Is ABC Daytime Copying Old Proctor & Gamble Soaps?



Watching the ABC daytime lineup lately has been a little déjà vu for this old time soap viewer. Perhaps “copying” is too strong a term. Maybe “homage” would be a better word or, perhaps, “sticky fingers.” On the other hand, the stories in question here are different from either classic soap opera tropes (boy/girl-meets-hates-falls-in-love-with-girl/boy stuff) or classic soap cliches (supervillain-returns-from-the-dead-with-an-evil-twin shenanigans) because of their very specificity.

All three of the ABC’s daytime dramas currently are airing stories or arcs that have been a little too close to the mark of several cancelled Proctor & Gamble shows, begging the question “Does Brian Frons really admire those old, now defunct serials as much as he loves pilfering CBS soap stars?” Let us count the ways:

BABY, I NEED YOUR LOVING

The Soaps: All My Children vs. Guiding Light

The Story: Uber-popular middle aged firebrand character Reva Shayne/Angie Hubbard (played by uber-popular Emmy-winning actresses Kim Zimmer & Debbi Morgan, respectively) contracts a major, life-altering disease that threatens to take away part of her identity as an uber-popular middle aged firebrand character. She first elects to keep the news to herself, mainly fearing the effect it will have on the love of her life (Josh Lewis/Jesee Hubbard). A close confidant and ally (Billy Lewis/Jake Martin) learns the truth & vows to support her. Then she learns she is pregnant, along with a big “uh oh” that the treatments for her ailment could cost her the well-being or life of her unborn child. She initially chooses her baby’s health over her own, until she is given multiple reasons to live by various contract and recurring characters.

How Do the Stories Compare Overall?: While widely cited around the internet for its current copycat status, All My Children co-headwriter David Kreizman — who has apparently gone green — recycled this story from himself, having written the Reva-Cancer-Pregnancy story on Guiding Light just a little over two years ago. Fortunately, he seems to have learned a little bit from his original’s mistakes. Angie revealed the truth very early on to Jesse (in brilliantly moving scenes between Morgan and Darnell Williams), whereas Reva kept her cancer a secret longer than an Al Gore speech. The writing is more subtle and the fallout from the news as it spreads in Pine Valley seems more intimate than in Peapack.

Strengths: Zimmer was awesome (although she did make a few ham sandwiches from time to time) during her cancer/pregnancy story, which to its credit focused far more realistically on the treatment side of cancer than we have yet to see on AMC. She was also admirably backed up by Jordan Clarke. Morgan, however, has been nothing less than spectacular, with outstanding support by Williams, Ricky Paull Goldin, and Vincent Irizarry as adversary David Hayward. Even Rebecca Budig showed nice depth and range as a sympathetic Greenlee once she learned of Angie’s condition. There is a stronger focus on the emotional fallout on AMC as opposed to the histrionics that sometimes marred the GL version. Major plus: better production values.

Weaknesses: AMC’s version is an almost connect-the-dots remake of the GL story.

AMC Grade: A-, most of which is due to the stellar acting of all the performers involved.


Comments

Cyberologist's picture
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27 December 2007
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Great Read I enjoyed the analogies very creative too...

Re GH

Exactly, they just did a storyline with Sonny shooting Dante in the chest point blank and now another one? Not to mention the drive by a week prior...

the WoW factor is gone..(although Brandon's acting was good on this one after he was shot)

the writing is stale on this show and you can't keep up with these mob tales with the new sweep new villian...they need to space them out....its the same ole' story...

the new Promo "Plight of the Mob Boss" is good though it makes me want to watch the show they reel me in then same ole' cah-cah...

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=QNwMHY9I7lY&vq=large

alstonboy4315's picture
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12 February 2010
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Great article, and I wish to add my OWN little insight:

As I have said before: I wish someone would pay ME $35,000 a week to repeat myself ad nauseum, while never bringing ANY original ideas to the table and simply phoning it in!!! Lather, rinse, repeat......There are SOOOOO many wonderful writers out there who I am sure could do WONDERS with this show, yet we get KREIZMAN, who is certainly not earning his massive paycheck by ANY stretch of the imagination.

Yeah, he's better than Pratt, but that's shallow praise. Pratt was practically INCAPABLE of telling good story in ANY capacity!!!

Ryan and Madison are a CONTRIVED mess...COMPLETELY UNBELIEVABLE, no chemistry. Hell, they seem more like sister and brother than a COUPLE for me!! Well, not sister and brother, but it's still kinda creepy. I just am not feeling this pairing, as much as I am a fan of Cameron and Stephanie. Please go back to the drawing board and quit trying to force this ridiculous pairing down my throat!!

Damon and Colby are cute. Jake and Amanda are sooooooo cutesy and boring that it hurts to watch them sometimes. Get rid of Randi, put Madison with FRANKIE, put Ryan with Liza or ANYONE ELSE BUT GREENLEE OR KENDALL!!!!!! Humanize David Hayward. Keep Marissa and JR APART!!!! Put Annie and JR together. FIND SOMETHING FOR NATALIA AND BROT TO DO!!!!!! And I hope LaKane comes back soon.

I have TRIED to give Kreizman a chance, but AMC is a solid 5 out of 10, not much else. I am enjoying Angie's storyline, but they are turning David Hayward into a ridiculous cartoon character, and Greenlee is dumber than a box of rocks lately.

Speaking of things that are dumber than a box of rocks, why the HELL is he putting RYLEE back together???? Would all the fans of this played out couple PLEASE stand up?????...... (silence and crickets chirping in the background!)

AMC needs a COMPLETE creative overhaul. Hell, I hate to say this, but they might as well bring back McTrashy!!! Since they aren't gonna find someone NEW and FRESH, why not give her a FOURTH go round to jam the knife even DEEPER into the heart of this ailing show????

Of course, I am being sarcastic, but AMC needs help!!!

Member since:
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McTrashy?

Member since:
8 May 2008
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8 hours 37 min

Hired fresh, new talent for ABC daytime soaps, LOL, yeah right.

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1 July 2009
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I've said it before and I will say it again get rid of Frons and go from there.

alstonboy4315's picture
Member since:
12 February 2010
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5 weeks 6 days

Kcgeban--

McTrashy is Megan McTavish. And I was JOKING. I don't want to see that train wreck come back anymore than I want to see Pratt come back. She only wrote a FEW good stories in all her years on AMC!!!!!!

Member since:
8 April 2010
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A few seconds after hitting SAVE, I guessed you were talking about McTavish. I was too lazy to go back and edit though. Smile

Member since:
25 March 2010
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3 years 25 weeks

Ok, first things first. As a nearly 40 year GL viewer, the show under Wheeler/Kreizman was a daily train wreck. Kim Zimmer, a daytime diva of epic proportions had more than a few ham sandwiches during that overbearing story line, remember first we had to believe that she could get pregnant without a uterus. That being said, Le Kreizman is well versed at being green, look at some of the end story lines over at the next serial he wrote into the ground, ATWT. Anyone else noticing the 'writing on the wall' similarities to the "Reid has an accident and gives his heart to someone who just very recently found out they needed a heart" a la Gus and Olivia? I realize that until sometime in the next two weeks this is still a spoiler/rumer, but even After Elton and the other boards are spilling the story. There are no more original stories out there because the same people are writing all the shows. I don't care how beautifully acted they might be. The last Nielsen ratings had AMC and ATWT neck and neck, which for all of you ABC fans should be very, very alarming. Jean Passanante is over at OLTL now and they are continue to be below ATWT in the ratings again and again. Frons can make all the statements he wants about costs being under control and how much they value their seriels, but the bottom line is the same creative teams that wrote the P&G shows into the ground (remember, Jean P wrote for Another World at the end) are now in charge of two ABC shows. All the soaps are expensive. There aren't enough of them anymore to develop new talent, and if you look at it objectively the visionaries all learned under/or with Irna Philips decades ago - Agnes Nixon, Bill Bell, Doug Marland, the Cordays, and more. Who is left today? Chris Goutman? Julie Carruthers? The Baby Bells? None of them know how to craft real stories. And sadly all of them are racing against time to try and keep their shows relevant in a world that watches Judge Judy and The View. All I have to say to that is God bless, and God speed.

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26 February 2009
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chip88 wrote:
Anyone else noticing the 'writing on the wall' similarities to the "Reid has an accident and gives his heart to someone who just very recently found out they needed a heart" a la Gus and Olivia? There are no more original stories out there because the same people are writing all the shows. I don't care how beautifully acted they might be. The last Nielsen ratings had AMC and ATWT neck and neck, which for all of you ABC fans should be very, very alarming. Jean Passanante is over at OLTL now and they are continue to be below ATWT in the ratings again and again.

The whole heart story has been done to death on many primetime and daytime shows. I actually thought the GL one was interesting only because Olivia was in love with Gus and chased after him while she was dying, then she ended up getting his heart. The Reid/Chris story is even more contrived than that, and ridiculous and pointless, because Reid has no real connection to Chris besides petty bickering, and because Ricky Paul Goldin was leaving GL and they needed an exit, whereas ATWT was ending and they could have kept Reid around if they wanted to.

As for Jean Passannante, don't forget that she was at ABC for years before she went to ATWT. She was mediocre at best at OLTL and then she ran AMC into the ground in 2000 and 2001 with stories like Gabriel kept in a cage and raised as a dog.

OLTL's ratings problems can be traced to the failing ABC lineup, which means to Frons, and also to the show's lack of interest in finishing storylines, and their obsession with bored, unpleasant leading men who barely make eye contact with anyone.

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Angie's storyline is 100x better than Reva's ridiculous cancer storyline when she hid her cancer from Josh. That was crap.

I'm REALLY enjoying Debbi Morgan's portrayal of Angie. Where else on TV do we get this kind of performance and leading dramatic story featuring a black woman?? Nowhere! Y&R's Lily had cancer but it was badly done. Primetime network TV has no black actresses in leading dramatic roles. None. Zip. Zilch.

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AMC is much better written now versus Pratt. But, I think Pratt's sensationalist plots drew more viewers.

Ultimately, some soap has to be in last place. You could have just two soaps and unless they tied, one would do better than the other in the ratings.

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11 April 2009
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AMC is much better written now versus Pratt. But, I think Pratt's sensationalist plots drew more viewers.

Ultimately, some soap has to be in last place. You could have just two soaps and unless they tied, one would do better than the other in the ratings.

Member since:
4 May 2009
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18 hours 11 min

Soaps will never survive unless they bring in some new blood to shake things up. There are six shows and seven head writers... a musical chairs of the same old, same old. When daytime dramas finally die, they have no one to blame but themselves.

david46208's picture
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15 January 2009
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I find today that AMC is the only soap I look forward to watching. I give it an 8 out of 10.

#1 They don't waste the black characters as they are all equally important to the drama. A lesser actress like Denise Vasi is played the way Y&R's CK should be played as long as we have to deal with her. She is in and out of the scene quicker than you say the entire ABC's. They could recast the character with Daphnee Samuel and i'm sure she could turn Randi into the black Erica Kane. But the plots and subplots being developed and played out are watchable. And they don't put the black characters in the storyline ghetto. 3 to 5 days a week Debbie and Darnell are driving storyline, Natalia actually POPS, and a new love triangle with Frankie seems to be on the horizon. What more can I say?

Yet since the lovely actress who plays Mayor Blanco has a primetime job why not recast that role with OLTL's Florencia L and invest in her as the new town villainess.

2. JR/Annie have drawn me in big time. In fact I can't name one other soap lately that has had this kind of push/pull of a relationship. On the other hand they could recast Marissa with Heidi Mueller (ex-Kay, Passions)and we'd have the real spawn of David/Krystal and give her a bad-Lexie (Days) like transition.

3. The Cortland vs Chandler war on the horizon is good. Now all you need is Skye back to swoop in run the company for Adam and you have makings of a new chapter in their lives.

4. Tad is gold or should I say Michael E. Knight. PV's father figure is also being played front and center and his scenes whenever fighting with Liza are off the chain. Of course Liza could be recast with Kim Johnston Ulrich (ex-Ivy, Passions) but the current portrayal by Jamie Lunar is solid.

These are just some of things I am liking about AMC where I find 70-80% good overall. AMC is really a solid soap now. It's not 5 stars yet but it's far from the 1 to 2 star CBS series called Y&R where they produce a good episode or two once in a blue moon.

Member since:
19 February 2009
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Eli isn't the Ford brothers' father.

Member since:
8 May 2008
Last activity:
8 hours 37 min

david46208 wrote:
I find today that AMC is the only soap I look forward to watching. I give it an 8 out of 10.

#1 They don't waste the black characters as they are all equally important to the drama. A lesser actress like Denise Vasi is played the way Y&R's CK should be played as long as we have to deal with her. She is in and out of the scene quicker than you say the entire ABC's. They could recast the character with Daphnee Samuel and i'm sure she could turn Randi into the black Erica Kane. But the plots and subplots being developed and played out are watchable. And they don't put the black characters in the storyline ghetto. 3 to 5 days a week Debbie and Darnell are driving storyline, Natalia actually POPS, and a new love triangle with Frankie seems to be on the horizon. What more can I say?

Yet since the lovely actress who plays Mayor Blanco has a primetime job why not recast that role with OLTL's Florencia L and invest in her as the new town villainess.

2. JR/Annie have drawn me in big time. In fact I can't name one other soap lately that has had this kind of push/pull of a relationship. On the other hand they could recast Marissa with Heidi Mueller (ex-Kay, Passions)and we'd have the real spawn of David/Krystal and give her a bad-Lexie (Days) like transition.

3. The Cortland vs Chandler war on the horizon is good. Now all you need is Skye back to swoop in run the company for Adam and you have makings of a new chapter in their lives.

4. Tad is gold or should I say Michael E. Knight. PV's father figure is also being played front and center and his scenes whenever fighting with Liza are off the chain. Of course Liza could be recast with Kim Johnston Ulrich (ex-Ivy, Passions) but the current portrayal by Jamie Lunar is solid.

These are just some of things I am liking about AMC where I find 70-80% good overall. AMC is really a solid soap now. It's not 5 stars yet but it's far from the 1 to 2 star CBS series called Y&R where they produce a good episode or two once in a blue moon.
^^^^^^^^^
David, couldn't agree with you more. It is kinda boring, but the acting is so on point and the characters draw you in. The rest all in lala land right now.

Member since:
14 December 2008
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19 weeks 3 days

Thanks for the article, J. Bernard. The only original storyline I knew about being recycled was Reva's cancer storyline. And I agree with you, even though AMC's story is a carbon copy the acting is simply fantastic! I have to wonder though is Brian Frons even intellignet enough to know which soaps his writers are copying from? He certianly doesn't to care about soap history.
Alstonboy, Kreizman is recycling Rylee because they're one of Fronzie's *favourite* couples. *rolls eyes*