Sonia Blangiardo is a two-time Emmy winner from her work as a producer/director on All My Children, One Life to Live, and As The World Turns. She is also the creator and Executive Producer of Tainted Dreams (debuting in 2014) and was supervising producer of AMC 2.0 in Stamford, CT this year.

There are many, many people who care deeply about AMC and OLTL and wanted them to succeed online, and Sonia is one of them. So, let’s go to the source.

 

Carolyn and Sonia

Carolyn and Sonia

Carolyn: Why do you think the Internet reboot of AMC didn’t make it to Season Two?

Sonia: All I can say is that every effort was made to make this show a success, but there were obstacles that could not be overcome.

Carolyn: What obstacles?

Sonia: In my opinion, the IATSE union dispute and the lawsuit with ABC. I think both of those discouraged potential investors. The union dispute also stopped our momentum because we had to halt production.

Carolyn: Tell me about that day – June 5th I think?

Sonia: It came out of the blue. We were rolling tape on OLTL, and I was in my office working on [the next round of] AMC. At about 7:45 pm they called everybody to the floor and said, “We have to stop filming.” They had to call the AMC actors at home and say we couldn’t resume filming. Nobody knew what was going on. The fans thought we were jerking them around, but honestly we didn’t know when – or if – this was going to be resolved. Everything was good, and then everything wasn’t good. We hit a dead stop midstream and never went back into production.

Carolyn: Was it a money issue?

Sonia: I don’t know anything about the details of the money.

Carolyn: Did poor ratings have anything to do with investors losing faith?

Sonia: Maybe. We had anticipated higher numbers. We did really well for Hulu, but no one knew how many total people were watching. To this day I don’t know. Maybe they couldn’t get accurate numbers.

Carolyn: Union dispute, ABC lawsuit, low ratings… what else?

Sonia: Eventually, actors getting other jobs. The delay also created a wrinkle with two major actresses because Eden Riegel [Bianca], and Paula Garces, [Lea] are both pregnant, but their characters are not. If we had come back in August, that wouldn’t have been a problem. If we had come back in October, we had like a three-day window to shoot Eden and Alicia [Minshew, Kendall].

Carolyn: Was Alicia confirmed to come back?

Sonia: We never got to that stage because we never got the green light. We had great story lined up for Alicia.

Carolyn: Why was there so little information coming from Prospect Park through this whole process?

Sonia: The PR people they hired were not from daytime. They were not familiar with how passionate daytime fans are. They were reluctant to put out information unless everyone had approved it and, frankly, they were very hard to get on the phone.

Carolyn: Uh, yeah. It took Digest months to get synopsis information – as you know because you’re the one who finally got it for us. They were much more concerned about splashy photo shoots, Here’s me: Put your actors on the phone with reporters and give fans delicious, tease-y storylines to entice them to watch their soaps on these newfangled things called computers.

Sonia: I agree. There was a learning curve for everyone. I don’t think they understood what the fans were hungry for.

Carolyn: Or magazine deadlines…

Sonia: …or how important a magazine like Digest was to the overall success of their shows. This was a new medium for viewers, and we needed to bring them on board from the beginning.

Carolyn: Why do you think AMC did better than OLTL?

Sonia: [AMC execs] inherited a show that – unlike OLTL which ended at its peak – had been torn apart in its last years on ABC. No one understood who these characters were. They went back and found the core of each character and reestablished them. AMC had been only plot-driven for a long time, which is the biggest mistake you can make. The reboot brought people home to the old AMC that they loved.

Carolyn: Even though you jumped ahead five years?

Sonia: That was a big risk, because we aged the kids into major Pine Valley characters. It worked because they were part of our core families, so fans embraced them. People cared about Miranda because Bianca was her mother. My biggest fear was that we had to create five years of story that fans weren’t a part of. David got out of jail, J.R. was in a coma, where were Tad and Kendall? There were a lot of unanswered questions. We took a chance creating history fans weren’t privy to, but ultimately I think it worked.

Carolyn: Unlike OLTL, half of which was unrecognizable to me.

Sonia: Give them credit for trying to come out of the starting gate with a big splash at the club. They worked very hard. Their biggest flaw was concentrating too much on the “Wow Factor” for events. Sometimes, they lost track of why the event was happening in first place.

Carolyn: What was the biggest challenge on AMC?

Sonia: Honestly? Getting up and running. We started literally from scratch. We did not have pens. We got the green light in February and started taping in March. We had a few weeks to build sets, get wardrobe, create a system, build a control room. They asked me, “From a director’s perspective, where do you think the monitors should be?” Once we were up and running we knew what we were doing.

Carolyn: Is that where a lot of the money went?

Sonia: Oh, sure. Like with any start-up. I’m not exaggerating – I had to bring my own pens from home. We had to rent copiers. No one had mailboxes. It took us two days to figure out who got what dressing room. We had to staff hair and makeup for two shows.

Carolyn: What did you learn from working on the reboot?

Sonia: I learned how to create things I had previously taken for granted. On every show I worked on, I inherited a well-oiled machine. I could take an empty airplane hangar now and turn it into a soap opera set.

Carolyn: Like you did with Tainted Dreams?

Sonia: Exactly. Props, locations, studio space, flying people in, coordinating their hotels and their cars, it’s all a big puzzle and you put the pieces together.

Carolyn: You brought your own pens for TD?

Sonia: Pretty much!

Carolyn: Now that AMC and OLTL are over, will you be able to use those actors, costume designers, etc. on Season Two of TD?

Sonia: Yes, and I could not be more thrilled about that. Those casts are full of amazing talent and, frankly, personal friends.

Carolyn: Have you cleaned out your office in Stamford?

Sonia: Yes.

Carolyn: What’s your message to soap fans?

Sonia: Don’t give up. AMC and OLTL will not be filming in 2013, but you never know what’s going to happen in 2014. And I am going to keep doing everything I can to keep this genre alive. I am going to make sure TD is a fun romp that combines the best of what fans love about soaps with new elements that will make it even more enjoyable. I’ve got a great cast of fan favorites, plus some interesting, different talent like you, Carolyn [laughs].

Carolyn: So, no teenagers doing drugs on TD?

Sonia: No. I only wrote what I know – thank God!

 

Poll Question:
Would you rather watch Tainted Dreams on:

40 Responses to What Really Happened To AMC?

  • Marie P. says:

    I have a subscription to both hulu and netflix but I would have loved to have all my soap on cable channels because I am paying the cable company and I don’t think it was far to ask to keep paying to watch what we love. Till this day I am still hoping that AMC & OLTL returns to us and put our actors back in their home and ours. I am a stay at home single parent and I loved sharing the lives of these actors each day. They loved what they do. I don’t like the greedy and under handedness of ‘ABC’ and that is what made me upset.

  • sue mcallister says:

    PLEASE EVERYONE HOPE THAT AMC COMES BACK!!! I really miss the show!!

  • mbailor says:

    I think that it has failed because of all of the broken promises! Fans were afraid to get invested in the show and lose it again..aka which is what happened! Too bad oprah could not invest and pick it up on her network…I believe it has a chance for success if done right!!!!!!!

  • randall says:

    No one was watching either AMC or OLTL as if they were on regular television,meaning the viewing public wasn’t as high as it should be or what they’d wanted to be.This thing with Prospect Park was a horrible idea from the start and a waste of talent.AMC and OLTL should take their re-canceling as a blessing and do other things or do other soap operas.

  • Debbe King says:

    Yeah, I tried to watch a few episodes when they came online, and frankly ageing A.J. and Amanda that far ahead I didn’t like. They were somewhere between 6-8 years old when the show was shut down, now their teenagers!!!
    I don’t like the new Mattew or the new Destiny!!! To many new, young characters. Just when John and Nataly find out that the baby was johns and they were back togeather, it ends. McBain moves to GH as himself, now hes going by another name. Whats up???

  • Richard C Jones says:

    I was / and am a CBS fan, but I tuned in to the last weeks of ABC’s One Life to Live and All My Children to get a feel as to what all the fuss was about. I was excited to join the reboots of both AMC and OLTL and I think jumping ahead five years for AMC and aging its kid set was a smart only because the actors who were now portraying the young ones were more affordable from a current financial situation. As for OLTL, I was glad to see Corbin Bleu added to the roster and I thought his particular storyline would be worth watching. I’m surprised that some cable networks did not jump to air these shows, such as Bounce, Oxygen, WE, Hallmark, or Lifetime. Those would have been perfect fits for each of them, regarding their demographics. Hopefully, 2014 will be their year to return.

    • Christina says:

      From your lips…I truly believe that Prospect Park is trying very hard and always has. It’s discouraging that things have stopped, but eventually everything will be resolved one way or another and then we’ll see.

  • Elizabeth krzywosz says:

    OLTL was excellent on ABC and very good on Prospect Park. I am extremely disappointed that it is not being in production. The actors are so extremely talented and a large number of the original cast signed with the online show. The story lines through the years have been captivating. If one of the shows could be saved, I hope it would be OLTL. I feel like the cast and fans have been taken for a ride!!

  • Deborah says:

    When the final shows aired on ABC, that was when I quit watching that network…and I will NEVER watch it again. I am tired of idiots TELLING me what I am wanting to watch!!I had watched OLTL for over 30 years..and AMC for approx 20…Throw in GH for at least 40…but I chose to stop because I figured it’s just a matter of time when ABC dumbbells pull that too. I can always find updates on many websites…who needs a loser network!!!

  • cathi says:

    I really liked the online format. I liked AMC right away because their storylines flowed better. OLTL gave too much airtime to Matt and Dani. I wanted more Jeffrey and Destiny. I hope both shows can be revived.

  • Sue S. says:

    I have been a loyal viewer of AMC & OLTL for many years and was excited when I heard they were coming back. However, I was able to watch on my computer but had a lot of family and friends who could not. There was a big mistake made when it was not on regular tv stations. We had it on FX in Canada and then it was taken off. Hoping they find a way to bring back both. The fans don’t seem to count in this fiasco. Sorry for the actors on these shows too.

  • Sami Juliano says:

    I think it is a travesty/ and disgrace that these shows were pulled off again- ABC should be ashamed of all the mess that they caused. They should have never been cancelled from daytime in the first place-

  • Blip Vert says:

    The rebooted AMC brought back the look and feel of Pine Valley as it was originally conceived, and the actors (including the kids) were terrific. I couldn’t wait for each episode and I am VERY sad it’s over.

  • Rick Rainbow says:

    I have been extremely faithful to both AMC and OLTL when they were on ABC and on TOLN/HULU. However, at the moment I am more ramped up and truly excited for what Sonia is about to bring to us in 2014. Sonia has done an amazing job with Tainted Dreams-The Series and all of the fine talent she has amassed. Sonia is extremely talented and knows what she is doing. I am a huge fan and supporter of hers as well as our own delightful and dishy Carolyn. I am no longer dwelling on the negatives of either PP or ABC. For, I have my heart set on Tainted Dreams. So my fellow soapers get yourself ready for a new Soap and like Tainted Dreams-TheSeries follow Carolyn as well on FB and rejoice that we have a true winner of a show to look forward to with fan faves from many of our now defunct beloved soaps.
    THANKS TO CAROLYN and to SONIA for making this article happen and all my best to the Cast and Crew of Tainted Dreams. ~RR~

  • Tom says:

    There were several factors for me. The drastic changes in cast tripped me a up a bit, and it would have worked better for me if there had been more focus on the characters I knew, and easing the younger characters in behind them. I also thought some of the storylines were a bit weak, which also didn’t help. Watching online took getting used to, and I’m not even sure why. I still think this could work if they try again, but they need to tweak things a bit (and please stop the cussing and let our favorite characters be happy for a while… a bit less tragedy please).

  • Linda Gam says:

    I am so so that AMC is cancelled! I have been watching since day one! My Dad used to record it for me on a tape recorder at lunch and I would come home after school and listen to it. So dedicated. I miss my AMC family. I was thankful that it was brought back, although it wasn’t quite the same. I watched everyday a new episode was released. I am hopeful that it will be back. ABC should bring it back. Just advertise that it is back and they will have the viewers. None of this makes any sense to me. So sad………….

  • Donna says:

    This is sad but not surprising news. I loved OLTL & I was once a fan of AMC but it was terrible by the time it was cancelled. I loved my soaps and I’ve watched all of them at one time or another. Daytime television will never be the same for me.

  • Nana says:

    No cable, no dish so my only TV is from my computer. My problems with the reboot:
    AMC was unwatchable. I thought the kids were insufferable and if you didn’t buy them, the rest of it was gone. Production values were great. I just couldn’t accept the 5 year jump and loss time and half of couples split with little explanation.
    OLTL was more fun and easier to follow. I felt PP spent too much time on those they didn’t have and crying about it. Move on. It is a soap. Recast Starr and John. Revive Cole and Hope. Get David from AMC to do it. He had the power.

  • Angela says:

    I am so sick and tired of PP blaming everyone for their failures. It was obvious from the beginning that they bit off more than they could chew. I was a devoted fan of both shows since 1970 and I was devastated when they were canceled, but all the b.s has gotten me to the point I just don’t care anymore. The union, abc these things they weren’t new. They were there before PP tried to bring the shows online. I am so sorry they didn’t succeed but enough with passing the blame.

  • Carol says:

    I don’t like watching anything on a computer screen. I have loved AMC since the beginning. I didn’t watch the recent one as I didn’t like the ‘grown up’ characters. too much at once.

  • Rhoda Johnson says:

    I am very disappointed that our beloved shows won’t be back. I too think there was a bit too much going on behind the scenes that they could’ve told the viewers but what is done is done. What I would like to see, and maybe it can happen, is originally when the shows were to end on ABC they wrote an ending. They changed that so it could go on line. How about filming that original ending now for say a 2 hour episode and just tie everything up for everyone. Did ericka stay in Hollywood or did she and jack finally find there way back together. Did jake and Amanda adopt? How did they find out it was David that shot jr. What did the kids really do. What was Adam and Brooke up to? All if this can just be end once and for all and give the fans some closure. If it comes back at other date, I’ll watch just like before but I would REALLY like to see where Agnes was gonna end it. Surely you can get all the cast together to do this one episode.
    I love watching all my children and I miss it every day. It is/was my escape for an hour and I miss that. Thank you to all who have helped keep it going.

  • Tara says:

    The choices that are being added to the poll about Tainted Dreams are simply proving that soap fans are ignorant. The question has nothing to do with All My Children, yet some insist on providing responses that show that they didn’t even bother to read the question.

    The shows failed online because fans feel so entitled to be able to fast forward thru commercials (which actually provide money to produce shows) that they didn’t watch, or complained incessantly about them. Also, some fans have dozens of email addresses that they used to inflate the demand for the soaps. They could email, fax, post and call hundreds of times but in the end they were just one viewer. Fans also felt they had the right to tell Prospect Park to “Cut it out” as to the swearing, and felt that showing someone in their underwear was considered “nudity”. If you want to be able to control how a show is produced-then make your own. If you don’t want to have commercials then prepare to have to put your money where your mouth is and pay for commercial free viewing. And if you want soaps to survive, get with the times. Watch them wherever they are available and be grateful you can, because the only other option is to not have them at all.

    • Jasmin says:

      Amen! Well said, totally agree.

    • ken says:

      im sorry but as someone who watched both shows every day for the last 30 years i found the AMC reboot unwatchable! when 75% of the cast is no longer their and the most important and most loved characters are not their it had very little chance too last!

      • Jody says:

        Hey Ken. That is not True about most of the Loved Characters are not there. Angie, Jesse, David Hayward, Opal, Billy Clyde Tuggle and Dimitri Marrick even though he cut his Hair, Joe Martin and the Woman who was Kitty and Kelly who was Married to Linc and Brooke and A Few Times with Adam. There was also Dixie. It is True that Erica and Kendall and Tad was not There. Also, Zach was there even if Zach did not have Kendall. Also, I don’t think 75% were not there is a Correct statement. I think there was only around something like maybe 5 or 6 People that were not there. I was thinking abour Erica, Jack, Kendall and Tad. Actually, that is 4 People. I wasn’t counting Ryan and Greenlee or even Amanda and Jake. I did Forget to say that Jack wasn’t there Either. Jody

    • Troy Turner says:

      There were/are several factors here. But, mostly and unfortunately, I blame people that wouldn’t/couldn’t accept the fact that these weren’t ABC’s property and/or business anymore. The shows were great, but fans just couldn’t let stuff go. I love soaps/soap fans, but honestly we can be our own worst enemy

    • Lorraine says:

      I think Tara’s comments are ridiculous. AMC as well as OLTL, both existed for over 30 years without profanity. For all of those years foul language was not used and both shows were very successful without its use. What makes you think that people complaining about it contributed to the series’ being cancelled? That had nothing to do with it. I found the profanity offensive. We hear enough of it outside on the streets.

      Yes, it was annoying to have to watch commercials, however, I realized that it was the commercials that helped to bring the shows to fruition and kept them rolling.

      I believe the biggest blame falls on ABC. Once they did what they did, I stopped watching that network. And will not ever watch it again. I think ABC started to give Prospect Park a really hard time when they saw how successful the shows were becoming. According to the actors people were very receptive to the soaps being online.

      I also hate what ABC did to the actors involved. They have families and responsibilities and ABC ruined some the actors means of support. DISGUSTING!

      I hope they do bring both shows back. If it comes back to ABC, I won’t watch, but if another means is used, I will.

  • Both HULU and Netflix are making huge rookie mistakes by refusing to report their consumption numbers. How could AMC gain incremental investors with little or no data support about viewership/usership. Netflix thinks they’re being coy and cool by refusing to report how many people watch, when, how much and how often. This info is at their fingertips. What they are effectively doing is stifling the growth of the streaming industry by withholding the critical information that everyone needs to move ahead. Listen to me now – this will be Netflix’s undoing down the line.

  • Jenny Brooks says:

    Interesting and sad article. I don’t agree with the parts about OLTL though. With the reboots I always thought OLTL was better. I guess I thought so because they were able to bring so many vets back. It was so great to see Viki, Clint, Natalie, Bo, Nora, Blair, Dorian, David, etc. that I could look past the dumb drug storyline or the fact that no one had any reaction when Victor ‘returned’ from the dead. And I don’t understand how Sonia can admit that they never had any real numbers as to viewers, and yet somehow they knew that AMC had done better than OLTL. That doesn’t make sense. I still hope somehow, someday, that the shows can come back again. Preferably on TV, but I’d take online too. These shows brought me to Hulu for the first time, and when they ended I stopped watching Hulu.

    • Jody says:

      Hey Jenny. What about Angie, Jesse, Opal, David Hayward, Joe Martin, Dixie, Zach, Brooke and A Few Times with Adam? You also had Billy Clyde Tuggle and Dimitri Marrick even though he Shaved his Head and the Woman that Played Kitty and Kelly who was with Linc. She is Older, but It is Still Francesca James. It was Great to see the People on One Life To Live, but It was Also Great to see the People on All My Children. Jody

  • Beth says:

    Thanks for the interview with Sonia Blangiardo. I learned a number of things I hadn’t known before. I’m encouraged that she still thinks AMC and OLTL might come back. I’m not sure about OLTL, but I’d like to hope AMC will return in a new form some day. I’d love to know what the great story for Alicia Minshew would have been since she’s one of the people I missed most on AMC. I know that alot of the cast couldn’t sign up at the start but some of the explanations written for why Tad was gone, or Kendall wasn’t with Zach, or why Adam was constantly on a business trip, didn’t help matters. Sonia Blangiardo admits that that was difficult to overcome but I think it was a bigger problem than she’s saying and IMO, it’s a big reason why the number of viewers wasn’t as high as everyone wanted. To some extent, AMC 2.0 got back to basics with who characters are or were, but for Dixie not to mention her kids at all other than JR, for Tad to stay away as long as he did, for Kendall to leave Zach because of the Russian mob and for Zach to let his family leave him rather than move heaven and earth to get the mob out of his life and his casino, didn’t make sense to me, and all of those questionable story decisions were because the show was rushed, didn’t have as much of the cast in place as viewers would have liked, and a big point not yet mentioned is that the headwriters for AMC were people with no experience writing for the show. IMO, Marlene McPherson and Elizabeth Snyder didn’t know who alot of the veteran characters were and it showed. Plus the fact that AMC 2.0 was on a shoestring budget was apparent to alot of viewers. It’s probably a reason why we didn’t see any kids other than Oliver in Pine Valley and why some of the vets who were available weren’t invited on to the show. So while I agree with alot of what Ms. Blangiardo is saying, I don’t agree with all of it. Some of the mistakes made would have been fixed if AMC had gotten up and running in August or October with a new headwriter team who knew the show and its history better, and some of the vets like Michael Knight and Alicia would have returned, and that would have only improved things. It’s a huge shame it didn’t happen but I’m going to stay positive and hope it will one day.

  • Jenn says:

    Great interview! I absolutely agree with with Sonia’s instincts that the union dispute and lawsuit scared off investors. I had tried to explain the lawsuit to a friend of mine (a non-soap fan) and needlessly to say she had no desire to watch the shows after that. I was very disappointed with the odd changes made to OLTL but really enjoyed AMC. The cast and crew did an excellent job and worked very hard.

    It was the lack of a knowledgable production company that really hurt the shows. The photo shoots were nice but didn’t tell me anything about the shows themselves. There were also a ton of online ads for the shows that were just purple boxes with the shows logos – no incentive for a new viewer to click on those ads. PP seemed to confuse logo & name with brand. The show’s brand has always been the stories.

  • SHERRY K. says:

    HI, I have been a loyal fan of AMC since 1981,there is a void , I really miss the show, hope it comes back, Oprah couldnt keep AMC it on her OWN station??? CAN THE FANS PROTEST TO SOMEONE??? WILL BE WAITING…. A LOYAL FAN!

  • Judi says:

    It is really sad for all the cast and crew that worked so hard to make it work for the fans. I did everything I could to watch it. Our home internet service was actually as slow as “dial up”. I signed up for Hulu Plus just to watch AMC but our internet was so slow it paused constantly. Still I didn’t give up. I got little ear buds so I could listen and try to watch AMC on my smart phone. Because I live out in the country I would have to go outside somewhere in my yard to listen to it or wait until we were driving somewhere that had a better signal. But the point is that I didn’t give up. It’s just too bad it didn’t work out.

  • Cathy says:

    The whole thing is such a shame. It seemed like they didn’t get a chance to change the writing to reflect the change to twice a week broadcasts too, they’d already set the plan for the season and that was sort of it. If you’re only going to do an hour of TV a week it need to be at least a bit of a different pace than when it was a four day a week show. But I really enjoyed both of them. I even got into OLTL when I hadn’t been more than a very casual fan before. They both have so much potential and so does the Internet format, as several other Internet soaps have successful shown. Maybe the subscription format really is the way to go. Get the money up front even, with these two shows a Kickstarter campaign would have a healthy funding base.

  • Johnny G says:

    Interesting and enlightening article, I wish that things had worked out differently as I am sure most fans do as well. It’s not impossible for ALL MY CHILDREN to return, I mean really it was barely given a chance as an On Line program ~ I would bring it back to abc as a half hour lead in to General Hospital, I’ll bet it would bring in high ratings.

  • Martha Evans says:

    I being watching AMC and OL 40 something years on tv., I’am missing amc and they shouldnt take amc off the air ,or quit filiming when pple gonna make their mind up about what the fans like in soaps

  • ann says:

    im so sad about amc I love amc so much before it was cancelled I was upset and then It was back and I loved it now gone again .

  • Bam Carle says:

    I’ve been watching both AMC and OLTL for years and it breaks my heart that, for whatever reason, they’re not in still in production. It’s especially hard to think back to the actors excitement at coming back online, on a whole new venue. But HULU really wrecked it for a lot of impatient, busy viewers.
    And they could have made it easier for people who are not used to using their computers as tvs, almost as though they weren’t trying to get the old regular watchers back…

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