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?