SOURCE: “Jeff Kwatinetz Wants The New All My Children and One Life to Live to be Edgy”


It's starting to shape up that the casting breakdown I was leaked for the characters of Matthew and Destiny on One Life to Live—which finds Des looking for a Sugar Daddy online—could in fact be a glimpse into the kind of storytelling we will be seeing on the new versions of OLTL and All My Children. According to sources, Prospect Park principle Jeff Kwatinetz wants his soaps to do edgy, ripped-from-the-headlines story arcs.

"Jeff wants controversy for these shows," explains an insider. "He doesn't want the same old return-from-the-dead storylines and things of that nature. He wants the characters dealing with shocking, provocative issues being written about in the newspapers and talked about on the nightly news."

"Sugar Babies", coed girls who spend time with older men in exchange for money, have been a hot topic in the news of late. ABC's 20/20 has been covering the topic for some time and an MIT graduate's website recently posted a Top 20 list of colleges and universities where Sugar Babies could be found in 2011.

"Relaunching One Life to Live with a beloved teen character going the Sugar Baby route will provide just the kind of controversy Jeff is looking for," says a mole.

While it's definitely hard to imagine sweet, sassy Des in such a gamey story arc (Maybe that's why they're reportedly looking for an older actress for the part baby-faced Shenell Edmonds originated?), the original One Life to Live told plenty of controversial tales. Creator Agnes Nixon launched the sudser in the turbulent, racially-charged late 60's with a saga about a light-skinned black woman passing for white — while dating both a black man and a white one. Two years later, Nixon's All My Children began with a character staunchly opposed to the Vietnam War.


38 Responses

  1. Profile photo of soapjunkie88

    British soap operas doing this kind of stuff for decades and their soaps dominate the primetime. It’s not a bad thing, it might just move the US soaps into the right direction so that they can be around for decades to come.

  2. Profile photo of angrierblackerman

    Do we have a new Brian Fronz in Jeff K? I think that the ‘edge’ comes from the truth of the moment…people go through real life struggles everyday, and even though it’s not as juicy as what happens in the Enquirer, it is just as intense.

    I really don’t want to see any filth flarn filth on my screen.

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

    @Jamey Giddens: Agnes also told the tales of Jesse being falsely acused of rape by Liza, Angie’s father Les Baxter being head of a baby ring where he sold babies on the black market and Erica’s abortion.

    AMC would later tell under Lorraine’s leadership Mimi Reed dealing with the public outrage for a cop shooting an unarmed black man, gender discrimination when Mimi was fired for getting with her partner Derek, etc…
    So AMC has always told edgy tales. Agnes always said she pulled her tails from the New York Times. So I can’t waitto see this.

  4. Profile photo of The_Moustache

    i hope since it’s not certain if they will be aired on the tv, then they can get away with a lot more adult situations online.

    strong nudity
    curse words
    explicit love scenes

  5. Profile photo of gslam

    OK, people. We haven’t even seen a damn show yet. Let’s not get all twisted before we know anything. Frankly, the shows need to be “edgy” and rooted in stories to which today’s audiences can relate. Remember, OLTL has been off the air for over a year, and lots of things could have happened to these characters between then and now. Until we know what the story and the characters’ motivations are, all of this snark and complaining is nothing but wasted energy.

  6. Profile photo of Trey_

    This doesn’t sounds so bad now.
    Like everyone has said, it can’t be worse than the back from the dead, doppelgangers, and other crazy stuff we get on the others.
    I’ll check for the new OLTL & AMC.

  7. Profile photo of Y2Jin99

    LOL Brazil and other countries have nudity in soaps.
    I don’t see it happening but I would welcome it especially
    if Cara, Marissa, Greenlee and a few others were naked.

  8. Profile photo of SoapArmageddon

    I, for one, have had my fill of the typical, tired, recycled soap fare that the networks dish out. My only hope is that these people’s definition of “edgy” isn’t non-stop pimpin’ and hoin’.

  9. Profile photo of CTwildheart

    I have no problem with edgy stories. BUT for Destiny to end up there knowing where she came from – is hard to swallow. I could see it with other characters…not Destiny. There would have to be a HUGE incident for such a drastic change of character.

  10. Profile photo of DonnyA2001

    I think this is just the step that soaps need to progress and make for better change. I don’t think all stories should be smutty or sexual, but modernizing a lot of these instead of return from the dead or baby switch storylines would only do soaps good. AMC and OLTL need to come back with a bang to make people talk and start watching. Getting new viewers is a big thing for this deal.

    With that being said, I also feel as though there needs to be a mix of that with some things of old, like the big, sweeping romances and interrupted weddings that we all know an love about soaps. We need a lot of family values that these shows are both known for to be a big prescence along with the ripped from the headlines thing. Hope they can manage this successfully.

  11. Profile photo of giogio

    Soapjunkie, Europe tv is very different, especially England. I kind of think I would like to hear Vicki tell Dorian to go F her self. Wouldnt that be fun.

    THE MOUSTACHE – you are out of control :D

  12. Profile photo of marknsprmo

    It sounds like these soaps are going back to what they were once upon a time before they became this safe anticeptic version we see on tv now. Bill Bell and Agnes Nixon were always trying to push the envelope with stories that created a stir and made people feel something new. Whether it be about race, or gender issues or even just things as simple as interfamily relationships, the pair of writers were always looking for a new angle to present.
    I am all for pushing the envelope on stories and taking them from the headlines if the stories are presented well and delved into. They can’t just land like a bomb then go away. The effects of the issues have to have long term effects. OLTL has an excellent historical precedence for this with the Judith Light story about the house wife that was a prostitute. The story had layers upon layers and converged into one massive event in court. AMC also has things like that in its history such as Erica Kane’s abortion. It would be great to go back to these kinds of issues mixed in along with the normal soap conventions (evil twins and multiple personalities are always fun).
    There are all kinds of stories out there that soaps could tackle such as abortion, gay parenting, what a couple will do to have a child, right wing/left wing terrorism, bullying, people who feel excluded from the world who do terrible things to show their anger and hurt, using and abusing drugs and alcohol, generation gaps, defining gender roles in the modern era, current teen sex issues, how the internet is defining life,
    identity theft, CSI, experimental medical treatments, the issues are nearly infinite. Nighttime tv is using all of these stories on a regular basis to create drama to good effect. It is about time that daytime follows suit.

  13. Profile photo of days4ever

    I love it! This is what soaps need to thrive. This will get people talking again at watercoolers! I think it’s brilliant and can’t wait to see how it plays out.

  14. Profile photo of Soap_Stud

    I figured the storylines would be more controversial. I like that he has a vision and like many have mentioned, OLTL and AMC started out edgy, especially for that time. I am excited to see the fresher, riskier OLTL and AMC versions. Have we heard officially that they will air in April? I know I read Racina mentioned April in a blog or on facebook or something.

    I loved the Frank/Ron era of OLTL. I also loved OLTL during the whole Marty was raped storyline. I hope to be just as excited and drawn into the OLTL revival. AMC had me hooked with the whole Mimi storyline that was referenced earlier..such strong performances during that story..oh and Cindy’s story on AMC was also a must see time for me. Let’s hope for the best!

  15. Profile photo of MysteryStory

    If this is the way the story goes, and it may not, I will be disappointed. I liked that Destiny had a supportive family environment, a powerful family to help her (the Buchanans), and seemed to be very likeable. I could be reading more into this but why Destiny? Why not Danielle? She also has a powerful family behind her. Mother’s a lawyer. Aunt is a society scion with her own demons. Could you imagine the story? I guess I’m saddened by another possible storyline of an unwed, teenage, black, single mom that resorts to turning tricks. I mean really? Halle Berry had to play a prostitute in order to win an Oscar. Can’t we move on from that type of stereotypical characterization of African American women using their bodies for money? I’m not saying this doesn’t happen in real life because it does. I’m just sorry it may be happening to Destiny.

  16. Profile photo of TC irene
    TC irene

    I fail to see what is so edgy about a woman..especially a Black woman turning to prostitution regardless of the reason. Talk about done to death.

    But that is the way society wants to see us…STILL !!! Yawn

    Nevermind the fact that if any young adult should be turning tricks it should be Daniella…Poor child has had far more trauma in her young life than getting knocked up by the heir to a mega family fortune or finding out her loving parents and brother are actually her loving grandparents and uncle.

    Not that I am encouraging Daniella to turn tricks either I’m just saying.

  17. Profile photo of dr donald g boudreau
    dr donald g boudreau

    OLTL has a strong multi-decade legacy of socioeconomic diversity and long term related “edginess” in successfully addressing controversial issues, including among other things, the onset of the Nation’s tragic AIDS crisis and its treatment; teenage pregnancy; gang rape; mental illness a la Multiple Personality Disorder; homophobia, gay coming out and LGBT relationship issues; and, alcoholism and drug addiction and dependency issues. “Edginess” is nothing new to Llanview, Pennsylvania, and the fan base will more than tolerate, if not embrace such, depending on the level of realism and maturity of its treatment by the scribes. What it seemingly will not tolerate or embrace for long, it seems to me, is stupidity should it arise, or a cavalier disregard for the show’s history, its characters, and their legacy.

    There are some formerly employed OLTL writers who can powerfully attest to such, and Ms. Slezak is prominently mentioned in the literature, regarding a case involving one such writer. The boss wants edginess, ok, but wager this too, protesting ladies too much. That he the boss – does not want a rank over the cliff, jumping the shark, negation of storied personality and history – to the radical extent that it results in alienating the nationwide longtime, multiple millions of viewing core OLTL fan base, adversely affecting the show’s support, profitability and longtime viability at a time when it hopes to capitalize on that core fan base with a view to increasing its market share.

    Moreover, the instant undertaking however laudable and it is highly so, is nevertheless replete with complications enough already, one need not pile onto the list: (1) economic, pay-to-view, particularly given the constraints of a viewer paid medium a la Hulu Plus with a much smaller viewership at present than the traditional networks, (2) requiring some technological hurdles for viewers watching to initially surmount [i.e., as in purchasing and connecting a new cable from a computer to a tv set?], (3) at a time when the Nation’s wages are flat, following the Great Recession, and (4) when Prospect Park’s The Online Network is ambitiously trying to revitalize shows that were cancelled under the most ominous and trying and alienating circumstances to the actors, crews, and fan base.

    The Evans family was/is a loving, nurturing, and strong family unit – notwithstanding its shortcomings as all families have. And “Destiny,” portrayed by the fine young actress, Shenell Edmonds, is a recent NAACP Image Award nominee – whose character, however challenged it was — now seems “destined” or rather debased into becoming an Internet hooker – for edginess story’s sake? How American can you get folks, you say? Really? Doesn’t this wholesale undermine the loving family structure that Nora aka Mrs. Bo Buchanan and the good Mrs. Evans worked so hard in building for Destiny and her future, and for her baby’s future? Why Nora and Bo were happily ready to pay her college tuition and care for all the needs of their grandchild. Doesn’t it currently undermine, if not entirely obliterate, the ever loving strength of the strong sibling bond – that powerfully existed between Destiny and her beloved brother, “Sean”, as also warmly portrayed by the also talented fine actor, Sean Ringgold? Another dysfunctional African American family experience mainstream – America needs? The canvass of characters have serious longstanding – contextual history; they are not, in that sense, a blank slate or a block of molding clay.

    Soap fans are so invested in their show’s characters, yes indeed, so Viki lovingly told us at OLTL’s closing a la Fraternity Row. But hey, go right ahead and ignore the core fan base – at your peril. ABC/D did for the past year and a half or so, and look at what that got them. For edginess? Really, you say? Thank Madame Delphina and Luna Moody’s Soaps Goddess for an eraser…

    Dr. Donald G. Boudreau
    author, American Business and Daytime Dramas

  18. Profile photo of SoapyBitch

    I agree Trey_. I am fearful that we’ll get a Nafessa Williams redux.

    Who is handling casting duties at the new soaps?

    Part of me wishes that they would go with Shenell Edmonds. If you want edgy that would be edgy because she looks so innocent. It would be shocking.

  19. Profile photo of Daniel St. John
    Daniel St. John

    I am all for edgy realism but not if it comes at the expense of logical storytelling. Case in point, this “Sugar Baby” storyline would work fine with a character like Rama but not with Destiny. Destiny comes from a supportive family, has a close relationship with her child’s über wealthy family and is not nearly as free-spirited a character as she would need to be to turn to having relations with men for money.

  20. Profile photo of kbirdusa

    This sounds great – make it good and trashy, and perhaps people will tune in. It’s on the internet, so they can make it a little bit dirty, too. Some other possible stories: Viki Buchanan, about to lose Llanfair, decides to make extra money by going into the phone sex business, unbeknownst to her family. Or perhaps Nora inherits a strip club, and decides to make a go of it.

  21. Profile photo of pjc722

    I definitely think for both of these shows to be successsful they will have to be edgy and different for more than just the DIEHARD fans to catch it.

    But I also think that they both have to be a different edgy. I mean, if both shows tackle social issues that what’s the difference between them. I am not saying it’s the answer but OLTL should be the thinking woman’s edgy while AMC should be the over the top edgy so that, if they get her, Erica can be the most OVER THE TOP she has ever been to date!

    But if one tackles “sugar babies” and the other tackles prostitution, etc. than why spend two hours watching either when the other will eventually get there.

    Think ONE a new DALLAS version and the other a new REVENGE version.

    That’s my take

  22. Profile photo of bottomchef

    they need to bring oltl’s premise of dealing w/ racial and gender and cultural issues back to this reboot. Addressing racial and gender and class differences can be a way to create storylines organically while still remaining edgy. they don’t need cheap shock value techniques. leave that to reality tv shows. new ideas and perspectives can make any show and character more unique. Not all storylines have to be about race. But fictional characters’ lives are touched by their racial identities.

    there’s good edgy and then there’s edginess w/c is really only being offensive for the sake of shocking people like how “ally mcbeal” was being “edgy” w/ how they portrayed chinese american character ling who was a dragon lady and hypersexualized only when paired w/ a white male char. the char was all these harmful stereotypes. but it launched lucy liu’s career bec she was really popular w/ the audience. the char really did more harm than good. edgy can definitely be repelling if edginess is used to mock racial minorities.

Leave a Reply