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'General Hospital' promo: 'New rivals, new threats' -- VIDEO

Lots of mayhem in store for General Hospital over the next month. To help kick off its “Big February,” (and to celebrate that much-deserved win at the Writers Guild Awards on Sunday), here’s a look at what’s coming up on ABC’s last and only daytime sudser. (Tear). So what’s there to look forward to? Oh, just the aftermath of Robin’s death and the return of legacy characters like Robert and Holly.

And heads up to you uber-fans: Later this week, the episodes are from the new exec producing team of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati.


'Days of Our Lives': See the debut of Ian Buchanan! -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Soap veteran Ian Buchanan — who’s had memorable roles on General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and All My Children — comes to NBC on Thursday to play Ian McAllister on Days of Our Lives.

In this exclusive clip, Buchanan shows up as a very shady character from Madison’s (Sarah Brown) past who seems to have a strong hold over her and her company. As time goes by, we’ll also see that McAllister has a mysterious connection to Kate (Lauren Koslow), and that his presence in Salem will have an impact on Brady, Victor and Sonny. Oh my!

This isn’t Buchanan’s first time on the DOOL set. Previously, he performed a cameo as Lord Sheraton back in the late ’90s.


'General Hospital': Rick Springfield is back! -- EXCLUSIVE

With all this depressing talk about General Hospital’s uncertain future (do we really want it to run in primetime?), the soap’s fans can certainly use some good news. Fortunately, we’re happy to oblige.

EW has learned exclusively that Rick Springfield will reprise his role as Dr. Noah Drake for a few episodes beginning in March. He’s back in Port Charles to see his son Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson).

Springfield will return to the set in February.

If GH fans will recall, Noah hightailed it out of town in 2008 because of his drinking and need for serious help.

Springfield has come and gone from the soap before: He returned to the show in 2005 after his original run began in the early 80s.

Speaking of comings and goings, Finola Hughes (Anna Devane Scorpio Lavery Scorpio) is also returning to the sudser. She began taping last week for a mid-February return.

'Days of Our Lives' scoop: Meet Lexie's (new) mom! -- EXCLUSIVE

An eccentric psychic is about to return to Salem.

EW has learned exclusively that Beverly Todd (Crash, Bucket List) will join NBC’s Days of Our Lives as Celeste, the nutty mom of Lexie Carver (Renee Jones). She will fill the role previously played by Tanya Boyd since 1994.

Todd will first appear on April 3 for a multi-episode arc. Here’s how the producers described Celeste when they put out the call for a “gorgeous African-American female” to play the character now: “Celeste is a unique character in every way. She has had a very sordid past with many errors in judgment. Celeste is a tarot card reader and somewhat of a fortune teller although usually tends to have visions of doom for people. She has a strong bond with her daughter and grandson and she is very protective of them. She comes back to Salem to be with her family and help keep them safe.”

Here’s a shot from the set:

'General Hospital': Does it have a future in primetime?

Though All My Children and One Life to Live are history, General Hospital — for now — is firmly ensconced in ABC’s daytime lineup. But since ratings aren’t as strong as they used to be — the show’s averaging a 1.1 rating among adults women 18-49, down 21% from last year — and given how Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show is coming to ABC stations this fall, it’s still possible that the good people of Port Charles may lose their home in daytime.

But it could a future in primetime: EW has confirmed that ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee is pondering one scenario that would allow the soap to air as an evening summer series. Not a bad thought, right? Granted, it’s not exactly a new idea: CBS used to air primetime specials of The Young and the Restless that averaged anywhere from 11.5 million to 13.7 million. But those aired in the ’90s, when there was far less competition for eyeballs. Even then, the network realized they weren’t exactly bringing the house down so it stopped airing them after 1998. READ FULL STORY

'One Life to Live' finale: A look at final day of taping

After 44 years on the air, ABC’s One Life to Life ended its run today with a fittingly poignant finale that was only mildly hampered by the incorrect belief at the time of taping that there would be a future for it online.



'General Hospital' head writer on show's future: 'When you're running, don't look behind you' -- EXCLUSIVE

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for General Hospital‘s new executive producer Frank Valentini. He wrapped filming on One Life to Live where he’d been EP for  nine years on Nov. 18,  found out that the plans to take the show online were not happening on Nov. 23, and he signed on as the new GH showrunner over the last two days. “It happened really fast and I’m excited,” says Valentini. READ FULL STORY

'One Life to Live' actor on show's online demise: 'It was a noble attempt'

The actress who plays Nora on One Life to Live told EW that while she thought Prospect Park was “biting off a lot” by attempting to take the canceled ABC soap online, “I thought it was doable.”

“It was a noble attempt and I believe they really wanted to do this,” said Hillary B. Smith in response to the shocking news that Prospect Park has shuttered plans to bring OLTL and All My Children to its planned Online Network launching in 2012.  The media and production company founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank was unable to reach guild deals to make the soaps’ run on the internet a reality. READ FULL STORY

'One Life to Life' and 'All My Children' dead: Online plans canceled  

Sorry, soap fans: The painful economics of running daytime dramas on the internet have made it impossible to keep the shows alive after they’ve been yanked off of broadcast TV. Prospect Park announced today that its hope to move One Life to Life and All My Children to a planned Online Network in 2012 has been shuttered, dashing any hope of keeping Llanview and Pine Valley fans satiated.

The media and production company founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank was unable to reach guild deals to make the soaps’ run on the internet a reality. Arrangements with the unions were necessary if Prospect Park wanted to also sell the soaps to cable, but it’s economically unfeasible to pay guild wages for an internet show that would generate a fraction of the revenue it once did on ABC. READ FULL STORY

'One Life to Live' says goodbye to its ABC studio -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS

Lou Rocco/ABC

A day filled with tears, laughter, and hugs erupted into applause when the last scene of One Life to Live finished taping in its ABC studio Friday. Today saw scenes moving along at the famously whiplash-like speed common for daytime soaps, but with increasing fanfare and emotion. Then the studio quietly began to fill up in the late afternoon as Erika Slezak (Viki Lord) and Jerry vern Dorn (Clint Buchanan, right) started to shoot that last scene (which is not the last one that will be seen on the show’s finale in January) in Viki’s Llanfair living room.

Ever the pro, Slezak was determined not to break down and cry as the time approached, but even as she blinked back the tears, she had hugs for everyone who wanted one, such as Melissa Archer, who played her daughter Natalie and who went straight in for this embrace as soon as the scene was wrapped. “Why bother say goodbye?” said Slezak, who sees this as just closing a chapter. “We will see each other again, someplace, somehow, somewhere.”


Bummer! Online return of 'All My Children' delayed

Disappointing news for fans of All My Children, which was supposed to earn a second lease on life next year when it was supposed to resurface via The Online Network in January. The company that bought it from ABC may hold off premiering it for at least a few months and focus on getting One Life to Life back to fans, instead, according to Variety.

Prospect Park, a media and production company founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank, bought AMC and OLTL last July after ABC canceled them. (AMC ended in September; OLTL goes away in January). The hope was to bow new installments of AMC online starting in January, but that was before Prospect started having a tough time securing stars from the longtime serial (here’s looking at you, Susan Lucci!).

So far, only Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery) and Lindsay Hartley (Dr. Cara Castillo Martin) have agreed to continue with AMC once it goes online. In contrast, OLTL’s Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord), along with Ted King (Tomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain) and Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer), among others, will stay in the fictitious town of Llanview for Prospect’s new venture.

Along with the soaps, The Online Network is supposed to feature entertainment and lifestyle shows.

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Jonathan Jackson to leave 'General Hospital': Report

ABC won’t confirm or deny a report that says Jonathan Jackson — the actor who plays Lucky Spencer on General Hospital — is leaving the daytime drama. Apparently, the actor will shoot his final scenes on Nov. 17; they will air in December.

Jackson is reportedly worn out from the grind of a daytime soap, not to mention the heavy-duty storylines involving the death of his character’s child.

The actor already shot his final scenes with Anthony Geary, who plays Lucky’s dad Luke.

Jackson joined the show in 1993. He’s won four Emmys for his work on the ABC sudser.


'Days of Our Lives': Another Salem character comes out of the closet -- EXCLUSIVE

In the wake of a decision by Days of Our Lives to feature its first same-sex relationship, the NBC soap has announced plans to reveal another gay character on the traditionally conservative sudser. EW has learned exclusively that Will Horton (Chandler Massey) will come out on the show, which introduced its first gay character last summer. Freddie Smith joined the show in June to play Sonny, a good-natured young man who returns home to join his family.

Massey, who earned his first Emmy nomination last year for his work on Days, released this statement: “I’m thrilled to be able to portray my character in an empowering way that will show his struggle to accept who he is. It is my hope that this storyline will inspire others to be true to themselves as well.” READ FULL STORY


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