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27 May 23rd, 2013 AMC’s Rob Scott Wilson and Jill Larson On Episode Reduction, Faster Paced Storytelling, David & Pete’s Dealings!

Courtesy/TOLN

Jill Larson and Rob Scott Wilson are quickly becoming one of soaps favorite mother/son duos! When TOLN and Prospect Park resurrected All My Children, one of their first decisions was to SORAS the character of Opal and Palmer Cortlandt’s son, Pete.  Enter soap opera newbie Rob Scott Wilson, who has become the younger leading man of Pine Valley these days, while mom Opal worries about his burgeoning romance with Celia (Jordan Lane Price), and his business ventures! And Pete’s latest business dealing makes him and Dr. Evil, David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry) business partners, which if you know the history of AMC, makes this partnership a true doozy!

On-Air On-Soaps spoke with Rob and Jill today to find out their thoughts on: fan backlash to the news of Prospect Park dropping the weekly viewing schedule from four new episodes of AMC a week to two, how the upcoming hiatus may help future storytelling for the series, what they think of the faster pace of the episodes where so much action happens in story within a half-hour, and what they think of David and Pete getting entangled in business that can only lead to severe consequences.  Here is what they had to say:

Rob, you are on Twitter a lot.  Did you get bombarded with tweets and messages from fans expressing their doubt at the rationale for Prospect Park’s decision to reduce the number of weekly episodes? If so, what did you tell them? Or, what would you like to tell the naysayers now?

Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler

ROB:  You know what?   I don’t want people to be scared.  As soon as the announcement went out the reaction was, “So wait. Now it’s only two days a week?”  It’s a work in progress. Cady McClain, Jill Larson, and a number of people have expressed, “If we knew how to do it at the beginning, we would have done it at the beginning.” Even though it’s now a little bit scary that we are only on a few episodes a week, we are putting out a quality product and we don’t want to bombard the viewer.  Usually if you binge watch the show, after a few months, that is a huge amount of episodes to catch up on.  So we want to make sure we don’t forget about just the casual viewers, even though we have these hard core fans. We hope they are still going to watch the show whether it be Monday and Wednesdays, or whether it be Monday through Friday.

Being a soap opera newbie, where you were worried about the future of AMC?  Did you have an “oh-oh” moment yourself?

ROB:  It’s a business move. We are in that kind of business, and Prospect Park would not be doing this if it was going to hurt the show.  Obviously, I want to keep the fans calm, so they don’t think we are going anywhere, and obviously we are not.  We have a lot more stories to tell when we go back into production in a couple of months. At the same time, the first thing you think of is a negative thing.  But in this format, we are in an online network now.   If we knew how to do this at the beginning, we would have, and the fans would have been very thrilled that they had two episodes a week, and a recap show, and that the shows were coming back.

The thing of all this is, All My Children moves so fast now.  There is so much juicy story to digest within the half hours episodes.  So as AMC stands now, they are jam-packed with content!

ROB:  I am really glad you brought that, Michael. The main point of this is: each episode we have is so meaty in 30 minutes you can get pretty lost. So if you miss an episode, you may not know what is happening. We need to have the viewers not skip or miss episodes but follow it, rather then having to cram it in.  It can be daunting for someone who does not have the time to quickly get caught up and watch 30 episodes – a month’s worth of episodes. I think this is so much better.

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

JILL:  The pace is moving faster than the old AMC.  I think it’s a good thing.   It’s also one of the reasons I am really glad they are taking a break, because you can only churn out, and I use that word intentionally, that much story in a finite amount of time before the stories become like … throw anything at the wall and see if it sticks! That is what I think we are trying to avoid.  So this couple of month break gives them the chance that they did not have before we began, which is really have the opportunity to explore long-term story and character development.  We have to remember, this is still a medium unlike any other, in that there is time to do things.   It is great that it moves quickly, but don’t give up the real opportunity for real character development and emotional connections, all of the things that this art form is known for.

What did the two of you think when you saw in the script that Pete and David were going to become business partners, after all that David’s mother, Vanessa (Marj Dusay) did to Opal and her relationship to Palmer (James Mitchell), and Palmer’s money!

ROB:  I did so much research on this story! Let me tell you, I have had some people come at me. (Laughs) They take it so personally that Pete and David Hayward are going to start a business, that it’s insane.  As much as Peter need David in his business and his funds to get things going, it’s amazing to watch and see how snaky David is about everything, and that fine line makes it really fun to play.  We are both trying to get something from each other, and we both have ulterior motives.

Photo Credit: David Russell/TOLN

JILL:  My point exactly! Here is a great story. Wouldn’t it be great if the writers had time to write in that history?  Opal knows the history. Opal was a part of it.  Opal hated David’s mother, Vanessa Bennett .with a passion which is really unmatched. And yet, there is not a place on the canvas for Opal to say, “I want the company to succeed but not with him!”  And then she could be doing all kinds of things to get in the way of that.  So that is a beat that hasn’t had a chance to be played.  But hopefully, there will be some of that down the road!  We have got a lot more stories to tell though!

So AMC fans, now that you have read what Jill and Rob had to say about the issues and changes made to continue to build on the success of the shows, what do you think?

Do you think in the long run the two episodes per week, will help viewers stay on point and enable and assit the writing team to develop some additional  exciting long -term story that fans will enjoy?  What do you think of David and Peter’s story?  Share your thoughts!

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  1. su0000 says:

    AMC is outstanding!!
    Whatever needs to be done to keep my soaps alive and outrageously awesome with great stories, I will watch them forever, eveyone of the 2 days and wait for more..

    I am relieved to hear the words ”quality’ not quanity” that will make our soaps so much more then we have ever had..

    Reply

    charlene replied

    no i am not happy bout this and never will be i want my 4 days a week back

    Reply

    Kayla replied

    Weoll for the time being does not appear that is what is best for the show, the actors etc!!! I love that it is even still on no matter how many times it airs

  2. JosiahCooney says:

    Since the first week, I have marveled at the faster pace of both All My Children and One Life To Live. When that crap network cancelled both shows, I contemplated whether or not the soap medium was no longer relevant to today’s society. I decided that one major failing of soaps is the fact that the pace of story telling had not evolved with our shorter attention spans. I have to give it to Prospect Park/The Online Network for taking such a huge gamble and working to redefine how a soap is told. I worried how the writers could possibly maintain the same pace as well as the quality of story telling over time.

    Although I will certainly miss being able to see All My Children and One Life To Live four days a week, I am so happy to be able to watch high quality shows that have evolved, yet remained true to their original identity. If the time comes when Prospect Park thinks the time is right for an hour show twice a week or even more, I will watch.

    Much thanks to Prospect Park, All My Children, and One Life To Live, as well as the cast members for providing unprecedented access through social media as well as hearing and responding to our concerns.

    Reply

  3. Tori says:

    I look forward to having All my children and One life to live as much as I can for many years to come. I personally did not have a problem with the four days a week format but if the two days a week keeps the shows running then I will accept it. I am curious to see where David is headed with a partnership with Petey. its kind of funny how most of the town reacts to David considering most of them over the years have done some dirty, nasty schemes themselves.

    Reply

  4. Kathy A says:

    I think I am growing weary of PP. They have gone soooooooo far off course of what was originally promised to the fans of these soaps. I am one of the biggest fans of AMC ever. However, I am no longer the demographic they are wanting. I watched the two episodes this week and Monday’s episodes was all about AJ , Miranda, Pete, Celia, and Cassandra. The whole show is and will continue to be wrapped around the children. Thus the name All My Children. These story lines will not keep the original fans happy. I am not going to watch AMC or OLTL. Do I think they care? No. I was very happy to see AMC and OLTL come back but AMC is nothing like the AMC that I loved. I had my AMC for 40 years and feel very fortunate for that. I hope this AMC does pick up a younger audience and they get to enjoy it for many years to come. I am going to try to watch Y&R . Life is short, I want to enjoy it. I will continue to boycott ABC because that makes me happy. There has never been a noteworthy teen show ever! But the advertising dollars are abundant for them.

    Reply

    ron replied

    The vets get just as much airtime as the newbies. AMC has always done stories with young people. A lot of the legacy characters started as teenagers. Too bad you’re too closed minded to give these talented young actors a chance. And by the way Y&R has a lot of teens now too so good luck.

    Reply

    Kathy A replied

    I have spent three weeks giving them a try. I actually like Petey, Celia and Cassandra. I just feel like the vets are now the supporting actors and the new young actors are the stars of the show. I am happy that the vets have a job now. I truly hope the shows make it. I will check back from time to time. We need to respect everyone’s opinion. I am who I am and you are who you are. I respect your opinion and you should respect mine. I do not plan on posting anymore so that should make you happy.

    Mitchell1660 replied

    I agree with you, Ron. Although I love the vets on the show, AMC has, historically, been about the children, from the very beginning. Yes, storylines about Joe and Ruth were interesting, but what got me into AMC when I was a kid were the youth-oriented storylines involving Tara Martin, Phil Brent, Chuck Tyler and, of course, Erica Kane (who was in high school when the show started). We’ve seen those kids grow up into adults with storylines revolving around THEIR children. I think it’s great, and with the summer coming up, I hope the youthful storyline will generate younger viewers, the ones the advertisers covet.

    Reply

    Kat replied

    I started watching ANC during the early Tad/Jenny/Greg /Jessie/Angie storylines. Of course, I was a lot younger then, too! But I believe we have to give these new young characters time to evolve. I would like to see more of the legacy characters come back, though .
    As for the fewer episodes, I was annoyed at first but realize that the writers need more time. There has been an unevenness in the writing and continuity that will likely be smoothed out with the new schedule. The return of Billy Clyde Tuggle, for example, has even handled very clumsily. Probably better on paper ! At this point, I am happy to have my soap back, flaws and all.

    Kayla replied

    And each of the young people on AMC is in some way related to the veteran characters, That gives the younger characters a sense of family and a support person. With only the longtime fan base and no younger characters how would you see the show being on for many more years?

    Reply

    Kathy A replied

    Young characters should be on. I am not saying that they shouldn’t. I am saying that I don’t want to watch them all the time. I want some story lines that only involve the vets. PP is going to do what they need to do to make these soaps profitable. I am accepting that these soaps are going to be youth oriented but why am I suppose to watch something that I find uninteresting. Sorry, but my time is important to me. Downton Abbey is a smash hit and it does not have teens. Dallas is also youth oriented but they are not teens. I want AMC and OLTL to survive . I really hope that teens do start watching. I was a teen when I started watching.

  5. Kathy says:

    Tired of reading things about All my children and One Life to Live. Enough already!

    Reply

    Mitchell1660 replied

    Uhh, isn’t this website devoted to SOAPS, including AMC and OLTL???

    Reply

    Kat replied

    Uh…then don’t read this board??

    Reply

  6. Scott says:

    You don’t have to read about them!
    NEVER enough.

    Reply

  7. Susan says:

    First off, I started watching AMC from day 1 (as a child), when it was only 30 minutes long. So we have come full circle. Secondly, we were devastated when ABC myopically cancelled it. To this day, we do not watch ANY ABC daytime and most of their nighttime programming. When we heard that the PP deal was moving forward, we were thrilled! Here in Canada, we ordered FXCanada when they announced they would be the only network showing All My Children, daily. We were beyond thrilled. After 3 weeks they pulled it from their schedule because of the decrease in episodes. What to do? Now we’ve bought a 20 episode package from ITunes. This endeavour has cost us, but as you can see we are very committed. Finally, how do we feel about it? Well the new AMC is so amazing , it’s worth every dime. We can no longer refer to it as a ‘soap opera’, because it has the feel of a nighttime drama. As most of them are one hour, this is more in line with that format. The veterans and the newbies have melded very well & most of te story lines are solid. Keep it up!

    Reply

  8. heidi says:

    I have only started to watch AMC since the reboot after not watching it for many years. I have to say that the actors and characters of Pete and Celia are two of the most compeling new comers on AMC. I always love the characters with careers and businesses and Pete is doing well with that. I like the chemistry between the tow and like the mystery in Celia’s life.

    Both Rob and Jill’s interview with you was great! I am trying to keep watching and will wait to see if the new writing teams do better. Rob is going to go places!

    Reply

  9. Linda says:

    I have to say that the cutback in the number of episodes already is disappointing. It was only 25 minutes in length for 4 days a week which was already like 2 hour long episodes. I had settled into watching with my morning coffee and very much enjoyed the new routine. But quickly after establishing the routine, it has been upset.

    I think it will be more likely to skip episodes since it will not be part of a routine. I have been so excited and thoroughly enjoying reuniting with beloved characters as well as meeting new ones.

    This does give cause for doubt about the ultimate survival of the revival.

    Reply

  10. Ihatethechew says:

    First, let me say that I love and will continue to watch both shows. That said, if the shows thrive it will be in spite of, rather than because of moves such as this. PP shows that it has no idea of what it’s doing with every move it has made since it’s first attempt to re-launch the shows. To totally change course in 2 weeks shows that something bad was happening that either couldn’t wait a few months to be changed or was just their own shortsightedness. If the Hulu ratings were so good, why did they need to change it so quickly and draw such negative attention to itself when waiting would have been rather harmless and given the shows a better chance to thrive with a Canadian tv deal kept in tact? Were they that worried to lose potential new viewers that couldn’t handle the 4 day schedule because of their perceived viewing habits? The 2 P Park’ers sound eerily like Brian Frons to me.
    How do you create bad blood with your loyal fan base, give up a tv deal that if proven successful could have possibly led to a US cable station doing the same thing, and cause fans to waste money on cable packages, Hulu plus subscriptions and special equipment just on this idea that people are “binge watching?” It makes no sense at all. They are reportedly filming like crazy so at some point they will have enough episodes that they won’t need more for quite some time, perhaps a couple of years. What does that say about the show long term? They can’t be paying enough that the actors would necessarily even be around the next time they wanted to film.
    The other kiss of death which won’t be so popular to say but I will anyway is the lawsuit against ABC. They should have found a way to work with ABC, even if what the GH people said about PP being impossible to work with wasn’t true. They really needed ABC. ABC doesn’t need them. The character lending non-sense coud have been used to PP’s advantage rather than cause problems. Allowing crossovers like RH already agreed to, and not worrying if Starr and McBean were in Port Charles for now would have made more sense if it meant continuing a relationship with ABC. They could have gotten advertising space on ABC that they can’t now. The other networks won’t allow them to advertise because they would be in competition but it would have been perfect to advertise during GH and other ABC programming. Filing a frivolous lawsuit against a huge company that could bury you in legal fees alone is not good business. Especially one that leases you the rights to the shows to begin with.
    I am sorry but the way I see it, PP has no idea of what they are doing. It would be great if someone with enough money and a vision could buy them out. I have no doubt the shows could thrive.

    Reply

  11. Samiyo says:

    I will CONTINUE to SUPPORT both AMC and OLTL. I am HOOKED and I just have to find out how Jesse and Angie will rescue Cassandra. Such, a heavy storyline. that keeps my heart racing… And over at OLTL I am curious to know what Clint is up to and what plans does he have for Viki? Todd and Victor Jr. What will become of these twins? etc. ……..STAY TUNED!!

    Reply

  12. BradF says:

    I feel guilty about my kneejerk reaction when PP switched to two episodes a week. I thought the whole argument about people being able to follow the faster pace of AMC online was pretty specious. I am much more convinced by the points Jill and Rob make in this interview about giving the production team time to write clearer stories and deepen character development. I hope things will progress to a point where we CAN watch more than two episodes a week, but that’s just the wish of a selfish viewer.

    I also am completely willing to watch the escapades of the younger characters, as long as their characters and stories are well developed. I’m not willing to complain about the vets being sidelined yet. Angie and Jesse are beloved veterans, and their storyline is front and center. Bringing Billy Clyde and Dimitri back bodes well for Dixie and Brooke having better stories. And, as another viewer who has watched pretty much since day one, I remember all these beloved older characters when THEY were teens. It happens to us all! :)

    Reply

    charlene replied

    i want my 4 days back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    BradF replied

    I have to say I agree with you, Charlene! It’s hard to sustain the same interest with only two days. Maybe I’ve gotten too much into binge viewing of series, but I want to see more story each week. Alas, with this new hiatus, that’s not in the cards for us. :(

  13. ellabelle says:

    I love the idea of Pete and David going into business together! Opal is going to lose her mind over that! Here’s hoping she picks up the phone and calls her ‘best gal pal’ Erica to come help Pete. I’d love to see Erica and David sparring again! Plus I’m dying to see Erica interact with Miranda!

    Reply

  14. Maureen says:

    I hate that we only get 2 days now.. I looked forward to this, I’ve missed AMC and bringing it back 2x a week is better than nothing but I guess you aren’t making a profit at 4 days, so 2 days it is. Its your company, I have to respect that.

    Reply

  15. charlene says:

    i want my 4 days back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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