We always thought of Gotham, the Big Apple, as Soap City! After all, it was where all the big soaps originated from, and now as we prepare to say farewell to One Life to Live this Friday, it means that there are no longer any network television soap operas being produced in this once thriving metropolis of this iconic and rare storytelling genre!
Today’s New York Post takes a look at the decline of the New York City soap opera production with interviews from several of the actors from One Life to Live, All My Children and Guiding Light. Here are some of the commentary excerpts below from the piece, and then some of the quotes from some notables in the soap world.
NY POST: “When ABC’s One Life To Live airs its final, inevitably tearful episode on Friday, an era will end for NYC-based TV soaps, which date all the way back to 1950’s The First Hundred Years, CBS’s first ongoing serial daytime drama about two couples who were next door neighbors. Sixty-two years later, following the recent cancellations of its local brethren — All My Children, Guiding Light and As the World Turns —OLTL is the last show standing in what used to be one of the city’s most thriving entertainment industries. On 66th Street between Central Park West and the Hudson River, ABC’s OLTL and All My Children were shot, while CBS’s Guiding Light and As the World Turns were filmed on 57th Street near the Hudson. (Another World was shot in Brooklyn until its cancellation in 1999, and the soap Loving taped in Manhattan from 1983-1995.)”
Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL) on the unique brand of storytelling only told in soaps: “I’ve had babies stolen, I’ve been shot, I’ve shot people, and I’ve had about eight marriages and three miscarriages. We had a public execution of my fake husband — stopped at the last minute. And, obviously, I’ve slept with tons of really good-looking men… The beauty of soaps is that it takes a village to make it work, and you get to work with really hardworking people.”
Ron Carlivati (Head writer, OLTL) on how to write for a soap no matter how outrageous the storylines might get: “It’s not all evil twins and separated at birth. At the same time as we have evil twins, we also try to tell stories that are relatable to our audience. For example, the show recently ran a story line about bullying, a topic ripped from the headlines. As long as you write the characters true to who they are, you can send Viki to Mars, as long as she has the appropriate reaction.”
Several of the actors commented on the ending of the New York soap scene saying they never thought they would see the day: Jordan Clarke (Ex-Billy, GL, now The Colonel, Venice) “I saw a chart showing the revenue, and it looked like a plane diving to the ground” Bob Woods ( Bo, OLTL) “I never thought it would happen. To think that there wouldn’t be soap operas produced in New York! I always thought there would be the serial format on ABC, as long as there was an ABC.” Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL) “It leaves a huge hole in daytime TV and in the days of our fans. ABC tells us the audience doesn’t want entertainment anymore; that they only want information. I don’t buy that. I want something that will make me laugh, make me cry.”
Let us know your thoughts on this on seeing the once thriving Mecca of soaps gone and with it, all the talented performers and crew members who are now out of jobs! All we can say, it’s a terrible and tragic loss for everyone: fans, performers, creative’s, and the city of New York!