As One Life to Live's Nora lays comatose in her hospital bed, some fans are worried that the character may never awaken - and that actress Hillary B. Smith (Nora Hanen) may be on her way out. For many weeks the rumors of Smith's precarious situation with the show have been the subject of soap magazine articles and Internet speculation.
Smith's contract with One Life to Live expires in December and the network does, at least on the surface, appear interested in keeping Smith on board. The very fact that the two sides are currently in talks does appear to bode well for fans of the Emmy-winning actress and her on-screen alter ego. There are, however, conflicting reports about what is really going on in the contract negotiations. Unfortunately the one thing that sources seem to agree on is that the talks between Smith and the network are not going well.
According to one source, the first contract offer made by ABC to Smith came in with a very low salary. As most soap fans know, networks are under increasing pressure to cut costs due to sagging ratings and increased production costs. One way that some soaps have been keeping their budgets in line has been to trim actors' salaries.
Meanwhile, another source reveals that Smith was outraged by the network's offer and announced that she was going to leave the show. In fact, there are unconfirmed reports that Smith has been reaching out to other soaps to find out if there is an interest in hiring her.
Smith's agent is quick to dispel the talk that Smith has no allegiance to ABC, stating, "We consider ourselves under contract to ABC, so questions of this nature are best referred to them."
Soap Central contacted ABC for comment on the Smith situation, but a network spokesperson reminded us that "it is not network policy to comment on rumors, contracts or negotiations."
Smith joined the cast of One Life to Live in 1992. Two years later, she was awarded a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress category for her role as the lead attorney in the Todd Manning/Marty Saybrooke rape trial.