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News for the week of 19-Mar-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

In 2011, ABC Daytime saw fit to cancel the long-running soaps of AMC and OLTL. After a near-miss, Prospect Park brought the soaps back for an online fit. AMC has already begun filming in its new Stamford, CT studio, with OLTL to follow suit (sharing a rotational schedule). On April 29th, the soaps will air on Prospect Park’s Online Network. Viewers can access the online soaps on, Hulu Plus, and iTunes.

Returning to AMC — albeit for Prospect Park/The Online Network’s web series — felt weirdly familiar for Julia Barr (Brooke), stress the weirdly. Impressed like hell with PP’s thorough, comprehensive, forward understanding of what it takes to get an existing soap opera off the ground using multi-platforms for every demographic, the veteran actress couldn’t help but sit back and marvel at the revival.

“It’s familiar and bizarre at the same time. [Laughs] You know, it’s like the old expression ‘It’s like riding a bike.’ You haven’t been on one maybe in however many years, but you just get back on and it’s just like it was. That’s part of the comfort of all of this, too. With all of these people, I mean I was thinking about how I’ve known Cady McClain [Dixie] – she and I had a couple of scenes yesterday – since she was 17 years old… David Canary [Adam/Stuart] and Jill [Larson/Opal], we have this sort of unspoken bond from working and knowing each other for so many years. And it’s really lovely because it envelops you in this comfort level, because so much is new – and anxiety-producing, might I add… [Laughs] There’s a great deal of excitement about what this actually could be. And if it isn’t, whatever happens, we’re all just happy to be there for a while.”

Good news for Brooke & Adam fans: they’re still together and about to wed, Barr teased. However, look for some “intrigue ... involved in their engagement party [from] five years ago.”

TVLine interview by Kimberly Roots, March 10, 2013

At first glance, it’s easy for long-time soap fans to harshly judge the youth demo casting and recasting going on for both Prospect Park’s AMC and OLTL. All they see are younger, hotter (read: unproven) mannequins and not a lot of their fan faves. Many of the younger characters from the show have been SORAS’d and recast with brand-new actors, including models.

Rest assured, that’s not all of it, according to AMC vet/acting coach Darnell Williams (Jesse). Sure the new AMC is skewed toward the younger demographic—marketing’s bread and butter, certainly Prospect Park’s—but Williams pointed to the fact that very few new younger characters have been brought in. Most of the younger hires are for recasts of familiar characters. He insisted that the veterans and newcomers on the cast will balance out for the good. And as both Williams and Debbi Morgan (Angie) noted, AMC creator Agnes Nixon is back too, to make sure the balance works with the timeless stories she’s known and loved for.

“It was a shame and a sin for [Agnes]… not to be able to have her participation and her input into the show [for such a long time while it was on ABC]. And now, to have her back with us, we really feel okay. We know we’re going to succeed,” Morgan said.

Williams concurred, adding, “We’ve got our captain at the helm… Back to basics, back to her wonderful storytelling. And we’ve also got Ginger Smith executive producing… and she is so excited about this.”

Now, if only they can do something about the shorter time-frame of the shows (30 minutes compared to an hour, four days a week). David Canary (Adam/Stuart) said he could use all the help he can get. “Maybe I could root for a 20-minute show.”

Soap Opera Network interview by Kambra Clifford, March 13, 2013

Eden Riegel (Bianca) might have returned to the new, online AMC for a longer stay had she not booked a role in a play, “American Misfit,” at L.A.’s Boston Court Performing Arts Center, April 4-May 12, among other obligations. “[AMC] was able to work with [my schedule], which was amazing. And I’m not sure how long [my run as Bianca will be], or if I’ll return. [Soap Opera Network/Kambra Clifford, March 14 interview]”

When AMC was canceled on ABC Daytime in 2011, the last actress to play Bianca was Christina Bennett Lind, a successful recast. In a classy display of graciousness, Lind tweeted warm congratulations and props to the original [“@edenriegel So incredibly excited for you to carry the torch you so courageously lit! Long live Binx! #shewasntshot! #edenriegelforpresident”], and Riegel in turn was very touched.

Susan Lucci (Erica) and Jack Wagner (Frisco, GH) know better than to join Donald Trump’s revelatory (in a bad way) Celebrity Apprentice TV show as participants. But they did agree to be in one of the episodes of the new, All-Star Celebrity Apprentice — as soap opera coaches for a Crystal Light project. In the episode called, “I’m Being Punked By A Jackson,” Lucci and Wagner acted as coaches for the teams when the all-star celebrities had to perform a soapy scene for the beverage manufacturer. The episode aired on NBC March 17, 9 p.m. ET.

Without loyal, vocal soap fans, the revival of AMC/OLTL might never have happened. In celebration of them and such a revival by Prospect Park, soap fans the world over are invited to a March 18th fun rally in front of the Stamford, CT studio, the Connecticut Film Center on 300 Stillwater Ave. The rally, sponsored by Soap Fans United and GLOBE magazine editor Jeff Rodack, is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to match OLTL’s first tape date. Thanks to Rodack, GLOBE’s “Save Our Soaps” helped campaign to bring back AMC/OLTL when these two ABC Daytime soaps were killed off in 2011. “Save Our Soaps” kept the demand alive through social media, letters, boycotts, and phone calls.

Part of the reason Alicia Minshew (Kendall) can only afford a cameo on AMC now is her busy, busy schedule. Minshew’s got a new web series of her own to promote, which she did with AMC supervising producer Sonia Blangiardo on a recent segment of Ron Corning’s WFAA-TV Morning Show, an ABC affiliate in Dallas. Tainted Dreams follows the workings of a soap opera, told in the narrative of Minshew’s main character, someone Blangiardo fashioned after herself as a soap director and producer.

Gossip for the week of 19-Mar-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Cady McClain (Dixie) blogged last week about the new AMC, giving detailed reasons why reluctant fans should start tuning in. As part of her argument, she went into incredibly lavish detail about a particular bone of contention, the young newbies. See if you agree. She also drops juicy gossip about what it was like before Prospect Park saved AMC. Hmm.

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