Why'd she do it? All My Children star Susan Lucci tells TV Guide Magazine that the scorching new chapter in the paperback edition of her book All My Life — in which she blasts ABC Daytime chief Brian Frons as "that fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance" — was written at the request of her publisher, HarperCollins.
"The book had gone to print well before the cancellation and they felt my story wasn't complete without my response to the show going off the air," Lucci says. "They wanted my honest and raw reaction to it. At first I didn't know what to say or even think. I was so upset and angry and stunned that my eyeballs were spinning in my head. But I sat down with my co-writer, Laura Morton, and we talked it through. And it is indeed raw. Very raw."
In the new chapter, out September 13, the Emmy-winning actress takes direct aim at hatchet man Frons, who has become rather infamous of late for his cavalier attitude toward soaps and those who watch them. She openly blames the gradual destruction of AMC on Frons' "very bad decisions" — among them, dumping the show's genius creator Agnes Nixon and installing his close friend Chuck Pratt as head writer.
Lucci tells us she has no regrets about blasting her former boss, nor did she rush into it hastily to meet a publication deadline. "We got word about the cancellation right before Easter vacation, so I spent the first part of my vacation working on the new chapter," Lucci says. "Then I went away for a while and came back to revisit the material and work on it some more. I wanted it to be candid."
The actress is particularly incensed that AMC — which ends September 23 — will be replaced by a Frons-developed reality food show called The Chew. "I wake up in the middle of the night and this cancellation still seems so surreal. Is it really over? How could ABC have let us go like this for a cooking show?" says Lucci, who doesn't discount the buzz that the network has secretly wanted out of the suds business for years. "Was there disdain for daytime drama on the part of Brian Frons? Did he ever really like what we did at All My Children?"
With the approach of The Chew and The Revolution, a weight-loss show due to replace One Life to Live in January, Lucci feels ABC Daytime "has entered an era where cheaper is better. We are at a crossroads and I think the network has taken the wrong turn."
In response to Lucci's new chapter, ABC issued this biting retort: "We have all the respect in the world for Susan, and are sorry she felt the need to write this epilogue to an otherwise incredible career."
The "epilogue" to her "career?" Puh-leeze! Lucci, who's been meeting with lots of TV bigwigs lately, including Desperate Housewives' Marc Cherry, tells us she'll soon report for work on her fourth episode of TV Land's Hot in Cleveland where she plays herself and the arch-enemy of Wendie Malick's character Victoria Chase. Better watch out, Victoria, La Looch is on fire!