“All My Children” Cancellation
Production company Prospect Park appears poised to acknowledge what has become clear: There will be no more episodes of its version of “All My Children.” TV Guide’s Michael Logan Tweeted “Is Prospect Park shelving @allmychildren too? I’m hearing big announcement planned for this Friday.” Soap Opera Digest reports that a crew member wrote on Facebook, “It was fun while it lasted…” The show was supposed to resume production on October 21. It did not happen. Star Thorsten Kaye accepted a role on “The Bold & the Beautiful.” When AMC and “One Life to Live” premiered last April, Prospect Park announced that over 150 episodes a year would be produced of each, with four new episodes being released each week. That was soon cut to two. Then, with little notice, TOLN announced the “season finales” of each show with production to resume at an indeterminate date. That was the last official announcement from the company, with news that OLTL’s production had been halted indefinitely being buried in a Los Angeles Times feature about company topper Jeff Kwatienetz. It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the hundreds of people who worked on the shows and the fans who watched and supported the new incarnations of their favorite shows. But at this point, most viewers seem resigned and disappointed, rather than angry and determined to keep the shows alive. A business school could do a case study on all the things that went wrong with the shows, from their rushed launch that didn’t give the writers adequate time to craft high-quality long-term story, to the lawsuit against ABC, to a public relations strategy that largely involved stonewalling the press. I think that if the shows had launched online immediately after the end of their ABC runs, or if they had started airing on OWN at the same time that they debuted online, they would have attracted a far larger audience, but that’s pure speculation. But the fact of the matter is we got forty more episodes of the beloved shows, closure to the cliffhangers that ended the shows’ ABC runs, (cliffhangers that were admittedly mandated by TOLN), and participated in an online experiment that may one day lead to a successful, full-length, five days a week Internet serial.
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“The Bold & the Beautiful” Producer’s Wife Named Ambassador to Hungary
The Bells are living more glamorous lives than any of the characters on their family’s shows, “The Young & the Restless” and “The Bold & the Beautiful.” Colleen Bell, wife of “The Bold & the the Beautiful” showrunner Brad Bell, has been nominated to be the new United States Ambassador to Hungary. The Bells hosted a fundraiser for President Obama in their home during his 2012 campaign and raised over $2 million dollars for his re-election. Over the past few years, the Bell family has made a name for themselves beyond the soap world with Maria Bell chairing the board of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Brad purchasing a stake in the Chicago Sun Times; and his brother Bill Bell Junior’s amassing one of the nation’s top art collections. In short, the Bells are a much bigger force in the real city of Los Angeles than the Forresters, who don’t do anything but get engaged and stage dated fashion shows, are in fictional Los Angeles. If the Bells feel like adding to their television empire, they could probably sell a reality series about their lives. Assuming that congress confirms Colleen’s nomination, maybe B&B will do a location shoot in Budapest.
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“The Young & the Restless”: Feeling All the Feels
I love it when soaps take time to explore the emotional impact of events on characters. But right now “The Young & the Restless” is virtually nothing but people having feelings. Everyone is mourning Delia’s death, including Adam (Michael Muhney), who is also feeling guilty about accidentally killing her but not guilty enough to confess. Yes, sooner or later, he will be exposed, probably by the confession video that he made because of he was feeling all the feels. Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) has reacted to the news that Dylan (Steve Burton) is her son by feeling both happy that he is a nice guy who conveniently lives in her home town but might be hurt when he learns he is adopted. Devon (Bryton James) reacted to becoming an instant billionaire not by buying Newman Enterprises, partying like a rock star, or mounting a search for Dru’s body, but by feeling guilty about unearned wealth despite being surrounded by people with trust funds. (Here’s a thought: He finances Tyler, Mason and Hilary’s Internet company that becomes the next Snapchat. They hire Kevin to do the advanced programming. When it takes off, a Social Network-style battle over who gets to claim ownership and the profits ensues, which gets edgy because it’s one of the few prominent predominantly African-American tech companies in the nation. Come on, Y&R. You have such a great set up here. Make something happen!)
The only storyline in which people are doing something instead of just having feelings is Michael (Christian LeBlanc) and Fen (Max Ehrich) both confessing to killing Carmine and ending up in prison (Fen for a drug offense), which has so far involved both of them sitting around feeling guilty because the other is in prison. Thursday, Jill (Jess Walton) and Jack (Peter Bergman) decided to team up to take down Victor (Eric Braeden), which if it turns out to be more successful than the last 100 times Jack battled Victor, will be a a plot with a lot of forward momentum.
But the show, as a whole, just feels like emotional dynamics in search of a story. Fans rightly lambast overly plot-driven storylines that sacrifice character. But there is a happy medium. This is a serialized drama, not an existentialist play.