Erica – A Heroine by Any Other Name-

The protagonist would be Erica, and Erica would make history.  On this day in 1970, All My Children debuted with then unknown Susan Lucci playing the soon-to-be iconic Erica Kane. Erica remained Pine Valley’s antagonist for the show’s entire 41-year televised run and married no less than 12 times – including some invalid nuptials and a renewal ceremony, that is. Off-screen, Lucci would be famously passed over 18 times before winning an Emmy in 1999 for outstanding lead actress in a daytime drama series.

Say what you will about the genre, but AMC and its heralded heroine lead the way – and even the daytime ratings one year. Its storyline focused on young love, something new for the genre, not to mention tackling topical issues like the Vietnam War, HIV-AIDS and even portraying the first legal abortion aired on American television in 1973, the same year as the Roe vs. Wade ruling. The abortion storyline was Erica’s, of course – it’s no wonder that “Erica Kane” is the title of songs by Aaliyah, B5 and Urge Overkill.

The firsts didn’t end there; AMC introduced daytime television’s first African-American super couple, Angie and Jesse in the early ’80s. Writer and creator Agnes Nixon was doing something – or rather lots of things right because All My Children was reportedly the most widely recorded show in the U.S. at one point. Of course, all good things come to an end, and AMC was no exception. Soap opera viewership was on the decline, and on Apr. 14, 2011, ABC announced that AMC would be cancelled, the last episode aired on Sept. 23, 2011. There were hopes to revive the drama online, but it was deemed unfeasible, besides Lucci hadn’t signed up and what would Pine Valley be without Erica?

-Tara Losinski