Today is the 108th anniversary of the birth of prolific soap creator Irna Phillips (on TV alone, she concocted “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns”, and had a hand in “Days of Our Lives” and “Another World”, among others). An appropriate time, then to ponder the incredibly strange happenings at stalwart soap “ATWT” (you know... the CBS golden oldie soap that isn’t going off the air Sept. 18th).
With “GL’s” impending end, there is no denying that the entire soap genre -- especially “ATWT,” given its anemic ratings -- is in danger of extinction while Obama is still in the White House. One would think that CBS and Procter & Gamble (which owns the 53-year-old soap) would be circling the wagons and crafting compelling, character-driven drama and romance for its current cast, designed to keep longtime fans watching and, just maybe, attract some lapsed viewers.
One would think.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The past few years have seen an outbreak of stunt casting at “ATWT,” including an unseemly number of former “General Hospital” stars making less-than-memorable impressions on viewers.
Today brings news (via Soap Opera Digest) that Emmy-winning former “General Hospital” star Stuart Damon (ex-Alan Quartermaine) is joining ATWT in a new role. “ATWT” needs a lot of things -- but one of them isn’t another “GH” actor in a new role.
The soap has almost ten actors on contract with more than 20 years experience -- how about telling stories for those characters (and their kids) rather than cast a big-name actor from another network in a role that no one cares about?
Call me old-fashioned, but this trend of bringing on big names in new roles (which, to be fair, isn’t limited to “ATWT”) reeks of “Celebrity Apprentice” or some other attempt to revive a foundering reality franchise.
I’m mixing my catchphrases, but the tribe has spoken -- and we’re not happy.