Instead of using her tears for a scene this time, “One Life To Live” actress Kassie DePaiva waited until she walked off the set and into the shadows.
She buried her head in a friend’s shoulder and wept. The ABC daytime drama, which leaves the air Friday, Jan. 13, after 43 years, has been her home for 20 years. DePaiva was letting go of her character, the put-upon Blair Manning Cramer.
And it wasn’t easy.
“One Life,” airing weekdays at 2 p.m. EST, is set in the Pennsylvania town of Llanview, where an heiress with a split personality and a man with an evil identical twin aren’t so unusual.
This town was tied together through newspaper publisher Viki Lord (Emmy winner Erika Slezak), whose multiple marriages almost equal the number of her hidden personalities.
The “One Life” universe included the wealthy Buchanans, the bickering Cramers and the vile Mannings.
Aside from off-the-wall antics, “One Life” also dealt with down-to-earth issues with relative restraint. Racism, drug abuse, rape, openly gay relationships and unwanted pregnancies were among the topics addressed.
On the day before the last taping, the actors were taking the cancellation hard.
“I had such a wonderful time on this show that I would have paid (the producers) instead of them paying me,” said Ilene Kristen, who has been the outrageous Roxie Balsom for the past decade. “I am thankful. Very thankful.”
In her dressing room, with flowers, cards and knickknacks from over the years laying about, actress Hillary B. Smith, who played no-nonsense attorney Nora Buchanan, was fighting back tears but releasing a bit of her anger over the decision to end the show.
“This was a short-term-gain decision and a long-term-loss decision” by ABC, she said. “I don’t think that’s such a wise thing. The format of the serial will come back.”
In 2011, ABC canned two soap operas — “All My Children” and “One Life.” The decision was due to the genre’s declining profits.
A plan to take the show online failed, making Jan. 13 the end of an era.
As of Jan. 16, “General Hospital,” about to mark its 49th anniversary, will be the only daytime drama ABC has left — and even its fate is shaky.
A “One Life” cast member since 1979, Robert S. Woods, who played police chief Bo Buchanan, had mixed emotions about where to go next. At age 64, he figured retirement might be his next step.
He’s open to the next chapter.
“Never say never. Who knows?” he said. “It’s going to feel weird. I guess I might be kind of relieved that I won’t have (scripts) I need to read over and over on Sundays. That will certainly be different.”
Other highlights for the week of Jan. 8-14 (listings subject to change; check local listings):
“Shameless” (9 p.m., Showtime). Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) and his dysfunctional family return for a second season of con jobs and desperation.
“Gator Boys” (9 p.m., Animal Planet). Two Floridians have the dangerous task of handling various situations with alligators in this new reality series.
“House of Lies” (10 p.m., Showtime). The comedy-drama follows the manipulative work of management consultants in the corporate world. Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell star.
“Absolutely Fabulous” (10 p.m., BBC America). After eight years, the British sitcom about two wigged-out lady friends returns with three new episodes.
“Watch What Happens: Live” (11 p.m., Bravo). Andy Cohen brings his freewheeling talk show to five nights a week.
“House of Anibus” (7 p.m., Nickelodeon). The teen soap about students solving mysteries at a boarding school is back for a second season.
“Caged” (10 p.m., MTV). In this new reality series, four friends living in a Louisiana town try to improve their lives after graduation.
“Shipping Wars” (9 p.m., A&E). In this reality series, the work of six independent shippers transporting items others won’t touch is profiled.
“24 Hour Catwalk” (10 p.m., Lifetime). Four designers are given 24 hours to create their own lines in this reality competition.
“People’s Choice Awards” (9 p.m., CBS). The ceremony, airing live, will feature such stars as Faith Hill. The winners are determined by the public.
“Only in America with Larry The Cable Guy” (9 p.m., History). The comic returns to travel America and learn of people, places and things that define American history.
“Face Off” (10 p.m., Syfy). Another season starts in this competition about special-effects makeup artists.
“Rob” (8:30 p.m., CBS). Rob Schneider plays a newlywed who is alienated by his Mexican-American bride’s family.
“The Finder” (9 p.m., Fox). This “Bones” spinoff features an eccentric veteran who has the uncanny gift of finding the lost.
“Blade” (11 p.m., G4). The Marvel Comics vampire gets an anime twist in this new adventure series.
“A Taste of Romance” (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel). What’s cookin’? A classically trained chef and a laid-back cook strike up an unlikely romance in this family-friendly film.
“The Graham Norton Show” (10 p.m., BBC America). Madonna stops by for a chat on this British talk show.