Well, well, well... I told you that we'd meet again.
When I wrote my last Two Scoops column back in December 2013, I closed it by saying, "The magical make-believe world of soaps has taught me that anything is possible -- even if it seems impossible. We could very well meet again one day to once again pick up where we left off."
I'll be honest with you, as time crawled on without any updates on our friends in Pine Valley, I became more and more accepting of the fact that we would probably never again find out what -- or who -- Erica Kane was doing. However, there was always a little voice in my head that told me to throw my twin sister down an abandoned well. No, wait... that was the other voice... the one that I try not to listen to.
In the past six months, there has been a confluence of events that have made me more optimistic than ever that at least some part of Pine Valley will live on. I'm sure you've heard numerous gurus and self-help experts saying that if you want the universe to make something happen for you, you need to speak it into existence. So buckle up, AMC fans, because I'm about to take you through a wild ride over the course of the next thousand or so words as I prepare to speak a whole lot of things into existence.
Not to start off on a somber note, but if you've been following any of my writing over the past 22 years, you'll know that I make it a point to be honest with you. Saccharin clichés aside, I do sort of feel like we're "family" in many ways. We've fought over which couples were the best and banded together to fight to keep All My Children alive.
I want to take you back to September 2016 when we learned that Agnes Nixon, the grand dame of the modern soap opera (and creator of All My Children and One Life to Live), had passed away. I'd been fortunate enough to meet Agnes a few years prior, and I'd had a chance to thank her for creating shows that propelled me on this incredible ride that is Soap Central. At a luncheon that was thrown in her honor in what is the real-life Pine Valley and Llanview, she took my hand and thanked me for keeping her beloved soaps alive. She. Thanked. Me.
So when I learned that Agnes' physical presence had left us, I wanted to go and pay my respects. But I felt "weird" about it. I didn't want to be the creepy Internet guy who was crashing a Mass of Christian Burial. I wanted to not only be there for me, but to be there as a representative for all of you. I figured I would go to the service, sit quietly in the back, and leave when everything was said and done. That was the plan... until Ron Carlivati, the former head writer of One Life to Live, saw me and encouraged me (read: strong-armed me!) into going to a gathering after the service. I will forever be grateful to him for that.
In the two hours or so that followed, I had time to talk with All My Children stars, former ABC and AMC executives, and Agnes' family. I learned that even in what would ultimately be her last days, Agnes was still crafting AMC storylines in her head. That was in addition to finishing her memoir. I left the memorial service, knowing that there was still life in All My Children. Moreover, I left on a mission to make sure that AMC was kept alive.
Less than three months later, the long, drawn-out legal kerfuffle between Prospect Park and ABC ended. Rather unceremoniously, I might add. However, Soap Central got the exclusive scoop that the dismissal of the PP lawsuit (yes, I phrased it that way because my inner five-year-old is giggling) meant that ABC regained rights to All My Children and One Life to Live. Unlike the Internet, where people often post things just because then can, in the world of television, merely having the rights to the two shows doesn't necessarily mean that ABC will do anything with them.
Since the reversion of rights, ABC has announced that a One Life to Live character will pop up on General Hospital. On the AMC front? Nada. But the Hallmark Channel's Home & Family talk show staged an All My Children reunion a couple of weeks ago. During that same general timeframe, a rumor started circulating that All My Children might be revived on Netflix. How did the rumor start? I'm not entirely sure, but it seemed to start when a fan phoned in to ask Susan Lucci if she would reprise the role of Erica if AMC were ever to be resurrected. The fan suggested that Netflix might be a venue to do that. Netflix has recently successfully rebooted other vintage favorites like Full House (as Fuller House) and One Day at a Time.
The rumor seems to have caught on, but an insider has told me that there actually has been some discussion about what to do with the two legacy soaps. Why isn't anyone whispering about One Life to Live being revived? For those of you reading who might think that I wouldn't want OLTL to be revived -- that's not the case. I just think that there has been this sort of understanding that One Life to Live characters will just be worked into the fold on General Hospital. There have been about half a dozen Llanview residents who have popped up in Port Charles. So far, a whopping zero from Pine Valley have made the trek even though Soaps In Depth has reported that Michael E. Knight (Tad) and Susan Lucci (Erica) have hinted they might be open to a GH appearance.
Let's say Netflix does want to retool All My Children. Again, it's not a done deal, and, in fact, no one has said publicly that there are even talks of a deal. But in keeping to that "let's talk it into existence" mentality, let's talk it into existence.
I would be very content to just pretend all the Prospect Park stuff never happened. Of course, that would create a whole lot of work for me because I am pretty sure I updated the heck out of the Who's Who in Pine Valley character bios to try to accommodate all the plot twists that were involved in the short-lived online reboot.
As much of an AMC fan as I am, the only really good part of the reboot was Cassandra's kidnapping. There were some kids in a boarding school. One was gorgeous and vapid. Another liked to ride a motorcycle. Or that could be the Facts of Life. I guess the reboot wasn't that memorable.
So maybe we roll back time and pick up when J.R. was about to shoot someone and start over again. If Adele can do it at the Grammys, then we can do it with All My Children, dammit!
There are some obstacles that would be formidable challenges. A lot of the big names that we loved are no longer available. We've lost David Canary (Adam and Stuart Chandler) and Matthew Cowles (Billy Clyde Tuggle), and many other AMC alums have found work at other soaps: Jacob Young (J.R. Chandler) and Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater) are on the Bold and the Beautiful, and Melissa Claire Egan (Annie Lavery) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie Stone) are living it up on The Young and the Restless. And then there's the fact that Agnes Nixon is not around to oversee her baby.
There are, however, some things that make life easy. Susan Lucci's primetime series, Devious Maids, has been canceled. Eva LaRue (Maria Santos) has stated openly on social media that she'd be all in for a reboot.
With Vincent Irizarry out at Days of our Lives, that means that he could step into David Hayward's shoes again. I have two thoughts on what to do with David. The first would be to have David track down Anna Devane in Port Charles on General Hospital. The two have a past together, and David's name has even been mentioned on GH. That gives an immediate AMC impact.
If you bring Netflix into the picture, you could perhaps get Finola Hughes to briefly pop up on an AMC revival to give the show some extra star power -- and having a GH character appear on the show would, in theory, bring GH viewers to the rebooted AMC. In my mind, a Netflix-based AMC would be composed of maybe 13 hour-long episodes. That's pretty much on par with the ten episodes per season of Netflix's other original series.
If it were to be decided that David Hayward would have more long-term potential on GH, you could write the character out of the AMC reboot and have David transfer to General Hospital as a full-time ethically challenged doctor. Alternatively, the David/Anna storyline plays out on AMC, Finola Hughes goes back to GH, and Vincent Irizarry remains with the AMC reboot and gets new non-Anna-related story.
As for who would oversee All My Children's storytelling... I'm not sure. You would need to find someone who loved the show, who understood the characters, and who can help forward Agnes Nixon's vision into 2017 and beyond.
So what if this Netflix thing really is just a rumor? Then we are in no worse place than we were before you started reading this column. Is it the ideal scenario? No.
However, I have also heard rumblings that ABC might try to capitalize on regaining control of AMC and One Life to Live by showing old episodes somewhere. Exactly where that somewhere is... I don't know. Perhaps on ABC's web site or app the way CBS has with its CBS All Access subscription service. There's also the possibility of using an existing platform like Netflix or Amazon Prime.
I cannot emphasize enough that there has been no official statement that gives any incontrovertible proof that anything I mentioned is anything other than a pipe dream. But there has not been a time since AMC ended its run that things were better aligned to have any sort of grounds for arguing that AMC could return.
So what do we do? I guess pretend I am your guru and go forth and speak the return of All My Children into existence. This may be the only time that it is safe to drink the Kroll-Aid, er, Kool-Aid. Tweet the love. Facebook your favorite memories. Instagram photos you have from AMC gatherings or soap opera magazines. Be respectful and courteous. Recruit people who you know liked All My Children to also spread the word. And don't be afraid to share what you'd like to see happen, but one word of caution: Don't demand that ABC return the shows to ABC Daytime because it has been made quite clear by ABC execs that this is not a viable option.
It can be hard not knowing if All My Children will return in some format. The fight to bring AMC back has been filled with incredible highs and devastating lows. When all is said and done, merely talking about All My Children and the residents of Pine Valley will keep the show alive, and that is something we can do without having to rely on anyone else.
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