Recently in April 2011

Be A Real-Life GOSSIP GIRL!

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When you are a privileged teenager in Manhattan, the city is literally your playground. At least, if you're one of the prep-school elite featured on the hit CW drama GOSSIP GIRL! For those of us not lucky enough to visit New York City's hottest hotspots, On Location Tours gives you the chance to visit the locales made famous by the show with their Gossip Girl Sites Tour. Soaps In Depth recently boarded the bus for one of the tours, and it's all in the new ABC issue, on sale now!

Want to check out the Gossip Girl Sites Tour for yourself? On Location Tours runs the bus trip every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at noon. For more information or to book a tour, visit www.screentours.com.

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Cast Your Vote #20

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UPDATE: Voting has now closed for this round!

It's time once again to express your opinions about your favorite ABC soaps! Since the official magazine polls still aren't quite ready yet, we once again ask you to cast your vote in the comments below to answer this issue's questions and name your favorite actor, actress and couple.

Also, if you'd like to expand upon your answers, feel free, but remember that any comments left here may be considered for publication in the magazine. Extra comments that have nothing to do with this week's poll questions should be directed to our Message Boards section!

Now, on to this issue's questions:

ALL MY CHILDREN: Do you like Kendall and Griffin together?

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Would you approve of a relationship between Kristina and Ethan?

ONE LIFE TO LIVE: Is Liam's true paternity enough to repair Natalie and John's relationship?

Please note that the cut-off date for your votes to be counted will be Thursday, May 5.

And don't forget: PLEASE -- vote only ONCE. That's once per ISSUE, meaning one vote for this article's comments. Not once per day or once per week. Just ONCE.

MULTIPLE VOTES FROM THE SAME USER WILL BE DELETED AND NOT COUNTED, SO DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND OURS. THANK YOU.

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SOAPnet To Stay Longer -- But What Will Air?

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Early next year, the Disney/ABC Television Group plans to transition SOAPnet into Disney Junior, a new cable channel aimed at preschoolers. But according to a Deadline report, issues with getting the cable contracts hammered out means that Disney Junior's launch has been pushed back -- and that SOAPnet will remain on the air past the January target date for the new channel. A spokesperson for ABC confirms to Soaps In Depth that SOAPnet will remain on the air a little longer, and that the plan is still for Disney Junior to launch in the early part of 2012.

But with ALL MY CHILDREN going off the air in September, followed by ONE LIFE TO LIVE in January of next year, how will SOAPnet fill its schedule without the two beloved soaps to show same-day episodes at night? The ABC rep promises that they will "absolutely have programming" for SOAPnet, but adds that since it is still over half a year away, it is too early to comment on what that programming will be. We'll keep you posted!

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Zach & Kendall Together Again!?!

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It seems as if some ALL MY CHILDREN fans will get their wish before the soap makes its swan song in September: a reunion between Zach and Kendall. An insider tells Soaps In Depth that Thorsten Kaye -- who exited the soap last year when his alter ego's plane went down -- is returning to help wrap up AMC's final months. But since the body of Kendall's presumed-dead husband body was never recovered, will Zach return to Pine Valley in the flesh, or be a figment of his widow's imagination? Stay tuned!

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Wilson Joins WORKSHOP!

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The two soaps that Marie Wilson has appeared in (as PORT CHARLES' Karen and AS THE WORLD TURNS' Meg) may no longer be on the air, but fans of the actress will have to go no further than the computer upon which they are reading this to see her in action once more. On Tuesday, May 3, she will be appearing in an episode of the comedy Web series WORKSHOP!

"It was hilarious," Wilson says of her experience. "It's quite a funny Web series!"

But that's not all the actress has been up to recently; There's a whole lot more after the jump!

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Springfield Meets His Maker On HAWAII!

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Tune in to HAWAII FIVE-0 on Monday, May 2, to see Rick Springfield (ex-Noah, GENERAL HOSPITAL) in action as a famous photographer who meets a rather unfortunate end! In the episode titled "Ho'ohuli Na'au" (Hawaiian for "close to heart"), the Grammy winning singer guest stars as world-renowned shutterbug Renny Sinclair, who is murdered while on assignment in Hawaii to shoot the cover of a top sports magazine. Did one of the sexy models kill the womanizing photographer? Tune in at 10 p.m. EST on CBS to find out!

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Christopher's Last Day Set

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Tyler Christopher will tape his last episode as GENERAL HOSPITAL's Nikolas next month. "Just got word my last day is May 19th," the actor tweeted yesterday. "I'll post a farewell blog soon." To keep up with Christopher, check out his blog here.

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OLTL Casting News!

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There's a new face headed to Llanview this summer. ONE LIFE TO LIVE has cast daytime newcomer Barret Helms in the contract role of Baz. In the casting breakdown, the character was named Robbie, a sexy and confident college student who interns at a well-known newspaper. Which Llanview residents Baz will cross paths with remains to be seen. A former model, Helms made his screen debut in Precious (playing the title character's imaginary boyfriend, Tom Cruise). Look for him to make first air in mid-June.

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Who Is The Real Todd?

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Who is the real Todd Manning? ONE LIFE TO LIVE fans are hoping that question will be answered when Roger Howarth returns to the canvas. Is the Emmy winner, who originated the role of Viki's half-brother in 1992, the true Lord heir, meaning that Trevor St. John's Walker wasn't a surgically-altered Todd after all? The mystery will begin to unfold next month, when Howarth makes his OLTL return on Friday, May 13. Mark your calendars!

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Go Inside Viki's Subconscious Mind!

Check out this behind-the-scenes preview for the ONE LIFE TO LIVE episode airing Wednesday, April 27, in celebration of Erika Slezak's 40th anniversary playing Viki. The special show is a face-off between Viki and her alters, Niki and Jean, set inside her subconscious mind! Tune in!

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A Sneak Peek At Luke's Intervention!

Thursday's GH is sure to be an emotionally charged episode, as Luke's friends and family gather together in an attempt to force him to recognize that he has a drinking problem. For a sneak peek at the intervention, check out the video!

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Is This Brenda's Baby Boy?

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It seems like GENERAL HOSPITAL's Sonny was right to question Suzanne's motives for mysteriously appearing at the door with Lucian in tow, claiming he was Brenda's long-lost son: The soap has cast adorable Quinn Friedman as Alec, Suzanne's true grandson, whom she's been hiding!

Friedman began acting in commercials at the tender age of 3 1/2. Shortly after the 6-year-old decided to give television a try, he booked roles on Showtime's WEEDS, Nickelodeon's VICTORIOUS and, earlier this month, the CBS hit drama CRIMINAL MINDS. In addition to his new gig on GH, the tyke recently wrapped filming his feature film debut in the upcoming movie Arbitrage, where he'll play the grandson of Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon!

But what does Alec's appearance mean for little Lucian, played by Elvis Martinez? Stay tuned! In the meantime, look for Friedman to make his GH debut in mid-May.

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McClain's Return Not A Done Deal!

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Despite reports saying that Cady McClain will be bringing Dixie back to ALL MY CHILDREN before the soap ends in September, Soaps In Depth has learned that the fan favorite's return isn't completely carved in stone just yet. A source close to the actress shares that while negotiations are underway with AMC, nothing has been signed for McClain to reprise the role of Tad's love.

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Can Luke's Family Save Him?

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What, if anything, can pull GENERAL HOSPITAL's Luke Spencer out of his self-destructive whirlpool? His family and friends are banking on the fact that there is power in numbers as they join forces to confront him about his alcoholism in an all-out war of wills with an intervention on Thursday, April 28!

Lucky and Tracy rally the troops -- and have to twist the arms of a hesitant few to get them join in. Lucky has to get downright physical with his dad to keep him still as Luke's loved ones plea with him to choose rehab... or lose everyone in his life! Will Luke opt to heal, or is his 50-year-old scotch stronger than he is?

Bottom line, Luke accepts that he was the cause of Jake's death, but he's not accepting that alcohol played a part in that. That truth is what Luke's family and friends articulate and what Lucky is so desperately trying to forgive. "Lucky is using that as an excuse not to forgive him because he's not ready to forgive him," says his portrayer, Jonathan Jackson. "One of the endearing things about Luke is that in the midst of this, he keeps saying, 'My son has a right to grieve and blame me or the alcohol or whatever he wants to blame.' That is a very interesting, courageous element of Luke's character. That shows his unselfish side of how much he loves his son."

In addition to this poignant and moving story, Emmy winners Anthony Geary (Luke) and Jackson taped a Public Service Announcement, in conjunction with Al-Anon and Alateen, that will air immediately following the show. Be sure to tune in on Thursday!

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Don't Miss OLTL's Special Viki Episode!

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Listen up, ONE LIFE TO LIVE fans! Wednesday, April 27, is a must-see episode, a special 40th anniversary showcase featuring Llanview's leading lady, Erika Slezak (Viki)! "Forty years she's been on the show, it's unbelievable," OLTL headwriter Ron Carlivati tells Soaps In Depth. "It was a great opportunity to honor Erika. Viki's husband cheating on her and her finding out about it was kind of the perfect place to build an episode around her."

While Slezak, naturally, is a big part of her anniversary episode, Viki isn't the only Llanview resident who will appear in the hour. "She's not the only person that you're going to see in the episode, but I think she's in every single scene!" the scribe reveals. "It's really all about Viki. She's the heart of the show, and there would not be ONE LIFE without Viki. I'm really excited about it. I hope the audience likes it as much as we do."

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Fans Plan Protest

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It's been a week since ABC pulled the plug on ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and time isn't healing this wound. But rather than take to Internet chat rooms to share their disappointment, a devoted group of fans are rallying together to protest the Alphabet Network's double-whammy in a much more concrete way: On Tuesday, April 26, hundreds of daytime devotees plan to declare their love for their "stories" by marching in front of ABC affiliates across the country. "Even in front of Disney World in Orlando and the Disney Studios on Buena Vista Street [in Bubank, CA]," Protest ABC Across America organizer Ronda Kennedy tells Soaps In Depth. "Mickey doesn't know, but we're coming!"

Read more after the jump!

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OLTL Alum Chappell Speaks Out

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Back in the mid 1990s, Crystal Chappell spent two years playing Maggie Carpenter on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Along with the rest of the daytime world, the soap vet -- currently starring as DAYS OF OUR LIVE's Carly, and who also won an Emmy for her portrayal of GUIDING LIGHT's Olivia -- is still mourning the loss of her former soap home and ALL MY CHILDREN.

"I got to know the cast and crew of One Life To Live, so that was a real privilege," Chappell tells Soaps In Depth. "I grew up watching One Life To Life, and so I am devastated and sad to hear of the cancellations. I wish everyone the best. Great things are coming for them. I send out my most heartfelt gratitude to Agnes Nixon for bringing both All My Children and One Life to Live to me."

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Bachelorette To Be A Mom!

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A new little princess will soon join one of Hollywood's royal families! Shayne Lamas-Richie (who appeared on GENERAL HOSPITAL in 2005 as teenage Carly) is expecting her first child with husband Nik Richie, founder of the gossip site TheDirty.com. "The Lamas-Richie family is happy, healthy and definitely pregnant," the former ABC bachelorette and LEAVE IT TO LAMAS star announced via Twitter on April 12. On her blog, www.LamasRichie.com, the actress/model posted a picture of herself in a bikini, showing off her baby bump, with the message, "Nik and I are so excited. Team Girl!!"

The daughter of THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL alum Lorenzo Lamas (ex-Hector), Lamas-Richie is also the sister of former AS THE WORLD TURNS hunk A.J. Lamas (Rafe). Her grandparents are the late Argentine actor Fernando Lamas and the sultry screen star Arlene Dahl. After winning Season 12 of THE BACHELOR, Lamas-Richie and Matt Grant were briefly engaged, but called things off in the summer of 2008, shortly after she was given the last rose. Last April, Lamas and Richie made headlines after eloping to The Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas just hours after meeting for the first time. What a way to celebrate their first anniversary!

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The Stars Speak Out!

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For the past few days, the Soaps In Depth staff has been hard at work contacting ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE castmembers -- both current and former -- to get their reaction to the double whammy cancelation for an upcoming story. But we got so many great responses from the stars, they wouldn't all fit in the magazine! We've decided to share them with you here at abc.soapsindepth.com, and as we gather more memories and farewells, we'll post those as well, so keep checking back!

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CHRISTINA BENNETT LIND (Bianca, AMC)

"I was shocked and saddened to hear the news about the cancellation. [The day of the announcement] was my 11-month anniversary with the show and I realized, as we all stood together and held hands and one another, how lucky I was to have shared almost a year with this artistic family. I have been honored to be a part of this cast, crew, and legacy and I will never forget my time here. The support from fans and from my colleagues has been life-changing and, as I begin the search for what lies around the corner, I will be proud to claim Bianca as a part of me forever."

Read more after the jump!

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Rambin Is On A Roll!

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ALL MY CHILDREN alum Leven Rambin (ex-Lily/Ava) sure is keeping busy! Hot on the heels of her recurring roles on ONE TREE HILL, THE WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE, CSI: MIAMI, PRIVATE PRACTICE and GREY'S ANATOMY, the actress is now headed to the silver screen. According to Deadline, Rambin has been cast in the highly-anticipated film adaptation of The Hunger Games, based on the best-selling young adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Rambin will play Glimmer, the District 1 combatant who goes up against District 12's Katniss, played by star Jennifer Lawrence, in a televised death-match contest.

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Vacuum Giant Pulls Ads From ABC In Support Of Soaps!

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Yesterday on their Facebook page, Hoover announced that they would be pulling all advertising from ABC, effective Friday, in support of the cancellations of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE.

"I want you to know from me personally that we hear you loud and clear," said marketing vice president Brian Kirkendall in an open letter. "My wife and mother are both passionate viewers of All My Children and One Life to Live, as are many of my colleagues here at Hoover. We were and are as disappointed with this news as you are. In fact, we will discontinue our advertising with ABC this Friday, 4/22. We're making every attempt to pull our spots from these programs sooner."

Aside from pulling their commercials from the entire network, the appliance manufacturing company has set up a special email address to help the fans get their voice heard with ABC. "Please, send your emails to us at SaveTheSoaps@Hoover.com, and we'll get every, single last one of them to ABC. We're 150% committed to doing what matters most to you -- so if there's anything else we can do to help or you have any ideas, please email this address, and we will respond to you personally."

"Thank you for standing up for what matters to you!" Kirkendall concluded. "We need more of that in this world."

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Can Your Soaps Be Saved?

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In light of last week's shocking news that ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE will be coming to an end in the coming months, there's one question on everyone's lips: Can these iconic shows be saved? Tonight, join Soaps In Depth executive editor Richard M. Simms as he takes an honest look at the future of these soaps in particular and the genre in general. What does the end of AMC and OLTL mean for ABC's lone remaining soap, GENERAL HOSPITAL? Do fans of THE YOUNG & THE RESLTESS, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL and DAYS OF OUR LIVES need to be concerned? We'll be taking your calls and answering your questions starting at 7 p.m. ET tonight. So swing on over to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tuneintomorrow to listen, and join the conversation by calling (347) 989-0685 once the show gets under way!

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Will Lucci Get DESPERATE?

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Last week's news of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE's cancelation rocked the daytime world, and after recovering from the initial shock, fans began wondering how the devastating news would affect the actors on the soaps. Some, such as AMC's Susan Lucci (Erica), have been a part of the sudser for most of their lives and careers, so what will happen now that their home base is on the way to demolition?

In the case of Lucci, there's no need to worry: Word on the street is that the iconic actress is joining the cast of ABC's nighttime soap, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES! Many would argue she'd be a perfect fit to the femme fatale's of Wisteria Lane -- which includes soap alums Marcia Cross (ex-Katheryn, OLTL), Teri Hatcher (Angelica, CAPITOL), Eva Longoria (ex-Isabella, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS) along with Felicity Huffman as the primetime drama's core stars -- and she herself has said that living (at least part time) in Los Angeles gives her the wonderful opportunity to take a shot at primetime roles. "It's something I've always wanted to try," Lucci tells Soaps In Depth. She's had primetime experience with guest-spot roles on shows such as HOT IN CLEVELAND and HOPE & FAITH, but will her first major foray into primetime as a contract character be as a cast member on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES? A rep for the primetime series declined to comment, but a source close to the show told us that there's not any truth to the rumor.

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Easton Is A Dad!

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This is one sure-fire way for Michael Easton (John, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) to never forget tax day: The actor and his wife, Ginevra, became parents on April 15! "We are delighted to announce the birth of our daughter, Lilah Bell Easton," he posted on his Facebook page over the weekend.

The couple's first child, baby Lilah weighed in at 7 lbs., 9 oz. Congratulations to the happy family!

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Stars React To Shows' Cancelation

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As you can imagine, the double whammy that ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE have been given the ax by ABC has sent shockwaves throughout the entire daytime community. Ever since the news broke, actors past and present from the ABC soaps as well as from other networks, producers, writers and other industry colleagues have taken to social media outlets to share their heartbreak. "It's devastating news," Stephanie Gatschet (Madison, AMC) tells Soaps In Depth. "But we'll go out with our heads held high."

On her Facebook page, Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) posts that "The face of daytime television has changed resulting in the cancellation of All My Children. Final episodes will broadcast in September. It's been a fantastic journey. I've loved playing Erica Kane and working with Agnes Nixon and all the incredible people involved with All My Children. I'm looking forward to all kinds of new and exciting opportunites." Meanwhile, OLTL's David Gregory (Ford) revealed on his page that the cast was told at a meeting earlier today that they'd be taping their last episodes in November to air in January 2012, while AMC will finish taping in August. "Thank you all so much for your support of not only daytime TV, but the ABC soaps: especially OLTL. And the Ford clan!! Love you guys. Frank has promised were goin' out with a bang so get ready!!"

Twitter has seen an explosion of comments about AMC and OLTL, with soap-related posts being 7 of the top 10 trends after the news broke. "A moment of silence for a disappearing genre," tweeted Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, OLTL), one of the first to react. "OLTL & AMC, we'll miss your hard work and talent."

UPDATE: OLTL's Erika Slezak (Viki) weighed in with her own statement: "I am so terribly sad that we are losing ONE LIFE TO LIVE," she said. "This is a show with so much heart and life in it and we have had so many wonderful loyal viewers. I am deeply sorry. We have been a family for so long, and the sadness of this loss extends to all of us. This is not only a loss to television, but the entire entertainment industry and to the many hard working people of New York who have been the heart and soul of ONE LIFE TO LIVE."

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ABC Sets End Dates For AMC & OLTL

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The rumors that have been swirling for months about the end of ALL MY CHILDREN -- and more recently, ONE LIFE TO LIVE -- are unfortunately now a reality. ABC Daytime announced today that the "iconic shows" (their words!) will be replaced by two new shows, THE CHEW and THE REVOLUTION.

According to ABC's press release, the decision comes after "extensive research into what today's daytime viewers want and the changing viewing patterns of the audience... These new shows expand ABC Daytime's focus to include more programming that is informative and authentic and centers on transformation, food and lifestyle -- cornerstones of programming that resonates with daytime viewers as evidenced by the success of THE VIEW."

THE CHEW will focus on food from every angle imaginable -- as a source of joy, health, friendship, breaking news, dating, fitness and weight loss, travel adventure and life's moments. The one-hour live show will be co-hosted by celebrity chef Mario Batali, Clint Kelly of TLC's WHAT NOT TO WEAR fame, Carla Hall from Bravo's TOP CHEF, Michael Symon from Food Network's IRON CHEF AMERICA and nutrition expert Daphne Oz. THE REVOLUTION (currently a working title) is a daily show about health and lifestyle transformations, hosted by a team of experts and rotating guest contributors led by fashion expert Tim Gunn, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and AMERICAN IDOL alum Kimberley Locke. Each week will feature one woman's five-month weight loss journey, will daily results and a final transformation reveal on Friday's episode. AMC will broadcast its final episode in September, with OLTL's swan song set for January 2012. ABC promises that the shows "will sunset in a manner that honors viewers and the shows' creative legacies." GENERAL HOSPITAL will not be impacted by the two new series, and will remain on the air.

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"While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can't help but recognize how bittersweet the change is," says ABC Daytime President Brian Frons in making the announcement. "We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days.

"AMC and OLTL are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture's history," Frons continues in the statement. "Each of the shows has touched millions and millions of viewers and informed the social consciousness. It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary teams who brought the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview to life each day, and we thank the cast, crew producers and most especially the fans for their commitment to the shows through their history."

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Cast Your Vote #18

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It's time once again to express your opinions about your favorite ABC soaps! Since the official magazine polls still aren't quite ready yet, we once again ask you to cast your vote in the comments below to answer this issue's questions and name your favorite actor, actress and couple.

Also, if you'd like to expand upon your answers, feel free, but remember that any comments left here may be considered for publication in the magazine. Extra comments that have nothing to do with this week's poll questions should be directed to our Message Boards section!

Now, on to this issue's questions:

ALL MY CHILDREN: Is Erica better with Jack or Caleb?

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Is this the right time for Sam and Jason to have a baby?

ONE LIFE TO LIVE: Do you like John and Kelly together?

And don't forget: PLEASE -- vote only ONCE. That's once per ISSUE, meaning one vote for this article's comments. Not once per day or once per week. Just ONCE.

MULTIPLE VOTES FROM THE SAME USER WILL BE DELETED AND NOT COUNTED, SO DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND OURS. THANK YOU.

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Vaughan's Pilot Picked Up... But He Won't Be In It!

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ABC Family has given the green light to the one-hour drama JANE BY DESIGN, which follows a teenager who lands a job with a hip retail company when they mistake her for an adult. GENERAL HOSPITAL alum Greg Vaughan (ex-Lucky) had been cast in the pilot -- formerly called WHAT WOULD JANE DO -- as Jane's father, but the actor says that he will no longer be involved in the series.

"I unfortunately will not be a part of this new direction the show has taken!" Vaughan tweeted shortly after the network announced the show's pickup. "I enjoyed myself tremendously & wish them all success!"

It's unknown at this time whether Vaughan will still appear in the pilot or not. JANE BY DESIGN is set to premiere early next year, starring Erica Dasher in the title role, and Andie MacDowell as her demanding boss, Gray Chandler Murray.

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Rademacher On GH Status: "I'm Not Holding My Breath"

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Is he in or is he out? That's the question GENERAL HOSPITAL viewers are wondering about yet another fan favorite, Ingo Rademacher (Jax), whose alter ego is being seen less and less in Port Charles these days. "I'm not on recurring. I'm a contract player," he exclusively tells Soaps In Depth about his status with the soap. "If I was recurring, I would certainly say so if that was the case. There's nothing to hide there. I cannot talk intelligently about where they're going with my character because, if I'm there to stay or not, I really don't know."

The actor is painfully aware of the fact that Jax has been strangely M.I.A., even as his baby daughter fights for her life after a kidney transplant. "Where were my scenes with Elizabeth?" he wonders. "When we had the surrogate storyline [where Liz carried Jax and Courtney's child], we had great scenes together. Her baby died; his lived. They should have had a scene." While published reports indicate that GH has a big umbrella tale in the works that includes Jax and Brenda, Rademacher remains skeptical. "I'm not holding my breath about this next storyline that I, apparently, have coming up in a little bit. I haven't worked a frontburner storyline since last August, I think it was. To be honest, I'm just doing my thing up there right now. If I don't work more, then the writing is on the wall."

For more from our exclusive interview with Rademacher, check out the next ABC issue of In Depth!

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GH Contract News!

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It looks like Carly and Josslyn's bodyguard will be sticking around GENERAL HOSPITAL for a while: Sean Blakemore (Shawn) has inked a contract with ABC, confirms a spokesperson for the soap! Congratulations!

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Stars Share Their Guilty Pleasure: AMERICAN IDOL!

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What do GENERAL HOSPITAL's Maurice Benard (Sonny) and ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Kristen Alderson (Starr) have in common? Both actors have been tweeting live during their favorite show -- AMERICAN IDOL -- providing a running commentary of the FOX sensation for their followers. And their funny remarks seem to be a big hit, too! "The fans love it and I have fun, too!" Benard tells Soaps In Depth. "I'm really excited about this season. It's a real versatile group of singers. There's not one clear frontrunner -- they're all good."

Alderson tells us that watching IDOL is a family affair, and since her clan is always critiquing the contestants from their couch, she thought that sharing her comments with her fans on Twitter was a natural progression. "I love to hear what my followers think as well," she confesses. "Some of their comments are hilarious!"

As for her favorites this season, Alderson has a few: country-style crooner Lauren Alaina and Pia Toscano. "I like Lauren's easy presence, and I think Pia has an amazing voice," she shares. "But my favorite performance this season, by far, has been Casey Abrams' "Your Song" on Elton John night."

To chat along with Benard and Alderson during tonight's AMERICAN IDOL, grab your laptop and follow them at @MauriceBenardMB and @krisalderson!

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More OLTL For Williams?

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Now that ONE LIFE TO LIVE guest star Wendy Williams has been given the boot from ABC's DANCING WITH THE STARS, does the talk show queen have an opening in her hectic schedule to continue on as ACCESS LLANVIEW host Phyllis Rose? "Yes!" Williams told Soaps In Depth at DANCING's live results show last night. "Now that I have time, probably tomorrow! They've been waiting for me."

Williams still has some previously taped OLTL shows left to air, on Friday, April 15, and Monday, April 18. As soon as we learn of any additional episodes, we'll let you know!

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Markko Returns... To Take Langston Away!

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After nearly five years in Llanview, Brittany Underwood will be exiting as ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Langston on Tuesday, April 12, when Dorian's adopted daughter leaves town to pen the script for David's movie. But before she leaves, Jason Tam brings Langston's ex-boyfriend, Markko, back to town on Monday, April 11, to help her say goodbye. He'll be producing the movie, and they'll be collaborating together! "Jason's a sweetheart and a really dear friend. It meant a lot when they brought Jason back for my exit storyline," Underwood tells Soaps In Depth. "It was the almost perfect way to go."

Although leaving her soap home -- and daily interaction with BFF Kristen Alderson (Starr) -- was bittersweet, Underwood says she has no regrets. "You can't be too upset about something that ended, because you have to be grateful that it happened," she points out. "I'm going to stay in the [New York] area for a while and start auditioning and see if anything comes up. I would definitely be open to LA if something comes up there."

For more on our exit interview with Underwood, pick up the latest ABC issue of Soaps In Depth!

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The Spinelli Book Has Arrived!

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The day is finally here. The doubled-over, knee-slapping, belly laughs may commence! GENERAL HOSPITAL's The Secret Life Of Damian Spinelli -- penned by none other than the soap's own Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) -- is now available in stores, along with amazon.com and abc.com. The series of short stories takes Damian Spinelli, aka Port Charles' resident computer whiz kid, and turns him into a noire sleuth extraordinaire as he recounts his life as a super P.I., solving mysteries involving every exciting character on the soap's canvas. Are his exotic tales of globetrotting exploits facts or figments of his over-active imagination? Who the heck knows? But it sure is a fun and action-packed read!

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"I couldn't possibly be more thrilled," author Hennesy tells Soaps In Depth. "Actually, we discuss the writing of a sequel a great deal on the show in the upcoming weeks. I think this is partially a set-up in case the planets do align and we can all push forward with The FURTHER Adventures Of Damian Spinelli."

Hennesy adds that the soap's talk of a second Spinelli book is more than just a marketing idea! "It's also setting up another plot twist within the show, one that I can't talk about because a) I don't know, and b) where's the fun in giving it away?" she says with a laugh. "But if conditions are right, of course, I would be interested in penning a sequel. I think we should probably see just how high this little rocket flies first!"

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Howarth Is Back!

ToddBlair.jpgIt's official: ABC confirms that Emmy winner Roger Howarth (ex-Todd) will be returning to ONE LIFE TO LIVE this summer! "Daddy's back!!!" tweeted his TV daughter, Kristen Alderson (Starr). "Huge stuff!" Soaps In Depth first reported the news that Howarth was headed back to Llanview in our March 7 issue.

The actor originated the role of Todd Manning in 1992 and, despite the fact that Todd was the ringleader in Marty's fraternity house gang rape, quickly became a fan favorite. He left the soap in 2003 and headed to AS THE WORLD TURNS, where he played Paul Ryan until the CBS sudser was cancelled last year. Rumors of Howarth returning to OLTL have circulated for years, ever since Trevor St. John's Walker was revealed to be a surgically-reconstructed Todd. When the soap kicked off a storyline earlier this year with Téa's brother Tomas and his mysterious connection to the pre-surgery Todd, buzz about Howarth's return quickly gathered more steam.

"We are thrilled to have Roger return to One Life to Live," says executive producer Frank Valentini. "As OLTL viewers know, Trevor St. John has been playing the role of Todd Manning since 2003. We have a great story planned that will involve both actors."

Howarth begins taping in May.

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AMC Names New Headwriter

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In the wake of rumors that ABC Daytime may be canceling both ONE LIFE TO LIVE and ALL MY CHILDREN comes a glimmer of hope for the latter: a new scribe will soon be taking over the lives of Pine Valley's denizens. As first reported exclusively by Soaps In Depth via Twitter over the weekend, former AMC headwriter Lorraine Broderick will be returning to the top scribe position with the soap, replacing David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski.

Broderick -- whom sources say signed a multi-year contract with ABC -- joined the AMC writing staff in 1979, working her way up through the ranks until she was named headwriter in 1987. She'd also held that position at GUIDING LIGHT and ANOTHER WORLD, as well as being a member of the writing teams at AS THE WORLD TURNS, PORT CHARLES, DAYS OF OUR LIVES and OLTL. The multiple Emmy winner returned to AMC in 2009 as associate headwriter.

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Radio DJ Books OLTL!

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Hey New Yorkers: If you hear a familiar voice on ONE LIFE TO LIVE next week, don't think that your mind is playing tricks on you. Carolina Bermudez, a co-host with Z100 Radio's Elvis Duran And The Morning Show, will be playing a reporter named Blanca! "So excited to tell you all the news... I will be appearing on One Life To Live!" Bermudez announced on Facebook and Twitter this morning. "My first episode airs April 11th, make sure you tune in!"

According to Bermudez, she'll be hanging out in Llanview for 5 episodes. Shortly after she made the announcement on the air this morning, Brittany Underwood (Langston) called in to wish Bermudez good luck on the new job!

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Bring Port Chuck Home!

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Good news, Port Chuck fans! Steve Burton (Jason), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), Brandon Barash (Johnny) and Scott Reeves (Steve) -- the GENERAL HOSPITAL hunks who make up the band -- will be releasing their first CD on Friday, April 15! "Scott spearheaded the whole thing, after we chose our songs getting the guys to the studio to record it," Burton tells Soaps In Depth.

And it took a lot more coordination on Reeves' part than just booking studio time! "Without the Internet, there's no way we could have gotten it done," Burton marvels. "Our guitarist is in Nashville. He cuts all the tracks and sends them to Scott. The drummer does that too and send it to Scott. We come in and do our vocals, and ship it all to a guy in Nashville who mixes it. Then he ships it to another guy, who masters it. It's been cool."

The ten-track CD will be sold at the band's shows, as well as on their Web site, www.portchuck.com. And if you are in the Los Angeles area, stop by The Grove shopping center this Thursday, April 7, at 2 p.m. for a mini Port Chuck concert, presented by EXTRA! "They do concerts there now, at Fairfax and Third," says Burton. "JLo played last month, Justin Bieber... We're playing three songs." Look for Port Chuck's concert to air on Monday, April 11.

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Celebrate Justin & Adrienne's Wedding!

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As DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Justin and Adrienne, Wally Kurth (ex-Ned, GENERAL HOSPITAL; Sam, AS THE WORLD TURNS) and Judi Evans (Maeve, ATWT) recently walked down the aisle for the third time -- and now you're invited to their wedding reception!

Join Kurth and Evans on Friday, June 3, at Oil Can Harry's in Studio City, CA, as they host a buffet dinner, photo opportunities, line dancing and special reception appearances from other DAYS favorites! The fun begins at 5 p.m. PST, and tickets are $60. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the actor's Kurth & Taylor Foundation, which raises funds for various childrens' charities.

For tickets, send a check or money order to The Kurth & Taylor Foundation, PO Box 195, Coal Valley, IL 61240. To order tickets with a credit card, call (309) 799-9515. The event is being held in conjunction with the annual DAYS Fan Weekend.

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Francis Heads To Genoa City!

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As first reported by Entertainment Weekly, daytime legend Genie Francis will be joining the cast of THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS as a "series regular" in late May! The Emmy winner, who begins taping later this month, will be playing the mother of Daniel Goddard's Cane!

Francis is known to audiences even outside of the soap world as one half of GENERAL HOSPITAL's iconic supercouple Luke and Laura, but the actress has also had roles on ALL MY CHILDREN and LOVING as Ceara, and as DAYS OF OUR LIVES' Diana. Her latest daytime gig will reunite Francis with former GH co-star Tristan Rogers (ex-Robert), who plays Cane's mobster father Colin. Other GH alums currently working in Genoa City with ties to Francis' Port Charles character are Stephen Nichols (Tucker) and Kin Shriner (Jeffrey) -- who played her lovers, Stefan and Scott, respectively -- and Judith Chapman (Gloria), whose Ginny married Laura's adoptive father, Rick.

A first air date or character name for Francis have yet to be announced.

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