Who ordered the Lucci Sandwich? Delicious Erica Kane returns to All My Children October 6 after a 10-week absence and walks right into a love triangle. The Pine Valley diva, played by Emmy winner Susan Lucci, has been away on a pre-honeymoon with fiancé Jack (Walt Willey) — a plot device to accommodate the actress' summer hiatus — and she discovers that her gruff mountain man Caleb (Michael Nouri) is now lookin' mighty fine. TV Guide Magazine had a little chit-chat with La Looch to get her take on her character's impending 12th marriage. Will little Erica finally find true bliss? Or is she just killing time before she moves on to lucky 13?
TV Guide Magazine: Welcome back! It feels like you've been away forever.
Lucci: I've never had this kind of a vacation in all my adult life! I've never taken more than two weeks off from the show, except when I was on maternity leave to have my children. We've been traveling so much, especially since AMC moved to LA, that we stayed home! We have a house in the Hamptons and my goal was to go there and get back in touch with my real life, and be available to my children and grandchildren. It was everything I wanted it to be.
TV Guide Magazine: Was the same true for Erica? Has the time away been good for her and Jack? She still wants him?
Lucci: Erica is very sure of her feelings for Jack and definitely intends to marry him. But then she lays eyes on a clean-shaven Caleb and sees how bright he is in business and she can't forget that this curmudgeonly crank saved her life. This new Caleb is so intriguing! Suddenly, there's more to this man than she thought was there. And Caleb, of course, thought Erica was nothing more than a fluffy poodle. He also sees there's much more to her than that.
TV Guide Magazine: Caleb and Erica will agree to work side by side to run Cortlandt. This isn't looking too good for Jack.
Lucci: Oh, no, Erica really wants him! In fact, she notices that Krystal [Bobbie Eakes] is just a little too interested in Jack and that makes Erica even more interested in him. [Laughs] The claws will come out! But, yes, circumstances will force her to work with Caleb. She's ready for a difficult situation but suddenly she has these good feelings about him and she's also holding onto her good feelings about Jack. So there's a real pull. And that's what will begin the triangle.
TV Guide Magazine: Who do you think Erica will wind up with? Who is Susan Lucci rooting for?
Lucci: I don't know which way it's going to go or if anything is engraved in stone as far as the writers go. I just know there's a terrific setup here. I'm so lucky to be in this story with Walt and Michael because they're both so great looking and such great actors and very different from each other. As for Erica, she wants to be very sure she's doing the right thing before she gets married again.
TV Guide Magazine: So she's finally learned her lesson after so many tries?
Lucci: [Laughs] She's learned some lessons. She surely doesn't want to do it again unless she knows it's going to last this time.
TV Guide Magazine: But can she help being a repeat offender? Isn't Erica rather addicted to emotional chaos?
Lucci: That's a good point. Yes, it does seem like Erica is addicted to romantic trouble. She may well be after something that she can never have. It's what makes her interesting. It's also her downfall.
TV Guide Magazine: What do you think the audience wants to see happen here?
Lucci: One good thing about taking a break from the show is that I've been out and about and people were telling me what they think about this. Usually, I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, so I don't get a chance to get that feedback. When I left the show, the audience could already tell there was a triangle coming — those elevator doors closed and Erica was with Jack but she was looking at Caleb — so the reaction has been very divided for weeks. Walt has a huge and very loyal fan posse that likes Jack with Erica. Then there are those people out there — let's call them independents — who tell me they're taking a wait-and-see approach. And of course Nouri brings his own very vocal fan base. So we'll see... In the meantime, I'm having a good time working both ends. It's not a bad scenario!
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of bad scenarios, why was there such lousy reaction to the Erica-Ryan romance? I'm way in the minority here, but I was sorry to see it aborted.
Lucci: I thought it was full of good possibilities. Maybe it was the timing. Alicia Minshew [Kendall] left the show for a while so we couldn't really play the story of Erica being with one of her daughter's men. We also went through a change in writers around that time. And what the fans did get to see just wasn't enough for them to hold onto. I think we could have had so much fun playing the cougar aspect of that story. I was all for it!