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On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman's Best and Worst List of 2011!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

In an emotional, bizarre, and heartbreaking year in the world of soaps, there was still tremendous work done by the talented performers in the genre in front of the camera, as well as those behind-the-scenes who illustrated brilliant creativity and passion for their field, and for loyal soap fans everywhere.

In addition, there were several not so stellar moments, characters, or storylines that get the dubious honor of some of the “Worsts” of 2011.  So with that said, Michael Fairman presents to you his fourth annual Best and Worst of the Year.  In several categories, it was almost too tight a race to call, and so we have showed you the runner-ups in those particular cases, and in some cases, we had to call it a “tie”.

From Best Soap to Worst, to Best Overall Performance by an Actor and Actress to Most Irritating Character, to Best Storyline to Worst, to Best Newcomer to Worst Return, to Best Single Performance in a Storyline by an Actor and Actress to Most Tortured Character, to Most Inexcusable Way to Handle the Soap Audience, we dissect it all, in our annual look back at the year in soaps.

Now, while we know many of you have your own picks and choices, we encourage you to let us know your thoughts as well.  And most of all, we want to wish all our soapers a healthy, prosperous, and fantastic New Year!

So without further ado, after the jump, we reveal the list!

ON-AIR ON-SOAPS  MICHAEL FAIRMAN’S BEST AND WORSTS OF 2011!

BEST SOAP

One Life to Live

BEST WEB SOAP

Courtesy/ABC

Venice

WORST SOAP

General Hospital

MOST DISAPPOINTING SOAP

The Young and the Restless

MOST DISAPPOINTING EPISODE

All My Children finale

BEST STORYLINE

Tale of the Two Todds – One Life to Live

WORST STORYLINE

Who killed Skye? – The Young and the Restless

MOST BOTCHED STORYLINE

The Balkan and Brenda- General Hospital

LOOPIEST STORYLINE

Courtesy/MFSOAPS

Trippy-Berry Island with Brooke and Thomas – B&B

MOST OFFENSIVE STORY POINT

Lisa yielding an HIV positive blood-filled syringe as a weapon – GH

BEST RIPPED-FROM-THE HEADLINES SOCIAL ISSUE STORY

Teen suicide via bullying – One Life to Live

BEST WRITING

Ron Carlivati – One Life to Live

WORST WRITING

David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski – All My Children  (For the beginning of 2011)

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Garin Wolf – General Hospital (For the latter part of 2011)

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE MALE

Courtesy/ABC

Jonathan Jackson – Lucky addresses Luke during Luke’s intervention – GH

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE FEMALE

Erika Slezak – Viki battles her alters in Erika’s special 40th Anniversary episode– OLTL

BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCE BY A YOUNGER PERFORMER

Austin Williams – Shane’s suicide attempt – One Life to Live

BEST EPISODE OF THE YEAR

The Fraternity Row Fantasy Episode – One Life to Live

BEST COMEDIC EPISODE OF THE YEAR

The Vicker Man Premiere – One Life to Live

Runner up:  The Blanca Show – One Life to Live

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

(TIE) Trevor St. John – One Life to Live,  Jonathan Jackson – General Hospital

Runner up:  Steve Burton – General Hospital

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Courtesy/ABC

Florencia Lozano – One Life to Live

Runner-ups: Erika Slezak – One Life to Live, Crystal Chappell – Days of our Lives

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR

Billy Miller – The Young and the Restless

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Ilene Kristen – One Life to Live

BEST YOUNGER ACTOR

Chandler Massey – Days of our Lives

BEST YOUNGER ACTRESS

Molly Burnett – Days of our Lives

MOST BELOVED CHARACTER AND PERFORMER WE WILL MISS THE MOST

Michael E. Knight – All My Children

BEST RETURN

Courtesy/ABC

David Canary – All My Children

Runner up: Andrea Evans as Tina with David Vickers, the dog in tow – One Life to Live

WORST RETURN

Debbi Morgan – The Young and the Restless

BEST RECAST

Barbara Rhodes (Irene Manning) – One Life to Live

WORST RECAST

Tom Degnan (Joey) – One Life to Live

BEST RECURRING PERFORMER

Tuc Watkins – One Life to Live

BEST RUINATION OF A CHARACTER

Chloe Lane who becomes a hooker – Days of our Lives

MOST TORTURED CHARACTER

Jason Morgan – General Hospital

MOST OVERUSED PLOT DEVICE BY ONE SHOW AT ONE TIME

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The soap epidemic called The Doppelganger – DAYS, AMC, Y&R and OLTL all head them! Enough!

FAVORITE DOPPELGANGER

Jane – All My Children

WORST DOPPELGANGER

Caleb – The Young and the Restless

WORST WAY TO WRITE OFF A MAJOR  SOAP CHARACTER

Marty Saybrooke wanders on to a plane, because she is told her presumed dead husband Patrick is on board.  And, we see no on-screen reunion of Susan Haskell and Thorsten Kaye!

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MOST UPSETTING MOMENT OF THE YEAR INVOLVING A PERFORMER

Trevor St. John ends up being killed-off of OLTL after a murky and confusing negotiation, and the return of Roger Howarth. Thus depriving fans of the two Manning brothers for any length of time.

MOST INEXCUSABLE WAY TO HANDLE THE SOAPS AND ITS AUDIENCE

Prospect Park allowing OLTL to film their final episode knowing that they couldn’t come up with a way to put it online, and making the actors tout that the show is continuing, and leaving fans in the dark with no proper press.

WORST DECISION THAT IMPACTS SOAP FANS

Courtesy/NBC

ABC cancels One Life to Live and All My Children in the same breath!

BEST TRIANGLE

Viki/Charlie/Echo – One Life to Live

WORST QUANDRANGLE

Steffy/Liam/Hope/Thomas – The Bold and the Beautiful

BEST COUPLE

Billy and Victoria – The Young and the Restless

MOST CRINGEWORTHY COUPLE (TWO YEARS RUNNING)

Adam and Sharon – The Young and the Restless

SEXIEST NON-COUPLE

Brooke and Thomas – The Bold and the Beautiful

WORST COUPLE

Joey and Kelly – One Life to Live

WORST QUANDRANGLE

Courtesy/ABC

Steffy/Hope/Liam/Thomas – The Bold and the Beautiful

MOST IRRITATING CHARACTER

(TIE) Siobhan McKenna – General Hospital, Damian Spinelli as Jackal P.I – General Hospital

WORST NEW FAMILY INTEGRATED INTO A SOAP

The Patels – One Life to Live

MOST REVITALIZED CHARACTER

Nikki Newman – The Young and the Restless

MOST CREEPY PERFORMANCE

(TIE) Brianna Brown – General Hospital, Bruce Weitz – General Hospital

BEST WEDDING

Sonny and Brenda’s wedding – General Hospital

BEST WEDDING FALL-OUT

John and Natalie’s confrontation after the double wedding of Natalie/Jessica busts up! – OLTL

BEST NEWCOMER MALE

Courtesy/ABC

Josh Kelly – One Life to Live

WORST NEWCOMER MALE

Barrett Helms – One Life to Live

BEST NEWCOMER FEMALE

Kate Mansi – Days of our Lives

WORST NEWCOMER FEMALE

Diana DeGarmo – The Young and the Restless

BEST NEW CHARACTER

(TIE)  Sonny Kiriakis, Days of our Lives,  Cutter Wentworth, One Life to Live

THE CHARACTER WHO KEEPS COMING BACK AND NO ONE CARES

(TIE) “Franco” and Lisa Niles – General Hospital

BEST GUEST STAR PERFORMANCE

Josh Duhamel – All My Children

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Emily
Emily

I was really disappointed with the Lisa Niles story because with Brianna Brown, there was actually potential. Brianna and Brandon Barash had good chemistry and a better storyline/writing job would have utilized Brianna’s talent. Instead, they wrote the character into a corner that left fans gagging. GH has so much talent on board… I sure hope the writing in 2012 does the talent justice.

Chris
Chris

I disagree with you naming The Patels as the worst family of 2011! I loved them, and thought they all did a great job!

I know you probably named best new male newcomer and best new character to Josh Kelly/Cutter Wentworth because this year was a very slow year for “newbies”, and they weren’t a lot of them this year on the soaps, but I was indifferent to the Cutter character at the beginning since he was involved in that lame storyline con job scam with Aubrey scamming Joey, and the quadriangle between Cutter/Aubrey/Joey/Kelly. The I really hated the character when he eloped with Jessica when she was her DID alter Tess, and scamed her and her parents for a piece of the Buchanan fortune and The Buchanan Mansion, but then i grew to like him when he briefly reconciled with Aubrey/Christine, and we learned about his tragic backstory with Kim, and then learned he was Alex Olanov’s son and fell in love with Stacy/Gigi before his character ended up in a Kentucky prison for The Spotted Pony murder!

Michael, did you based your choice on best male newcomer and new character of 2011 on that person’s performance of the character throughout the year, or to a certain point in the storyline when you changed your tune about that character? What did you also think about Terri Conn’s performance as Aubrey/Christine?

Paul8148
Paul8148

Agree with most,…..I have Jerry Ver Dorn in a three tie with Trevor and Jackson for lead actor…….

Also for worst quad, I did not like the setup but i think the Steff/liam/Hope/thomas storyline has turn the corner in the last few weeks and is really good right now….

heidi
heidi

Great List Michael!!! Agree with most… Happy New Year and thank you for your great site, with awesome content and your wonderful interviews… oh and your fab podcasts!!!
We can only hope someone picks up OLTL… anything can be possible!

Chris
Chris

Okay—- Just have to say this was obviously one man’s opinion. OLTL is not THAT great. Sorry to say…. You can tell what his favorite soap is. Too bad the ratings don’t prove it…… Happy New Year, all!

Gerardo Ramirez
Gerardo Ramirez

Thank you,Michael.I agree with the vast majority of your picks.i dread that next year the worst coupling will be Victor & Sharon.Have a great New Year.

CclovesVilly
CclovesVilly

Woohoo! Great picks! I love my Villy. Miller and Heinle just SHINE together. There’s no one else like them

Mandy
Mandy

I agree with most of your picks especially Billy and Victoria as Best Couple and the return of Nikki Newman.

Happy New Year!!!

Courtney
Courtney

Great list Michael!

So happy to see Villy as the best couple! They definitely are! Love them And yay for BM getting best supporting actor! Well-deserved 🙂

Amanda
Amanda

Great picks but my favorite? Naming Billy and Victoria as Best Couple. They are a force to be reckoned with and their chemistry is amazing! <3

kay killgore
kay killgore

I would have put cringeworthing couple as anyone the character of Nick Newman is with, he is most definitely the male whore of daytime. I guess I am in the minority but I think Sharon& Adam have great chemistry. Don’t forget the Baldwin brothers did a lot of bad things before they were accepted into Genoa City society. I could list them for everyone but it would take too much time. And I am sorry I just don’t get Steve Burton’s acting or lack of he looks stiff. Just my opinion otherwise I pretty much agree Michael.

Rachel
Rachel

I’m in agreement with 99% of your list but totally disagree about your worst female newcomer. As an actress she’s really good. It’s not Diana’s fault that the writing is one dimensional. I see her doing a great job with not so stellar writing and don’t fault her at all.

barbara t
barbara t

good picks ,and I love that you agree with me about franco and lisa niles ,Im glad she is gone ,hopefuly franco is gone with all his finger painting and please ,I forgot her name right now but the one with the irish accent what a waste of her and lucky.please make her gone to.We only have 9 more days of one life to live ,the best soap,best writing ,best actors,It will be missed.

CSG
CSG

I agree with much of this list, but the Patels were integrated well into the OLTL canvas. Vimel was Clint’s lackey from 2010 and the addition of Rama was seamless. Tying her into new-ish characters also helped. I am neutral on Neela.

I am confused with how Debbi Morgan is a worst return to Y&R when she was never there before. Is her character’s return the worst?

Heather
Heather

General Hospital was not the worst soap. Dante & Lulu’s wedding was the best, definitely better than Sunny & Brenda’s.

Joss
Joss

Sorry, but I like the Patels! They’re great! When’s the last time a family of couple was integrated into a soap??

jp
jp

I agree with most. Definitely hands down OLTL was the best soap of 2011. I hope the emmys will recognize them with this distinction this year. It will be an injustice if it goes to any other soap.

Doe
Doe

I liked your picks this year. I’m sad cause I can’t say I will be waiting for next years list, anymore. I feel badly, Michael, because this must present a great deal of frustation for you and other journalists. But, I think because you are the best interviewer bar none, your creativity will find new avenues to write about. We still have Y&R and DAYS and GH and B&B and The online soaps. So hang in there everyone. Hope you will find new things to bring to us fans,Michael. You are the best.

linda
linda

Best Actor: Darnell Williams – All My Children
Best Actress: Debbi Morgan – All My Children

Best Couple – Jesse and Angie – Legends on All My Children

Best Single Performance by an actor: Jesse (Daarnell Williams) delivers his stillborn daughter.

Best Single Performance by A Couple – Angie (Debbi Morgan) and Jesse (Darnell Williams) at the gravesite of their stillborn daughter.

No racial balance in this article.

adriana8900
adriana8900

reunite sonny and brenda in 2012 and renew robin and patrick wedding vows

Jo Ann Zinaman
Jo Ann Zinaman

I Did NOT Think Debbi Morgan was the Worst Return of A Character on The Young And The Restless. I thought she did A Good Job. I thought the Worst Return was Gillian on All My Children. Gillian Barely said 5 Words. She might as well not have Returned. I know that Prospect Park wanted the Cliff Hanger, but I thought that Babe should have been Alive and Babe and JR and AJ could have Moved to San Diego. That way, Jacob Young could go to The Bold And The Beautiful and Alexa Havins could still do that Torchwood TV Cable Show. Jody

Erika
Erika

Jason Morgan the most tortured character?!?! Oh please, we have been tortured with Jason’s insertion into storylines that he has no business being in for years. How about tortured viewers! Completely over the character and “his pain”.

All My Children

8 Years To The Day Of All My Children & One Life to Live Being Canceled; Still Considered By Many Worst Move For Daytime

It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago today on April 14th, 2011, the soap world, its fans, and the cast members, learned of the heartbreaking news that ABC, in one swift move, decimated its daytime line-up when they announced the cancellations of long running series, All My Children (which would end at its 41st year), and One Life to Live (which would ends its run in its 43rd year).

At the time, ABC announced it would move to more lifestyle/entertainment series to replace these dramas.  In its place came The Chew and The Revolution, neither show is still on the air today.  Executives at that time pointed to research saying that times are changing and that their decision was “guided by extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want,” and blame, in part, “the changing viewing patterns of the audience” for the axing of AMC and OLTL

Then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons had joked to Deadline about the big announcement that he: “Pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.”  He added that “The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making.  A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go.  When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them.  Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew and The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama.  The way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”  Of note is that when it went off the air, One Life to Live was in third place among its competitors in the ratings.

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The press release that came with the cancellations stated: “To honor the core, passionate audience and their rich history both shows will conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Following the cancellations daytime reeled. The mainstream was sure it meant the endings of the soaps, period.  However, four shows illustrated that is not true at all.  For Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless all remain, and still whether they are up or down in their numbers/ratings, they remain relevant and important to the enduring daytime viewing audience.

Sadly, as with any shows, the end of ABC’s AMC and OLTL meant loss of jobs for so many working in front of the camera and behind the scenes. One Life was the last soap opera in production in New York at the time.  AMC was already being shot in LA to cut costs to save it.

Still in 2019, if you venture on to social media, especially Twitter, you see fans constantly missing its stars and the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, wanting this wrong rectified.  Although Prospect Park tried to revive the show with their online versions, eventually after legal battles that went on for a few years, ABC now retains the right to these properties,

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The good news is that many favorites from AMC and OLTL have found success and been hired on other soap operas, bringing their followings with them, whether it be on-screen, or in the writing, producing, directing or crew departments.

So, do you think the loss of AMC and OLTL consolidated daytime and made the remaining shows stronger so they would not be touched or canceled?  Do you think ABC should try to mount a resurrected AMC and OLTL or an amalgamation of the two?  Do you remember where you were when you learned the two soaps were cancelled? Was this the worst misstep of all-time for daytime? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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George R. R. Martin’s “Leak” Of New Hulu Series WILD CARDS Featuring Eden Riegel, Thorsten Kaye. and Greg Rikkart

April Fool’s Day started off with a bang today when Eden Riegel (Ex-Bianca, AMC) posted a photo of herself with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Greg Rikaart (Ex-Leo, DAYS)  in a very intriguing image.  See above pic!  As it turns out, it’s said to be from behind the scenes from some leaked footage of the upcoming Hulu series, Wild Cards.

The premise of Wild Cards is based on the sci-fi anthology series edited by George R. R, Martin, best known for writing the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based.  Riegel’s husband, Andrew Miller is the showrunner attached to the upcoming series.

On Martin’s website he teases the set-up of the “leaked” video clip:  “This was not supposed to go public.. Everybody (Well, everybody that has been paying attention knows that we are developing two Wild Cards as a series for Hulu  Andrew Miller has taken the reins as showrunner, a writing staff has been hired, and they have been hard at work for months.  What was NOT supposed to be known is how far they’ve come.  Not only have some scripts been finished, but the first show has gone into production and has been shooting.  That was supposed to be a deep dark secret, however.   We wanted to surprise the world. It’s hard to keep secrets in Hollyweird, however.  And now it appears that some of the rough footage has been leaked by person or persons unknown”

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Meanwhile, Riegel sent out a series of tweets: “Hooo boy…cat’s out of the bag! Fans, please don’t judge our show based on these leaked videos!! The effects are going to knock your socks off. And my costars, and , are doing the best work of their lives!”  That was followed by, T”hank you for the chance to work with you on your first foray into soaps! I am humbled and honored. We won’t let you down.” And then, “I’m probably not allowed to share this with all the NDAs I signed, but damnit I’m just so proud of the team!  think we are breaking new ground for soaps. So proud to work with you!”

Now below, check out the Wild Cards “leaked footage” and let us know if you think of the …. um … drama! Comment below.  And one more thing … Happy April Fool’s!

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All My Children

WATCH: All My Children Reunion On Strahan & Sara

On Monday’s episode of ABC’s Strahan & Sara, the show welcomed several stars of the beloved All My Children for a reunion, of sorts. Joining hosts Michael Strahan and Sara Haines were Susan Lucci (Erica), Walt Willey (Jack), Cady McClain (Dixie), Jacob Young (JR) and Jill Larson (Opal).

While it was wonderful to see the stars from Pine Valley again, it was also a painful reminder that this network, ABC, canceled the show, and had put in its place – The Chew, and now Strahan & Sara – since canning the series.   In fact, as you will see on the clips below, many of the crew who work on this talk show were once the crew for All My Children.

During the segment, Susan Lucci was tested to see if she remembered all of Erica Kane’s wedded names.  Later, Walt Willey and Susan re-created the final scene of the ABC version of All My Children between Erica and Jack, where Jack walks out on her.  However, this time, they have Jack changing his mind and coming back to Erica and sealing their relationship with a kiss – a moment of closure that never happened (since the show moved to online via Prospect Park).

In addition, Cady McClain and Jacob Young re-created the infamous Dixie “dying from eating poison pancakes” scene, as JR watches his mother die, only this time she lives.

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It’s always great to see these veteran performers, but Strahan & Sara is trying to capture the soap viewers to put eyeballs on their show by bringing in talent from the show that sadly and wrongly went off the air.

Watch the clips below from the All My Children reunion below.  Then, let us know what you thought of it via the comment section below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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