October 15, 2010By Marc Wilkofsky Posted: Oct 15, 2010
Many AS THE WORLD TURNS viewers are assuredly still questioning and dealing with the loss of their show, as GUIDING LIGHT viewers have before them. Those who are sticking with daytime have probably been asking, "What else is there?"
The six remaining daytime soaps have a lot to offer, and it bodes well for former ATWT actors that the shows have offered roles — both old and new — to several GL alumni during the past year.
I certainly got two of my three wishes for 2010, which were listed in Weekly's Jan. 12 issue. Yes, YOUNG AND RESTLESS' Billy did in fact find a new love interest (and wife), Victoria, and a considerable number of former GLers scored other daytime jobs. Early in the year, BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL brought Zack Conroy (ex-James, GL) into the fairly standout role of Oliver, who shook up the show in the highly discussed accidental-sex storyline, one of the most engaging stories of the year.
On Y&R — which has grabbed Maura West and Paul Leyden (ex-Carly and ex-Simon, ATWT) as Diane and Blake — Conroy's former TV sister, Marcy Rylan (ex-Lizzie, GL), has been a lively success as Abby, who has added much more than (much-needed) laughs to Genoa City. I realize Chance's anti-crime story wasn't too show-shaking, but just half an hour before ATWT's final episode last month, I viewed John Driscoll's surprisingly bringing his character back to life as a coincidental drop of the hat to GL, on which he played Coop. Chance's reunion scenes with his parents were memorably moving.
Jeff Branson (ex-Shayne, GL) has done a fine job as stern FBI agent Ronan since June, and recently had a quiet, graceful scene with Nina, in which they tried to figure out their relationship. It was wonderful for her to give him Chance's copy of her book, and with so much potential between Nina and her newfound son, I'm looking forward to the next time Ronan pops up.
And then there's ONE LIFE TO LIVE, in which we've been treated to the return of Branson's previous TV mom, Kim Zimmer (ex-Reva, GL), as the irrepressible Echo DiSavoy. She joins several former Springfielders, including Gina Tognoni (ex-Dinah), who also came back to Llanview this year as Kelly and has set up a few intriguing connections with other characters. It's a thrill to see Jessica Leccia (ex-Natalia, GL), who joined OLTL this year as Inez, work closely with former GL patriarch Jerry verDorn (Clint; ex-Ross), and although he'll be playing an apparently far-from-good guy, it's heartwarming that John Wesley Shipp (who played GL hero Kelly in the '80s) will jump into the storyline as Inez's ex, Eddie. It's already easy to spot four or more GL alumni in the space of two OLTL scenes.
I just find it encouraging to see so many actors score new roles, and it makes for an exciting time for the industry. Now we just have to hope that the roles are filled with quality storylines and strong dialogue. We depend on the writers to present plotlines that make sense, but since we've seen almost everything in daytime, making them entertaining can be a tough challenge. The casting coups may pull us in, but it's the telling of each story that keeps viewers watching; we admire creativity and require the respect of characters. There are still reasons to have faith in today's soaps, as long as we remember that the writers can only work with their impressive imaginations and the boundaries of reality. After all, what else is there?