Rumor Patrol: Will Susan Lucci Join Online ‘All My Children’?

by | September 28, 2011 at 8:55 AM | Deep Soap

Susan Lucci (David Becker/Getty Images)

Susan Lucci (David Becker/Getty Images)

Prospect Park’s Online Network Gets A Name — And Susan Lucci?

Fans have wondered if the online AMC can possibly work without the show’s most recognizable actress, Susan Lucci, especially since the show’s ABC finale ended with Erica being publicly dumped by her longtime love Jack and vowing to win him back. According to Lucci, published reports that she turned down Prospect Park’s offer to continue with the show are inaccurate. Lucci told NPR, “My heart is certainly there with Agnes Nixon, with Erica Kane, with our incredibly passionate viewership. I would love to [continue] and we are trying as we speak to work that out. We are just waiting for a response as we speak.” Those who choose to believe conspiracy theories might conclude that someone who was upset that Lucci blasted ABC’s president Brian Frons in her memoir leaked the stories about her demanding too much money. The other explanation is that a standard negotiation process with both sides making multiple offers and counteroffers got blown completely out of proportion.

Speaking of Prospect Park, the company’s new internet network finally has a name and a launch date. According to a press release, The online network, which will go by the initials TOLN, will debut, as expected in January 2012. Both “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” will be a part of the programming slate, along with, “first-run entertainment and lifestyle shows.”  The not particularly creatively named TOLN will eventually include, “reality, scripted comedy and drama programming… Ultimately we believe that online distribution provides the best platform to access 30 and 60 minute entertainment content. The viewer response to the shows we have licensed has been tremendous, and we have much more in development to appeal to a broad audience base.” Most encouragingly, “All TOLN programming will be supported with the full impact of traditional TV marketing and promotion as well as social media and online campaigns.” In other words, AMC and OLTL may be getting more publicity than they did when they were on ABC. You can sign up for TOLN’s mailing list at www.TOLN.com.

Watch The Latest Episode Of “Days of Our Lives”:

“Days of Our” Lives Reboot

After watching the first two days of the “Days of Our Lives” reboot, I give the effort a solid B+. The episodes, which centered around the dedication of Horton Square, a beautiful new set which gives Salem an “outdoor” meeting area were more about paying tribute to the show’s history and reintroducing some beloved characters then they were about shocking plot developments. DOOL seems to be aiming to rebuild over the longterm rather than quickly hook viewers with exciting new storylines. Carrie (Christie Clark), Austin (Patrick Muldoon), John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall), returned for the occasion, a realistic but undramatic way of bringing them home to Salem. Jack (Matthew Ashford) is also back, roaming around the party with a hilariously thick beard, improbably unnoticed or recognized by anyone.

I appreciated the show’s willingness to devote a lot of airtime to remembering Tom (McDonald Carey) and Alice (Frances Reid). Many of today’s viewers never saw them as more than the grandparents who popped up in holiday episodes. They were remembered with speeches and flashbacks. Hope even read a poem that Tom wrote for Alice. However, I was surprised to find myself thinking that it was possible for a soap to pay too much attention to its history. As much as I love Doug (Bill Hayes) and Julie (Susan Seaforth Hayes), for me, having them sing a song from a generation ago while everybody slow danced made the show seem old-fashioned. I longed for DOOL to start paying off some of what it had set up. Why not have Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) or Abby (Kate Mansi) see Jack (Matthew Ashford) as a cliffhanger of Monday’s episode? As so many recent soap returns have shown, bringing back characters without an immediately compelling story does not inspire viewers.

The one “hip” element of the episodes was the unfortunate stunt casting of “Millionaire Matchmaker’s” Patti Stenger. She played herself. For no apparent reason, E.J. (James Scott) brought her as his date to the party. Is she now working with crime families? Are we supposed to believe that handsome E.J. has ever had difficulty finding dates? In the Salem universe is Patti supposed to be classy rather than trashy? If we were stuck with the stunt casting, I wish she’d been playing some random socialite.

Despite my complaints, I think new/old DOOL is a huge improvement. Now that all of the guests have arrived, let’s get the party started.

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