Shocking Firing – and Hiring – on Two Soaps

by | October 10, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Deep Soap

“General Hospital’s” Lexi Ainsworth Fired

General Hospital” has let actress Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina) go. Ainsworth tweeted a farewell to her fans on Friday, “Sorry it seems that I wasn’t responding I was asked by Jill and again by Mitch the publicist not to say anything but since it appears to be officially out there I will confirm I shot my last episode at GH yesterday. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade one second of it even the not so great parts for all that I’ve learned to prepare me for the next phase of my career.” Ainsworth went on to reveal that she has already booked a film, “So This is Christmas,” which also stars Eric Roberts and Vivica Fox.

Ainsworth was nominated for a Daytime Emmy last years. I, and many others, think she should have won. Why would GH let go of a talented actress? Kristina who is the child of two core characters, is both a Corinthos and a Cassadine, and is one of only two college aged characters on the show, seems like someone who should be on the canvas. The show has been building up a romantic storyline between Kristina and Ethan for months. Rumor has it that the show plans to recast the role with someone who looks older so that Kristina will be a more plausible romantic partner for Ethan. If that’s the case, then that is ridiculous, shortsighted, and frankly a little sexist. Yes, the petite Ainsworth does look like young. So do numerous real life college freshmen. So did Kimberly McCullough when she was paired with the older Steve Burton, and a teenage Genie Francis when she was paired with thirty-two year old Tony Geary. It’s obviously not an issue for the GH audience. The youthful Chad Duell is currently paired with the older Andrea Bogart. Ainsworth is only three years younger than Parsons, so there’s nothing remotely inappropriate about them working together. If the producers are concerned about it, why not create a new character to be Kristina’s love interest and cast a young-looking actor in the role? I’d enjoy watching her date an interesting PCU freshman who is not a criminal.

Watch The Latest Episode Of “General Hospital”:

“Young & the Restless” Hires Melissa Claire Egan

The Young & the Restless” has cast another “All My Children” alumna. Entertainment Weekly reports that Melissa Claire Egan, who received an Emmy nomination for her work as the delightfully crazy Annie, will play, “a mysterious woman named Chelsea who is connected to Billy’s arrest in Myanmar.”  Egan left AMC well before the show’s cancellation and was never considered to be someone who might appear on the online version of the show. This role will reunite Egan with Billy Miller, who played her diabolical brother Richie on AMC. Egan left AMC While I am looking forward to seeing Egan back in action, I am concerned that Y&R ha been introducing so many new characters while numerous veterans are floundering without storylines.

Online “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” To Feature Good Music

The online versions of “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” are going to be better than the television versions in at least one way. The latest press release from Prospect Park reveals that the production company has struck a deal with Universal Music Group to feature music from the label on the soundtracks of the shows once they move to The Online Network. The press release states, “As we continue to develop programming for our on-line network, we are taking every facet of production into consideration to create a premium product for our views. Previously these programs have not focused on, or had limited contemporary music and artist involvement, and though UMG we can deliver fans from around the world access to some of the world’s most popular music and artists all leading to better production, storylines and program experience.”

Music can add so much to a television show. The primetime soaps on the CW feature hip music every week. I can remember when daytime soundtracks were just as good. The reason “Santa Barbara” has never been syndicated or available on DVD is because it used such expensive music, in the era before all deals for music usage included clauses licensing it for reruns. Songs that were picked as supercouple’s theme songs during the 1980s frequently cracked the  Top 40. That aspect of daytime has largely disappeared thanks to budget cuts. This deal will bring it back, and, thanks to ecommerce, allow viewers to easily purchase songs right after they finish watching.

Prospect Park topper Jeff Kwatinetz’s background is in music, so it makes sense that he would use his relationships with music executives to his advantage. The release also reveals that Kwatinez and UMG worked together on several live appearances by musicians on OLTL, including Snoop Dogg. I choose to believe, with no evidence whatsoever that OLTL superfan Snoop got his manager Kwatinetz interested in the show, and encouraged him to buy it, because it amuses me to think of the two men texting each other about how great the Todd and Blair scenes were last week.

There was a great profile of Kwatinetz in the New York Times last week. He comes across like the real life version of a soap mogul, building a company, having it go under, then reinventing himself. After reading it, I am so excited that one of the entertainment industry’s most accomplished executives is going to be shepherding the soaps. (Although I am concerned that the financing for The Online Network has still not been completed.) The article makes the great point that soaps, particularly “Guiding Light”, helped the audience transition from radio to television programming. Kwatinetz believes that soaps can do the same for watching original programming via the internet. Fans have long complained that daytime executives don’t like or respect the genre. I suspect that there is a certain amount of frustration that comes from working for a division of the networks that gets no respect that impacts the way the executives treat the shows. Now the soaps are going to be the most important shows on a new network. It’s a whole new world. Kwatinetz is looking at the shows with a fresh eyes and no pre-conceived notions about who the audience is or what it wants. Unlike many who work in daytime, he does not think the genre is dead. That’s why he is thinking about music and e-commerce revenue. I can’t wait to see how how he will transform the genre.

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