Is Sony Planning to Poach ABC Soap Stars?

Actors on the canceled ABC soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” may not have much trouble finding their next jobs. According to Deadline, Sony plans to cast several of them in roles on the two soaps it produces, “The Young & the Restless” and “Days of Our Lives.”  Apparently Steve Mosko, the president of Sony Pictures TV hatched the plan soon after learning of ABC’s decision to cancel its shows.  Obviously, the goal is to encourage viewers of AMC and OLTL to follow their favorite actors to new soaps. Fans complain a lot about executives not understanding or appreciating daytime dramas. Mosko is someone who deserves to be praised. He has consistently been an advocate for the shows, helping DOOL survive after then NBC topper Jeff Zucker publicly announced his plans to cancel the show, and recently securing multi-year renewals for both DOOL and Y&R. Now, with ratings for both shows declining, he has come up with an idea that could attract new viewers that will also enhance the shows creatively.  His motives are not entirely altruistic. As I wrote Monday, Sony still makes money on the soaps because the studio syndicates them all over the world. That’s why studio wants the shows to survive as long as possible.

“All My Children” Promo:

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Three of the four actors mentioned as being on Sony’s wish list make a whole lot of sense. Debbi Morgan, who plays Angie on AMC, is one of daytime’s most talented and best known actresses. Y&R used to feature daytime’s most interesting African-American characters. Since Victoria Rowell left the show, the soap has struggled in this area. Morgan is a natural choice for a love interest for Kristoff St. John’s Neil, and is probably the only actress who could be a viable recast for Dru.

AMC’s Jacob Young, who has made the morally ambiguous J.R. so compelling, could be a great recast for Phillip on “Days of Our Lives.” Or he could play a new character on DOOL, which is lacking male characters in the late twenties/early thirties age range. With Billy Miller currently in contract negotiations with Y&R, he could also potentially take over the role of Billy if the show can’t reach an agreement with Miller.

OLTL’s Gina Tognoni is an Emmy winner, who also has a following among CBS soap viewers from her stint as Dinah on “Guiding Light.” If Y&R decided to resume writing Victoria as the strong-willed corporate shark she used to be, Tognoni would be a natural recast. Given the inability of anyone in Cane’s family to remain dead, she could also play his presumed dead sister. DOOL could certainly use an actress of her caliber.

The head scratcher is the article’s mention of OLTL newcomer Josh Kelly. The actor has only been with the show a few months and does not seem to be particularly popular. Perhaps the insider quoted in the story got the names wrong, confusing Josh Kelly with Tognoni’s character of Kelly Cramer, or perhaps Mosko or Sony’s daytime executive Steve Kent watched a couple of episodes of OLTL and found him an appealing performer.  He has a similar physical look to Young, and could also be, from a visual standpoint, a plausible recast for Phillip on DOOL.

If Sony is continuing to make its potential poaching list, the studio would be wise to consider AMC’s Alicia Minshew — the show’s most popular actress for the past few years, and Darnell Williams, and OLTL’s Kassie DePaiva and Florencia Lozano. Of course, fans would really love to see, budgets permitting, grand dames Susan Lucci, Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser take up residence in Genoa City and Salem.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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