ABC All Shook Up & From Soap Stars to Stupid Stars

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Shake up at ABC, Snubbing soap roots and more

Hi Suds Buds!

ABC All Shook Up...

In a surprising move that has ABC Daytime and the entire ABC Network scrambling, Patricia Fili-Krushel has resigned from her position as President, effective March 28, 2000. She has been named President and CEO of WebMD Health, Healtheon/WebMD's consumer division, and assumes her duties at WebMD April 10, 2000. Her primary responsibilities at WebMD will include setting the strategic direction for and the oversight of Healtheon/WebMD consumer offerings and programming, including it's online consumer portal WebMD Health, the Health Network, and other joint initiatives with various News Corp. media properties. She will hold fiscal responsibilities to maximize the value of Healtheon/WebMD's media portfolio.

"Healtheon/WebMD has established first-class partnerships across the healthcare, technology, and media industries that will play a critical role in fulfilling the company's vision of connecting physicians and consumers to the entire healthcare industry," said Fili-Krushel. "The company is in a unique position to transform the healthcare arena, and my experience in developing programming, delivering information to the consumer marketplace, and in growing integrated media companies will help accelerate Healtheon/WebMd's position."

From a brief conversation with an ABC spokesperson last Wednesday, it was obvious that Fili-Krushel's resignation came as a complete surprise to the network. We at TRO can't help wonder what impact the void of her resignation will have on ABC Daytime programming. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. In the meantime, we wish the best of luck to Ms. Fili-Krushel in her new capacity at Healtheon/WebMD.

From Soap Stars to Stupid Stars...

I am sorry, but I have to say it. Actors who disavow their roots in daytime television are stupid. Plain, low down stupid. Don't they know that their former daytime audience is the same audience that watches primetime television and goes to the movies? What do they think? People who watch soaps don't watch anything else? Big mistake in judgment, if that's the case.

Several months ago, I had a feature assignment from Soap Opera Weekly on Jennifer Love Hewitt's new show, The Time of Your Life. After investing time and effort making contacts, phone calls, writing and sending fax requests, the request for interview was denied by Ms. Hewitt because she didn't want her show associated with a soap magazine. (See Top of the Week, October 11, 2000 "Big for Her Britches.") Soap Opera Weekly has a circulation of over 8 million subscribers. That's 8 million potential viewers for her new show. Needless to say, hardly anyone watched her new show and it was canceled. Big mistake in judgment. Especially since her show was on one of the "weblets," the Fox Network. Not a network that gets major viewership as it is. Any and all publicity for her show should have been welcomed with open arms. Okay, so Jennifer Love Hewitt did not come from a daytime serial, she came from a primetime serial. Party of Five is a primetime soap. Her ill-fated new show was a primetime soap. Hello? Anyone home? Eight million readers were ignored.

Henry Simmons, another former soap actor, is now on NYPD Blue. That whole "previously on NYPD Blue" thing means there are continuing stories. Continuing stories means serial. Henry Simmons also declined to be interviewed by Soap Opera Weekly. Big mistake. Over 8 million readers.

Premiering this week on CBS is the midseason replacement, Falcone starring Jason Gedrick. Amy Carlson, formerly of AW, plays the wife of Gedrick's character. Along with Executive Producing Turtle-Run Online, I write a monthly column called "Final Cut" for an entertainment industry trade publication called Location Update Magazine. I interviewed the producers of Falcone for that column which will be online at Turtle-Run in the Filming on Location section in the near future. Per discussions with the publicity company handling the new show, I also wanted to interview Amy Carlson for Soap Opera Weekly. Weekly was going to run the interview next week, as the show premiered. The producers were delighted. The publicists were delighted. Well, guess what folks? After being jerked around considerably by Ms. Carlson's people, Ms. Carlson passed on the interview. Big mistake. Over 8 million readers.

I bring this up because I really do feel that actors who decline to recognize their soap opera roots are short sighted. 8 million readers. 20 years from now, they may very well be right back where they began. On a soap. Many, many actors got their start in soapdom. (See From Soap Stars to Super Stars in the TRO Store. I highly recommend this book. It's a great read and full of fun facts about the early careers of some of today's hottest stars.) Many, many of them proudly credit their days on a soap with giving them amazing training, and helping them hone their craft. Those who would rather forget their soap work, forget the fan base that adored them, forget the publications that supported them and publicized them, and helped turn them into the stars they are today, those stars are very short sighted, very short sighted indeed. What do you think? Share your thoughts on the TRO Message Boards in the "Criticize the Critic" folder.

Soap News & Notes

Congratulations to Matt Cedeno (Brandon, DOOL) who was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Series by the ALMA Awards committee. The ALMA Awards, which stands for American Latino Media Arts Awards, recognizes outstanding work by the Latino community in the media arts. The Awards will be presented April 16, 2000 in Los Angeles. Cedeno is also a presenter. The show will be broadcast by ABC on June 17, 2000. Check your local listings.

Cedeno will also be appearing at the Brown County Arena Auto Show in Green Bay Wisconsin on April 8, 2000. His scheduled appearance times are 1:00-5:00 and 7:00-9:00 PM.

AMC fans, remember Anton Lang? Dimitri Marick's Hungarian-born son? Well, hold on to your Mausoleums everyone. Rudolf Martin has been cast as Vlad in Vlad the Impaler for director Joe Chappell. The dramatic thriller also stars Roger Daltry (The Who), Peter Weller, and Jane March.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Jessica, Passions) will be a celebrity guest at the 52nd Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC April 5 to April 9, 2000.

LA area Days and Passions fans take note! James Hyde (Sam, Passions), Rodney van Johnson (TC, Passions), Victor Webster (Nicholas, DOOL) and Julianne Morris (Greta, DOOL) will be at the Celebrity Model Basketball Challenge to benefit the charity "Stop the Violence/Face the Music" on April 9 at the Sports Club, 1835 Sepulveda Avenue in Los Angeles. "Stop the Violence/Face the Music" is an organization dedicated to providing counseling and anti-violence, crime and substance abuse messages through the use of educational programs, music and television campaigns. Tickets to this event are $50.00 and seating is limited. Order tickets by calling 310 712-5655.