As easy as they are to dismiss as serious drama, as easy as it is to mock the plots and sometimes the acting, daytime dramas hold an important place in the history of entertainment. With their convoluted plots and dysfunctional family dynamics, some historians claim that these afternoon television staples actually have their roots in ancient Greek theater. And indeed, for audiences of both at their worst, these dramas provide an hour of escape. At their best, the plots sneak in some social relevance and commentary with the entertainment.
One such daytime drama was the revolutionary One Life To Life. Created in 1968 for the ABC network by acclaimed producer Agnes Nixon, the drama’s intention from its inception was to tell groundbreaking stories under the guise of a “soap opera”. Set in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Llanview, the drama created soap opera firsts simply by populating Llanview with characters of different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds, all of whom were prominently featured. Under Nixon’s guidance, One Life To Live told stories of class struggles and interreligious marriages. A controversial story early in the show told the story of a light skinned young black woman posing as white, and having an affair with a black man. Another “taboo” story dealt with a doctor’s addiction to prescription drugs. And one of the show’s most controversial (and popular) stories had a housewife turned prostitute seemingly commit murder and make a BFF out of her “lovable” pimp. But probably the show’s most popular and long running story dealt with the trials and travails of heroine Victoria Lord and her multiple personalities.
The show won many Daytime Emmy Awards for ABC during its 43 year run, and its famous acting alumni include Tommy Lee Jones and Judith Light. But trying to appeal to a changing viewership in the aftermath of General Hospital’s “Luke and Laura” phenomenon, stories grew increasingly sillier, and ratings began to decline. In 2011, ABC decided to pull the drama from its daytime lineup. The network agreed to participate in a partnership with a online producer, and for a brief period, One Life To Life had a new life to live on the internet. But production problems, delays, and lawsuits finally shuttered the show in 2013.
Before the show’s decline and cancellation however, its writers created several new characters that attracted talented young actors like Crystal Hunt. A former child actress who garnered two Daytime Emmy nominations playing a teenaged character on CBS drama The Guiding Light, Hunt “moved” to Llanview in 2009, playing scheming stripper Stacy Morasco. Intent on stealing her sister’s true love among other soap opera shenanigans, Stacy pretended to be a bone marrow donor, and lied about the paternity of her child. Hunt left the show in 2010, with writers killing off the Stacy character in an accident. Not reformed by death, the character made several guest appearances as a ghost in 2011 and 2012.
About.me shows that in addition to her work on daytime dramas, Hunt has appeared in a series of movies, including The Derby Stallion, Sydney White, and most recently, Magic Mike XXL. She also recently co-produced the horror film Talbot County. Currently, Hunt is appearing on the reality show Queens Of Drama which features her and other daytime alumni creating and starring in the pilot for a new drama. The show airs on Amazon Video, and she’s featured it herself many times in her Vimeo videos.