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The Plight of Michael Nader --
A Real Life Soap Opera
Dear Suds Buds!
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Check back later today when we'll discuss Michael Nader (ex Dimitri, AMC) and his court battle with ABC.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Hi again, Suds Buds!
Okay, so I was all set to watch Michael Nader's Larry King appearance, originally scheduled for last night (Monday, January 20th), but it got bumped to tonight. As I want to see the broadcast first, the rest of my comments on this issue will appear tomorrow, Wednesday, in this column.
In the meantime, if you're interested in this subject, here is some intriguing reading:
Nader's CNN interview with Paula Zahn: http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/01/07/nader.cnna/
A website called "The Last Straw," which takes a look at the "funny things celebrities say and do," has posted an opinion on this issue. Do you agree? Go there and let them know: http://www.laststraw.org/
Once a bad boy always a bad boy? For a TV Guide interview with Nader from 1984 when he was discussing his "bad boy" image as rouge Dex Dexter on Dynasty, check this: http://community-2.webtv.net/colbycode/mn/
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
The Young and the Rest of Us
Michael Nader v. ABC Daytime
In a recent AOL online chat, Walt Willey (Jackson, AMC) was asked why his character wasn’t getting more of a storyline and why was there so much emphasis on the younger, newer characters. In response, Willey shared a conversation he had with Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R) in regard to veteran characters not getting much airtime on soaps these days. Bergman says that around his show, the situation is called “the young and the rest of us.” Apparently, veteran characters on many soaps get back-burnered. Or written out totally.
Look at All My Children. Along with Michael Nader being let go after his stint with the law, substance abuse, and rehab, James Kiberd (Trevor) was written out, as was Robin Mattson (Janet). Several years earlier, Richard Shoberg (Tom) was written out. And why? Because the network decided to go a different way with the storyline. These were veteran characters who had been around a long time. Their portrayers carried with them hefty salary requirements. The show could hire three newbies, get nine-times as much story play out of them and pay less than what the vet was making.
Along with story, the good ole bottom line plays a big part.
As does a change over in writing staff. Newer writers don’t really “know” the old characters. They would much rather create their own characters. For two reasons:
1) It’s easier to write for a character they’ve created.
2) Per Writers Guild guidelines, they get more money if they create a character.
Again, the bottom line comes into play. This time, smack dab into the writer’s pockets. Additionally, a show does need to add new characters periodically.
Okay so Michael Nader (ex Dimitri) fell off the wagon. Many celebrities, writers, producers, and production personnel have been known to have one too many libations, snort a little, or pop a pill at times.
Is there more to this situation than meets the eye. Why is ABC treating Nader differently? Why did they fire him eight months after his slip off the wagon? What was going on setside prior to his arrest? Or was it ABC simply writing off a character whose portrayer commanded a big salary, like they write off characters all the time?
According to the Larry King interview from Tuesday, January 22, 2003, Nader’s lawyer, Joseph Ranni, believes he has a winner of a case. Nader declares that his substance abuse never affected his professionalism or his work.
I must say that some of my favorite Nader scenes as Dimitri were with Finola Hughes (Alex/Anna Devane). The work was wonderful. That was right before Dimitri was written out the first time. Fans rallied. They wanted Nader back. Petitions circulated, cyberspace buzzed, letter campaigns were snail-mailed to the network
The network listened. They brought back the Count Dimitri Marick. Then, the arrest for substance abuse. The network appeared to stand by their star, encouraging him in his rehab. Then, eight months later, they dropped the bomb. The character of Dimitri was again being written out. Nader’s job was done. Was the network simply reiterating it’s original decision to eliminate the character?
Not according to Ranni who questions why is Nader being singled out? Why Nader and not any one of a number of other actors who may have at one time or another indulged in substances? Why is Nader the scapegoat?
As Nader stresses, his work and professionalism were above reproach. Could it be that the Dimitri story has played itself out? Writers don’t want to write it? Although the name of Dimitri is discussed, the character has not been integral to the story of Pine Valley for quite some time. Maybe it was just time to retire the character, and is nothing personal against Nader.
ABC has been unavailable for comment. Other published reports on this story state that ABC has declined comment. Par for the course. ABC’s standard policy is never to discuss contract status or negotiations. You can be sure they will remain mum on this issue.
Meanwhile, Nader’s fan base remains solid and strong. Soapdom receives a fair amount of email regarding Nader every week. Fans still want him back on AMC. According to his lawyer, along with 30 million dollars, they are suing for full re-instatement.
We at Soapdom wish Nader the best with his continued recovery. It was good to see him on Larry King. He was upbeat; his comments were candid and passionate. He wants to work and would love to do so in Pine Valley. Will the lawsuit force ABC to reconsider? Time will tell. It’s a continuing story and the drama is just beginning. Stay tuned.
Transcript of Nader on Larry King
Til the top of next week,
CEO, Soapdom, Inc.
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