsha Russell, died at 97 on Sunday, March 31st.

Her passing was confirmed by Rush’s daughter, Fox News Channel senior correspondent Claudia Cowan. In a statement, Claudia shared, “My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 this evening. I was with her this morning and know she was waiting for me to return home safely to transition. It’s fitting she chose to leave on Easter as it was one of her favorite holidays and now, of course, Easter will have a deeper significance for me and my family.”

Barbara had an extensive career in films and television that included roles in: It Came From Outer Space, The Goldbergs, 7th Heaven,  The Young Philadelphians, Robin and the 7 Hoods, The Young Lions, Batman (TV series ), The Bionic Woman, Fantasy Island, Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote and so many others.

Photo: NBC

From 1968 to 1969, she starred in 75 episodes on Peyton Place.  In 1980, Rush also appeared in NBC’s primetime soap opera, Flamingo Road taking on the role of Eudora Weldon, who’s adoptive daughter was played by Morgan Fairchild.

Then, in 1992, she was cast as All My Children’s Nola Orsini. In the storyline, Tad (Michael E. Knight) had amnesia and washed ashore from a river and wides up in California. He gets a job at Orsini Vineyards, where the owner, Nola Orsini (Rush), says that he is the spitting image of her missing son, Ted Orsini, who was kidnapped as a child, and insists Tad is him. She takes him in, trains him to run the vineyards, and makes him her heir, completely convinced he is her lost son, and the story unspooled from there.

Rush is survived by her two children the aforementioned Claudia Cowan, and  Christopher Hunter.

Share your condolences for and remembrances of Barbara Rush via the comment section below.

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