Datillo Returns to ‘Days of Our Lives’

Bryan Datillo Returns to “Days”

All of Sami’s exes are returning to “Days of Our Lives.” Bryan Datillo will once again play Lucas, Will’s father, and Sami’s (Alison Sweeney) first love-hate relationship. Given that Will (Chandler Massey) is turning to alcohol to deal with his problems, a talk with his alcoholic father could scare him straight — no pun intended. Plus, Lucas’s reaction when he learns that his son is gay should be priceless. Lucas also has numerous other ties to the canvas. He is Kate’s (Lauren Koslow) son, Austin’s (Patrick Muldoon) brother, a Horton and the ex-husband of Carrie (Christie Clark) and Nicole (Arianne Zucker). Said executive producer Greg Meng, “We are very excited Bryan Dattilo, who has been greatly missed on the show, is back in Salem. The reset of DAYS is about bringing core families back together, rekindling old romances, and sparking new ones.” Datillo’s first episode will air in late February 2012.

ABC Soaps Destined to End With Cliffhangers

Earlier this week, “All My Children” star Chrishell Stause claimed that the original, happy ending of the soap was shot. A very well written blog by soap fan Ingrid Lobo, who attended Tuesday’s ” Conversation With Agnes Nixon” at Harvard University, sheds a little light on this subject. According to Lobo, the happy ending was scripted, but most of it was not shot.

When asked about whether an alternate ending existed for All My Children (inferred from the TV Line interview with Chrishell Stause), Nixon and [Lorraine] Broderick commented that the ending was reworked five times. First they wrote the ending, then ABC gave then 2 hours for the finale so it was expanded. Then when Prospect Park came into the picture, Nixon came up with the cliffhangers… Incorporating these cliffhangers required Broderick and Nixon to go back and re-work five weeks of script to develop JR’s hatred for the five different characters shown before the gunshot and final cut. Broderick said that when Prospect Park came into the picture, ABC took away one of their hours for the finale, leaving a 1-h finale. The finale episode now had to include the cliffhangers along with trimmed down scenes that they had originally planned for the 2-h finale.

It did not sound like a full alternate ending was taped. (Combined with the info from Stause’s interview, I think Chrishell Stause and Kate Collins taped a scene very early on for use in the 2-h finale that was cut).”

One Life To Live” headwriter Ron Carlivati told the print edition of Soap Opera Digest that there were no alternate endings to the soap shot in case the deal with Prospect Park did not work out, and that now it is too late to change the finale. “It’s impossible. There is no reshooting of anything at this point.” If the company had the decency to tell OLTL during its final week of taping that it was unlikely the show would be continuing on-line, Carlivati surely could have done some last minute rewriting to deliver a more satisfying coda.

Catch Up On “One Life to Live:”

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WGA Awards Nominees Announced

Congratulations to the writing teams of “All My Children,” “General Hospital” and “The Young & the Restless.” The three soaps were nominated for Writers Guild of America awards. It’s thrilling that “AMC was acknowledged for its great final few months. What’s that I hear? Oh, it’s the shouts of thousands of angry “One Life To Live” fans wondering why the best soap of 2011 was not nominated . Like every other industry award, the WGAs are based upon just a few episodes. Unlike others, they are judged solely on the scripts and breakdowns not the completed episodes. Each judge reads the scripts for two shows and assigns them a numerical ranking. The two shows are not in direct competition with each other; a judge could rank them both as excellent or terrible. The three shows with the best scores become the nominees. Some judges may be hard graders, others easy. OLTL has a history of submitting episodes that don’t play well out of context. Though this time rumor has it they submitted episodes from the teen bullying storyline, which seems like a good choice. GH in contrast, has a knack for cherry picking the perfect episodes even when the overall show is lackluster. This time, the soap selected Luke (Tony Geary) finding out he killed Jake and Luke’s intervention, two brilliant episodes in a terrible storyline, as well as episode featuring on Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Kristina’s (Lexi Ainsworth) relationship. Luke’s intervention was a standalone episode. Standalone episodes often win awards because they are easy to follow and, unlike typical sop episodes, have a true ending instead of a cliffhanger. It’s a flawed process, but it’s impossible to get judges to watch the 50 or so episodes that it would take to get a real feel for each soap. The good news is that the final month and a half of OLTL will be eligible for next year’s WGA award, so the current amazing episodes have a chance at being

“General Hospital’s” Wendy Riche Producing New Goldie Hawn Series

For years, “General Hospital” fans have wished that former executive producer Wendy Riche would return to the show. Riche produced the soap during the 1990s, working with headwriter Claire Labine to craft classic storylines including B.J.’s heart transplant, Stone dying from AIDS and Sonny and Brenda’s original romance. After leaving GH, Riche produced the first season of MTV’s “Laguna Beach” which, for better or worse, established the glossy “reality soap” template. Now Deadline reports that Riche is partnering with two of the entertainment industry’s biggest names, “Sex And The City” creator Darren Starr and Goldie Hawn on the new HBO pilot “The Viagra Diaries,” the story of a sixty-something woman who is thrust back into the dating world after her husband of 35 years leaves her. Imagine a daytime writer pitching this funny, realistic scenario to youth obsessed departing ABC Daytime President Brian Frons. If Susan Lucci is cast as one of Hawn’s friends on this Senior Sex & the City, that would be reason enough to shell out for HBO every month.

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