Deep Soap: Another Star Leaves ‘The Young & The Restless’

Stephen Nichols (Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Casting News of the Week

Stephen Nichols (Tucker) is the latest star of “The Young & the Restless” to be fired by the show’s new producer, Jill Farren Phelps. The actor has already taped his final scenes.

The billionaire who turned out to be Katherine’s long lost son and Devon’s father suffered from inconsistent writing throughout his three year tenure on the show. Fans immediately started speculating about whether the daytime superstar would reprise his role as Patch on “Days of Our Lives” or Stefan on “General Hospital.” Given the current creative states of the shows, my vote is for GH, though if DOOL managed to craft a good storyline for Patch this time, he would be a huge asset to the show.

DVR the Next Episode of “The Young & the Restless”

Last week, Scott Reeves, who plays Steven Weber on GH tweeted the news of his departure from the show.

This week a baseless online rumor that Becky Herbst, who plays Steve’s sister Liz, and was nearly fired in 2011 until a fan outcry caused the show’s then producers to reconsider, took the internet by storm. It traveled from message boards to an actual article on Herbst felt compelled to respond that her job was safe and sound, tweeting, “Thank you so much for all your concern and support, but I have not quit GH, nor have I been let go. :)”

Liz, one of the show’s most popular, and most polarizing, characters has been on the back burner, with some viewers wondering why two newbies are vying for Patrick’s (Jason Thompson) affection when his presumed dead wife Robin (Kimberly McCullough) essentially bequeathed Patrick to her best friend Liz. Perhaps last week’s obvious chemistry test scenes between Liz and A.J. will lead to a romance between the two of them. Whatever happens to Liz in 2013, it’s a little ridiculous that actors have to use social media to deny fan-created rumors.

Preview Friday’s Episode of “Y&R”:

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Reports of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live’s” Return So Far Seem Greatly Exaggerated

Monday the soap world was rocked by a report that Prospect Park was resuming its attempts to create on-line versions of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Since then, there has been no news. Prospect Park has not issued any statements confirming Deadline’s report. Nor have the entertainment unions who allegedly made deals with Prospect Park have commented on the story,  Nor have any of the actors who were previously signed to the online versions of the show. The only other news is a claim by the blog Showbiz 411 that Prospect Park has been in contact with Susan Lucci. That could be anything from a formal inquiry about her availability to a Christmas card. Notably, Lucci, who was vocal about Prospect Park’s lack of interest in negotiating with her last year, did not comment. Instead the columnist cites the cliched “source close to Lucci” (her publicist? Her dog walker?) allegedly talked to the blog.

The lack of follow up makes it look like Prospect Park is merely attempting to hold on to the rights to the shows, which are slated to revert back to ABC in 2013 if the production company fails to create online versions of the soaps. There has been speculation that ABC wants the rights back so that it can resurrect the shows. In my opinion (and I have no inside knowledge) it’s far  more likely that ABC would utilize the brands in other ways like a series of AMC and OLTL novels. Given that soap fans made bestsellers out of books allegedly written by soap characters including a romance written by AMC’s Kendall and the upcoming “Love in Maine” book purportedly written by GH’s Molly and rewritten by Connie, surely actual continuations of beloved shows should sell a lot of copies. It would cost ABC very little to hire a couple of unemployed soap writers to pick up where the show ended. Maybe there could even be a low budget web series featuring several former characters. But I don’t see the network getting rid of “The Chew“, which is doing about as well in the ratings as the final year of AMC for half the cost. While “Katie”, which inherited GH’s old timeslot, has yet to become the next “Oprah”, the network gave an hour back to its affiliates so that they would purchase the show through Disney’s syndicated division. Once a network gives away a time period, it’s not getting it back. From ABC’s perspective, the current success of GH means that one is the magic soap number.

Fifty Shades of Grey

I am pleasantly surprised by the moral ambiguity of the A.J. (Sean Kanan)/Sonny (Maurice Benard) rivalry on “General Hospital.” When A.J. used Sonny’s bad temper against him during a “friendly” boxing match by accurately calling him a thug and garbage so that their shared son Michael (Chad Duell) would walk in on Sonny beating a bloody pulp, I was worried that the storyline was going to be about how evil A.J. was making saint Sonny look bad. That was, after all, how the show wrote the characters in the past. It was an inherently ridiculous premise of course. Sonny could do what 99 percent of people do when they are insulted and respond with words instead of violence. All A.J.did was prove that Sonny has no self-control.

When Starr (Kristen Alderson), who has forgiven her father for numerous violent felonies, told Michael that A.J. manipulated the situation, I got even more nervous. Instead, when Sonny, who felt the need to bring his henchman Sean (Shawn Blakemore) to a meeting with a man he just beat to a pulp, confronted him, A.J. acknowledged what he did. He pointed out that Sonny was responsible for his own actions. He also came clean with Michael, describing what he did as backsliding into old bad habits. I would describe it as awesome. I would love a storyline in which A.J. showed everyone in Port Charles that Sonny is just a giant six year old with no impulse control. But by owning up to what he did while Sonny continued to blame A.J. for forcing him to punch the face, A.J. looked like the adult. I am all for a morally grey A.J. who uses his enemies own weaknesses against them in order to win back his son and his family’s company. Not only is it good for A.J. It’s good for Sonny, whose character is far more interesting when the writers don;t have every other character on the show declare that he is a hero who can do no wrong.

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

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