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News for the week of 18-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

AMC actor Jordi Vilasuso (Dr. Griffin Castillo) is one of three partners behind a revolutionary new, interactive soap star/fan website called Paos Revolution. Paos Revolution combines features of a television show, movie, backstage pass, and insider blog in one official website. “The launch of is the first step of our plan to connect fans to the soap actors and insiders they love. Founding partners Jordi Vilasuso, [AMC/GH acting coaches] Dock (Jeff Dockweiler) and John Homa are committed to creating an interactive actor-friendly environment.” To that end, the three main features are original programming, an online store, and information in front of and behind the scenes about upcoming projects of favorite soap stars, as well as an insider’s POV. A new reality webisode series — Perfect Day — (set for debut any time now) will enable one special fan to win the chance to spend one perfect day with a favorite star — for that star’s favorite charity. Prospect Park executive Jeff Kwatinetz has written a new blog up on the website about his intentions for the resurrected AMC/OLTL soaps online. Many major soap stars are already attached to the Paos Revolution project. They include: Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall), Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH), Steve Burton (ex-Jason, GH; Dylan, Y&R), Julie Marie Berman (Lulu, GH), Stephanie Gatschet (ex-Madison).

Jordi Vilasuso (Dr. Griffin) and Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall) are reunited as the romantic leads in a new, upcoming movie specific to the soap opera genre, entitled On Air. Produced by Paos Revolution, with Vilasuso as a co-founder, On Air details what happens to the soap actors after the soap they’ve been on for years is cancelled. It mirrors the events of AMC’s own, real-life cancellation but the story is fiction. Production commences early on in 2013, but a release date hasn’t yet been revealed.

Michael E. Knight (ex-Tad) will not join Prospect Park’s online AMC for its launch. However, he may join at a later date. Right now, he’s still reeling over the way things were handled the first time around when Prospect Park tried to launch right after the soap ended in 2011. In an exclusive interview with Michael Fairman February 13th, Knight admitted that he felt kind of like an extra on the set in the months, years prior to that AMC cancellation — partly because of the hazards of embodying a veteran character. “One of the humbling things I learned about being identified on a soap (after working the last five years for people who really didn’t necessarily get it), is that there are just so many stories that I can tell, and after that, I become an addendum and it becomes a paycheck. I had already on All My Children: come back from the dead, played twins, had amnesia, and been shot. As Tad, I have been married six times – three times to a woman who I adore as an actress and a friend – and she herself came back from the dead twice! In other words, as a performer, I lost a lot of faith in my ability over the last few years, because I was given to understand that I was a tolerated legacy and I can’t blame them for feeling that way. The machine is what it is. There are just so many stories that a character can tell, and then they are there simply to let people know where they are.”

Michael E. Knight (ex-Tad) made it clear when speaking with Soap Opera Digest staff (February 11, 2013, online) that he has not turned down any future return, just the one right now. He needs to muse on this further. In the meantime, he’s all for the executive producer Prospect Park tapped to helm the online show, as Ginger Smith is “one of my oldest and dearest friends, in that industry and in life. And I had asked her for patience with me because as I like to put it, I didn't say no, I just said, 'I can't do it right now.' I love the fact that the interest is there and I firmly believe Tad is going to be walking through Pine Valley in short order at some point.”

Susan Lucci (Erica), David Canary (Adam/Stuart), and Julia Barr (Brooke) will also make appearances for the online version of AMC with Prospect Park. So far, Canary’s the only one of these three vets promised as a main, ongoing character, with the other two possibly as infrequent guest stars.

Jacob Young (ex-JR; Rick, B&B) had to turn down a chance to reprise the role of JR for the online launch, because of his contractual obligations on B&B. But he doesn’t begrudge the executives for planning a recast. He understands the situation they’re in and how pivotal JR is to the continuation of the soap. Remember, the last day of AMC on ABC Daytime in 2011 had JR approach his family and friends with a loaded gun in hand. That was the cliffhanger. According to the actor, TPTB plan to jump a year from there for the online reboot. “… I had a couple of friends tell me that they are up for the role of JR! They called and said, ‘Hey dude, I am up for your role!’ And I would go, ‘Yeah? Good.’ If it means another one of my fellow actors I know gets the job, than I am very happy for them. It’s a special character and always will be. [Michael Fairman interview, February 4, 2013]”

Prospect Park executives appointed Daytime Emmy-winning director Sonia Blangiardo (Tainted Dreams, AMC, OLTL, GH, ATWT) to supervising producer for AMC online.

Prospect Park’s casting for two actors in their 30s-40s to portray Eastern European covert badass Vlad and his business sidekick Yuri.

Gossip for the week of 18-Feb-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

AMC begins production before OLTL, the week of February 25th, taping an initial two weeks at the Stamford, CT studios. Then, it will alternate with OLTL, scheduled for five weeks of shooting, to equal about 17 weeks.

Susan Lucci (Erica) has agreed to help AMC launch online for one episode, nothing more.

The online AMC envisioned by Prospect Park will resemble the CW Network, focusing on the younger, high school demo. It will also be set five years from JR’s shooting finale. When the online AMC opens, viewers will see JR waking from a coma.

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