Don’t Count on Susan Lucci Joining ‘Desperate Housewives’

by | May 11, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Deep Soap

Susan Lucci (ABC)

Susan Lucci (ABC)

“Desperate Housewives” Star Casts Doubt on Rumor That Susan Lucci is Joining the Show

There is a widespread rumor that “All My Children” star Susan Lucci will be joining “Desperate Housewives” next season after the daytime soap ends. Nobody from ABC has gone on the record about it one way or the other. I asked DH’s Doug Savant, who plays Tom, about Lucci during an interview about the season finale. He seemed to know nothing about it, though actors are often kept out of the loop about casting decisions. Said Savant, “Is that because ['All My Children'] is now going off the air? She’s had an amazing, remarkable career. I have not heard any rumor that Susan Lucci will be moving to Wisteria Lane. That would be very funny, though.”

Y&R’s Victor and Nikki Damage My Retinas

There needs to be a new TV rating to cover scenes that are technically TV-14 but might cause permanent damage to my eyesight. Something like TV-VN to signify that “The Young & the Restless’s” Victor (Eric Braeden) will be Naked with Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott), or as Xfinity’s episode guide aptly described it, “Diane catches Victor and Nikki in an uncomfortable position.”

I do not need to see that while I am eating lunch. This is not about seeing older people having sex. If “All My Children” decides to end its final episode with Adam (David Canary) and Brooke (Julia Barr) having a “True Blood” style graphic sex scene, I will applaud. It’s the dynamics of Victor and Nikki’s relationship that make me squirm. I cannot forget how cruel Victor has been to Nikki time and time again. He had no sympathy for her when she slept with Deacon (Sean Kanan) while she was in rehab only because she had been tricked into believing that Victor was marrying another woman. He treated her like she was selling herself on a street corner, though he has cheated on her repeatedly with malice and forethought. When she’s away from Victor, Nikki is a force to be reckoned with. When she found on that Deacon was in cahoots with Meggie (Sean Young), she dumped him and never looked back. With Victor, she is a little girl who walks on eggshells, always fearing that she’s going to do something that will make him leave her again. Yet, she cannot stay away from him. It’s a believable dynamic. I think we all know couples who have a powerful physical attraction even though they bring out the worst in each other. But this sex scene was particularly gross. One moment the newly married Victor and Nikki were sharing their concern for their daughter. The next, Victor was telling her not to leave and kissing her. Then when we came back to them at the end of the show, they were in bed, so engrossed in each other that they did not notice Diane (Maura West) walk in on them, walk out in shock, get out her cellphone, set up the camera, walk back in, snap a picture, and leave. I don’t care that Victor is cheating on Diane. She knew he didn’t love her when he married him. I am disappointed that Nikki refuses to learn from a lifetime of mistakes.

The Wrong Story

I reacted to the revelation that “All My Children’s” Erica (Susan Lucci) had been kidnapped by a doppelganger with a groan. This is how AMC is going to spend its last five months on the air? With a cliched lookalike takes over a character’s life story? I hope that new headwriter Lorraine Broderick will wrap this plotline up quickly. Most soap websites and messageboards are greeting the news of Lucci in a double role — as the evil Jane — with a shrug. It just is not very interesting. Maybe it will be fun to see Lucci in another role, but I’d rather see more of her as Erica. To my surprise, Deadline published a story about Lucci’s double role, implying that this was AMC’s glorious swan song. Then a hundred other websites piggybacked off Deadline to cover the non-story. Meanwhile, actual AMC fans are excited about the confirmed return of Cady McClain as Dixie and the probable returns of Thorsten Kaye and David Canary as Zach and Adam. Those are characters that need to be a part of the farewell to Pine Valley.

It just goes to show how little the non-soap press understands the genre. This isn’t even a storyline that ABC is trying hard to publicize. In fact, at this point, I think ABC would prefer that everybody just forget about the existence of AMC and “One Life to Live.” But Lucci is the most recognizable actor in daytime. She is especially visible at the moment because she is doing media appearances in support of her memoir, All My Life. So her double role seems newsworthy, particularly because it is such a soap cliche. People who don’t watch soaps think they are nothing but evil twins and amnesia. (Unfortunately, this past year that’s been awfully close to the truth.)

In contrast, there has been zero mainstream press about Roger Howarth’s return to “One Life To Live.” This is as big a deal as Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo’s return to “General Hospital” — though admittedly she is better known because of her years as a primetime star on “Las Vegas.” It’s much bigger in terms of story because if Howarth’s character turns out to be the real Todd Manning, and Trevor St. John’s version of Todd is an imposter, it has huge repercussions for half of the characters in Llanview. Yet ABC has not set up a block of phone interviews for Howarth, as the network routinely does to promote big events in both primetime and daytime. The network, which I have noticed is showing fewer AMC and OLTL promos during the soaps since their cancellation was announced, is burying the news of Howarth’s return at the end of a promo about Marty (Susan Haskell) and Natalie’s (Melissa Archer) rivalry. ABC may be mildly embarrassed that OLTL has been doing so well  in the ratings since its cancellation. But the show is still on the air, advertisers have bought  time on it and want as many people to watch as possible, and every one who is working hard to put out a quality show deserves to be recognized. Even if OLTL implausibly manages to get ten million people to tune in each week, there’s still nothing stopping ABC from cancelling it. It’s not all the network. Each soap has its own publicist who is free to come up with ways to get the show front and center. As far as I know, there is nothing stopping OLTL from getting its number one celebrity fan Snoop Dogg to tweet about Howarth’s return. But I do wish that if the mainstream press is going to start covering soaps it would do some more research about the genre.

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