AMC and OLTL Stars Reveal What's New -- and Improved -- About the Resurrected Dramas

OLTL_Natalie_CutterIn the 40 years since he made his daytime-TV debut, Vincent Irizzary had seen nothing like it — a non-Emmys red carpet event to kick off an evening celebrating soap operas, namely two that had been plucked from the ashes and given life anew.

Irizzary plays David Hayward, a highly duplicitous doctor on All My Children, which like fellow former ABC serial One Life to Live was reborn this week on Hulu and iTunes, via Prospect Park’s The Online Network. The actor calls the dramas’ return, in a new medium, none too small a miracle.

VIDEO | All My Children: Your First Glimpse at Pine Valley’s Returning Faves and Fresh Faces

“When [new AMC showrunner] Ginger Smith called me, two months before we started production, they had nothing in place. No writers, no story, nothing,” he told TVLine at the shows’ aforementioned premiere party. “I was like, ‘Really? Are you serious?’ But I signed on because I know Ginger, and if anybody could pull it off, it’d be her.” And the end result, he raved, “is nothing short of miraculous.”

OLTL favorite Melissa Archer, as she made her way down the red carpet, cycled through all manner and iteration of adjectives trying to qualify her excitement at playing Natalie again, in this new format. For returning players such as her, was it like riding a bike (save for the new production base in Stamford, Conn.)? “It’s better,” she shared. “It’s like riding a bike that has jet packs on the back. We’ve just been having so much fun!”

VIDEO | All My Children: Check Out Pine Valley’s New Look — and Opal’s New Home!

Though the settings — Llanview for OLTL, Pine Valley for AMC — and many of the faces are the same, some elements are different. In addition to adding new cast members/characters, and the canvas-altering repercussions of AMC‘s five-year time jump from its ABC cliffhanger (in which J.R. Chandler let loose with a gun at Adam and Brooke’s engagement party), those who cue up Hulu or iTunes will observe cosmetic changes as well. Archer says her favorite “shiny new” set piece is Llanview hot spot Shelter, “because I can just dance every time I’m in there.” (Plus, Nat’s new apartment “is frickin’ gorgeous,” she boasted.)

Behind the scenes, meanwhile, things are also different — and also for the better, says Thorsten Kaye, who segued from his recurring run on NBC’s Smash to reprise his role as AMC’s Zach Slater. “I like the ‘open door’ policy that we now have” with the creative staff, he said, “where if something doesn’t work, it’s a team trying to work it out, instead of somebody [on high] saying, ‘No, this is what I want.’ I think that’s going to make for better story.”

Storyline-wise, Kaye said, “Things are good” for Zach, though, he quipped, “He’s now older,AMC_David_Cara and slower, and he can’t remember his lines as much!” And with previous scene partner Alicia Minshew only back for one episode thus far, “Zendall” fans shouldnt expect much closure on that front. But as Kaye noted, “That’s part of the fun.”

Elsewhere on AMC, Irizarry said, “What happened at the engagement part has had a huge impact on all of the people of Pine Valley — and David is no exception.” But make no mistake, this doc is still bad medicine. “David always has an axe to grind,” his portrayer noted, “and that hasn’t changed.” (And what of the baby he and Cara were expecting when AMC’s ABC run ended? “You will find out very soon the truth about that,” Lindsay Hartley told us. “Drama’s good!”)

AMC vet Cady McClain — who is using the occasion of her soap’s return to try out a new acting technique — said her character “is more like the Dixie from the ’90s that everybody remembers — she’s very connected to her family,AMC_Dixie_photo trying to keep them together.” Dixie also has a new job (one which McClain said she approves of), but nothing is happening on the romantic front. Yet. With Michael E. Knight reportedly interested yet not yet signed on for this reboot, “Tad is still very much a part of Dixie’s life, but he’s just not on screen at the moment,” the actress explained.

One Life, meanwhile, has no time jump to smooth over any casting wrinkles, and as such will need to address, among other things, the absence of John McBain (since Michael Easton will be staying on with General Hospital, as a new character). “Natalie has been going through so much turmoil ‘off camera,’ on ‘another show’ — and they address that,” Archer said of the breakup handled via GH. “John is a big part of Natalie’s life, the father of her child, so absolutely” he is talked about. But as he remains MIA, “It’s kind of nice to see where Natalie is going,” her portrayer offered. “She wants to be a good mom and a good worker, but she also wants to be something different, maybe what she didn’t get to explore for several years — an edgier side, maybe a more dangerous, Old Natalie side.”

That prospect, and the OLTL/AMC resurrection as a whole, has Archer again searching for new ways to express her enthusiasm for the new but familiar venture.

“It’s not just, ‘Oh yay’ but ‘Oh YAY!’ — with a capital Y, capital A, capital Y and an exclamation point,” she said. “I’m just ridiculously excited.”

Watch the new AMC and OLTL below:


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47 Comments
  1. Stephanie says:

    Canadians can watch on FX Canada, so we’re not being shut out :)

  2. GM says:

    Can you elaborate on Cady McClain’s new acting technique? I’m curious to hear more about it.

    • Eric7740 says:

      Yes, I would love to know more about this new technique as well, especially since Cady is a huge part as to way I’m watching the “new” AMC, Dixie was/is my favorite character!!!

  3. Eric says:

    The new AMC is AMAZING!!! I love it already!!!

  4. Scottyb says:

    I woke up early this morning to watch All My Children. The first episode was amazing, The relaunch is everything I expected it to be and more.

  5. Jerry says:

    So happy to have One Life to Live back, but was shocked at how much BETTER it is online. ABC obviously made bad decisions and Prospect Park is showing how much better they are taking care of both the actors and the stories. Fantastic sets, great writing, beautiful costumes, and the talented and HOT cast make this one show that has improved in its new home!

  6. Amanda says:

    I think that these online endeavors have “FLOP” written all over them. This is not going to be what most fans expect or want. I watched all three ABC soaps (plus Ryan’s Hope, Loving, The City, and Port Charles) since I was a small child in the late ’70s/early ’80s. I was especially attached to OLTL, and yet I have no desire to follow it online. In fact, I don’t know anyone that is- and I know a lot of women who are soap fans. I’m not sure how Prospect Park expects to make $$$ from this, since internet advertising is much less than network TV advertising. These shows can’t possibly survive with that as their only revenue source to offset all of the costs involved. There has to be a regular TV outlet (cable, syndication, etc.) for this to have any chance of working, IMO.

    I predict that the veterans will be seen at first. Then, they will be slowly replaced with younger and cheaper “talent” (because that’s the online market), and then both soaps won’t even resemble what people remember, and finally soon after that they’ll be gone. Daytime soaps skew old, and that audience collectively is the least likely group to switch to an online viewing system. If Prospect Park had launched these reboots right after AMC/OLTL first went off the air, then maybe they would have had a shot. Too much time has passed now, however, and most mainstream people and casual fans have realized that they can live without both soaps. These shows are not going to get anywhere close to the ratings that they got before, even at the end of their ABC runs. They’ll probably get no more than 5-10% of those viewers- and no one besides the small, shrinking group of rabid die-hards. I think they might get decent sampling for the debuts, and then the numbers will steadily drop. I’d be truly shocked if these resurrections are anything but very short-lived.

    • Arlene says:

      Why do people presume that “older” people do not use the internet, or for that matter watch TV on the web? It is the same mentality that the advertising people have, older viewers are not able to accept new products. As an older person, I find those attitudes absurd. Just finished watching OLTL, not bad, not great. Will continue to watch to see how it goes.

      • Jessica says:

        These shows rock!! Online they seem to be much better!! I read your exact comment on another site. Seriously do you work for ABC/D?? That would sure explain the sour grapes!! AMC and oltl forever!!

    • I Heart Damon Salvatore says:

      They’ve said they need 500K viewers to be successful. Considering they were in the top shows on Hulu and iTunes (AMC hit #1, OLTL peaked at #3), I think they can do that.

      • Chris says:

        Geez, getting a little full of ourselves, aren’t we? This was just one day and I think that curiosity was a factor. Let’s see what happens as the days and weeks move on. I personally think that the viewership numbers are going to steadily drop. I’d be shocked if these online reboots attract 500K. A sizable chunk of that number would ostensibly have to be casual viewers, and most of those people moved on a long time ago and don’t care anymore.

        • Caro says:

          I agree, Chris. I think people are tuning in because the shows are back and they are excited but I don’t think they will keep watching.

    • Danny says:

      Wow. With your negative attitude nothing would get done in life. Either watch it and enjoy it but don’t come here and spread your dark cloud. I don’t care if it lasts years and years. It’s on now, that’s all that matters, You can’t always worry about what might happen. They took a risk, it might pay off or it might not. Why do you care? It shouldn’t bother you so much. Let the fans have their day.

    • Caro says:

      PP owes ABC $4M for the rights and I don’t know how they will pay it…

    • why would u be so negative??? They did this all for the fans and if they are successful you know they will air them on television. They have backing I am sure the adverstiments are giving them money so these shows can make it and the actors and actresses are doing this for the fans!!! I am sure they took a cut in pay but they did it for the fans!!!! Please support and be positive!!

    • Mar says:

      Hi Amanda..I’m an old fart and I use my internet to watch oltl….Love it!

      • ALISON BLACK says:

        Over the years, I have watched ALL MY CHILDREN, AS THE WORLD TURNS, CAPITOL, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, GUIDING LIGHT, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, SANTA BARBARA, and YOUNG & RESTLESS. I watched GL from 1981 until its cancellation in October 2009 and I started watching ALL MY CHILDREN once Vincent Irizarry joined the show as “world-renowned cardiologist Dr. David Hayward” as a permanent cast member in November 1997. I have followed Vincent’s career since he first appeared as Lujack on GUIDING LIGHT on November 14, 1983. I have even met him a few times & wrote a column for his website for a few years. He has called me when I have been recovering from brain surgery in the ICU during my last shunt revisions & to me, he is as kind as he is beautiful. My oldest nephew was even born on his birthday in 2004, and my nephews’ names are Luke & Jack [Jack was born first on November 12, 2004 & Luke was born six years later; I also have a third nephew named Will] so my sister said “If you flip my sons’ names & say them really fast…” [And I said, “Oh, I have to lie down before I pass out.” I realize I’m veering off topic but I would pay to watch Vincent Irizarry change the toilet paper roll–and then applaud madly. So I am just happy to see Vincent & David on TV and in front of me in any capacity…and I thank Ginger Smith and Prospect Park & whoever else I need to thank for providing me with my daily VI fix. It is much appreciated.

  7. Eric7740 says:

    BTW, congratulations to Tuc Watkins on his new twin babies and for his bravery and courage to “come out” about his homosexuality!!! (something many daytime actors are not able to do for fear of it possibly costing them their job) Way to go Tuc, you are an inspiration!!!

  8. Amanda says:

    I think that these online endeavors have “FLOP” written all over them. This is not going to be what most fans expect or want. I have been watching all three ABC soaps (plus Ryan’s Hope, Loving, The City, and Port Charles) since I was a small child in the early ’80s. I was especially attached to OLTL, and yet I have no desire to follow it online. In fact, I don’t know anyone that is- and I know a lot of women who are soap fans. I’m not sure how Prospect Park expects to make $$$ from this since internet advertising is much less than network TV advertising. There’s no way that these shows will survive with that as their only revenue source to offset all the costs. There must be a regular TV outlet (cable, syndication, etc.) for this to have any shot, IMO.

    I predict that the veterans will be seen at first. Then, they will be slowly replaced with younger and cheaper “talent” (because that’s the online market), then both soaps won’t even resemble what people remember, and finally soon after they’ll be gone. Daytime soaps skew old, and that group collectively is least likely to ever switch to an online viewing system. If Prospect Park had launched these reboots when AMC/OLTL first went off the air, then maybe they would have had a shot. Too much time has passed now, however, and most mainstream people and casual fans have realized that they can live without both soaps. These shows will not get anywhere close to the ratings they got before. At best, probably no more than 5-10% of the viewers from before- and no one besides the small, shrinking group of rabid die-hards. I believe they’ll get decent sampling for the debuts, and then the numbers will steadily drop. I’d be truly shocked if these resurrections any anything but very short-lived.

    • Mary Ginter says:

      What are you Amanda? An ABC executive? Sounds like it, loser.

      • Chris says:

        Mary, grow up! This is a free country, and everyone is entitled to express their opinion about this endeavor on this page without being bullied and called nasty names in return. You, not Amanda, are very clearly the “loser”. If you cannot tolerate any commenter with a different point of view than yourself, then go somewhere else where everyone is waving pom-poms all the time. You cannot blame anyone for being highly skeptical about this project. This is not a soap opera fan site.

        • I Heart Damon Salvatore says:

          Soap fans are loyalists, as proven by the effort to get these shows back. We don’t give up. This is a victory for us, and we will celebrate it regardless of if it’s permanent or not.

        • tmw says:

          Chris- I couldn’t have said it any better.

          Mary- It’s perfectly fine to disagree, but you must do it in a respectful manner without childish name-calling. It makes you look very, very small.

        • mary says:

          Calling it like it is. Truth hurts.

      • AJ says:

        And rabid soap fans actually wonder why most average, mainstream people think that they’re so loony and out of touch? Classless remarks like this have a lot to do with it. God forbid, someone isn’t a full-blown cheerleader.

      • Pat says:

        Look in the mirror, Mary, and you’ll see the real “loser”.

      • Jan says:

        I think Amanda and Chris are ABC plants…..

  9. Chris says:

    Wow, look at all the comments here!! (sarcasm)
    This is going to bomb, big time.

    • I Heart Damon Salvatore says:

      Apparently, people were too busy watching to post here. AMC hit #1 on iTunes. $$$ trumps comments.

  10. mike says:

    Well done Prospect Park, it was worth the wait.

  11. Leigh says:

    I decided to give this a try because I invested a lot of time in OLTL when I wan younger. Now, being older and able to find the internet, I thought since you guys had it posted here I’d give it a shot. So…my main issue – Destiny. The show itself is okay and wasn’t great or terrible, but her recast just didn’t make sense to me. She looks nothing like the old character, is like a foot taller than the actress that played the character before, and just didn’t set the right tone. I don’t know. Other than that I was a little surprised to hear the use of profanity. Not that it bothers me, I just can’t wait for Viki or Dorian to drop an “F-Bomb.” :)

  12. A fan for 40 years says:

    I watched both. I was less than thrilled with the whole ‘nighclub’ scene, it was too blinky and hard to hear what the actors were saying on OLTL, however Tuc Watkins, as usual, stole the show. He is a trip! Until the last scene, that is, which I don’t want to spoil. To say I’m thrilled about that is an understatement! AMC was more interesting in the all in all. It’d better be Tad in that hospital bed, and not JR! One thing that bothers me, both shows are turning the ‘young adults’ into monsters… mouthy, ignorant, back talking jerks. May want to reign that in. Just my opinion.

  13. Murray says:

    40 years since Davis Irizzary made his daytime TV debut? Are you sure? He debuted on Guiding Light in the eighties. I’m pretty sure that you meant to write 30 years.

    • ALISON BLACK says:

      You are correct, Murray. Vincent Irizarry made his soap opera and TV debut as GUIDING LIGHT’s Brandon “Lujack” Luvoneczek on November 14, 1983, at the age of 24.

  14. Vette says:

    So HAPPY AMC and OLTL are back. It will take a little getting used to all the new characters on AMC. For the most part, OLTL was great! I thought the time spent at the Shelter club was a little much. Never could have imaged Mathew refer to Destiny as his baby’s mama the way he said it. It’ll take some time to get used to the new Mathew. (miss the Alderson’s already). And how many out there thought Danni and Natalie became off as slutty? And does anyone else thick that whole dancing thing with Natalie and Cutter was weird and awkward? It didn’t make any sense – I thought she just blew him off. Maybe Cutter could have hit on her a couple of times, them she could have said, “Why not!” and then dance with him. On the plus side, I absolutely loved loved the end. Exactly, the surprise I was waiting for. I was sooo thrilled!

  15. Mary says:

    First I am thrilled to have OLTL back…It should have never been cancelled. The true show fans never gave up and fought and thanks to Prospect Park our dream of these beloved shows coming back came true. Are for you people that think this shows are going to flop think again.

    • AJ says:

      I wouldn’t be so full of myself like that if I were you. You’d think that soap fans would have learned that by now after the last few years.

  16. Jan says:

    Great first episodes for both shows. As long as they continue with quality, the viewers will follow. Online IS the way of the future — and I’m not in the age demographic the TV networks try to attract — and I’m so proud of these two shows for taking this challenge!

    • MLO says:

      You’ve got to be kidding me! AMC was nothing but cheese, my friend. Great big, stinky, holey cheese. I had to watch, hoping for something different, something of quality, but alas no. Same old crap it’s always been, but now with a whole new malodorous pall about it. That scene with AJ and the guitar and the towel falling off?… OMG, bad acting, bad writing, bad everything. OLTL faired somewhat better, but needs to stop trying to hard to be cool and edgy.

  17. Vee says:

    Personally, I feel that they will be around for a long time. We will of course, see. It is a new idea, some people are just not comfortable with that.
    I’m sure that the same thing happened when the soap’s were on radio, many, many, many year’s ago, and TV started. There were no doubt, a lot of “it will never last”, it is more exciting to hear, and use your imagination. It lasted, now there is something new on the horizon, and there are those that feel that it will not last.
    Everyone of course, is entitled to their opinion, and this is mine.
    The world would be very boring if everyone agreed on everything.

    I started watching AMC online 2 year’s before it ended, rather than on TV. There were way too many commercials, online there was not, so for me the switch was no big deal.

    I love AMC, and the newness is refreshing. This is of course my opinion. :-)

  18. Caro says:

    PP is suing ABC for $25M because they say they aren’t happy with what GH did with their OLTL characters. Most notably, they are bothered by the killing of Cole and Hope (I find this absurd since the bodies were never found and on a soap that means they are still alive), getting Carly and Todd together (this despite the fact that Kassie DePaiva who played Blair turned down GH’s offer for a permanent gig on GH which left Roger Howarth’s Todd without a leading lady) and they started a storyline between Sam and McBain who played vampire lovers Livvie and Caleb on Port Charles prior to his role on OLTL. PP is claiming they would have shared McBain, Starr and Todd if GH would have let them control the plotlines but that makes no sense! GH could not have done that and the sharing would never have worked because each show would have wanted the characters to have their own storyline and love interests. GH kept the OLTL characters alive when PP abandoned them and PP seems to feel no gratitude for this. Instead, PP caused countless re-writes for GH’s 50th anniversary while they flip flopped over the use of the characters and ignored the wishes of the actors to remain on GH. I think PP is an unethical company who is mounting a completely ridiculous lawsuit and as a result I will not be watching OLTL!

    • Regann says:

      Um, wrong. KDP was never offered a contract. So since I know for a fact that you’re stating falsehoods as truth, no reason to read what else you have to say.

  19. Heather says:

    Oh my gosh! I was so blown away by the ending of OLTL’s 1st episode and now the second episode! I have been a fan of the show FOREVER, no joke since I was a wee one (my grandmother’s influence), and I cannot express how happy I am that I can watch it online. Here is hoping that it all works out and it can keep producing more episodes.

  20. KA77899 says:

    I watched OLTL yesterday & came back for more (E2) today. Time will tell if PP will make this successful. I hope they do. All those actors and any rehired behind the cameras folk were out of work and, without other soaps to pick them up, I’m sure most went through a tough time when PP couldn’t pull this together last January. So I wish them success.

    I’m an “old folk” and started watching OLTL when I was a teenager in the early ’70’s. I still feel that Lee Patterson as Joe Riley was Vicki’s ultimate love and I still wish they could bring Vicki’s sister, Meredith, back from the dead. (In those days the dead stayed dead. LOL) Anyone remember the protests and boycotts when DOOL “killed” off Marlena?

    As for the online format, I wasn’t sure if I would cotton to it, but I think I’m going to love it! I started watching GH last summer/fall and it has gotten so good! I had only watched it off and on over the years. Reading recaps were worked great in keeping me up to date such that I could watch an occasional episode without being lost. Now it is must see for me.

    I’ve watched DOOL most of my life. Mom watched it from the beginning which is how I came to watch it, too. I watched it though the years taking breaks when the story lines were slow and awful. It’s gotten better, again!

    I was reluctant to increase the number of soaps I watch to 3 instead of 2. But the online format lets me watch it whenever and, with the reduced number of commercials, it doesn’t take the full hour. Super! We may even reactivate our HuluPlus account.

    Yes, the aging of the young stars into deadbeat fathers, drug addicts, sluts (Natalie, too) was jarring but I can see the need in order to rope in new and younger viewers. And we “oldies” will win if that happens. We’ll see how it all works out. Even though I (and many others) suspected it, (spoiler alert) I was thrilled to see Victor back!

    I always tell my husband to give a new program a few episodes before deciding if it’s for him, The first episodes have to set the stage before things gel and can shine. We need to be introduced, or reintroduced, to the characters and their back stories. So give it a little time. I’m going to:-D

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