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7 hours ago, DRW50 said:

 

I'm so sorry I never got to experience Natalie - especially this golden era - live. 

I wish I was able to experience Natalie in her prime too. I've been watching AMC from 1987. It is the aftermath of her rape trial. She still has strength but is more vulnerable. I love the ending of an episode of her simply contemplating putting up the Christmas reef. It is something alluring about her and I love the extended theme playing over the credits. 

 

It got me to thinking Janet must've been a blessing and a curse for Kate Collins. I wonder what is Kate up to now?

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1999

Can the once highly popular `All My Children' rebound from its sagging ratings? ABC TV thinks so. But to make sure, it's brought back Agnes Nixon as the show's head writer; Nixon had been a consultant. Considered by many to be the first lady of serial dramas, ABC is hoping she'll help revive the show, which has been a network staple for 29 years. "We brought Agnes back to deliver the escape, the fantasy, romance and mystery," that soap opera fans want, says Angela Shapiro, president of ABC Daytime Television. `Agnes makes the characters come alive in a way that no one else can. It's remarkable what she brings; we're really lucky."

'All My Children' was a leading soap throughout the 1980s and during the earlier part of this decade. She created All My Children as well as ABC's `One Life to Live' and `Loving' (which later became 'The City') and 'Search for Tomorrow' She was co- creator of 'As the World Turns,' which airs on CBS, was the head writer for `Guiding Light' also on CBS, and for NBC's `Another World.' Here, Nixon talks about soap operas, where the audience has gone, what viewers want from daytime dramas and how to fix 'All My Children.'

 

What's happened to the daytime drama audience?

There has been some attrition with all the cable channels. I think that's the way of the world. But I think good stories, well told and acted by very good actors, will always be popular. I just think we have to get back to some of the basics of storytelling...the things that have always influenced and interested people.

 

Why are soap operas appealing?

Basically it's because it's the form of entertainment nearest to real life. Every day is a new episode, there's that appeal, as well as the fact that it's never repeated. I think there's something about a continued story. Charles Dickens was a serial writer; people use to wait in Boston for the boat to come from England with the next installment to see what was going to happen to Little Nell. Also, you have to have believable characters. Sometimes, soaps have gotten into characters that were not believable. The characters have to be three dimensional, someone with whom the audience can identify. Stories have to be believable, suspenseful, interesting and involving.

 

What do you think about proposals for 24-hour soap channels on cable?

I am very excited by it. I also think we'll get a truer measurement of viewership. The Nielsen ratings don't list VCRs and we know there's a vast audience that tapes and watches soaps later. I frankly think we don't have a true picture now of measurement of audience viewership. Plus there's something nice about the fact that what I do will be seen again. I am thinking particularly about the actors now. I think it brings us a little more satisfaction.

 

Do you think daytime serials will always have a home on broadcast television?

Yes, I do, I truly do. I am not saying they all will. Again, because it is a story. A good story well presented is just as movies are, it's entertainment. It's human stories and people are interested in people.

 

What do you like most about writing daytime dramas?

I am a storyteller and I like the dramatic form. To me it's just the thing I love to do. You take something in life that generates an idea and then it grows and one embellishes it. Seeing it come to life on the air by actors is just a great thrill for me.

 

What is the hardest part of writing serials?

The discipline you have to have because of the time pressure. It takes five days a week, 52 weeks a year, and that's pretty grueling. One can do a movie of the week or even a nighttime episode. A writer might stay up two nights getting it finished and then go collapse on the beach at Malibu. But a writer of daytime serials doesn't have that luxury. It's like getting in shape. You have to learn to pace yourself and to get refreshed and renewed in a much shorter time -like a weekend or a Saturday.

 

Without giving away anything, what are you planning to do with All My Children?

We're going back to what used to be one of the hallmarks of All My Children, which was young romance. I think that young romance is particularly good because we all identify with being young. We remember it so well. Through young romance we are able to see the world with what the true meaning of naïve is, which is 'fresh wonder.' I do feel that is what's needed on the show and we're getting to it very quickly.

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21 minutes ago, Paul Raven said:

But I think good stories, well told and acted by very good actors, will always be popular.

 

Preach, (Black) Agnes!

 

I've never bought into the "attention spans are getting shorter" nonsense.  For the most part, I think viewers' attention spans are as strong as they've ever been.  It's their patience with substandard writing, acting and directing that has worn thin.  Otherwise, you could have just one, long scene per act in an episode, and audiences will be riveted if you give the actors more to do than just stand there, look pretty and spout recap and/or exposition.

Edited by Khan

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On 3/6/2020 at 5:54 PM, amybrickwallace said:

 

Even closer, Kate did the play All My Sons  in 2018. Here is the play's web page (including a youtube interview of her and her director husband  and clips of scenes):

 

https://www.courttheatre.org/season-tickets/2017-2018-season/all-my-sons/

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On 2/29/2020 at 6:01 PM, Khan said:

 

Preach, (Black) Agnes!

 

I've never bought into the "attention spans are getting shorter" nonsense.  For the most part, I think viewers' attention spans are as strong as they've ever been.  It's their patience with substandard writing, acting and directing that has worn thin.  Otherwise, you could have just one, long scene per act in an episode, and audiences will be riveted if you give the actors more to do than just stand there, look pretty and spout recap and/or exposition.

I agree. Many times in the student union I would play Ryan's Hope or Edge of Night or Doug Marland's ATWT and people would turn their heads and watch. Same when I would play the shows at this AirBnB I stayed at. Hell, my fiance, who has the attention span of a nat, will stop, and sit, when I play per-Barnabus Dark Shadows.

Again, a guy who defines ADHD will sit for HOURS watching that show. He has even gotten into The Doctors.

But.

The same doesn't hold true whenever I watch current crap. I know this because in the same settings, I tested it (showing Nancy Curlee's GL then shwoing the years RIGHT BEFORE Peapack or the last year of AMC's ABC run vs the 90s. 90's AMC tends to hold up remarkably well).

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That's so sad...his poor daughter.

 

Edmund got such a bad exit considering how prominent and important he was for much of the 90s.

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48 minutes ago, BetterForgotten said:

Robin Mattson brought such humanity and compassion to that role (in her initial years), I don't know if it was ever really appreciated as it should have been. 


I‘ve always appreciated it.

Mattson was a powerhouse as Janet, and my sympathies were always with her.

I felt her pain.

But I’m also one who never thought the Kate Collins version was a complete cartoon, either.

She also, in more subtler ways, brought levels of humanity & compassion to the role.

There’s a scene I just watched from October 1991 - a brief line probably no one remembers - right after Janet is exposed and is in jail; she asks Livia if she can please help her to get her eye glasses back, because “they took them from me and I don’t see very well.”

It’s just said so pathetically, and I just wanted to reach into the screen and give Janet a hug (and this was soon after she shot a teenager and planned on shooting another one in the head).

Anyhow, Janet is truly an iconic soap character.

Edited by Pine Charles

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