Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's a New Day, Child

And In The End, The Love You Take, is Equal To The Love You Make
--The Beatles

Well, Friday was certainly a sad day for Soap Opera Viewers and purveyors of fine acting everywhere, as ALL MY CHILDREN ended it's forty one year run on Network television.

I cried so hard watching the first four minutes, I literally had to give up on the Kleenex and move straight to a sham wow. My face hurts. My eyes, as my Mother would say, look like "two piss holes in the snow." During the last episode, I was reading facebook posts and tweets from the viewers who were crying somewhere in America, right alongside me, all of us united by the love for a genre that we know has NOT lived out it's welcome. The writing, producing, and performances of the actors on AMC this week showed us exactly why we love our soaps, and showed us once more not only what they once were, but what they should be, and can be again under the umbrella of Prospect Park.

Most of you know how angry I felt when the cancellation of both shows were announced, it was so brutal to have two shows cancelled at once, especially when at one time, ALL MY CHILDREN was the jewel in ABC's crown, known for it's magnificent acting and story telling under the brilliant guidance of Agnes Nixon and her team of writers and producers. Of course, some were better than others. Other times some things just didn't make sense at all. Felicia Behr won the show an Emmy and soon after was gone. Say What?

When the incredible Agnes Nixon, The First Lady of Story Telling was so disrespectfully put in a corner by the powers that be, the wheels really came off the cart. No one was really allowed to mind the store, and the proverbial Fox got into the henhouse.

Our favorites were let go ("I'm sorry but you committed the awful crime of being over 40... I'm afraid we're going to have to send you to the glue factory..") and replaced with actors who were thrust front and center too fast and who didn't yet have the chops to pull us into the television screen and make us feel something. It takes life experience (which comes with age) to know how to take the audience on an addictive journey by creating a deep, charming, multi- dimensional, larger than life character, without falling into the soap pit. There's a reason why people know us merely by hearing our voices, why they sometimes cry when they meet us… Because there is a connection we have with the audience that you won't find in any other genre.

So yes, I was pissed off. But now that it's done, I am excited. I honestly do believe that now these shows have a chance to be produced the way they should have been all along; like the good old days, when characters drove story, and we didn't need to blow things up every five minutes. If you have good story, and good actors, you can put them in front of a green screen and it will still be good. Hire the best and let them do their jobs. It is very exciting to think this could now happen, and I believe with all my heart that it can.

Please don't be too disappointed that AMC is not moving along as fast as OLTL is as far as actors signing on. The actors for AMC have a lot more to think about. They do not yet know who is writing long term, who is producing long term. They have been through the ringer, moved across the country for no good reason, shooting so much material, for so many years, for so many hours, been jerked around, lied to, made to feel small, old, replaceable, and they are just plain exhausted, physically and emotionally. They just need a moment to decompress. It's hard to think, when you have spent decades working without a hiatus (as night time shows do) and learning 40 to 60 plus pages a night after working a 14 hr day. Most people don't realize what you (and your family) sacrifice to live on that schedule, it is not easy for the people who carry the shows the most. Remember, they too feel as if there has been a death in the family, and they need a minute. It's not that they don't care, but more that they have to recover from caring too much. I only have this insight to share with you because I spent twenty- something years doing it myself; seventeen of those years on ABC Daytime.

OLTL on the other hand, will have the same team, and the transition will be rather seamless with Frank Valentini at the helm. The actors know exactly what to expect, and exactly when. Frank started out being the producers assistant and worked his way up doing every job imaginable, and surviving every regime. He knows this genre, and can do every job. But he won't. He will most likely hire great people and let them do their job so he can do his job, and a big job it is.

I know you're sad, we all are, but hang in there, I have a feeling you will see your friends and family again. ..and when you do, please be there to support and cherish the time with them. It's a new day, child :)

Love For Sure,

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Blogger Kim Anderzak said...

Dear Cat, I felt like you were speaking directly to ME, talking WITH ME, consoling MY broken heart. Thank you for taking the time to "reassure" us that "Life" will go on. I totally "get" how the actors feel and have felt the same way...just give 'em some time. This is THEIR lives they must think about. I, for one, do NOT feel like they have given up on us fans. I want them to know that we DO understand and respect them needing some space to sort things out. Please give them my love and I will be waiting for them in Pine Valley when they return!
Much love~
Kim Anderzak (fan for 34 yrs.)

September 24, 2011 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Cat....I think hearing from a soap vet like you puts things in perspective for us fans out here who have no clue what goes on behind the scenes.

You saw my angry words on Twitter (I'm @lilkaraokediva)....and those words were born out of a feeling, much like a death, of denial, bargaining, etc. all the things one goes thru when losing a loved one..but in this case, after watching since day one, it feels like I lost my whole village.

As a 12 yr old when the show started I was in a LOT of turmoil, so my soaps were my escape...sometimes the things happening on the soaps made my life seeem so much better!!!

I am hopeful that once things settle down AMC will be back better and's got a strong fan base, and once we all figure out HOW to get used to watching it online, we'll fall into a regular routine of watching it when it fits into our schedule.

Thanks again for this wonderful blog on AMC!!!!

Beth Hughes

September 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Cat for a beautifully written article. What the cast and crew of AMC has gone through the past couple years is damn near criminal. I remember the uproar the country made when Conan came to NY only to be cancelled a short time later. Where was that uproar for AMC? This is an ENTIRE ensemble cast that moved cross country to continue their jobs. I too am looking forward to a new day and can't wait to see AMC2.0, without the hands of the evil Brian Frons and Anne Sweeney choking their necks at every turn.

September 24, 2011 at 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Deb said...

Thanks! I just hope Frank proves that Brian Frons was wrong for what he did to both soaps. I'm just not sure what Frank we will get. The one that gave Frons what he wanted or the one that will give the fans the VETS back front and center.

September 24, 2011 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. Can't wait for January to get here. My family is gone on a long vacation, but will return back home soon. I have total confidence in PP to return AMC to the type of show it once was.

September 24, 2011 at 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Denise said...

Thank you for this story. I understand things better now. I've watched AMC since the begining. I feel like I lost part of my family. Please give Michael my love. My favorite has always been Tad and Dixie. Hope to see all of them back online. Their fans will be waiting for them patiently.

September 25, 2011 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anita said...

I have worked for years as a nurse in exclusively 'non-profit' organizations. Many times you bleed, sweat, sacrifice vacations & family time, sacrifice sleep and good pay just to make sure the program that you believe in with all your heart makes it one more day....only to run out of money and shut the doors. I can easily empathize with how these actors are feeling. PLEASE relay to as many of them as possible that we love them and want VERY BADLY to see them and their beloved characters continue in ANY venue we can get them!! Thank you for your words and reassurances. MUCH LOVE, Anita

September 25, 2011 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Nancy Thomas said...

I have to admit that I gave up on AMC years ago as I simply didn't recognize it as the soap that at one time I simply would not miss. I have managed to stick with OLTL and GH despite the back burning of the veteran actors and unbalanced story lines and have high hopes that they will return to the gripping story lines via Prospect Park. As a fan of the genre I appreciate your eloquent words.

September 25, 2011 at 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to address the amc fans - i have watched amc & oltl since day one and the way i look at it is when one door closes another one will open & thanks to prospect that other door has opened...........

September 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Cat. You knew just what to say. I'll be patient and hope that Prospect Park can get a great head writer and a smart show runner that actually care about the history of AMC. Thanks for holding my e-hand.

September 28, 2011 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger Claudine said...

Wonderful blog, Cat. You give me hope. I know the AMC vets have been dragged across country, treated like they're crap, had pay cuts up the yin/yang, and had to take it if they wanted to keep their jobs. I think they all deserve a break and a hug and most of all RESPECT because they didn't get any of that with ABC. The internet TV thing is probably where EVERY show will be in a few years.I just hope PP is patient with them.

September 29, 2011 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger PoliticallyCole said...

Oh, Darling Friend!

Thank you for putting the words down to express what so many of us have been feeling! I found myself creeping into a state of mourning as the final episode of AMC approached, and mourning turned to depression, which I was (fortunately) quick to recognize and fight off!

I can't imagine the kind of toll this is having on a team which has spent so many years doing a job that is loved by millions, and ridiculed by talk show hosts and ignored by others in the profession. You work your proverbial ass off, crazy hours, crazy amounts of dialog to learn, and often have to do it in one take, and still wind up being the brunt of jokes from those who get 20, 30 takes to do a single line. Daytime actors and crews work HARD, probably harder than anyone in almost any other industry I know. The emotional investment is massive, and I, for one, am glad that there is a company out there which will be doing its best to try to keep the genre alive! Thanks for being such a beacon!


October 2, 2011 at 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks a lot. I discovered your blog tonight after doing a bit of web searching (just watchedthe final episodes of AMC, finally – was holding to them on my DVR like they were gold). Like your blog and insights. Hey, I loved you on OLTL. What happened here reminds me of a lot of bad corporate decisions that are being made every day all over America. They are driven by old men simply for the sake of a short term bottom line. They’re making profits, but it is simply not enough, they need to make more. Forgetting to look further down the road is a huge mistake. Forgetting the human side of what they do is bad for America. Forgetting the ripple effect of folks losing their jobs and the list just keeps going on. It’s all very short sighted. These cancellations are simply more victims of corporate greed. When will the fallout of this “recession”end?
There is simply too much bad TV being produced. I find myself watching more old shows lately (and am amazed on how many ways you can get them). The major networks are going to go out of business over time, especially if they lose what makes them different from the cable networks. But really, that would not be any skin off the viewer’s back. Fans will follow the product not the network. After all what are all of us soap fans going to do when we retire other than watch our soaps (just kidding – kind of). Just get the word out and we will follow. Hey, I love the idea of being able to watch online at my convenience (I used my DVR mainly for the soaps anyway). Smart phones, smart pads, smart TVs, whatever. I’m there. Technology rocks and so does AMC, OLTL & GH (when the story line isn’t too crazy). I also think O missed a huge money making opportunity but hopefully PP will make this work. I’m counting on them. Technology challenged folks will get help if needed. I really hope this works! Catch up with you online soon. 

December 2, 2011 at 8:24 PM  

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