Well, the list is out. No, not the Forbes list of billionaires and how much money they lost per hour as a result of the recession. The list. We now officially know which All My Children stars are making the move to Los Angeles when the show relocates in January. I would have written about last week's shows, but I think the real-life gossip is far more interesting than anything we've seen on-screen. Part of me wonders if the reason the show's storylines have gotten so pokey is because show execs didn't want to craft any juicy plots until they determined who was moving to Los Angeles. But that's just what I am thinking in my head.
Now, to the list. Even Santa's list doesn't get this much scrutiny. First, the good news: about 90% of the current cast will still be appearing on All My Children: Los Angeles. That title actually looks nice. I now see the appeal of the ten different Law & Order and CSIs.
Of course, there is bad news. Of the folks who are not relocating, a bunch have been fired, one has retired, and another appears to be ready to walk away from the show for good.
Four-time Emmy nominee Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater) is not relocating to Los Angeles. It was widely believed that the actor would commute to LA to tape scenes and then return home to be with his family. Through a moderator on his official web site, Kaye has now revealed that he will not be commuting to the West Coast. So unless Kaye somehow films all of his scenes in New York, it looks like he's leaving the show.
I'm going to say something now that will probably be very unpopular, but I want you to read the entire column before you let me have it.
If Thorsten Kaye doesn't want to continue with All My Children, I think the show has to recast the role of Zach. I say this only because for the past three or four years, AMC has been dubbed the "Zach and Kendall Hour" by some viewers. The show has put all of its eggs in one Zendall basket - and now that one of the stars wants out, the show pretty much screwed itself. Attention all soap opera executives: this is the danger of having one or two characters front and center all the time. If shows would make better, even use of their entire roster, this type of scenario would never rear its ugly head.
The dilemma is compounded by the real possibility that Alicia Minshew (Kendall) might not continue with the show past the expiration of her current contract. No one is saying that on the record, but I pride myself in being a realist. Alicia is about to have a baby - her first with her new husband. Her husband's business is based in New York and I wouldn't at all be upset if they got together and said that they want to spend a year or two just enjoying their family life. The same applies to Kaye. Can you blame him for not wanting to be away from the lovely Susan Haskell and their two daughters for extended periods of time?
From what I've read, many of you won't miss seeing Zach or Kendall on your screen every day. My reply to that is that you would have missed them had these two characters not been rammed into your eyeballs every episode, of every week. I think Thorsten Kaye is a really good actor. I like Alicia Minshew. It's an unfortunate situation.
Ray MacDonnell (Joe Martin) has opted to retire rather than continue on with All My Children. I can't say that I am surprised. Why would he want to uproot when he's seen on the show once a month? I feel like I am being selfish, though, for being upset that I won't get to see Joe anymore. By extrapolation, I guess that also means there will be no more Lee Meriwether appearances as Ruth 2.0. Who's going to be the new old married couple in Pine Valley? Erica and Ryan??
There were a trio of firings - Aiden Turner (Aidan Devane), Beth Ehlers (Taylor Thompson), and Brianne Moncrief (Colby Chandler). Some of you wrote in to put me on blast for saying in last week's column that I was gleeful about the firing of Turner, a new dad who will now not have a source of income. That's not the case. I was more perplexed at how a character could be on the air for the better part of a decade and have never had a major impact on story. Was it really that hard for the writers to come up with a blockbuster plot for the Brit?
The firing of Brianne baffles me. My guess is that since Daniel Kennedy (Peter Cortlandt) is not moving to LA by reason of his non-contract status with AMC, the powers that be decided that there's no story for Colby. That's dumb. So the show is recasting the role of Colby -- and not "aging" the role. Maybe Moncrief didn't want to relocate. I have to make it clear that she hasn't made any comment on that yet. If the exit is her choice, then I get it. Maybe the show is recasting everyone -- new Colby, new Petey, and a recast Opal and Palmer. I've heard whispers about the show having approached Dorothy Lyman about reprising her Emmy-winning role as Tad and Pete's momma. We'll just have to see.
Then there's Beth Ehlers. Remember the hoopla surrounding her addition to the AMC cast? Heck, I remember writing the article about her joining AMC nearly a month before the network would confirm it. Then what happened? Did AMC feel that it had lured as many Guiding Light viewers over as it could and that Beth's purpose was done? Or is it possible that her on-air outburst about her character's direction might have sealed her fate? Again, I find it a bit puzzling that the show determined that there was no additional story for Taylor. I still like my idea that Tad and Taylor could have gone into the PI business together. Maybe the network figured that they already have that in their lineup with the primetime hit, Castle.
Chrishell Stause (Amanda Dillon) is still moving to Los Angeles -- she planned to do so even before the show was headed there. However, she is sticking to her guns about not signing another contract with the ABC soap. She has said that she would like to continue appearing on a recurring basis, but will the show really risk crafting meaningful storylines for Amanda if they know that Stause might not be available in the future?
I have to admit that I am a little surprised that Stephanie Gatschet's (Madison North) name is on the list. Stephanie has done a great job as the crazy stalker chick, but, um, where's the future story for the character? There are two possibilities as I see it. The first is that the fact that Madison killed her husband will be dragged out for the next 13 weeks. The second is that Madison will be found out, but somehow arrange a soap plea deal that allows her to get off scot-free. I'm not sure that I like either of the options. Can you think of a third scenario that keeps Madison around? If so, I'd love to hear it.
As for the recurring characters we all love, I will miss many of them -- Opal, Emma, Peter. Hell, even seeing Winifred every now and again. There is talk that some faces from the past will return to the show. Oddsmakers say those faces will be Rebecca Budig (Greenlee Smythe) and Eden Riegel (Bianca Montgomery). I love both actresses -- love, love! -- but these returns don't "excite" me the way that they should. Both actresses have returned before, so it's not a once-in-a-lifetime event for me. I want blockbuster returns and additions, sort of like General Hospital's just-announced deal with James Franco.
I'm still anxious to see how the move goes. Will there be snafus? Are there exciting things to come? Will the sets look different? Will everyone look even sexier in high-definition? Stay tuned!
Believe it or not, after all this chatter about the Big Move, I still have things to say about last week's shows. To continue reading, please click here.