Soaps Make Dramatic Changes In Wake of Attacks
By Dan J Kroll
Posted Sunday, October 07, 2001 6:09:33 PM

The terrorist attacks against The United States on September 11, 2001 may have forever altered the American way of life. They may have also changed the way that soap operas entertain us.

While big budget movies have been forced to edit scenes or postpone their release dates, soap operas continue to tread onward, providing 45 hours of original episode each and every week. However, some changes have been made in the wake of the attacks.


Perhaps no two soaps have been forced into storyline changes more than ABC's General Hospital and Port Charles. Both soaps had storylines that had similar themes to the recent attacks.

According to a Soap Opera Central source, ABC told GH execs that they had to change the course of the show's storylines as soon as possible - and at any cost. The show was forced to scrap a storyline that had one of its characters, Stavros, introducing a biological toxin to one of his enemies. An unfortunate aside to the storyline being scrapped is that soap vet Robert Kelker-Kelly (Stavros Cassadine) has reportedly been let go. |

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Over at Port Charles, the show's head writers Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown took it upon themselves to rewrite a storyline that explored one of the show's character's past as a possible terrorist. The final outcome of the storyline will remain the same, but how the storyline gets there has been radically altered. |

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Days of our Lives and One Life to Live both opted to edit out scenes of rough airplane flights. On DAYS, an airplane's forced landing because of a hurricane was removed from the show. OLTL decided not to incorporate a previously planned crash landing into the show.

As The World Turns did not change its storyline involving a crazed Dante Grimaldi holding Rose D'Angelo at knifepoint, but the program did air numerous advisories during the show to alert viewers to the possibly objectionable material.

A source from within Guiding Light confirms that the show had to rework some of the material it had planned for the future, but the source declined to comment on exactly what had been changed.

No changes were necessary at All My Children, The Young and the Restless or Passions.


While the show is not making any changes to its storylines, The Bold and the Beautiful has postponed its plans to travel to Europe for an on-location shoot. Bradley Bell, the show's executive producer and head writer, issued a statement saying that his concern for the safety of the show's stars made it necessary to postpone the trip until at least next year. |

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Emmy winner Eric Braeden (Victor Newman, The Young and the Restless) was aboard and Air Canada flight that had to make an emergency landing when a passenger became unruly and uttered anti-American rhetoric. |

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All My Children's Eden Riegel (Bianca Montgomery) was rendered homeless following the attacks. Her apartment is located just across the way from the former Twin Towers site. Riegel says that her living room was destroyed, but that her family all escaped injury. Reigel is now living temporarily with co-star Rebecca Budig (Greenlee Smythe; ex Michelle Bauer, Guiding Light)

As The World Turns' Scott Holroyd (Paul Ryan) also lived near Ground Zero site. The actor says that he and his roommate were trapped in their apartment building after the collapse of the towers. A plume of dust and smoke raced through the stairwell of their building and forced them to seek higher ground. There was no physical damage to Holroyd's apartment, but it could be several more weeks before he is allowed to return home.


Reaction to the terrorist attacks came quickly from the daytime community, thanks, in part, to the Internet. Stars from several New York-based soaps let their fans know that they were safe. Fans began flooding soap sites with messages of concern over the welfare of As The World Turns star Martha Byrne's (Lily Snyder and Rose D'Angelo) husband, Michael McMahon. A statement from the Byrne family revealed that McMahon, a New York City firefighter, had not been injured in the attacks and subsequent rescue efforts. |

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The long-term impact of the attacks on the entertainment world cannot yet be determined. While changes are being made, no one can say for certain that things won't at some point return to a pre-attack "normalcy." It's also unclear if American appetites will ever crave the type of plot devices and storylines that have been used in recent years.

Soap Opera Central would like to hear from you, the SOC visitors, to gauge your thoughts on the changes that are being made to the soaps following the terrorist attacks. Are the changes warranted or are the networks going overboard to appear sensitive? Also, did you enjoy the storylines used prior to the attacks or are you glad to see that they will finally be coming to and end? Click here to send us email.

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