Ryan's Hope - March 15, 1991
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Uploaded on May 12, 2009
Opening, mid-bumpers and closing from Ryan's Hope, on March 16, 1991. In an alternate universe, RH actually experienced a resurgence in the ratings during the years that Joseph Hardy was executive producer (1983-88). The show's move to 12PM EST in October 1984 proved to be temporary, as fans inundated ABC with so much enough hate mail and protest that at the beginning of January 1985, it was moved to a more accessible 11/10c time slot. RH thus helped to establish a new morning soap block, with a December 1984 revival of the vintage ABC daytime serial Day In Court following RH at 11:30/10:30c (premiering the following monday after The Edge of Night's demise). The better time slot, coupled with the improved writing and heightened viewer interest caused RH to zoom up to fifth place out of all daytime soaps by 1986. On January 16, 1989, the series expanded to an hour, with Day in Court moving down an hour earlier to 10:30/9:30c.
Hardy was succeeded by Felicia Minei Behr (April 1988-January 13, 1989) and then by James E. Reilly, who began with the first hour-long episode. The 1980s success continued for the first several months of Reilly's reign, but gradually, new bizarre characters crept in with stories that bordered on the supernatural, and at the same time, the envelope was pushed concerning greater sex and skin exposure in daytime. Reilly's intention was to be intelligent and provocative, but viewers saw as quite the opposite, and were alienated.
In late 1989 and 1990, upset the the show's history was being forgotten and spat on, with the controversial storyline in which Maeve Ryan turned alcoholic, vandalized the local church, killed Father McShane and joined a Satanist cult, several cast members left RH, some of which had been with the show since its inception. Bernard Barrow, Ron Hale, Maria Pitillo, John Gabriel, Rosemary Prinz, Barbara Blackburn, Earl Hindman, Tichina Arnold, Cali Timmins, and Brian McGovern all left in the wake. Among the recasts, actor/musician Mark Hudson (The Hudson Brothers, Mark Hudson and the Party Boys) became the new Roger Coleridge, and Kim Rhodes became the umpteenth Siobhan. Ratings fell to 13th place in the summer of 1990, and viewers, in addition to the network were getting furious. Reilly reign of terror mercifully ended on December 2, 1990, and coming to replace him the following week was Wendy Riche. Ms. Riche, together with Francesca James, set out to clean up Reilly's mess and pick up on the good times where Felicia Minei Behr left off.
Between December 1990 and March 1991, many long-gone from the Riverside canvas started returning to the show, including Louise Shaffer and Kate Mulgrew to name a couple. The event that brought viewership back to its feet was Ryan Fenelli's second marriage (2/14/91) to suave mobster Sonny Corinthos, who joined the show under Reilly in '90. As the morale was getting a boost , Riche was gearing up to revamp the show's image for the 1990s - marking March 16, 1991 the final day of the 1983 version of "Here's to Us" and the 1984 visuals package.
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