The Giants of Broadcasting Luncheon was held today as the The Library of American Broadcasting inducted 11 people including Agnes Nixon, dubbed the Queen of the Modern Soap Opera. The other inductees were Dick Clark, Lesley Stahl, Eddie Fritts, Norman Corwin, Sam Donaldson, Hal Jackson, Art Linkletter, Rue McClanahan, Daniel Schorr and David L. Wolper.
Library of American Broadcasting Foundation President/CEO Donald West hosted the event at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
Nixon was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Daytime Emmys. I've previously shared the story that in my one meeting with her she said something to the effect, "Your handwriting is worse than mine!" It's nice to see her continue to get the recognition she deserves for being a groundbreaking writer in the industry.
She's been mentioned in various ways in a number of the WE LOVE SOAPS TV interviews. Here's a sampling:
She is a wonderful dreamer and I am a realist and that's one reason we worked well together. The combination was very workable and good for the show.
The cynical critics said, “See, the American audience never did have any concentration span.” That’s simply not true. ANOTHER WORLD had been a huge hit for an hour long. But they had great writers such as Bill Bell, Agnes Nixon and Harding Lemay.
I don’t think Agnes Nixon did. She bent, but never bowed, to the network. I know Bill Bell didn’t. Things are different unfortunately for the Bell family now without Bill there as far as YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS goes. Someone made a sign that I hung over my desk for years that said, “There are piles of dead soap operas on the street that were killed by network executives.”
I liked this social work that Jeremy was doing through the network based on the writing of a character who was highly spiritual. I thought that was a gift from the writers, coming down from Agnes Nixon.
She hired me on ANOTHER WORLD and then wrote the part of Anne for me [on ALL MY CHILDREN]. But I was still on ANOTHER WORLD at the time. I left ANOTHER WORLD when I had my first child, Ian, then I was able to do the part. She hired me as soon as I had the baby. I didn't like to go to [the ANOTHER WORLD studio in] Brooklyn so much when I was breastfeeding. She wrote the part for me on ALL MY CHILDREN and my son played little Phillip on the show. Then she talked to my husband about writing.
A lot of credit in the good taste in casting that show (ANOTHER WORLD) has to go to head writer Agnes Nixon. I was too young and stupid to know. But when you think about that cast, we had Harry Bellaver, we had Hugh Marlowe! Hugh Marlowe was in All About Eve for crying out loud!
Agnes [Nixon] wanted her. I think that’s alright to say, she did want her. Fred Silverman [President of ABC Entertainment] was not particularly interested in Nick Szabo and the criminal element. But the criminal element was right for the neighborhood and right for the time. I don’t know if it that’s how Fred was justifying it for us because Agnes wanted Julia, or what. But that was the heavy influence there.
They couldn’t stay with a simple thing that worked. They got greedy. The people that were there on a constant basis stopped coming. That is what I liken RYAN’S HOPE to. It was this wonderful little restaurant and it was doing so well. Then you come in, you start fiddling around with it, and that’s what I saw. Then ratings started going down, and you had the LOVING situation. Agnes Nixon, of course, had a tremendous amount of power though.