Soap veteran Jerry verDorn has experienced quite the roller coaster ride career-wise. Just a few years after he exited popular CBS sudser Guiding Light, the long-running daytime drama was cancelled. TV's former Ross Marler found a new suds hub on ABC Daytime's One Life to Live, re-creating the role of newspaperman-turned-tyrant Clint Buchanan. No sooner than verDorn had made the role of Clint his own, Disney made the boneheaded decision to cancel OLTL.
Never fear. Production company Prospect Park licensed the rights to OLTL and sister soap All My Children, with plans to continue both online. When Prospect Park's first stab at transitioning daytime soaps to the internet fell apart, verDorn was just as crestfallen as the two soaps' legions of fans. Flash forward to one star-studded night in late April 2013, where verDorn walked an NYU red carpet for the premieres of the new OLTL and AMC, with other members of the beloved, Agnes Nixon serials' cast and crew.
I managed to pick the talented thespian's brain for a few minutes before the screening. Will the online version of OLTL tell big business stories, inspired by primetime soap Dallas, like its predecesor did in the 80's? Could the returns of OLTL and AMC lead to more soap reboots? Keep reading for verDorn's thoughts on both subjects and more.
Daytime Confidential: The Buchanans on One Life to Live were initially kind of patterned after the Ewings from Dallas, which is now back on the air. Will we see any big, corporate battles at Buchanan Enterprises on the new show?
Jerry verDorn: I think eventually you will. We haven't shot it yet, but that's very much in the cards. One good thing, though, Clint is finally out from under house arrest. I can go to a different set! [Laughs]
DC: You went through all of the emotions with the show being cancelled, then rebooted, then that falling apart. And of course, your previous soap, Guiding Light, was also cancelled during the past five years. What are you feeling as One Life to Live relaunches?
JVD: I'm feeling very fulfilled and I am sure a lot of fans are too, because when Prospect Park stepped in and then they weren't there, there was all this disappointment. Then they were there again and people didn't want to believe it was actually going to happen. Then it actually happened. In the background of all of it was the Guiding Light and CBS people saying, "Well, if it could happen for One Life and All My Children, could it possibly happen to us?" Who knows?
Once I found out the people they had gathered together to do this show, technically, artistically and acting-wise, I was really impressed. The first five weeks of our taping was really good stuff, and it's a very nice facility in Stamford.