Would You Watch OLTL Without Erika Slezak?

I have been trying my best not to pay attention to these rumors, but they don’t seem to be going away, despite denials from the network to the contrary. More and more people are talking about the lack of airtime for arguably the best actress in daytime, Erika Slezak, at One Life to Live. I have only been watching OLTL for five years, but I can tell you right now, not only would I not want to watch the show without Slezak— who unlike some of her veteran peers hasn’t phoned in a story once since I’ve been watching—but I wouldn’t want to promote it.
Daytime’s executives ought to be ashamed of themselves for treating the veteran actors who hooked us on this genre like crap. When news first broke of Deidre Hall and Drake Hogestyn‘s shameful firings from Days of Our Lives, I talked to an industry friend about the possibility of similar firings taking place at ABC.

" Brian Frons isn’t stupid ," said the friend. "He realizes star power."

I then pointed out that while Frons may not be as stupid as Ken Corday was to fire two marquee stars at once, his method has in fact been to strategically weed out Over-40 actors one-by-one over the course of the last decade. Don’t believe me? ask Julia Barr, Genie Francis, Jackie Zeman, Brad Maule, Stuart Damon, Marcy Walker, Catherine Hickland and countless others. Slezak herself recently encouraged fans on her website to write to Frons, whom she says has to approved storylines for Viki written by Ron Carlivati. Reportedly, she had a big one coming up with Charlie that was dropped.

It’s time for this nonsense to stop. No soap is going to attract the mythological "younger viewer". Why should kids watch soaps when they can get their soapy fix from much hipper sources, like Gossip Girl, episodes of which can be streamed directly into their brains via their earrings? The only people stilll watching soaps are the ones who have stuck around for the veterans, and it is high time they stopped treating us as if our eyeballs don’t matter because we’re too old, or too poor, or too gay, or too ethnic.

What’s your take? Would you watch One Life to Live without Erika Slezak?

Would You Watch OLTL Without Erika Slezak?

  • No! I don't care how good the rest of the show is, Viki and Dorian ARE OLTL and I won't watch without them! (88%, 885 Votes)
  • Yes. The rest of the show is great! it's just a sign of the times. Vets are expendable. (12%, 122 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,007


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36 Responses

  1. Profile photo of season1217

    Oh, please! All Ron has to do is let one of Viki’s alters take control, give her a gun, and turn her into the mob Queen of Llanview. Frons would approve that mess real quick!

  2. Profile photo of disillusioned GH fan
    disillusioned GH fan

    Correct me if I am wrong (and I can be occasionally)… but Isn’t the largest segment of the U.S. population retiring baby boomers? The very people who lifted daytime soaps into the once iconic state they were in? It behooves me to understand why they feel the need to gear their demographics towards a younger audience who spend most of their free time watching youtube, or twittering, or sexting, or myspacing and facebooking!

    As a male who is -almost- 40, who is gainfully employed, married, college educated… I am kind of annoyed that there is this belief that only the poor and the minorities watch soaps. I know a lot of well educated non-minority people who watch soaps…. but yearning for the days when soaps were actually good.

    GH wants to capture the younger male viewer? I WAS that younger male viewer during GH’s iconic run in the 80’s and early 90’s. I watched for the action and adventure the show was known for, from Luke and Laura, to Holly and Robert (Anna too!) and Sean and Tiffany and Felicia and Frisco. I was enthralled by anything Cassadine, I even choked up during the BJ/Maxie story.

    And while I do enjoy the Godfather movies… I think GH’s mobhospital -all the time- every minute of the day is just god aweful! The writing on this show since 2001 has all but ruined it.

    …so I watch OLTL now and it’s great! Strong stories, strong acting, things that -should- be pulling in the young and the old. The fact that anyone would tangle with this soaps veteran cast would further erode any viewers desire to invest in ABC daytime if they continue ruining what is holding what viewers they have left!

    If they invested just 6 months in “classic” soap writing and used their veterans…they’d see their numbers go back up (look at GH-nightshift). It may not be the youth demographic they want…but then they need to face the fact, they will never get the youth demographic in daytime–like EVER!

  3. Profile photo of LIASONADDICT

    I don’t think vets are expendable, I love having the vets on and I think they should always be used.

    I will still watch because soaps are my drugs I am addicted to them even when they are crappy or they breakup my favorite couple I still have to tune in.

    I really hope they don’t let her go

  4. Profile photo of McD720

    Brian Frons must be stopped! This is getting insane! Erika Slezak is OLTL. He should be ashamed for denying her a story. Rumors of her not being a part of OLTL just astound me. I also heard a rumor yesterday about another phenomenal actor/multiple Emmy winner being forced out of another ABC soap. So sick of this man. I really think he is delusional in his thoughts on how soaps should be run. I think someone needs to take a long look at how he does his job.

  5. Profile photo of Camp is not a sustainable model
    Camp is not a sustainable model

    Well Erika hasn’t always been nice when it come to the racial side of things. If you have read One Life by Ellen Holly then you would know what I am talking about. So I don’t feel too much sympathy for her. But then that was her younger years. Maybe she has since rectified it. Maybe I am holding a grudge. In fact I am but her down fall would be the cherry pie on the top of my cake. But that’s just me…

  6. Profile photo of Desertrose

    Frons needs to go-NOW. What would be the worst is if this idiot gets rid of Erika S and THEN he gets fired. Losing her to get rid of Frons wouldn’t matter to me cause I’d be long gone.They lose Erika, they lose me, a loooongtime viewer.

    I’ve watched OLTL since the first days. I am close in age to Erica S and Susan L and have been a faithful viewer for all three ABC shows – until recently.(I quit GH when the idiots killed Georgie… AMC is getting really hard to bear these days as well.) OLTL has remained fairly Fronsie-free but lately I can see more & more his idiotic influence on this show.

    Seriously- no one wants to watch teens all the time- even teens! The whole thing with soaps is watching the characters grow, change and yes, even *age* over the years. Cycles come & go- storylines come & go but the characters- iconic ones like Viki Lord- are why we tune in. They are like familiar friends and I look forward to seeing those friends on my screen on a daily or at least frequent basis.

    Don’t TPTB get it that when times are difficult and uncertain, it’s awfully nice to have these familiar people who “anchor” us to times when things were maybe not so crazy? That it makes perfect sense to have a few generations who can offer different perspectives on things going on in their lives?

    As the poster above said, they will never get the “coveted” (still wonder why that is exactly) youth demographics-who have youtube, twitter, myspace, facebook and so much more….but they sure as hell WILL lose (already are losing!) their faithful fans/viewers of the past 40+ years.

    How hard is it to understand that Brian Frons’ wet dreams are NOT what most soap viewers want to see?

    How hard is it for these idiots to figure out that good soap stories with veterans that made these shows what they are, just might save these shows?

    I just really hope that this rumor is just that…a crazy rumor with nothing to back it up.

    (Oooh-kay, rant over…for now)

  7. Profile photo of Johnathon

    It’s time for this nonsense to stop. No soap is going to attract the mythological "younger viewer". Why should kids watch soaps when they can get their soapy fix from much hipper sources, like Gossip Girl, episodes of which can be streamed directly into their brains via their earrings? The only people still watching soaps are the ones who have stuck around for the veterans, and it is high time they stopped treating us as if our eyeballs don’t matter because we’re too old, or too poor, or too gay, or too ethnic.

    See the mythological "Younger viewer" does exist *raises hands* I was one of them, and I know others as well, but here is the thing these soaps are not written towards the ‘younger audience’. I couldn’t tell you who they are actually written towards, but it sure as heck isn’t me because I dont care for that crap.

    The soaps want to target teens then maybe look at what Home and Away is doing, and how they give the vets front burner storylines and then backburner them a bit and let the teens be the focus. Also I don’t think i have once wanted a ‘new person’ on a US soap to be in a front burner storyline, but I want more of the Austen family who just showed up in the bay a few weeks ago.

    IF the soaps want to write for teens then maybe they should actually watch a teen soap and then maybe they can tell a halfway decent teen storyline that doesn’t involve giving the kid his 50th murder charge before he’s 20.

    Now on the subject at hand, would I watch? Well it depeneds on the writing, IF the writing stays good then yea, but if it is written at the snail pace of her last vacation then I will tune out.

    I am not watching OLTL for Viki, just like I wasn’t watching DAYS for Marlena (and John), but the thing that made me tune out of DAYS was the fact that the writing was horrible, I didn’t care for anything that was going on, and John and Marlena’s exit felt like a good place to stop.

    Also we all know that IF ES/Viki leave, Ron C will give her an amazing exit, and one we can be proud of and enjoy watching.

  8. Profile photo of onelifeatatime

    Erika & Viki were what hooked me on OLTL in the first place. there have been many, many other great characters and stories over the years, but the day Viki leaves Llanview is the day I stop watching. Permanently.

    It may (or may not) be a separate issue, but Frons has destroyed ABC daytime. What will it take for this guy to be fired?

  9. Profile photo of Johnathon

    As the poster above said, they will never get the "coveted" (still wonder why that is exactly) youth demographics-who have youtube, twitter, myspace, facebook and so much more….but they sure as hell WILL lose (already are losing!) their faithful fans/viewers of the past 40+ years.

    Okay so I am going to keep this short, THEY COULD get the youtube, twitter, myspace, facebook audience, but the problem is they dont know how, and if any of them tune in they are going to watch this show for five seconds and tune out because nothing interest them.

    Yea the drug storyline is kinda good, but I would much rather see Chuck Bass in a drug storyline then Cole lol.

    The soaps are not targeting teens, they are just saying that as a excuse to write crappy storylines (imo). IF a soap was being written for teens they could easily go viral and advertise on Twitter and myspace and facebook.

    "Follow your favorite soap character on Twitter" and have it be written like the character was actually talking

    Starr: Cole is such a jerk, why is he doing drugs? Why wont he listen?

    Cole: Drugs are fun

    David Vikers: Just got my first audition, kinda nervous, hum i wonder what Dorian is doing

    Bo: How do u use this thing?

    They could make it fun and get more viewers and just make things a fun experience and what if your favorite soap character wrote back to you when you replied to him?

    Dorian: @Person: I know, isn’t my plan to take over BE brilliant? But wait how do u knw about it?

    They could do so much, but they don’t and that is why the soaps are failing, I mean there is still no ‘official’ way to watch OLTL online, soaps need to join the future and start really getting things in gear if they want to survive.

  10. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Color me flummoxed!! Did I miss read her newsletter because I just scanned it. Where was the part about BF dumping a story that Ron C wrote because what I read was the interviewer asking her who people should write if they are unhappy with her lack of airtime and she said ron and brian because Ron has to write it and Brian has to greenlight it. Do we know Ron wrote something for her.

    Vicki may just have less airtime right now because the cast is so big and other stories are hitting. They have the Blair/John/Marty serial killer story and the High School stuff, the Hope plot and the Buchannan missing heir story. Thats a LOT to have playing out at one time, to add more vicki, charlie story in too would be difficult.

    I am not saying she is totally safe and we shouldnt be protective and alert, but rather that maybe its just cyclical.

  11. Profile photo of McD720

    I am 24 so I am in the demo that Frons wants I believe. I am not a teen but I am a “younger” viewer and all I want to see is good stories told. I love stories that intrigrate the cast in exciting and unexpected ways. On Y&R they use their entire cast so well and honor history everyday. I want to see vets and younger adults intertwined. My favorite couples on that show are all different ages. I love Daniel and Amber but I also really enjoy Kay and Murphy. I just think that if Frons would take a step back and let the stories be told the right way then good things will come.

  12. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    UPDATE: ETT, I actually just ammended it. I was paraphrasing from two separate newsletters, which is allowed journalistically as long as you don’t change the meaning. She encouraged readers to write to Frons who has storyline approval. In the previous newsletter she talked of a big story for Viki. That story has since been dropped because Frons rejected it.

  13. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    But no, it’s not cyclical, I can assure you. Frons doesn’t like showing actors over 40 on his soaps. Numerous network sources have confirmed this at all three soaps.

  14. Profile photo of McD720

    I wasn’t saying that vets aren’t used on OLTL. I know they are and they are used well. I was just saying that Frons should not be afraid of using them and having stories integrate. GH is the biggest offender really on ABC.

  15. Profile photo of kerfuffles

    I don’t think its really fair to say that OLTL does not use its vets. In fact, I think OLTL should be commended as an example of having stories focusing on all generations. There is the Buch storyline that involves the vets; the Marty/Blair/John story that involves the adult generation; Rex/Gigi and Jess/Brody/Nat that is more about the younger adults; and finally the teen storyline. And all of these storylines cross over into one another and use different ages of actors throughout. Y&R doesn’t use its vets more than OLTL; in fact, Katherine loses her memory and living the life of a blue-collar worker at the diner is very similar to Viki doing the same not too long ago. Same for older 40 women on OLTL–they make up at least half of the female cast and they currently have two women over 40 in their frontburner tri story (though since it’s with John McBain, I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse). Really, it’s some very tacky ONLINERS that make fun of those women for looking “too old” to be with John. TPTB don’t seem to think so.

    I agree Viki has not been used a lot lately, but that does not mean vets in general aren’t used. I personally think the rumors that she is leaving are just online speculation with no real truth to them. She’s just being backburned at the moment.

    IF Viki/ES left, I would hate to see her go. But I would probably keep watching as long as it was just her and not a whole passel of other vets.

  16. Profile photo of JasonMorganIsAHottie

    I don’t watch OLTL but I will always vote for well-written storylines for characters of ALL ages and ALL ethnicities, but most especially well-established veteran characters. Give every character a story and don’t just parade them in and out of scenes as window dressing or to drop a few sarcastic comments to a scene. If you bring on a new character, keep their story moving forward…I’m tired of seeing characters jump onto a show’s canvas only to stall out and then fade away to recurring.

  17. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Thanks Jamey – it wasnt that I didnt think it was true, I just didnt see it and was confused. Any idea why Frons killed it? Dorian certainly gets plenty of airtime and Nora has been on quite a bit lately, both of whom are over 40 vets. Any idea why Frons is okay with Dorian and apparently not Vicki? Not to bring the Sam/Lizard stuff into it, but could it be less about body types and sex appeal, and more a preference for the non-good girl types. (I dont call them bad girls, just not “good” girls) I want Vicki to stick around, but to be honest with you, if I could have only one of the 3 it would be Dorian because I too prefer the non-good girl.

  18. Profile photo of Johnathon

    I just want to say I do LOVE the vets and I do love Viki! don’t get me wrong, I just don’t really have a connection to her since i only started watching when Ron took over and I haven’t really seen her in anything ‘big’ yet.

    I think she is an amazing actress and i would hate to see her leave.

  19. Profile photo of At50

    I find Frons attitude toward actors over 40 appalling. I’m a younger viewer in the age demographic the advertiser target and I many of my favorite characters and actors are over 40.Just because characters are young doesn’t mean young people will like them. And even if that was true soaps still need their veteran viewers. Soaps have large casts so there is no good excuse for a lack of diversity in age or anything else for that matter.

  20. Profile photo of KingTV

    I am a huge vet supporter. What would Y&R be without all of the cast members who have played their roles for 15 years or more. That is what makes Y&R so unique these days… viewers are actually watching character’s lives through many, many years of their lives. Victor, Jack, Ashley, Nikki, Kay, Jill, Sharon, Nick, Phyllis, Michael, Neil, Paul & Lauren are not only long-time vets but are front burner and their stories are what threads everything else together. I hated to see Brad leave but I did not stop watching the show. Death IS a part of life and we cannot expect every single actor to stay on forever for whatever reason, budget cuts, the actor wanting out, etc. The best soap is the one that mixes multi-generational stories together. While Y&R has all of these vets, they are also securing their future by developing many possible other long-term characters that could have viability for another 30 years. The likes of Daniel, Kevin, Chloe, Billy, Lily, Cane, Jana, Amber, Gloria, and to some extent Jana, Jeff, Colleen, Abby, Noah, JT and the next generation like Summer, Fenn, Reid all can very be well the future vets of the show.

    As far as OLTL and most of the other soaps, they do not have as many vets so the exit of one or two(I.E. Alan Q. from GH, Marlena & John, Patch & Kayla on DOOL, Harley & Gus on GL) can cause a huge empty void especially for the loyal longtime viewer who wants to watch the characters they are more familiar with. Erika Slezak IS OLTL as Viki Lord. She has brought the viewers with her on an extraordinary journey of this woman’s amazing life. To lose her would be a startling shock and make the show seem like it is missing a big piece of it’s pie. I would be horrified to turn the show on one day and realize that Viki is no longer in Llanview. This was a difficult poll for me, though, because as strongly as I feel about vets, I do not think I would immediately stop watching. I would have to give the show a month or so to see how the writers are going to handle her permanent absence. But, other then Dorian, Blair, Todd, Bo, & Nora, the dearth of vets on OLTL is clearly apparent. Plus, they do not have a solid set of firmly rooted and connected characters to replace the vets as the future of the show. Gigi, Shane and Rex really have no connection to any of the main families. Other then Starr and Cole, the teens are not related really to any main characters. Jessica and Natalie could be set up to be a future rivalry that lasts as the progress into mature women and then matriarchs but almost all of the other people in town are transient, replaceable or just not that interesting as individuals to count them amongst a core family. I love Marcie, John, Michael, Roxy, Marty & others but none of them are intimately tied to the show. Erika Slezak leaving lead to a absolute decline in the value of OLTL and could set off a total dismissing from fans. I would keep watching the show until it becomes evident that without Viki there is no Llanview. It used to be not as true when soaps were more popular and had the possibility of bringing in new viewers. Those days are long gone and every soap needs to hold onto as many vets as they can because the more and moe long-term characters that leave will mean more and more long-term viewers stop watching their favorite “story.” AND if Dorian left as well, then I would absolutely have to stop because then your 2 main characters who have story after story threaded around them or them together have kept mt interest even when other stories were not as good.


  21. Profile photo of ktuc

    Even though I’ve watched for about 30 years, I would still watch if the rumor does turn out to be true about ES. Although, ONLY if TIIC don’t turn this into the newest teen show or a continuation of the Todd Manning show.

  22. Profile photo of inspiron

    Sorry, but if I can still watch without Roger Howarth, I can watch without Erica Slezak. I have watched from the beginning and recognize the importance of vets, but I’d rather have a show without vets than no show at all.

  23. Profile photo of kerfuffles

    I agree with you on how important the vets are King TV, but I disagree that the younger generation on OLTL is not connected to the vets. Starr is Todd & Blair’s child, and Cole is Marty & Patrick’s. But Matthew is also Bo and Nora’s, and Langston is now Dorian’s daughter by adoption and Lola is Langston’s cousin. Rex is also connected because he was raised as Natalie’s brother and he also has such a close connection to Bo he is practically his de-facto son. By extension, Starr’s daugther, Jess’ Bree, and Rex & Gigi’s Shane also have “future generation” potential. Sure, there are some unrelated folks thrown in there, too, but there kind of has to be a little outside blood in the gene pool or they would start giving birth to kids with two heads.

    Tea, Blair, Todd, Marty, Dorian, David, Bo, Nora and Clint are all vets and all heavily featured in frontburner storylines. So I’m personally happy with OLTL’s use of the vets, and I think its stands up against any other soap on, including Y&R.

    By saying this, I’m not bragging about Frons. I don’t know the guy or what he thinks. Just as far as OLTL is concerned–the proof is in the pudding to me. I wholeheartedly agree that GH does not seem to make the same use of their vets (I stopped watching a couple of months ago, and I doubt its improved since then).

  24. Profile photo of Beth

    I can’t really respond to the poll because it’s too black and white for me. OLTL right now is my favorite soap to watch, and I feel, with the exception of a couple of things, everything is watchable. So I can’t in good conscience say for sure that I would stop watching it if Erika Slezak was let go. However, she is a big part of why I’m enjoying this show so much, as with all the vets, they are being used so much and so well. If Frons would just keep his hands to himself (I know, I know, a big thing to ask), this show would continue to thrive with Carlivati at the helm.

  25. Profile photo of east.west

    Erika Slezak is OLTL and w/me saying that I wouldn’t stop watching the show if she were to leave. I think the show is really good right now. But to add to that Frons would be even more of an IDOIT than he already is to even think of letting her go.

  26. Profile photo of miajere

    I think OLTL pretends to use vets, just like they pretend to use the Vegas. I don’t think OLTL is OLTL without ES, but it would be nice to see the show commit to telling her story as they do their other stars. But we’re talking about BF and he doesn’t care beyond the bottom line.

  27. Profile photo of VikiLordFan21

    I would stop watching probably! i love Viki, i’m 19 and ever since i was a small child i remember watching Viki and Dorian going at it with my mom The storyline where Viki finds out about Victor and David Vickers(pretending to be a lord heir) stick out to me from early on! who can forget Viki(tommy)pushing Dorian down the stairs of Laboulie screaming “you ugly bitch” lol. Erika Slezak has proved she can be multi dimensional with the alter storylines! there is so much more Viki can do! i can honestly see her on OLTL in her 80’s( like Jeanne Cooper on Y&R) Viki makes her offspring tolerable! I love Jess,Natalie,Joey,and Kevin but they have all had they’re periods when they were annoying as hellbut i watched them anyway because they are Viki Lord……Davidson’s children! whatever scene she’s in she just seems to add a little extra and im sure lots of people would agree.OLTL needs to do whatever they have to in order to keep Viki even if that means getting rid of some people(ex.Lola,Ray,Cristian)

    Hands down Victoria Lord is OLTL

  28. Profile photo of ABCJunky73

    Erika Slezak IS OLTL! Without her and her iconic charater of Victoria Lord Gordon Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Carpenter Davison the show is DOA!

    How dare Frons consider getting rid of the charater that started the show! I’m getting so sick of him treating ABC’s Daytime vets like garbage. All the vets on all 3 shows deserve better. If he is discriminate towords actors/actresses over the age of 40 then he should not be head of daytime.

    It’s about time we as fans start doing something to save our favorite actors/actresses who have brought us countless storylines that we watched back then and still remember today. I say we all write/ e-mail the president of ABC and demand that either Frons leave all vets alone, get rid of Guza from GH or fire Frons and hire someone with soap history who can keep it’s vets and restore Love In The Afternoon!!!



  29. Profile photo of Dariclone

    I’m a newish viewer to OLTL who started watching in all honesty, to see the Tina storyline. But David, Dorian and Viki are my favourite characters. Without Viki or Dorian I don’t see myself watching despite how good the rest of the show’s been recently.

  30. Profile photo of podcastjunkie

    It took me awhile to see what the big fuss was about but after watching her heart storyline and seeing how important she is to the rest of the show there’s no way i’d watch it without her.

  31. Profile photo of Camp is not a sustainable model
    Camp is not a sustainable model

    Correct me if I am wrong (and I can be occasionally)… but Isn’t the largest segment of the U.S. population retiring baby boomers? The very people who lifted daytime soaps into the once iconic state they were in?
    Actually it is African American women that are the predominate audience. And since they are not in a rush to fully integrate cast on soaps then I am surprised that vets are expendable. Despite what the statistics show soaps are going after one audience type for their advertisers. If they don’t get them then they will let the ship sink.

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