January 26, 2003
It's time boys and girls... time once again for OPEN LETTER TO AMC. In lieu of a standard Editorial, this time I'm going to address AMC directly and the dismal direction the show is headed in. Please remember this column reflects my opinions, I don't purport myself to be speaking for anyone but me. Please do not reprint this column for any reason.
For those of you who actually like to know what I listen to when I do these things, I'm sorry to say, Mr. Diva is using the stereo today and I am being subjected to Run DMC!! ACK. Well, at least he was listening to Rob Zombie before that, so all is not lost. I did plan on doing a tribute to another of my fallen heroes, Joe Strummer. I'll have do that soon. R.I.P. Joe.
Without further ado...
With all do respect... HAVE YOU ALL LOST YOUR MINDS!?
It seems like every day we hear of another departure, another missed opportunity and another strange concept. I don't even know where to begin. I take that back, yes I do. It's the "What Women Want" episode. I won't even mention the fact that the promos for this show, with all the women in white dresses, walking through a white wind tunnel looked like the commercial for Tampax Pearl (you know the one, "Pearl Pearl, she's a Pearl girl!"). Oops, I guess I did mention it didn't I? Anyway, this is what viewers got instead of the Crystal Ball. While as a stand alone episode, it did have it's moments (not the least of which was highlighting the obvious talents of young Mitchel Federman as Petey), but I don't know of any woman who dreams of being a bikini private eye, or a plunging neckline super hero, or wants JR to come through their window! We know what these women want... Greenlee wants Leo. Kendall wants Ryan. Liza wants Adam. Mia wants Jake. Simone wants her father's respect. Laurie for some inexplicable reason wants JR. Joni wants Jamie. Maggie wants, who the heck knows what she wants but I doubt it was to be some demented version of Wonder Woman. This episode was an absolute joke and a disgrace when we are used to the class, the glamour and the inevitable exposed secrets that the Crystal Ball gives viewers.
Moving on the latest cast changes... J. Eddie Peck has asked to be released from his contract as Jake Martin. Is this a shock? Not to me it wasn't. Why? Because you don't seem to care about what this show was founded on.... family. Just a little tip folks, the show isn't called "All My Children" because it's about a bunch of kids that no one cares about. It's called that because it was about families, lots of families and their children. The Kane/Montgomery's, the Martin's, the Tyler's, the Cortlandt's, the Marick/Grey's, the Santos', the Keefer's, the Hayward/duPres'. It's totally understandable that some of these families would move one. But where one goes, another should take it's place. The core families are all but gone and there are no other real families set to take their place. Instead we have misplaced and misused random characters. Yes, J. Eddie Peck is leaving because AMC has no commitment to keeping family alive. What a shame.
And just when I think, "well, they need to give time to the second and even the third generation of those core families" something strange happens. J. Eddie Peck leaves. Jason Olive (Frank) is let go. Sam Page (Trey) is let go. And it seems like this is only the beginning. Jake is second generation Martin. Frank is second generation Hubbard. You know what was so cool about Frank Hubbard being on the show? The idea that maybe, just maybe you would do something that a lot of fans (myself included) would love and that is to bring Darnell Williams back on and spiritually guide his son. And with Jake leaving town, it would have been the perfect.... let me say that again, PERFECT opportunity to bring back Dr. Angie Hubbard, Frank's mother, as the new chief of staff. Nope... missed opportunity. And what about Trey? He came in like gangbusters, was thrust on the viewers and eventually proved himself. He is given an ironclad background. He is Vanessa's son by Richard Fields. That makes him not only David and dearly departed Leo's brother, but also Maggie's cousin and Kendall's brother too! How much more involved with other characters can you get!? He had a lot going on and was on his way to redemption. But for "storyline reasons" he is dismissed. Yeah, I'm sick of that cop out blanket statement. Tell the truth... you didn't like him? You didn't know where to take him? It was too soon to put him with Greenlee? What is it?
And then on the heels of all these departures, the stunning news comes that AMC is putting David Canary (Adam/Stuart)... yes you heard me, David Canary the king of all things on AMC, on the back burner for, say it with me... storyline reasons. Well I guess I can just kiss goodbye any chance of storyline for Stuart and Marian, something I have been hoping for, for years. What will become of Liza? She and Adam are finally taking a step in the right direction by getting counseling. I guess they can back burner together. I've always had a pipe dream that AMC would re-establish the corporate and personal feud between Palmer and Adam. I guess I'll keep dreaming about that.
So while characters viewers care about... Jake, Adam and Stuart, Marian, and possibly other beloved characters either flounder in the back burner or leave altogether, viewers are instead treated to the horrible rehash of the Jenny/Greg story with JR, Laurie and her father Doug. The confusing and "where is this going" storyline between Jamie and Joni. The budding relationship of Maggie and Henry. And the "I thought it had potential" Fusion storyline. When will Opal have a storyline and a real romance? When is Palmer going to have more of a storyline than Kendall's sugar daddy? When are Stuart and Marian going to have a story of their own? When is Tad going to get a new love and move on with his life? When is Brooke going to have an actual life? When is Bianca going to find a real love, not a vague shadow of something that isn't even really there? When is Erica going to grow up!
Moving along to "Fan February." I've said from the moment I heard about this that it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. What we were supposed to do is write to ABC and tell them what our fantasy episode would be. What fans really want and they will film it and show it as a stand alone episode. Let me tell you this right now, if you listened to the fans you would be showing Maggie and Bianca in a romantic relationship for AMC's show. I highly doubt that is what we'll see. Personally it's not my fantasy, but I know it's one of the biggest AMC campaigns out there right now. And if you weren't going to do that, the second choice of fans would probably be to see Dimitri (Michael Nader if you please) back to sweep Erica off her feet and be together once and for all. Considering Michael Nader's pending litigation with AMC, I'd say that one is out too. And it's just as well because if they got their wish and their fantasy episode is filmed and airs, they can kiss goodbye any chance that it ever really will happen. I feel that this is a meaningless ploy by you folks at ABC to give the illusion that you care about what fans want. Personally, I don't think you do.
And then there is the latest gimmick... "The Sexiest Man in America" contest brought to us by the ladies of Fusion. This is where AMC is going to be part reality show, part soap opera as Kendall and Greenlee go around the country in search of America's sexiest man. And get this, the actresses Alicia Minshew (Kendall) and Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) are actually going to go around the country, starting in Panama City, FL for spring break, to look for these men and have a real contest. And viewers can enter someone via the ABC website. The top 25 will get voted on by viewers and the top 5 will appear on AMC in September. As someone who is not on the reality show bandwagon and find them all to be extremely stupid and an annoying waste of time, I personally have no interest in this at all. But I do have one burning question... why does a cosmetics company need a male spokesperson anyway?
I hold one person directly responsible for all the misguided stupidity that is happening on AMC right now. I hold you, Mr. Brian S. Frons, President of ABC Daytime responsible for coming in like a tornado and tearing apart a show I have loved through thick and thin for over 20 years. I hold you responsible for losing the vision of what was once called the jewel of ABC Daytime. I hold you responsible for turning this show into something that is barely watchable most days. I hope that Agnes Nixon sees what you are doing to this show and will somehow, some way, save it from certain destruction and possible cancellation.
And to AMC fans... you may agree with me, you may not. Whether you do or not, I urge you to write. Write to AMC yourself, tell them what YOU think. I urge you to not organize a campaign, not send petitions, but to put your own words down on paper. Real paper. Let them hold it in their hands and read your thoughts. I cannot say enough that an actual letter in the hand makes a bigger impact. Tell them what you think is right or is wrong. Whatever it is, tell them and let yourself be heard!
And here are some addresses of people to write to!Brian S. Frons President, ABC Daytime ABC - TV 77 W. 66th St. New York, NY 10023 or Brian S. Frons President, ABC Daytime ABC - TV 500 S. Buena Vista Street Burbank, CA 91521 Felicia Minei Behr Senior VP of Programming ABC Daytime 77 W. 66th St. New York, NY 10023 Jean Dadario Burke Executive Producer All My Children 320 W. 66th St. New York, NY 10023 Gordon Rayfield Head Writer All My Children 320 W. 66th St. New York, NY 10023 Anna Cascio Head Writer All My Children 320 W. 66th St. New York, NY 10023 Robert Iger President, Walt Disney Company 500 S. Buena Vista St. Burbank, CA 91521-9722 Alex Wallau President, ABC 500 S. Buena Vista St. Burbank, CA 91521-4778
And be sure to copy the soap mags!Soap Opera Weekly Public Opinion 261 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10016 Soap Opera Digest Sound Off! 261 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10016 Soaps in Depth Speak Out! 270 Sylvan Ave. Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632