Daytime-TV grand dame Jeanne Cooper, who played The Young and the Restless‘ Katherine, passed away on Wednesday morning after being hospitalized, off and on since April, for an undisclosed illness.
Cooper’s elder son, actor Corbin Bernsen, shared the sad news on Twitter, saying, “She was in peace and without fear. You all have been incredible in your love. In her name, share it today with others.”
Bernsen just last week updated his mother’s fans via Facebook, upon her latest return to the hospital: “I said goodbye to her [Friday], and even then not fully meaning it or expecting that would be the last time I saw her. But now it will have to do, as we enter this weekend letting her final voyage begin…. I don’t want her in pain. I don’t want her in fear or agony…. So I’m giving her this weekend — take the holiday, Mom, make it yours, let it take you where it will. My final words to her last night were, ‘I’ll see you again.’ And I will, either here or there.”
Best known for her nearly 40-year run on CBS’ Y&R, which launched in 1973, Cooper’s career began in the 1950s with a role in the Western The Redhead from Wyoming. She then launched into a long string of roles on TV anthology series — including ABC’s Crossroads, NBC’s Tales of Wells Fargo and CBS’ Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater — and dramas such as The Adventures of Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Wagon Train and multiple appearances on Perry Mason, The Big Valley and Ironside.
On Y&R, Cooper played high society doyenne Katherine Chancellor (as well as, now and again, her lookalike Marge Cotrooke). The actress famously invited the daytime drama to weave in storylines mirroring her own life, including a mid-1980s facelift (the show used footage from Cooper’s actual procedure) and a recurring bout with alcoholism. The character of Kay also crossed over to sister sudser The Bold and the Beautiful for two episodes in 2005.
Over her career, Cooper amassed 10 Daytime Emmy nominations, winning once in 2008 after earning a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. She also netted two Primetime Emmy nods, including for her turn as son Corbin’s L.A. Law mother.
Cooper took a brief medical leave from Y&R in October 2011, at which time her part was temporarily recast with Michael Learned (The Waltons).
The actress is survived by her three children, Corbin, Colin and Caren.
Like any good soap opera, the upcoming online relaunch of All My Children and One Live to Live has encountered an unforeseen twist.
Prospect Park, the production company behind the daytime staples’ imminent revival, has filed a $25 million breach of contract lawsuit against ABC.
In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Prospect Park alleges that ABC has broken the licensing agreement it entered into two years ago.
This development comes a few weeks before the reconfigured former ABC soaps’ April 29 debut on iTunes and Hulu. It likely stems from problems between the production company and the Alphabet Net regarding some OLTL characters (which belong to Prospect Park) that had taken up residence on General Hospital (which still airs on ABC) but have since been yanked.
“Prospect Park has been and continues to be committed to creating and delivering exceptional episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live. We have overcome each and every obstacle in an effort to make this dream become a reality. Over and over again our effort to bring these shows to audiences has faced challenges, and yet we along with the actors, the writers, producers and the directors as well as our fans have confronted and then overcome these challenges, and we have every confidence that we will prevail again. We look forward to our April 29 launch now more than ever,” said Prospect Park partners Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank, in a statement.
Sonny and Carly’s son is returning in the form of daytime newbie Bryan Craig, who began taping on April 15. The role is contract. “Great first day at my new job, love it and everyone involved,” he tweeted.
FX Canada will air AMC and OLTL on television when the series return on April 29, making it the only network in North America to do so. “All My Children and One Life to Live are a unique addition to FX Canada’s slate of provocative and critically-acclaimed dramas,” said Scott Moore, President of Broadcast, Rogers Media, in a statement. “As the only television channel in North America broadcasting these new series, FX Canada continues its commitment to deliver exclusive, premium content to its viewers.” ALL MY CHILDREN will air at noon ET/2 p.m. PT, followed by ONE LIFE TO LIVE at 12:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.
Y&R’s longest running castmember Jeanne Cooper, who has played Katherine Chancellor since 1973, was recently admitted to the hospital for an infection. At first, her condition had been regarded as very serious and her son Corbin Bernsen (ex-Todd, Y&R) posted on Twitter, “Need some prayers for my mom tonight. Not doing great. I don’t believe it is the end of her journey, but still a very uphill battle.” However, the Emmy-winning actress’s status has since improved. “Jeanne Cooper is still in ICU and is stable yet sedated,” tweeted Daniel Goddard (Cane), who has been closely monitoring her progress. Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) visited Cooper on Friday night and tells Digest, “Jeanne is the mom to us all on Y and R and my first stop in the morning is her dressing room. Our hearts and prayers are with her family and I am looking forward to Jeanne bossing everyone around as soon as possible!”
Three of One Life to Live‘s finest are once again General Hospital-bound — albeit as completely different characters.
As first rumored back in March, suds vets Roger Howarth, Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson — each of whom brought their OLTL alter egos to GH following the former’s swan song — are slated to return to ABC’s sole surviving soap on May 10. The catch: The trio will no longer be portraying Llanview’s Todd Manning, John McBain and Starr Manning, respectively.
“Exciting storylines full of mystery and intrigue are planned to usher in the return of these actors that will lead to the answer of one of the most asked questions in Port Charles,” an ABC spokesperson said Thursday in a statement.
Prospect Park, the production company behind the upcoming online versions of OLTL and All My Children, initially proposed sharing the three characters with ABC and General Hospital, as they were said to be “essential” to the revival’s “production efforts, and a large reason [the company] licensed the program.” An agreement, however, was never successfully reached. Howarth, for his part, is set to reprise his role as Todd for several weeks at the start of OLTL‘s relaunch, which begins April 29 on both iTunes and Hulu.
Ashley Jones is on the verge of making a bold return.
After finishing a seven-years-plus run as Bridget Forrester on the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful” early in 2012, the actress goes back to the serial this week to begin taping a new stint as the character. Last seen ending her relationship with the married father of her son, Bridget will reappear on the scene in just the way Jones wants.
“I’m only going in for three or four episodes as of right now,” she tells Zap2it, “but there’s some fun stuff with Bridget’s mom (Brooke, played by founding ‘B&B’ cast member Katherine Kelly Lang). I specifically didn’t want to go back for a wedding or a funeral. I feel like this is too cool a character to come back and just sit in the background. That’s not that fun.”
Should “B&B” want her to stay longer, Jones says she’s willing to listen: “I feel like so many things have changed in my journey and career. I know a lot of people have a plan for what’s going to happen, and the reality is that things change every year. And the business has completely changed since I started.
“Someone can do three episodes of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful,’ then turn around and book a primetime show. That’s happening all the time. I did tons of other stuff while I was on [the soap], so I’m so grateful to the show, and they’ve been so good to me. This is a fun character the audience really responds to, so I’m open to whatever they might have in mind for her.”
Jones also is known from Season 2 of HBO’s “True Blood,” on which she played Daphne Landry, and several movies she’s made for Lifetime. As was the case with “Dead at 17″ and “Secrets From Her Past,” she’s both a star and producer of a new one: “A Sister’s Revenge,” casting her as a targeted new mother and premiering Saturday, April 27.
Whatever her re-entry into the soap world holds for her, Jones says she’s encouraged — as someone who also appeared earlier on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless,” and who makes television on both sides of the camera now — to see many peers coming back in the Online Network revivals of the former ABC shows “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” starting Monday, April 29.
“I think that’s the way everything will go, eventually,” she reasons. “When I have my producer’s hat on, I feel that if I could have a Web series, it would be a very smart move in setting up projects for the future. I’m interested to see what it does for the actors, but I don’t think it will hurt them at all. Who knows? It might even end up being a bigger audience.”
Seriously, we’re approaching weather machine levels of daytime-TV twists here — and off screen, no less.
With One Life to Live set to relaunch on April 29 with new episodes on Hulu/iTunes, Michael Easton, Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson — each of whom relocated their Llanview alter egos to General Hospital‘s Port Charles after One Life‘s broadcast TV swan song — will in fact return to and stay with ABC’s lone surviving soap, but as different characters “that in no way resemble the current ones,” TV Guide Magazine reports.
Prospect Park, the producer of the new OLTL and All My Children episodes and thus the licensee of both shows’ rosters of characters, “has been extremely difficult to deal with on this issue,” a source tells TV Guide Magazine, “so GH basically said, ‘Screw it! We’ll create all-new characters!’ It’s the only way GH can get past the problem and get on with business.”
Shortly after its second bid at rebooting AMC and OLTL gained traction, Prospect Park said in a statement that characters such as Easton’s John McBain and Alderson’s Starr “are obviously essential to our production efforts, and a large reason we licensed the program. We also understand that legions of General Hospital fans have grown to love these actors and characters … So even though we are paying ABC millions of dollars to license the shows, we have been and continue to be willing to equally share the characters with General Hospital and ABC.”
GH and OLTL fans, what do you think of this seemingly official wrinkle? And is anyone fretting over the phrase “that in no way resemble the current ones”? Will Howarth dress in drag to play a Haunted Star chanteuse? Will Alderson return as a plastic-surgeried Nicholas “Domino” Van Buren?
Hot on the heels of Emme Rylan‘s departure from Y&R to join GH as Lulu comes the news from Daytime Confidential that Melissa Ordway (ex-Chloe, HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS) will take over as Abby, starting April 22. The actress will join other HH alums Robert Adamson (ex-Phil; Noah) and Hunter King (ex-Adriana; Summer) in Genoa City. A Y&R spokesperson confirms that Rylan’s last air date will be April 10.
GENERAL HOSPITAL is turning 50 on April 1 and the editors of Soap Opera Digest have created a must-have collector’s edition honoring the ABC soap. The special tribute issue, on sale March 25, features revealing interviews, backstage gossip, photos, memories and more! This full-size tribute is can’t-miss! Available on newsstands soon.
CBS has renewed its entire daytime slate for the 2013-2014 season.
That meansThe Bold and the Beautiful will continue like its sister soap The Young and the Restless, which was renewed earlier in a multi-year deal.
B&B averages 3.44 million viewers, up 6 percent from last season.
In addition, chatfest The Talk and game shows The Price Is Rightand Let’s Make a Deal – all of which have seen ratings gains in the past year — received pickups for another season.
“Over the past few years, we have successfully transitioned our daytime schedule to a balance of program genres with new creative energy, while maintaining our ratings leadership,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler said in a statement. “We are proud of CBS’s history of quality and leadership in daytime, thrilled with our current success and we look forward to more great things ahead from the outstanding creative talent in place at each of the shows.”
Prospect Park on Tuesday revealed a list of 22 cast members currently confirmed to take part in its online relaunch of the defunct ABC sudsers One Life to Live and All My Children, at TheOnlineNetwork.com.
The OLTL ensemble as of now looks like this:
Erika Slezak as Victoria Lord Buchanan
Robin Strasser as Dorian Lord
Tuc Watkins as David Vickers
Robert S. Woods as Bo Buchanan
Kassie DePaiva as Blair Cramer
Jerry verDorn as Clint Buchanan
Florencia Lozano as Tea Delgado
Melissa Archer as Natalie Buchanan Banks
Hillary B. Smith as Nora Buchanan
Kelley Missal as Danielle Manning
Josh Kelly as Cutter Wentworth
Andrew Trischitta as Jack Manning
Additionally, Sean Ringgold (as Shaun Evans), Shenaz Treasury (Rama Patel) and Nick Choksi (Vimal Patel) are set to recur.
As previously reported by TVLine, Prospect Park owns first dibs on any OLTL characters currently making camp in General Hospital’s Port Charles; at this time it is unclear which Llanviewers (if not the actors now playing them) will need to return “home.”
Susie Bedsow Horgan (As The World Turns, OLTL) and Thom Racina (General Hospital) will serve as OLTL‘s co-headwriters, overseeing Jessica Klein (As The World Turns) Alex Douglas (Royal Pains, which is also a Prospect Park production) and Jeff Wilber.
AMC‘s cast list, meanwhile, only has the following folks on board… thus far:
Darnell Williams as Jesse Hubbard
Debbi Morgan as Dr. Angela Hubbard
Vincent Irizarry as Dr. David Hayward
Lindsay Hartley as Cara Martin
Jordi Vilasuso as Griffin Castillo
Jill Larson as Opal Cortlandt
Thorsten Kaye as Zach Slater
“More deals [are] expected to close in the coming weeks,” Prospect Park’s news release reads.
Make me believe it — Jack Wagner is reprising his role as General Hospital rocker-turned-adventurer-turned-spy-turned-cop Andrew “Frisco” Jones. And you won’t have to wait long to see him back on your screen.
As first reported by TV Guide Magazine‘s Michael Logan, Wagner has already covertly begun taping scenes as Frisco, whom he first played in the mid- to late 1980s, then reprised for a stretch in ’94/’95 (when the character’s daughter Maxie received a heart transplant from his brother Tony’s little girl B.J. All together now: Sob).
But is he really returning as Frisco or is it Domino in a rubber mask?! I kid. All I need…. now is to track down his first airdate.
Wagner is but the latest GH blast from the past to sign on for an encore as ABC’s sole surviving daytime sudser turns 50 this spring. In recent weeks, Genie Francis (who plays Laura) and Kin Shriner (Scotty) have booked returns, while Lynn Herring recently returned as Lucy and Jon Lindstrom is due back soon as Kevin.
Wagner’s other TV roles include the original Melrose Place, a nine-year run as The Bold and the Beautiful’s Nick, a spin on Dancing With the Stars and recent guest spots on shows such as Hot in Cleveland and Castle.
Does this news give anyone else “Island Fever”? Is the weatherman saying it’s gonna get hot in Port Charles? And does Mac, who recently reconnected with Felicia, always get the short end of the stick or what?
His fans are thrilled, except for the ones who are totally pissed. Emmy winner Steve Burton made big news — and crushed a lot of hearts — last fall when he left his role as General Hospital mob man Jason Morgan and moved to Nashville. So how come he’s back in L.A. and working at The Young and the Restless a mere three months later? Burton hits the CBS soap Jan. 29 as war vet Dylan McAvoy, the supposedly-dead ex of Avery Clark (Jessica Collins). TV Guide Magazine caught up with Burton to get the deets on this head-scratching career move. This star has some ‘splainin’ to do!
TV Guide Magazine: You can’t be broke yet. Why jump back into the suds so soon?
Burton: I’ve had an incredible time with my family, taking my daughter to gymnastics, coaching my son’s football team, shopping at Target — stuff I never got to do when I was at GH — but I never intended to retire. I’m a worker and CBS stepped up and made a deal. It all happened so fast, just like the telenovela I’m putting together with [Y&R exec producer] Jill Farren Phelps and James Franco for Sony. We’re inches away on that project. It’s looking very promising. The truth is, if I’d gotten an offer for a primetime show or a movie, I probably wouldn’t be on Y&R right now. I just want to work.
TV Guide Magazine: You weren’t out of work that long. Did you really have time to sit on your porch in Nashville — I’m assuming you have one — and really enjoy your new life?
Burton: I have a great porch! The move to Nashville forced me and my triple-A personality to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. I haven’t had three months off ever! And it seemed like a year. Pretty soon I was saying to my wife, “Okay, what are we doing today, honey?” It wasn’t that I was tired of sitting on my porch. I will never tire of that. But I was definitely ready to shake it up. People see me as Jason so much they forget I’m an actor. And an actor wants to explore! We’re so blessed in daytime to have jobs that go on forever, but it does keep you from trying other things. Actors are gypsies. They’re not supposed to have the same job for 20 or 25 years!
TV Guide Magazine: Word is, you have a very cool deal at Y&R that gives you tons of free time. True?
Burton: I’ll get a lot of long weekends and frequent weeks off so I can get back to Nashville. I don’t want to work five days a week like I did at GH. [Laughs] I was on the air so much even I was sick of me!
TV Guide Magazine: If GH had tried harder to accommodate your personal life would you still be there?
Burton: I don’t want to point fingers. I know there are a lot of disappointed fans. They don’t really understand what goes on behind the doors. They don’t understand why I wouldn’t go back to play Jason if I’m ready to work again. But what happens at GH should stay at GH.
TV Guide Magazine: It did seem like the new GH honchos weren’t trying all that hard to keep you. Do you think your exit fit better with their story plans and their interest in cutting back on all the mob activity?
Burton: I don’t feel it had anything to do with story. The flying back and forth was the sticking point. If I was still living in California, I’d still be with GH. It was too difficult production-wise to work things out and I understand that. I know how the business works and I’m not going to get mad over it. I don’t want a show to break its back for one actor. It’s not right. Besides, it really felt like it was time for me to go. I was gracious. They were gracious. There are no hard feelings with me and [exec producer] Frank Valentini.
TV Guide Magazine: You keeping up on GH since your exit?
Burton: Yeah, and I’m very excited they’re doing so well. That show has brought so much positivity back to daytime. A year ago, it was all negative Nancy, right?
TV Guide Magazine: Maybe we should leave Ms. Grahn out of this. Did you sign a long-term or short-term contract with Y&R?
Burton: It’s a short-term contract. We’ll see how it works out. No one wants to be forced into anything.
TV Guide Magazine: Your reception on The Talk last week was phenomenal but we gotta ask: What’s it like having Sheryl Underwood leap into the air and wrap her thighs around your pelvis like a boa constrictor?
Burton: [Laughs] Thank God I’ve been working out! I was ready for it! That whole situation on The Talk was overwhelming. I had no idea they were going to go that big or be that enthusiastic about this Y&R thing. It was crazy — like New Year’s Eve kinda crazy.
TV Guide Magazine: You do look a lot slimmer.
Burton: I had to get back on TV before I gained more weight. [Laughs] Robust isn’t my best look. I’m trying to be healthy so, yeah, I’m a lot thinner now. In fact, I’ve had an entire makeover! My Jason hair is gone and so are the black T-shirts. We’ll see how far Jill pushes me. She’ll be, like, “Okay, you have two more weeks and that shirt’s coming off!” The costume department is definitely wanting me younger. They dropped my clothes down a full size. [Laughs] They put me in a medium to make me look buff.
TV Guide Magazine: How was your first day on the job?
Burton: Awesome. People were so great to me. Christian LeBlanc [Michael] and Daniel Goddard [Cane] greeted me and really helped me out. So did Sharon Case [Sharon] and Joshua Morrow [Nick]. I have so many friends in that CBS building — Kristoff St. John [Neil], Doug Davidson [Paul], Don Diamont [Bill on The Bold and the Beautiful] — but I definitely had those first-day-of-school jitters because I don’t know who this Dylan character is yet. I just know I don’t want him to be anything like Jason. But, then, I’m even concerned about that. I don’t want to go too far away from Jason because that might be pushing it. It might get weird.
TV Guide Magazine: Are we headed for a Dylan-Avery-Nick triangle? Is Dylan going to beat the crap out of Nick?
Burton: I don’t know yet, but I’m definitely going to hold down Joshua Morrow and shave off that famous scruff on his chin. And if he’s going to be in a triangle with me, he needs to take off those goofy sweaters!
TV Guide Magazine: Any message for the fans?
Burton: Yes, please hang in with me on this! I’m a little nervous so cut me some slack. [Laughs] Maybe put the TV on mute for my first couple of episodes and look at the new hairdo. Everything’s gonna be great…I promise!
As foreshadowed earlier this week, NBC has renewed Days of Our Lives through September 2014 and the soap’s 48th anniversary.
“We are thrilled to announce that Days is not going anywhere. It is NBC’s longest-running drama series by far and is one of the most historic brands in television,” said NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “We commend Ken Corday and the entire creative team on continuing to keep the stories and characters fresh, exciting and relevant year after year.”
Added exec producer Ken Corday: “After so many years in the homes and hearts of our loyal fans, I’m both humbled and elated to say it’s 2013 and we’re still going strong. I am equally proud that the sense of family which my mom and dad established in our show 48 years ago, is still what drives it today. As we celebrate our 12,000th episode with an amazing cast and great support from our network, we look forward to what’s yet to come!”
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, General Hospital‘s Laura is coming home.
Daytime vet Genie Francis will return to the ABC soap this February, EW.com reports.
The actress portrayed the sudser’s Laura Webber Spencer — half of storied supercouple Luke and Laura — on and off from 1977 to 2008. She most recently played The Young and the Restless’ Genevieve, a role she left in November.
Francis will begin taping GH later this week; the episodes will begin airing on Feb. 11.
Though there’s no word on how long she’ll stay in Port Charles, the site reports Francis will definitely be part of the soap’s 50th anniversary celebration in April.
Francis says she doesn’t know what’s going to happen to Laura during the upcoming stint, but she made one request of GH executive producer Frank Valentini: Come up with a good explanation for why Laura’s been away for so long.
“It’s not for me to tell them how to run their show,” she says. “But my biggest concern was that there had to be a good reason for [Laura] to stay away from [her] family.”
Daytime TV vet Steve Burton, fresh off his run as General Hospital mobster Jason Morgan, next will surface on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.
Burton announced Monday on CBS’ The Talk that he will play Avery’s ex, Dylan McAvoy, who is a presumed-dead war vet/architect who’s done two tours in the Middle East and is back in town to take over the family business. Such a “resurrection” surely would derail the romance between Avery (played by Jessica Collins) and Joshua Morrow’s Nick.
At Y&R, Burton reunites with his onetime GH boss Jill Farren Phelps. His first episode will air on Tuesday, January 29.
Burton’s GH run as Quartermaine golden boy-turned-brain-addled mob tough spanned some 20 years and ended this Oct. 30, with the actor winning one Daytime Emmy along the way. He and his family now live in Nashville; he told The Talk hosts he requested a work schedule that would allow him to spend most of his time in Tennessee.
“Without hesitation, CBS Daytime made that deal really quickly,” he said. “I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to have the best of both worlds for me and my family.”
His other credits include TV’s Taken and Out of This World, and the motion picture The Last Castle.
It appears the sands will continue to flow through the hourglass for the foreseeable future.
Addressing the fate of its only daytime soap, NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt expressed confidence that Days of Our Lives would remain on the air beyond its current contract cycle, which expires in September.
“I think Days is going to stick around,” Greenblatt told reporters Sunday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena. “I don’t know that I’m at liberty to say that officially yet, but it’s not going anywhere.”
Days currently ranks last in the ratings among the four remaining soaps, averaging 2.3 million viewers. It recently tied an all-time in women 18-49 (0.7). (Reporting by Vlada Gelman)
Daytime TV vet Steve Burton, fresh off his run as General Hospital mobster Jason Morgan, next will surface on CBS’ The Young and the Restless.
While TV Guide Magazine, which first reported on the casting, says that details on Burton’s Y&R character have yet to be revealed, Daytime Confidential (among others) speculates that he will play Avery’s ex, Dylan McAvoy, who is a presumed-dead war vet. Such a “resurrection” surely would derail the romance between Avery (played by Jessica Collins) and Joshua Morrow’s Nick.
At Y&R, Burton would reunite with his onetime GH boss Jill Farren Phelps. Sources say he would begin taping after the holiday break, landing his CBS soap debut sometime during February sweeps.
Burton’s GH run as Quartermaine golden boy-turned-brain-addled mob tough spanned some 20 years and ended this Oct. 30, with the actor winning one Daytime Emmy along the way. His other credits include TV’s Taken and Out of This World, and the motion picture The Last Castle.