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Saying goodbye & moving on, Unfinished business & ABC teasers

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Hi Suds Buds:

Port Charles aired its final episode on Friday, October 3, 2003.  The end of another soap – one that had been around for six years.  Not the 35 years of some cancelled soaps, such as Another World, but one with a loyal fan base just the same. 

I remember when Another World went off the air back in June of 1999. Soapdom (as its precursor, had launched about 8 weeks prior.  My Top of the Week column for June 28, 1999 included these words:

“Friday, June 25, 1999, was an historic day for soaps. It was the last episode of Another World. How do you say goodbye to a show that has entertained millions for 35 years? How does the show say goodbye to its millions of loyal fans? I think the freeze-frame of the ‘toast’ that closed the episode accomplished it quite well. Another World may be gone, but here's to new beginnings.
Many of AWs actors will be moving on to entertain us in other daytime shows. Four stars (Tom Eplin, Jensen Buchanan, Stephen Schetzner, and Lisa Peluso) are heading to one CBS show: As the World Turns. One star, Linda Dano, is heading to four ABC shows. (One Life to Live, General Hospital, Port Charles, and All My Children). Both unprecedented moves in daytime, and smart moves by both networks. Many AW fans, disgruntled by the loss of their show, have vowed to boycott NBC and refuse to watch the new Passions which will begin airing Monday, July 5, 1999. Interesting how NBC is waiting a week before airing Passions. Do they really think the fans will forget about their loyalty to Another World in just seven days? CBS and ABC are banking on the fans living up to the boycott and following their favorite actors to their respective networks. Time will tell.”

That was back in 1999.  Now, in 2003, it is interesting to see some of the parallels after the cancellation of Port Charles.  Stars from Port Charles have already landed new gigs on other soaps, including Brian Gaskill (ex Rafe, PC) as Oscar on the Bold and the Beautiful, Michael Easton (ex Caleb, PC) as John on One Life to Live, and Kelly Monaco (ex Livvie, PC) as Sam on General Hospital.  Erin Hershey Presley (ex Alison, PC) will see if she can “Fill the Chair,” as the new co-host on The View. She goes for a test drive when she auditions on Wednesday, October 15 and Thursday, October 16, 2003.  Be sure to tune in.
Not only have these stars already landed new jobs, Brian Gaskill jumped networks.  Fans have mounted campaigns to keep the show on the air, but in this case, their efforts fell on deaf ears.  Many of those ears are attached to the network executives at the affiliate stations. Many affiliates never even aired Port Charles.

When Port Charles premiered on June 1, 1997, it hit the airwaves as a spin off of General Hospital. Several GH favorites, such as Lucy (Lynn Herring) and Scotty (Kin Shriner) made the jump to the new show.  There were consistent crossovers with Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon), as head of the hospital, and Scotty (Kin Shriner), who ultimately landed back on General Hospital full time.
But PC was originally meant to be a brash, sexy soap, focusing on hospital interns and residents.  In an effort to compete, and take the half-hour soap to new levels, producers introduced the faster-paced “book” storytelling premise, brought vampires and angels into town, and by the time the show ended, most of the main characters were otherworldly. The show even aired an hour-long episode in an effort to generate new viewers.

To bring a little levity into this, I could never understand how on one side of Port Charles there were vampires, and angels, and all sorts of devilish beings, while none of these ever manifested on the other side of town, the side where the show General Hospital takes place. Wouldn’t it be conceivable that a vampire-bitten body would turn up somewhere on Sonny’s dock?  Stuart Damon (Alan) shared this view.  He couldn’t figure that out either.  LOL

Always fighting an uphill battle with affiliates to even air the show, the ABC network devised a creative way to cut production costs.  As the soap was only one-half hour, they evolved their production schedule down to taping two episodes in one day, thereby only working the actors six months out of the year to produce a year’s worth of shows.  One reason why cutting the show after this final story arc was a convenient decision.  The episodes had been taped months prior. Actors had been off the set for months. The stages had been dark for months.  No need to start production up again -- just cancel the show.

Did you like the way it ended?  The final story arc leaves too many loose ends.  Too many questions that will never be answered.  Brian Gaskill (ex Rafe, PC; Oscar, B&B) commented at his PC fan gathering that he was dissatisfied with the ending.  And he worked on the show!  Stay tuned to this week for more on Brian Gaskill!

Aside from not wanting the show to end, how would you have wanted Port Charles to end? Do you think the network should have gone back in and produced several more episodes -- even if it were one grand finale episode – to put closure on the stories?  Share your thoughts in the Criticize the Critic folder on the Message Boards.

Now that Port Charles is gone, ABC daytime is mounting a new strategy to promote its remaining three soaps:  All My Children, General Hospital and One Life to Live.  During the new hour-long news broadcast that airs right before the daytime dramas begin, ABC Daytime has produced a several-minute teaser segment that will be hosted by a star who is involved in a front burner storyline on one of the three soaps. For example, today in the southern California market, Alicia Minshew (Kendall, AMC) hosted the teaser clips for AMC, OLTL, and GH.  Next week, it could be Ingo Rademacher (Jax, GH) serving as host.  As far as we know, this new soap teaser segment is airing in Southern California, and the network is pitching it to other markets and affiliates. Did you see it in your newscast today?  Let us know in the Criticize the Critic folder.

Coming SOON to

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

What do YOU think?  Share your thoughts in the "Criticize the Critic" forum  on the Message Boards or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it