While it was started by Loving creator Agnes Nixon, The City was different from other soaps of its day, as the city wasn't the main setting on this show: the loft and its surroundings took precedence, and the city was secondary. Also, the show was shot on videotape using the Film-Look process for its entire run.
One of the most daring storylines on this show was one involving a transsexual. Photographer Bernardo had a one night stand with model Azure C. He went to the corner to get some orange juice when he saw a picture of Azure C. before the sex change operation. The modeling agency which they both worked had to do a lot of damage control. The storyline began to take off but was soon dropped, in part due to the subject matter and in part due to lackluster reaction to Chang's performance. Azure and Bernardo reconciled and left town.
Like its predecessor, the show did not catch on (even though the cast had many famous faces, such as Morgan Fairchild and Debbi Morgan). In an attempt to remind viewers of the well-received "Corinth Killer" plot, in mid-1996 the show had most of the characters stalked (and some murdered by) a killer who left notes saying "Happy Now". The killer was revealed to be Danny's girlfriend Molly Malone, whose sweet, perky behavior belied her true nature.
Several months later, Lorraine, who had dazzled critics and fans in the final months of Loving, joined the show. She had left her long-lost love Charles (Angie's ex-husband) and took up with fellow middle-aged alcoholic Nick Rivers. Rivers shared a past with Sydney Chase and there were plans to team the two up (they had palpable chemistry a decade earlier in ABC's short-lived prime time soap Paper Dolls) but the plans never materialized.
Morgan Fairchild had only signed a one-year contract and left when that contract expired in late 1996. ABC replaced her with Jane Elliot, who was very popular as the witchy Tracy Quartermaine on General Hospital (Elliot had previously helped produce Loving from 1994-1995). Four months prior to her arrival, Elliot reprised her role on General Hospital for the summer in order to cross over on The City in the fall. However, despite Elliot's addition to the show, ratings continued to be the lowest of any daytime soap opera and ABC pulled the plug.
Five months after cancellation, after airing classic episodes of ABC's other soaps (All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital) in The City's time slot, ABC would replace the show with Port Charles, a soap that would last until October 2003. The show did provide happy endings for most of its characters but when they failed to get Morgan Fairchild to appear again as Sydney Chase, the show killed her off by the "Happy Now" killer. Talk show The View used Sydney Chase's loft set from The City until its fifth season.
The original characters of the show included the survivors of the murder storyline on Loving, including Ally Alden (played by Laura Wright), Steffi Brewster (Amelia Heinle), Alex Masters (Randolph Mantooth), Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan), Tess Wilder (Catherine Hickland), Buck Huston (Philip Brown), Danny Roberts (Ted King), Jocelyn Roberts (Lisa Lo Cicero), Jacob Foster (Darnell Williams) and Frankie Hubbard (Alimi Ballard). Among the original characters there were Zoey (Joni Allen), Nick Rivers (Roscoe Born), Richard Wilkins (Corey Page), Tony Soleito (George Palermo), Joey Soleito (James Sioutis), Bernard Castro (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez), Sydney Chase (Morgan Fairchild), Azure C (Carlotta Chang) and Molly Malone (Melissa Dye).
Angie Hubbard and her son Frankie were characters that originated in the early 1980s on All My Children, and were transplated to Loving in 1993. Thus, with the premiere of The City in 1995, Angie and Frankie became the first two individuals who have been regular characters on three ABC soap operas. Likewise, Angie's portrayer Debbi Morgan became the first actor to portray the same character as a regular on three different soap operas.
Characters Cooper Alden (Michael Weatherly) and Deborah Alden (Nancy Addison) made brief appearances on the show during the beginning of the show. By 1996, several original members had already left the series, including Bernard, Sydney, Frankie, Steffi, Azure C and Molly. To refresh the cast, and substitute Fairchild's departure, the show welcomed Tracy Quartermaine (a General Hospital transplant, played by Jane Elliot) to the show. Other new characters included Dillon Quartermaine (also from GH, played by P.J. Aliseo), Jared Chase (Joel Fabiani), Carla Soleito (Amy Van Horne), Gino Soleito (Al Martino / Joseph Sirola) and Lorraine Hawkins (Maggie Rush).
- ↑ Daytime Emmys
- ↑ The only other character appearing as a regular on three ABC soap operas is Skye Chandler, portrayed by actress Robin Christopher on All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital.
- ↑ In December 2007, Frankie returned to All My Children, portrayed by Cornelius Smith Jr. Angie reappeared on AMC the following month, portrayed once again by Debbi Morgan.
- ↑ Alimi Ballard did not portray Frankie on All My Children.