MacDonnell, an original All My Children cast member, retired in 2009 after it was announced that production of AMC would be moved to Los Angeles. MacDonnell opted not to relocate with All My Children, and made his last regularly scheduled appearance in January 2010 as part of the show's 40th anniversary tribute. In storyline, Joe and Ruth Martin were said to have retired and moved to Florida.
Upon ABC's cancellation of All My Children, MacDonnell returned for a handful of episodes at the end of the series' run.
MacDonnell received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in 2005.
It is unclear to what extent MacDonnell will be involved in All My Children's revival, but a published report states MacDonnell will be seen on an ongoing, recurring basis.