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Shelved soaps set for a swan-song salute

Daytime Emmys 2012

Erika Slezak will make history if she wins her seventh statuette for drama lead actress Saturday at the Daytime Emmys. But the former “One Life to Live” leading lady is looking forward more to being reunited at the kudofest with her ex-castmates and co-workers from the canceled ABC soap, which wrapped production in November.

“The things that I miss most about ‘OLTL’ are the work and the people,” says Slezak, who played Victoria Lord (and her many alter-egos) for more than 40 years.

Slezak will be joined by seven-time lead drama actor nominee Robert S. Woods, who won an Emmy for playing Bo Buchanan on “One Life” in 1983.

“He’s a wonderful guy,” she says. “I called him as soon as I heard he was nominated. He’s quite happy being a farmer up in the country now.”

“One Life” exec producer Frank Valentini moved from New York to Los Angeles soon after the show finished taping its last episode, so he could assume exec producer duties at “General Hospital,” ABC’s remaining soap. But he hasn’t completely put “One Life” to rest.

“It’s been challenging living in a different city and moving my life out to the West Coast,” Valentini says. “I don’t think I’ve fully mourned the end of ‘One Life.’ I’m trying to prepare myself for seeing everyone again.”

Melissa Claire Egan, nominated in supporting actress for her role as Annie on “All My Children,” which went off the air after a 41-year run in September, now has a life very similar to the one she lived for six years in Pine Valley. The actress is one of many former “All My Children” players who’ve been hired over the past several months at CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.”

Therefore, the actress feels, the Emmys won’t be so much of a reunion as it will be an instance in which “Children” can be honored.

“It’s so exciting for the show to be nominated for outstanding drama series,'” says Egan, who remains in regular contact with her “Children” pals. “People won’t be saying goodbye — they’ll be saying, ‘Wow, job well done!’ ”

If Slezak wins, she plans on thanking the show’s many fans. Valentini, a nominee as one of the show’s directors, says veteran director Larry Carpenter will deliver the speech if they’re victorious.

“Larry’s a great guy — he said if we win it’ll give him a chance to say something nice about me,” Valentini says with a smile, “which will make my mother very happy.”

The broadcast is set to air tributes to the two canceled shows, but Valentini is hoping that this actually isn’t the final farewell for either program — and not just because “One Life,” which aired two weeks of episodes in January, may be eligible for awards next year.

“Both shows will live on for years to come,” says Valentini. “There’s still incredible equity in both of those brands. Maybe you haven’t seen the last of them. Keep your fingers crossed.”

Daytime Emmys 2012
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