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L.A. Times looks at decision to end OLTL & AMC & the reasons behind it!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

The Los Angeles Times has an analysis on Thursday’s earthquake through the soap industry which sent ABC Daytime’s One Life to Live and All My Children packing!

Times reporter, Meg Jones weighed in on the subject as well as interviewing ABC Daytime’s head honcho, Brian Frons, and a host of others on: soaps diminishing audience, interest from advertisers from losing their target young demographic, and the cost of putting on the soaps five days a week, and more.  Here are some key excerpts below!

L.A. Times, “Once a dominant source of escapism for tens of millions of women, the genre is losing ground to scores of cable TV networks, the Internet and social media. The move also comes just as two icons of the daytime screen, Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin, are getting ready to exit the stage after decades on the air, underscoring the biggest shakeup in daytime in a generation.  All the networks are grappling with what to do with a swath of the TV day that used to be a reliable and lucrative profit center but in recent years has faced increased financial pressure. A little more than a year ago, Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC moved production of  All My Children to Los Angeles from New York to take advantage of lower production costs. But ratings for All My Children plummeted this season, more than 25%, forcing ABC’s hand.

“You can’t cut costs enough to make up for those losses,” said Brian Frons, president of daytime programming for the Disney ABC Television Group. “There comes a point when you can no longer justify the expense. Soap operas are an expensive way to program a network and unless you have General Hospital- or Young and the Restless-sized ratings, it’s really not a business,”

As problematic as attracting fewer viewers, the audience for soap operas has become increasingly gray, which does not portend well for growth. “ABC feels that the soap operas weren’t bringing in as many younger viewers as they have been in the past,” said Jackie Kulesza, a senior vice president at advertising buying agency Starcom. “And for their ratings to grow they are going to need younger viewers coming to the channel. Advertisers like soap operas — they have a very loyal audience. But there are more ways for advertisers to get involved with a show like The Chew than All My Children. ABC is able to monetize those advertiser integrations; that way they can get more revenue than just from the 30-second commercial spots in the show.”

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Casie
April 16, 2011 5:53 pm

GH Sized ratings?? WTH—OLTL beat them last week. They are at 1.9 a lot of weeks. Not that GH shouldn’t be saved, but to blame “ratings” when they are keeping a show that has the SAME ratings as the others? ;rolleyes:

Tammy H.
April 16, 2011 6:07 pm

Younger viewers? How many “younger” viewers are going to want to watch cooking and self-help shows? They can color it anyway they want to, but the truth is they just don’t care about good, creative writing. They have no respect for loyal fans! Their “show me the money now” attitudes and people’s desire for mindless, trashy reality shows is killing scripted television!

Selina McGrath Varich
April 17, 2011 2:13 pm
Reply to  Tammy H.

BESIDES, THE YOUNGER VIEWERS MENTIONED, ARE IN SCHOOL WHEN THESE TWO SHOWS ARE ON!! HAS ANYONE CONSIDERED THAT THAT MAY BE THE REASON FOR THE DROP IN YOUNGER VIEWER DEMOGRAPHICS?
MY GRANDCHILDREN GET OUT OF SCHOOL @ 2:45 PM AND BY THEN WE ARE INTO GH. THEY LOVE TO WATCH THAT DAY’S SHOW OF AMC AND OLTL ON SOAPNET OR HAVE THIER MOM RECORD IT FOR THEM.
I HAVE WATCHED THESE 2 SOAPS FOR 40+ YEARS SINCE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. BELIEVE ME, THIS IS THE WORST BUNCH OF CRAP I HAVE EXPERIENCED IN A LONG TIME IN RELATION TO TV. I WILL PROTEST THE LOSS OF AMC AND OLTL BY NEVER WATCHING THE NEW SHOWS.

Tammy H
April 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Exactly, Selina! The younger viewers are not even home during those hours! I watched when I was in school too, and always had to program the VCR ( VCR- just aged myself lol) I agree with you, these excuses are all bull!

Jen
April 16, 2011 6:10 pm

OLTL is almost the freakin same when it comes to the ratings. That is such B.S.

DaisyADay
April 16, 2011 6:15 pm

I am an avid GH fan. The GH fans that I know that watch regularly are much younger than those that watch AMC and OLTL. Their demographics are most likely younger, therefore, making it more desirable for sponsors.
I VCR AMC, DOOL, BB and YR which I stockpile for weeks sometimes. But, GH I watch within 24 hours. GH is my only “must watch the same day soap” –

lisa d wadford
April 17, 2011 11:24 am
Reply to  DaisyADay

REALLY??? OLTO has been kickin Ass!! Word is GH is NEXT!

Tammy H
April 17, 2011 2:45 pm
Reply to  DaisyADay

I’m sorry it is still bull! Sure, I like GH too, but here GH comes on at 3. The High School kids might make it home in time to catch some of it and Middle School kids might catch the tail end, depending on where they live. My point is that most younger viewers still have to DVR GH. As far as ratings go, OLTL just beat out GH. It’s all lies! GH fans shouldn’t diss the other soaps because they could be next.

sharon
April 17, 2011 5:11 pm
Reply to  DaisyADay

I watch GH and in fact for many years GH was my favorite soap. With the exception of Robin, Patrick, Matt, Maxie and Matt…I don’t have much use for the show anymore. It has changed too much. It’s mob central and no longer deserves to have the show title, “General HOSPITAL” nor the association to the amazing show it used to be. I will be incredibly sad to see GH go even though I think it’s one of the worst written soaps on daytime right now. It will truly be the end of era when ABC cancels it. And let’s face it…that is not far off. The plan is to murder the soap genre…otherwise, why would they allow Bob Guza to write GH into the ground by attempting to write a very bad ripoff of the Sopranos for the past decade??

MEG
April 16, 2011 6:24 pm

JUST SHAKEN MY HEAD T,HE YOUNG ARE NOT GOING TO BE WATCHING THE CHEW!

sharon
April 17, 2011 5:14 pm
Reply to  MEG

exactly! sounds like a bunch of BS to me…they don’t care what the younger audience is watching any more than the older audience. all they care about is the bottom line…and making as much money as they can to line their pockets. and plus, they say younger people aren’t watching TV anyway. so why are they killing soaps because they claim younger people want to watch reality TV? LOL their arguments don’t even make sense!

sondra
April 16, 2011 6:37 pm

The Chew & Puke. We are boycotting ABC and sponsors ineffort to save Soaps. Let’s see if DWTS ratings fall Monday. We have all said we won’t watch, let’s see what happens.

el rizzo
April 17, 2011 12:56 pm
Reply to  sondra

i will only watch my soaps bye bye the view!!!

Kristin
April 16, 2011 6:54 pm

Umm…. A GH sized rating…. seriously? SERIOUSLY???? The more that man keeps talking the more he keeps digging himself into an even deeper hole. Wow! These people just refuse to admit the truth. They refuse to even give any kind of acknowlegement to OLTL at all! I’m SO mad… no I’m beyond mad. OLTL pulls the same kind of ratings GH does. In fact OL beat GH last week, & they beat them again in Feb. I remember that cause it was after the wedding reveal of the twins & I was HOPING they’d beat GH. So, that’s twice this year OLTL has beat GH in the ratings!!! I’m just going to say it… I could almost bet that IF OLTL had half the promotion & half the favor (cause yes it is favortism that Frons gives to GH) then they’d probably best GH in the ratings a LOT more than they have over the years. It’s this kind of disgusting PR pimping out of GH from Frons, even on the heels of 2 iconic soaps cancellations, that make me NOT want to ever watch GH again. So this is me rolling my eyes at Frons & ABC daytime’s “new” lineup! Frons seriously needs to hire good PR people cause he’s just disgusting.

Elizabeth
April 16, 2011 6:58 pm

I am so sick and tired of hearing and reading the BS these corrupt jerks keep spewing. It’s got nothing to do with ratings and younger viewers. They’ve made it crystal clear that they don’t give a damn about their viewers. They obviously want out of the soap business and continue to hide behind their excuses. They don’t want to hear from the fans (their own audience). They just want to push their own agenda. They make me sick, they said they will not change their minds no matter what, and I don’t want to hear another word from their lying mouths. They will pay for this in the end. Unfortunately, it will be too late for the rest of us. The “screw you” they’ve sent to the soap community will come back on them. I’m just angry that our shows will be gone before that happens. So wrong on every level.

lisa
April 17, 2011 1:13 pm
Reply to  Elizabeth

Very well put Elizabeth ..WELL DONE ,WELL DONE !!!

sharon
April 16, 2011 8:07 pm

ABC can say whatever they want, but it’s all spin. If they were really worried about ratings, they would have made changes to improve the quality of the shows. They would have listened to soap fans when they practically begged for changes. Instead, they ignored soap fans and did whatever they wanted. In fact, it seemed as if ABC did the exact opposite most often of what fans were looking for. We wanted more love in the afternoon and character-driven stories that we can invest in emotionally and more focus on the core characters and veterans. Yet we got plot point writing that damaged character integrity. We got more and more newbies that we didn’t care to watch who just bloated the casts. We saw countless numbers of soap couples breaking up or cheating on each other. They failed to listen to very vocal soap fans and wondered why the ratings went down. There is no excuse for that. Now they claim that the audience preferred reality talk shows over daytime drama? And they expect younger viewers to tune in for this? I doubt that very much. Everyone knows the TV has always skewed older. There may be more options out there on TV and via other channels like the internet, but there are still millions and millions of viewers who are watching TV and who love soaps. These same people wanted the quality of soaps to improve, not for them to be canceled. They won’t be watching the new ABC daytime line up and neither will the younger viewers they hope to capture.

lisa
April 17, 2011 1:16 pm
Reply to  sharon

Brava !! Sharon I couldn’t agree more !!

Marji
April 16, 2011 8:07 pm

What a line of crap. Younger people get hooked on the soaps through their parents and grandparents. They learn about the characters in the same way they always have. These comments are nothing more than spin. To say advertisers like the soap viewers and then remove soaps makes no sense. To say they can gain advertising dollars differently with these garbage shows is also a line. No one will be watching. Plus, product placement can be used on soaps as well. Let’s see all that coffee that they drink be in Starbuck’s cups. Well it will not matter, we soap viewers are the ones home during the day…………..guess who won’t be watching…………all of us.

Dawn
April 16, 2011 10:07 pm

They did not do a particularly good job making this asinine decision in the first place, and they have done an even worse job of trying to spin it. It is blatantly obvious that they did not care about the cast, crew, or viewers of their soaps. They cost money to make, and they just don’t want to deal with it. This decision lacks planning and foresight. They needed to focus on improving the product and improving the marketing. The backlash of this is going to cost them far more then continuing to air the shows ever could. No way are sponsors going to want to touch a show that is going to have this type of controversy. They have already lost.

CINDY
April 16, 2011 11:39 pm

BS THE RATING S WERE HIGHER AND THEY HAVE ALWAYS JUMPED AROUND ACCORDING TO THE SEASON.YOU ARE JUST HURTING ABC WE ARE NOT GOING TO STAND FOR THIS NOR WATCH ANYTHING YOU HAVE ON

liasonbff
April 16, 2011 11:56 pm

The following is long, and I apologize for that. In my opinion, the excuses Frons and Kulesza gave are complete BS, and it’s obvious ABC just wanted out of soaps. **FIRST** soaps can EASILY integrate products IN the shows. The problem is when the soaps try to turn the product placement into an actual ad during the show like GH did with Alexis/Diane and Cambell’s. No one wants an ad DURING the show, but you can still easily have product placement. For example, GH’s Sonny LIKES to cook. SHOW him IN the kitchen with the products visible. He doesn’t need to mention the names/brands or how awesome they are because they do such and such and have such and such in them. He just needs to USE them while he’s having a conversation. DOOL’s Brady took up drinking again. SHOW the brand, a REAL bottle of Jack Daniels or something just w/o the real alcohol in it. What type of computer does GH’s Spinellie have? A Dell? Compaq? What about the computers at the hospital itself? Need a character to be doing something while talking? GH’s Elizabeth has been known to fold laundry and iron ONSCREEN. GH could have shown specific products. What commercial airlines did Jason use when he and Elizabeth were planning on flying to Italy? How hard is it to show a character ordering an actual soda in the midst of conversing at a restaurant on ANY of the soaps? “Excuse me, waiter, can I get another Diet Coke, please?” Or maybe my favorite character prefers Nestle’s hot chocolate = Product placement w/o bashing the viewers over the head with an ad. What about pulling out a box of Cheerios while in the kitchen like DOOL’s Melanie minus the mini ad? GH’s Alexis was a huge fan of popcorn back in the day, so we should SEE the brand. GH’s Kate, Maxie, or Lulu could name a real magazine as a competitor magazine of Crimson or even having their magazine merge with a real one. Hospital supplies come from somewhere too. Not to mention hotel supplies and restaurant supplies. Costco? Sam’s? The Restaurant Supply Store? Lots of characters have been seen eating Chinese take out. Why not have Panda Express or any other Chinese place named on the side of the box? Perhaps a Smoothie King smoothie in the park for one character while another has a Klondike bar and one of the kids has a Flinstone’s push up pop? There are SO MANY options for NATURAL product placement; soaps are only limited by the creativity (or lack thereof) of the people in charge. **SECOND** soaps wouldn’t cost nearly as much to make if they stopped trying to compete with primetime. It’s a soap. Be a soap. Focus on the relationships, family, LONG TERM history (that only soaps have), and keep the characters IN character. Soaps are NOT known for their special effects; primetime and movies will always do it better because they have the money and… Read more »

wicca_lovely
April 17, 2011 12:18 am

My ENTIRE FAMILY will boycott anything and everything to do with The Chew (Gordon Elliot, Mario Batali, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, and Daphne Oz), The Revolution (Tim Gunn, Kimberley Locke, and Harley Pasternak), their sponsors and ABC in general! The only ABC shows I will watch are All My Children, One Life To Life, and General Hospital!

I have watched these shows for 20 out of the 24 years of my life! The earliest storyline I remember aired when I was 4 years old! The characters on the soaps are like my family and I feel like Brian Frons MURDERED them! Brian Frons has NO CLUE what he is talking about! I am 24 and many of my high school/college age friends watch the soaps and almost all of the adult women in my life watch. The ABC soaps have been passed down three generations in my family and when I am older I want to be able to watch the shows with my children!

Joann
April 17, 2011 12:43 am

Well, The only other show I watch on ABC is Modern Family. NOW..I don’t watch ABC at all. Well make that my Whole Family. ABC, you you need to correct your errors. I guess it won’t be long before ABC is phased out too. It has been on the air for too long. And obviously having money issues. AMC will be picked up else where.

david
April 17, 2011 2:13 am

Reality television lowers production costs and maximizes profits. The number of viewers or their ages becomes irrelevant. Honesty is incompatible with public relations. If Disney/ABC can increase revenue by changing programming, shareholders are satisfied. If profits increase, alienating a large proportion of viewers is irrelevant. Money and the bottom line are all that matter. This is business. This is the reality of capitalism in the United States of America. The only recourse is for enough consumers to boycott any and all business operations associated with Disney/ABC that revenue declines and the responsible executives are fired. Go to the corporate Disney website to learn the extent of their operations: http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/index.html

nan
April 17, 2011 2:57 am

I think its funny how everything that man touches fails.How does he keep his job is beyond me.GH is and has been just awful! The same story for weeks on end no use of vets,the same 4 or 6 people over and over and over.Frons just loves the mob and bombs and killing children.OLTL use s the whole staff has at least 2 or 3 story s going at one time and IS UNDER BUDGET without block taping like GH.Another fashion and food show OMG!!This was a very poor decision on the part of disney and ABC.Older viewers are the ones who have money to spend not the teens.You really have pissed off thousands of viewers who they have lost.Twitter has been burning up with people who will NOT be watching these stupid shows.

Darcy
April 17, 2011 4:06 am

HUH? Does this idiot even know how a new generation begins to watch soap opera? Audience is not responding to this medium the way they use to “across the board not just daytime dramas prime time as well” OMG for decades an older audience is instrumental and the old people he disdains and mocks..and refuses to give story to on General Hospital (unless its a man….They have killed off all the core families and/or backburnered the vets and he chooses brands the show who gets air and diminishes their popularity with bad storytelling. Don’t drink his kool-aid. He’s on record re: his opinion about what old people are good for..He kills everything he touches he has systematically and meticouslly”designed these shows to fail” For years audience begged campaigned pleaded for changes yet he hires and “KEEPS” re-hiring burnt out hack writers and Executive Producers the killed other shows…he always has an excuse for “his failures.” GH is the most misogynistic show I’ve ever watched in my life and for him to sit there and say that GH is even near the “quality of storytelling of Y/R where women drive story grates my last nerve..its so many holes in his spin I can’t begin…Frons is a liar he has lied on many occasions and he’s lying now…he wanted soaps gone . I read rumors as far back as 2003 from insiders who said he wanted them gone for cheaper programming because his job is to “develop” new program as well so where in the mas hell was new programming to be placed on daytime? At one time the rumore was they were to shifted to soapnet. with a smaller cast and cheaper production costs.but he failed on that one too because of his unrealistic dogmatic vision This man has lost the pulse of his audience he’s alienated it and hasn’t a clue what they want to see. Maybe if he wouldn’t have micromanaged shoving his pets down many viewers throats and listened to what we wanted to see because we told him and he steadfastly refused. We wanted Genie back the powers refused saying there is no audience for her instead on his other show he shove Ryan and Greenlee down my throat until I couldn’t take it a tuned out all that and paid his pet a million bucks please don’t get me started when he “bragged” about killing a soap on two networks NBC/CBS. I believe it was Search for Tomorrow…he disrespects actors and viewers at every turn…I don’t deny the economics of soaps but “he his army of hacks are also highly to blame as well. And I for one have absolutely “no intention of letting him off the hook. Yes economics played a role but how come this genre flourishes everywhere but the country that created it…and soaps are everywhere in other counties, Germany, England, heck even Nigeria are loaded with soaps…He’s full of bull in the worse way. Watch he’ll bring his cancelled out pets to… Read more »

lynn malone
April 17, 2011 6:15 am

I will NOT watch ABC’s replacement shows.Infact,when these soaps are gone,I too, will bw done with ABC.I think it’s terrible to put more reality shows on the air. T hey are horrible and people are getting sick of them. I have watched these two soaps for years and will miss them. It’s nice to have love in the afternoon—not a stupid reality show.

Tricia
April 17, 2011 7:18 am

I have been a HUGE fan of ABC over the years, I have been watching GH since I was a teenager (Hint: Heather was GOING crazy when I first started watching) remember running home from school to watch Luke and Laura get married, even though I wanted Scotty to win the girl. What GH consists of today and the last 10+ years is NOTHING compared to what it was. Guza couldn’t shine ANY of his predecessors shoes. His constant plagerism of “The Godfather” is sickening. The pairing of Jill Farren Phelps and Brian Frons who have a history of killing soaps, and the complete decline on these once great shows, under their watch, have a lot of fans believing this was done on purpose. When MTV is paying Snookie and crew $100,000. an episode, and ABC which has shows like “who wants to be a millionaire” nevermind the production costs of a show like “Extreme Home Makeover”. (don’t get me wrong most of the families on these shows are very deserving of their gift, but for Brian Frons to be screaming poverty while the fans are constantly telling you what they want on your message boards, and fan favorite websites, proves, no one in ABC care’s about their daytime audience, since a lot of these shows, just stayed the course. GH’s extremely sloppy writing of Jake’s death is just one example, especially after the DRAGGING out of the “Balkin” garbage, and the fact that Lisa’s is still going strong. I was excited about the return of Roger Howarth to OLTL, but now don’t see the point, or the point of letting Susan Lucci do the talk show rounds saying how she was “enthusiastically” reassured that AMC wasn’t going anywhere only to be made a fool of the very next week. Way to go ABC, great way to treat a 40+ year employee.

Carol
April 17, 2011 10:29 am

Why do networks value 18-49 when it is the baby boomers that have all the money? It doesn’t matter if networks can find different ways for advertisers to be involved in the new shows if two million loyal soap viewers stop watching altogether. I love Tim Gunn, but I won’t watch any show that replaces OLTL or AMC, just as I have never watched the shows that replaced Guiding Light or As The World Turns. Advertise away – I won’t see it.

Lisa
April 17, 2011 11:44 am

Brian Frons is a liar. OLTL has been beating their competition The Talk in the ratings department and has been the only soap showing growth and he wants to cancel it. It also beat the show he is keeping GH. The problem with daytime has been Brian Frons who needs to lose his job not the hard working cast and crew. The more he tries to justify the worse he looks.

Suzette
April 17, 2011 11:02 pm

This is BS I have been watching One Life to Live for twenty plus years. Mind you I am in the 20 to 25 age range. My mother use to record this shows for me; so I could watch after school. I still request my Great Aunt who looks forward to One Life to Live everyday to record because I am in college now. The people at ABC are just making up every reason in the world for this dumb decision. Just because you put a few people in a room and ask if it appeals to teens or young adults does not mean it applies to everyone. These shows have been around for forty plus years and they should stay on ABC. In many cases they are the only reasons why ABC is even watch. The soaps are daytime television and should not be compare to primetime. First of all primetime everyone is at home able to watch television. Many people during daytime are at work and cannot say I can’t come in because I will miss my soap; bosses may not like that. Second there is more of a budget because the shows have bigger stars. Granted it does cost a lot to keep a show going five days a week. What do think it will cost with these two new shows for five days? How much did that dumb show Survivor cost; to keep people on a desert island for a season. Or how much does it cost to watch some dumb person try to find love on the television or watch stars dance in short skirts? I think they need someone with common sense working on this decision because clearly Brian Frons has none; he is making up reasons. Daytime and Primetime are different that is the reason why they have different shows; shouldn’t it be different ratings. Does ABC compare Castle ratings to The View? If not then why do they compare One Life to Live to these shows?

ethel
April 18, 2011 2:56 am

when amc & oltl goes the only other abc show i will watch is gh – i will never watch anything else on abc……………

Jim
April 23, 2011 11:29 am

How they can claim they tried everything when they kept force-feeding an unpopular couple like Ryan/Greenlee on AMC is beyond me.

Doe
April 23, 2011 8:19 pm

Well, after reading every one’s comments, I can agree with you100%. However, there was always a core audience with college kids who would go to the Rathskellar in the union or whatever on breaks to see the soap. Some would even schedule their classes specifically for their shows. But with all the new electronics and IPads, phones, etc, they can now find anything to amuse them. They want everything to be quick because their attention span is limited. Nevertheless, ABC should have made their shows half hour ones , just like Bold and Beautiful. They are sucsessful. And Young and Restless has many of their stars pitching products every day, this is brought to you by so and so,etc. I know this for a fact because I watch that show as well as OLTL. I wonder if ABC even considered that a half hour show would certainly cut their costs. The upshot is that they didn’t even bother to find a solution. So, there is no redemtion for those idiots…….

All My Children

‘Strahan, Sara and Keke’ Canceled by ABC; Show Aired In Timeslot That Once Housed ‘All My Children’

No matter a network tries to do, replacing All My Children, which ran for 41 years on ABC has remained as everyone that follows the world of daytime drama knows, problematic.  Now come word via Page Six that Strahan, Sara and Keke has been canceled.

The show hosted by Michael Strahan, Sara Haines and Keke Palmer if you recall, replaced the foodie show, The Chew which ran for seven seasons and was the first show to air in the timeslot that belonged for over four decades to All My Children. 

Back in March of this year, Strahan, Sara and Keke took a break to make way for ABC’s News  Pandemic: What You Need to Know, a daily coronavirus report anchored by Amy Robach, Dr. Jen Ashton and sometimes TJ Holmes.

However, because the show did well in that two-week experimental run it morphed into GMA 3: What You Need to Know.  The new version of the show also talked about hot topics in the current news cycle, as well.

ABC’s Catherine McKenzie began producing the “GMA3” show four months ago and the network officially announced her as Executive Producer of the program on Thursday.

While ABC has yet to officially announce Strahan, Sara and Keke is over, a spokesperson told Page Six: “We’re proud of our teams at ‘SSK’ and ‘GMA3’ and how quickly they transitioned to producing a daily show to give people the news and information they need during an unprecedented pandemic, and conversations continue about how the show will evolve in the months ahead.”

It appears that Strahan, Sara and Keke won’t be returning; the future as many of their staff have transitioned over to ‘GMA 3’ with producers from ABC News Live, (the streaming division), helmed by McKenzie.

As for the futures of Strahan, Haines and Palmer; Strahan will continues to host Good Morning America, and they are all actively under contract with the network.

So, what do you think of  ‘Strahan, Sara and Kek’e being replaced by ‘GMA 3: What You  Need to Know’?  How long do you think that show will last in the timeslot once taken up by residents of Pine Valley? Comment below.

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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.

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.

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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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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