Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
All My Children
|Executive Producer||Julie Hanan Carruthers|
|Head Writer||Megan McTavish|
|Senior Cast Members|| Susan Lucci,|
|Premiere Date||January 5, 1970|
|Runtime||60 minutes (30 minutes from 1970 to 1977)|
All My Children is a popular American soap opera which has been broadcast every Monday through Friday on the ABC TV network since January 5, 1970. Originally a half-hour in length, the show moved to an hour in 1977. The show has taped over nine thousand episodes, with the 9,000th episode aired on December 16, 2004.
All My Children was created by Agnes Nixon. Although Nixon had previously created One Life to Live for ABC following her success with Another World and The Guiding Light, All My Children was her brainchild. She set the show in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a small suburb of Philadelphia.
At one time, it was so popular that it was the most widely-recorded television show in the United States. The show ranked #2 in the daytime Nielsen ratings for much of the 1980s as well as the majority of the 1990s. While the show's ratings declined in the late 1990s and early 2000s, All My Children still enjoyed a massive fan following, usually ranking around the middle of the pack in the daytime Nielsens, with over three million people watching each day. In 2003 and 2004, however, the show's ratings picked up again, and has tied other shows for second place for the first time in years.
From 1970 to 1992, the show was either written by Nixon herself or by her protégé, Wisner Washam. When the executives at ABC wished to bring in new blood on the writing staff, they promoted team writer Megan McTavish into the head position, where she would stay until 1995, with another stint from 1997 to 1999. After numerous writing staff changes, she returned to the position in 2003, where she is today.
Like many other soaps, All My Children enjoys a balance of younger talent and older veteran performers. With the death of core cast member Ruth Warrick in 2005, only two cast members, Ray MacDonnell and Susan Lucci, have played their roles since the first episode. Coupled with older talent, such as Julia Barr, David Canary and Michael E. Knight, the show has also hit the jackpot in a rivalry between former friends Greenlee and Kendall, played by Rebecca Budig and Alicia Minshew.
Full article: History of All My Children (1970-1979)
Agnes Nixon strived to create a soap that was topical, and could illustrate social issues to the audience, something that had not been tried by other soap writers before. To keep the action more real, she allowed the audience to locate her fictional "Pine Valley" on a map: situated just outside of Philadelphia, it was a mere hour-long train ride away from New York City.
The show's first action took place around several families, including the Martins, the Tylers, the Brents, and the Kanes.
Full article: History of All My Children (1980-1989)
All My Children started the 1980s with the popular pairing of Cliff and Nina Warner, whose story reached a higher pitch than even Tara and Phil's back in the early 1970s. Other supercouples of the day included Greg and Jenny Nelson as well as Jesse and Angie Hubbard, the latter becoming the first African American supercouple.
Full article: History of All My Children (1990-1999)
As All My Children started a new decade, the show was faced with many actor defections, including longtime favorites such as Peter Bergman, Taylor Miller, and Debbi Morgan. The writing team stayed the same, under the direction of Wisner Washam, but the ABC daytime drama department wished to elevate Megan McTavish to the role of head writer (she had been affiliated with the show since 1987). Her first stories started airing in 1992, and were praised both in the soap magazines and by fans. A location shoot along the Danube River started a romance between longtime All My Children stalwart Erica Kane and newcomer Dimitri Marick (Michael Nader), who, although revealed to be the brother of Edmund Grey (John Callahan), was still a fairly mysterious subject.
Other storylines included Mona's fight with lung cancer (Mona's portrayer, Frances Heflin, had the same ailment), Adam Chandler's long-lost daughter Hayley Vaughan (Kelly Ripa) finding love first with the much older Charlie Brent (Christopher Lawford), and then with Mateo Santos (played by Mark Consuelos, who became Kelly Ripa's real-life husband), and the formation of the Dillon family, which started off dysfunctional as the eventual matriarch, Janet, was the crazy sister of Trevor Dillon's love, Natalie.
Full article: History of All My Children (2000-present)
A high producer and writer turnover in the late 1990s necessitated the brief return of Agnes Nixon at the start of the decade, which resulted in the pairings of David Hayward's mother Vanessa with longtime villain Palmer Cortlandt, and the revelation that Erica Kane's daughter Bianca was a lesbian. Many long-running actors, such as Michael Nader, James Kiberd, and Robin Mattson, left their roles, arguably leaving huge gaps in the show's landscape.
After even more turnover in recent years, Megan McTavish, who wrote the show for most of the 1990s, returned in 2003 with daring story ideas, which included the rape of Bianca and a year-long baby switch story, which was hailed by soap columnists as the return of character-driven storytelling, which had been ignored under the tenure of Gordon Rayfield and Anna Cascio .
Recently, the show wrapped up a vital, year-long "Baby Swap Storyline." This storyline was pivotal and legendary for All My Children. The storyline crossed over to another ABC soap, One Life to Live as characters from the show were incorporated into the story, thus establishing a link between the two shows. It also drew more interest for One Life to Live, as many fans of All My Children tuned in to watch the storyline unfold elsewhere.
Current Cast Members
- Julia Barr (Brooke English)
- Justin Bruening (Jamie Martin)
- Rebecca Budig (Greenlee Smythe Lavery)
- David Canary (Adam Chandler/Stuart Chandler)
- Natalia Cigliuti (Anita Santos)
- Bobbie Eakes (Krystal Carey)
- Kelli Giddish (Diana Cole)
- Alexa Havins (Arabella "Babe" Carey)
- Eileen Herlie (Myrtle Fargate)
- Vincent Irizarry (Dr. David Hayward)
- Terri Ivens (Simone Torres)
- Michael B. Jordan (Reggie Porter Montgomery)
- Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater)
- Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin)
- Jill Larson (Opal Cortlandt)
- Eva LaRue Callahan (Dr. Maria Santos)
- Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) Original Cast Member
- Tanisha Lynn (Danielle Frye)
- Ray MacDonnell (Dr. Joe Martin) Original Cast Member
- Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery)
- Alicia Minshew (Kendall Hart)
- James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt)
- Joe Murphy (Braden Lavery)
- Tonya Pinkins (Livia Frye)
- Leven Rambin (Lily Montgomery)
- James Scott (Ethan Ramsey)
- Bobby Steggert (Sam Grey)
- Aiden Turner (Aidan Devane)
- Walt Willey (Jackson Montgomery)
- Jacob Young (Adam "J.R." Chandler, Jr.)
Recurring Cast Members
- Jennifer Bassey (Marian Colby Chandler)
- William Christian (Derek Frye)
- Aryana Rodriguez (Maddie Grey)
- Anna Stuart (Mary Smythe)
Coming and Going Cast Members
- Vasili Bogazianos (Benny Sago) (returnes briefly in May)
- Francesca James (Kelly Tyler) (returnes briefly in May)
- Eden Riegel (Bianca Montgomery) (returns temporarily in May)
- Richard Shoberg (Tom Cudahy) (returnes briefly in May)
- Chrishell Stause (Amanda Dillon) (starting May 4)
- Peter White (Linc Tyler) (returnes briefly in May)
- Richard Van Vleet (Chuck Tyler) (returnes briefly in May)
† Cast Members
- Louis Edmonds (Langley Wallingford), 2001
- Frances Heflin (Mona Kane) Original Cast Member, 1994
- Ruth Warrick (Phoebe Wallingford) Original Cast Member, 2005
- Cliff and Nina — article in the supercouple series
- Greg and Jenny — article in the supercouple series
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