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Debbi Morgan Talks the Return of 'All My Children'


Debbi Morgan
Michael Stewart / WireImage / Getty Images

Happily, the reports of the death of "All My Children" turned out to be greatly exaggerated and the daytime drama is getting a second life courtesy of Prospect Park, which will make it available to fans online beginning April 29.

The story will pick up five years in the future from its last airing on ABC, which was done to accommodate the storyline, as not all members of the cast will be returning. For example, Susan Lucci, whose Erica Kane character was a huge part of the series, is currently working on the upcoming Lifetime show "Devious Maids," and not available to reprise her role.

"The first day of filming was so emotional," recalls Debbi Morgan in an exclusive interview with About.com. "All these familiar faces from back in the day like Jill Larsen, David Canary and Darnell Williams. It was an emotional and exciting day. It has remained that way, so far."

Info on the New Episodes

The new episodes of "All My Children" will be 30-minutes in length, instead of the hour-long format in which it previously aired, and Morgan says that to help keep the budget in line with its new online format, they are shooting pieces of several episodes each day.

"It will be a bit of a challenge jumping back and forth to where you might be emotionally," she says. "The thing that is fortunate for me is that this character has been with me for over 30 years. I know her inside and out. It won't quite be as difficult for me because Angie and Debbi have pretty much become one now. I have a real handle on this character."

Why She Didn't Want To Return -- At First

When the buzz first started that "All My Children" was being rebooted online, Morgan had just been cast on "The Young and the Restless" as Harmony, a role which wrapped up in September 2012, making her available once again. A resident of Maryland, Morgan had been flying back and forth between coasts as "Y&R" shoots in Los Angeles, as did the last couple of years of "All My Children."

"I really didn't want to entertain the thought of commuting back and forth cross country the way I had done for the last 2-1/2 years because it almost killed me," she says. "I thought, 'I don't want to do this.'"

Darnell Williams' Return Cemented the Deal

But the news that the rebooted version would be filming in Connecticut and a phone call from Darnell Williams, who plays her husband Jesse Hubbard, went a long way to encouraging the North Carolina-born actress to rejoin the cast.

"Darnell is like my brother and when he said that he had been called and he was going to do it, I was, 'Okay. That's it. I'm on board.' That it was going to be on the East Coast … it was like all the stars were in alignment for this to happen."

Pine Valley

New sets are going to have to be built to recapture the charm of Pine Valley, as the previous ones were recycled when the series was cancelled, but Morgan was reassured that it would all come together by the fact that longtime "All My Children" producer Ginger Smith had been chosen to oversee the new version of the soap.

"I thought, 'Oh my, God. Of all the people I would want to work with as an executive producer, it would be Ginger." She has been with the show so long. She is somebody you can sit down with and with and talk to and be real and honest with."

Debbi Morgan Identifies with Angie

Morgan also felt the pull to revisit a character she has grown up with, having played the role of Angie off and on for more than three decades

"I identify with her in terms of she is strong," says Morgan. "I have gotten to that point now. It was a ways to go for me. Angie is somebody who I always felt had strength of character. I had a lot of bumps in the road from my childhood and growing up, but I have finally gotten to that place where she is. I would say the parts of our personality that are most similar would probably be our warmth. I am a very warm and effusive person, enthusiastic and that is very much how Angie is. She is really loveable and I would like to think I am because I am not somebody who is kind of distant and aloof and hard to get to know or sit down and talk to."

Confirmed "All My Children" cast members include:

• Julia Barr as Brooke English
• Ryan Bittle as JR Chandler
• David Canary as Adam Chandler
Lindsay Hartley as Cara Martin
Vincent Irizarry as Dr. David Hayward
• Francesca James as Evelyn Johnson
• Thorsten Kaye as Zach Slater
• Jill Larson as Opal Cortlandt
• Ray MacDonnell as Dr. Joe Martin
• Cady McClain as Dixie Cooney
• Debbi Morgan as Dr. Angela Hubbard
• Eric Nelson as AJ Chandler
• Jordan Lane Price as Celia Fitzgerald
• Eden Riegel as Bianca Montgomery
• Heather Roop as Jane McIntyre
• Sal Stowers as Cassandra Foster • Denyse Tontz as Miranda Montgomery • Jordi Vilasuso as Griffin Castillo
• Darnell Williams as Jesse Hubbard

"I feel in my gut that this is going to be a success," Williams adds. "It is just going to be so wonderful to be a part of history. It will be like radio going to television."

Brand new 30-minute episodes of "All My Children" will be launched each weekday beginning April 29 for the digital audience to stream online via the free Hulu.com service and to subscribers of Hulu Plus. In addition, the iTunes Store will offer the series via iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV and Mac or PC.

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