Michael E. Knight, who won three Daytime Emmys for playing Tad on "All My Children," is checking into "General Hospital" later this month. For two years, he played the quirky Dr. Simon Neville on "Young and Restless." After that, he was pretty much MIA from acting. Always ready to joke about himself, he did say he played a dead body on a CBS prime-time action drama: "Some say it was my best acting." James Patrick Stuart (Valentin on "General Hospital") is thrilled that his pal is coming to the show. He hopes to get some scenes with him. So far, Knight has booked eight episodes as Franco's lawyer. The scenes between him and Roger Howarth (Franco) should be amazing,
On and off TV, Knight is the real deal. When he did personal appearances for "All My Children," he would stay hours after he could have left to make sure everyone got an autograph, and he talked to each fan. Knight called me when he learned he was doing a satellite interview for a talk show I hosted: "Wanted to talk to you before we hit the air so we could go over old times." Who does that? Pretty much just him.
For some reason, Brian Frons, the head of ABC daytime, did not care for Tad and made certain Knight had little airtime. When he did, it was as a guy in a cardigan sweater, without a storyline, with few interactions with the main stars.
Frons — literally the killer of soap operas. He canceled "One Life to Live" and "All My Children." He replaced them with "The Chew," which lasted eight years, and the diet show "The Revolution," which did not last six months. At NBC, he cancelled "Search for Tomorrow," at the time the longest-running soap on the air. He had another claim to fame. He would park his Rolls Royce with vanity plates in front of Rockefeller Center. He also cast himself as God in a scene with Mason Capwell on "Santa Barbara." Frons, in fact, was a tin god. Moving "All My Children" to LA, he claimed the show would be better filming there than in New York City. He uprooted everyone with promises of job security. It was gone in a year.
Susan Lucci, who is the most PC person in the world, took a swipe at him in her autobiography, "All My Life." She says he lied to her and told her the show was safe, that moving it to LA would ensure a long run. Lucci writes, "Brian Frons has what, for me, is that fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance."
Since "All My Children" was canceled, Lucci has starred in prime-time shows, Broadway and movies. Her products, the Susan Lucci Collection, are still going strong. As for Frons, he is living in Encino waiting for his next job offer. There have been some rumblings that "All My Children" and "One Live to Live" may get reboots at ABC. At a recent press event, several honchos were asked if the shows might return in some form. They did not say yes, but they did not say no ... and suggested there had been some talks.
To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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