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A SOAP OPERA CENTRAL SPECIAL REPORT: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Part Three: Changes at B&B and ABC
Posted Saturday, December 28, 2002 8:37:59 AM
If you missed any of the previous parts of our special report, please click here.

NUMBER SIX
The Bold and the Beautiful Gets a Facelift

Comings and goings are a necessary evil of any daytime drama. Any visitor to the soapcentral.com site knows that in any given month, there can be anywhere from one to a half dozen departures - it just depends on whether or not it's a Sweeps period.

This year, however, The Bold and the Beautiful dismissed no less than seven of its contract players.

Former All My Children star Matt Borlenghi (ex-Ziggy Deadmarsh) was brought on board in a role that was originally intended to be recurring. The actor caught the attention of viewers and was made a contract part. Within three months, Borlenghi and his character were written out.

Rick Hearst (ex-Whipple "Whip" Jones) finished off a successful run as sister soap The Young and the Restless and was seen as a bright addition to the B&B canvas. But like Borlenghi, the actor was only on-screen for a short period of time before being sent away.

Several stars were "demoted" from contract status to recurring - which for all intents and purposes is the same thing as being fired. Paulo Benedeti (Tony Dominguez) and Tracy Melchior (Kristen Forrester) were bumped from contract status when their storyline hit a dead end. Benedeti's character had been diagnosed as HIV-positive and after a subsequent romantic storyline with Melchior's Kristen ended in marriage, there was little left for the writers to develop for the pair. Their on-screen adopted child, Daniel E Smith (Zende Forrester) was placed on recurring status earlier in the year at his own request.

Kimberlin Brown (ex-Sheila Carter) returned to B&B in what was the biggest surprise of the year. Her return had been kept such a tightly guarded secret that no one in the media had any idea that the actress would be returning to the soap. Brown's return allowed her to wreak her usual chaos on life in Los Angeles, but eventually Brown's Sheila got her just desserts and was written off. In her exit, her on-screen daughter Courtney Draper (ex-Erica Lovejoy) was also taken off contract.

But perhaps the biggest casting change was that of B&B's Hunter Tylo (ex-Taylor Forrester). B&B execs stunned viewers when they killed off Tylo's character. Tylo expressed her disappointment in the show for ditching her and her character, but declined to speak to any members of the media about her release.

    » Click here to read coverage of Hearst being written off of B&B.
    » Click here to read coverage of Tylo's announcement that she'd be leaving B&B.
    » Click here to read coverage of Draper being taken off contract.
    » Click here to read coverage of Melchior and Benedeti being bumped to recurring.
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NUMBER FIVE
Changes Behind-The-Scenes At ABC Daytime

Every network saw its share of behind-the-scenes changes in 2002, but perhaps there were no more sweeping changes than those made at ABC.

In March it was announced that ABC Daytime President Angela Shapiro would be giving up her position within the daytime branch of Disney's television empire to take on new responsibilities at the ABC Family Channel. Upon her departure in early August, Brian Frons was named Shapiro's successor. While Frons had daytime programming experience at CBS and NBC, this marked Frons' first experience under the ABC umbrella.

It took but a few weeks before Frons made his presence known at the network.

In September, Frons showed his commitment to the ratings-challenged Port Charles by announcing that the five-year-old soap would be given a special one-hour airing in One Life to Live's timeslot to kick off its tenth storyarc, "Surrender."

In October, One Life to Live's head writing team of Christopher Whitesell and Lorraine Broderick were relieved of their duties. Frons said in a statement that the changes to the writing team were in direct response to concerns he'd read in fan mail. Fans, said Frons, had stated that OLTL had lost its direction and focus. Frons managed to lure back Josh Griffith, an Emmy-winning former scribe, to the show with his former co-head writer Michael Malone on board as a creative consultant.

Also in October, Frons announced that All My Children's head writer Richard Culliton had been released after just about a year as the show's top scribe. By the end of the year, a scribe from within the show's existing writing team, Gordon Rayfield, had been promoted to the top slot.

In November, Emmy-winning Gary Tomlin was released as One Life to Live's executive producer. It came as a surprise to many that Tomlin, who helped guide One Life to Live to its first ever Daytime Emmy award as Outstanding Drama Series, was let go. Long-time OLTL behind-the-scenes fixture Frank Valentini was promoted to take over Tomlin's duties.

    » Click here to read coverage of Shapiro's farewell to ABC Daytime.
    » Click here to read coverage of Frons' ascension to the head of ABC's soaps.
    » Click here to read our coverage of PC's special hour-long episode.
    » Click here to read our coverage of the changes to OLTL's writing team.
    » Click here to read coverage of Culliton's ouster as AMC's top scribe.
    » Click here to read our coverage of Tomlin being replaced as OLTL EP.
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CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO PART FOUR OF OUR SPECIAL REPORT

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