Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why am I doing this blog? Doctor Who?

Right now this blog is mostly just an archive of thoughts I've had or things I have posted here or on usenet. I'm trying to figure out why I'm doing it...and mostly it is to archive some things that I'm "chewing on". I'm collecting facts and refining my opinions. But what conclusion am I trying to reach for?

Unlike many educated soap fans, I am not a student of drama or literature, and I couldn't tell you which writer gives better dialogue or long-story...

I am someone with training in behavioral science, quantitative methods, and gerontology. For me, soaps are a more personal adventure. It is something I was brought to by my grandmother. It is a genre that is about as old as the oldest grandparent. And, like those grandparents, it is slowly dying out.

For me, my quest is to understand the rise and fall, and how it ties to the particular generation that lived throughout the 20th century. I seek to find out what social forces have killed the soap, and whether there is hope for a resurgence. I'm trying to find out what made soaps so perfect for the pre-war era (on radio) and the post-war era (on TV), and why they have been declining ever since.

In another part of my life, I have become a rabid fan of Dr. Who (the new series, with Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant). The early Doctor Who had a kind of a serial format (more telenovela I guess...lots of 2-7 part stories). It had truly the cheapest, cheapest production values, and it was not aimed at the mainstream but a marginalized audience (children, sci fi fans).

And like the soaps, Doctor Who fell off in popularity, until it was finally shuttered.

During the resting period, the hunger for it grew.

When BBC America finally brought it back, they did some interesting things. First, they gave the new version a budget....for a real prime time show. Second, they decided on limited exposure (13-week runs once a HBO). Third, they hired a leading and innovative show runner (Russell T. Davies, Queer As Folk) with a love for the classic show (he knew it), but also a unique vision of how to modernize it. Fourth, they cast the role of Doctor Who with top, known talent (esp. Christopher Eccleston in Season One of the rejuvenated show).

And the thing is an EXPLOSIVE hit. I can't wait, every week, to see new episodes. The franchise has been fully refreshed. With its innovative casting and high production values, it has been made appealing to a new generation that could not sit still for "grandpa's old version".

It is this, I believe, that is the path to rebirth for American soaps. So a big part of my internal dialogue about these shows is trying to understand how we can make them relevant and appealing for the next generation. But there is already one piece of evidence that suggests my thinking that "Dr. Who is the paradigm" may be wrong: I consider the failure of primetime Dark Shadows in the 80s or 90s a worrisome sign that soaps may not be amenable to transformation. In that case, they become like the Western...a lost relic of a past century.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Jack Peyton axiom

Sylph (from SON) and I took an idea of Jack's and put it in axiom form. Jack posts regularly at SON, Soap Opera Source, and who knows where else :-).

banner by Jack Peyton

The axiom, proposed as a "law of nature" has three related premises:

1. With every new headwriter, the ratings will drop even further;
2. When the ratings fall precipitously, FOR WHATEVER REASON, they will not bounce back.
3. Translation: If you lose viewers, they do not return, and you not make up for them with new viewers.

Jack also makes nice banners.

banner by Jack Peyton

Friday, June 27, 2008

Timeslot matters for the soaps! And so does culture

I put this on SON today, as part of a thread focusing on a montage of UK soaps.

But, this little bit of timeslot research explains a lot, I think.

The US appetite for the daily serial format (which is dying). BBC America quickly cancelled Hollyoaks. We see no attempt to bring EastEnders or Coronation Street to the US (although the latter flourishes in Canada).

Americans predated the rest of the western world in women in the workplace (I'm not counting the former Communist countries), in fast food, and in the demise of communal activities (like bowling leages). It's go-go-go. It's work interfering with family time. It is parents and children not eating dinner together. It's microwave food.

Into that climate, there is NO WAY to slip in a daily soap or two. Most families--AND ESPECIALLY THE TARGET WOMEN--simply have ZERO capacity.

The rest of the world still has a higher proportion of at-home women (the social systems still encourage stay-at-home moms), there still less of a culture of Macdonalds and its' ilk, plus many of these shows are broadcast at more congenial times of the day.


Let's start with the UK.

Today's listings say that Eastenders will appear on BBC1 at 8 pm! PrimeTime.

ITV1 shows Corrie at 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm. This is preceded by Emmerdale at 7 pm.

Channel 4 shows Hollyoaks at 6:30 pm.

Channel 5 shows Neighbors at 5:30 pm followed by Home and Away at 6 pm.

Look at the implications of this. FIRST, you can watch the full lineup after the work day (ignoring time shifting). This encourages intergenerational soap watching in real time. Basically, in the "pre-watershed" time periods, families can watch soaps together.

But look too at how the channels basically work together to make sure the soap viewer can watch an unbroken series of programs from 5:30 pm on WITHOUT COMPETITION.

5:30 - Neighbors
6:00 - Home and Away
6:30 - Hollyoaks
7:00 - Emmerdale
7:30 - Coronation Street
8:00 - Eastenders
8:30 - Coronation Street

Not only do I believe the culture allows this (families are still more home-based, there is still more intergenerational residence), but the scheduling supports this.


Now, let's switch to Germany.

11:15 am, ZDF, Reich und Schoen (Bold and Beautiful)
5:30 pm, RTL, Unter uns
6 pm, ARD - Verbotene Liebe
6:25 pm, ARD, Marienhof
7:05 pm, RTL, Alles was zaehlt (rebroadcast the next morning)
7:40 pm, RTL, Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten (rebroadcast the next morning)
2:25 am, ZDF, Schatten der Leidenschaft (Young and the Restless).

Germany is still even more ingrained in the woman-at-home culture. Still, they schedule their Bell soaps for "off hours" (and the ratings ain't great), but their core shows are in that early-evening slot.

Hmmmm...lessons to be taken?


Well, what about Canada. That shares a border with the US. What do they do?? Let's focus on the biggest market, Toronto:

1 pm, A-Channel, All My Chidren
1 pm, Global, Days of Our Lives
1:30 pm, CTV, The Bold and the Beautiful
2 pm, Global, As the World Turns
2 pm, A-Channel, One Life to Live
3 pm, CTV, General Hospital
3 pm, Global, Guiding Light
4:30 pm, Global, The Young and the Restless

And, guess what the number one show is?? Y&R! Hmmmm...could timeslot matter? Could absence of timeslot competition matter.

This is all so obvious to me. But there is a misogyny in US programming that has resisted migrating these shows to primetime. And we see the consequence....

Edge of Night...and a segue into the telenovela as the future of serials

Usenet's "Robbie" wrote that she wished GL would be cancelled, and they'd bring back Edge of Night. The sublime "Michael/Rthrquiet" responded excellently with his post (see it here).

One of the light bulbs he set off in my mind with his post was that Edge failed EVEN THOUGH IT HAD General Hospital as its lead-in during GH's peak ratings! Now that is failure! Failing to hold on to a lead-in like that truly suggests the audience for your show isn't there.

Well, this all inspired my ramble below :-).

Wow, Michael, I forgot about that.

So, when did EON move from CBS to ABC? I remember watching that move and, honestly, not being grabbed by Edge. I assume the show was already in descent.

But, yes, if GH was the lead-in AND Edge had decent clearance rates, the inability to hold on to the lead is quite telling.

(But I seem to recall that my Buffalo affiliate didn't run Edge at 4 pm...they ran Phil I'm guessing that happened a lot and partly explains why Edge didn't get the viewers).

It is especially ironic, because that 4 pm EST timeslot COULD have been gold. As we have discussed here before, part of the success of Y&R in Canada is that it airs (depending on time zone) in the 4 pm to 6 pm time range. So, it is a show that people can catch after work, and watch as a family. It is something I dearly love, when I return to Canada: Watching day-ahead episodes with my clan.

That should have worked for Edge too. (Indeed, the book I have been reading says the late time slot was part of EON's success on had one of the highest proportions of male viewers, drawn to the Perry Mason-style narrative of the early years).

So, that may be a perfect example of a show that simply aged out of viability...By the 80s, Perry Mason and its' ilk was not generally popular in primetime either. Justice shows didn't really rebound until the Law and Order franchise.

Michael then says "The mind boggles at who might be tapped to be headwriter, since I believe the phenomenal Henry Slesar (whom the idiots in charge fired for the show's last two years or so anyway) is no longer with us. Megan McTavish, maybe? Oh, no, I know who they'd get: James E. Reilly. Oh, yeah. That's *exactly* who the current loonies would think would be right for EDGE. Oh. My. God. I think I want to puke.

Well, now, I'd like JJ Abrams. Seriously...someone with that pedigree. A Michael Malone style (i.e., accomplished, critically and commercially successful) detective fiction writer.

At their peak, detective mystery novels are the best. Not only is the crime puzzle interesting, but the best writers always show us the inner workings of their investigator. It is that compelling investigator that spins off these "franchise" series, where the detective keeps coming back. Agatha Christie understood that.

On TV right now, BBC's Wire in the Blood is a perfect demonstration of how it should be done. That show isn't a serial, but the detectives' (plural) haunted inner lives are throughlines that link each episode.

Michael then says:
There are some things that are better left a memory than trotted out again so the current soap vampires can suck all the life out of them and then piss all over them. EDGE is one of them.

Vampires is a perfect segue: Dark Shadows didn't fare too well in its' 80s primetime revival, did it? That show is a perfect demonstration. It was cheesy, and part of its' appeal was cheesiness. That was good for a 2-3 year lifespan before ratings started to plummet.

So, do all these shows HAVE to last 50 years? No! What's the matter with 2-3 great years, and then we move on.

More and more, I'm feeling that the super-annuated nature of the daytime form is part of what is killing it...the burden of history just gets too heavy and cumbersome.

The best primetime shows are those that have a defined lifespan. My favorites are the HBO shows, with their clear 5-season 13-episode/season arcs. They shine brightly, they are coveted as brief jewels, and then they disappear. Even in primetime, the longest shows usually last 5 or 7 seasons...and then we have our memories of greatness.

I had hoped that the telenovela would take off in the US, but MyNetwork certainly didn't do well with adapting Latin American style programs. But I still think that could be a very good format on the right network, with the right promotion and creative force.

So, a detective style telenovela could work great...say for a planned six month season. If the detectives took off, they could be revisited a year later, after a rest. Of course, this would not work in daytime anymore...and I believe it would not work as a DAILY serial anymore. Those aspects of the genre are dead.

I think part of the reason the serial reality shows (American Idol, Survivor) thrive is because they require a thirteen week commitment, and then you get a rest, and then you revisit the franchise but with some fresh 'characters". I think that is the new reality...and and that is what soaps need to evolve into.

Much as I love my soaps, I really think the secret to renaissance is to start over. I'd even be open to--after a rest--trying to move one of the existing soaps into a true telenovela format for limited runs.

IN THAT SENSE, though he is vilified, I think Brian Frons' attempt to do Night Shift--and his apparent limited success with it (peak ratings for SoapNet, if the hype is to be believed)--is an excellent demonstration of the way of the future.

I'd love to visit some Y&R characters in primetime on Soapnet for 13 weeks a year...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sam Ford's "Books about Soaps" List

Sam Ford offered this reading list about books on Soaps. Sam was a driving force behind MIT's Convergence Culture Consortium and the emphasis on soaps (see links at right), and he remains affilitated with them.

So, this is unedited and unorganized. It reflects usenet posts ( dated between 3/12/2007 and 7/7/2008.

For now I'm just dumping it here, but may clean it up if I can get it into some kind of decent shape and with Sam's permission.








Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why I love

You know, I'm not really sure why. But I do!

So much of the rest of my enjoyment of daytime relates to its place in our cultural history. I like the psychological unfolding of characters (when stories are done well). I like the intergenerational canvases.

But when all is said and done, I just love how soaps are the principle bastion (outside of gay porn) of male objectification. I think it goes along with the feminization of the genre...they show the eye candy. I can think of few other mainstream media outlets where this happens.

Ironically, from what I have gleaned, male pulchritude isn't actually the huge draw for female viewers. Oh, sure, some girls like it...but in the end, all that sweaty shirtlessness is really pretty homoerotic. AND, you know some of the shows intentionally play to that card...the late (and mostly unlamented) Passions made high camp of it...and these days One Life to Live is the center of the soap hunk universe.

So, that's what I like about, I think. It celebrates the not-so-latent homoeroticism in soaps, unabashedly and unapologetically. It is, in some way, the most blissful uncloseting of what has always been the gay male subtext of soaps.

The only thing needed is a companion site...not "soap sluts", but "soap divas". Just imagine...Eileen Fulton, Susan Lucci, Robin Strasser, Jeanne Cooper, Elizabeth Taylor's stint as Helena Cassidine, Joan Collins, Linda Dano...

In honor of, I leave you with these images. (These are actually my caps, not from that site...but they give you the idea....)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

GLBT on US soaps: A listing

Updated on 7/7/09. I discovered the amazing resource by David Wyatt which lists GLBT TV characters. Below, where there is a Wyatt reference, I have now linked it. Wyatt also reminded me of some missing characters (Passions' Simone, Santa Barbara's Channing) that I have added, and also gave me a full name and more backstory on Days' Sarah. Updated later that day with some extra corrections from Roger Newcomb's blog.

I'm not sure this is canonical, but the incredible furor over Luke and Noah on ATWT (now dissipated since they were briefly affectionate) makes me want to list broader history. I originally thought I was being original, and with the help of Usenet's DonnaB compiled this list. Then I saw that had done most of the most of the text here is taken from them. Other sources include, Sara Bibel, wikipedia, Individual sources are listed next to each entry. At bottom, there are some footnotes from DonnaB about a few other cases. ETA: 6/23/08...Michael/Rthrquiet added some corrections (see comments section) which led to edits, as noted, on these pages.

The Young and the Restless
1977, Joanne Curtis and Katherine Chancellor
It was 1977. There were only three television networks. The sexual revolution was migrating from its young, urban roots to the suburbs. (For a fictional representation of this era, check out episodes of Swingtown on this site.) In primetime, CBS featured “edgy” Norman Lear sitcoms such as All In The Family that frequently, and heavy handedly, tackled social issues. It was also the year Three’s Company debuted on ABC, titillating audiences with its main character who pretended to be gay so he could share an apartment with two straight women. (Am I the only one who never understood this premise?) Homosexuality had been classified as a psychological disorder until 1973. Prejudice against gay people was the norm in many parts of the country.

In daytime, The Young & The Restless was popular but not yet the number one show. The series had already tackled social issues including rape and alcoholism. The show made the bold decision to have Katherine Chancellor, lonely after the death of her beloved Phillip, start to develop romantic feelings for her friend and roommate Joanne Curtis. I assumed that the intent of the story, in addition to exploring Katherine’s emotional state, was to educate the audience. According to Alden, it was also about ratings. “The idea was to attract the avant garde viewers. Soap operas, at the time, had a very conservative Midwestern audience. I did a lot of research. Cosmopolitan magazine had a lot of articles about lesbianism at the time.” (While today Cosmo is not well respected, in the 1970s, Helen Gurley Brown’s version of magazine was influential. It encouraged young women to enjoy being single and explore their sexuality. Lesbianism was presented as another lifestyle choice, along with open relationships and one night stands.)

I wondered how Y&R convinced CBS that the time was right for the story. “We didn’t tell the network in advance,” explained Alden. “Back then we didn’t have to get stories approved.”

As one of the youngest members of the writing staff, Alden spearheaded the story. “This was not an idea Bill Bell would have thought of on his own.” Alden, living in Southern Missouri at the time, was interested in fully telling Kay and Joanne’s story but sensitive to how carefully the show had to tread with potentially controversial material.

According to Alden, the story was played very subtly. There was no overt dialogue or physicality. In fact, the show didn’t expect viewers to have an inkling of where the plot was headed. Instead, the moment Kay touched Joanne’s hand, “You could hear television sets clicking off all across America,” recalled Alden. “The audience knew exactly what was going on. It was one of the most remarkable experiences of my career. At no other time can I remember an instant ratings drop because of a single storyline.” The show quickly wrapped up the story, with Kay’s son Brock confronting her about her feelings and Joann leaving town.

Y&R had miscalculated. Instead of drawing in new viewers, the show had alienated many of the viewers it already had. Eventually, the show’s ratings rebounded. But it would be years before another soap would dare to tackle a gay storyline and decades before a gay character would be allowed to have a love interest.
2009, Rafael Torres

Introduced in 2008, legal aid lawyer Rafe Torres was introduced as an old friend of Billy Abbott's, a "scholarship student" at Walnut Grove to whom Billy served as friend and protector. Billy asked Rafe to help the Winters in their custody fight to stop Ana from being returned to her drug addicted mother, Yolanda (also Devon's mom). Rafe also served as lawyer and, eventually, friend to Victor "Adam Wilson" Newman Jr., who was jailed and convicted for framing his father for murder (via a "forged diary" he concocted with Jack Abbott). On April 24, 2009, Lily Winters tried to fix up Rafe with her best friend, Colleen Carlton. To this, Rafe confided he was gay, but still attended Adam's birthday party with Colleen. Later, Adam said he'd like to "troll" the bars with Colleen (presumably for male companionship) at some future date.

2009, Victor "Adam Wilson" Newman Jr.

Introduced in 2008, Victor Newman's Harvard-educated namesake was initially a mix of calculating and charming. His early stories involved getting under the skin of his half-siblings and starting an engaging romance with sexy female lawyer Heather Stevens, a Princeton grad. After Victor Sr. "died" in a capsized boat, the inheritance went to Adam's head. He kicked his siblings out of the company and took selfish control of everything. When Victor returned from the dead, Adam was kicked out and penniless. He was therefore ripe for Jack Abbott's scheme to forge a "diary" in which Victor "admitted" to killing a mobster during his "death". Cleverly, Jack made sure all signs of culpability for the diary pointed at Adam--which eventually led to Adam's imprisonment. Adam began a clever scheme (he got himself beaten, and feigned blindness by injecting botox into his eyes) that got him "house-arrested" at the Newman ranch. There, Adam did terrible things--mostly gaslighting his father's fiance Ashley (and causing her to lose a baby). When Rafe Torres began to suspect Adam of the devious deeds, Adam thought quickly about how to distract Rafe. He then had sex with him.

Adam is most likely NOT gay or even bi. (Indeed, he needed to immediately shower after having sex with Rafe, and then he quickly called his girlfriend Heather over to assert his masculinity). But this gay-ruse was a first for daytime. The Adam character earns extra notoriety because he was initially played by Chris Engen...but Engen vacated the role when Adam took this dark turn. Indeed, Michael Muhney began playing Adam just one episode before Adam "came on" to Rafe. So the "gay sex" Adam is uniquely associated with Muhney.

2009, Phillip Chancellor III

A legacy character, P3 was the son of Jill Foster and Phillip Chancellor II, the husband of Jill's early employer, Katherine Chancellor. Much of the 1970s was spent around P3...Kay appalled at the pregnancy, Kay killing P2 in a drunk driving accident, Kay trying to buy the baby, Kay arranging to disinherit P3 and strip him of the Chancellor name. Thus fueled a Jill-Kay rivalry that has continued on the show ever since. In the early 1980s, after Jill married John Abbott, P3 "disappeared" and was sent to boarding school. At Christmas, when Jill wanted him home for the holidays, little P3 would say he preferred not to come home. When a teenaged P3 finally returned home in the late 80s, he was an awkward boy. He had a crush on Cricket (but needed to drink to summon courage to be with her), and he was trapped into drunken sex with the wily Nina Webster--who promptly became pregnant and trapped him into marriage. In one of Y&R's greatest tragedies, alcoholic P3 got drunk after work one night and crashed his car; we saw what appeared to be his tragic deathbed goodbye to his whole family. P3's death fueled two more decades of Jill-Kay-Nina dysfunction.

In storyline twists too bizarre to recount, a series of con-jobs and DNA errors in the 2000s led Jill-Kay to believe they were mother-daughter, and then Kay to remember that she had stolen P3 at birth and switched him with another child (vindictively, just so Jill would not raise P2's son). The "real" P3 appeared (Cane Ashby), and was incorporated into the family. Eventually, in 2009, Jill-Kay were revealed to be unrelated, and then it was revealed that Cane (an Australian) had met P3 in his homeland. P3, it turned out, had faked his death because of depression, anxiety, and an unwillingness to admit that he was gay. Feeling remorse, he had eventually sent Cane to Genoa City in his stead, to give Jill/Kay the "son/grandson" they had lost. P3 finally came home and confessed all when he realized that Nina (who had just returned to Genoa City after a long absence) was beginning to piece together the fact that Cane was not really P3. In a private conversation on 7/7/09, P3 admitted to Nina that one of his motives for leaving all those years ago was his sexuality.

Days of Our Lives

1977, Sharon Duval
See David Wyatt's entry here: "In 1977 the unhappily married Sharon Duval (Sally Stark) admitted to her dear friend Julie Williams that she was bisexual and was in love with her. The story line was quickly wrapped up when problems broke out backstage between head writer Pat Falken Smith and the NBC top brass."

Of this era, Usenet's DonnaB says:

You also missed the very long ago storyline on DOOL where there was some woman who seemed to be coming on to Julie but it was quickly rewritten into a swinger couple. Michael/Rthrquiet of Usenet adds this: "The female lesbian-turned-swinger-turned-lesbian (Sharon was her name, I think) on Days actually made a pass at a shocked Julie ("I'm in love with you, Julie!"), but Julie's reaction was so decidedly negative that the woman tried to commit suicide. (Nice, huh?)"

DonnaB mentions another "near gay" story on Days. Also on DOOL Eric raped Susan (later rewritten to be consensual sex that she dreamt was rape.) When we first me Eric, he had a male roommate & we could see that there was only one bed. They had intended to make him gay, but changed their minds ...

All My Children

1982, Lynn Carson
See David Wyatt's entry here: "Dr. Lynn Carson 1983 (Donna Pescow). After Devon McFadden (Tricia Pursley Hawkins, 1977-1981 and 1983-1984) discovered Lynn was a lesbian, she convinced herself that a relationship with a woman was the answer to her problems. Lynn wisely told her that you don't just choose to become a lesbian because your affairs with men don't work out. After about 2 or 3 months, Lynn decided to get on with her life and moved away from Pine Valley."

In 1982, All My Children introduced the first ever significant gay character on a daytime soap opera, Dr. Lynn Carson played by Donna Pescow (Saturday Night Fever). Unfortunately (and typical of the stereotype of lesbians as asexual), the Carson character never had a love interest and lasted only a year.

For the next era at AMC, David Wyatt's entry is much more extensive. He lists:
* Michael Delaney 1995-1997 [occasional 1997-1998] (Chris Bruno) highschool history teacher
* Rudy 1995-1997? (Lance Baldwin) TV station stage manager
* Kevin Sheffield 1995-1998 (Ben Jorgensen, briefly billed as Ben Monk) highschool/college student and waiter
* Dr. Bradford `Brad' Phillips 1996-1997 (Daniel McDonald) orthopedic specialist
* Rick 1997 (Kohl Sudduth) waiter
* Bianca Montgomery 1988-2007 (Eden Riegel 2000-2005, occasional 2005-2006, 2006-2007)
* Rain Wilkins 2000?-2001 (Kelly Overton)
* Sarah Livingston 2000-2001 (Elizabeth Harnois)
* Lena Kundera 2003-2004 (Olga Sosnovska)
* Mary Margaret "Maggie" Stone 2002-2005 (Elizabeth Hendrickson)

In 1995 producers introduced a full-time (as opposed to short-term) gay character. Michael's sexual orientation was revealed several months after his addition to the cast. In the ensuing controversy about a gay teacher in the classroom, `Mr. D.' developed a platonic friendship with an employee of the local TV station. Kevin, one of Mike's students and the leading homophobe's younger brother, came out. By September 1996 Mike and Brad had started dating, and moved in together in January 1997. Actor Chris Bruno was contracted for only occasional appearances (a few times per year) after April 1997. During the summer of 1997 Kevin endured "reparative therapy" by a conversion therapist sponsored by his homophobic parents.

In the fall of 2000 Bianca, the daughter of no less a central character than Erica Kane (Susan Lucci), began to cautiously admit to close friends that she knew she was gay. The storyline involved lesbian occasional characters Rain, Bianca's homeless friend and guide, and Sarah, Bianca's anorexic former first love. Bianca eventually developed a mutual romantic relationship with Lena, an employee of her mother's company. After a sequence of soap opera plots, Bianca moved to Paris.

1995, Michael Delaney
Soon after, All My Children made another attempt to introduce a gay character, this time in the form of noble gay teacher Michael Delaney (1995-1997, played by Chris Bruno). The Delaney storyline was of particular note because it was partially based on a true story about Rodney Wilson, a gay teacher in Missouri who had come out to his students.

1996, Kevin Sheffield

A second gay character grew out of All My Children's Michael Delaney storyline. Kevin Sheffield (played by Ben Jorgensen, 1996-1998) was a gay teenager who sought counsel from high school teacher Delaney. He came out to his parents, only to be disowned and turned out of their house. Kevin's older brother Jason blamed Delaney for Kevin's gayness and tried to kill him. In a soap-operatic twist of fate, Jason accidentally shot and killed Delaney's sister. Kevin's homophobic parents went on to blame Kevin for Jason's subsequent imprisonment and insisted that Kevin seek reparative therapy to “cure” his homosexuality. Naturally, the treatment failed, but Kevin's mother came to accept him. But his father did not and Kevin's character was moved to the background of AMC. reports that Kevin was last seen working at Holidays, a restaurant that was blown up on the show in 1998. AMC executives insist that the character of Kevin was not killed in the blast, but his character has not been seen since.
2000, Bianca Montgomery
While reparative therapy and (possible) death by explosion are hard to top, an even more dramatic gay teen storyline was introduced on All My Children in 2000. Bianca, the sixteen year old daughter of wildly popular AMC diva Erica Kane, came out as the first openly lesbian teenager on daytime television and was quickly met with a serious of disasters. After falling in love with and being rejected by her straight friend Maggie, Bianca was pursued by bisexual Lena (the first recurring bisexual character on daytime television), which led up to the first lesbian kiss on daytime television, shared by Bianca and Lena in 2003.

While such a momentous occasion could have easily led to the development of the first actual lesbian relationship on daytime television, instead Bianca was raped (and subsequently became pregnant) by Lena 's spurned boyfriend. Then Lena tried to kill herself and her relationship with Bianca fell apart. Later, Bianca resumed her cat and mouse game with her straight friend Maggie, who cancelled her wedding to an abusive boyfriend to skip town with Bianca in February 2005. Bianca eventually made a brief return and announced that she and Maggie were indeed a couple. But this revelation came conveniently after the Bianca-Maggie storyline had run its course and no longer required onscreen development.

AMC creator Agnes Nixon told The Advocate in 2000 that out lesbian Chastity Bono's memoir was the inspiration for the Bianca storyline, and she hoped that outing an already-established character as gay would make for a more integrated storyline. Choosing Bianca, a familiar character who audiences had watched grow up, for the lesbian plot line was a bold move. Unfortunately it was undercut by the rape/pregnancy plot development, and Bianca's eventual departure from the show marked yet another missed opportunity to develop a recurring, three-dimensional gay character on daytime television.
2005, Val
Played by Michael Malone, this is Erica Kane's personal assistant.

2006, Zoe/Zarf
See David Wyatt's entry here: "Freddie "Zarf" Luper, becoming Zoe 2006-2007 (Jeffrey Carlson). Erica Kane's lesbian daughter Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel) returned full time to the program from fall 2006 to April 2007 (without girlfriend Maggie). (See All My Children 1995-2005). In what was perhaps one of the most convoluted attempts to avoid portraying a same-sex romance, AMC introduced Zarf, a male-to-female transsexual (played by a male actor) to provide Bianca a love interest. "
Zoe is introduced in August 2006 as a male international rock star, who is known as Zarf at the time. A strained relationship with his father results in "Freddie" leaving home at age sixteen and establishing a successful music career. At age nineteen, "Zarf" is a famous rock star and has become a millionaire. Babe Carey Chandler and Josh Madden approach Zarf in 2006 about using some of his music in an ad campaign for Fusion Cosmetics and are successful in persuading him to sign an agreement.

Zarf returns to the show on November 29, 2006 and causes a stir by meditating in the nude at Fusion to connect with the creative energies of the company. Zarf meets and falls instantly in love with Bianca Montgomery, who is a lesbian.

Strong romantic feelings for Bianca give Zarf the courage to come out as a transgender lesbian named Zoe on New Year's Eve.

Zoe is subsequently accused of murder and attempted murder of Danielle Frye, Simone Torres, and Erin Lavery. At the Chandler Mansion, where she is accused of being the Satin Slayer, she reveals to Pine Valley that she is transgender, but is not believed by anyone except Babe. Subsequently, other characters come to accept Zoe as a woman, but some characters remain skeptical of her and of the transgender experience. Zoe is later attacked by the Satin Slayer and survives. She is cleared of suspicion when the true killer is revealed to be Alexander Cambias, Sr.

Zoe begins the process of transitioning from male to female. As part of the transition process, she joins a transgender support group and meets with an endocrinologist. She discusses being transgender with her mother and rebuilds that relationship. She is still undecided on whether or not to under-go gender reassignment surgery.

On April 26, 2007, Zoe returns to her home in London to continue her transition and begin work on a new album as a female musician. Before leaving for London, she receives a letter from her father stating that he is hoping to some day be able to accept and love his daughter Zoe as he has loved his son Freddy.

Santa Barbara
1985, Channing Capwell, Jr.
1985, Lindsay Smith

This soap opera opened its first episode with the release from prison of the wrongly convicted murderer of Channing Capwell Jr. In the course of finding the real killer, it was discovered that Channing's past included affairs with his father's mistress and someone named Lindsay Smith. More investigation turned up that Lindsay was another man. Some of this story was played out in flashback wherein Channing and Lindsay appeared.

As the World Turns

1988, Hank Elliot
See David Wyatt's entry here: "Hank Elliot 1988-1989 (Brian Starcher). Hank was a dress designer, who had come to town to find occupation away from his HIV+ lover Charles (never seen). Various characters reacted differently to Hank's coming out to them."

It would be another five years before the first gay male character on a daytime soap was introduced. On As the World Turns , gay character Hank Eliot (played by Brian Starcher 1988-1989) was originally supposed to receive an AIDS diagnosis. But the AIDS plot was altered to instead be about his lover, Charles, a character rarely seen onscreen. After only a year the character of Hank was written out, but ATWT received a great deal of praise for the story and was honored with a GLAAD award in 1990.
Of this era, Usenet's Michael/Rthrquiet adds: "As the World Turns used to have an AIDS ball every year while Marland was writing it; it predated and was the precursor for the Nurses' Ball on GH/Port Charles"

2005, Luke Snyder
See David Wyatt's entry here:
"Luke Snyder né Luciano Eduardo Grimaldi 1995-present (Van Hansis (2005-present))
Noah Mayer 2007-present (Jake Silbermann). Roger Newcomb adds:
Reg Addington, 2008-present (Mark Sullivan)
Tony, 2008-present (Tom Baran)
See also As the World Turns (1988-1989). Long-running classic American soap opera. A character since his birth, in the spring of 2006 teenager Luke came out, to varied reactions from his family and friends. Luke's first crush was his straight best friend Kevin Davis (Karl Girolamo). Noah's speedy connection with Maddie Coleman told Luke his heart was heading down the wrong path again. Soapy plots have included a Noah's crazed, homophobic father, Luke's tenure paralized in a wheelchair, and Noah's green-card-sham marriage to Ameera, a wayward Iraqi. Early story characterized by well-written plot developments separated by weeks or months of the character being sidelined by the writers. A vocal campaign by Luke & Noah fans seemed to break down story barriers inside the production company circa May 2008." Roger Newcomb adds: "In February 2008, the characters of Reg and Tony were introduced as fellow gay Oakdale U students."
Luke began hanging out with his friend, Kevin. Kevin was a party animal who continually encourage Luke to get drunk with him. Despite the fact that a damaged liver could kill him, Luke did it anyway. On more than one occasion his family found out and finally Holden forbade him from seeing Kevin. However, Luke's connection to Kevin was too strong and he defied his parents by sneaking out to hang out with him. Meanwhile, a young woman named Jade Taylor had entered the Snyders' lives claiming to be the daughter his Aunt Rose gave up for adoption. At the same time, Luke's relationship with Holden was becoming tense not only due to Holden's disapproval of Kevin, but also because Holden kept insisting that Luke was hiding something important, which Luke denied. Jade, meanwhile, gained Luke's favor by covering for Luke when he was at a concert with Kevin. Luke then revealed his secret to Jade, the secret he'd been hiding from Holden for months--he was in love with Kevin. Convinced that his parents would hate him, Luke pleaded with her to keep his secret. She agreed. Not long after, Jade revealed a secret of her own: she wasn't really his cousin. Apparently she'd been conning his family and was about to be discovered. But she wasn't ready to end her meal ticket and asked Luke to help her stay--or she'd reveal his secret. Luke complied and they set it up so his parents would find him in bed with Jade. Although Lily was set to throw the schemer out, Luke covered and insisted that he was in love with Jade. Later, Luke tried to reconnect with Kevin, who blew him off, leaving Luke in no mood to see Jade conning his dad out of money. Jade's response was to come on the Luke, who responded himself by pushing her away. The exchange was seen by Holden, but Luke pretended it was because they were not allowed to be making out in the house. As the weeks went by, Jade's presence put a certain amount of strain on Lily and Luke decided it wasn't worth it and finally told his parents that he was gay. Ironically, it was Lily, not Holden, who had the most trouble accepting this fact. Not long after he'd come out. Luke was shocked to see Damian talking to Lily. Luke accused Lily of calling out the big guns to "fix him" and told Damian that he wanted no part of him. Later, at Lily's request, Luke met with a Dr. Kreeger, who informed Luke that he would be going to a camp for young men. Realizing this was some kind of "reprogramming" camp, Luke rushed home to confront his mother. Luke angrily lashed out at Lily and rushed upstairs. Lily tried to convince Luke that she was ready to accept him, he didn't believe her and shoved her away from him. Unfortunately, Luke shoved too hard and Lily stumbled down the stairs and lapsed in a coma. At the hospital, Holden angrily confronted Luke about what could cause him to shove his mother down the stairs. Luke informed Holden that it was an accident and told him about the camp Lily wanted to send him to. Holden refused to believe that Lily would send Luke to a place like that and was initially cold toward Luke. At that point, a sympathetic Damian stepped in and offered Luke his unwavering support. He also offered him a place to stay. As the weeks went by, Damian helped Luke avoid Holden since Luke was convinced he hated him. However, when a still comatose gave birth to a son, Luke decided he had to patch things up with Holden. Not long after he informed Damian of his decision to move back home, Luke was surprised to see a bottle of pills fall out of Damian's pocket. Though Damian claimed it was just allergy medicine, Luke wasn't so sure and asked Lucy what exactly it was. Lucy informed him that it was last resort medication for terminal illness. Luke confronted Damian, who admitted that he was deathly ill. Not wanting to abandon his father, Luke agreed to go to Malta with him. When Luke told Holden, Holden tried to convince him that Damian was lying but Luke didn't believe it. Soon after, Damian informed Luke that they had to leave for Malta ASAP. At the airport, the pair was met by Holden, Jack, and the police. The situation got out of hand with Damian's business associate Sergio, taking Luke hostage but luckily Damian diffused the situation. At this point, Damian was forced to confess that the reason he came to Oakdale was to get Luke to turn over his inheritance to him so he could pay off some dangerous men. During the course of Damian's revelation, Luke figured out it was Damian, not Lily, who wanted to send to a reprogramming camp. Angry that Damian had been playing him for weeks, Luke bitterly disowned his father and although he was within rights to pursue kidnapping charges, he declined in order to spare his family, the Snyders.

The following year, Luke, along with Maddie Coleman, began interning at WOAK where they were teamed with a new intern named Noah Mayer. One of the first ideas that Noah came up with was a cell phone broadcast drama with Maddie as the focus written by Luke. As the summer went on, Noah's friendships with Maddie and Luke progressed. Then came the arrival of Noah's father which he clearly was not happy about. A military man, Col. Mayer informed Noah that he would no longer be paying for his schooling at Northwestern University and instead wanted him to enlist in the Army to toughen him up. At the same time, Luke was finding himself attracted to Noah. When he walked in on Noah and Maddie making love he immediately became flustered. When Noah suggested that it was because he was jealous, Luke confessed that wasn't it: he was gay. However, that didn't matter to Noah. He still considered Luke a friend. Later, Meanwhile, Luke was becoming increasingly distant toward Noah and finally confessed that it was because he feelings for him. Noah insisted that he was not gay but made it clear that he still considered Luke a friend. However, after a day of swimming, Luke suspected that there was something more. The suspicion grew stronger when Noah abruptly refused to spend the rest of the day with Luke and later asked Maddie to apply to Oakdale University instead of Wesleyan. At the same time, Luke was becoming increasingly suspicious that Noah was in denial about his orientation. The suspicion seemed born out when Noah shared a surprising kiss with Luke when he helped Noah with his tie. An unsettled Noah told Luke that he only kissed him to play with his head and quickly asked Maddie to move in with him. Several days later, Noah finally confessed to Luke that the kiss was genuine however insisted that he could not be gay because his father just would not understand. Noah pleaded with Luke to keep quiet about the kiss and went ahead with his plans to move in with Maddie. Luke tried to convince Noah that he would never be able to fully love Maddie but Noah refused to listen. The tension between the pair continued to build as did the Colonel's interest in Noah's relationship with Maddie. Thanks to her brother, Maddie started to wonder if something was going on between Luke and Noah and called him on it. Noah denied it and then accused Luke of telling Maddie. Not understanding how Noah could be attracted to Luke and her, she decided against moving in with Noah. Noah remained in denial for a short time though out of fear of coming out to his father. Finally, after a talk with Maddie, Noah decided that he could not deny his true self any longer and prepared to confess to his dad. As expected, the news did not go well. Noah's father accused him of lying and then angrily disowned. However, he quickly did a 180 and told Noah that he would not lose him. Weeks later, it became apparent that the Colonel was lying when he was caught aiming a rifle at Luke during a hunting expedition. Luke tried to wrestle the gun away from him. Noah came to the scene just in time to see his father violently shove Luke while Holden was able to wrestle the Colonel to the ground but the Colonel ran off. Afterwards Noah defended his father to the police insisting that something must be wrong with him. He then got a shock--Noah's mother was a madam named Charlene Wilson aka Cheri Love. Not only that, his father recently murdered her. Soon after, after failing to kill Luke at the hospital, Col. Mayer was apprehended to the police and defiantly insisted that his actions, including the murder of his mother were in Noah's best interests. In the meantime, Noah learned that injuries cause by his father led to Luke becoming paralyzed. Ashamed, Noah was reluctant to visit him at the hospital at first but relented thanks to come encouragement from Dusty Donovan. Soon after, Noah finally asked Luke if he'd like to be his boyfriend and Luke accepted.

One Life To Life
1992, Billy Douglas
See David Wyatt's entry here:
"Billy Douglas 1992-1993 (Ryan Phillippe) highschool student
Jonathan Michaelson 1992, 1993 (Bruce McCarty)
Rick Mitchell 1992-1993 (Joe Fiske) waiter

Billy Douglas moved into Llanview in the summer of 1992, a 17 year old highschool senior. Billy's struggle to come out to himself and his homophobic parents, in the midst of a town bitterly divided over a rumour that the local minister might be gay, occupied a substantial share of OLTL air time over the summer of 1992. Jonathan, lover of the minister's late brother, showed up to ask for help making a quilt panel. Billy met Rick Mitchell carolling on Christmas eve 1992 and left for Yale the next summer."

One Life to Live also introduced a gay character in the early 1990's, teenager Billy Douglas (played by future movie star Ryan Phillipe, 1992-93) who struggled to come out to family and friends. A young female villain on the show falsely accused main character Reverend Andrew Carpenter of an affair with young Billy, and it was later revealed that Carpenter's brother had died from AIDS. The storyline included a ceremony for the AIDS quilt as it passed through the town. Once again, the association of a gay character and a plot with pedophilia, homophobia and (even if only tangentially) AIDS is typical of the limited scope of gay story lines in that period
1997, Wendi Mercury

I can find no detailed description, but Michael/Rthrquiet reminded me. She was a "mixologist", I think at Rodi's, and she was transgendered.

2004, Mark Solomon
Per the 2004 Advocate:

A YEAR AGO he was baring his chest to Broadway audiences as the very heterosexual Urban Cowboy. Now actor Matt Cavenaugh, 26, has traded in his mechanical bull for a different kind of thrill ride--playing gay on the ABC soap One Life to Live.

Cavenaugh's brand-new character, a college student named Mark, came out in the July 22 episode, and that's led to debate on some hot topics during August. "We talk about gay marriage," he says. "I love that we're tackling a social issue." And if Cavenaugh becomes a role model to GLBT youth? "I would love to be a champion of that cause," he affirms.

Straight and single, Cavenaugh isn't worried about what people might think. "I grew up a kid in Arkansas, and I got attacked as a theater fag in high school," he says. "So you know, most people think I am gay because I sing and dance. It doesn't bother me."

2005, Daniel Colson
Daniel was introduced as Llanview's district attorney, and Riley's father. A former alcoholic, his marriage broke down because of his drinking, and whispered hints of abuse. After a short-lived relationship with Lindsay, which ended once Daniel realized that Lindsay was again involved with the much younger Rex, Daniel began seeing Nora, and it wasn't long before the two of them were talking marriage, much to the dismay of Nora's young son, Matthew, who wanted his parents back together. As his marriage with Nora grew closer, Daniel found himself involved in the middle of two huge cases which turned out to be very much connected -- the murder of Paul Cramer, and the kidnapping of Ace Buchanan. Ace was eventually returned to his biological parents in Pine Valley, but Paul's murder was proving much harder to solve. The prime suspect was Jen Rappaport, the girlfriend of Daniel's daughter Riley, and Daniel's dogged pursuit of Jen caused trouble with not only his son, but also his soon-to-be step-son Matthew who considers Jen to be an older sister.

Despite all the troubles, Daniel and Nora managed to make it down the aisle, but the revelation of Daniel's real first name combined with sudden mysterious phone calls to a woman exposed Daniel as the murderer of Paul Cramer. While still attempting to frame Jen with Paul Cramer's murder, Daniel was discovered by Jen planting evidence in her car. When she tried to flee, Daniel grabbed her and suffocated her, then attempted to have her officially declared as Paul's murderer posthumously. The night that he killed Jen, Daniel went to meet his lover in a hotel room, who turned out to be Riley's friend, Mark Solomon. Bo and Rex were finally catching on to Daniel, however, and Daniel was spotted with Mark in a New York gay bar. Just as Daniel was being sworn in as lieutenant governor, Bo showed up to arrest him, and in the ensuing brouhaha, Rex revealed Daniel was gay, Mark revealed himself as Daniel's lover, Riley jumped Mark, and Daniel was arrested for murdering Paul Cramer and Jen Rappaport

2009, Officer Oliver Fish and Kyle Lewis

Per TVGuide Canada, "Viewers will soon learn that Officer Oliver Fish (Scott Evans) and Kyle Lewis (Brett Claywell) shared a sexual past during college. Not sure how they’ll explain Fish sleeping with that lingerie model, Stacy Fiasco, and having a crush on Layla, but regardless, sources tell The Nelson Ratings the characters will be involved in a romantic storyline."

Guiding Light
1995, Wyatt Sanders
I didn't know about this one, but here are the details according to David Wyatt's entry:

Wyatt Sanders 1995-1997 (Keith Christopher) Wyatt, a recurring character, was an HIV counselor and appeared in several episodes between 1995 and 1997.

2009, Doris Wolfe, Olivia Spencer, and Natalia Rivera Aitoro

Wikipedia says this:

Olivia Spencer and Natalia Rivera Aitoro, often referred to by the portmanteau Otalia, are a fictional couple from the American daytime drama Guiding Light. Olivia is portrayed by Crystal Chappell, and Natalia is portrayed by Jessica Leccia.

Olivia and Natalia's relationship has developed since Olivia's heart transplant in April 2008. During this time, the couple were shown to go from enemies to potential same-sex lovers.
The Doris Wolfe part was a surprise. A long-time recurring character on GL, Doris has been involved with men (most notably, a marriage to Alan Spaulding). When Natalia's daughter wrote a school essay entitled "My Two Moms", mayor Doris publically castigated little Emma and Otalia. So, imagine Olivia's surprise when, tentatively venturing into a lesbian bar on 3/12/09, she ran into Doris. Doris started with denial, but eventually admitted that she was a lesbian.

The City
[Thanks to Michael/Rthrquiet for reminding me of this one]
1996, Azure C.
See David Wyatt's entry here: "Azure C. 1995?-1996 (Carlotta Chang) supermodel. Continuation of the 1983-1995 serial Loving, with the setting shifted to Manhattan. Supermodel Azure C. was revealed to be a male-to-female transsexual in 1996, much to the shock of her Latino fiance Bernardo."
One of the most daring storylines on this show was one involving a transsexual. Photographer Bernardo had a one night stand with model Azure C (Carlotta Chang). He went to the corner to get some orange juice when he saw a picture of Azure C. before the sex change operation. The modeling agency which they both worked had to do a lot of damage control. The storyline began to take off but was soon dropped, in part due to the subject matter and in part due to lackluster reaction to Chang's performance. Azure and Bernardo reconciled and left town.

General Hospital
1994, Lee Mathis
1997, Patrick Fabian

I leapt straight to GH's Lucas. DonnaB (see bottom of post) reminded me about Nurses Ball guests before then. David Wyatt also mentions a school teacher in the 1990s (which I remembered upon reading). Here is David Wyatt's entry about the pre-Lucas era:
John Hanley 1994-1995 (Lee Mathis)
Ted Murty 1997-1998? (Patrick Fabian) schoolteacher

Beginning in 1994 the character of John Hanley was a recurring character, each year co-chairing the annual AIDS Ball charity fundraiser. The character and the actor were both HIV-positive, and when actor Lee Mathis died in early 1996, John Hanley's [off screen] death was mourned on the show. Mr. Murty [occasional from 1997] was erroneously suspected in the sexual assault of a female student.
Of this era, Usenet's DonnaB says

For a very long time there was a yearly celebration in June of Daytime Day of Compassion where shows were encouraged to do AIDS/HIV storylines. Many shows had people in & out really quickly for that & some, but not all of them were gay. Also for awhile shows were celebrating World AIDS Day, which may be early December if I recall right, which is as unlikely as it might be possible. But, one's spring, June, and the other is definitely Fall or early Winter. That was also a time when shows often had people in & out who sometimes were gay, sometimes were not.

GH did the Nurses' Ball for years & it was nothing if not remarkable & wonderful, thank you, Wendy Riche & Claire Labine! They did the remarkable Robin/Stone love story HIV/AIDS storyline and there was a gay man who had AIDS who was also an actor who was on every year & sometimes during the year, until he died. After that another gay man who had been a friend of his, also an actor, also been on yearly, had a more prominent part & managed to help remind us of him & our loss of him.

General Hospital
2005, Lucas Jones
See David Wyatt's entry here:
"Lucas Stansbury Jones 1989-2006 (Ben Hogestyn (2005-2006))
Guy Richardson 2006 (Nicholas DiNardo)

Long-running classic American soap opera. A character since his birth, during the winter of 2005/6 college student Lucas grew to realize he was harboring a secret sure to distress his family situation. Guy and Lucas began dating in May, 2006, and they both promptly disappeared from view."
Lucas came out to his friends and parents that he was gay. His friends supported him, and although Bobbie defended him to Tracy, her first instinct was to get him counseling. When he told his father, Tony, he was shocked by how easily his father accepted it.
1999, Simone Russell
I had forgotten about Simone, but here is David Wyatt's entry:
Simone Russell 1999-2007 (Cathy Jeneen Doe (2004-2007))
Chad Harris 2006?-2007 (Charles Divins)
Vincent Clarkson 2007 (Phillip Jeanmarie)

Somewhat unconventional American daytime drama, mixing complex, interrelated families with a 300-year-old supernatural meddler. Simone is daytime's first African-American lesbian. In early 2007 is was revealed that Chad was having an affair with another man. Chad's lover Vincent would go to any lengths to keep the affair secret. Chad's heterosexuality was eventually rescued when it was revealed that Vincent was a hermaphrodite and Chad was sleeping only with Vincent's female anatomy. Vincent turned out to be a serial killer and (using his male parts) a rapist. (Who writes this stuff?)

2006, Chad Harris-Crane
Chad (Charles Divins) watched an X-rated blackmail DVD sent to him by his secret gay lover.

When viewers saw the paramour's face at last, it was Vincent, the tabloid reporter played by Phillip Jeanmarie.

Since this is Passions, you can expect lots more cheesy near misses until Chad's wife, Whitney (Brook Kerr), finally discovers the male lover Chad's been cheating with for months.

Let's just hope that, as this spicy storyline progresses, Chad will eventually make peace with his sexuality and quit lying and spouting homophobic remarks to cover his tracks. (For those who know about life in the closet, Chad's shame, denial and self-hatred are hard to watch because it's so true to life.) Since Passions has been fairly sensitive — and daring — in its exploration of gay issues thus far, I'm staying cautiously optimistic.

2006, Vincent Clarkson-Crane

Vincent Clarkson, a tabloid reporter, was first seen on-camera at Chad and Whitney Harris-Crane's December 26, 2006 wedding, where he was searching for colleague J. T. Cornell (who had been murdered, his remains placed inside Chad and Whitney's wedding cake). Unbeknownst to all, Vincent was actually the long-lost son of Julian Crane and Eve Russell, who had been presumed to have died shortly after birth over thirty years previously, and had been masquerading in Harmony for two years as a Crane Industries employee named Valerie Davis. Vincent, who is very mentally unstable, was apparently approached at some time prior to the Harris-Cranes' wedding by his paternal grandfather, the presumed-deceased Alistair Crane, and convinced to do his bidding and terrorize Harmony's citizens, including his own family members, as the Blackmailer.

As the Blackmailer, Vincent is responsible for many of the crimes that occurred in Harmony from late 2006 through the middle of 2007. Vincent's first acts of terror were to rape his own paternal half-sister, Fancy Crane, while on a stakeout in December and while she slept in her "Princess Room" in January; during the second attack, he also accosted Fancy's boyfriend, Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald - Vincent drugged Luis, collected some of his semen, then dressed him in the Blackmailer's costume (the first costume, which featured all-black clothing and a ski mask) and locked him in a closet before raping Fancy once more and planting Luis's semen inside of her. As a result, Luis was arrested for Fancy's rape. When maternal half-sister Simone Russell's girlfriend, Rae Thomas, figured out that Vincent had raped Fancy, he murdered Rae and framed Luis, and when a bartender named Dylan Flood was revealed to have information from Rae about the Blackmailer, Vincent murdered Dylan and set fire to his apartment, again framing Luis.

Vincent also began to blackmail Luis's sister, Theresa, who was also Alistair's "widow". As the Blackmailer, Vincent harbored a crush on one of Theresa's love interests, Ethan Winthrop, and, in order to insure that he could have Ethan for himself, Vincent threatened to have Luis executed and reveal that Ethan had fathered Theresa's son, Little Ethan, if Theresa would not stay away from Ethan. When Theresa failed to do so multiple times, Vincent forced Theresa to marry Jared Casey, and then unsuccessfully attempted to force her to have a baby with Jared.

Theresa ultimately failed to stay away from Ethan, so Vincent blackmailed Judge JE Reilly into combining Luis's arson/double homicide/double rape trial with younger brother Miguel's attempted homicide trial. Reilly repeatedly denied the men due process, and a jury eventually sentenced Miguel to life in prison and Luis to death by lethal injection. Though Julian eventually made provisions so that Miguel would be exhonerated, Luis remained in jail.
Vincent is the half-man half-woman masked blackmailer
Vincent is the half-man half-woman masked blackmailer

By the time Luis had been sent to death row, much of Harmony had become aware of the Blackmailer's existence and was working diligently to see Luis set free. When Fancy came close to securing a DNA match identifying the Blackmailer as Vincent, Vincent attempted to strangle his sister, and eventually murdered a psychiatrist who had treated him earlier in life so as to keep his identity a secret. Vincent also continued to blackmail Judge Reilly and the state governor so that Luis's appeals would all fail. During this time, only Sheridan Crane discovered that Vincent and the Blackmailer were one and the same; however, she agreed to keep his identity a secret as long as he brought her niece, Pretty Crane, back to Harmony so that she could destroy sister Fancy's relationship with Luis, with whom Sheridan was still in love. Vincent also convinced Sheridan to kill Theresa using the prison electric chair, but she was inadvertently saved from death by Gwen.

Meanwhile, as himself, Vincent was revealed in February to have been engaged in an incestuous, homosexual, and eventually adulterous affair with Chad Harris-Crane (who was simultaneously Vincent's half-uncle, adoptive half-cousin, and half-brother-in-law) since a time prior to the latter's trip to Rome (circa April 2006). Though Chad eventually tried to end the affair, Vincent blackmailed Chad with secretly-taped videos of their encounters, threatening to send them to his wife, Whitney. Vincent was furious when he discovered that, despite their affair, Chad had continued to sleep with Whitney, resulting in Whitney's pregnancy with the couple's second child. Also furious with Whitney for telling his girlfriend, Valerie Davis, that he had been cheating on her, Vincent engineered a scenario so that Whitney would walk in on Vincent and Chad having sex in the back of a gay bar; Whitney immediately left Chad, and Chad ended things with Vincent.

Things began to fall apart for Vincent when he revealed both of his secret identities - as the Blackmailer and their son - to Julian and Eve. Eve told Whitney that Vincent was her half-brother, and a furious Whitney told Chad, who was horrified to learn that he'd slept with his half-nephew. Despite Julian's insistence that they protect their son (and the Crane name), Eve outed Vincent as the Blackmailer only moments before Luis was to be executed (though, in reality, he had already been executed - Endora Lenox had turned back time inside the execution chamber in order to revive Luis). Luis was set free, and Vincent was arrested and placed in psychiatric care.

Under the care of a Dr. Tonia Wilson, Vincent was revealed to have been doing Alistair's bidding. Alistair helped Vincent to escape and assigned him to work with Spike to complete a hit list, though Vincent quickly discovered that he was at the top of the list. Spike attempted to kill Vincent, but Sheridan quickly arrived and protected her nephew, fleeing with him by car. Sheridan and Vincent eventually crashed near a cliff, Spike in their pursuit, and when Vincent and Spike argued, they both tumbled over the side of a cliff. Sheridan tried to hold on to both men, but could not, and when Spike revealed that her son, Marty, was still alive, Sheridan let go of Vincent in order to pull Spike up, causing Vincent to plummet to his apparent death on August 30, 2007. A few episodes later, however, Vincent was seen emerging from the ocean; he immediately headed to Valerie's home, and begin to attack her off-screen for "telling". However, at the end of the final episode on NBC on September 7, 2007, Valerie removed a mask, revealing Vincent to be beneath and indicating that he has been Valerie all along, and perhaps has some sort of multiple personality disorder. On November 5, 2007, Vincent was experiencing what occurred to be symptoms of nausea and morning sickness. He ran a blood test on himself and found that he was pregnant (although in actuality hermaphrodites are unable to bear children). On November 22, 2007, Eve finally realizes that Valerie and Vincent are the same person after having done an examination on Vincent (dressed as Valerie) the previous day.

2008, Norma Bates
2008, Edna Wallace

2008 refers to their year of lesbian wedding. Per Roger Newcomb's blog, "From TV Guide magazine: PASSIONS ends its nine-year run in August, but it's not too late to break through another sexual barrier - or quietly make suds history. On July 22, AARP-age lesbians Norma (Marianne Muellerielle) and Edna (Kathleen Noone) will say "I do" in daytime's first legal gay wedding."


Other near-misses

The Doctors
1976, Tom Carroll

Michael/Rthrquiet of Usenet also adds this memory from The Doctors:
On The Doctors, 1976-77, the character of Tom Carroll (played by a breathtakingly beautiful young Jonathan Frakes) was supposed to be gay (storyline written by Douglas Marland), but again, the sponsor reversed its approval, and Tom became a child abuser instead.

Another World
1975, Michael Randolph
early 1980s, Sandy Cory

Harding Lemay wanted to make Michael Randolph (per Michael/Rthrquiet) gay...but P&G/NBC wouldn't let him. Rthrquiet actually says "On Another World, Harding Lemay wanted to make Michael Randolph gay, not Sandy Cory (who was introduced in the early 80s, between Lemay's two stints as HW), but Procter and Gamble reversed its initial approval of the storyline (this was late 1975). I don't know who the HW was at the time, but Sandy Cory *was* supposed to be gay as well, and that, too, got changed. (He was actually supposed to have been a male prostitute with male clients, and they ended up making him a male escort with a female clientele.)"

Bold and the Beautiful:
early 2000s, Sergei

Jm J. Bullock's appearance as Sergei (pronounced "Sir Gay"), the gay wedding planner on B&B who was practically rubbing all over Jack Wagner's leg. Does that count?

My question to Sara Bibel: Was LML undermined?

I know Sara Bibel (a former writer for Y&R--she predated Lynn Latham and then was among the legions fired by her; she also had a brief stint as a writer for AMC, and was once a ratings analyst for Sony) can never answer this, but I really want to know :-).

I posted this on her blog:

May I be permitted to ask you an off topic question, knowing that you probably can't answer? You gave a recent TERRIFIC interview to Toups over at Soap Opera Network. In that you said:

"Story plans change for all sorts of reasons, both from external suggestions and stories simply evolving from their original design. With that caveat...", and you go on to list "Originally, Victor's epilepsy was going to be a much more complicated story. It was going to propel Victor back towards Ashley and Nikki towards Jack. I think that would have been interesting....When she first came back, Victoria was going to work for Jabot, in opposition to the rest of the Newmans. That could have been fun...Lily and Daniel were supposed to experience realistic financial and emotional struggles as married teens. "

The Victoria-against-family bit doesn't interest me much (I'm tired of contrivances pitting family members against each other), but the other two seem better than what we saw.

What I want to know is what changed, and why? Fickle headwriter who could not commit to her stories? A decision to not renew Eileen Davidson, which led to the Victor story not playing out? Interference from Sony or CBS?

Again, I realize you probably can't answer. But when Lynn Latham first came to Y&R, I honestly thought it was the second coming :-). Victor's epilepsy, John's memory lapses, Brad seeming to have a secret past (this was prior to the story turning silly)...I just remember loving every single day. I attributed it to a fresh creative force re-energizing a legacy team rooted in history.

I remember the Victor story when it started. He head-butted a mugger. That is what he ALWAYS was rooted in history and character. Then, our attention turned to Nikki (would her back gunshot paralyze her?) and to John (memory lapses--needs a neurologist). What TERRIFIC red herrings. Our attention was not on Victor, so it was SHOCKING when he starting cutting paper dolls and smelling lavender! My hope for the show was as high as it has been since Bill Bell died.

And then it all....petered out.

What I am still trying to figure out is whether Lynn Latham was UNDERMINED. Did she start out fresh, but then have her plans ruined by corporate interference? Or did she cut too many people too fast (obviously, you'd be in that number)...and the consolidation of power turned out to be her undoing...because ultimately she did not know her show or her audience. Or was her legendary ADHD (one former assistant asserts that she lost her calendar EVERY SINGLE DAY) the root of a cognitive inability to "keep track" and to "manage"...resulting in chaos.

I know you can't answer...and it breaks my heart. Because legions of Y&R lovers really want to know what happened.

Martha Byrne's farewell chat was cool

I wish all soap actors were this gracious to their shows and their fans. She answered a few of my questions, but in general (though I wanted dish), I really respected how much she took the high road. She even sent her successor, Noelle Beck, flowers on her first day!

The invaluable Roger Newcomb archived the chat, but I've pasted it below:

CodeBlaze: how have you like playing Lily for so long?
MarthaByrne> I've loved playing Lily for over two decades. I've worked with some incredible people who have become great friends!

cleary233: I also want to know if she plans to return to theater or consider going to an ABC or NBC soap
MarthaByrne> I would love to return to the theater and to daytime!!!

cindy_g: Martha hello! I will miss you and I hope to see you elsewhere. You will be missed, I have watched you since you started on the show!
MarthaByrne> Thank you so much. The hardest part of all of this is saying goodbye to the most amazing fans in the world!

shallotpeel: Hello, Martha! How are you & your guys? Is there anything we can do to keep from losing you at World Turns?
MarthaByrne> Any letters should go to P&G...

Mrcy: Please explain what is happening, this show will not be the same with out you and they can never replace you.
MarthaByrne> Thank you so much for your support. We'll talk more about that as the chat goes on...

ashh576: Martha...who did you like working with the most?
MarthaByrne> Jon Hensley-my second husband and I have so many co-workers who have become like a second family to me.

luvlily: Martha, will you ever come back to ATWT? I miss you already.
MarthaByrne> Thank you for your support. I love ATWT and have since the day I started there!

Jenn: Hey Martha! I just wanted you to know how sweet you really are... each time I talked with you, you were SO gracious! I am really going to miss you. I was wondering if there's a certain charity (St Judes?) that you support.... Id like to donate money in your honor! :)
MarthaByrne> As a matter of fact I am going to Memphis in October as a professional advisory board member and will be more involved with St. Judes on a day to day basis. I will be planning another St. Judes event for Spring 2009!!!

MarkH: Are you really okay with this break from ATWT?
MarthaByrne> no:)

MrSnyder: Happy St. Patty's Day
MarthaByrne> you too!

a_priori: What was you favorite storyline?
MarthaByrne> So many, but I loved playing Rose and Lily together in scenes...

nmsammy: Will you be recording another cd? Love your voice and the cds I have. Will you re-issue the ist?
MarthaByrne> You can buy my cd through my website and I will be adding two brand new songs to my website available for download in a few weeks.

Allan: martha, you were the heart and soul of ATWT and with your departure, I am gone, too. I have watched for 35 plus years, but can't stand the character assasination anymore. My question to you is what did you submit for your pre-nom for lead actress on the show? Also, was there ever any consideration by TPTB that Lily really died when Rose did. I detected a slight Rose accent from you in the weeks following her death or was I just crazy? You will be missed, Martha.
MarthaByrne> I submitted two episodes one being the day Lily decided to enter rehab at the Snyder Farm and the second episode was the day after Holden found Lily in Dusty's suite and asked for a separation. And Rodse is dead and buried in Hoboken:)

MarkH: Are you getting any feelers from other daytime shows? If yes, are you interested?
MarthaByrne> I'm open to anything!

Elizabethann: Why are you leaving the show? You have so many fans, please don't leave.
MarthaByrne> This has been a difficult few weeks. I am so thankful for all of fans and they have all shown such an enormous amount of support.

jesse: hi martha, you are one of the reasons that i returned to watching daytime television again! i'm so sad that you are departing!! what are your plans related to your music?
MarthaByrne> I am going to continue to write and record music. I love it very much so keep checking my website for updates!

MarkH: Did you really quit because of a lack of storyline control?
MarthaByrne> NO!!!

Anne: Hi Martha! What was your last day on the ATWT set like?
MarthaByrne> Very sad. Ellen Dolan brought in bagpipes from the NYPD when my scenes were finished and Vivian Gundaker gave a beautiful speech and I cried a lot.

MarkH: There is a bit of inconsistency in the press. ATWT/P&G are saying you got a "generous offer" which you refused. Your press release says you offered to continue at a cut rate of pay, but when negotiations stalled and a recast was ordered, you quit negotiations. True?
MarthaByrne> I know there has been a lot of I did not quit negotiations. I made a request to work at least the same number of shows that I was in last year and was told NO. That day is when the recast call went out.

Catseye: What was the contract dispute over?
MarthaByrne> I wanted to work at least the same amount of days this year as I did last year. That is it all I asked for.

melissa_sipe: So how many kids do you have?
MarthaByrne> I have three children...who are very happy to have me home!

birdlady: have you taped your last episode
MarthaByrne> Yes.

MrSnyder: I'm listening to your CD The Other Side, any new projects coming up?
MarthaByrne> Many:)

armysis: Are you really leaving
MarthaByrne> I taped my last scenes this past Friday.

ashh576: What was your favorite scene or memory?
MarthaByrne> Anything in the Snyder kitchen or with Elizabeth Hubbard.

shootingstar: when is yor last day on atwt
MarthaByrne> This past Friday.

thefan73: Why have you nixed every non-Lily/Rose story of Jon Hensley's?
MarthaByrne> I have no idea what you are talking about???

daisymae: What will you miss the most.
MarthaByrne> laughing with the crew everyday!

bgasper: Are you going to be doing more music? I just love your first cd The Other Side
MarthaByrne> Yes, I will be doing more music...Thank you for your support!

dalejr88: Do you plan on doing anothet soap?
MarthaByrne> I would love to do another soap!

cleary233: Are you close friends with Van and Jon and did you break the news of leaving personally to Van and Jon before it went public?
MarthaByrne> Jon was the first person I told ALL the details to. And then I was on vacation for almost two weeks and people started finding out from other sources...

ellefromholland.: Would you ever consider coming back to ATWT , Martha? Much love from The Netherlands!
MarthaByrne> Hello to the Netherlands. Thanks for joining us. This last few weeks has been very difficult and I need some time.

janefitz: There's been a lot of rumors about what happen between you and the producers. Can you share now what caused the breakdown in negotiation? Also, best of luck in whatever you decide to do.
MarthaByrne> I did not want storyline approval-No one gets that. I had already taken a substantial pay reduction last year. The only thing I wanted was to work at least the same amount of episodes this year as last year. This was denied and that is when I heard about my recast.

Mrcy: I agree the show will never be the same with you leaving Martha. What are your plans
MarthaByrne> First, going on vacation with my family. Then take things from there...

ashh576: You had great chemistry with Jon and Van and a lot of other people. Love you playing Lily! I'll miss you
MarthaByrne> Thank you.

luvlily: Martha, thank you for sharing one of your wonderful talents with us...playing Lily. I have watched you since the early 80's and your character brought me to ATWT
MarthaByrne> Thanks.

Anne: Lily's last scenes are with whom? I hope she at least gets to say goodbye to Lucinda and her kids.
MarthaByrne> My last scenes were with Jon, Michael, and Maura. Michael Park was my hanky when the scenes were done.

MarkH: Is CBS lobbying with P&G on your behalf? I'm sensing disagreements between P&G and CBS on several issues.
MarthaByrne> P&G owns ATWT. They are the final say regarding actors contracts. CBS is involved on many levels, but they don't deal with the actors contracts.

Mrcy: How do we send letters to P&G?
MarthaByrne> One P&G Plaza Cincinnati, Ohio Address it to P&G Productions

shallotpeel: If there's reason to send letters to P&G, does that imply that there is some hope?
MarthaByrne> There is always hope...

thefan73: Jon Hensley will finally be free of you.
MarthaByrne> I'm sure he would agree...LOL

MrSnyder: How was the send off party Friday?
MarthaByrne> Awesome. There were about one hundred people there. Some from our old studio. Some old friends, lots of love in the room! I cried again...

melissa_sipe: I love you martha and will miss you lots
MarthaByrne> Thank you.

MrSnyder: How can we contact you (e-mail and postal mail) since you're not with ATWT?
MarthaByrne> Through my website

Mrcy: Do you know when your last day is suppose to be?
MarthaByrne> I taped my final scenes this past Friday and it will air the end of April.

Elizabethann: I know you are a professional but how hard is it to work with some scenes with Jon with his real life wife least according to what I have read, she is his wife.
MarthaByrne> We are all friends.

cindy_g: I'm so sad over this, your last day will be a kleenex day for sure
MarthaByrne> It was for me!

cleary233: Have you thought about using your expertise by workng behind the scenes in soaps production, i.e. producing,writing, directing or as an acting coach?
MarthaByrne> I would love to work behind the scenes. I am working on many projects as a writer/producer.

melissa_sipe: Martha you were great when you played both roles as rose and lily I thought you did such a wonderful job
MarthaByrne> Thank you. It was so much fun!

ashh576: One of favorite storyline was when Luke came out. How did you feel about playing that?
MarthaByrne> I thought it was well written and very honest.

december: Are the "powers that be" even listening to the fans anymore? Dusty, Craig, and now this?
MarthaByrne> I truly believe that the fans voice is the most important. Without the fans Daytime wouldn't exist. I am a fan myself and I understand your frustrations. You should know that every person behind the scenes appreciates your voice.

luvlily: Do you ever ready any of the message boards, if so can you tell us which ones?
MarthaByrne> Yes, sometimes. I like to read my fans feedback...the good and the bad...LOL

michelle: can we ever buy your cd in a shop in holland
MarthaByrne> hopefully soon...but you can buy it through my website!

Roger_Newcomb: Martha, please tell me you have scenes with Elizabeth Hubbard before we have to say goodbye to Lily. I will miss that relationship so much.
MarthaByrne> I taped my last scenes with Liz last Wednesday and I had to pretend it wasn't the end.

ashh576: I'm sure your hapy to move out of the Snyder farm hotel. WAAAY to many people living there. LOL
MarthaByrne> I agree. LOL

Eileen26: Martha, do writers, TPTB, care about what the fans want?
MarthaByrne> I said earlier the actors & production staff listen to what the fans have to say. What is done after that is out of our control.

jbrr1212: I know it has to be insulting they are recasting so quickly, any thoughts on a new Lily?
MarthaByrne> I only wish whoever it is the best of luck. She will be working with an incredible group of people.

shallotpeel: Silly questions: What's on your iPod? What's on your TiVo?
MarthaByrne> iPod-Mostly 70s & 80s music and a lot of Rob Thomas Tivo-The First 48 and 60 Minutes

nickst: I read that your last ATWT tape date was on Friday...which must have been difficult for you, to say the least. Did you get a chance to say your good byes, especially to the crew behind the scenes?
MarthaByrne> was very powerful.

dalejr88: How does your family feel about your leaving the show? I'm sure they will be happy to have home more (at least for a little while anyway)
MarthaByrne> My husband has always been incredibly supportive. All he has ever wanted is for his family to be happy. When my son found out I would be home more often he said that would be awesome!

Mrcy: So it had nothing to do with you wanting more story lines?
MarthaByrne> It had NOTHING to do with story approval...

ashh576: What is your favorite storyline on ATWT right now?
MarthaByrne> Cowboy Jack...just kidding-LOL

ellefromholland.: Why didn't they agree on you working at least the same amount of shows?!
MarthaByrne> Ask them.

cindy_g: I am glad to hear that, some were calling you a Diva but I defended you and said to wait and hear what MB has to say about things!
MarthaByrne> Thank you. I'm sitting in my sweat pants with pizza sauce on my shirt after giving my kids dinner...I'm no diva!

Lolo: According to your press release, when the recast call went out, you withdrew from negotiations. But that seems a normal course the show would take under these circumstances. Why not stick out negotiations and see where they went?
MarthaByrne> I can't tell you all the details, but after the call went out things went from bad to worse...

MrSnyder: Industry wide (not just ATWT specific) what are your thoughts on the genre of soaps and their future?
MarthaByrne> I think soaps DESERVE a future. How to go about that has been debated often. My feeling is with good story and great actors you will find success.

ellefromholland.: Are you going to take a break for a while from working?
MarthaByrne> No. About 6 weeks...

zoknut: How old were you when you first appeared as Lily on ATWT
MarthaByrne> 15.

ellefromholland.: Do you know why they didn't agree on having you working at least the same number of episodes????
MarthaByrne> No.

luvlily: Do any of the actor or actresses have any input into their storylines on ATWT? I have hated to see so many characters ruined and history erased the past few years on the show.
MarthaByrne> No actor has storyline approval...our job as the actor is to make everything work.

shallotpeel: When you made your statement to Jen Lenhart of Soap Opera Digest mentioning that you had taken a paycut previously by intent & that you were negotiating and into it for 3 weeks and then, etc., etc. I just had a feeling that it was something utterly ridiculous for this to happen over. Were you completely bowled over when this happened? I mean, you've gone into negotiations without an agent or anything at times in the past, etc. ... did you feel like the rug was pulled out from under you?!!
MarthaByrne> I have negotiated over thirty contracts in my career and have never had a problem.

martha: You are my actress. Where ever you go, I will watch your show!
MarthaByrne> Thank you.

Sleepydreams143: Can I ask how they wrote Lily off? I am going to miss you soooo much!! Best of luck in all you do!
MarthaByrne> Lily gets in a limo and takes off...

Lolo: Was the recast call the only reason you stopped negotiating?
MarthaByrne> That was the beginning...

MarkH: Should fans continue writing you c/o the show? That will give them some fanmail to count :-)
MarthaByrne> You can email me through my website.

Tim_Lawrence: Hi Martha. how can I get your first CD? Is it still available?
MarthaByrne> My first CD sold out. You can download my current one on CD or buy it through my website

missingDamian: Martha, you'll always be the one and only Lily IMO. Were you're last scenes dramatic or standard?
MarthaByrne> They were a lot of fun because I was working with Michael Park, Maura, and Jon

lwsfan: Everyone at loves you!!
MarthaByrne> I've had a lot of great support from soapcentral THANK YOU!

blackcat: Do you really think the fans can make a difference? What is the best way to be heard? We want to do something fast and effective......Lily rocks!
MarthaByrne> Write to P& G Productions...

cleary233: Any thoughts on if the portrayal of women on soaps has gotten better or worse?
MarthaByrne> I have always felt that Daytime is a female medium. It upsets me when women are portrayed in a negative fashion. We have a great opportunity on Daytime to tell stories about strong women and the men who love them...those are the kind of stories we should be telling.

lizflyn: Would you work for CBS again--or go to another network?
MarthaByrne> I've worked for CBS since I was eleven years old and would work for them anytime!

MarkH: You were doing the negotiations directly, right? You don't go through an agent?
MarthaByrne> My manager handles it...

shallotpeel: How did you find out that the (re) casting call had gone out?
MarthaByrne> My manger gets breakdowns...

Mrcy: If they decided to do a recast before all of the negotiations went out, I am sure it has been very difficult for you. You have made this show with actors like Jon, Elizabeth, Michael. and etc....
MarthaByrne> Thank you.

Mrcy: They did not give you an explanation?
MarthaByrne> No.

lizflyn: Martha will you have your music on itunes so we can download to our ipods?
MarthaByrne> You can download it on

luvlily: Will you still keep in touch with your castmates?
MarthaByrne> Absolutely!

Jenn: Hi Martha! I know this is a special chat because you left the show... but is there any way we could convince you to do another chat in the future? i loved all the past ones:)
MarthaByrne> I will be doing them more often!

shallotpeel: Who was negotiating directly for ATWT?
MarthaByrne> Their legal department who informed me that they could not write my request for the same number of shows into my contract.

downwhtone: Are there any prime time shows you would like to appear on?
MarthaByrne> Many. I am going to take a couple more questions...

martha: You will be miss! Best of Luck!!
MarthaByrne> Thank you.

shallotpeel: Will you miss the trip to Brooklyn? (You'll always have Brooklyn.)::laugh
MarthaByrne> The three hours I spent in my car NO, but I'll miss the people!

luvlily: We love you Martha and have a wonderful vacation, you deserve it! Best of luck to you and your family in everything you do. You have, do, and will always ROCK!
MarthaByrne> Thank you so much. Please check back after next Friday, I'm going to have some exciting new updates on my website including some great pictures from my going away party!

martha: We all love u!!!
MarthaByrne> Thank you so much, your support has been incredible over the years.

armysis: wow is that three hours one way or an hour and a half one way
MarthaByrne> An hour and a half each way...

forlove: Do you ever watch episodes of ATWT on YouTube? I'm a fairly new viewer and caught up on some of Lily's story that way.
MarthaByrne> I love YouTube. Actually, someone forwarded me a video a fan had to put together supporting me and it was touching.

lisamn: i missed the beginning, did you say what your plans are, atwt will never be the same again
MarthaByrne> As of right now I am going on vacation...keep checking my website and I will announce my future plans. We will also publish a transcript of this chat on my website as well by tomorrow!