Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is no stranger to television, from the local news to guest spots on prime-time shows. On Tuesday, he added to his filmography with a stint on the newest soap opera in town.
After 40 years of shooting the fictional suburb Pine Valley on the East Coast, the ABC daytime drama “All My Children” has moved production to Southern California. Villaraigosa was on hand to welcome the new neighbors -- with a cameo appearance.
In an episode scheduled to air Feb. 17, Villaraigosa plays himself. While at a conference in Pine Valley -- which he’s attending in an attempt to lure business to Los Angeles -- he comes across Erica Kane (played by Susan Lucci) at a local lounge called Confusion.
“It’s all in a day’s work,” Villaraigosa said after wrapping the scene. “This is the entertainment capital of the world. It’s my job to promote an industry so integral to our economy.”
The soap’s move is an attempt to save money and enhance production values, said executive producer Julie Hanan Carruthers. The new facility is twice the size of the show’s New York home and includes the ability to tape the show in high-definition. “I’m hoping that it will reinvigorate not only ‘All My Children’ but investment in daytime television,” Carruthers said.
The relocation is good news for Los Angeles. According to FilmL.A., the nonprofit group that manages film permits for the city and parts of the county, on-location filming in L.A. sank 19% last year compared with 2008 -- the steepest year-over-year decline since tracking began in 1993.
“At a time when we’ve lost so many jobs, every series we can bring to the city is a good thing,” Villaraigosa said.
Most of the New York-based cast made the move to the new L.A. location, where production began earlier this month. But the majority of the production crew are local hires.
Of the remaining seven daytime dramas, just two -- ABC’s “One Life to Live” and CBS’ “As the World Turns” -- continue filming in New York.
L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti will also appear on “All My Children”; his episode will air Feb. 16.