Bryan Bedder/Getty Images; Heidi Gutman/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images; Gregorio Binuya/Getty Images
RIP, ATWT, AMC, and OLTL
Rumors of the “death of daytime” had been rumbling for years, but did anyone ever really think stalwart soaps like As the World Turns, All My Children, and One Life to Live would get the ax? Alas, the cancellation of beloved Guiding Light in 2009 made fans think anything was possible. Sadly, it was. ATWT, created by Irna Phillips, went off the air on September 17, 2010. Next, ABC decided to axe both AMC, which last aired on ABC on September 23, 2011, and OLTL, which had its ABC finale on January 13, 2012. “This is not the ending I wanted,” Erica (Susan Lucci) said in AMC’s last episode. Viewers concurred!
From Llanview to Port Charles
One Life to Live was gone, but ABC didn’t want to lose the creative team that made the show so entertaining. Frank Valentini, executive producer, and Ron Carlivati, head writer, were tapped to breathe new life into General Hospital, which had cancellation rumors hanging over its head as the show prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013. Thanks to Valentini and Carlivati’s efforts, the show not only survived but thrived. The two saved the show from being axed just as producer Gloria Monty and head writer Douglas Marland had saved GH in 1978.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
And the Emmy goes to…
On the heels of winning its first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 2009, Bold and the Beautiful repeated and then three-peated the next two years. At first glance, the show appears to be solely about beautiful people in tortured romances (um, yeah, it’s a soap opera!), but B&B has proven its merit by delving into topical issues. Over the last decade, showrunner Bradley Bell has addressed child abuse, Alzheimer’s, homelessness, and more. Thanks to its baby swap storyline, B&B took the top spot in the coveted demographic of Women 18-49 for several weeks this year.
Monty Brinton/CBS; ABC/Todd Wawrychuk
Actors have always jumped to other shows for varying reasons since soaps began, but fans needed extra scorecards to keep up with the comings and goings. There was practically a shuttle service going between the studios of Young and the Restless and General Hospital over the last decade. Steve Burton vacated his role as GH’s Jason in 2012 and later popped up on Y&R as Dylan. Michelle Stafford left Y&R as Phyllis in 2013 and later became GH’s Nina (see above). Billy Miller left Y&R in 2014 and was cast as GH’s “Jason” (actually, Drew) later that year. Next, Jason Thompson checked out of GH as Patrick in 2016 and then, he became Y&R’s Billy. Later, Burton and Stafford returned to their original soaps and roles adding to viewer whiplash!
Theo Wargo/Getty Images For The Writers Guild Of America
The Write Stuff
General Hospital and Days of Our Lives may air on different networks, but there are many similarities between the two serials. Actors and writers have done time in Port Charles and in Salem. In fact, late scribe Pat Falken Smith created both the DiMeras on DAYS and the Cassadines on GH. So, it felt so right from the beginning when Ron Carlivati (above), the former head writer at GH, was tapped to take over the head writing duties on DAYS.
His first order of business was to delve into the show’s rich history, as he had done at GH, and tell new stories featuring beloved characters. Carlivati gave DAYS fans what they wanted (what a concept!) when he resurrected Will (Chandler Massey), created new supercouple Ben (Robert Scott Wilson) and Ciara (Victoria Konefal), and wrote more than a few shirtless scenes for hottie Xander (Paul Telfer), turning him from villain to leading man along the way. Additionally, Carlivati wrote powerful tales including JJ (Casey Moss) accidentally shooting Theo (Kyler Pettis), which led to DAYS sweeping the 2018 Emmys, and last year’s right to life tale with Marlena (Deidre Hall).
Earlier this year, the eye network announced that EVP, Daytime, CBS, Angelica McDaniel (above), was leaving her post and her position would not be filled. Y&R and B&B now fall under current programming at CBS and the official CBS Daytime twitter account was retired. (Fans can still follow the show’s individual Twitter handles.) In 2016, while McDaniel was in charge of CBS Daytime, the Paley Media Center in Beverly Hills showcased a tribute to the network’s 30 years as No. 1 in daytime.
“Angelica McDaniel championed our daytime series line up with creativity, passion and energy and broke new ground by helping launch the Network’s first daytime talk show in years while respecting the long history and tradition of the dramas and game shows,” said Kelly Kahl, President, CBS Entertainment, in a statement. ”We appreciate her many contributions and wish her well on her next endeavors.”
Recently, McDaniel stepped behind the camera to direct Trophies, a comedic short about “a badass lady boss and her lovable trophy husband.”
“You’re My Brother…”
Bold and the Beautiful fans didn’t know what was going to happen, but they’d been tipped off to know that some big was going to be revealed on the episode airing March 18, 2015. Nicole Avant (Reign Edwards) was squaring off against her sibling Maya (Karla Mosley — seen above), who’d run away years earlier. Had Maya given birth to Nicole and left home, allowing her parents to raise her daughter as her sister? Nope. There wasn’t enough age disparity between the two women for the show to go down that well-traveled road. Instead, Nicole told Maya, “You’re not my sister at all. You’re Myron; you’re my brother.”
With that dramatic reveal, B&B launched a transgender love story in which Rick (Jacob Young) ultimately realized that he loved Maya and it didn’t matter that she’d been born Myron. #LoveWins
Another Life to Live
Fans always speculate, pray, and wish for canceled soaps to be revived on new platforms. This time, they got their wish when The Online Network launched web versions of axed ABC soaps All My Children and One Life to Live in 2013. The effort was noble and big-name stars were lured back to reprise their roles, most notably OLTL’s Erika Slezak (Viki) and Robin Strasser (Dorian). Fans were made aware that the shows were coming back thanks to a media blitz that included billboards plastered with the clever words “You Took My Children I Want Them Back!”
Alas, the reunions were short-lived and both shows concluded their web runs several months later. Rights to the ABC characters later reverted back to ABC, which is why we’ve seen OLTL’s Hillary B. Smith pop up on General Hospital as Nora.
Television – and its technology — is an ever-changing landscape and many are choosing to watch content on hand-held devices. With this in mind, Days of Our Lives launched the DOOL App in 2018. The App features exclusive promotional content and original scripted series including Chad & Abby in Paris (above) and the Last Blast Reunion. While other soaps don’t have apps, General Hospital can be seen on Hulu and Young and the Restless and Bold and the Beautiful are available to viewers on CBS All Access.
Over the past decade, soaps have given fans what they tune in every day for – payoffs! We can’t get them all in but highlights over the last decade include Bold and the Beautiful’s Oliver (Zack Conroy) and Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) having “mistaken identity sex,” and Stephanie (Susan Flannery) dying in Brooke’s arms; Days of Our Lives Sami (Alison Sweeney) and E.J. (James Scott) having grief sex witnessed by Sami’s son, Will (Chandler Massey); the returns of Kristen DiMera and her doppelganger Susan Banks (both Eileen Davidson and Stacy Haiduk slay in the dual roles); General Hospital’s heart-breaking Alzheimer’s storyline featuring Sonny (Maurice Benard) and his dad Mike (Max Gail), and the adventures of femme fatale Ava Jerome (Maura West); and on Young and the Restless: a powerful tale of abuse with J.T. (Thad Luckinbill) and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) and poignant tribute episodes for late stars Jeanne Cooper (ex-Katherine) and Kristoff St. John (ex-Neil — see above).
Waiting for a good soap opera storyline to climax can seem like it’s taking forever, but in real life, it sometimes feels like a decade just flies by!
When 2010 began, the genre still had 7 serials, and, as this decade comes to a close, it has 4.
Click through the gallery above for a look back at the Top 10 moments that shaped the genre – both good and bad – over the last decade.