Daytime Stars on Prime Time

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Making the transition & They Started On Soaps

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Dear Suds Buds, 

Have you guys seen the new Fox show, North Shore?  It airs Monday nights at 8 PM on the Fox network.  Soapdom runs first look clips from the episodes a few days before the eppy airs.  What’s of interest here is that Jay Kenneth Johnson, who used to play Philip on Days of our Lives, is a contract player on North Shore.  His character, Chris, is a supporting character, but it’s so great to see him in this prime time role.

As I was watching tonight’s show, not only was Jay Kenneth Johnson featured (a little), but former All My Children star, Laura Allen, who played Brooke’s daughter, Laura, had a major presence on tonight’s episode.  She was great.  Played a vampy, yet sweet, character, who was in a rather loveless relationship with an older man. 

It really does my heart good to see former daytime stars hit the prime time and feature film circuit. Laura Allen also starred in Mona Lisa Smiles with Julia Roberts. 

One time, not that long ago, a friend of mine who had been working on a soap for over ten years, felt he was so pigeon holed as a soap actor, that it was almost impossible for him to land any other work.  Some of his fellow acting school graduates had resumes that listed dozens of projects.  His resume was primarily the one soap. 

It’s not that he didn’t audition for other roles, he just didn’t get them.  He felt it was because he was too good looking. He didn’t look “real people” enough. He didn’t look like Dennis Franz of NYPD Blue for example. Meaning, he would never get a role on a prime time cop show.  My work around?  Gain 70 pounds and shave your head! LOL

Unfortunately for him, and the exigencies of his daytime role, that wasn’t an option.

But here’s the thing.  The trials and tribulations that this particular actor suffered in trying to get other work outside soaps skewed my notion of soap actors breaking out of daytime.  I thought gee, it must be so hard for these soap folks to break out of the soap mold and into primetime or film.   But people like North Shore’s Jay Kenneth Johnson, Laura Allen; Summerland’s Jesse McCartney, Sean Christian, Lori Loughlin; and, Las Vegas’ Josh Duhamel and Vanessa Marcil, for example, it seems to me that more and more daytime actors are breaking out into other genres.  Not to mention all the mega stars who started in soaps like Demi Moore, Meg Ryan, Brad Pit, Marissa Tomei, Anne Heche, and others.  SoapNet will air the third installment of its’ original series, They Started in Soaps in September. 

Do you like seeing your favorite soap actors make a success in prime time and/or films? Or, do you wish they stayed on the soap? Let’s discuss in the Criticize the Critic folder on the Soapdom boards!

Til the top of next week,

Linda Marshall-Smith
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.

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