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All My Children (shortened to AMC) is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC Kids for 41 years, from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011, and on The Online Network (TOLN) since April 29, 2013 via Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes.
Created by Agnes Nixon, All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia which is modeled on the actual Philadelphia suburb of Rosemont. The original series featured Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, one of daytime's most popular characters. The title of the series refers to the bonds of humanity. All My Children was the first new network daytime drama to debut in the 1970s. Originally owned by Creative Horizons, Inc., the company created by Nixon and her husband, Bob, the show was sold to ABC in January 1975. The series started at a half-hour in per-installment length, then was expanded to a full hour on April 25, 1977. Earlier, the show had experimented with the full-hour format for one week starting on June 30, 1975, after which Ryan's Hope premiered.
From 1970 to 1990, All My Children was recorded at ABC's TV18 at 101 West 67th St, now a 50-story apartment tower. From March 1990 to December 2009, it was taped at ABC's television studio TV23 at 320 West 66th Street in Manhattan, New York City, New York. In December 2009, the locale for taping the series moved from the costly New York City to California. The show was then produced in Stages 1 and 2 at the Andrita Studios in Los Angeles, California, and is now produced at the Connecticut Film Center in Stamford, Connecticut. All My Children started taping in high definition on January 4, 2010 and began airing in high definition on February 3, 2010. All My Children became the third soap opera to be produced and broadcast in high definition.
At one time, the program's popularity positioned it as the most widely recorded television show in the United States. Also, in a departure from societal norms at the time, All My Children, in the mid-1970s, had an audience that was estimated to be 30% male. The show ranked No. 1 in the daytime Nielsen ratings in the 1978–79 season. Throughout most of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, All My Children was the No. 2 daytime soap opera on the air. However, like the rest of the soap operas in the United States, All My Children experienced unprecedented declines in its daytime ratings during the 2000s. By the 2010s, it had become one of the least watched soap operas in daytime television.
On April 14, 2011, it was announced that ABC had canceled All My Children after 41 years on the air. On July 7, 2011, ABC sold the licensing rights of All My Children to third-party production company Prospect Park with the show set to continue on the internet as a series of webisodes. The show taped its final scenes for ABC on August 30, 2011, and its final episode on the network aired on September 23, 2011 with a cliffhanger. Prospect Park had suspended its plan to revive the series on November 23, 2011 due to lack of funding and unsuccessful negotiation with the union organizations representing the actors and crews. On December 17, 2012, it was reported that Prospect Park was again attempting to relaunch the show. On January 7, 2013, Prospect Park officially brought back its project to restore All My Children as a web series. The relaunched series taped its first scenes on February 25, 2013, and premiered on April 29, 2013, On May 20, 2013, new episodes were made available worldwide on YouTube via The Online Network's official YouTube account. The series also airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network since July 15, 2013.
Agnes Nixon, then head writer for The Guiding Light, first came up with the idea for All My Children in the 1960s. When writing the story bible, she designed the show so it would be a light-hearted soap opera that focused on social issues and young love. She unsuccessfully attempted to sell the series to NBC, then to CBS, and once again to NBC through Procter & Gamble. When Procter & Gamble was unable to make room for the show in its lineup, Nixon put All My Children on hold.
Nixon became the head writer for Another World in 1965, and decided to use a few ideas from her All My Children bible. In one specific case, she used the model of the Erica Kane character to create a brand new Another World character named Rachel Davis. Nixon said Rachel was Erica's "precursor to the public" but Rachel was a lower-class version. "Erica and Rachel have in common is they thought if they could get their dream, they'd be satisfied," Nixon said. "But that dream has been elusive."
ABC later approached her to create a show that would reflect a more contemporary tone. That program became One Life to Live, and it debuted in 1968. After the show became a success, the network asked her for another program, and she obliged by reviving her All My Children bible and the Erica Kane character.
The poem, written by Nixon, that appears in the title credits' photo album reads:
The Great and the Least,
The Rich and the Poor, The Weak and the Strong, In Sickness and in Health, In Joy and Sorrow, In Tragedy and Triumph, You are ALL MY CHILDREN
All My Children debuted on January 5, 1970. Rosemary Prinz was signed on to be the "special guest star" for six months, playing the role of liberal Amy Tyler. Prinz was well known for her role on As the World Turns in the 1950s and 1960s and she was added to the show to give it an initial boost due to her name value. From 1970 and into the 1980s, the show was either written by Nixon herself or by her protégé, Wisner Washam. He was groomed by Nixon to eventually take over the reins in the 1980s while she focused on other endeavors, which included creating and launching Loving in 1983.
Nixon strove to create a soap opera that was topical and could illustrate social issues for the audience. She wanted this and a combination of regular humor for the series. To keep the action more real, she allowed the audience to locate her fictional "Pine Valley" on a map: situated a mere hour-long train ride from New York City. Many believed Pine Valley was in New York State because of a town called Pine Valley in western New York. However, it was not until the 1980s that it was finally revealed that Pine Valley is actually in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia and also near One Life to Live's Llanview. (Nixon modeled the town on Rosemont, an actual suburb of Philadelphia; its very name, "Pine Valley," is a corruption of "Penn Valley.")
The show's first action takes place around several families and characters. Phoebe Tyler (Ruth Warrick), who fashions herself as "Queen of Pine Valley," is the paradigm of a rich snob when she is introduced. A single mother, Mona Kane (Frances Heflin), and her prima donna daughter, Erica (Susan Lucci) are also introduced. Contrasting this is the stable Martin Family, headed by patriarch Joe and later (after the death of her husband, Ted Brent) by matriarch Ruth, who becomes a symbolic foundation of All My Children.
With Phoebe as the "Queen of Pine Valley", Erica became the "Princess". Destined to break up the young romance of classmates Tara Martin (Karen Lynn Gorney) and Phil Brent (Richard Hatch), Erica finds out that Phil is not Ruth's son but the son of Ruth's sister, Amy (Rosemary Prinz). In a selfish attempt to break up Phil and Tara, she tells everyone the truth.
All My Children's first success was its telling of young love. ABC wanted a soap opera that would bring in young viewers, and slowly the program was accomplishing that. The show's ratings did not start out strong, however. In its first year on the air, it ranked No. 17 out of 19 soap operas. Despite this, its audience was building with each passing year.
The show was unique for its use of the Vietnam War. Before All My Children debuted, no show had discussed the war in any depth. There was character Phoebe, a conservative, and Amy, a free-spirited liberal, both butting heads over the war, with Amy often leading protests around Pine Valley. When Amy leaves, Ruth takes over as the anti-war voice and protests against the war in the early 1970s. Th character's protest speech in 1972 wins Mary Fickett the first Emmy Award given to a soap opera performer. Later in the show's run, Phoebe becomes more liberal.
In 1973, Erica Kane makes the decision to have an abortion, which becomes the first legal abortion aired on American television. Making the abortion particularly controversial is Erica's reason for doing it; she does not have it because her health is in jeopardy, but rather because she does not want to gain weight and lose her modeling job. The abortion story received much media attention, especially since Roe v. Wade had been decided just a few months before the story began airing. Within the story, Erica develops a potentially fatal infection, which was later determined to be toxoplasmosis after having the abortion, and the switchboards at ABC lit up with calls from doctors and nurses, offering its medical opinions on how best to treat the character's case.
Phoebe's husband Charles (Hugh Franklin) gets close to Mona (Erica's mother and his secretary at the hospital). The two fall in love and Charles divorces Phoebe, even though she tries to blackmail Mona and even fakes paralysis. In the end, Phoebe is left a drunken divorcée and Mona becomes the new Mrs. Tyler. This ordeal starts the long-time Phoebe/Mona rivalry.
When Eileen Letchworth, who portrayed Margo Flax Martin, contemplated a facelift, she talked it over with Nixon. Not only was Letchworth going to need time off, she was going to look significantly different when she returned to the show. Nixon approved and worked the facelift into a storyline. Margo wanted to impress the somewhat younger Paul Martin (William Mooney). Margo's facelift in 1974 became one of the first major storylines on television discussing plastic surgery surgery and its psychological effects.
In June 1976, character Brooke English shows up on her Aunt Phoebe's doorstep and soon after clashes with Erica over Tom Cudahy and Mark Dalton. Since then, Brooke ends up with several of Erica's leftover men. In 1976, the show introduces fan favorite Myrtle Lum Fargate (Eileen Herlie).
By the late 1970s, the show had risen to the top of the ratings. One reason for the rise was the arrival of teenage prostitute Donna Beck (Candice Earley). Her relationship with the handsome Dr. Chuck Tyler breathed life into the show and captivated fans. Other new additions are the arrivals of aristocratic Palmer Cortlandt (aka Peter Cooney) (James Mitchell), his somewhat creepy housekeeper Myra Murdock (Elizabeth Lawrence), and his overprotected daughter Nina (Taylor Miller), who, to Palmer's chagrin, entrances Dr. Cliff Warner (Peter Bergman). Palmer does everything in his power to break up the couple, including telling Nina she is going blind due to her diabetes. Palmer teams up with Cliff's past flame, nurse Sybil Thorne (Linda Gibboney), who confronts Cliff about fathering her son, but this is temporary; Sybil is murdered and Cliff is arrested for the crime, which actually was committed by Sean Cudahy (Alan Dysert). During the murder trial, Nina is astonished to learn that her mother, Daisy Cortlandt (Gillian Spencer), whom she believes to be dead, is, in fact, alive and living in Pine Valley as Monique Jonville. To everyone's complete shock, Myra acknowledges that Daisy is her daughter. All My Children also found memorable villains in Billy Clyde Tuggle (Matthew Cowles) and Ray Gardner.
All My Children had always aired in color since its 1970 debut. The episodes were initially only saved for a short time on cartridge tapes and were eventually erased in order to tape other productions. Beginning in 1976, all the episodes were saved on cartridge tape and then digitally since the late 1990s. A few early episodes were saved on kinescope in black and white, one of which aired on ABC in 1997 on a special "A Daytime To Remember". But there are no known pre-1976 episodes to be still in existence on tape.
The early '80s is considered to have been a "golden period" for the show and the "Golden Age" for supercouples. Younger characters, such as Greg Nelson and Jenny Gardner (Laurence Lau and Kim Delaney), Liza Colby (Marcy Walker), Liza's best friend Amanda (Amanda Bearse), Jesse Hubbard and Angie Baxter (Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan), and a now-grown-up Tad Martin (Michael E. Knight), who was now legally Ruth and Joe's son, enter the scene.
The storyline involving Liza plotting to win Greg back after he leaves her for Jenny became a fan favorite, as was the Greg and Jenny and Jesse and Angie pairings. Jesse and Jenny's summer in New York City became regarded as one of the greatest storylines in the history of the series. Meanwhile, the legend of "Tad the Cad" is born when Tad takes Liza's virginity, then simultaneously begins having sex with her mother, socialite Marian Colby (Jennifer Bassey), who eventually is sent to prison.
For older appeal, Jenny and Tad's natural mother Opal (Dorothy Lyman) was also added to the canvas, where she opens the Glamorama salon and spa. Opal greatly showcased All My Children’s attempt at humor and satire. Also introduced in the 1980s were powerful businessman Adam Chandler and his identical twin brother Stuart (both played by David Canary), the first arrival of members of the Chandler family. Adam became cited as one of the "most powerful male figures in television", which was contrasted by Stuart's kind, generous, and honest personality.
Erica begins to take on a larger-than-life role by the 1980s. This is evident with her writing an autobiography, "Raising Kane", and turning it into a motion picture. When her presumed half-sister Silver (Deborah Goodrich) accuses her of murdering Kent Bogard (Michael Woods, Lee Godart), her former lover and boss, she goes on the run, fleeing to the Hollywood Hills. She does this all while posing as a nun.
The show made its first attempt at tackling the taboo topic of homosexuality in 1983. Tricia Pursley portrayed the divorced Devon McFadden, who believes she is falling in love with her psychiatrist, Lynn Carson (portrayed by Donna Pescow). Lynn admits to being a lesbian, and Devon admits her crush. Before this storyline, no other American soap opera had done a story about homosexuality.
The show also intelligently tackled the issue of drug use when Mark La Mura's character, Mark Dalton, becomes addicted to cocaine after years of casual use. His half-sister, Erica, stages an intervention with his friends to have him confront his problems. They practice a tough love-policy that has Mark admit to the addiction. The informative episode showed how to hold an intervention, and the stages to go through for a successful confrontation.
On March 18, 1985, the episode of All My Children included the scene while Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) met and became friends with Stephen J. Cannell, the writer, creator, and producer of drama shows The A-Team, Riptide, Hunter, and Wiseguy.
Controversy was prompted in 1987 with the arrival of Cindy Parker (Ellen Wheeler), who would later fall in love with Stuart. The character was revealed to have AIDS. Through visits by now-Dr. Angie Hubbard, the show educated the public on how the disease was spread and how to prevent it. Cindy had contracted HIV from her husband, Fred, played by Mark Morrison who contracted it from sharing needles for drug use. Cindy is attacked by a vigilante hate group led by her niece, Skye Chandler. The tragedy of the attack shows the extremes of violence that occur every day to victims of the disease. Cindy marries Stuart and he adopts her son, Scott. She dies early in 1989 in one of the show's most watched episodes.
ABC wanted changes at All My Children. The show was getting about 6.5 million viewers per episode, but there sentiment that the program had lost its unique sense of humor. Efforts were made to bring the show back to the glory days of the late '70s and early ‘80s. This would mean adding a mixture of both social issues and also the intelligent satire that the show had been known for.
Felicia Minei Behr was hired as the new executive producer in early 1989. Having been a producer on Ryan's Hope, Behr was familiar with All My Children, having been an associate producer from 1970 to 1975. Among the stories featured was a baby storyline involving the characters of Adam, Brooke, Tad, and Dixie (Cady McClain). By this time, the show had also found a "hit couple" in Cecily and Nico (portrayed by Rosa Nevin and Maurice Benard), but Behr was unable to convince either to remain with the show, and the duo left at the end of 1989.
ABC was pleased with Behr; Nixon was as well, and decided her creation was safe in the hands of the new producer. Behr, however, made the unpopular decision to fire Peter Bergman (Cliff Warner) during this time, as well as Ellen Wheeler (Karen) and Robert Gentry (Ross Chandler). Bergman's departure was particularly frustrating to Debbi Morgan (who thought it was a cop-out by ABC on the promising interracial Angie/Cliff pairing; Morgan later defected to the new NBC soap opera Generations in protest), Taylor Miller (who was misled when Behr approached her to bring back her character Nina; Miller was frustrated to find out she had only been brought back for two weeks to facilitate Bergman's departure: Cliff and Nina reunited, married yet again, and left Pine Valley, leaving Miller to lament to Soap Opera Digest that she felt it was going backward for both characters, and difficult emotionally to play), and Bergman himself. Behr then brought back fan favorite Opal Gardner, but instead of contacting Emmy winner Dorothy Lyman to reprise the role, Behr hired Jill Larson. Lyman later noted her disappointment in never being contacted about reprising the role.
At the time of Behr's hiring in early 1989, the show usually ranked around No. 4 in the ratings. By 1990, it had inched up to the No. 3 spot. Billy Clyde Tuggle returns to Pine Valley in 1990, after a ten-year absence (in prison). He proceeds to undo the lives of many in Pine Valley. He tells his daughter, Emily Ann Sago, that he is her natural father, devastating her with the truth that she was the product of rape. He dies tumbling over a bridge (with Tad Martin), ending the reign of one of Pine Valley's most evil and entertaining characters ever.
ABC chose Megan McTavish, a former actress who had been on the writing team since 1987, to be its new head writer. She was officially promoted to that position in 1992, with Nixon serving as executive head writer. Stories such as Molly's leukemia, Ceara Connor's (Genie Francis) incest, Mona's lung cancer, and Deconstruction (a story about racism), were all praised in soap opera magazines for their social conscience. Other storylines included the Who Killed Will Cortlandt? mystery, Willow Lake Acres (a both humorous and serious tale about the plight of the elderly in a fraudulent nursing home), and a tornado that rocked Pine Valley. Behr also helped craft a story re-exploring Erica's father, Eric Kane. It was revealed he had faked his own death. In a comical twist, Erica finds him working as a clown in a traveling circus.
McTavish was also instrumental in a major but still popular retroactive continuity (retcon) storyline in 1993. Kendall Hart (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is introduced as Erica's new personal assistant, but the audience soon learns that Kendall is actually Erica's long-lost daughter. Kendall was conceived after Erica was raped on her 14th birthday by her father's actor friend Richard Fields. After she became pregnant, Erica gave the baby up for adoption to the Harts, a couple from Florida. Kendall has made her way to Pine Valley after finding out her biological mother is the famous Erica Kane, and intends to wreak havoc on her and assume her glamorous lifestyle, which she feels is her birth right. Erica had thought she had put that whole nightmare behind her, only to have it come back years later with a vengeance and a name. Though they try to make their newfound familial connection work at first, mother and daughter experience a painful, bitter, and complicated relationship during this time in the series. Despite being proclaimed by some "as the second coming of Erica", the popular Gellar only played Kendall for a little over two years from 1993 to 1995, and then left the show to pursue other acting opportunities. Producers ended up waiting at least six years before even contemplating to recast the role (which eventually went to Alicia Minshew in 2002).
The Santos, Dillon, Frye, and Keefer families were introduced during the 90s as well. Also, the Tad and Dixie pairing had become especially popular. The show also had other couples with great followings during this time: Dimitri and Erica (Michael Nader), Trevor (James Kiberd) and Natalie (Kate Collins), and Hayley (Kelly Ripa) and Brian (Gregory Gordon, Matt Borlenghi, Brian L. Greene).
By the early/mid-1990s, some of McTavish's storytelling received criticism for being gimmick-driven (i.e. multiple dual roles, bomb plots). Reports soon surfaced that Behr and McTavish were having conflicts about storylines and the direction of the series. After the O.J. Simpson trial preempted daytime television programs throughout late 1994 and into 1995, many soaps saw their ratings decline, and All My Children was no different. When Megan McTavish was fired from her head writing post in the spring, former head writer Lorraine Broderick was tapped by Behr to lead the team once again.
Broderick's tenure under Behr was popular among critics and fans for returning All My Children to its socially relevant, character-driven roots. Her most significant successes were Erica's drug addiction story (with the character receiving treatment at the Betty Ford Center), and also the story of homophobia over a gay high school boy and a history teacher. However, with the ratings still stagnant, ABC fired longtime executive producer Felicia Minei Behr, and brought in Francesca James (who had previously won an Emmy award acting on the show as twins Kitty and Kelly). The storylines now included a voodoo arc with the popular Noah and Julia (Keith Hamilton Cobb and Sydney Penny), a fantasy story for Myrtle featuring the "real" Santa Claus, and finally a baby kidnapping story involving Erica.
Despite winning three consecutive Daytime Emmys for writing during her tenure on All My Children, Broderick was replaced in December 1997 by her predecessor, McTavish. The first major story McTavish tackled was, "ironically", one created by Broderick, Bianca Montgomery's anorexia. The character of Bianca, Erica's young daughter, is checked into a facility to treat the disease. Apart from the anorexia story, McTavish's tales were plot-driven and made implausible alterations to the show's history such as the resurrection of Erica's lifetime-love, Mike Roy (Nicholas Surovy). In 1998, the show again got a new executive producer, Jean Dadario Burke, taking over from Francesca James. She would become known to many speculating fans as a weak producer with little vision.
Cady McClain, who had left the show as Dixie in 1996, returned to the delight of her fans, but other storylines—involving ghosts, poison tattoos, Nazi art, and a sperm switch—were all ill-received. By the start of 1999, with All My Children being voted as the "Worst of 1998" by Soap Opera Digest, McTavish was once again fired. As ratings began to fall, ABC convinced Nixon to make a brief return. Many long-running actors, such as Michael Nader, James Kiberd, and Robin Mattson, left their roles.
Nixon decided to write a story that would rejuvenate the show and be socially relevant at the same time. This resulted in the series revealing Erica's daughter Bianca as a lesbian. Within the series, Bianca admits the truth to her mother in December 2000. Though initially controversial, the storyline was praised by fans and critics. Bianca emerged as a breakout character and lesbian icon. The show found additional success in the pairing of newcomers Leo and Greenlee (Josh Duhamel and Rebecca Budig).
Richard Culliton wrote several of All My Children's early 2000s (decade) storylines. He created popular characters Frankie and Maggie Stone, and said Frankie was already intended to be killed in a murder storyline after only three months on the series. Culliton and ABC executives were surprised when viewers became attached to the romance between Bianca and Frankie, developed by Culliton with Frankie's debut. These fans attributed Frankie's death to the show's fear to focus on a lesbian romance. Eventually, Culliton introduced the idea to bring back popular actressElizabeth Hendrickson, who had portrayed Frankie, as Frankie's twin sister Maggie. Culliton continued to write for the show until late 2002.
After more staff turnover, McTavish again returned as head writer. Her storylines began airing in July 2003, which included the controversial rape of Bianca. Gone upon McTavish's latest return wasJean Dadario Burke as executive producer, being replaced with Julie Hanan Carruthers. Under McTavish, ratings fluctuated back and forth. To lure back long-time viewers, McTavish created new characters and romances, as well as scripted the return of various characters who had been gone for long. She introduced star-crossed couple JR Chandler and Babe Carey upon writing JR's return to the series, scripted most of popular pairing Bianca Montgomery and Maggie Stone's love story, and created fellow popular couple Zach Slater and Kendall Hart. Characters Julia Santos(Sydney Penny) and Janet Dillon (Kate Collins, who was originally slated to return for a brief stint) were eventually brought back.
On July 26, 2006, Tanika Ray, Rihanna, as well as other celebrities, appeared on the show. During the Rihanna appearance, a controversial storyline involving Erica's thought-to-be-aborted son having come to Pine Valley under the name Josh Madden intensifies when Josh learns of how he truly came to exist. In August 2006, after months of speculation, it was confirmed that fan favorite Eden Riegel would be reprising her Emmy winning role as Bianca. She was a part of a controversial storyline centered on transgender character Zarf/Zoe.
The most notable return was Cady McClain's return as show heroine Dixie Cooney Martin. The news of her return spread just two weeks before she reappeared on the series. In an unpopular and controversial move by the series, the writers chose to kill off Dixie in January 2007 only a year after her return. The character's death was the result of the Satin Slayer storyline where she is unintentionally murdered in place of character Babe Carey.
Another prominent return to the series occurred on February 9, 2007, when Susan Pratt returned as Barbara Montgomery. Pratt made her last appearance in July of that year. That same month, McTavish was fired as head writer, reportedly due to viewer criticism about her storylines. On May 21, 2007, James Harmon Brown and Barbara Esensten were announced as the new head writers of All My Children. The duo wrote for Days of our Lives, One Life to Live, Dynasty and Port Charles, and created and wrote for The City.
On December 12, 2007, ABC revealed Rebecca Budig would be returning to the series as Greenlee Smythe; the return was one of the most widely reported in daytime television history, attracting mainstream media attention such as the Associated Press and New York Daily News. Budig's return was overshadowed by controversy when news of Sabine Singh's reportedly unfair treatment as a Greenlee recast in order to bring Budig back incited viewer outrage.
On December 25, 2007, Soap Opera Digest reported the return of fan favorites Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams as Jesse Hubbard and Angie Baxter. Morgan returned on January 18, 2008, and Williams on January 25, 2008. In April 2008, it was announced that Laurence Lau would briefly reprise the role of Greg Nelson for Jesse and Angie's much anticipated wedding.
On May 21, 2008, Charles Pratt, Jr., former co-head writer for General Hospital, was announced as a replacement for Brown and Esensten amid record low ratings. On November 6, 2008, All My Children aired a special episode in which veterans share their stories unscripted. On November 12, 2008, the show celebrated its 10,000th show with a special appearance by Nixon and a special tribute to Myrtle Fargate (as portrayed by Eileen Herlie who had recently died). On December 19, 2008, a special episode ran for Herlie, showing clips from the past.
On February 16, 2009, All My Children made daytime history with the nuptials of Reese Williams and Bianca Montgomery, the first legal same-sex marriage in American daytime television.After departing the show in February 2005, Riegel continued to return to the series for limited guest appearances, but permanently left the role in 2010.
On November 20, 2009, Pratt was fired as head writer. Daytime Emmy-winning former head writer Lorraine Broderick was brought back to lead the writing team on an interim basis. Reportedly, Broderick returned at the request of show creator Agnes Nixon, but was not interested in remaining permanently as the team's top scribe.
On January 5, 2010, All My Children celebrated its 40th anniversary with an episode structured like a documentary and hosted by character Hayley Santos. It featured appearances by characters Palmer Cortlandt, Nina Warner, Maria Santos Grey, Brooke English, Greg Nelson, Bianca Montgomery, Mateo Santos, and Lily Montgomery. It was also the final episode for characters Joe and Ruth Martin, who retired to Florida, and the final appearance for Palmer, as his portrayer James Mitchell, died just over two weeks after the episode's airing.
On January 13, 2010, ABC Daytime announced the appointment of David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski as the co-head writers of All My Children, replacing interim head writer Lorraine Broderick, who in turn replaced Charles Pratt, Jr.. Brian Frons, head of ABC daytime, stated, "David and Donna are the perfect team to bring new ideas to All My Children while remaining true to its core by telling stories with a focus on the integrity of the show's history, its characters and families on the canvas." Prior to his appointment on All My Children, Kriezman was the head writer of Guiding Light from 2004 to the final episode on September 18, 2009, and the co-head writer of As the World Turns from 2009 to the final episode on September 17, 2010. Swajeski's prior experience includes a head writing stint on Another World from 1988 to 1992.
With the death on January 22 of James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt 1979–2010), the show aired a tribute episode to Palmer on Tuesday April 20, 2010. Gillian Spencer (Daisy Murdoch Cortlandt), Taylor Miller (Nina Cortlandt), and Cady McClain (Dixie Cooney Martin) returned for the episode.
On February 8, Walt Willey returned as a contract cast member in the role of Jackson Montgomery, following numerous months away and dispute about his future on the show. On February 23,Julia Barr reprised the role of Brooke English; Brooke's return was timed to the retirement of David Canary (Adam Chandler) after more than 26 years on the show. Their final episode aired April 23, 2010.
On July 18, 2010, All My Children lost one of its original cast members: Larry Keith, who was on the show from 1970–2005 as Nick Davis, who gave Erica Kane the nickname "Princess". He was last seen on January 5, 2005 for All My Children's 35th anniversary episode.
In September 2010, Daytime Emmy winner Vincent Irizzary's character, the popular villain David Hayward, was murdered. On the November 22, 2010 episode, David waltzed into the courtroom during Greenlee's trial (for which she was just sentenced to life in prison for murdering him) at the tail end of it, confirming rumors that he was going to return all along. Soap Opera Digestconfirmed soon after that the show had planned this all along from the start.
On September 16, 2010, Adam Mayfield (Scott Chandler) and Brittany Allen (Marissa Tasker) were announced to be leaving the show. ABC reports that they wanted to take both the characters in a different direction. On September 22, 2010 it was announced that Daniel Cosgrove (ex-Scott, All My Children; ex-Bill, Guiding Light; ex-Chris, As the World Turns) would return to All My Childrenand replace Adam Mayfield (Scott) as Scott Chandler. On October 28, 2010, it was announced that Sarah Glendening (ex-Lucy, As the World Turns) would be taking over the role of Marissa Tasker. Glendening debuted on December 27 and Cosgrove debuted on December 29.
In January 2011, Debbi Morgan said that she would take a leave of absence from the show. She said it was for personal reasons and on January 14, 2011 she released to the public that she has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. She returned during the second week of February and her first episode aired on March 8, 2011. On February 10, 2011, as part of her 25th (and farewell) season, Oprah Winfrey invited All My Children's Susan Lucci, Debbi Morgan, Darnell Williams, and Michael E. Knight, along with General Hospital s Luke and Laura and The Young and the Restless's Mrs. Chancellor to The Oprah Winfrey Show. As a surprise, Winfrey shocked Lucci and the rest of the crowd by bringing back all of Erica's husbands. During February 2011, the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland and All My Children did a crossover event. On the 16th, and February 23, Lucci, Michael E. Knight, and Darnell Williams made a guest appearance on the show. On the 24th, Wendie Malick guest-starred.
On April 2, 2011, amid rumors of All My Children's possible cancellation, Soaps in Depth broke the news via Twitter that longtime All My Children writer Lorraine Broderick had once again been named the show's head writer, replacing David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski. On April 14, 2011, ABC confirmed that after 41 years, All My Children would be canceled and would end its ABC run in September 2011 and that One Life To Live would be canceled and end its run on January 2012. Reasons for both shows' cancellations cited "extensive research into what today's daytime viewers want and the changing viewing patterns of the audience". It would be replaced by a new lifestyle show, The Chew, while its time slot on SOAPnet would be replaced by daily reruns of Days of Our Lives. In response to the cancellation of this, vacuum cleaner manufacturer Hoover withdrew its advertising from all ABC programs out of protest, going as far as running a campaign to get ABC to reverse its decision. On April 25, Cady McClain (ex-Dixie Cooney Martin) announced that she would be returning to All My Children and that she couldn't report what her storyline would be, but fans would be happy. Other former cast members announced to be returning to the series are Ray MacDonnell (Dr. Joe Martin), Lee Meriwether (Ruth Martin),David Canary (Adam Chandler), Julia Barr (Brooke English), Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater), Eva La Rue (Maria Santos), Jennifer Bassey (Marian Colby), Kate Collins (Janet Dillon), Melissa Claire Egan (Annie Lavery), Josh Duhamel (Leo du Pres), Leven Rambin (Lily Montgomery) Carol Burnett (Verla Grubbs), Jason Kincaid (Sam Brady), and Sarah Michelle Gellar in an unknown role.
On July 7, 2011, the New York Post reported that ABC had sold the licensing rights of All My Children and One Life To Live to a TV-focused online channel being developed by TV, film and music production company Prospect Park. ABC confirmed this via press release; as a result of Prospect Park's acquisition of the two soaps, All My Children and One Life to Live would be the first soap operas to transition first-run broadcasts from traditional television to internet television. Since the deal between ABC and Prospect Park is a licensing agreement, both soaps would continue to remain the property of ABC.
On September 8, 2011 the original Ruth Martin, Mary Fickett, died at the age of 83. The episode on Wednesday September 21, 2011 was dedicated to her. On September 23, 2011, the series finale aired on ABC with open-ended stories. The final week featured Dr. Joe and Ruth Martin relocating to Pine Valley to cover recently arrested David Hayward's hospital duties. The return ofAdam Chandler and Brooke English coincided with the revelation that David had somehow resurrected Stuart Chandler. Jackson Montgomery dissolved his relationship with Erica after she admitted that she prefers not to remarry. Unresolved is JR Chandler's plunge into insanity as he drunkenly aims a gun at a crowd of All My Children regulars during a welcome-home party for Stuart. The screen darkened before revealing the victim, leaving the story open for an eventual continuation with Prospect Park.
On April 29, 2013, the revived series moved five years into the future after the original series finale on ABC.
Prospect Park's revival plan
On August 2011, Prospect Park announced that it was shopping for a cable network to air All My Children in complementary to its future internet television channel. Prospect Park officially began negotiations with the actors of All My Children on September 15, 2011. On September 19, 2011, Cameron Mathison and Lindsay Hartley became the only actors that had agreed to continue the show with Prospect Park.
Prospect Park initially intended for All My Children to begin its run on the internet on September 26, 2011, but has since revealed that the transition could be delayed until 2012 because it had to negotiated a new contract with the union representing the actors of All My Children. On September 27, 2011, Prospect Park announced that All My Children along with its sister soap One Life to Live would be relaunched in January 2012 on the company's new internet channel, The Online Network. But on November 10, 2011, several sources reported that Prospect Park had indefinitely suspended its plans to relaunch All My Children and that the company would concentrate solely on the higher-rated One Life to Live. Reasons given for this decision were lack of funding coupled with Prospect Park not being able to sign enough cast members from All My Children.
On November 23, 2011, Prospect Park confirmed that it officially suspended its project, not only to continue All My Children, but also One Life to Live. Reasons given by Prospect Park for this decision include funding problems and poor negotiations with the unions representing the cast of both soaps. WGA and AFTRA, which respectively represent the writer and the actors, have both expressed disappointment over Prospect Park's announcement.
(l-r) Heather Roop, Ray MacDonnell, Jordi Vilasuso,Francesca James, Darnell Williams, Eric Nelsen,Debbi Morgan, Lindsay Hartley, Cady McClain, Jill Larson, Julia Barr, Vincent Irizarry, Denyse Tontz,David Canary, Sal Stowers, Robert Scott Wilson,Thorsten Kaye, Eden Riegel, Jordan Lane Price, andRyan Bittle.
On December 17, 2012, Deadline Magazine reported that revival plans for All My Children and One Life to Live had resurfaced. A few days later, it was reported that Prospect Park had secured studio place in Stamford, Connecticut, where both shows would be filmed. Formerly, ‘’All My Children’’ had been filmed in New York City from 1970 to 2010, and in Los Angeles from 2010 to 2011.
Within the weeks following the reports, Lindsay Hartley, Vincent Irizarry, Debbi Morgan, Darnell Williams, Jordi Vilasuso, Jill Larson, Thorsten Kaye, Cady McClain, David Canary, Julia Barr, and Ray MacDonnell were reported and/or confirmed to be returning to the show's revival, whileSusan Lucci will reportedly return for one episode, Eden Riegel will be returning for a guest-arc, Cameron Mathison may return to the revival in the future, and Alicia Minshew will return for one episode with the possibility of returning in the future.
Along with the returning stars, confirmed to be new to the show are Ryan Bittle as JR Chandler, Robert Scott Wilson as Pete Cortlandt,Eric Nelsen as an aged AJ Chandler, Denyse Tontz as an aged Miranda Montgomery, Sal Stowers as Cassandra Foster, and Jordan Lane Price as a newly created character named Celia Fitzgerald.
On January 7, 2013, Prospect Park released an official statement confirming plans to revive All My Children and One Life to Live on The Online Network, their internet production company. Prospect Park inked deals with SAG-AFTRA and DGA for the soap opera's production.
Former All My Children writer and producer Ginger Smith will return to the series as the new executive producer and Agnes Nixon will work as a consultant. New episodes will be 30 minutes long and will air on Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes. 220 episodes of the show have been ordered. The production company plans to shop the reboot to cable distributors beginning in September 2013. The show will air four days a week (Monday-Thursday) with a recap show airing on Fridays. The recap show, titled MORE All My Children, will also feature behind the scenes footage as well as interviews with the cast and will be hosted by Leslie Miller. The revival show began on April 29, 2013, and production began on February 25, 2013 in Connecticut, with All My Children and One Life to Live filming in five-week rotations for 17 weeks.
On May 17, 2013, The Online Network announced that All My Children and One Life To Live will no longer air five days a week together, due to viewer ratings that have been seen as certain patterns that resemble more closely the typical patterns of online viewing rather than how one would watch traditional television. Starting May 20, 2013 All My Children and One Life To Life will be presented in a new schedule, with AMC airing on Mondays and Wednesdays and OLTL airing Tuesdays and Thursdays. The recap shows MORE All My Children and MORE One Life To Life will also combine together as one show airing on Fridays. The following day on May 18, 2013, both shows were noticeably missing from the FX Canada website and schedule, and subsequently were available on iTunes Canada, it was later revealed that FX Canada dropped All My Children and One Life To Live due the reduction of episodes, the carriage agreement called for four episodes a week of both shows. With the reduction, FX Canada has said that "the agreement is no longer valid." On May 20, 2013, the first episodes of the new All My Children and One Life To Livewere available worldwide on The Online Network's YouTube page, TOLNSoaps.
On May 24, 2013 in a press release Prospect Park announced through Agnes Nixon that Snyder and McPherson will be out as co-head writers of All My Children and replaced by current script writers Lisa Connor and Chip Hayes.
On June 5, 2013, due to a labor dispute with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees All My Children and One Life to Live were forced into an early hiatus with the writers, directors and editors still working; there were talks of production being moved out of state, but those plans were later shelved. On June 20, 2013, a deal was reached between Prospect Park and the Union, and taping will resume on August 12, 2013. On June 25, 2013, TOLN stated that there will be a scheduling switch for All My Children and One Life to Live. Starting on Monday, July 1, 2013, all episodes of the week for both shows are being released on Mondays.
Beginning July 15, 2013, All My Children and One Life to Live will air for a 10-week limited engagement on the Oprah Winfrey Network Monday through Thursday at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
On August 1, 2013, it was revealed that the first All My Children season finale aired on September 2, 2013.
Cast and characters
Since the series began in 1970, the fictional suburb of Philadelphia, Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, has been the setting for the show. The town exists in the same fictional universe as other soap opera settings such as Llanview (One Life to Live), Port Charles (General Hospital, Port Charles), and Corinth (Loving).
All My Children has featured several crossovers with other ABC soaps, including an extensive 2004 'baby switch' storyline with One Life to Live which featured crossovers of over 20 characters between the two shows.