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On 1/24/2021 at 4:40 PM, safe said:

 

 

Had to search through my old magazines to find this - I recalled this from a Labine/Mayer interview where Soap Opera Digest said they created the Kirklands 

 

 

 

July 19, 1983 issue

 

"Ryan's Hope" : Long Awaited Return to Familiar Faces, Familiar Dreams

 

Once ABC owned the show, "Ryan's Hope",  began to change. "There was a difference in opinions as to which direction the show should take," Paul reflects. "The network wanted a new family on the show," Claire says. "All I have to say this in all justice -- philosophically, it was a viable decision. We had worked the veins of the Ryan's at this point! ABC have breathed new life into 'One Life to Live' by bringing in a new family in. But the problem here was that Paul and I had been doing this show for seven years and we were making up a new family on demand. We didn't  feel the need for it."

 

Nevertheless, because they relinquished creative control by selling the show, Paul and Claire created the Kirklands, a wealthy, power-monger family. Hollis Kirkland was played by veteran star Peter Haskell. Hollis fairly burst onto the "Ryan 's Hope" stage and his plotline, which linked him to the show's other reigning power-monger, Rae Woodard, soon consumed the whole serial. It was the end of "Ryanness" as the new emphasis on glitz, intrigue and heavy plotting took over. Viewers who had known and loved "Ryan's Hope" for it's done-to-earth storylines didn't know what to make of it, and ratings dropped to an all-time low.

 

 

 

 

22 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

Labine seems to be contradicting herself here, admitting the Ryans were pretty much bled dry and a new blood was necessary but then saying a new family wasn't needed.

I would think they would be enthused about working a new family in to provide fresh material for the Ryans.


I think she's not so much contradicting herself as admitting she wasn't an objective source.  She was ordered to create a new, paint-by-numbers family, but admittedly had no inspiration to do so and maybe that was partly why it didn't work.  The early Buchanans (and the Lewises, for that matter) seem like shameless Dallas rip-offs in some ways, but someone at least was excited to be writing for them and seemed to genuinely have a vision for how they could shake things up...I suspect that's partly why those families evolved and carved out niche roles for themselves in their respective canvases, and ultimately outlasted the primetime soap fad by several decades.  Whereas the Kirklands were at least derivative, but there was nobody creatively invested in them.

 

The quote also kind of dovetails with something Labine said in another interview decades later, about how she wished by the early '80s she'd admitted she was burnt out and taken time off.  It seems like she acknowledged something had to give, and maybe new blood with a less jarring transition would have been more successful.

 

Based on this great find from safe, I'm modifying my previous theory—my best guess now is that there were elements of the Kirklands that Labine and Mayer enjoyed writing (Leigh chief among them, which makes me all the more curious about whether Munisteri or whoever arbitrarily changed the name of the Kirkland daughter who was first introduced, or if the plan was always for Leigh to arrive last), but by and large their hearts weren't in it and when they returned it seemed easy enough to send most of the family packing and start fresh.

 

22 hours ago, Sean said:

 

Considering the significant ratings drop that occurred midway through 1982, I assume there was pressure from the network to do a sweeping overhaul, even if it meant jettisoning an element that they'd been pushing heavily a few months earlier.  Something like 10 contract cast members were dropped between January and March 1983, with only one (Roscoe Born) being by the actor's choice.

 

I am curious how much the ratings actually dropped in 1982.  It seems likely the show would have reached "an all-time low" by the end of the year barring a miracle, because the entire ABC lineup had enjoyed GH's lead-in audience during the Luke and Laura heyday (it's a cruel irony that the highest ratings of the show's history were probably during that putrid strike material in the summer of 1981) even though the long-term trajectory of soap viewership by that point was downward.  It's hard to believe RH plummeted as drastically that year as it did in 1984, after the show had been completely gutted and lost its timeslot to boot.  But of course ABC stayed the course for at least a year after that, with the even more radical changes they had implemented after Labine and Mayer left again.  It seems like if ever there would have been the time to do a complete about-face, that would have been it—not in 1982 with the Kirklands or 1983 with the McCurtains.

 

22 hours ago, Sean said:

 

It's definitely an interesting contrast with her return in 1987, when Max Dubujak was the only major character that got knocked off the show, and that move seemed destined to happen anyway given the way the Overlord storyline made no qualms about his (cartoonish) villainy. (And while I realize being a consultant is virtually always a toothless role - as shown over and over again throughout daytime history - part of me wonders if the higher-ups implemented some of Labine's suggestions when she joined RH as a consultant partway through 1986, as the show was much better then than it had been during pretty much any other period under Tom King and Millee Taggart. Maybe just my bias showing!)

 

 

Before Hardy moved over to General Hospital in late 1989, he was the executive producer at Loving for a little more than a year. According to a Nancy Reichardt article I came across, his transition to Loving was announced at the show's five-year anniversary party in June 1988, where he joined Agnes Nixon in cutting the cake. In articles where he's interviewed, Hardy has always struck me as the kind of EP who didn't necessarily have his own vision to imprint on his shows but was instead happy to implement the directive of his network. That seems to be the spirit in which ABC moved him over first to Loving and then to GH, both shows that were seen as being in choppy waters (of different kinds) at the time.

 

According to the same press coverage, Felicia Minei Behr took over at RH on June 20th (not sure if that was the production date or airdate). I believe FMB joined the show as a producer in either 1982 or 1983, so she would have overlapped with Labine & Mayer's 1983 stint as well.

 

I suspect Labine being in the room in 1986-87 couldn't have hurt, plus the fact that she was welcome back in the room was probably itself an indicator that there was general interest in making the show better and reviving the core.  Whether or not aging Little John so drastically and making Delia a grandmother (even with Yasmine Bleeth/Ryan, her surviving parent was muuuch older) was the best way to do that, at least they were trying.

 

21 hours ago, DRW50 said:

The Ryan family feels played out and at a real loss by the time the Soapnet run ends, with Pat and Frank gone, a wan Siobhan recast and an unsuccessful introduction of cousin EJ after bailing on her brother Barry after only a year. I can see why ABC may have wanted a fresh start, while still keeping the figureheads of Maeve and Johnny, along with Siobhan. I can also see why they tried to rebuild after the changes caused further audience erosion. I haven't really watched enough of 1983 to know how it would have worked out - the Delia stuff is so bad and the show just feels very flat in that way ABC soaps of the '80s sometimes can, if you know what I mean. That and I'm not exactly rushing to see Faith/Pat round 4 (or was it 5...).

 

The treatment of Delia/Ilene Kristen was shameful (although I'll take Labine's word for it that it wasn't what she and Mayer wanted to do), and Pat and Faith did nothing for me, but aside from that I would say that brief 1983 period was a high point for the show, and not like any other '80s ABC soap I've seen.  The dialogue was never better, and the characters had energy and life again.  Even Pat and Faith were a visual cue that the show was looking like itself again, and Faith was at least being written as a functioning member of the Ryan-Coleridge circle.  And I think Charlotte's mystery was genuinely exciting and she was the kind of new blood that could have actually helped the show, especially if she'd stayed at least long enough to overlap with Maggie, which I have to assume was the original plan.

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On 1/25/2021 at 9:54 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

I am curious how much the ratings actually dropped in 1982.  It seems likely the show would have reached "an all-time low" by the end of the year barring a miracle, because the entire ABC lineup had enjoyed GH's lead-in audience during the Luke and Laura heyday (it's a cruel irony that the highest ratings of the show's history were probably during that putrid strike material in the summer of 1981) even though the long-term trajectory of soap viewership by that point was downward.  It's hard to believe RH plummeted as drastically that year as it did in 1984, after the show had been completely gutted and lost its timeslot to boot. 

 

You make a very fair point, and from what I've read the ratings in 1982 can only be considered disappointing in light of how well the show was doing during the summer and fall of 1981. ABC's disappointment in the ratings and itchiness behind the scenes is understandable only in that context. It does make a certain kind of perverse sense that they'd begin to feel that Claire Labine was replaceable given the success of the show under the scabs.

 

A while back, the monthly ratings reports from Daytime TV were posted in this thread. They're not always the most reliable indicator as (1) the reports seem to be linked to specific weeks rather than specific months and (2) they were published a few months behind and not consistently sobased on the specific shows that are listed, some are only 2 months behind and some are up to 4 months behind.

 

With those caveats out of the way, in the Daytime TV  ratings reports Ryan's Hope seems to peak around August 1981, when it ranks in fourth place with a 7.8 ratingthat's the last month of the strike, around the time Kim gave birth to Arley and the Monte Carlo Room opened at the Crystal Palace. For the remainder of 1981, the show is consistently ranking in either fifth or sixth place. Somewhere in that thread there's a separate breakdown of the key demos for the fourth quarter of 1981, and Ryan's Hope was also in the top 5 for that report. I have to imagine ABC was pretty happy with that performance, given that the ratings had been stagnating a bit around 1979-80.

 

By the time you get to early 1982, the show dips down to seventh and eighth place, with a small bump back up to sixth place for May/June 1982. So by the time Labine is dumped in favor of Munisteri, the show is down compared to 1981 but basically back to where it was in 1979 and 1980. ABC's decision to make this change in writers really only makes sense in the context of the ratings drop relative to the strike material, as well as the tumultuous relationship that Labine acknowledges she had with the ABC brass at the time.

 

Of course, by the end of Munisteri's brief time as HW the show has dropped even more, with ratings now in the 5s and dropping to ninth place. The ratings don't seem to move at all throughout Labine & Mayer's 1983 return, with the show consistently ranking either in ninth or tenth place and sometimes dipping into the 4s. Under Pat Falken Smith that ranking remains unchanged and the ratings continue to atrophy until the show ends up at the bottom of the ratings basement with The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow after the timeslot change.

 

As to why ABC allowed PFS to go more than a year as headwriter when they were so willing to make quick changes in the writers' room in 1982 and 1983, I assume that they were giving her a wider berth given her track record at General Hospital and given the degree to which the show's character was altered. It may also be that they were becoming less invested, particularly with the timeslot change.

 

(IIRC, Soap Opera Digest was speculating as early as spring 1983 that ABC was going to cancel RH in favor of Loving, though that seems drastic given that it had been in the top 5 only 18 months earlier.)

 

On 1/25/2021 at 9:54 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

I suspect Labine being in the room in 1986-87 couldn't have hurt, plus the fact that she was welcome back in the room was probably itself an indicator that there was general interest in making the show better and reviving the core.  Whether or not aging Little John so drastically and making Delia a grandmother (even with Yasmine Bleeth/Ryan, her surviving parent was muuuch older) was the best way to do that, at least they were trying.

To be fair, I feel like by 1986 you really had no choice but to make Little John college-aged, given that LJ was always a few years older than Ryan and that they'd already aged up and married off (!!) Ryan by the time Jason Adams was cast in the role. Of course, no need to make Frank and Delia grandparents!

 

 

On 1/24/2021 at 11:26 PM, DRW50 said:

The Ryan family feels played out and at a real loss by the time the Soapnet run ends, with Pat and Frank gone, a wan Siobhan recast and an unsuccessful introduction of cousin EJ after bailing on her brother Barry after only a year. I can see why ABC may have wanted a fresh start, while still keeping the figureheads of Maeve and Johnny, along with Siobhan. I can also see why they tried to rebuild after the changes caused further audience erosion. I haven't really watched enough of 1983 to know how it would have worked out - the Delia stuff is so bad and the show just feels very flat in that way ABC soaps of the '80s sometimes can, if you know what I mean. That and I'm not exactly rushing to see Faith/Pat round 4 (or was it 5...).

 

I had a longer response drafted to this that was unfortunately eaten by the board, but I'll just join DeliaIrisFan in singing the praises for 1983. It's definitely one of the show's most consistent periods, alongside 1976-78 and 1987. The Charlotte Greer and early Maggie/Bess storylines are really well-done, and the show is smart enough to play the Faith/Pat reunion as a B-storyit helps make the show feel more like itself, without spending too much time actually regurgitating well-trod plot points.

 

I hated seeing Delia's role reduced, but the only material I truly loathed was when they had her frame Little John for stealing money in order to get Frank's attentionmercifully, that was abandoned after all of one week. (Her exit after L&M were fired also sounds bad.)

 

I did like how Delia was incorporated into the Charlotte Greer story at times, and they also played up her friendship with Siobhan which I enjoyedthat friendship seemed to go by the wayside during Ann Gillespie's time as Siobhan.

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Here is the entire article

 

Soap Opera Digest 

July 19, 1983 

 

"Ryan's Hope" : Long Awaited Return to Familiar Faces, Familiar Dreams

 

 

By Nerissa Radell

 

In 1974, while they were still writing for "Love of Life," Paul Avila Mayer and Claire Labine began work on another soap opera. "Ryan's Hope," as it was called, was different right from the very start. In 1975, when the show premiered on ABC, most soap operas were situated in fictional American cities. "Ryan's Hope," however, was one of a kind. The Irish Catholic Ryan family, headed by Maeve  and Johnny Ryan (expertly played by Helen Gallagher and Bernard Barrow) ran a neighborhood bar - not in everyman's town but in New York City.  Maeve and Johnny didn't own a house or have a luxurious apartment. They lived right upstairs from their bar with their four children, whom they unabashedly loved. In fact, "Ryan's Hope" was all about that love and the various forms it took within that close family. Sounds simple? Well, it was...

 

From 1975 to 1980, Paul and Claire produced, packaged and wrote their show very successfully for ABC. But in 1980, for financial reasons, Claire and Paul sold "Ryan's Hope" to the network. During that time, the series won 11 Emmys, including two awards for Best Show and four awards for Best Writing. "We were probably the lowest paid writers in daytime when we were winning all those awards," Paul smiles. "In fact, I know we were. We paid ourselves the absolute minimum so all the money could go back into the show. As soon as there was extra money, the actors got it. We were constantly over budget."

 

Once ABC owned the show, "Ryan's Hope",  began to change. "There was a difference in opinions as to which direction the show should take," Paul reflects. "The network wanted a new family on the show," Claire says. "All I have to say this in all justice -- philosophically, it was a viable decision. We had worked the veins of the Ryan's at this point! ABC have breathed new life into 'One Life to Live' by bringing in a new family in. But the problem here was that Paul and I had been doing this show for seven years and we were making up a new family on demand. We didn't  feel the need for it."

 

Nevertheless, because they relinquished creative control by selling the show, Paul and Claire created the Kirklands, a wealthy, power-monger family. Hollis Kirkland was played by veteran star Peter Haskell. Hollis fairly burst onto the "Ryan 's Hope" stage and his plotline, which linked him to the show's other reigning power-monger, Rae Woodard, soon consumed the whole serial. It was the end of "Ryanness" as the new emphasis on glitz, intrigue and heavy plotting took over. Viewers who had known and loved "Ryan's Hope" for it's done-to-earth storylines didn't know what to make of it, and ratings dropped to an all-time low.

 

 "We got a little off track," says Michael Levin who, as Jack Fenelli, has intrigued fans for eight years with his role as a crusading newspaper columnist. " When we were good, we really did good work and it wasn't about  millionaires and gangsters and mystery and adventure. " (Once ABC owned the show, the plots began to focus on way out storylines a la "General Hospital.") The good work was just about human beings trying to love one another or not to love one another. The whole idea of 'Ryan's Hope' is that it's a hope for love and for trust...and that's not easy," he adds.

 

Yet, despite their commitment to "Ryan's Hope," Paul and Claire left the show fifteen months after they sold it to ABC. "We were fired," Claire says matter-of-factly. I went back to work in February of 1982 without Paul to find there were various changes in personnel. "

 

"We'd gotten into trouble when the scenes the network wanted written weren't the kind of scenes Claire wanted to write or were written for performers who couldn't fill them," adds Paul. " "The result was, the scenes didn't work. When we wrote scenes for the Ryan's, the scenes worked."

 

So several months later, Claire left the show again. But in January of 1983, ABC approached both Paul and Claire about returning. Needless to say, there was some major overhauling to be done. Some of these "steps" included rather drastic moves, such as the releasing of nine characters from the show (including the entire Kirkland family). Plots were dropped right in the middle of their action lines. Several primary roles were recast. Says Paul, "It wasn't the performers' fault, but if you look at those characters, they were all nasty people grubbing for money. We write a very sentimental show, about love and sex, things we're interested in. We wanted to go back and build the stories around the family which meant we had to lose some of the Kirklands."

 

There were other compromises both the writers and the network reached. " We came back to the show with the understanding that we could get our original casting director, Shirley Rich, back," Claire explains. " Shirley had found all our other wonderful original cast members and we wanted another Frank Ryan for the show. (Daniel Hugh-Kelly, who was the last actor to play the part, left in 1981. ) We also wanted to have Malcolm Groome, the original Pat Ryan, come back because he's great and because his presence on the set brings such joy to everyone who works with him. There was a perfectly lovely actor, James Clark, who was playing the role, " Claire admits, " but he wasn't Malcolm. In order for us to come back, we wanted Malcolm back, too."

 

Malcolm Groome, who'd left the series in 1978, is thrilled to be back in New York and on the show. "Ryan's Hope" is a great working situation, "  he exclaims. " The fact that I am back and that the whole show is going back to it's original thrust should make a difference. The Ryan's and the Coleridge were getting to be strangers on their own show...Paul and Claire's return will make a big difference, we're already starting to see that. We're all very excited."

 

For Malcolm, the reclaiming of his role Pat Ryan was a natural process.   "As an actor, you bring part of yourself to a part. When I decided to come back, I thought through Pat as I had left him, how he would have grown since then, etc. Actually, I came right in at the peak of Jimmy Clark's storyline. I literally Jumped in and brought my understanding of Pat as I had always known him to that situation."

 

Ilene Kristen, another "Ryan's Hope " original, had left her role as Delia Reed Ryan Coleridge after three and half years of creating a character  who alternatively amused and infuriated audiences. As Delia, Ilene stopped at nothing, including a bout with blindness, to get what she wanted- usually attention from a man. When Randall Edwards - who'd been playing the role of Delia - decided to leave the show, ABC approached Ilene about coming back.

 

Although Claire and Paul have established their interest in keeping as much of the original cast as possible, Randall Edward's Delia was someone they could write for. When Ilene left the show  in 1979, it was hard to replace her, " Claire sums up. " But what Randall did was astonishing. She managed to continue the line of the character, to be her own Delia, and still be a Delia Paul and I enjoyed writing for."

 

Unlike Groome, Ilene had a harder time resuming her role after another actress had played the part. "It was totally different, " Ilene says of Randall's characterization. "As Dee, I suddenly had this restaurant with which I didn't know what to do. I had to dress up in elegant clothes. Dee is a real street fighter in a way, and the story had become very opulent - so had the show. I kept wondering what happened to those simple souls. I mean they'd gone Hollywood!"

 

Nancy Addison, another original cast member, had several problems with her character during the Kirkland reign. " I like Jill," Nancy says of her character, Jill Coleridge, one of daytime's first liberated women. "The year and a half while we were waiting to find another Frank Ryan for me was excruciating! The focus went to an entirely different thing, and none of the old people were being used. Viewers were used to these good family people who owned a bar and their good friends, the Coleridges, who had money. They were used to the love, the conflict, the children. All of a sudden we were trying to be something we weren't, and we couldn't make it there. I was feeling down about the show for a while, " Nancy admits. "But these changes have given me - all of us - a lift. Geoffrey Pierson is Frank Ryan. I feel like an actress again!"

 

Now that Paul and Claire have returned to "Ryan 's Hope, " the show seems to be headed right back where it belongs. Needless to say, there will be various problems to overcome- not the least of which is a heavy, rich "past" to contend with.  " One of the problems with refocusing on the Ryan family is that there have been so many interrelationships." Claire comments. " We have to avoid playing what we've already done."

 

For example, one of its hottest stories in the late 70's was the  love triangle between Jill-Frank-Dee. For a while, it seemed as though this same situation was brewing. Comments Paul, " The outlines were  ten days ahead of taping, and we really thought that in all honesty Dee, who' d had everything taken away from her, would go after Frank when he came home again.  Having written this for ten years, we used up a lot of our fantasies. It's sometimes hard to find things that are fresh."

 

Of particular interest over the years have been the romances between the Coleridge sisters (Jill and Faith) and the Ryan brothers, Frank and Pat.  "I'd like to see Jill and Frank get married," says Claire - no doubt speaking for the hundreds of viewers  who agree with her - " and have the most loving, the most trying relationship in the world of soap opera marriages. That is what we've promised the audience." As for the Pat and Faith romance, which seems to be headed for a triangle-type twist not unlike the Dee-Pat-Faith story of the late 70's." This is where we're in danger of being on worn ground, " Claire admits.  "But there is a difference between Amanda (the third part of the triangle) and Dee. Pat's response to both of them will be clearly drawn - Amanda is mad, curably mad. What is fun to play Pat and Faith trying to be responsible to one another and then to this person, Amanda, who's in this emotional mess."

 

Another compelling storyline will be the tempestuous romance between Jack Fenelli and Leigh Kirkland (played by Felicity LaFortune).  Viewers who remember the emotional relationship between  Jack  Fenelli and his first wife Mary Ryan (originally played by the incomparable Kate Mulgrew), will watch as Jack once again puts aside his fears of being loved and once again makes himself vulnerable to a woman. "We're going to do this in a very challenging way,"  smiles Michael Levin. " I hope the audience is ready for Jack to fall in love again."

 

Yes, "Ryan's Hope " is back where it belongs. " I hated to see it battered and bloodied, " Claire says. "We have the best dialogue writers in daytime: Nancy Ford, Judith Pinsker, and Mary Munisteri. One of the most you touching things anyone's ever said to me about the show is something Mary said once  - ' I would rather be part of a contributing popular myth than Proust.' " Paul adds, "Contributing is the operative word here. In order to do this, we have to invest a certain passion and caring. We know 'Ryan's Hope' is going to work again."

Edited by safe
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On 1/31/2021 at 7:38 PM, safe said:

Here is the entire article

 

 

Thank you.

 

On 1/29/2021 at 5:40 PM, Sean said:

 

You make a very fair point, and from what I've read the ratings in 1982 can only be considered disappointing in light of how well the show was doing during the summer and fall of 1981. ABC's disappointment in the ratings and itchiness behind the scenes is understandable only in that context. It does make a certain kind of perverse sense that they'd begin to feel that Claire Labine was replaceable given the success of the show under the scabs.

 

A while back, the monthly ratings reports from Daytime TV were posted in this thread. They're not always the most reliable indicator as (1) the reports seem to be linked to specific weeks rather than specific months and (2) they were published a few months behind and not consistently sobased on the specific shows that are listed, some are only 2 months behind and some are up to 4 months behind.

 

With those caveats out of the way, in the Daytime TV  ratings reports Ryan's Hope seems to peak around August 1981, when it ranks in fourth place with a 7.8 ratingthat's the last month of the strike, around the time Kim gave birth to Arley and the Monte Carlo Room opened at the Crystal Palace. For the remainder of 1981, the show is consistently ranking in either fifth or sixth place. Somewhere in that thread there's a separate breakdown of the key demos for the fourth quarter of 1981, and Ryan's Hope was also in the top 5 for that report. I have to imagine ABC was pretty happy with that performance, given that the ratings had been stagnating a bit around 1979-80.

 

By the time you get to early 1982, the show dips down to seventh and eighth place, with a small bump back up to sixth place for May/June 1982. So by the time Labine is dumped in favor of Munisteri, the show is down compared to 1981 but basically back to where it was in 1979 and 1980. ABC's decision to make this change in writers really only makes sense in the context of the ratings drop relative to the strike material, as well as the tumultuous relationship that Labine acknowledges she had with the ABC brass at the time.

 

Of course, by the end of Munisteri's brief time as HW the show has dropped even more, with ratings now in the 5s and dropping to ninth place. The ratings don't seem to move at all throughout Labine & Mayer's 1983 return, with the show consistently ranking either in ninth or tenth place and sometimes dipping into the 4s. Under Pat Falken Smith that ranking remains unchanged and the ratings continue to atrophy until the show ends up at the bottom of the ratings basement with The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow after the timeslot change.

 

As to why ABC allowed PFS to go more than a year as headwriter when they were so willing to make quick changes in the writers' room in 1982 and 1983, I assume that they were giving her a wider berth given her track record at General Hospital and given the degree to which the show's character was altered. It may also be that they were becoming less invested, particularly with the timeslot change.

 

Oh yeah, I can see why the network gave PFS more latitude than Munsteri.  If anything, I'm just more surprised that they (temporarily) abandoned the idea of turning RH into a more generic show at all after the brief Kirkland era, as opposed to scapegoating Munisteri for the poor showing and immediately replacing her with a more established head writer from one of the more popular shows of the era.

 

In fact, seeing those early '80s ratings—thank you for sharing those—and how GL was the highest rated non-ABC soap that one month when RH rode GH's coattails to the top four made me wonder...  What might have been if ABC had hired Doug Marland as RH's head writer around that time?  He was after all the one who first youthified GH and took it to the top of the ratings, and despite the fact that he apparently parted on not the best terms, he did come back into the ABC orbit not long afterward (to create Loving, because of course everything in the soap biz is connected).  And his rate at that time must have been comparable to what PFS commanded.


I feel less guilty suggesting this because Labine herself said later in life that she wished she'd taken a year or two off in the early '80s because she was burnt out: Marland is about the only writer from that period I can think of who could have maybe successfully integrated some of the elements ABC was looking for at the time, while juggling the Ryans and Coleridges as well.  And perhaps he would have left behind fodder that Labine and/or Mayer might have enjoyed exploring when they inevitably returned.

 

On 1/29/2021 at 5:40 PM, Sean said:

 

To be fair, I feel like by 1986 you really had no choice but to make Little John college-aged, given that LJ was always a few years older than Ryan and that they'd already aged up and married off (!!) Ryan by the time Jason Adams was cast in the role. Of course, no need to make Frank and Delia grandparents!

 

I know, it would be almost as unbelievable to watch Ryan aged to be older than Little John.  Especially remembering that he was (indirectly) the cause of the two biggest fights that led to the breakup of Jack and Mary's first marriage while she was pregnant with Ryan.  But maybe they could have at least cast someone who seemed less mature for his age, whereas Adams came across as a grown man, no way around it.

 

Also, Ilene's return was intentionally timed with Jonno, Lizzie, and Owen's introduction, which just drew attention to the ridiculousness of him being her son at that point.  Unlike so many soap relatives in recent years who rarely remember they're family because of lazy writing, I dare say that Delia and Little John barely crossing paths with each other once he grew up actually could have been justifiable, with the added benefit of helping downplay the age issues.  Delia was never a good mother, and her son had plenty of reasons not to be that attached to her (or Frank, for that matter).

 

That said, I do think what the Labines did with Delia and Jonno's relationship after they (re-)took the head writing reins—and inherited a canvas that included both characters very much involved in each others' lives—was interesting, and also represented an alternative direction in which their relationship could have belieavably gone.  (In other words, Delia putting her manipulative tendencies to work to help her son, while conveniently going after someone she also had reason to dislike, i.e., Maggie and Jill's brother.)

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On 2/2/2021 at 8:18 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

That said, I do think what the Labines did with Delia and Jonno's relationship after they (re-)took the head writing reins—and inherited a canvas that included both characters very much involved in each others' lives—was interesting, and also represented an alternative direction in which their relationship could have belieavably gone.  (In other words, Delia putting her manipulative tendencies to work to help her son, while conveniently going after someone she also had reason to dislike, i.e., Maggie and Jill's brother.)

 

Agreed - and Ilene Kristen and Ash Adams really sold the mother/son bond.

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I have a few questions about Delia when Randall was playing her:

 

- In what order did the opening of the Crystal Palace, King Kong - ahem - Prince Albert and running over Barry Ryan happen?

 

- Why did Delia and Roger's first marriage break up?

 

- Why was Dee all of a sudden mooning over her despised first husband, Frank?

 

Thanks!!

 

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8 hours ago, amybrickwallace said:

I have a few questions about Delia when Randall was playing her:

 

- In what order did the opening of the Crystal Palace, King Kong - ahem - Prince Albert and running over Barry Ryan happen?

 

-

 

 

Prince Albert started right away in the new year (198O) and he abducted her mid-March.  Crystal Palace opened mid-May. Barry's was run down in late September.

 

8 hours ago, amybrickwallace said:

 

 

- Why did Delia and Roger's first marriage break up?

 

 

 

 

Roger pulled a "Frank Ryan" and threw her out after he caught her with Dan Fox. After he had slept with Rae first, which led Dee to be vulnerable to Dan. Roger didn't care that Dan "forced " her to continue the affair,  just like Frank didn't care that Roger "forced" her  during the Frank/Delia marriage . (Although Frank and Delia's marriage was in a better place at that time, Delia did admit to Father McShane  that she was continuing the affair and giving in to Roger's "blackmail" to keep Roger around as a back-up just in case Frank still left her) 

 

8 hours ago, amybrickwallace said:

 

 

- Why was Dee all of a sudden mooning over her despised first husband, Frank?

 

 

 

 

.After hearing how Labine and Mayer thought it was natural for Delia to go after Frank again in 1983, I imagine they saw this also as some natural old pattern, too,  of looking for safety and protection from the Ryan's and Frank after the break-up with Barry and the hit-and-run. 

Edited by safe
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Why is it 30 years later that I noticed how f#$%ed up it was that Roger Coleridge was romantically linked to his stepsister Maggie? 

 

Maybe I didn't think about it at the time, because Maggie didn't grow up with Jill.  As I recall, nobody commented on Maggie being Roger's step-sister.  However, he must have grown up with Bess in the household.  Bess slept with Roger's father and they shared a baby.  He was aware of Maggie's relationship with Jill, whom he treasured.  So, in hindsight, it is kind of gross that Maggie and Roger grew close enough to have a child together...

 

I'm willing to chalk it up to one of those soap instances where there aren't enough characters in town to avoid people engaging in romances with their extended family (although to be fair RH took place in Manhattan which is an infinite resource of characters).

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I believe Dr. Ed Coleridge and Bess Shelby had a wartime fling overseas, which resulted in Jill. For whatever reason, Bess couldn't take care of the baby. So, Ed and his wife passed Jill off as their adopted child. Roger and Faith followed. Meanwhile, Bess went on to have Maggie and Ben. They lived in a trailer park somewhere. 

 

Jill didn't find her biological mother and maternal half-siblings until everyone involved were adults. Roger and Maggie were never stepsiblings because Ed and Bess were never married, and they never grew up together. Hope that helps.

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On 12/14/2020 at 7:07 PM, safe said:

In an old James Wlcek  (Ben) blog radio interview, he had said that he had been involved with Catherine Larson (Lizzie)  off camera 

 

Watching those later episodes, I thought he really sold Ben being in love with Lizzie. I guess he didn't have to really act in those scenes!!

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On 1/31/2021 at 4:38 PM, safe said:

Here is the entire article

 

Soap Opera Digest 

July 19, 1983 

 

"Ryan's Hope" : Long Awaited Return to Familiar Faces, Familiar Dreams

 

 

By Nerissa Radell

 

In 1974, while they were still writing for "Love of Life," Paul Avila Mayer and Claire Labine began work on another soap opera. "Ryan's Hope," as it was called, was different right from the very start. In 1975, when the show premiered on ABC, most soap operas were situated in fictional American cities. "Ryan's Hope," however, was one of a kind. The Irish Catholic Ryan family, headed by Maeve  and Johnny Ryan (expertly played by Helen Gallagher and Bernard Barrow) ran a neighborhood bar - not in everyman's town but in New York City.  Maeve and Johnny didn't own a house or have a luxurious apartment. They lived right upstairs from their bar with their four children, whom they unabashedly loved. In fact, "Ryan's Hope" was all about that love and the various forms it took within that close family. Sounds simple? Well, it was...

 

From 1975 to 1980, Paul and Claire produced, packaged and wrote their show very successfully for ABC. But in 1980, for financial reasons, Claire and Paul sold "Ryan's Hope" to the network. During that time, the series won 11 Emmys, including two awards for Best Show and four awards for Best Writing. "We were probably the lowest paid writers in daytime when we were winning all those awards," Paul smiles. "In fact, I know we were. We paid ourselves the absolute minimum so all the money could go back into the show. As soon as there was extra money, the actors got it. We were constantly over budget."

 

Once ABC owned the show, "Ryan's Hope",  began to change. "There was a difference in opinions as to which direction the show should take," Paul reflects. "The network wanted a new family on the show," Claire says. "All I have to say this in all justice -- philosophically, it was a viable decision. We had worked the veins of the Ryan's at this point! ABC have breathed new life into 'One Life to Live' by bringing in a new family in. But the problem here was that Paul and I had been doing this show for seven years and we were making up a new family on demand. We didn't  feel the need for it."

 

Nevertheless, because they relinquished creative control by selling the show, Paul and Claire created the Kirklands, a wealthy, power-monger family. Hollis Kirkland was played by veteran star Peter Haskell. Hollis fairly burst onto the "Ryan 's Hope" stage and his plotline, which linked him to the show's other reigning power-monger, Rae Woodard, soon consumed the whole serial. It was the end of "Ryanness" as the new emphasis on glitz, intrigue and heavy plotting took over. Viewers who had known and loved "Ryan's Hope" for it's done-to-earth storylines didn't know what to make of it, and ratings dropped to an all-time low.

 

 "We got a little off track," says Michael Levin who, as Jack Fenelli, has intrigued fans for eight years with his role as a crusading newspaper columnist. " When we were good, we really did good work and it wasn't about  millionaires and gangsters and mystery and adventure. " (Once ABC owned the show, the plots began to focus on way out storylines a la "General Hospital.") The good work was just about human beings trying to love one another or not to love one another. The whole idea of 'Ryan's Hope' is that it's a hope for love and for trust...and that's not easy," he adds.

 

Yet, despite their commitment to "Ryan's Hope," Paul and Claire left the show fifteen months after they sold it to ABC. "We were fired," Claire says matter-of-factly. I went back to work in February of 1982 without Paul to find there were various changes in personnel. "

 

"We'd gotten into trouble when the scenes the network wanted written weren't the kind of scenes Claire wanted to write or were written for performers who couldn't fill them," adds Paul. " "The result was, the scenes didn't work. When we wrote scenes for the Ryan's, the scenes worked."

 

So several months later, Claire left the show again. But in January of 1983, ABC approached both Paul and Claire about returning. Needless to say, there was some major overhauling to be done. Some of these "steps" included rather drastic moves, such as the releasing of nine characters from the show (including the entire Kirkland family). Plots were dropped right in the middle of their action lines. Several primary roles were recast. Says Paul, "It wasn't the performers' fault, but if you look at those characters, they were all nasty people grubbing for money. We write a very sentimental show, about love and sex, things we're interested in. We wanted to go back and build the stories around the family which meant we had to lose some of the Kirklands."

 

There were other compromises both the writers and the network reached. " We came back to the show with the understanding that we could get our original casting director, Shirley Rich, back," Claire explains. " Shirley had found all our other wonderful original cast members and we wanted another Frank Ryan for the show. (Daniel Hugh-Kelly, who was the last actor to play the part, left in 1981. ) We also wanted to have Malcolm Groome, the original Pat Ryan, come back because he's great and because his presence on the set brings such joy to everyone who works with him. There was a perfectly lovely actor, James Clark, who was playing the role, " Claire admits, " but he wasn't Malcolm. In order for us to come back, we wanted Malcolm back, too."

 

Malcolm Groome, who'd left the series in 1978, is thrilled to be back in New York and on the show. "Ryan's Hope" is a great working situation, "  he exclaims. " The fact that I am back and that the whole show is going back to it's original thrust should make a difference. The Ryan's and the Coleridge were getting to be strangers on their own show...Paul and Claire's return will make a big difference, we're already starting to see that. We're all very excited."

 

For Malcolm, the reclaiming of his role Pat Ryan was a natural process.   "As an actor, you bring part of yourself to a part. When I decided to come back, I thought through Pat as I had left him, how he would have grown since then, etc. Actually, I came right in at the peak of Jimmy Clark's storyline. I literally Jumped in and brought my understanding of Pat as I had always known him to that situation."

 

Ilene Kristen, another "Ryan's Hope " original, had left her role as Delia Reed Ryan Coleridge after three and half years of creating a character  who alternatively amused and infuriated audiences. As Delia, Ilene stopped at nothing, including a bout with blindness, to get what she wanted- usually attention from a man. When Randall Edwards - who'd been playing the role of Delia - decided to leave the show, ABC approached Ilene about coming back.

 

Although Claire and Paul have established their interest in keeping as much of the original cast as possible, Randall Edward's Delia was someone they could write for. When Ilene left the show  in 1979, it was hard to replace her, " Claire sums up. " But what Randall did was astonishing. She managed to continue the line of the character, to be her own Delia, and still be a Delia Paul and I enjoyed writing for."

 

Unlike Groome, Ilene had a harder time resuming her role after another actress had played the part. "It was totally different, " Ilene says of Randall's characterization. "As Dee, I suddenly had this restaurant with which I didn't know what to do. I had to dress up in elegant clothes. Dee is a real street fighter in a way, and the story had become very opulent - so had the show. I kept wondering what happened to those simple souls. I mean they'd gone Hollywood!"

 

Nancy Addison, another original cast member, had several problems with her character during the Kirkland reign. " I like Jill," Nancy says of her character, Jill Coleridge, one of daytime's first liberated women. "The year and a half while we were waiting to find another Frank Ryan for me was excruciating! The focus went to an entirely different thing, and none of the old people were being used. Viewers were used to these good family people who owned a bar and their good friends, the Coleridges, who had money. They were used to the love, the conflict, the children. All of a sudden we were trying to be something we weren't, and we couldn't make it there. I was feeling down about the show for a while, " Nancy admits. "But these changes have given me - all of us - a lift. Geoffrey Pierson is Frank Ryan. I feel like an actress again!"

 

Now that Paul and Claire have returned to "Ryan 's Hope, " the show seems to be headed right back where it belongs. Needless to say, there will be various problems to overcome- not the least of which is a heavy, rich "past" to contend with.  " One of the problems with refocusing on the Ryan family is that there have been so many interrelationships." Claire comments. " We have to avoid playing what we've already done."

 

For example, one of its hottest stories in the late 70's was the  love triangle between Jill-Frank-Dee. For a while, it seemed as though this same situation was brewing. Comments Paul, " The outlines were  ten days ahead of taping, and we really thought that in all honesty Dee, who' d had everything taken away from her, would go after Frank when he came home again.  Having written this for ten years, we used up a lot of our fantasies. It's sometimes hard to find things that are fresh."

 

Of particular interest over the years have been the romances between the Coleridge sisters (Jill and Faith) and the Ryan brothers, Frank and Pat.  "I'd like to see Jill and Frank get married," says Claire - no doubt speaking for the hundreds of viewers  who agree with her - " and have the most loving, the most trying relationship in the world of soap opera marriages. That is what we've promised the audience." As for the Pat and Faith romance, which seems to be headed for a triangle-type twist not unlike the Dee-Pat-Faith story of the late 70's." This is where we're in danger of being on worn ground, " Claire admits.  "But there is a difference between Amanda (the third part of the triangle) and Dee. Pat's response to both of them will be clearly drawn - Amanda is mad, curably mad. What is fun to play Pat and Faith trying to be responsible to one another and then to this person, Amanda, who's in this emotional mess."

 

Another compelling storyline will be the tempestuous romance between Jack Fenelli and Leigh Kirkland (played by Felicity LaFortune).  Viewers who remember the emotional relationship between  Jack  Fenelli and his first wife Mary Ryan (originally played by the incomparable Kate Mulgrew), will watch as Jack once again puts aside his fears of being loved and once again makes himself vulnerable to a woman. "We're going to do this in a very challenging way,"  smiles Michael Levin. " I hope the audience is ready for Jack to fall in love again."

 

Yes, "Ryan's Hope " is back where it belongs. " I hated to see it battered and bloodied, " Claire says. "We have the best dialogue writers in daytime: Nancy Ford, Judith Pinsker, and Mary Munisteri. One of the most you touching things anyone's ever said to me about the show is something Mary said once  - ' I would rather be part of a contributing popular myth than Proust.' " Paul adds, "Contributing is the operative word here. In order to do this, we have to invest a certain passion and caring. We know 'Ryan's Hope' is going to work again."

Interesting that author, Nerissa Radell, was one of AW 1988 strike writers along with Mimi Leahey. Both were hired after the strike but only Mimi lasted several years as a dialog writer on AW, ATWT and AMC I believe.

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