‘Days’ Brings Back Two Favorites, Y&R Adds AMC Star

Debbi Morgan (ABC)

Debbi Morgan (ABC)

Days of Our Lives Brings Back Patrick Muldoon and Christie Clark

Two more actors are returning toDays of Our Lives” as part of the show’s extreme makeover. Christie Clark and Patrick Muldoon, AKA Carrie and Austin #1 are headed back to Salem. Carrie and Austin were, of course, one of the show’s big supercouples during the 1990s, and their epic love triangle with Sami (Alison Sweeney) drove years of story. Clark has made several shortterm appearances on the show over the past couple years, including coming back for Alice’s funeral. Muldoon left DOOL in 1995. It appeared he was destined for mainstream stardom when he was won a major role in the film “Starship Troopers” and joined the cast of “Melrose Place.” For the past few years, he has focused on music.  Austin number two, Austin Peck, played the role for a lot longer but he is currently busy playing a porn director on “One Life to Live.”  I am excited that Carrie and Austin are returning, especially because it should bring back Sami’s inner Jan Brady, which means no more insipid victim Sami. In other DOOL news, Deidre Hall has announced that Marlena will return to the show on September 26th. The new and improved DOOL is shaping up to look a lot like the DOOL of 1994.  Let’s all watch “Seinfeld” then go to a rave!

Debbi Morgan Joins The Young & the Restless

When “All My Children“moves to the internet, it will be without Angie Hubbard. According to TV Guide, Debbi Morgan signed a contract to join “The Young & the Restless” on Thursday, the day the news of AMC’s last minute save broke. There is no word yet on who Morgan will be playing or what her storyline will be. The obvious choice would be to have her play a love interest for Neil (Kristoff St. John). Fan speculation has her as a possible relative of Leslie (Angell Caldwell) or Sophia (Julia Pace Mitchell). The other possibility is that Morgan could be a recast Dru, though it is difficult to imagine anybody but Victoria Rowell in the role. Y&R, long the soap with the mot prominent African-American characters, has been considerably less diverse since Rowell left the show. The recast Malcolm (Darius McCrary) has been on the backburner for his entire tenure. Casting the extraordinarily popular, Emmy winning Morgan should go a long way to solve towards making the population of Genoa City more reflective of the show’s audience, assuming that the writing is there. If Darnell Williams (Jesse) remains with AMC, the show will either have to write off Angie or recast the iconic role.

Complaint Department

It has only been four days since ABC announced that, instead of being canceled, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” would be moving to the internet. Instead of being ecstatic that their shows were saved in a twist more improbable than anything that has happened on daytime this year, some fans have decided that this is not good enough. I have read complaints that the internet “disenfranchises” viewers without internet access and that this is some sort of insidious plot to placate fans rather than a sincere attempt to continue the shows. There are suspicions that none of the shows’ popular actors will sign on to the web version. People who work in the industry are worried that salaries will be cut to insultingly low levels.

I have a simple plea: wait until there is something to complain about before you start complaining. It’s maddening how little information has been released. The inclination to assume the worst is understandable, given that there has been so little good news in daytime for so long. But this reflexive negativity is not helping the cause. The article in The New York Post seems to have forced ABC and production company Prospect Park to go public with their plans before they had worked out any of the details. After the public relations disaster that was ABC denying rumors of AMC and OLTL’s cancellations weeks before announcing them, this time the network went in the opposite direction and confirmed what was happening right away. I do not believe that anyone wanted this news to break while the shows had the week off from taping. The cast and crew found out at the same time as the general public. A lot of them were on vacation.Michael Easton (OLTL’s John) wrote on Facebook, “We learned of this as you did & at this time I know as much as you do (you probably know more than I do, so you can fill me in anytime). Not sure what all this means & with the Studio dark this week we won’t know much until next week & beyond.”I imagine there were a lot of actors and writers making frantic phonecalls to their agents to figure out whether they were going to continue to have a job. Negotiating dozens of new contracts is going to keep Prospect Park’s lawyers busy for weeks.  I suspect the network hoped to keep this under wraps until all of the logistics had been determined, but that proved impossible. Would you rather not know about the deal?

I recognize that there are still people without internet access, either because it is too expensive, they live in a very rural area, or they are not computer savvy. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not Prospect Park’s or ABC’s responsibility, nor is it a violation of anybody’s rights. They’re television shows, not the right to vote. According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Census bureau in 2010, 70% of households have internet access, compared to 91% that have cable.That does not include people who are able to access the internet at work or school. In most parts of the country, monthly highspeed internet access costs less per month than cable. Most public libraries offer free access to the internet, as well as computers that anyone is welcome to use. If your grandma does not know how to use the internet, teach her! I suspect plenty of senior citizens will figure out the web in order to watch their soaps. They will also be available to watch on smartphones, which are becoming increasingly affordable. Thousands of people already watch AMC and OLTL on-line, on sites including this one. They are proven performers on the internet. If you want them back on TV, make them such a hit on-line that a cable network will consider picking them up.

As for the conspiracy theory that this is ABC’s way of getting the fans to shut up, ABC is not concerned with the fan response. The protests have not had any negative impact on the company. Canceling the soaps has not hurt Disney stocks. The boycotts have had no impact on Disney’s bottom line. “Pirates of the Carribbean:4” has earned a billion dollars. ABC Family is having its best quarter ever. ABC primetime is muddling along as it does every summer, with “The Bachelorette” and “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” performing well.This deal happened for one simple reason: it will make ABC/Disney million of dollars. There is no hidden agenda, just as the cancellations were not the culmination of a years long campaign to drive down the ratings. It’s a giant corporation. Its only goal is to maximize profits.

If AMC and OLTL never make it on-line, I will be livid. If Prospect Park decides to replace the actors with sock puppets and make the Fords the central characters on OLTL, I will write a 4000 word screed and nail it to the front door of their production offices. But until I have reason to be upset, I am going to be happy. I was giddy when I watched Friday’s episode of OLTL and realized that there was a good chance that the slow-moving Roger Howarth Todd returns storyline might get a chance to play out completely, that there could be time to address the fallout of Rex’s (John Paul Lavoisier) revenge against Todd (Trevor St. John), that maybe Dorian would not really be gone forever when Robin Strasser leaves the show so she can have back surgery. My current motto: don’t worry, be happy.

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

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