Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Pause for a Cause...and "A Tribute to Pine Valley"!

Hey Folks!  Back at it here, and will soon be blogging about "Jackson" in Jackson (Tennessee, that is) and the very interesting two-night shoot for my new Comedy DVD at the South Street Comedy Club.  But first...

You know what...
Lots in the news regarding All My Children and ABC Daytime in general.  For you folks who are yet to receive the sorry word (and remember, I'm only the messenger!) All My Children and One Life to Live will not continue via the world wide web.  No, indeed.  Prospect Park realized that lack of funds and the obstacle of trying to reduce union protections and benefits that were hard won over many, many years was too much to overcome and backed off.  Too bad.  Such an exciting idea!

You know who...
In other news, Brian Frons is out as President of ABC Daytime.  All I have to say about this is: this man was not the devil and it takes more than one middle-management executive to destroy the viability of such an iconic genre as the "soap opera", which - internationally - is one of the most predominant of  dramatic artforms broadcast.

So.  What happened?  The audience watching in real time was quickly dwindling.  Costs were going up.  The advertising rate (based on viewership in real time) was falling.  Not a viable business model anymore.  The daytime dramas had gone from being the "cash cow" of ABC (it is told that ABC Daytime - in its heyday - paid for ABC News and ABC Sports!) to not able to pay for itself!  ABC wanted to get out of the business.  It was no longer profitable and - to their collective mind - couldn't be saved.

But I cannot believe that no one saw this coming.  Could it be that the ABC Daytime division was so provincial in its thinking, so naive as to the future of broadcast technology, had such bad business people making decisions as to totally ignore the opportunity to move this incredible demographic of viewers to the internet themselves?

This demographic group possesses such an attractive profile; they are often "empty nesters" with expendable income, they have a "brand loyalty" that hardly exists anymore, and they are dedicated and vocal!  Why "walk away from them", shoving them out of the car on the side of the road, throwing their money-stuffed satchel out after them?  Can ABC - or any other network afford - not only financially but also in terms of public relations - to turn their corporate, stockholder-owned backs on these folks?  Time will tell, I guess.

What could have been done?  Lots, in my opinion.  This trend in audience loss (again, in real time) had been going on for a while. Building an internet presence with "web-isodes" and alternate endings, interviews and interaction with the actors; basically "easing" the viewers to internet familiarity and access would have given the show a chance to survive...maybe not on television, but certainly not just gone!

So now, what is next for fans of All My Children?  Boy, I wish I knew.  Because that is the shame of all this.  The fans and followers of All My Children - who have been a part of my life for over 25 years - are left in the lurch, for the time being, at least.  In my quarter of a century of doing appearances, comedy dates, hosting gigs, Super Soap Weekends, and guest spots, and I have never once been ashamed to be part of the Daytime community, to say, nice and loud: these folks are our fans!

Doing "Here in Pine Valley" at the
South Street Comedy Club during
the taping of the new comedy DVD!
Since the show ended production, I have been on the road doing comedy, hosting fundraisers, working on many projects.  I have met with fans (some of whom have become actual friends) before and after my shows and these events, and it's been a blast!  
Hanging, signing for, and posing with
fans after the show...from the video
shoot for my new comedy DVD!

But the most fun I've ever had - including the ten Super Soap Weekends of which I was privileged to be a part- were the "A Tribute to Pine Valley" events we did in New York City, Central New Jersey and Long Island, NY!  Truly!  To walk out onto that stage in front of two-thousand people who love you is thrill enough, but to see what it meant to you all, how thrilled we all were to be in our community again, was truly, honestly, electrifying!  And we have hopes, dreams and plans to do it again.  And again.  And AGAIN!

That's me to the left, getting ready to introduce the "boys"...L to R: Vincent, Jacob, Darnell, Cameron and Michael!
Being with these guys, all of whom I love, to entertain and meet you, was one of the best experiences of my life, bar none.  It humbled me to know how much this meant to you for us to come out - especially during this time - and be with you.  And it gave everyone of us the greatest feeling; to know how much All My Children and the characters we played mean to you, as well as to see the outpouring of emotion toward us, the lucky actors who inhabited these roles.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And we're doing it again!

That's right, the "boys" - that is, Darnell Williams, Jacob Young, Vincent Irizarry, Cameron Mathison, and me, Walt Willey, are back on the road!  And with us we bring: the incomparable Alicia Minshew (who's just "one of the boys"anyway, believe me!) to join in the fun!

And this time we're coming to the beautiful Midwest! Here's where we'll be:

Fox Cities PAC
Green Bay/Appleton, WI
January 13
Riverside Theater
Milwaukee, WI
January 14
Rosemont Theatre
Chicago, IL
January 15

We all had so much fun; the actors, the fans...everybody!
Please join us for this incredible event!
We'll see you there!!

"A Tribute to Pine Valley"
and here are some places to go and things to see:
For more information please call


  1. all of this lead to the death of the shows..but it started way back with probably the death of Another World..and another culprit?...bad writing..each show is guilty of it..using the same idea over and over again with different characters...and writing characters into corners..I am sad to see them go...but then I'm still pissed they took Another World off..ha

  2. Got my tickets for the Chicgo show, my Christmas gift to me!! I still can't get used to AMC not waiting for me on my DVR when I get home from work. A Tribute To Pine Valley is the fix I need!! Can't wait!! Thank you for bringing the show to Chicago!!

  3. Walt - thank you for summing this up so beautifully and succintly. I will miss you on AMC especially since the show was with me from childhood through to college, marriage and the birth of my first child (who sadly will not get to continue to watch). 35 years! I truly hope you and the rest of the cast (and crew) find work soon that allows us to see you again on a regular basis, that fulfills you and allows you all to provide for your families. Thanks for the memories!

  4. It's a shame the show will not be continued online. I about cried reading this article. I'm 19 years old and have been watching the show since I was in about 8th grade. I'm just as big of a fan as the people that have watched for 40 years and I am sad to see televisions need to cut soaps. I would absolutely be thrilled if the characters could come to the Houston area. I promise it would be worth it!

  5. Oh I hope that they can put together something to give it a real ending. What we were left with was not the way it should have ended. I've watched off & on since I was about 8 years old back in 1980 when I was home from school sick. I've seen all the characters grow up with me & I started DVRing all the episodes the past year hoping for a real ending. Thank you for posting this Walt! You are a class act. I hope your show makes it down to Houston!!

  6. Hi Walt,
    Just want to wish you the best of everything... Ashame it the show won't be around anymore...... I would to love to buy the new DVD, I have your other one with the T-shirt and I laugh my ass off everytime I watch it.... You truly rock..................

  7. Glad for Alicia, love her to pieces, but she is replacing Michael E Knight? Is he OK? :( This is the girl who asked you to do the promotion for the coupon campaign to get our soaps back on, and show the viewers are watching, just not in that time slot. Love you Walt!!!

  8. I am so glad to hear from you with the blog and your summation of what took place, missing AMC so much! I started watching it in 1970 and was loyal to the end. It feels like my own flesh and blood family members have been abducted with no hope of every finding them :o(.
    Wishing you the best in all your endeavors Walt.

  9. Is there any chance that now somebody at ABC Daytime will have some sense and bring the shows back? If each could be a half hour show, that would save money, and it might work.

  10. I am glad to hear that you are doing this for the fans Walt. I am sad to hear that AMC and OLTL will not be hitting the online scene. I was so looking forward to it. I have been following this shows for many years. I will miss everyone who came into my living room every afternoon.

  11. Thank you Walt! I am such a HUGE fan and love you all like family and feel such a that came on the heels of losing my brother to pancreatic cancer in June of this year. I have watched the show for 40 years...since I was just 6 and my big sister got me watching it with her. I actually dreamed of playing the role of Erica's daughter before they came up with that role. LOL I began VCRing it in high school when they came out with those, switched to DVR's when those came out and eventually Tivo. As the world changed and people needed dual incomes to survive, we had no choice but to record our favorite daytime shows. Frankly, I now record every show I want to see so I can zip past the commercials that I DON'T want to see. Just one question...why couldn't it continue to broadcast on the Soap channel? It was always my backup in the event of loss of power, which all recording methods need. I subscribed to a larger package just to have that backup. Any thoughts??? Oh...and please head south sometime...I can drive to Atlanta, Chattanooga or Asheville easily from where I live and will glady do so to see your show!!!

  12. Hi Walt, thanks for letting us know the real reason this happened. I always thought they should have left it on Soap.Net where they were already airing at 8:00 p.m. I guess they couldn't afford that either. On another note, please bring your show to Detroit... I would love to see you and everyone involved. I would really like to see Michael E. Knight as well. :-) (I've always had a soft spot for Tad.)

  13. First let me say thank you for writing this. I'm a fan of the show for 35 years. It's so sad that the show will not continue online. I completely agree with the non-reasoning of our $$ being put out with yesterday's news. Doesn't make any sense to me! And we are everything you wrote! =) Is it possible another company could take up the web project... or ABC give us an hour on the weekends? It just looks to me like something else could have been done. >.< Best of luck to you and I hope to catch you on the road! Thank you for all the years of entertainment you provided me. *much love

  14. Who would I pitch an idea too? So many shows that have ended have gone on to do a movie, all my children should do a movie to at least tie up ends! They have such a demand and high audience fan base I know it would be such a huge hit! I know myself as well as so many others would be first in line for tickets!

  15. Should have stayed on. We don't have much on TV anymore. All junk!

  16. Thank you so much for posting this! I have watched All My Children my whole life and I am soon to be 40. My mom watched it when she was pregnant with me so I grew up with it. I cannot believe it is gone as it was a big part of my life. The people of Pine Valley were my family that I knew so well. Best of luck to you and all the actors and actresses.

  17. Well said!!! No matter what happens I think the AMC fans will follow their favorite actors/actresses in whatever their future will bring them whether it be stage, small or large screen. We love them and will always support them. GOD Bless You All!

  18. I went to the AMC luncheons in NYC and met you guys in person and loved you all for so long. It's just not the same anymore. I live in Pa. now from NY and since Pine Valley was in Pa, I felt closer than ever.
    Keep on doing what you do knowing we appreciate every bit.
    You were such a gentleman when I met you Walt. Thank you.

  19. I am sad to hear that AMC and OLTL will not be hitting the online scene. I was so looking forward to it. I have been following this shows for many years. I will miss everyone who came into my living room every afternoon. I was so excited that it was at least going to be online, but now we are told that is not going to happen either. In my book ABC sucks and I know a lot of people that said they would never watch ABC again after all this. I hope ABC can not SLEEP AT NIGHT!!!!

  20. Please come to the Southwest!! Santa Fe, Albuquerque...

  21. Walt, by the way, I once almost ran you over with my car! I was driving in Manhattan and had to stop short to not hit you. You looked like you were in a hurry. It was the good old days, when I used to hang out at Wilson's on Amsterdam and 79th, where a lot of AMC-ers hung out.

  22. I miss the cast members of both AMC and OLTL, I grew up watching both programs and felt like all of the characters were my family. You made me laugh, cry, sigh, dream and brought issues to the show that I would have never known existed. I have not watched ABC daytime since your last day. I do wish all of the you the best and will keep an eye out for the possible reunion of both casts. I will also keep an eye out for the possibility of your show coming to Michigan. Love to you and all the rest May God be good to you and your cast members. I will always remember the joys you have brought into my heart.

  23. Walt, thank you for explaining what is happening with AMC at this time. I, like many started watching AMC from the day it started in High School. And like most having children forced most of us to return to the work force. Hence, VCR's and then TIVO. I really hope someone out there wakes up and sees how much AMC is loved by all Soap fans and figures out a way to get it back somewhere. In the meantime, will you be bringing "A Tribute to Pine Valley" to Florida? In the end the way I have explained it to folks is that I spent one hour each day with my Pine Valley Family. That is more time than I had spent with my siblings once we grew up and more time than I spend with my grown up children who now are in The Armed are our family and missed terribly!

  24. I watched All My Children since the first show aired. It doesn't feel natural to come home from work & not have All My Children to watch. It feels like part of me is missing! Maybe Lifetime channel could pick up the show??

  25. Come to Texas! Just not to Dallas, hehehe!!

    I've missed AMC and am going to be sad to see the end of OLTL. I wish the AMC writers had given us closure instead of leaving a cliffhanger, just in case of something like this happening (PP not going through with the online deal).

    How about that JR Martinez and DWTS? I totally identified him with AMC the entire run of the show!

    Ya'll are all truly an outstanding group of actors!

  26. I love all the posts before me!!!! I have also watched since I started HS in 1973... Life changes as has the world...but I don't believe the "powers that be" realize the fan base these shows have had....and even though I taped AMC for YEARS and watched it while I did my workout the following day, i DID pay attention to the commercials...and I have polled many people and we ALL agree that we DO NOT and WILL NOT watch the shows that take their place....there's such a big hole in my life....It doesn't even matter how ridiculous the gave conversation and escape for my friends and I who were faithful followers! WE MISS YOU AMC!!!!

  27. Thank you Walt, for your words and your honesty...we Pine Valley fans are not giving up on AMC yet! As an Illinois girl myself (we grew up about an hour apart!) I am looking very much forward to bringing my teenage daughter to the Chicago show and the after-party, as she is a die hard AMC fan, as well. We can't wait!

  28. Thanks for your insights! Very wise... I started watching AMC one year before its demise. Not the empty nester demographic, I am a 43 yr old single mom of twin toddlers who was homebound due to breaking my knee. While in recovery I tuned in and became a dedicated fan. My escape to Pine Valley helped me get through a very difficult time and for that I am so grateful. I connected with the show so much that it was almost felt like a death in the family learning of the cancellation. I was prepared to even pay a subscription for online viewing. I watch a number of programs online when I have the time. Working Moms have to fit TV entertainment time in when we have a spare moment. Yes at this point I probably would be DVR'ing if it was still on ABC daytime. But SoapNet, maybe Oprah's Network (which isn't doing so well I hear and could use a boost in viewership) and online all seem like good alternatives. At the very least offer the viewers a decent ending. I would even enjoy continuing following the storyline as an online novel. The characters are rich... Hope the execs out there are listening. Bless all of you in your careers going forward. Maybe and hopefully we will see you again in Pine Valley in the future.

  29. Thank you Walt for the update. I have missed you and the rest of the AMC cast. My day just does not feel complete anymore. I wish there was some way to bring you all back (you know like they brought back Dixie and David) to our lives once again.
    I know what you mean when you mention 'REAL TIME' because I recently did a Nilson survey. They wanted to know what you watched in 'real time' and what you recorded while watching something else.
    I started watching AMC almost 40 years ago thanks to my mother. Even as an adult, I continue to watch, but I had to record on my VCR because I had to work. As the world of technology evolved so did recording TV programs, so I recorded on my DVR, but I watched each and every episode no matter what. AMC was a very big part of my life and I miss it very much(oh did I mention that already?). I just can't believe that there was no other recourse with AMC then to just end it (and that was a horrible ending). They could have moved it to the Soap channel or put it on during the evening hours so we could watch it REAL TIME, but we were not only not give that choice, we were not given a voice in ending the show. But I guess it's water under the bridge now. I just miss you guys.
    If you are ever in the Las Vegas, NV area, please let me know, I would love to see you in person.
    Thanks again.

  30. Walt and all the rest of the cast of AMC, you are so missed by all of your fans. I did see The Tribute To Pine Valley tour when it came to Westbury, LI. It was such a fantastic show. You guys were great onstage and within the audience. I loved the stories you told and it really was a lot of fun. It was nice connecting with you all after missing you so much everyday. I hope you come around to the New York area again soon.

  31. I was a life time viewer of Guiding Light. I couldn't believe when CBS pulled GL and ATWT. And all because of viewership being down in real time. But they didn't realize, for me at least, as you said,I had product loyalty. I always purchased what was ads on GL. I vowed that I would never by another Proctor and Gamble product, and I have dramatically cut down on their products. I am loyal to my soaps that way. Also I quit watching CBS, something I can't so with ABC. I miss AMC something awful, I find myself wondering what the characters are doing.
    Best Regards Walt!

  32. Sooooooo very disappointed at the passing of AMC. I watched when the show was broadcast and a lot of the time watched again on Soapnet. I loved your character and desperately hoped that you and Erica would stay married and be happy.

    The writers got a little crazy, at the end, with the David story line. Way tooooo far-fetched.

    Please come to the Seattle area....

    Miss you sooooooooo very much. The best of luck in any endeavor that you choose to undertake.


  33. I am so sad that AMC is not coming to the internet. I have watched since the beginning and it was part of my day. I understand viewership was down but I taped it everyday and watched when I got home from work. I miss it so much, you all were part of my family. I hope to see all of you again one day.keep us informed of all you are doing.

  34. Great thoughts Walt...keep blogging! And I beg to differ with all these good folk who have commented, but I am AMC's biggest fan. I am 53, and started watching with the very first show. This was obviously before VCRs, so I got to watch during summers and school vacations only. My dad, who was an OB/GYN and would come home for lunch every day and watch AMC, kept me posted on the days I couldn't watch. Such fun times. Many years later, when I heard that Susan Lucci was to receive her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, I knew I could not miss it. I live about an hour away from Hollywood, so I called in sick that day (a rainy Friday, remember?) and drove out to see her, and all of you who were there to support her. Am I talking like I'm a member of the "family"? Well, that's how I, and ALL these great commenters, feel about our family on All My Children. Just wanted to say thanks for bringing such fun, laughter, and thought-provoking issues to us for so many years!!! So sad that the 4th generation (my someday grandkids) will probably miss out! :-(

  35. Walt, I attended the LI event and had a wonderful time. I hate to sound like a teenie bopper, but it was a dream come true to meet all of you. I have been watching since the show started and miss seeing all of my Pine Valley friends every day. I never watched the show in "real time" because of work, but I would record it every day and watch it the following morning while on the treadmill. I wish the networks would consider making it a night time show even if it was only once a week. It is a shame that the networks have abandoned entertainment for "reality" garbage. The only way to send them a message is to stop watching the garbage they are churning out.

  36. Walt, You are a terrific actor, engaging and brilliant. I will deeply miss the wonderful rapport your character had with Erica.

    Now, please come to San Diego to do a tribute event. You have many fans here!

  37. Thank you for this insightful post, Walt. I was fascinated to read the insights from an insider who obviously has given this much thought.

    I had the privilege of meeting you at the New Brunswick Farewell to Pine Valley. Your graciousness and generosity with your time were only matched by your entertaining wit. I highly recommend the show to anyone thinking of attending!

    I wish you and your fellow cast mates the best as the future seems particularly uncertain. I hope all of you are provided with the enriching opportunities you deserve.

  38. Yes I too saw the very first episode and I can't say how much I miss my Family! That is what you all are to me and a huge part of my heart if just broken! I thought Prospect Park was a bunch of junk from the beginning just to shut us up and it pretty much did. If Disney would just be reasonable and sell these great shows for reasonable amounts someone else could pick them up but they won't and we are just left hanging because of their greed. What they have done to all of us is very unfair, and of course to all of your too. We love you all so very much and miss you more than we can say. Please come to Texas (Dallas)!

  39. Love your blog, Walt. PLEEEEEEEZE, bring the Tribute show to HOUSTON, Tx.
    When I heard that AMC was cancelled, it was like a death in the family. I think many fans feel that way. Really, ABC could have something different, but they only care about their advertisers; the fans who support those advertisers don't count to them. Well, I have stopped supporting those advertisers and will not watch the show that replaced AMC. AMC and the wonderful actors deserved a whole lot better as well. ABC should be ashamed about how they treated all of us, fans and families as well!

    Walt, H-O-U-S-T-O-N PLEEEEEEEEEZE??????

  40. Can you please come to the west coast!! I miss my AMC!!!!

  41. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I hope you guys are going to make it to the Tampa area. I know you have alot of fams here that will support you. Live on!

  42. Please come to California!!! Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!!!!! I miss you guys!!!

  43. Hi Walt. My Mom started watching in the early 70s when I was a baby so All My Children was a mother daughter bonding moment until the very end. Did I just say that?
    I hope it wasn't the end.

  44. Hello Walt! My goodness I am still in denial about this news from Prospect Park. I can't believe it. I am holding out hope that something may one day change. Soaps have been so ingrained in my life, it is just the strangest thing to see them ending.

    I also really really hope that the Pine Valley Tribute can come to Texas. That or I need to make a trip out for the next one!

    Good luck with the comedy tour, I will be looking for the dvd!

  45. Walt, unfortunately, in my opinion, there isn't a collective working brain cell left in the entertainment industry(tv and movies, anyway). Look at the amount of remakes and just plain stupid stuff. I have gone from watching television almost all of my waking hours to just a few. I totally refuse to watch anything on ABC Daytime,other than OLTL and after it's gone, I will watch none of it. I am not watching the other networks either because they have the same useless tripe in the daytime.
    I watch very, very little at night. The saddest of all is that the American people actually watch the crap they are being fed in primetime. If we don't watch, it would have to change. With the exception of Oprah, who was in her own classification, I wouldn't watch a talk show to save my life. Cooking shows and what they are classifying cooking shows are 2 different things. I can cook and I don't need to see 1001 ways to decorate a damn cupcake. Chefs are pompous and rude with the exception of Guy Fieri. I miss Pine Valley.

  46. Hello Walt. You and the 'boys' will be in my town of Chicago come January and I wish I could come see you. My mother watched AMC from probably the beginning and I watched it whenever I was home from school during summers and vacations. Then after she passed away in 1997 I continued watching because I always liked trying to figure out the plots. It is really a shame that they cancelled it just after the entire production moved to California and lost some characters that I enjoyed (like David Canary). I hadn't heard about the Prospect Park thing not coming through but knew it was probably a long shot. It would be nice if one of the cable channels aired the older episodes if nothing else at least it would still be on the air and perhaps get a new following.

    Hope you and your family have a happy and blessed New Year.

  47. Pine Valley and its inhabitants have been a part of my life since its inception. I have grown up with Erica, Brooke and Dixie, as has my daughter grown up with Amanda, Bianca and Greenlee. I also will not watch "The Chew" or any other inane afternoon show on ABC. I believe All My Children would have a great following in the evening, or perhaps OWN should pick it up. I also would love to watch the soap from its beginning...the stories are timeless. It would be like watching old family movies, touching and meaningful. The AMC audience is large and loyal and ABC can not make up for slapping us in the face, unless they find away to return our television family to us.

  48. Hey Walt sure miss all you good looking men from A.M.C. I really miss everyone that was on the show, I wish you and all of the other ones good luck. Now to run this by you. You say you are on the Rd. alot, well how about a stop over in Murfreesboro ,Tennessee. Its a Great City to visit and all the folks would love to see you and any of the other cast from A.M.C. Thanks and take care.
    Melody C.H.

  49. Oh Walt I'm still grieving! Could y'all please come a little closer, I'd give anything to see some of my family, I miss you all so much! I'm in Forney Texas!