Pratt falls! Emmy award winning head writer Charles Pratt,Jr. has been fired!
News is spreading around the net quickly that Emmy Award-winning writer Charles Pratt, Jr. has been fired as head writer and consulting producer for All My Children. ABC Soaps-In-Depth was the first to report the news this afternoon via their official Twitter, “Just heard from a reliable source something that’ll make AMC fans scream with joy: Pratt is history.” Soap Opera Digest was quick to ride on SID‘s coat tails and announced that ABC had confirmed the news, but there was no information about a replacement.
Pratt will began his run on the ABC soap on June 23, 2008 replacing former co-head writers Barbara Esensten and James Harmon Brown who wrote for the show from May 2007 to Spring 2008. Pratt served as co-head writer of ABC flagship soap General Hospital from 2002-2006. He moved on from GH to consult on primetime hits Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty at the height of their popularity. Pratt’s other television credits include the original Melrose Place, Titans, Manchester Prep, Pacific Palisades, Models, Inc., Sunset Beach, Life Goes On, Gabriel’s Fire and Santa Barbara. Pratt has been nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards and won in 1989, 1991 and 2003.
All My Children fans have clamored for Pratt’s firing for the past few months, with the internet parody series Pratt Falls, chronicling a sensationalized view of the backstage goings-on at AMC, TV Guide Canada’s Nelson Branco and internet blog Daytime Confidential leading the pack of pitchfork-wielders. Initially, Pratt’s run at All My Children had all the fanfare it could garner, but eventually things fizzled. Pratt’s stint at AMC was kicked off with a promo campaign about his work on General Hospital and Melrose Place. Pratt got Eden Riegel (ex-Bianca, AMC) and Vincent Irizarry (David) to return to the show. He convinced fan-favorite Tamara Braun (ex-Carly, GH), freshly coming off a successful run at Days of Our Lives, to head to AMC and play Bianca’s architect girlfriend, Reese. Undoubtedly, Pratt’s best work at All My Children was when leading lady Alicia Minshew (Kendall) went on vacation and Kendall was in a 4-month coma. Pratt was able to shuffle things around on the canvas and really tell story without having to sacrifice other characters at the altar of Zach, Kendall and Ryan (see: Aiden Turner’s departure).
The stunt casting of Guiding Light stars Beth Ehlers and Ricky-Paull Goldin saw mixed reviews. Ehlers’ war vet Taylor never really gelled with Goldin’s bachelor doctor Jake as AMC had initially intended and Pratt soon threw out the playbook and paired the popular Jake with Amanda (Chrishell Stause). The character of Taylor never landed on her feet and Ehlers is now exiting the show. Ehlers publically criticized Pratt’s storytelling on Stardish Radio this summer saying, “And so maybe he needed to be reminded that soap audiences don’t take kindly to you messing with history. And even if you can’t see the seriousness of a situation, they see it. And they want you to write it seriously. You’re asking them to trust you, and soap audiences are very generous. They’ll forgive you as long as they think you’re taking it seriously and trying. If they feel like they’re being, pardon me, &#$@ed with is when they get pissed off.”
Pratt has messed with All My Children‘s rich history on multiple occasions, including having Rebecca Budig’s Greenlee share her wedding day with long-time rival Bianca in one of Pratt’s biggest sweep stunts at AMC, and killing Stuart Chandler off at the hands of twin brother Adam (both roles played by David Canary) in another haphazard storyline that’s currently unfolding onscreen.
Pratt had the eyes of the mainstream media on him when Bianca and Reese had the first same-sex marriage in daytime earlier this year. But he majorly fumbled the story when he had Reese make-out with Thorsten Kaye’s Zach on the eve of her wedding, setting the stage for Bianca to quickly flee to France after the nuptials, coinciding with actress Eden Riegel’s exit. Pratt was heavily criticized by the fans for his comments on the situation in which he insinuated Riegel was to blame for the fiasco that was Bianca & Reese’s storyline. Pratt told TV Guide’s Michael Logan “I was led to believe we had her for longer than we really did — suddenly I got word that Eden is leaving now. We got to play everything we wanted to with Bianca and Reese but not in the time we’d hoped for — in my mind, it was a two-year story. I guess I could have rushed to the wedding earlier so that they’d have had more time together as a married couple and then had them break up, but I think the fans would have been even more unsatisfied with that.”
It seems AMC fans have gotten their wish. Pratt has been ousted, but what comes next? At press time, ABC did not return calls for comment. But with the daytime soap lineup continually shrinking, there are a lot of out-of-work writers available. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Claire Labine (Ryan’s Hope, General Hospital) make her triumphant return to daytime. Either way, TVSource Magazine will keep you updated on this developing story. As for Pratt, he should head over to the struggling Melrose Place reboot over on the CW. His tried and true brand of camp is exactly what the Melrose brand is famous for, and they are in desperate need of a creative revamp.
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