It may have been the worst-kept secret in all of television. But despite the fact that the proverbial cat had long been out of the bag, ABC pressed on with its Emmy night announcement that former Guiding Light star Beth Ehlers (ex-Harley Cooper) had joined the cast of All My Children.
"My man Ricky Paull Goldin, a new resident of Pine Valley," greeted Emmy co-host Cameron Mathison. "Why don't you tell everybody at home why the beautiful Beth Ehlers is sitting right next to you, at an All My Children table."
"Beth Ehlers is coming over from Guiding Light," Goldin smiled. "I just don't think she can... you know... keep herself from following me wherever I go."
While the announcement lacked the drama that the network created when it announced the addition of Rosie O'Donnell to The View two year's earlier, most insiders believe that the announcement was never intended to be a jaw-dropper. The announcement was, however, seen by many as a way for host network ABC to stick it to rival network CBS, whose soaps made up the bulk of this year's Daytime Emmy acting nominations.
"I am so thrilled," Ehlers grinned in making the announcement. "Thank you for having me. It's going to be a good time."
The news of Ehlers joining the AMC cast was first reported by Soap Central in May. The news sent many media outlets into a frenzy, with several incorrectly reporting that Ehlers would be playing the role of Liza Colby. The network has yet to issue a statement that includes the name of Ehlers' new role, but the Emmy-nominated actress will not be playing Liza. A recent change to All My Children's writing team has left Ehlers' spot in the AMC cast up in the air. However, Soap Central has been able to confirm that Ehlers will create a brand new role on AMC. Ehlers will portray Army Lieutenant Taylor Thompson, a veteran of the Iraq war.
Ehlers joined the Guiding Light cast in September 1987 and made her final appearance earlier this year. The CBS soap has not announced whether or not it will recast the role of Harley.
For much of the past seven years, Ehler was paired romantically with Goldin's Gus Aituro. During that time, the duo was twice named daytime's hottest on-screen pair. All My Children is widely expected to capitalize on the fanbase that the pair has already attracted and pair up the couple in Pine Valley.
ABC has moved up Ehlers' first airdate to July 24th. She was to have originally debuted on August 5th.