All My Children has been off the air for several years, but that didn’t stop Erica Kane from holding court on Thursday’s Home & Family.
The long-running ABC soap’s central character — and a bunch more — were the focus of the Hallmark Channel morning show as part of Susan Lucci‘s week-long co-hosting stint. In addition to regular hosts Debbie Matenopoulos and Mark Steines, La Lucci was joined at the top of the show by former castmates Peter Bergman (who played Cliff), Kim Delaney (Jenny), Lawrence Lau (Greg), Eden Riegel (Bianca), Kathleen Noone (Ellen), Eva LaRue (Maria), John Callahan (Edmund) and Cameron Mathison (Ryan).
Here are some highlights:
* “This is the first time we’ve all been together,” Lucci said, smiling, as she looked down the row at her former co-workers. “This has never happened.” Bergman joked, “Raise your hand if Susan Lucci was at your wedding!” (Several did.)
* Home & Family, knowing its audience, played several clips from the long-running daytime drama. These included Bianca’s coming out to Erica, which caused Lucci to get up from her seat and hug her on-screen daughter. “I hear from people all the time that [the storyline] changed their life,” Riegel said. “It saved lives.”
* Riegel thanked Cameron Mathison for introducing her to her husband, Andrew Miller, who is one of Mathison’s good friends. “Yes, it’s some of the best work I have ever done,” Mathison joked.
* After Home & Family showed clips of Mark’s drug intervention on AMC, Noone — who won a Daytime Emmy for her part in the storyline — recalled that it was important to the series’ creator that the addicted person not be someone on the outside. “Agnes [Nixon], in her inimitable way,” Noone said, “wanted to deal with it through family.”
* A low-frills clip of Jenny’s ill-fated jetski ride caused Delaney to quip,”I think that would be shot a little differently now.”
* Edmund and Maria’s wedding day was a big one for Callahan and LaRue, who would later marry (and divorce) in real life. “We were already in love at that point. That was a fun day for us,” she said.
* Bergman was surprised when former co-star Taylor Miller appeared. She later taught everyone how to make a favorite recipe: chicken stew.
* Jill Larson, who played Opal, joined the ladies for a segment on natural lip-plumpers.
* Lucci plugged her Pilates Pro Chair, changing into workout wear — and wedge heels! — to demonstrate. (Sadly, she ditched the shoes before getting on the chair.)
* During a fashion segment that used Riegel and Delaney as models, Michael E. “Tad the Cad” Knight surprised the group by coming out wearing a Fifty Shades Darker-style mask. He later led a cooking lesson and made the group laugh with stories about how the show’s writers made Tad a foodie to explain Knight’s expanding waistline as the series progressed.
* LaRue revealed that Thorsten Kaye (who played Zach) surreptitiously stole her character’s name plate off a door at the on-set hospital and sent it to her as a memento.
* Toward the end of the two-hour broadcast, Lucci & Co. were brought to tears while talking about Nixon and several other deceased AMC favorites, including Frances “Fra” Heflin, Ruth Warrick, Louis Edmonds, Kay Campbell, Mary Fickett, Lee Chamberlin, Larkin Malloy, Matthew Cowles, James Mitchell, David Canary and Eileen Herlie.
Did you watch Home & Family‘s All My Children tribute?