Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes…

So yes, the new news is the change in the head writing team of All My Children.  Marlene McPherson and Elizabeth Snyder are no longer going to be with the show.  You can read Agnes Nixon’s announcement here.

I really try not to comment on the choices of the powers that be, but now that we are in such a time of flux and change and co-creation, I think I should because the changes are coming swiftly and (as you know from my previous post) I think it’s rattling.

Some of you may know I wrote a blog for Parade Magazine praising the work of these two writers. I stand by my words.  I think Marlene and Elizabeth and their team did an amazing job.  Writing a soap is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and putting up a show like All My Children (a show with a vast and complex history) is not an easy task.  They did a GREAT job and I think everyone behind the scenes knows that.  It’s a FACT that we wouldn’t have got to this point without them.

However TPTB are really listening to the audience.  The stories are wonderful, there is no criticizing them, but from what I hear out there online, there are a lot of complaints that there isn’t enough story balance between the younger characters and the vets.  It’s not like Marlene and Elizabeth weren’t writing for them, or were not doing a great job, it’s just that writing for the long time characters is easier if you’ve known them for a long time.  Insights that take a lot of time to develop come more quickly if (for example only) you already deeply know “Angie” over a long period of time and what she would or wouldn’t do.  There is just a time and familiarity element at play, and when time is what we are short on, not having that familiarity can become an issue.  That’s where the new head writer’s come in.

I know Lisa Connor has been around All My Children a long, long time.  She has insight into the show both in it’s story and it’s production that very few people have.  She trained with Agnes Nixon and therefore has a deep connection to how Agnes thinks, and her style.  This is something that is essential to the long term success of the series, as Agnes’ vision is what made this show work for so long.

Lisa Connor

One thing that is also true is that AMC is a character driven, not plot driven show.  It may be one of the only shows that features it’s character’s throughout the years as a defining element.  That’s not to say other shows do not, but with AMC it is definitive.  So part of this writing team change may be because this is one of Lisa’s strongest abilities – to tell story through character.  That’s not to say Marlene and Elizabeth can’t or haven’t done this, it’s to say Lisa has a special insight based on her long experience with the show, and the leaning of her own abilities.

Chip Hayes has been working for AMC for a while, but his writing history also includes the shows Y&R, GH, and Melrose Place during their heydays.  These shows have had a lot of success and if Chip was a part of that then you can bet he knows what he is doing.

Finally, I really trust in the instincts of Ginger Smith, and I hope you will too.  She got AMC up and running in SIX WEEKS, pulling the best of the business together to work their asses off to bring the show back to life.  And she did it.  WE did it.  So I hope you will give her all the support and love she deserves.  Making the big decisions isn’t easy or always fun but her heart is 100% in the right place – on making All My Children the classic show you loved and keeping it up and running for the long term.

So yeah, it’s kind of a whirlwind right now, but welcome to the jungle of television production.  These things have been going on behind the scenes for years, it’s just now we are having to talk about them more because we are in this new medium where every little decision is being put under a microscope!

Again, if I didn’t think that the show was headed in the right direction, with the right people at the helm, I wouldn’t be here going through all of this with you.  But I do.  Agnes and Ginger and Jeff are an amazing team (and Rich!) and they deserve our support and applause for everything they have done and everything they are doing to keep AMC true to it’s core and the best that it can be.

As for me, I am no PR agent or Ambassador.  I just know the show and the people behind the scenes and have been in conversation with all of you online for years, since 2006 when I first wrote my blog for ABC “Confessions of a Mad Soap Star.”  I’ve always liked letting you know that we are real people, just like you, with real families who just so happen to enjoy making fantasy worlds (because for some of us, real life can really suck.)  So I promise to keep blogging more often, so we can keep in touch and talk about whatever is going on with the show and in life.

Conversation is the only thing that matters.  It stops hate.  It stops violence.  It stops hurt.  If it bother’s you, please talk about it and it will at least lead you towards a decision that is right for you.  I hope you stay in conversation with me, or the show, or with the people in your life that matter to you.  Some of us need to talk more than others and that is so okay.  We are in process, working it out.  Trust me, I know.  I have had 16 years PLUS of therapy and I’m still talking about some of the same old crap.  But I haven’t jumped off a bridge, hurt anybody else, or stopped living my life.  And some days, for some of the stuff I deal with, I think that is really saying something.  The sad thing is, shit happens to a LOT of people, so what can we do?  We can stick together.  That’s all we got!

So thanks again for joining me …. in conversation about life, love, and soap operas!

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39 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes…

  1. Because he’s entitled to his opinion, that’s why. The soaps being cut were NOT about poor ratings, and Prospect Park has explained this repeatedly. I swear, I feel like some so-called “fans” WANT these shows to fail.

  2. Cady would you please explain this union problem to us viewers?We have fought so long and seem to get nothing but bad news.Also is Prospect Park wanting to move.We love these shows and just want peace and them to build more episodes a week and hopefully a network.Not one bad statement after another,

  3. I believe they are writing Zack in a way to show that he is alone. Kendall (AM) has not signed on to the show so unless they recast her, Zack has to be alone or find someone new. I don’t believe the fans would like a recast Kendall. I am enjoying his adventures with Jessie.

    1. Like Michael Knight, Alicia Minshew hasn’t signed on to the show so far (key words) and she’s said she hopes to be on the show this summer, so I don’t understand why Zach’s history has to be erased (no wife, no kids, rarely a mention of wife and kids, although he did today), while other characters like Dixie, JR, Adam, Angie, Jesse, etc. have their kids and their loves, mentioned and respected. It’s a writer’s choice to make Zach a single guy with no family, and IMO, it’s a poor one. I have to hope that with new writers with knowledge of who Zach is (and this lonely casino owner with a gun routine is not working for me), and Alicia hopefully showing up this summer as she’s said, Zach’s past will be written into the show. I’d like to see Ian and Spike as teenagers, too, while we’re at it, along with Jenny and Kathy.

  4. I love the new kids! They all belong to core families and hopefully will draw new viewers which we need. Jessie and Angie started out as teenagers. So did Susan Lucci. She was in high school when the show began. I have watched since day 1. I remember Greg and Jenny, Liza and Tad, Haley and Mateo. All were young high schoolers. AMC has always been about family, young and old. And the language has not been that bad. I am very pleased with the show.

  5. Thanks for keeping us posted on AMC. I remember when I started to follow your blogs when you had “Confessions of a Soap Opera Star”. You have always kept it real and honest and I’m sure your fans appreciate that. With all the new stuff of having two long time soaps going online, there seems to be enough stuff behind the scenes for its own soap opera. Remember the Whoopi Goldberg movie, Soapdish? I doubt it’s that crazy but with all the swift changes, I’m sure there is some material there!

    By the way, a quick question, I’m wondering if AJ has called Dixie “Grandma” yet? I know it was a running joke on how Erica Kane never was referred as Grandmother when it came to her grandchildren on the show. I’m wondering if the running joke continues…

    1. Well there are a lot of points here that I think may be confusing but none of them spell bad ratings or doom for AMC or OLTL. In fact, quite the opposite. The article says that despite a large viewership of over 8 million on ABC, the procedural “Body of Proof” which is NOT a soap opera was cancelled from ABC. It states that another show that was canceled from cable TV “Arrested Development” found a NEW home on NETFLIX, and that TNT and another cable network have already expressed interest. The SOAPS on nighttime, like “Revenge” and “Scandal”are NOT being cancelled. The bottom line is, the article is pointing out that even though shows may leave one of the big networks, they are starting to find homes elsewhere if they have a large viewership.
      This is exactly what happened with AMC and OLTL with Hulu. Our large viewership drew Prospect Park to WANT us, and the fans are following. It’s an article about CHANGE, but it doesn’t say anything about soaps not doing good. Quite the opposite.

      1. The part here,,,,,We’ll soon get an idea of whether the “online model” can work for “Arrested Development,” though the early signs for the online revivals of the soaps “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” aren’t encouraging. The new producers have already cut the weekly episode order in half…………………He states the signs are not encouraging for the online soaps.Several are really upset and wonder if this author knows something others don’t.People are already scare and do not want to loose them again.The cut backs and then stories like this only deepens there fear.Can you explain why he said its not encouraging.

  6. Thanks Cady for taking the time to reassure about the new writers. I was upset with the cancellation on FXCanada but have found AMC on itunes. I have visited Pine Valley for over 34 years and I’m not about to leave no matter what. I enjoy the original actors and really like the new actors onboard. I especially like Miranda.

  7. Cady, thanks again for clarifying matters. I believe all the changes are for the best & will continue to support AMC. I feel the generations are equally represented & have been enjoying the storylines. It looks as if they’re pushing toward a JR & Cara pairing which I’m not too crazy about, I want to see her & David reunite with their child….I loved them together, she brought a soft, sweet side out of him, much like his friendship with Angie does. I am so excited to have AMC & OLTL back & will keep watching no matter how many days they’re on. 🙂

    1. That’s what I like to hear! Good, positive support for a show we all wanted back on. It’s like seeing old friends.

  8. Cady,

    Thanks so much for your comments and insider’s perspective. I really appreciate it. I have to admit, I’m one of the people who has been less than pleased with how some of the veteran characters have been written under McPherson/Snyder. Their lack of knowledge about some of the vets has been surprising and upsetting, to be honest. Zach, for instance, was first and foremost a family man who would never let his wife and kids leave so that he could own a casino and live a life alone, and he’d be moving heaven and earth to get back to them. The current incarnation of him is a stranger, more James Bond than I’d like to see, and it’s been very disappointing. Considering how Ginger Smith and Agnes Nixon should know that Zach, at his best and for the last 7 years of the show, is more than this regressed character, it’s been disheartening for me to watch his story. I’m going to trust that this headwriting change is for the best, that Chip and Lisa know who the vets are and what the fans love about them, and will return to that–for all characters, new and vet–and that AMC’s history for all characters on the show will be respected, and not just for some. Thanks again for your remarks.

  9. So happy to have them back and the shows have been great so far. Thank you for explaining the reason behind the change in writers it makes sense

    1. Thanks, Cady, thanks so much. I know it’s not always easy to “face” the fans who are a little gunshy but I applaud and thank you for doing it. I think the show has been so very good, and it feels like Pine Valley for the first time in far, far too long. And if these changes make it even better, then that’s the way to go. I’ve been very impressed that PP has had the smarts and the guts to make changes as soon as the need is evident. I also know that some folks see change as the agent of doom – why, I’m not sure.
      You coming out and telling us what’s happening and giving us your perspective matters – and has an impact that you may not even fully realize.
      Thanks from the bottom of my soap-lovin’ heart!

  10. I am happy to hear about the changes in the writing staff. I believe that Prospect Park and AMC have the rare opportunity to create something really groundbreaking here. Not worn out soap opera cliche storytelling. Not a gratuitous curse word for effect, or bare chest for titillation. It certainly don’t mind the colorful language and steaminess if it’s part of an amazing story. Haven’t seen that yet. AMC can be (and I believe will be) a bastion for online programming. But I must admit, I was not liking these first episodes that much, writing-wise. Am very intrigued to see what the new team will come up with. Continued luck and leg-breaking to all involved with this venture. It is great having AMC back in production.

  11. I was someone who was really surprised by how great the writing was under Marlene McPherson. Her headwriting stint at DAYS was a mess.

    But if a change was going to be made and Lorraine Broderick and Jeff Beldner aren’t available (and they’re not), and it seems like Addie Walsh has retired from writing?, then Lisa Connor was the next best choice.

    BTW I’m pretty sure the Lisa Connor in that picture is not the correct Lisa Connor.

  12. Cady,

    I’ve been watching soaps for too darn long to worry about writing staff changes-keeping them in production is MUCH more important these days. Just keep on doing what you’re doing for us, and don’t worry about the “white noise” coming from other so-called “fans” that have their own agendas

  13. Thank you for sharing this with us Cady!! I am loving everything about the new AMC and am doing all I can to make sure new viewers and old know they are on. I have even held impromptu computer classes at my local library to show some older viewers how to get on and watch AMC and OLTL. I love the vets and I love the newbies, they have such chemistry together already it is unreal! I have to say the way the newbies and vets are sharing screen time is great!! To see Opal and Petey, and Viki and Jeffery is just great!! We are coming up on summertime, where if memory serves me right has always been the time to focus more on the younger set than the vets, I always enjoyed it then and am enjoying it now. I know the changes coming will take what is a great show to new heights of greatness!! I fully support Jeff, Rich, Agnes and everyone of the cast and crew! I am blessed to be able to watch again, whether it be 2 shows a week or 5, I am a #4everfan of both and will continue to be!!

    Much love and respect to you Cady and everyone else who helped to make this happen.

    Kymba

  14. Cady, you are the best! Thank you so much for filling in the details about all the AMC happenings. Love you!

  15. Love the blog! Hate the punctuation. You need to learn the difference between a contraction and possessive pronoun. It drives me crazy and I know how important that must be to you. 🙂

    1. I can’t believe you would take time to correct Cady on ANYTHING she is writing. A simple error in punctuation will never rattle my chain or end my world. It drives you crazy, we see, but your implication is that Cady was careless and dismissive of something that bugs you. Do you really care that much? This is a very busy woman who has to be on her toes every second in front of the camera, and yet she takes time to share all of this information with us. I really think that comments of this nature are better kept to one’s self or shared with another friend off line. If there is a typo or a misspelling, deal with it. Enjoy what Cady is sharing with us, but please don’t scold her. She is not a child, and she knows what is important to herself. Gratitude outweighs criticism hands down.

  16. Well said, Cady! I always enjoy reading your blogs and always feel reassured afterwards. Yes, changes are a part of life, and I’m hopeful that AMC is in good hands. This show has always been an important part of my life, as it has for many others,and I’m so happy to have it back again! Here’s to a great future for all of us!

  17. i loved ALL MY since 1978……..loved the characters, loved the stories, could not wait until it started agan, and now Im so not into the characters, I loved the old people, Jessie & Angie, Joe Martin………..YOU, but these kid story lines are the most boring. And the “profanity” is that really necessary? It’s like watching a R rated movie. Come back to reality here. If U want to keep the “old” viewers here, I mean WE R THE REASON U ARE BACK RIGHT???? Bring back some ADULT DRAMA here. I get to watch this for nothing, and it gives me 20 minutes to sit here and watch, & if I had to PAY to watch these kids who are trying to be actors and actresses, no way IN HELL WOULD I TO WATCH THIS. The only good thing is the Angie & Jessie, and the David storyline. Come back to reality here. The profanity really isn’t necessary, and the KID STORY’S are BORING. I want some ADULT drama here, I mean that’s why u are back on the air, right? I feel like im watching children trying to become adult’s being immature with money to BLOW.

  18. Cady…….well said. As I have said before I will NEVER stop watching AMC!!!! Who is in the pic with the great AZgnes Nixon?? Thanks Cady and have a wonderful weeekend.

  19. I love the AMC is integrating the young actor with the vets.. Y&R has been #1 forever, but right now AMC is way better.. Y&R is doing what AMC did in the past, it’s focusing too much on a younger new cast, I have heard long time viewers don’t even recognize the show anymore. I have been real happy with AMC, the recasts are amazing, JR is taking me a little longer to get use to..I LOVE they have brought back past characters like Billy Clyde Tuggle, never thought I would see him again, he is so much fun to watch, even with all the rotten things the character has done, fans were still thrilled, I didn’t hear one complaint that he was back,I can’t wait to see who else comes back.. I stink with changes but I will get use to it, I have more trust in Prospect Park, They care they want it to succeed and that is what we should have had when it was on ABC someone to care and fight for it. I believe things happen for a reason. The actors are finally getting the respect they deserve.

  20. Thanks, Cady. I understand people being a little thrown by the pace of the changes, but I find it a little harder to understand the criticism for making them when it is a tough business, a tough economic climate and the stakes are very high. I’ve worked in entertainment all my life and have been a soap fan for most of it. I am pulling for you all and think that PP and everyone else needs the latitude and the freedom and the support of the fans to do what they feel needs to be done in order to make these new business models succeed. They have my full support, as do you. I think it is insulting when people who don’t see the big picture accuse some of the more vocal actors like you and Jill and others of being “corporate shills” or “mouthpieces”, when it is clear that all you are doing is making sense. Don’t let anything get you down. You have wrought miracles in just a few months and I am with you for the long haul.

    1. Thanks for being so positive in your comment. It worries me when there are so many comments that are negative in more ways than you can count. There is no WAY PP or the writers can please every fan, and the fans need to recognize that fact and deal with it! For every dissatisfied fan, there is another who is happily enjoying every minute. We need to enjoy what we like and go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee if something is bothering us. Give them some time to get their feet under them and sort things out. This is a new ball game, and the fans need to remember that. This is not the old AMC. It is rooted there, but it is moving into a new future. Sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride! (If my spelling or punctuation distresses you, I’m sorry. This is me. I have never been perfect.)

  21. Amen Cady. I so admire you and your strength. And you are right. Shit happens. AMC was the ONE thing I always looked forwards to every single day, especially when my life was in hell. AMC helped me keep my sanity and was in times my therapist! lolol Thank-you for all your hard work. THANK-YOU to all the AMC staff and actors. You are all a blessing! 🙂

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