Finding Primetime Jobs for Daytime Stars: The Men of One Life to Live

It’s time to face a sad truth, soapies: Both All My Children and One Life to Live are truly closing up shop — come September 23 and January 2012, respectively. While it’s tough to imagine a life without afternoon escapes to Pine Valley and Llanview, there is potentially a silver lining to ABC’s dreadful daytime massacre: The choicest stars from the serials’ ranks are now ripe for the primetime pickin’!

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on a OLTL Reunion, and More

Over the next few weeks, TVLine will present its dream roles for a few of daytime’s fan favorites, kicking things off with the men of One Life to Live. (So heads up, casting directors!) Like our ideas, or have better ones? Pitch away in the comments section! Now, on with the slideshow….

OLTL‘s Trevor St. John Reveals Early Exit Plan: ‘They’d Rather Press On Without Me’

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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45 Comments
  1. Mika says:

    It is a nice idea, but I think there are reasons why these guys are soap opera actors and have not made the leap to prime time or movies. It is too bad that this genre is dying as it can be the launching pad for many actors starting out in the business and in some cases the only genre that many actors will ever find work.

    • Moviegal says:

      Mika – I would hope that your view of daytime acting isn’t as snobby as your post sounded. For one thing, many of the NY soap actors are actually Broadway actors as well. As someone else mentioned, Michael Easton was not only an object of desire on Ally McBeal, but he has also headlined three primetime series (Total Recall 2070 on Sci-Fi,a Canadian series called Two, and VR5), and has produced/directed/acted in award winning Independent films. That’s just one example. If you want to know how difficult soap acting is, just ask James Franco. His first day on GH he was presented a script for the next day’s taping that was bigger than most movie scripts. He’s said that they were some of the finest actors he’s ever worked with. They also do a lot of primetime work, like the L&Os, Criminal Minds, etc. Primetime casting directors have said that they love to hire soap actors because they come to their auditions well prepared, can memorize and perform on a dime, and are extremely professional. Tell Alec Baldwin, Julianne Moore, Kyra Sedgewick, Kevin Bacon, Jimmy Smitts, Judith Light, Kathleen Turner, etc., etc. how inferior soap actors are and see how they respond.

    • raelee514 says:

      Always. Always someone has to say it.

      rolls eyes.

    • Kvivik says:

      Josh Duhamel went from All My Children to Las Vegas (was on for 5 seasons)
      Eric Roberts went from Another World to an Oscar nomination (Runaway Train with Jon Voight)
      Nathan Fillion went from One Life to Live to Castle (starting 4th season)
      Kate Mulgrew (who for the record detests her time on the soaps) went from Ryan’s Hope to Mrs. Colombo to Star Trek Voyager
      Bebe Neuwrith – Edge of Night to Cheers to Tony award for Chicago

      If I had time I could properly research all of the Soap actors who’ve won Tonys, Golden Globe’s, or Emmys (not of the daytime Variety) I would, but the list is much too long.

      • Laura says:

        To add to Kvivik’s post, Meg Ryan was on As the World Turns. Demi Moore and Sarah Michelle Gellar were also soap stars.

        • Miffy says:

          For every Meg Ryan or Demi Moore, there are about a thousand “actors” like the one who plays Rex, who has an annoying voice and can’t act his way out of a paper bag.

    • lacey says:

      Why must you assume that all soap actors are bad? There’s bad acting on primetime, so adding talented performers could only make primetime better.

    • KeeKeeDee says:

      What is it about actors, any actors, that make your average, everyday person an expert on evaluating their careers?

      There are many venues for actors to work, not all of it primetime TV or movies. Like, commercials, theater, voice work, independent movies, etc. Many, many actors make nice livings without being in the spotlight.

      Mika, snore.

  2. Sam says:

    You know, it’s difficult to discern someone’s talent level from a soap opera format. When bad acting is encouraged (if not forced) it’s basically just going on the character and the person’s appearance.
    Idea: “Relative Unknowns That Should Be Major Cast Members.” There are so many people who play bit actors who you want to see more of. And then, instead, the network sticks you with Tim Allen. Again.

    • Jessica says:

      Bad acting is not encouraged in soap operas. Bad acting occurs because of the rapid schedule. The actors get their lines the day before they have to shoot them and some actors can’t handle that pace and they suck. But think of how many actors suck in movies and they have months to prepare and shoot at a snail’s pace. So really a good soap actor is a great actor.

  3. Renie says:

    Mikah – Give me a break. Making it to the big screen or even prime time is not always necessarily proof of talent. Case in point: William Shatner.

  4. Jon says:

    Mika…. I find it really sad that you think that people who are soap actors are less then actors. They actually have a LOT more work to do then the “regular” actors you speak of. And for your information many famous actors used to be soap actors.

    Christina Applegate, Days
    Courteney Cox Arquette, ATWT
    Richard Dean Anderson – Dr. Jeff Webber (General Hospital, 1976-81)
    Tichina Arnold – Ryan’s Hope/All My Children
    Armand Assante – Dr. Mike Powers (The Doctors, 1975-77)
    Kevin Bacon – Tod Adamson (Search for Tomorrow, 1979)
    Alec Baldwin – Billy Allison Aldrich (The Doctors, 1980-82)
    Christine Baranski – Beverly Tucker (Another World, 1983)
    Mischa Barton – All My Children
    Angela Bassett – Leonie Peach (Ryan’s Hope, 1987)
    Kathy Bates – Belle Bodelle (All My Children, 1984) and Phyllis (The Doctors, 1977)
    Warren Beatty, Love Of Life
    Noelle Beck, Loving
    Bonnie Bedelia – Sandy Porter (Love of Life, 1961-67)
    Maria Bello, Ryan’s Hope
    Robby Benson, Search For Tomorrow
    Tom Berenger, OLTL
    Corbin Bernsen – Ken Graham (Ryan’s Hope, 1984-85)
    Yasmine Bleeth, Ryan’s Hope/OLTL
    Brian Bloom, ATWT
    Nicholas Brendon, Y&R
    Jason Brooks, Days
    Victor Browne, OLTL
    Amy Carlson – Josephine ‘Josie’ Watts (Matthews) Sinclair (Another World, 1992-98)
    Tia Carrere – Jade Soong Chung, R.N (General Hospital, 1985-87)
    Dixie Carter, Edge Of Night
    Lacey Chabert, AMC
    Eddie Cibrian – The Young and the Restless/Sunset Beach
    Keith Hamilton Cobb, AMC
    Jack Coleman – Kositchek (Days of Our Lives, 1981-82)
    Margaret Colin – Margo Montgomery Hughes (As the World Turns, 1981-83)
    Courteney Cox – Bunny (As the World Turns, 1984)
    Marcia Cross – One Life to Live
    Ted Danson, Somerset
    Lane Davies, Santa Barbara
    Wanda de Jesus – Gomez (Another World, 1986) and Santana Andrade (Santa Barbara, 1991-92)
    Alana de la Garza – All My Children
    Kim Delaney, AMC
    Dana Delany – Amy Russell (Love of Life, 1979-80) and Halley Wilson Hollister (As the World Turns, 1981)
    Robert DeNiro, Search For Tomorrow
    Leonardo Dicaprio, Santa Barbara
    Taye Diggs, GL
    Michael Dorn – Jimmy (Days of Our Lives, 1986-87)
    Tony Dow, Never Too Young
    Roma Downey, OLTL
    Julia Duffy – Gerry Braylee (Love of Life, 1972) and Penny Davis (The Doctors, 1973-77)
    Olympia Dukakis – Dr. Barbara Moreno (Search for Tomorrow, 1983)
    Kirsten Dunst – Young Child (Loving, 1990-91)
    Charles Durning – Police Chief Gil McGowan (Another World, 1972)
    Christine Ebersole – Maxie McDermott (One Life To Live, 1983-85) and Lily Darnell (Ryan’s Hope, 1980)
    Stacy Edwards, Santa Barbara
    Giancarlo Esposito – Clay Tynan (The Guiding Light, 1982-83)
    Rob Estes, Days
    Morgan Fairchild, GL
    Calista Flockhart, GL
    Faith Ford, Another World/OLTL
    Morgan Freeman, Another World
    Lindsay Frost, ATWT
    Vivica A. Fox, Generations/Y&R
    Sarah Michelle Gellar (Kendall Hart Lang, All My Children, 1993-95)
    Thomas Gibson (Derek Mason, As the World Turns, 1988-90) and (Peter Latham, The Guiding Light, 1987)
    Kathie Lee Gifford, Days
    Kelsey Grammer, (Dr. Carnard, Another World, 1983-84)
    Thomas Ian Griffith, Another World
    Mark Hamill, GH
    Danneel Harris – One Life to Live
    Jackee Harry, Another World
    David Hasselhoff, Y&R
    Richard Hatch, AMC
    Teri Hatcher – Capitol
    Anne Heche, Another World
    Marg Helgenberger – Ryan’s Hope
    Kam Heskin – Sunset Beach
    Lauren Hill, ATWT
    Earl Hindman, Ryan’s Hope
    Dustin Hoffman, Search For Tomorrow
    Lauren Holly, AMC
    Jonathan Jackson, GH
    Kate Jackson, Dark Shadows
    Allison Janney, GL
    James Earl Jones (Jerry Turner, As the World Turns, 1966)
    Tommy Lee Jones (Mark Toland, One Life To Live, 1971-75)
    Melina Kanakaredes, GL
    Mitzi Kapture, B&B
    Harvey Keitel, Dark Shadows
    Kevin Kline, Search For Tomorrow
    Jane Krakowski, ATWT/Search For Tomorrow
    Joe Lando, OLTL/GL
    Eva LaRue – All My Children
    Sharon Leal – Guiding Light
    Judith Light, OLTL
    Ray Liotta, Another World
    Lindsay Lohan, Another World
    Nia Long, GL
    Eva Longoria – The Young and the Restless
    Dorothy Lyman, Anothrt World
    Vanessa Marcil, GH
    Ricky Martin, GH
    Rue McLanahan, Another World
    Jesse Metcalfe – Passions
    Bette Midler, Edge Of Night
    Donna Mills, Love Splendored Thing
    Rachel Miner – Guiding Light
    Demi Moore, GH
    Julianne Moore, ATWT
    Wendy Moniz – Guiding Light
    Meredith Monroe, Sunset Beach
    Debbie Morgan, All My Children/Port Charles
    Patrick Muldoon, Days
    Kate Mulgrew, Ryan’s Hope
    Michael Nader – All My Children
    Ming Na-Wen, ATWT
    Clayton Norcross, B&B
    Dustin Nguyen, GH
    Leonard Nimoy (Bernie, General Hospital, 1963)
    Chris Noth (Dean Whitney, Another World, 1988)
    Charlie O’Connell, GL
    Hayden Panettiere – One Life to Live/Guiding Light
    Sydney Penny, AMC/Sunset Beach/Santa Barbara
    Luke Perry, Loving
    Donna Pescow, AMC
    Ryan Phillippe, OLTL
    Brad Pitt, Another World
    Parker Posey, ATWT
    Christpher Reeve, Love Of Life
    Ving Rhames, Another World
    Lisa Rinna, Days
    Eric Roberts, Another World
    Tristan Rogers, GH
    Elisabeth Rohm – One Life to Live
    Charlotte Ross, Days
    Brandon Routh – One Life to Live
    Victoria Rowell, Y&R
    Meg Ryan, ATWT
    Antonio Sabato Jr., GH
    Susan Sarandon, Search For Tomorrow/A World Apart
    Emma Samms, GH
    Kyle Secor, Santa Barbara
    Kyra Sedgwick, Another World
    Tom Selleck, Y&R
    Ted Shackelford, Another World
    Charles Shaughnessy, Days
    Martin Sheen, Edge Of Night
    John Wesley Shipp, GL
    Grant Show – Ryan’s Hope
    Christian Slater, OLTL
    Wesley Snipes, AMC
    Brittany Snow, GL
    Kevin Sorbo, Santa Barbara
    Rick Springfield, GH
    John Stamos, GH
    Molly Stanton – Passions
    Sherry Stringfield, GL
    Susan Sullivan, Another World
    Gordon Thomson – Santa Barbara
    Marisa Tomei, ATWT
    Michelle Trachtenberg – All My Children
    John Travolta, Edge Of Night
    Paige Turco – Guiding Light/All My Children
    Janine Turner, GH
    Kathleen Turner, The Doctors
    Shannon Tweed, Days
    Blair Underwood (Bobby Blue, One Life To Live, 1985-86)
    James Van Der Beek, ATWT
    Mario Van Peebles (Doc Gilmore, One Life To Live, 1982-83)
    Abe Vigoda, Dark Shadows
    Lark Voorhees, B&B/Days
    Jack Wagner, GH
    Christopher Walken (Michael ‘Mike’ Bauer, The Guiding Light, 1954-56)
    Ally Walker, Santa Barbara
    Cynthia Watros – Guiding Light
    Sigourney Weaver, Somerset
    Micheal T. Weiss, Days
    Jo Beth Williams, Somerset
    Henry Winkler (Intern, Another World, 1972)
    Robin Wright, Santa Barbara
    Ian Ziering, GL

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Jon, do you have a link you could simply post? That list — while impressive — is a bit horsey. Thank you – The Management

    • silly says:

      There are only a few actors on this list that I would call FAMOUS!

      • Andrew says:

        or that I would call ‘good’.. Yasmine Bleeth on “Baywatch”? And it’s telling that by and large, most of these actors don’t seem to have stayed in soaps nearly as long as the actors pictured above have… Easton alone has been on soaps for at least a decade.

        and also when Judith Light was on OLTL, you just knew she was destined for much much better work…

    • Michelle says:

      Where’s Nathan Fillion on this list??

    • Marco says:

      Jennifer Finningan (B&TB)

    • raelee514 says:

      YOu mentioned Danneel Harris Ackles but not her husband Jensen Ackles, he was Eric from Days of our Lives for 2 or 3 years I believe.

    • JLC7930 says:

      Nice list. I see a lot of Emmy winners and even some Oscar winners in there. I think soap actors get a bad rap. Yes, some of them are definitely not talented enough to move on to Prime Time or Movies but others are amazing actors who choose to stay on daytime for the perks of a steady job. Until recently, they didn’t work in fear of their shows being cancelled year after year. Some of them have had decades long careers in daytime BECAUSE they are great actors.

  5. Mimi says:

    I totally think that Lavoisier should stay with ABC and become a new resident at Seattle Grace and someone from Lexie’s past that she holds a very naughty secret with. He’s a little like McStarry….

  6. april-ann says:

    I think TSJ will find work. I don’t know about JPL. Michael Easton probably will as he’s already been in primetime before this (Ally McBeal- I know that was a long time ago, though). Eddie Alderson should do fine, in younger shows like the choice above. The biggest mystery of all is why Roger Howarth is not a huge well known much-accolated movie actor. The man can convey with one facial expression what most actors could never do given lines and lines of the best written dialogue.

  7. Mara says:

    Excuse me….but you left out the one actor from OLTL who actually has a prime time resume. Ted King. He’s had roles on Frasier, Sex and The City, Jag, Time Cop, Charmed, Prison Break and CSI Miami.
    He’s the whole package. Great looking and can act.

  8. Lisa says:

    Lavoisier has some quirky comedy chops. I’d like to see him as Jeff’s hip nephew on Community. Something about him and Joel McHale makes sense to me.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Mark Lawson, well whenever, but TV wise on Parenthood.

  9. Melly says:

    Daytime has some very strong actors along with some very weak actors, but same can be said for primetime, movies, and theater. People are forgetting, many of the NY soap actors do lots of theater, many on Broadway. There are also many who do soaps because it allows them the freedom to do their own projects, many have done movies and prime time. Many of the vets are soap starts because that all the wanted to do as a child, it was a choice of theirs. I know of a few that had gigs with prime time or were offered a movie deals, but turn them down because they got an offer to do daytime.

    Many of the actors who came from soaps and moved on to a different medium will tell anybody who asks, soaps are the hardest work they have ever done. These actors get 35 pages a of dialog to learn in a day, and then they film those pages in a day, with NO retakes. Compare that to a movie, they do an average of 3 pages a day and as many retakes as they want. Sitcoms, 25 pages in a week and they usually have two weeks to prepare. Soaps are hard work.

    • Job says:

      Some actors have an excellent training and/or work background… while that is no guarantee of anything necessarily … nonetheless I suspect we’ll see a lot more of OLTL’s Nick Choksi (Juilliard grad) and Shenaz Treasurywala ( Bollywood screenwriter/actress etc.) after the show folds … here’s hoping.

  10. Marie says:

    From the short lived Swan’s Crossing: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brittany Daniel, Mira Sorvino, Susan Ward

  11. Cy says:

    Jon–Could you please be more specific? I’m not quite getting your point.

  12. raelee514 says:

    While I appreciate the thought, I think with the exception of the Todds, Trevor on Dexter and Roger on Good Wife, you cast everyone else on shows that are actually unworthy of them. Watkins deserves to go upwards from Housewife. And I would like to see Alderson, Lavosier (sorry if spelled wrong) Easton on a channel that is not the CW. Or if they have to be on the CW, Easton should be at least opposite Ackles and Padalecki on Supernatural as a Big Bad Demon or something… or opposite Gellar on Ringer, probably as someone hot and seductive.

    When you do the woman may i suggest Melissa Archer looks like she could be the sister of Christina Hendrix and she definitely has the curves to fit in on Mad Men — don’t you think?

  13. Amber says:

    I think Lavoisier can do a lot better than 90210. He’s someone I would like to see get a lot more famous, and I think comedy would be a great way to go for him. I LOVE the Community idea. I can’t think of anything better than that, but I would like to see it as a recurring role rather than a one-time thing. Maybe he could be Britta’s new bf? The nephew thing works well too, though, or maybe a little brother of Jeff who’s come to town to live with him and go to school.

    Trevor St. John would be great on Dexter, but I would like to see him get a more permanent, starring role on a show. I’m thinking…give him a role on that new Aaron Sorkin show on HBO.

    I don’t care much about David Fumero, but Hawaii 5-0 does seem like an excellent fit.

    Roger Howarth. We must find a place for you, and it has to be excellent, just like you are, and it should be kind of an intense role. The Good Wife works. Or better yet…The Walking Dead. Someone please make that happen.

    I really like Tuc Watkins on both OLTL and DH, but I want to see him get a more prominent role than just DH. He could never really have a starring role on that show, the women are the stars. He needs to do a sitcom. Make him the new boss on The Office! =D Or 30 Rock is also a great idea. He’d fit in well there. Or maybe Cougartown?

    Easton kind of feels like Grey’s Anatomy to me or some like-minded soapy night drama. Though my best choice for him…make him the new cop on SVU instead of that other guy they cast. Then he wouldn’t even have to leave NY.

  14. Theresa says:

    I would love to see Trevor St. John on something. Maybe like on The young and the restless, Days of our lives, Bold and Beautiful or any t.v. show. So we can see this terrific actor. He is one of my favorites.

  15. susan says:

    I love how people like to point out how primetime/movie actors got there start in daytime but that is the operative word got there start and moved on and rather quickly at that and how long ago was it that these people even was on years ago it is not the same climate in daytime anymore. I think the woman who plays Brenda on GH and the guy from AMC who is in transformers are the last one who has had any real success outside of daytime.

    Playing bit parts(the murder suspect of the day) in primetime does not make you a successful and I do not see a lot of daytime actors doing theather work nowadays maybe off broadway some where. The fact is that not many of those from AMC/OLTL are going to get any substantial roles and I bet most will be seeing an end to their careers.

    • magreeda says:

      Um, did you miss all the talk about Nathan Fillion who went from soaps to sitcoms to scifi to Castle? I’m sure more people know him than VMG.

  16. s says:

    I know no one likes the Ford brothers but I can totally see those actors on primetime. They are all young, good looking and talented enough to do this. I could def see ME on TVD though he has the dark hair, blue eyes maybe he could some how work it out to be related to the brothers? lol

  17. Eden says:

    I agree with Mika. Those on soaps that have the chops and appeal for primetime or movies do not stick around on soaps long. Most average 1-3 years with the rare case of 5 years before leaving for something better (pay, recognition, and the ability to show more acting skills than the static emotions you see on soaps).

    Those who are on soaps for long enough tend to become personified with their soap and its hard to move on from that. Most will move on to other soaps rather than take the risk that comes with trying to get primetime recognition.

    I mean even after Jensen Ackles left Days in 2000 it still took 5 years to land a successful show (unless you want to include the shortlived show Dark Angel).

    You don’t have to be the greatest actor on primetime but you do have to have a certain appeal. I honestly can’t imagine someone like Susan Lucci as a regular on primetime because in the guest appearance I’ve seen of her in other tv shows, they were not that good and really just supposed to be a caricature of herself.

    Some of the newest and younger cast I can see making the switch because they have yet to become identified with their soap. I can see Lavoisier on a show like 90210, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and other superficial type shows because of his good looks.

    But like I said earlier, the longer you are on a soap the more identified you become with it and the harder it will be to make a switch. So don’t give me lists about actors who made the switch because those that have probably didn’t last longer than 5 years on the soap.

    Also, were any tv show to look for new actors to hire, why would they go for soap actors when there are far better actors to choose from?

    Primetime and film are in the big leagues and daytime just can’t compete.

  18. William says:

    I do have to agree that soap actors have to learn 20-30 pages of script a day. I also have to agree that some of them are poor actors. BUT, I ALSO have to agree that some of them (not a mention here of Josh Duhamel, who married Fergie, and also went on to become a very respected actor in some prime-time series and a couple of bad movies)went on to become very famous. A couple of my favorites are Sarah Michelle-Gellar (my very favorite), Demi Moore (GH). I also have to agree that Susan Lucci isn’t really a very good actress, and never really has been. She has her sales, based on “Erica Kane”, on HSN, with her makeup, etc. I’d LOVE to see Kassie DePaiva really make it in her musical talents. She has a BEAUTIFUL voice. So does the girl who plays Starr Manning. Very talented individuals.

    Wishing them all the luck in the world, and want to hear more from them in the future. Hate it that ABC took a few talk shows that will last no more than a couple of years over the main-stays that have been there for decades.

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