An abrupt ending on ABC promises a new beginning on the Internet
Across the nation Friday, "All My Children" fans huddled in front of their TV sets, tissue boxes in hand, for the final broadcast episode from Pine Valley. Daytime TV is a business, no doubt, but to viewers, this was an emotional goodbye. That's why some found the finale cliffhanger an abrupt and unfair end to the soap's 41-year run on ABC, but to others it felt, instead, like a final promise that Prospect Park will indeed resurrect the show on the internet in 2012.
The soap opera genre took another big hit earlier this year when ABC announced it was canceling "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." When the latter concludes in January, only four soaps will remain on television: ABC's "General Hospital," CBS's "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" and NBC's "Days of our Lives."
These endings, however, reflect more than just sad goodbyes, thanks to Prospect Park. The production company stepped in this summer, buying the rights to "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" with a plan to resurrect them on the internet.
It's been an uphill battle transitioning to the internet, but headway is being made. Cameron Mathison (Ryan) and Lindsay Hartley (Cara) have signed on to join "All My Children" on the net, and word is Alicia Minshew (Kendall) is still in talks.
Producers haven't, however, been able to an agreement with daytime superstar Susan Lucci, who has ruled Pine Valley as Erica Kane since January 5, 1970, the day the show premiered. Jacob Young (J.R.) and Debbie Morgan (Angie) have also been lost, both snapped up by CBS shows.
Sister show "One Life to Live" is also making strides. Prospect Park has landed exec producer Frank Valentini and stars "Erika Slezak (Victoria), Ted King (Tomas), Michael Easton (John) and Kassie DePaiva (Blair) are also on board.
With both ABC shows set to return from the proverbial dead on the internet, "All My Children" embraced that infamous soap gimmick with full gusto as it closed its run on ABC. Dr. David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) literally resurrected beloved characters, bringing back faves like Zack (Thorsten Kaye), Leo (Josh Duhamel) and finally, Stuart (David Canary).
Not all of them survived, but those who did can now stay on canvas when the show relaunches, and there's still one more return to come. Yes, one of those dastardly cliff hangers. Hayward has one more mysterious patient on the precipice of life.
With all these wild returns, "All My Children" finale week gave us several warm reunions, proposals and happy endings, respite with family portraits and montages, while sending J.R. in a downward spiral around them. The conflicted child of Adam Chandler (David Canary) and Dixie Martin (Cady McClain) finally embraced the villain inside him, and his final struggle kept the show true to form, instead letting it get lost in the happy endings.
Amid all the smiles, there was also fresh tension between Eric and Jackson (Walt Willey). After years of patience, he finally walked out on her in front of everyone, throwing out a Rhett Butler inspired, "Frankly, Erica I don't give a damn what you need."
Erica ran after him, begging him to come to Hollywood with her… And then Pine Valley's run on ABC ended with a gun shut. Instead of the "Who shot J.R.?" of the "Dallas" days, the next few months will have daytime fans dying to know: "Who did J.R. shoot?"
As they say in the biz, stay tuned…
A video farewell from the stars and shout-outs from the daytime community
Are you sad it's all coming to an end? We'd love to hear your thoughts on MSN TV's Facebook page.
* @Susan_Lucci (Erica): Just finished watching last episode of AMC-very emotional time. Thank you for spending your days in PV & the sunshine it brought to my life.
* @L_Hartley (Lindsay Hartley, Cara): Just checking in with everyone on this bittersweet day / I have to thank everyone for the kind words yet again. I'm grateful that you have enjoyed cara's journey.
@knowjr (J.R. Martinez, Brot / "Dancing with the Stars"): Today is the final episode of #AMC Sad day~I'm forever grateful that I had the chance to be a part of the storytelling for the past 3 years
@BobbieEakes (Krystal): It has been a great almost 8 years as Krystal. Thanks to all of our wonderful fans!
@DeniseVasi (Randi): I know it's heartbreaking to see our beloved show go (for now). However, rest assured you will see all your fave actors again. Somewhere! read more of Vasi's farewell here >>>
@EvaLaRueCappoo (Maria Santos/"CSI: Miami"): Gonna be a rough day....How do you even begin to say goodbye to a town that has touched the lives of generations of people? / There is no place like Pine Valley, there's no place lime Pine Valley.....!
@KellyRipa (ex-Hayley/"Live with Regis and Kelly"): Omg! Hi. Sad day:( RT @LizVassey (ex-Emily): Hey @KellyRipa!!! So sad that AMC is ending. It made me miss you a whole bunch. xoL
@EdenRiegel (ex-Bianca/"The Young and the Restless"): Today I am very grateful to #AllMyChildren being such an important part of my life. #ThanksAMC for Bianca. She changed my life, too.
@SherriEShepherd ("The View"): #AllMyChildren fans... watch the @TheViewTv tribute to AMC ... 41 years of memories! Angie & Debbie Greg & Jenny... 2 great love stories
@KrisAlderson ("One Life to Live") Everyone should be watching All My Children right now... Help them go out with a bang people! Sad sad day..lots of love to the cast&crew / So wonderful that the View has this whole episode dedicated to #AMC! I hope they do this for #oltl
@TheRealStafford ("The Young and the Restless"): Watched AMC as a young teen! Was in love with Erica! This is an important day. Shout out 2 all my AMC pals
* @JoshuaMorrowYR ("The Young and the Restless"): Very sad for AMC and all their fans. It was a hell of a run and they should be proud of their work and support!
@MollyDollyy (Molly Burnett, "Days of our Lives") I'm tipping my hat to All My Children. I wish the cast and crew all the best. So happy The View is doing a whole show for them! Check it out
@CrystalChappell ("Days of our Lives"): Today belongs to AMC. Been a fan forever. Sweet Friday, everyone!
@MarleneMcP (Marlene McPherson, "Days of our Lives") When I was 8. I found AMC and spent Summers glued to the TV. AMC created my love of soaps. Pine Valley felt like home My heart breaks today.
@maitlandnyla (Maitland Ward Baxter, "The Bold and the Beautiful" alum): All My Children comes to an end today. Very sad day in the soap world. #RIPAMC
* @lldubs (Laura Wright, "General Hospital") Sad day for AMC fans-- xoxoxo thinking of all of you!!
* @cathickland (Catherine Hickland, "One Life to Live')) Less than a minute in and I'm in TEARS #ThanksAMC / Scenes without words, the actors are brilliant, then direction sublime, editing, awesome, writing, perfection...#ThanksAMC God Speed @prospectpark ! Do us proud! #ThanksAM
Check back later for more Twitter updates - More West Coasters are chiming in during the air show! (new additions marked with *)
The new season kicks off with everyone rallying behind "Knope 2012"
After a brief flashback to the Lil Sebastian memorial where Leslie is approached to run for office, the new season jumps forward three weeks to find her all set up announce her city council candidacy in three months. But her relationship with Ben could scuttle that plan, since he is technically her boss. For a lesser show, this would be where the phrase "hi-jinks ensue" would be deployed. But this is our beloved "Parks and Recreation" where people can act silly, situations can escalate into the far realms of the absurd, and ridiculous behavior is sometimes the norm. But people are still recognizably human, have real emotions, and treat each other like adults.
It may be a toss-up at this point which of Leslie's main relationships is the sweetest - her aborted romance with Ben, or her deep friendship with Ron Swanson. Ben revels in their mutual dorkiness, but he also respects and admires her enough to do the right thing and step aside when necessary (after endearingly presenting her with a homemade campaign button). Ron listens to Leslie dither on about her emergency s'more supplies and then gives her the honest advice she needs: "I'm Ron Swanson and you're Leslie F***ing Knope. Are you with me?" These two men are just what she needs to support her in her latest and greatest adventure.
We did mention the word "absurd" up there, so it's worth pointing out the subplot of Ann Perkins being subject to an inundation of Indiana's Anthony Wiener wannabes. Silly, and a bit too much of a trendy topical stretch, but her bewildered reactions to Chris's discussion of his feelings about the male anatomy were pretty priceless. April and Andy continue to be adorable, and now that Andy is Leslie's assistant, maybe real hi-jinks will ensue. Anything is possible in Pawnee.
- Just a very brief glimpse of the much anticipated (and feared) Tammy I (in the personage of the great Patricia Clarkson), but she certainly lived up to expectations. I think I was more impressed with her ability to intimidate April than anything else.
- "Do you want to go back to saying "Yay"?"
- There really should be an actual Ladies' Yacht Club.
- "If I could go back in time and cut your eyeballs out, I would."
- Tom's card will destroy your credit cards. Guaranteed.
- "Ann Perkins, you really know your testes!"
- "I don't know what you mean, but it had the cadence of a joke." "There you have it, where it is the thing Leslie Knope just said about the situation." Never change, Perd Hapley.
- "If you've got a nice drainpipe, there's no point in hiding it."("I doubt that's a saying").
- "Rubik's Cube with my face on it."
- Donna dislikes Jean Ralphio in all contexts.
- "I have the toes I have."
Here's what you need to know to get by at the water cooler
Two episodes into season three and "The Vampire Diaries" is already amping things up big-time – with hybrids, hunters and heroes, oh my!
Here's what you need to know to get by at the water cooler.
- Elena was still bent on finding Stefan and bringing him back from the dark side, but Damon was over it, especially after his bloodsucking bro killed his TV reporter girlfriend. So Elena went to Alaric and proposed they go try to find Stefan up in the Smokey Mountains, where Stefan was hanging with Klaus.
- Once they got there, she gave Alaric his you-can’t-die ring to project him – and then Damon showed up and shoved her into the river. Yup, Damon wasn’t happy. "What's your big plan, Elena? You gonna walk through a camp full of werewolves, roast a marshmallow and hope that Stefan comes and saves you?" But then he agreed to help them hunt for Stefan.
- Klaus, of course, was trying to find a way to create a vampire-werewolf hybrid, and doing it with some wickedly gleeful brutality. Lots and lots of blood spilled up in the mountains. He told Stefan he was building an army of soldiers. But something went wrong with the prototype, Ray, who bit Stefan and ran off. "Fatal werewolf bite," Klaus noted. "Ouch."
- Klaus told Stefan to find Ray, but Stefan was more interested in finding Elena, Damon, and Alaric, whom he heard on the mountain-top with his super-hearing. But Ray found them first, and tried to attack Damon. So Alaric shot Ray in the back. Then they tied him up. But the full moon was looming, and he started turning even before dark. So he and Damon fought till the death – and Stefan killed Ray just as he was about to kill Damon. "Elena has to give up on me, because I’m never coming back," he told Damon.
- When Stefan brought a dead Ray back to the campsite, Klaus was alone with a bunch of dead hybrids. "They went rabid," he said, quietly livid. "I should be able to turn them. I did everything I was told." Except kill the doppleganger, of course. Which he was quickly realizing. He gave Stefan some blood (in a beer bottle!) to heal his werewolf bite. "Bottoms up," Klaus said. "It appears you’re the only comrade I have left."
- Back in Mystic Falls, Damon told Elena he was wrong. “Stefan can be saved,” he said. “I’ll help you bring him back. But before I do, I need you to answer one question. What changed your mind about coming back?” And she had to admit, she didn’t want to see him hurt.
- Jeremy was still seeing ghosts of vampire-girlfriends past, including Vicki, so he confided in the only human left on the show, Matt, who was a bit spooked about the whole thing. “She’s your sister, and you have a chance to help her,” Jeremy told Matt. They decided to go through some of Vicki’s stuff to see if they could “build a stronger connection.” Matt couldn’t bring himself to deal – but then he saw a photo of him and Vicki move by itself, and he knew she really was there. So he said he’d help. And Vicki showed up again, telling Jeremy she could come back. But then his other dead vampire ex showed up and said “Don’t trust Vicki.”
- The ever-oblivious Tyler Lockwood, meanwhile, had no clue that his mom had taken down Caroline when the blond bloodsucker was sneaking out of their house post-hook-up. Then Tyler wondered where she was the whole day. When got home, he confronted his mom about the whole thing – and realized that she didn’t know he’s a werewolf. So he showed her just what a monster he truly was. And then she understood, and promised to release Caroline. But it was too late. She’d turned her over to another one of the council members, Bill, and he was set on destroying the vampires. Starting with Caroline, who was locked up in a secret dungeon. And it turns out Bill was her father! Tun, tun, tun!
Just when you think it's calm and normal, someone throws a ham
There was a lot of discussion about "evolution" in tonight's season premiere of "Community". Could the gang "evolve" beyond a study group, and become a group of friends who saw each other less often and took other classes? Can the Dean Pelton change his persona to truly take charge of the college? And can the show itself (literally and figuratively) expand its cast and its outlook, and embrace a worldview that is possibly "more fun and less weird"?
The answer seems to be "maybe." As proven in "Biology 101", there will always be room for an extended and meticulous Kubrick homage, an elaborate and loving spoof of "Downton Abbey", and Senor Chang living in the air vents of Greendale. But these meta-contextual moments seemed to be less airless than some of the references last season, and the interaction between the characters was more relaxed and slyly funny. The new characters brought a different and welcome energy, particularly John Goodman as a power-mad Vice-Dean of the Air Conditioning Annex; he slipped right into an extremely funny relationship with Jim Rash (now a series regular as Dean Pelton) that sets up a promising power play for future episodes. Michael K. Williams has less to do as the eminently normal biology professor, but he may have instigated the biggest change of all: he persuaded Jeff Winger to give up his fancy cell phone. Maybe major changes on the horizon after all.
- You know they don't put references in at random – so does that mean Annie and Jeff WILL sleep together?
- "We have parted ways with our closet, oldest, craziest, most racist, oldest, elderly, crazy friend."
- Like I have said before, a little Ken Jeong goes a long, LONG way. This was possibly just the right amount.
- It was also the right amount of Pierce, i.e. hardly any at all.
- Cougar Town (six seasons and a movie)!
- "I know who Sean Penn is. I've seen Milk."
- Troy's creative ways of insulting Britta are always priceless. ("You are the opposite of Batman!")
- "You could have died a happy pansexual imp."
- Here's hoping they go down the road of "Jeff is just a younger version of Pierce" all the way to the bitter end, because the stuff is golden.
Archer gets as pirate-kingy as he's going to get
To absolutely nobody's surprise, Sterling Malory Archer is just as lousy at getting along with his pirate subjects as he is with his ISIS co-workers. He has pretty much been living it up on the island, using and abusing everyone in his path, as shown in what will be known fondly as the "WOOO!" montage. Despite the best efforts of new first mate Noah, a rebellion is quickly formed under the leadership of the most put-upon pirate, nicknamed Bucky for incredibly politically incorrect reasons. Thank goodness, Lana and Gillette are on the way to rescue him.
But does Sterling need (or want) to be rescued? His luck certainly seems to be holding up, as smartly dispatches the biggest and scariest pirate with his gun, dodges with harmless flash grenades (with several amusing callbacks to his tinnitus) and even manages to bond with his nemesis Rip (mostly over taunting budding anthropologist Noah). Even at the climax, in a prison cell with the captured Lana and Gillette, he somehow finds a way to be triumphant. Wooooo, indeed.
- The action back at the office was pretty slight, but we did get the cannot-be-unseen sight of a nude and flatulent Pam on Cyril's sofa.
- "You rent a boat, that money's gone. This way we can sell it when we're done."
- "Wasted! Exactly! Let's go be that."
- The montage of Archer's jerky antics was a comic highlight – a procession of selfish spotlight hogging at karaoke night, feast night and intramural lacrosse – ending with the lamest acts of piracy ever
- "I'm sorry, did you want to hear what I think or just what you want to hear? (He asked, pretty sarcastically)"
- I also never realized how much we rely on idioms (aka colloquial metaphors).
- "If the king loses to a challenger in one-on-one combat, he has to step down. Or just be dead."
- "Your three-fifths of an opinion is noted."
- Pirates eschew many things, including gender roles and labeling.
- In progress mutiny > incipient mutiny > morale problem.
- "Go nuts, Sundance. It's empty."
- Oh Lana, you still fancy him. YUP.
Dixie couldn't get through to J.R. -- Will he learn his Uncle Stewart is alive before it's too late?
After more than 40 years on ABC, "All My Children" will go dark tomorrow, Friday Sept. 23. Stories are wrapping up, family portraits are being snapped and it seems like everyone has made grand returns from the dead, thanks to Dr. David Hayward. As all these happy endings come together, however, J.R. is still caught in a downward spiral. His true love Babe didn't get saved and with portrayer Jacob Young moving to "The Bold and the Beautiful" instead of joining Pine Valley's online relaunch in 2012, J.R. is armed with a gun and a devious plan. Too bad he doesn’t know Uncle Stuart is alive!
MSN TV got on set at to chat with the cast during their final days in Pine Valley. Goodbye Q&A's with Susan Lucci & Walt Willey, Alicia Minshew and Thorsten Kaye and Cameron Mathison & Rebecca Budig are already posted. Here's what Cady McClain (Dixie) and Jacob Young (J.R.) had to say about it all.
Are you sad it's all coming to an end? We'd love to hear your thoughts on MSN TV Facebook
MSN TV: We're coming up to the end. How do things feel onset?
Cady McClain: We've been having a lot fun. Some great work is going on, and at the same time, we're laughing a lot and enjoying each other's company.
Jacob Young: It's been so expected for so long now that people have dealt with it. At first it felt like a march -- a death march, not a parade -- but I think everyone's embraced it now and wants to deliver the same quality of work.
Do you feel the show is moving toward an ending that will satisfy fans?
McClain: I hope so. They tried to get some of the big history moments in there and make it special.
Young: They're definitely trying to embrace that. You know how fans are. Not everyone's going to be happy, but hopefully, most everyone will be satisfied.
Well, no one's going to be happy. Fans are so upset about the cancellation.
McClain: We have this strange future, possibly. Who knows? It's very dramatic. Right now, as a cast, we're treating this as the end, because we just don't know.
Young: It's definitely the end of an era on ABC television. It will be interesting to see what actually comes about and how "All My Children" can live on.
What do you think about the fact that fans are planning to boycott your replacement, "The Chew"?
Young: Nobody needs another talk show or another doctor show. Are we that naïve that we can't have intelligent programming that is story driven? That's what daytime was built around and I feel like I'm right with you, because I'm not going to be tuning in either.
McClain: People have to follow their own heart. If it's a good show and they like it, they should watch it. If it's not a good show and they don't' like it, watch something else. That's what it comes down to. I can't tell people, what to do. It's up to them.
Young: Bring back Sally Jesse Rafael! That's all I'm asking.
How have you enjoyed being back together?
McClain: It's great.
Young: It's the worst. (Laughs) We have a great time working together. We love working together and always have great moments, daily, when we work together. Emotionally, we connect well. She's a real pleasure.
McClain: He's a nightmare. (Laughs)
Of all the returns, Cady's was one of the more substantial ones. We're getting a real sense of closure, aside from this J.R. business.
McClain: I think so. I hope so. My character is such a linchpin between Tad, J.R. and the family elements. It's about bringing families back together and my character is a big part of that. You know, Mommy's gotta be around.
And Jacob, you're getting to go completely nutty in your final days in Pine Valley.
Young: It's funny. About two months ago, I was like, "Yeah, I’m going to take him dark." I wanted it to go there, but then the writing started dictating it, anyway. I was like, "Alright, I guess I was right on about it." There's only so much J.R. can take before he snaps and goes off the deep end.
What has been your favorite storyline or memory?
McClain: There are a lot. What's funny is, sometimes somebody will come up to you and say, "Do you remember when that happened?" And you go, "Oh my gosh, I completely forgot that happened! That was really funny." One of the ones that pops into my head is the Libidozone story, with Dr. David, which I thought was hilarious. Drinking the punch bowl. It was all so silly. I love that camp.
Young: I can barely remember last week. It's so many years of reading story. You leave work and it goes away till you see it air on television. It's hard, but the things that stick out the most are working with Alexa [Havens (Babe)], in the very beginning. That was the molding period of J.R. -- all the foundation building up who he is today.
Is there anything you wanted to see for the end of the show?
McClain: I think we need a big wedding, where everybody lines up like Mormons and gets married at the same time. Like five couples getting married.
Young: I'd like to see J.R. have some resolution. Either be dark or light. He's got to finally make that decision in life about who he's going to be. He's so conflicted all the time. I'd like to see him have some kind of resolve.
Do you guys have a message for fans?
Young: Read Cady McClain's blog.
McClain: Do everything that Young tells you. (Laughs) No! The most important thing to tell the fans is how much we appreciate their support, their passion and their belief in the show. Giving back to us that kind of enthusiasm at the end of the run is beautiful, touching.
Young: Yes, thank you for all the support. Just keep on hoping.
The finale episodes of 'All My Children' airs tomorrow on ABC.
Whitney Cummings toes bizarre line between sexy and funny
Sexy and funny don’t play well together. Ask any comedian who has ever played a strip club. Feeling one way usually prevents an audience from feeling the other.
A new crop of TV comedy goddesses is taking on this challenge and beating it with a riding crop. Sarah Silverman was the first, followed by Chelsea Handler and Aisha Tyler. But the hottest female comic ever to land a TV show has to be Whitney Cummings. Even on a fall TV landscape dotted with Playboy Bunnies, Charlie’s Angels and sexy stewardesses, Cummings stands out. (She premieres tonight in NBC’s ”Whitney.”)
The former catalog model, 29, has an atypical fan appeal for a sitcom star -- one which a promo for her new show addresses directly. Cummings introduces herself, then asks the viewer to Google her.
“Nothing?” she asks. “No results found?” Later, she interrupts her train of thought to announce: “Did porn just come up?”
Actually, her top 10 Google results includes “The Whitney Cummings Picture Pages” (subhead: “High quality Whitney Cummings pictures featuring Victoria’s Secret, XOXO, and lingerie pictures”). The site doesn’t deliver on its promise in the slightest way, but the point is that a search for Roseanne Barr does not produce anything similar.
In her standup act and on TV and radio interviews, Cummings is a ball of neurotic energy.
“You play it up like you’re not the super-hot chick you are,” Howard Stern told her during an interview yesterday. (Cummings placed second in a “funniest, hottest chick” contest Stern staged in 2008.)
But that’s in real life, not on her NBC show, which milks Whitney’s comeliness for all it's worth. She dresses as a sexy nurse in tonight’s episode. In next week’s, her character wears nothing but a crotch patch to simulate a shower quickie with her boyfriend. (Sorry, no photos of that yet!)
The only thing that’s not been so hot are the early reviews. Could it be that all this sexiness really is still comedy poison? Have we not progressed at all as a society?
If you’re a heterosexual man like me, you’ll watch and not care.
“Whitney” premieres Thursday, Sept. 22, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.