Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday's WDBJ Tragedy Echoes Soap Storyline From the Past

The Edge of Night's Nicole Cavanaugh died live on camera on June 10, 1983.
My name is William Joseph Reynolds, and like Mr. Newcomb (We Love Soaps editorial director), I am a contributor to "Survival of Soap Opera: Transformations for a New Media Era," published by the University of Mississippi Press. My chapter involves 'Memories of The Edge of Night.' From the time I was 7 1/2 years old, in January of 1964, until the show's final airing, on December 28, 1984, Edge was part of my life. in fact, I was one of only two fans invited to the show's final taping.

Today's tragic events involving WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia share a number of similarities with a storyline from Edge, in June of 1983.

Nicole Cavanaugh (played by Lisa Sloan) had just been cleared of murder charges, and was returning to her job as anchor, at WMON-TV. A very happy occasion, indeed. Earlier, on Wednesday, the WBDJ staff celebrated the producer's last day on the job, as she is moving on to a new job in North Carolina, and will be starting a new life with her fiancee, Adam Ward.

During a live WMON broadcast, Nicole collapses and dies, while at her anchor desk. It is, later discovered, that her TV make-up had been poisoned.

Wednesday's gruesome scenario was, also, captured on live television, and a brave and valiant Adam Ward, in his dying moments, aimed his camera at his attacker.

The WDBJ producer saw her fiancee fatally shot, while Dr. Miles Cavanaugh (Joel Crothers) saw his beloved Nicole draw her last breath on air.

Both crimes were perpetrated by fellow news station employees. Station manager Stan Hathaway (Ronn Carroll) was revealed to be the killer on Edge, and died, during a police chase. Vester Lee Flanagan is alleged to have been the gunman in Virginia who killed both, and critically injured the woman being interviewed.

Nicole's former husband was Adam Drake, and her young son was named for him, posthumously, when he was born in December 1977.

The cameraman today was also named Adam. I, like many Americans, am shocked and outraged by this senseless tragedy, but from my perspective, I can't help but recall a storyline from my beloved Edge of Night from 32 years ago.

Watch The Edge of Night episode below:


  1. This is in extremely bad taste, and horribly bad timing. You should have given this a second thought before posting.

  2. I'm sorry but I don't see the connection. This is in poor taste.

  3. I remember that week on Edge. It's nice to see more Edge clips online.

  4. I spent most of yesterday in shock, watching the news channels, and hearing the story become more unbelievable with each new bit of information. The killer videotaping the shootings, the manifesto, hearing he was dead, then actually alive, then dead again later, and on and on. I took a break for a happy hour drink and came home and turned on Rachel Maddow expecting to get an update. Instead her lead story was about an anti-Chris Christie Super PAC that was going out of business. I turned on FOX News, which I rarely do, and they had the murdered news reporter's father and boyfriend on in a very emotional interview. I flipped Maddow back on and it just seemed so shallow. WHY wasn't she covering the WDBJ story? I tweeted to Rachel how disappointed I was.

    Later, she had Frank Rich on who is always a good distraction,and it hit me just how differently we all process stuff like this, and that there's no one "correct" way to react to it. I was getting in that place of being outraged by other people's reaction and what they were doing or saying, and that's never a good place to be.

    I think I'll avoid the news today, at least this morning. It's just hard to function when you think about this type of stuff happening in the world.

    On a daytime soap related note, I'm surprised there weren't more pre-emptions yesterday. A lot of shows were in reruns but they still aired, and we see shows in daytime pre-empted for much less important breaking news stories all the time.