"The Real" Controversy: What Is The Impact?

For those of you who have been living under a rock, new to the online soap experience or haven't visited Daytime Confidential.com before you may have not noticed it but All My Children is in the midst of a big controversy over the use of the term "The Real" when referring to the return of Rebecca Budig as Greenlee Smythe instead of using "The Original". Now there are rumors that All My Children is considering using the same type of campaign if they can get Alexa Havins back as Babe Carey Chandler.

This whole thing got me to thinking about where we as fans draw the line and what we would or would not accept from our favorite soaps or networks. 

However, before I continue I just want to say this is all hypothetically speaking and I am a big fan of all three of the actresses being used in my example. I could have just as easily used the four actresses who have portrayed Carly on General Hospital, the two actresses who portrayed Jessica on One Life to Live, or one of the actresses who portrayed Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light. If you aren't a Days of Our Lives fan then insert the name of a character who has been portrayed by more than one actor or actress on your favorite soap. I'm using Days of Our Lives' character Billie Reed portrayed by three actresses; Lisa Rinna, Krista Allen, and Julie Pinson.

Lisa Rinna is the original and arguably the most popular portrayer of the character. However, she hasn't actually been on the show in years and could be considered today more of a fond memory than an actual possibility to return.

Krista Allen
was the second actress to portray Billie Reed but is considered by many to have portrayed the worst version of Billie Reed. As one person I was discussing this topic with pointed out. Krista Allen is the Austin Peck of the Billies. She's really improved as an actress after leaving Days of Our Lives.

Julie Pinson
is the latest actress to portray Billie Reed and if I might add a bit of personal bias to this discussion I think she's done a bang up job in the role. However, her Billie has been saddled with two major problems. 1) She hasn't gotten any real good storylines to showcase her talents. 2) She went through a major rewrite in order for Chelsea to exist. (Billie lost a baby in the swamp that was a stillborn and was buried. How, the baby survived to become Chelsea is a bit dubious). Unfortunately, Julie Pinson was recently let go from Days of Our Lives.

Hypothetically Speaking:

Hypothetically speaking, how would Days of Our Lives fans feel if somehow Days of Our Lives pulled of the virtually impossible (you can thank DWTS for this) and somehow brought back Lisa Rinna as Billie Reed and then in all the promo for her return used "The REAL Billie Reed Returns to Days of Our Lives"? 

How does this trend impact daytime and its fans?

1. Is it ok for fans to use "the real" but not a network or show? If so is there a double standard?
2. Is it ok for networks or shows to use "the real" but in moderation?
3. If no actor(ess) is currently portraying the character is it ok for "the real" to be used?
4. If it is an original actress, is it better to use "original" instead of "the real"?
5. Is this a trend that we'll see more of future?
6. If so do you think that we as fans will become jaded to it and after a while won't care or pay attention?
7. Do stunts like this hurt the show that uses it or is "bad press" from those of us online still good press?
8. Will there be a ratings payoff? (we're about to find out about All My Children)
9. Is it easier for us to accept this type of thing for an extremely popular actor(ess) who has been gone for a long time like a Lisa Rinna vs. a popular actress like Budig who has been gone a shorter amount of time?
10. Is it right to use such a campaign when another actor(ess) is still in the role?

Online vs. "Regular" Viewers

My last question is this. Is "The Real" campaign being used by All My Children or that could hypothetically be used by any soap such as Days of Our Lives something that outrages us in the online chattering community but that has little or no impact on those who are just reading the magazine's off the stands or seeing the promos on their TV's? Does this issue even register on their radar and is it possible that we're taking this to seriously?

I'm not sure where we'll be as an industry or how much this campaign by All My Childen wil affect the promotional strategies of other soaps but one thing is forsure, it's highly unlikely this is the last time we'll face this issue.

What are your thoughts on this type of campaign?

This type of promo campaign needs to stop now!
23% (82 votes)
It's in bad taste
56% (201 votes)
We're taking this way to seriously
12% (43 votes)
This issue is only important to us online. "Regular" viewers don't care
2% (6 votes)
It's ok if no actress is currently in the role
7% (24 votes)
Total votes: 356


Jammylove's picture
Member since:
18 November 2007
Last activity:
2 years 39 weeks

People are "the real" anything when they originate the role i.e Scott Bryce is the real craig even though many love Hunt Block's version. Laura Wright is the "real" Cassie since she made everyone love/hate Cassie on Guiding Light.SS was Greenlee 2.0 so if she does come back I guess they could make a commercial saying GREENLEE 2.0 IS BACK!

Member since:
14 January 2008
Last activity:
4 years 14 weeks

Will this be a ratings payoff? My response: They are also bringing back Rebecca Budig at a time when they are bringing back one of the best supercouples in Daytime HISTORY: Angie & Jesse. I don't think ABC will be able to accurately tell how and if Rebecca Budig's return affects the ratings when there may be people more interested in tuning in to see Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams.

days4ever's picture
Member since:
14 January 2008
Last activity:
6 weeks 6 days

I don't think there is anything wrong with it. Rebecca is Greenlee in my opinion. They did a similar thing when they brought back Peter Reckell as Bo Brady. Robert Kelker Kelly was playing him and doing a great job but Peter wanted to come back and to me he is Bo Brady so why not. I feel bad for Sabine the actress who is playing Greenlee now but she is good and she will find another role.

Member since:
27 November 2007
Last activity:
2 years 48 weeks

I have watched all 3 actress play Billie Reed my fave out the 3 is Julie Prinson because she bring more to the role ,You could have done the thing with AMC 2 KENDALL`S OR AMC`S I don`t know if it`s 2 or3 Janet GREENS and don`t forget B&B`S Ricks and ONE LIFE TO Lives KWVINS oh and AMC 3 Skey`s .I could go on and on oh by the way the frist Skey was a brit.Don`t ask the actress name because I don`t remmeber it.

daisyclover1938's picture
Member since:
14 November 2007
Last activity:
3 years 49 weeks

I think the issue isn't that they brought back RB, but the way they did it...(as has been said, RKK was ousted at DAYS when PR wanted to come back, and Davetta Sherwood was fired when CK came back to Y&R). But saying "the real" Greenlee while SS was still on the show seemed cruel. Even if you're not a SS fan, you don't want the actress to be humiliated. Plus, there's the fact that the campaign makes it seem as if it was SS's fault that Greenlee's return didn't work, but it was TIIC that messed up. Instead of "the real Greenlee returns" it should be "RB is back...and this time we won't write a crappy story for Greenlee!"

The irony of this is that TIIC probably thought this campaign would get a positive response. They probably know fans were saying "this isn't the real Greenlee"..."I want the real Greenlee" so they thought they were giving people what they wanted...but they did it the wrong way.

Your example of the Billies of DAYS is interesting... They tried bringing back Rinna as Bilie (in between Allen and Pinson) but it didn't work. It wasn't a reflection of Rinna though, it's just that the story was awful. If DAYS were to have let Pinson go just to bring back Rinna, I think most fans would be unhappy because 1. As you said, it's been years since Rinna played Billie, 2. Rinna's last return was a disaster and 3. Pinson was doing a perfectly good job. I know this was just a hypothetical situation, but I just wanted to make the point that when recasting w/ the original actor, different factors come into play.

I think it's okay for fans to use "real"-When we're venting or giving our opinions, fans aren't going to censor themselves because the assumption is that they're talking to other fans only (usually the case). If a fan wants to consider how using certain words are going to effect an actor (if they read the comments) that's fine, but I don't think in general that's necessary... Unfortunately, brutal criticism is part of the job when you're an actor. BUT when a network says "real" (while the recast is still in the role) not only is it cruel in a much more public way (and unlike posts or letters, an actor can't simply ignore it), but it very well may be detrimental to that actor's career. ABC was essentially saying SS's run as Greenlee was a disaster and the only way to correct it is by bringing back RB. Plus, there's a professionalism that fans expect the network to adhere to.

I think using "real" would be more acceptable if the recast has been gone for awhile, but they don't have to use it at all. How about "RB returns as Greenlee" or "Joan Van Ark returns to Y&R as Gloria!" Smile

I don't know...how about you Luke? You were not a fan of SS as Greenlee and spoke about it often on the podcast (I don't know if you ever used the word "real") do you feel bad about doing that? (I don't think you should).

And is there sort of a statute of limitations on being the "real" whoever. Meaning, even if you originated the role is there a point when fans would laugh if the network said that actor was "the real (insert character name here)"? For instance, OLTL's Blair was not originally played by Kassie DePaiva...so what if Mia Korf (the lovely Asian actress) came back and replaced DePaiva, could the network legitimately get away with "Mia Korf brings back the REAL Blair Cramer!"

And I wonder how people would react if Roger Howarth came back to OLTL and the network hailed him as "the real" Todd...I think people would be split on that.

I guess each case is different, but I would just say stay away from "real"

Christine_in_Wisconsin's picture
Member since:
11 December 2007
Last activity:
3 years 27 weeks

I don't watch AMC, so as a non-watcher who has seen these promos while watching GH and Soapnet I think it reflects poorly on the network and RB. If SS wasn't currently on the air and they were bringing her back (ala Brenda) then it would have been okay I suppose.

It's the fact that they were so heartless to Sabine. It also does seem desperate and if I were an actor/actress working on the show in a role that I didn't originate, I'd be sprucing up my resume right now (presuming actors/actresses have resumes - what the heck do I know I'm a Marketing Analyst).

mrsnoahdrake's picture
Member since:
2 January 2008
Last activity:
1 year 15 weeks

I also don't watch AMC, but sometimes catch a few minutes here and there. The ads are usually enough to keep you posted on what's going on, along with the ABC podcast. I do know who Rebecca Budig is and I can see how she's a fan favorite. There was a rumor a while back about her being the new "Brenda Barrett" and for me only VM is Brenda.
It's an atrocity what they are doing to Sabine Singh. It's not about taking soaps too seriously, which we all do at times. But, it's how you treat one human being and publicly humiliate her. Sabine must have had high hopes when she joined AMC and she knew she had big shoes to fill. She has feelings, as do her family & friends, even if it's "only a soap opera."
There is no excuse for violating another person's spirit in this manner.
She will go on to other things, but this could have easily been avoided.
If they wanted to bring RB back, then send Greenlee away for a while and then publicize the return after Sabine is gone. She could've been locked in that stupid hole alone or just have Zach get out and let Greenlee stay in there alone (stupid story anyways) and have RB come out.
They should have said "Rebecca Budig returns as Greenlee" or "the original Greenlee returns".
Is GH going to publicize "Sarah Brown returns as Non-Carly on...."?
She has a huge following. Hypothetically speaking, if Laura Wright leaves the role of Carly and Sarah Brown is available, will they pull a "Roman Brady" and bring Sarah back as "the original Carly"?
Personally, I still don't care for LW as Carly; I loved SB and it took a long time to get used to TB, but I grew to really enjoy her as well. It's the writing more than anything else, since it's so awful these days.
I was very surprised when Days recast Bo Brady and even though I liked Robert Kelker Kelly from Another World, I had a hard time accepting him as Bo, as there was only one Bo. I was glad to have Peter back, but they treated RKK badly in doing so.
As for Billie, I loved when Lisa Rinna came on. The other actress...well she needed a lot of acting lessons, and they found any excuse to put her in a bikini. I love Julie Pinson; she kinda resembles Lisa and I often forget she's not the original Billie.
Back to AMC, I think this may have negative ramifications for AMC as the whole thing was handled so poorly that maybe people will stop watching AMC, Rebecca Budig or not (Of course not Luke who's having a party that day!).

NekkidEJ's picture
Member since:
22 November 2007
Last activity:
6 years 5 weeks

I think it hurts the reputation of the network, and both actresses involved.

Boidiva02's picture
Member since:
7 May 2008
Last activity:
5 years 35 weeks

i have no problem with it. because the truth is that Rebecca Budig is imho The REAL greenlee---that other girl was imho just an imposter---and i kept waiting for the real greenlee to come back... let's take Marty on OLTL for example---when Susan Haskell returns i will definetly be glad to have the REAL MARTY back and would welcome a campaing expressing that very sentiment because Christina Chambers was simply NOT MARTY SAYBROOKE.

Wishing Lucy Coe was still around!