This week, All My Children icon, Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica Kane) appeared as the special guest co-host on the Hallmark Channel’s morning show, Home and Family (weekdays 10PMEST/9AMCST). Susan joined hosts Mark Steines and Debbie Matenopoulos for an event-filled week that featured plenty of laughter, memories, and tears.
At the centerpiece of Lucci’s guest host stint was the opportunity for her, and several of the most recognized faces in Pine Valley to gather together for a special reunion episode that aired on Thursday. Special guests included: Peter Bergman, Kim Delaney, Lawrence Lau, Eden Riegel, Kathleen Noone, Eva LaRue, John Callahan, Cameron Mathison, Michael E. Knight, and Jill Larson.
Toward the end of the special two-hour AMC reunion broadcast, Lucci & her longtime AMC pals were reduced to tears while paying homage to the series creator Agnes Nixon, who passed away last year. But then, the Home and Family producers gave the viewers, and Susan, and the cast, a very special moment, which featured a segment paying tribute to their AMC colleagues who have passed away, which included: Frances “Fra” Heflin, Ruth Warrick, Louis Edmonds, Kay Campbell, Mary Fickett, Lee Chamberlin, Larkin Malloy, Matthew Cowles, James Mitchell, David Canary, and Eileen Herlie.
Following the taping, Susan revealed she will be appearing at this year’s Daytime Emmys where the annual awards ceremonies are set to honor Agnes Nixon. On Friday, Susan finished up her hosting gig having her daughter, former soap star Liza Huber (Ex-Gwen), as one of the special guests on Friday’s episode.
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Susan immediately following Thursday’s heartfelt AMC reunion to get her thoughts on the emotional episode, the cancellation of Devious Maids, if she would host her own daytime talk show, and those amazing Pine Valley memories as the one and only Erica Kane, and more. Here is what the incomparable Lucci had to say.
What was it like seeing everybody here today on the set of Home and Family, and then seeing the In-Memoriam clip package with so many of your colleagues who had passed away? I watched you as the cameras rolled, and I could just see how emotional it was for you. What did you think of all of this?
SUSAN: Well, it was emotional. We have all never been together in the same place at the same time. We have run into each other individually over the years, but for all of us to be together really washed over me with a flood of emotions, and I can definitely say that we are a family.
Watching you as this all went down, I could see how much this all means to you. And all of us – those onstage, those in attendance – would go right back to that magical place that was Pine Valley.
SUSAN: I feel like if we did All My Children again, it would all still be there. Each person, individually and collectively was fantastic to be around, and to work with. We spent a lot of time together. We were in the trenches together for a long, long time. This was just spectacular to have this reunion.
When Michael E. Knight (Ex-Tad) surprised you during one of the segments on the reunion episode, was that a shocker to you that he was there? Did you even know, or have a hint, that he might show up?
SUSAN: No! I did not know! You know, Jill Larson’s (Ex-Opal) name was on the list as originally coming, and then she wasn’t here. So I was going, “Where’s Jill? Where’s Jill?” They told me she couldn’t make it so everyone lied really well. (Laughs) I, myself, personally thought Michael Knight’s name is not on the list, but Michael did not always go to every event in New York that we did at All My Children, and everyone does their own thing. But, I never thought Michael would be here! First of all, it’s a huge honor that Michael showed up and did this, but I could tell it meant a lot to him, too. I could see how touched he was. He was looking at his life here, and that is how it feels for me, because it was my whole adult life up until five years ago. When they showed the In-Memoriam tribute, even the thought of it had me in tears. Seeing David Canary (Adam/Stuart), Agnes Nixon (Creator, All My Children), Fra Heflin (Mona) and Ruth Warrick (Phoebe), Jimmy Mitchell (Palmer) and Eileen Herlie (Myrtle), and on and on as each person came up, everything comes back to you in a flash. I had memories of each person. It was incredible.
You were so close to the late Agnes Nixon. You attended her funeral as many that follow you saw a few touching photos on your social media accounts, and you will be attending this year’s Daytime Emmys to honor her. Agnes touched so many people’s lives. I always tell the story, how I truly believe that as a young boy who had a hard time in grade school, if it wasn’t for All My Children and One Life to Live, I don’t know how I would have gotten through. So many people have been so profoundly touched and connected by what she created.
SUSAN: That is true, and of course, I was there at Agnes’ funeral. And what you say, it does seem to hold true today how her work touched so many lives. Many professional men and women who were at a crossroads and didn’t think they could do it, or they wondered if they’d do it, they would think, “I wonder what Erica Kane would do.” And they would say, “Yes! She would do it” That is still just amazing, and so touching to me.
How was your co-hosting gig this week on Home and Family? Is this a preview to perhaps someday hosting your own daytime talk show?
SUSAN: It has been spectacular! You know, when they asked me to do this for a whole week … I have never done this before. I may have hosted, or guest-hosted on a show for a day. I thought this is an opportunity now for me to see what kind of work this is. I have had the most remarkable time. I mean, the best time! And again, it’s so important to be in the right hands. This group is spectacular, and warm, and everybody is on the same page. Woody Fraser (Creator, Home and Family) has put together an ensemble cast much like when it was on All My Children, and you know the difference. The bar is set very high if you come from All My Children, and you don’t know if you are going to find anything close to it. On that note I will say, Devious Maids was a fantastic experience, as is this, so I am very lucky indeed.
Devious Maids was cancelled, but it was handled much more diplomatically than the way you, and the cast were told that All My Children was being canned by ABC. How did you feel having to now leave Devious Maids, and the role of Genevieve Delatour behind you?
SUSAN: We knew the show was good, and we had a worldwide audience. I had a wonderful experience, and again, we were in good hands with Marc Cherry’s writing, and it was such a good group that they had put together. We always felt it was a great show. We had a love fest filming Devious Maids in Atlanta.
Behind-the-scenes last year, your daughter Liza and then you, came forward publicly about your grandson Brendan’s diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. How did that decision all come about?
SUSAN: Yes, we did go public with it, but it was something that I thought was Liza’s story to tell when she is ready, and if she is ready. If she had chosen not to, that would be her choice, too. I had been working with Cerebral Palsy quietly in New York, but nobody knew it, because it was not my story to tell. Liza came with me to one of their wonderful events, and she made the decision she wants to tell the story for a number of reasons. It’s been a wonderful thing. Liza and I have talked about it, and that there isn’t a lot written about Cerebral Palsy. So we thought this is a chance to shine a light on Cerebral Palsy, and inform people who are going through this that they are not alone. It’s very important to let Brendan know how very proud we are of him, because he is so spectacular. What we didn’t know about this was how much light would come back. Liza has received so many phone calls, emails, texts, videos, that it has opened up a whole community to her.
Finally, when I was backstage with Eva LaRue (Ex-Maria) and others watching the monitor, when they showed you as Erica Kane supermodel in that All My Children clip package, everyone was in awe all over again, and how fun that was to see! What did you think when you were watching Erica’s modeling days again?
SUSAN: I loved seeing all of them! For me, it was a dream come true. I’m 5‘2” on a good day, Michael! I’m not 6’3”. (Laughs) So to get to model on All My Children was so much fun!
What were your thoughts on the Home and Family All My Children reunion episode? Did you missing seeing La Lucci as Erica Kane and Pine Valley even more? Should the show be resurrected? What did you think of Susan as a co-host? What was your favorite part of the reunion broadcast, and her comments in our interview? Share your thoughts in the comment below.