Friday, June 8, 2007

Silbermann Talks WORLD TURNS and Boundary Busting

OUT.com writer Christine Champagne talked to the newest star of AS THE WORLD TURNS, actor Jake Silbermann ("Noah Mayer") about the historical import (and potential) of his gay teen character's upcoming summer romance and his "natural" chemistry with on-screen love interest Van Hansis ("Luke Snyder").

Which isn't to say that the road to gay iconography has run smoothly. Silbermann tells Champagne of his first ATWT public appearance, a trip to the GLAAD Media Awards before he had even aired as Army brat-turned-news intern (turned-supercouple's son-scoping charmer) Noah. His first mistake? Not knowing to be fashionably late...

Read Champagne's story here.

RELATED - "GENERAL HOSPITAL's New Gay Hottie," the Out.com interview with Ben Hogestyn

Thursday, June 7, 2007

HEROES's Kring Signs New NBC Pact

From the Hollywood Reporter:


HEROES creator/executive producer Tim Kring, has inked a new overall deal with NBC Universal Television Studio, the studio behind the hit freshman show.

Under the two-year pact, said to be one of the biggest in television, Kring will continue as the showrunner on HEROES and will shepherd its upcoming spinoff, HEROES: Origins, as well as the various HEROES offshoots in print and digital media. Kring also is expected to develop new projects for the studio.

This marks the first major talent deal to close since Katherine Pope took the reins of NBC Uni TV as president several days ago. That couldn't be more fitting as Kring and Pope are close friends going back to the early days of NBC Studios, which the two joined within months from each other in 1999-2000.
Read the full story here.

Bianco (pre-) Handicaps (pre-) Nominations for the Prime-time Emmys

As nominated soap actors race look to the Daytime Emmys (a week from tomorrow), the soapiest actors in prime-time are at the start of the process to determine who will share the slate with their non-serial bretheren on the prime-time Emmy ballot.

This week, "nominations for nominations" ballots for the prime-time awards fest begin arriving in Academy member's mailboxes. In honor of the occasion, USA TODAY's Robert Bianco offers his suggestions for who should fit the bill.

Bianco's picks are heavy on soap players, including both prime-time serial women (Evangeline Lilly of LOST, America Ferrera of UGLY BETTY, and Sally Field of BROTHERS & SISTERS) and, after recognizing Kyle Chandler of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS on his best actor list, Bianco stocks his supporting actor slate 100% with nighttime soapsters, including Masi Oka of HEROES, T.R. Knight of GREY'S ANATOMY, and Sam Neil of THE TUDORS.

Bianco's list is strong, if a bit safe. He rightly cites that nearly every woman on UGLY BETTY could be nominated for an Emmy, before proceeding to choose the predictable--and most famous choice--Vanessa Williams as the one most deserving. While I like Williams on the show a great deal, stars Ana Ortiz and Becki Newton have given revelatory performances with characters that could easily have been one-note. He also shortchanges BETTY's men in his calculations, with nary a mention of Eric Mabius or the delightfully surprising Michael Urie. (Personally, I would have thrown Adrian Pasdar, who's complicated take on what--literally--could have been a cartoon made viewers willing to patch over a huge plot hole in HEROES's season finale, and to hope that said hole somehow means he'll still be flying into living rooms on Monday nights next season.)

Still, Bianco shows the nighttime serial the love it deserves by recognizing some of the amazing contributions that have been made by TV stars, movie stars, and newcomers alike to the genre and prime-time slate this past season. To read his full predictions, click

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

UPDATE: JERICHO Saved!

Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, has announced via the network's official message boards that the canceled serial JERICHO has been givne a reprieve, with the network ordering seven addtional episodes to be aired, most likely, mid-season of next year.

In her post, Tassler noted, "On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of Jericho in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference."

The digital elements of the show will apparently continue apace until the show makes its return to the small screen, and, should ratings improve for the final seven episodes, a long future could be ahead for the newly revived, and likely just as creepy, prime-time soap.

Jericho Fan Campaign: Just Might Be Nuts Enough to Work

Fan protests of the decision to cancel shows are nothing new. In fact, the Internet is lousy with petitions, old and new, devoted to dearly departed network and cable offerings. Soaps, however, are in a league of their own...something the editors of Soap Opera Digest (who occasionally have to beg fans to stop sending a particular item in) or executives at Proctor & Gamble, drowning in the fruits of whatever fan campaign ("place these two characters together!", "break these two up," "give _______ a new contract!") happens to be active at the time, can tell you.

[ed. note -- I even admit to to participating once, protesting Jennifer Branson's firing from GENERAL HOSPITAL--and as much as I love, love, LOVE Laura Wright's amazing take on "Carly Corinthos," I still think Bransford got screwed, and that ABC Daytime owes her a second chance someplace else...]

But such campaigns are more rare, and less successful, as a rule, in the realm of prime-time, though dissapointed fans of the canceled JERICHO, are redefining the creative fan campaign playing field.

In a recent report filed by Scott Mayerowitz for the ABCNEWS Business Division on ABCNEWS.com reports that a fan campaign to deluge CBS with thousands and thousands of pounds of peanuts to protest the network's decision to cancel the show appears to be working.

So far, nearly 8 million, or 40,000 lbs. of peanuts have arrived at the offices of multiple CBS executives, and the Associated Press, citing an anonymous source, reports that the network is now reconsidering the cancelation, with a decision on whether to revive the show for mid-season next year, due soon.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

David Bauder Looks at Fall's Network Serial Plans

From the Associated Press' David Bauder:

There were two lessons from this season that television executives clearly didn’t forget: Don’t overdo the serial dramas with complex story lines that require a serious viewer commitment, and keep interruptions for successful ones to a minimum.

More dramas — and network TV is primarily in the drama business these days — will tell stories that won’t baffle the viewer who happened to miss last week’s episode.Three successful serials were particularly hurt this season by long intervals with reruns. That was fatal to CBS’ “Jericho,” which was canceled. The other two, ABC’s “Lost” and NBC’s “Heroes,” will run their new episodes uninterrupted next season, following the model of Fox’s “24.” So will the CW’s “One Tree Hill.” CBS will try the same thing with “Swing Town,” one of its most promising newcomers.

“I don’t know if we know the ideal model yet for each of them,” said Kelly Kahl, chief of scheduling at CBS. “We’re looking, experimenting, trying to find the best way to do it.”

SoapNet's Reality Fashion House Victim of $70K Crime


...thus screams the headline in the usually far more subtle ;-) New York Post.

Read the story here.

ATWT Does Branson, MO!

Two stories chronicle the adventures of AS THE WORLD TURNS on location in Branson, MO:

Branson Drenched in Drama with As The World Turns Taping
Business Wire via Yahoo! Finance Tue, 05 Jun 2007 5:43 PM PDT

Where is the "Live Music Capital of the World"? (ed. note - Uhm, it's Austin, Texas) What is its latest claim to fame? It's Branson in southwest Missouri, and the longest-running daytime drama on CBS, As The World Turns, is heading there for on-location shooting June 6 - 8, with the shows plot deeply imbedded throughout the city's theater's and attractions.

'As the World Turns' filming in Branson
The Springfield News-Leader Tue, 05 Jun 2007 1:06 AM PDT

Ask Paula Graves of Morrisville if she's a fan of "As the World Turns" and she'll respond: "Does milk come from a cow? Heck, yes, I am a fan," the 49-year-old said. The CBS soap opera "As the World Turns" is filming in Branson this week and has soap opera buffs buzzing. Some are planing vacations around the show; others are driving to Branson in search of cast and crew members.

Monday, June 4, 2007

One of the surefire ways to make sure a water-cooler show does not face the dreaded sophomore slump is to make the kind of casting choices that not only keep new viewers interested, but might lead others to sample the show for the first time. NBC may be doing just that in adding a vet of a departing show of equal water-cooler appeal to the cast of the superhero soap HEROES next season.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Dania Ramirez, known to passionate fans of HBO's THE SOPRANOS as the fiancee of troubled Soprano scion A.J. (played by Robert Iler), will join the cast next season as a new character with powers.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sci-Fi Announces End Date for Space Serial BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA

From UPI:

The Sci-Fi Channel's Peabody Award-winning and critically acclaimed series BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA is coming to a close.

Although the show's ending was not officially announced until Friday, Gallactica's executive producers, Ron Moore and David Eick, said they began feeling several months ago the show was nearing its end, Zap2it.com reported.

"This is a decision that took some time to arrive at, and like all decisions this large, there were a number of questions we had internally and a creative agenda we wanted to serve. I think we all had to collectively decide when we wanted to be definitive about it. That time is now," Eick says.

Although Sci-Fi reportedly was not exactly thrilled with the idea of giving up the show, Moore said once he and Eick made their case, the network didn't stand in their way.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

NBC's Kostura: Casting Re-Ups Mean PASSIONS "Will Still Be the Same" After DIRECTV Move

An update on the casting re-ups as PASSIONS prepares to move from NBC to DIRECTV from The Hollywood Reporter:

NBC Universal Television Studio has signed the principal cast members of the daytime drama "Passions" to new contracts, ensuring that they will continue with the soap when it makes the move from NBC to DirecTV's original programming channel, the 101, on Sept. 17.

Those continuing with the series include Eric Martsolf (Ethan), Ben Masters (Julian), Kim Johnston Ulrich (Ivy), Dylan Fergus (Noah), Galen Gering (Luis), Emily Harper (Fancy), Lindsay Hartley (Theresa), Liza Huber (Gwen), James Hyde (Sam), Juliet Mills (Tabitha), Heidi Mueller (Kay), Tracey Ross (Eve), Eva Tamargo (Pilar), McKenzie Westmore ("Sheridan") and Erin Cardillo (Esme).

"It is important that the fans know that the show will still be the same after the move," NBC Universal vp daytime Annamarie Kostura said.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

here! Networks to Debut New Supernatural Soap

Following the overwhelming success of their sexy, supernatural soap, the witchcraft-themed DANTE'S COVE, here! Network is debuting a new scripted serial THE LAIR June 1, during Cove's summer hiatus.


here!, a premium television network programmed with gays and lesbians in mind, announced the debut of the first season will be available on the 1st and continue through August with a new episode airing every other week. The show will folllow a young journalist on a quest for answers regarding series of murders...a quest that leads him to a private gentlemen's club called "The Lair," which he soon discovers is home to a coven of vampires.


(UPDATED - DANTE'S COVE Season 2 was recently released on DVD.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Where Did All the Serial Viewers Go?

David Bauder of the Associated Press asks the question (and examines the implications for nighttime programming) here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

'Ever Wonder How New Shows Are Picked?'

In the world of TV, there's an annual high-stakes craps game. Millions of dollars are wagered, and there's just a handful of winners.

The Mercury News has a great story on the TV-show piloting process, entitled "Ever Wonder How New Shows Are Picked?"

Read it here.

DRIVE Sputters (but may rev up yet...)

Variety reports on the disappointing performance of the 2-hour premiere of FOX's action serial DRIVE (starring, among others, ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Nathan Fillion, ex-"Joey Buchanan," pictured), which suffered in a debut time-slot placing it directly opposite an original episode of ABC's hit serial DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES.

The auto-race serial, which features a fairly unique premise, may have a better chance building an audience once it settles into its permanent timeslot on Monday nights and has a chance to benefit from word of mouth among its target audience of young men. Read the story here.

TUDORS Scores Early Second Season Pick-Up

Showtime has renewed its hit period-soap opera THE TUDORS only two episodes into the show's first season.

The heavily hyped premium channel serial, starring film star
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as a young, virile Henry VIII, broke Showtime records with its April 1 debut. Though viewership has leveled off somewhat since, the series continues to post stellar numbers for the net, as evidenced by the serial's early renewal.

The10-episode second season, expected to further chronicle the marriage of Henry to the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, will debut sometime in 2008.

13 Questions With...Marlena De Lacroix

Marlena DeLacroix is a true legend in soap journalism, with more than 20 years of experience as a soap writer, editor, and, most importantly, soap fan. After wrapping up her most recent stint in conventional media at Soap Opera Weekly, Marlena boldly took on the Internet (and is thriving!) with her take-no-prisoners blog, "Savoring Soaps."

At Soappipe, we are flattered to have Marlena as a reader, and honored to have her tackle our 13 Questions With...Marlena DeLaCroix. Hi, Marlena!

What’s the name of your blog? "Savoring Soaps"

If I had to describe my blog in one sentence it would be...a continuation of my "Critical Condition" column, which I wrote weekly from 1989-2001 in SOW.

What appeals to you most about daytime soaps? Throughout all the phases of my life -- college, careers, graduate school -- I could always go back to soaps. They're home.

Do you have an all-time favorite storyline? "Alice-Steve-Rachel" (Jacquie Courtney, George Reinholdt, Robin Strasser) on ANOTHER WORLD circa 1969. Never has a heroine cried more tears, never has a villainess been more delicious, never has a hero's face been so perfectly chisled. All written to utter perfection by Agnes Nixon. Years later, I almost fainted when Reinholdt sent Marlena a tribute poem.

Do you have least favorite story? Anything with "Sonny and Carly" (Maurice Benard and Laura Wright) from GENERAL HOSPITAL. It is not romance, it is not love It's a sick never-ending obsession between two psychologically impaired people. Whoever writes them knows nothing about truth or real relationships.

Of the younger stars out there (say, 30 and under), who do you see as the future of soaps? If they're extraordinary they'll move on, as all young soaps actors always have. Examples: Jennifer Landon, Jeffrey Carlson, Bradford Anderson. What young actors of today will endure in soaps? Those that were cast because of the acting talent and training, not because of beauty or muscles.

Of today’s crop of actors, executives, writers, etc. who do you predict will be remembered as a future "great" in soap history?
The crop of execs and writers that will be remembered are the greats I got to know in the 80's and 90's: Nixon, Mr. Bell Sr., Monty, Labine, Marland, Malone, Rauch, Reilly. No one from today soaps. Anyone who is still around is strictly in survival mode, not creative mode.

Do you watch any of the nighttime serials (
Desperate Housewives, Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, etc.)? Do you have a favorite? I watch the news, BBC-America programming and the games of my husband's favorite baseball team, The New York Yankees. The last truly good nighttime soap was KNOT'S LANDING.

“My readers get most riled up when…” I keep noticing that the ones who hate their soaps the most (
General Hospital in particular) persist in continuing to watch them.

“My readers love it when…” I reminisce about someone or a show I got to deal with personally over my many years soap journalist. Do you know that the recently departed Larry "Bud" Melman (of the David Letterman show) was the world's biggest soap opera fan? I always used to see him (real name: Calvert De Forest) enjoying the free food at soap parties here in NYC . He had the WORST breath I have ever encountered!

“If I could bring one soap (daytime or nighttime) back from the dead, it would be…” EDGE OF NIGHT, the best, most integellent mystery soap ever. Its late headwriter, Henry Slesar, and exec producer Nick Nicholson were two of the classiest men I have ever met.

If you had to give soaps one piece of advice to stem ratings fall-offs, what would it be? Stay intelligent! Write stories solely from character! Let women characters have careers and brains! Ban catfights! Don't hire Megan McTavish ever again!

Finally, if Soappipe.com readers want to visit your blog, what’s the URL?
http://blogs.mediavillage.com/savoring_soaps/

Sunday, April 15, 2007

ABC Nighttime Soaps Win GLAAD Media Awards

GREY'S ANATOMY the hit soap whose actor, Isaiah Washington, was criticized for calling a then-closeted co-star T.R. Knight a "faggot," (leading to Knight's coming out and creating a pre-Imus teaching moment for the nation and a Hollywood that prides itself on being tolerant.) was awarded outstanding individual episode Saturday, by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (for the episode "Where the Boys Are").

ABC continued their sweep--begun when ALL MY CHILDREN beat AS THE WORLD TURNS, among others, for outstanding daytime drama last month in New York--when freshman serials UGLY BETTY won for outstanding television comedy series and BROTHERS & SISTERS took home the outstanding drama series award.

The 18th annual GLAAD Media Awards -- consisting of 42 categories -- are split into four ceremonies, held in Los Angeles, New York, Miami and San Francisco in March, April and May. The awards recognize and honor mainstream media for "fair, accurate and inclusive representations" of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

'EASTENDERS'-inspired 'BORN IN THE USA' revving up for FOX

More details are emerging about the new FOX soap BORN IN THE USA, set to be a loose adaptation of the wildly popular British working-class soap EASTENDERS.

The pilot focuses on the residents of a blue-collar soap opera. Tembi Locke (Windfall) will play the mother to the teenage girl played by American Idol veteran Lisa Tucker. Jon Rowland (AS THE WORLD TURNS) will play a young Catholic priest, while Rod Rowland (VERONICA MARS) will appear as a divorced couple. Scarlett Chorvat ("The District") and Diego Serrano (ANOTHER WORLD, TIME OF YOUR LIFE) will play an engaged couple in the pilot, which comes from American Idol producers 19 Entertainment. (From Zap2It.com)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bringing Sexy Back? MTV's 'Undressed' All Over Again

MTV is has brought back their six-season late-night daily soap opera UNDRESSED to air, SoapNet style, in marathon blocks of re-runs every night from midnight to 4 a.m. ET.


USA Today notes the cheesy nature of the soap, but points out that more than "a few UNDRESSED cast members have gone on to bigger things since the series' run [including] include Superman Returns' Brandon Routh (ex-"Seth," ONE LIFE TO LIVE, pictured), Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff, ONE TREE HILL's Chad Michael Murray, THE OC's Adam Brody and Autumn Reeser and Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Marc Blucas.


FOX and ABC Set to Debut Action-Adventure Serials for Summer

The Hollywood Reporter ran a story this week entitled "Serialized Dramas Hope to Reheat Ailing Genre," but it was less an examination of the industry and more a profile of two new nighttime serials to set to debut as late mid-season replacements. ("Ailing" is, of course, relative, as the pick-up rate of 21% for new serial dramas has already met--and if only one more is renewed this season, it will excced--the average rate for all new shows, of any genre.):

Fox's DRIVE and ABC's TRAVELER -- both heavily serialized dramas -- were developed during the 2006-07 development cycle when the [serial] genre was red hot.

A year later, the genre is in the freezer after the majority of ambitious new fall series with continuous story lines crashed and burned.


Now Drive and Traveler slated for a May 30 launch, will test the airwaves to see if the serialized drama curse has been lifted.

<...>

Indeed, observers note that it was the dark serialized dramas such as VANISHED, KIDNAPPED, SMITH, THE NINE, and DAY BREAK that fizzled, while lighter fare such as the heavily serialized HEROES and the soap UGLY BETTY became the breakout hits of the season.

Drive and Traveler are in the action-adventure genre -- Drive chronicles an illegal cross-country race and its participants, while Traveler revolves around two graduate students searching for their friend Will Traveler, who disappeared after framing them for a terrorist act. That makes the shows a good fit for the summer movie season that kicks in next month....


Read the full article here.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Network Honchos Tackle the State of Nighttime Soaps

Scott D. Pierce writes an absolutely fantastic piece entitled "To Be Continued..." for the Deseret Morning News on the place and future of the nighttime serial on network television. I've included a highly truncated version below, but recommend reading Pierce's full article here.

From the Deseret Morning News:

Last fall, network executives were…declaring this the Season of the Serial — in addition to the [many] shows with storylines that continue from week to week returning—[execs] added 19 more.

By midseason, some critics were declaring the effort a big flop and predicting the end of serialized shows on network TV.

<…>

As with all things in TV, this is cyclical....if the executives were wrong last fall, so were those critics at midseason. The truth lies in the middle. Of those 19 new serials, four — BROTHERS & SISTERS, HEROES, MEN IN TREES, and UGLY BETTY — have already been renewed for next season [a success rate of 21 percent].

A 21 percent success rate is just about [the same] for all new network shows. If one or two more get picked up…this year's crop of serialized newcomers will exceed that average.

Part of the thinking [is] that serials are a risk, but offer a big reward. If they prove popular with [viewers], those viewers will come back week after week.

"Serialization is still one of the biggest hooks that we have into an audience," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said. "[It's] rocket fuel when you hit it."

The risk comes because you're asking viewers to tune in to every single episode [and] the risk increases when there are so many serials on the air, because viewers can't commit to all of them.

Fox's Entertainment president Peter Liguori thinks that serials have to be not just good, but better than other shows. "It seems to me that in order to put on a serialized show, you have a higher standard," he said. "If we're going to ask viewers to make that kind of commitment, you better be great."

<…>

It would be nice if quality always wins out [but] some good shows get canceled; some very bad shows succeed.

The thinking is that there were just too many serialized shows on the air at one time...if a viewer is already watching 24 and LOST and GREY’S ANATOMY, how many of the 19 new shows did he or she have time to start watching [also]?

Reilly acknowledged that critics "were right to acknowledge the overabundance of serialized shows." Particularly too many shows that were so much alike in tone….but [that] you can't argue serials don't work, "because there's Heroes, completely defying the logic," Reilly said. "Highly serialized, highly complex and it's the breakout hit of the year."

And ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson believes that "escapism" equaled success, pointing to Betty and Brothers & Sisters.

Liguori postulates that "shows that have a more singular focus and a singular goal may have a leg up. PRISON BREAK — get out of prison; 24 — save the country."

Network programmers…expect to program fewer new serials this fall. "We're...looking and saying. 'How much [of a] commitment can an audience make to an overall schedule?"' McPherson said. As a result, he's looking at more "stuff that is procedural or closed-ended" for next season.

"We're not running away from it," said NBC's Reilly. "But we are balancing it out a little bit more."

Soappipe’s 13 Questions with…SoapZone's Carol Banks Weber

Carol Banks Weber is the prolific (and insightful) writer on Jeff Jungblut's ABC soaps site Soapzone. On a weekly basis, Carol pulls together previews for the upcoming week, aggregates press coverage from the prior week, and notes spoilers and other items in the rumor mill, with the occasional observation of her own tossed in.

For those and many more reasons, Soappipe is pleased to have soap jounalist Carol Banks Weber as the first industry insider showcased in our new regular feature, Soappipe.com's 13 Questions With... Hello, Carol!

What’s the name of the site? SoapZone.com (it's Jeff Jungblut's site and I write for it)

If I had to describe the site in one sentence it would be… SoapZone.com is a virtual meeting place where everybody goes for the latest soap scoops and the real focus groups, including those in front of and behind the cameras, their friends and family, and the soap press.

What appeals to you most about daytime soaps? I can tune into my favorite soaps and see old, familiar faces, characters who’ve gone through hardships and struggles that I’ve gone through or those I know personally have gone through, characters who have become like second family to me. There’s a reassuring continuity, a foundation of history there that’s missing with these three-to-five-year sitcoms and dramas, as generations upon generations continue in this microcosm of a community, dealing with everyday issues we all have had to deal with… racism, injustice, infidelity, death, diseases, abuse. I like that soap operas elevate the everyday, ordinary – housewives, mothers, cops, doctors – into the extraordinary, the special five days a week.

Do you have an all-time favorite storyline? On GENERAL HOSPITAL, when "Lucy (Coe," portrayed by Lynn Herring) discovered "Dominique (Stanton," Shell Danielson) was dying, she ended their feud over "Scott (Baldwin," Kin Shriner) immediately, kept Dominique's secret and was there in every way to help her. She helped her get ready for her wedding to Scott, and when Dominique did die, she was right there, promising to take care of her daughter with Scott. I cried for days afterward.

Do you have least favorite story? Anything "Sam (McCall," Kelly Monaco) is in on GH. Her current one’s pretty rank. It seems she’s only on to be some titillating victim. I couldn’t much stand the HIV/AIDS story with "Robin Scorpio" and "Stone Cates," either, to tell you the truth. It felt too preachy, and at the time, I absolutely loathed Robin (Kimberly McCullough).

Of the younger stars out there, who do you see as the future of soaps? Unfortunately, I don’t see anybody in the youth demographic staying in soaps long enough to BE a future. But if I were to dream big, I’d say Kristen Alderson ("Starr Manning," ONE LIFE TO LIVE) stands a better chance than any of standing the test of time. It’s been said that Jessica’s the young Viki on that show. But I think it’s gonna be Starr. Ilene Kristen ("Roxy Balsom," OLTL) recently told SOAP OPERA DIGEST she thinks Starr’s poised to drive story for years and years, and I happen to agree. It helps that Alderson practically grew up on OLTL and can deliver the goods when called upon, with some high-caliber actors like Trevor St. John ("Todd Manning," OLTL) and Kassie DePaiva ("Blair Cramer," OLTL). She can do drama and comedy effortlessly, and you can really see her give every scene considerable thought.

Of today’s crop of actors, executives, writers, etc. who do you predict will be remembered as a great in soap history? This is purely subjective, and I can’t count myself as any expert or soothsayer, but … the Labines—they have been maligned as too sappy, but what they did for GH was nothing short of humanizing an action-adventure, soft porn [soap] with [the sorylines of] "B.J.’s Heart," "Monica’s breast cancer," and yes, even trying to shed light on the AIDS crisis through Robin and Stone’s love affair...Rick Hearst
("Ric Lansing," GH), Michael E. Knight ("Tad Martin," ALL MY CHILDREN), Bobbie Eakes ("Krystal Carey Chandler," AMC), Renee Elise Goldsberry ("Evangeline Williamson," OLTL), St. John, Roger Howarth ("Paul Ryan," AS THE WORLD TURNS, ex-"Todd Manning, OLTL"), Julie Marie Berman ("Lulu Spencer," GH), Jacob Young ("JR Chandler," AMC; ex-"Lucky Spencer," GH), Steve Burton ("Jason (Quartermaine) Morgan," GH), Rebecca Herbst ("Elizabeth Weber Spencer," GH), Jason Thompson ("Patrick Drake," GH), Hillary B. Smith ("Nora Hanen Buchanan," OLTL), Phil Carey ("Asa Buchanan," OLTL), Nancy Lee Grahn ("Alexis Davis," GH) and of course Maurice Benard ("Sonny Corinthos," GH).

Do you watch any of the nighttime serials? Do you have a favorite? Gosh, I don’t think I know what the nighttime serials are. GREY'S ANATOMY and LOST? Whatever. Too popular. (I do love FOX’s HOUSE when I have the time to watch.) I spend so much of my free time watching daytime soaps, I don’t have any to spare at night!

My readers get most riled up when… I criticize one of their favorite couples, or GH’s Sam McCall. I receive the most hate mail from Sam and Jolie fans, btw.

My readers love it when… I criticize extremist fan bases, fans bashing fans or going overboard in taking a fictional character so seriously they’ll think nothing of going on the boards to imagine some evil perpetrated by the character’s portrayer, practically inventing backstage drama where there is none [and] people hate it when some [message board] regulars lord it over everybody like they’re the inside track on who to love and hate.

If I could bring one soap (day or night) back from the dead, it would be…
PORT CHARLES, so Kelly Monaco can go back as "Livvie" and "Tess" there, and leave GH alone.

If you had to give soaps one piece of advice to stem the ratings fall-off, what would it be? Go back to basics. Read any of the Tristan Rogers ("Robert Scorpio," GH), Tony Geary ("Luke Spencer," GH), Genie Francis ("Laura Weber Spencer," GH) interviews. Remember that the veterans made the soaps what they are; without them, soaps are nothing but a shell of their former selves. More inter-generational, community interaction about things that matter to viewers. Less violence and misogyny, more heart and soul…show characters CARING for one another, giving a damn, instead of reacting to big explosive events. TELL A STORY we can relate to.

Finally, if Soappipe.com readers want to visit the site, what’s the URL? Start here, at
SoapZone’s News & Gossip page for GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Slezak Sounds Off!

Visit sister blog SoappipeOpinion to learn about what may be one of the most candid interviews by a soap veteran ever. ONE LIFE TO LIVE's Erika Slezak ("Victoria Lord Davidson")holds nothing back on the industry trends, backstage decision making, and she names names! Thanks to soap journalism great Marlena De Lacroix (her current blog, Savoring Soaps, is a must-read for anyone who loved her columns in Soap Opera Weekly) for the tip off.

Through the Looking Glass: Is Y&R the 'Australian PASSIONS'?

Perhaps it's appropriate that we Americans call Australia "Down Under," because the situation with going on with THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS there is sure to feel upside-down to U.S. soap fans.

In the U.S., CBS soap Y&R is the undisputed ratings champion in the race for total viewers--often performing a full ratings point above it's closest competitor--and has been for more than a decade. By contrast, NBC's PASSIONS, though a valuable tool for the network to reach the key 18-25 demo, is seen as an underperformer and has been pulled for a 4th hour of the TODAY SHOW, the popular (and less expensive) morning chat show.

What a difference a continental shift makes! In Australia, Y&R has been a long-running fixture on one of the country's networks. Recently, the Aussie net announced that it would be dropping the underperforming Y&R, despite its devoted and loyal fan base, giving its slot to their talk show, THE CATCH-UP.

However, in a move that many PASSIONS fans are hoping will happen here, Y&R has been snapped up by one of Australia's pay-TV (cable/satellite) channels...to great fanfare and accompanied by a press push that will bring long-time star Doug Davidson ("Paul Williams") to the land Down Under to promote the shift.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

TUDORS Premiere Delivers Record Ratings for Showtime

Showtime's premiere of period soap opera THE TUDORS drew approximately 869K total viewers for it's debut last Sunday night at 10 p.m., and an additional 404K for its 11 p.m. airing. This establishes the decadent Jonathan Rhys-Meyers vehicle as as Showtime's biggest premiere in three years, and three times the network's prime-time average. Additionally, more than a million people sampled Tudors either online or in other on-demand formats, according to Showtime.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Soaps on the Ropes? Broader Impact of Falling Soap Ratings Explored

John Consoli of MediaWeek authors "Soaps on the Ratings Ropes," exploring the changing soap ratings landscape. As a long-time industry watcher, I wish the piece had included some historical context (the advent of alternative cable programming, the year's worth of O.J. trial pre-emptions) that would have been helpful, and explored the highly relevant question of what channels like SoapNet have done for overall ratings (I would be very interested in knowing what GENERAL HOSPITAL's ratings come to when you combine the ABC showing with the ratings for each of the SoapNet repeats), but it does tackle the subject in a balanced way, noting that while soaps may not pull in the viewers they once did, they still are an efficient way to reach a valued audience, and for that reason, still draw advertisers. It's worth a read.

[Editor's Question: The ratings numbers/trends regarding the shows which have benefited from the inclusion of college students are practically the polar opposites from those featured in this Variety story a few weeks ago. If anyone knows the reason for this discrepancy, e-mail me at the address to the left.]

A substantial excerpt of the full article:

Daytime soap operas on the broadcast networks have continued their steady audience decline this year, drawing concern from media buyers who say there are still a large number of clients that want to reach the shows’ largely female viewership. But some nets at least are doing something about it.

While NBC announced earlier this year that after eight years it will pull the plug on PASSIONS this fall, the network will stick with DAYS OF OUR LIVES. And both CBS and ABC insiders say they are committed to keeping their combined seven soaps on the air. But despite the networks’ commitments, the audience shortfalls, combined with advertiser demand, have tightened the avails and driven up prices.

“We always hate paying more for less,” said Andy Donchin, executive vp and director of national broadcast for Carat USA.

“Daytime ratings are bleeding and it’s a problem for advertisers,” added Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer for GroupM, who said he wants soaps to survive, “It’s an efficient way to reach women, and if they go off the air, I can’t think of any efficient alternatives.”

Donchin agreed. “Even though I am concerned about audience falloff, it hasn’t reached a point where our clients would abandon the daypart,” he said, “The total number of viewers each day is still substantial when compared to alternatives like cable or syndication.”
To read the full article, go here.

R.I.P. DAYS' Edward Mallory

14-year DAYS OF OUR LIVES veteran Edward Mallory has died at 76, after a long illness.

Best known for playing Doctor Bill Horton on NBC's DAYS OF OUR LIVES from 1966 to 1980, Mallory also guest-starred on many television shows and directed episodes of other soaps.

TV Guide's Coleridge Talks to OLTL EP Frank Valenti

TVGuide.com senior editor Daniel Coleridge delivers again! Coleridge recently interviewed ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s Executive Producer Frank Valenti in the wake of the show’s strong showing in the Daytime Emmy nominations, including for best show. Here are some of the highlights:

On OLTL’s Best Show Emmy Nomination: I'm not so much surprised as really pleased and very honored by it. We certainly feel like we deserve it. We had a wonderful year [in 2006]…we submitted the "Todd's execution" episode for best show.

On OLTL actors snubbed by Emmy’s Nominating Committees: …It's really unfortunate that Trevor [St. John, “Todd Manning,” ex-“Walker Flynn”) didn't get in there. As we all know, the best actor and actress categories are really tough and very competitive. I was surprised Michael Easton (“John McBain,” ex-“Caleb Morley, PORT CHARLES) didn't get in, too. I was really disappointed about Kassie DePaiva (“Blair Cramer Manning”) and Bree Williamson (“Jessica/Tess Buchanan”). Bree's had an incredible year and has done some amazing work [and] John Paul Lavoisier (Rex) didn't get in because he's just really funny. I don't think those kind of performances are rewarded as they should be….I feel like that's too bad, but that's the way it goes.

On whether Roger Howarth (ex-“Todd Manning,” “Paul Ryan,” AS THE WORLD TURNS) could return to OLTL: I can't really comment on contracts. I will say that we're doing our best to make sure that we do right by the audience.

On the post-departure Emmy nominations of Heather Tom (“ex-Kelly Cramer Buchanan”), who quit OLTL, and Dan Gauthier (ex-“Kevin Buchanan”), who was released from his contract around the same time: They were just phenomenal, but Heather wanted to move on and do other stuff, and I can understand that. And we were in a situation where we had to make some cuts and Dan was let go, and that's too bad. But I really hope that they win. We're behind them 100 percent. They still have a lot of friends on the show.

On Renée Elise Goldsberry (“Evangeline Williamson”): I love Renée. She's one of my favorite people on the show and she's just a tremendous actress. It's so exciting that she's being honored for her work for the second year in a row.

On Ilene Kristen (the recurring “Roxanne ‘Roxy’ Balsom”): You'll continue to see a significant amount of Ilene Kristen in the show. It's going to be fun the way you'll see us integrate her into the show more.

On the next return for Tuc Watkins (ex-“David Vickers”): Tuc's going to come back one more time for another short stint. His stay will be not too brief, but not too long. We're really lucky to be able to have him come back, and it works perfectly with the story.

Who’s the arsonist? If I told you, then it wouldn't be any fun…it's somebody significant and it will have a really nice payoff.

Read the full interview here.

Daytime's Gay Landscape to Shift With Key Comings and Goings

Daytime has come a long way from legendary scribe Douglas Marland's having to nix his original intent to make ANOTHER WORLD core character (and one of the eventual anchors of spin-off TEXAS) "Dennis Wheeler" a homosexual (the storyline was to have him discover his sexuality while in college). The past couple years have seen a daytime landscape with an unprecedented 11 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender major characters (in key storylines) across the three networks. Though the number has dwindled somewhat (mostly due to legitimate plot requirements or an actor's departure), gay characters appear to be widely accepted in the daytime community.

The networks confirm that daytime's gay landscape is set to shift yet again with the exit of the genre's most beloved gay character and the introduction of a love interest for the character most likely to assume that title following that departure (all while soap's most avant-garde offering continues to be just that):

- Soappipe viewers will remember from Brian Frons's
earlier quotes that ALL
MY CHILDREN's groundbreaking (and controversial) storyline transgender rock star "Zarf/Zoe" (Jeffrey Carlson) and his budding realtionship with "Erica Kane" (Susan Lucci)'s lesbian daughter "Bianca (Montgomery," Eden Riegel, possibly the most beloved fictional gay character in all of network TV) will wrap up this month when both characters exit Pine Valley, and the canvas.

- "Luke Snyder" (Van Hansis), the son of teen supercouple "Holden and Lily Snyder" (John Hensley and Martha Byrne), who was the center of a year-long, gutwrenchingly realistic "coming out" storyline before fading to the backburner recently will make his way up front this Summer when Luke gets a boyfriend, a major step for daytime, which has featured its few gay characters as largely asexual to date. With the casting of soap newbie Jake Silbermann complete, expect Luke to first encounter his eventual beau at the soap's fictional TV station, WOAK.

-All this occurs as NBC's PASSIONS
moves full-steam ahead with not one, but two, gay-themed storylines featuring African-American members of two of the show's core families: As lesbian teen (who's coming out to her traditionally religious family and conservative father made for a great story as well) "Simone Russell" (portrayed by Cathy Janeen Doe), mourns the loss of her first lover, brother-in-law "Chad Harris Crane" (Charles Divins, pictured) is currently stepping-out on his wife (Simone's sister) to conduct a secret homosexual affair on the "down low," and suffering the emotional consequences of having to keep such an explosive secret (not to mention being blackmailed by both his lover and good friend--it is a soap after all.)

Also - GENERAL HOSPITAL scribe Bob Guza recently previewed the welcome return of "Lucas Jones" (namesake of the character's uncle, the legendary "Luke Spencer"), a character who's storyline was abruptly cut short by the departure of his portrayer, Ben Hogestyn, when Hogestyn was offered a leading role on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. (There's no word on whether the
popular Hogestyn, who's B&B stint has since wrapped up, will return to the role.)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Nighttime Serials Lauded With High Media Honor

UGLY BETTY and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS were honored with one of the media's most exclusive and prestigious awards, the Peabody Award.

The Peabody is awarded by the University of Georgia for over 65 years in recognition of broadcasting and cable excellence. Peabody Award winners are selected by 15 members of an exclusive advisory board of journalists and academics.

"This year the Peabody Board reviewed an amazing array of outstanding material," said Horace Newcomb, director of the Peabody Awards, "The result is that our work becomes more difficult—and more rewarding—as creators and producers of electronic media develop more and more powerful, important, and engaging work."

This year's awards will be formally given out on June 4 at the Peabody Awards ceremony hosted by broadcaster Bob Costas.

A complete list of winners is here.

'InTurn' World to Turn Again

From Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter:

CBS has ordered a second season of the original Web series INTURN in which nine young acting hopefuls compete to land a recurring role on CBS' AS THE WORLD TURNS. Slated for launch in the summer, INTURN 2 will again document the challenges of participants as they undergo screen tests, cold readings and other acting challenges while residing under the same roof. A new episode will debut on CBS.com twice a week for eight weeks.

After six of the contestants are voted off by the judges -- with actors from the on-air daytime drama serving as judges -- viewers will determine the winner through an online vote. The first season of the Web-based reality show, which debuted in the summer, wound up becoming the most-streamed program of those specifically created for CBS' broadband channel Innertube.

Disney - Time Warner Pact Benefits SoapNet Viewers

Walt Disney Co. entered a multi-year, comprehensive distribution pact with Time Warner Cable that will extend retransmission consent for ABC-owned broadcast TV stations, and provide for carriage of other Disney networks (including SoapNet) and services. This secures SoapNet for many households, and extends the network to many others.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Popular U.K. Soap HOLLYOAKS to Cross the Pond

BBC America is dropping classic shows including Benny Hill and Keeping Up Appearances and bringing in popular youth-oriented soap opera HOLLYOAKS and the special effects-laden Dr. Who spin-off Torchwood as anchors of a key revamp of the increasingly popular channel (the American version of the British BBC channel). Read more here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Sudsy TUDORS Premieres to Positive Reviews

Splashy (and star-studded) period soap THE TUDORS premiered Sunday night on Showtime (though, at least for the time being, viewers without the pay-channel can view the first two episodes online by going here), and the reviews have been largely positive across the board. USA Today, gives the new serial three stars out of four. Here are some great quotes from their review:

"With lances up and shirts off, Showtime is counting on Henry VIII to make history once again....if that means turning Henry into the world's first Men's Health monarch or giving co-star billing to star Jonathan Rhys Meyers' six pack, so be it."

"Whether the effort works depends, in part, on whether viewers want a historical Masterpiece, along the lines of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, or...a soap romp with historical underpinnings, a sort of 'Desperate Monarchs'"

"Tudors can offer many a royal pleasure, starting with Rhys Meyers' lusty performance, but including a mostly excellent supporting cast, high-class production values and an entertaining script."

"[The story starts with] a still-vibrant, pre-fat Henry, just tiring of his first marriage and considering his second. The plot [leaves] plenty of room to fit in a second or third season before Henry has to turn into the corpulent, bearded bedder-and-beheader [we know]..."

"I'd say 'keep your shirt on,' but that would violate everything The Tudors stands for."

Read the full article here.

Visit the Showtime site for THE TUDORS here.

Fall Primetime Schedules Start Shaping Up With Additional Cancellations

James Hibberd updates us on how the primetime landscape is shaping up for dramas next season:

In rapid succession, a flurry of struggling shows are being yanked from the schedule. NBC’s THE BLACK DONNELLYS, the CW’s 7TH HEAVEN,” Fox’s The Wedding Bells and ABC’s SIX DEGREES have either been pulled off the air or ceased production early this week as networks reconfigure their schedules for May sweeps.

The David E. Kelley’s dramedy The Wedding Bells has ceased production, but the network plans to air three more episodes. The Friday night drama most recently earned a mere 1.4 rating among adults 18 to 49.

ABC pulled SIX DEGREES last fall, then brought back the show as a March addition to Friday nights. Its last airing earned a 1.1 rating. Repeats of Wife Swap will air in its place.

NBC’s mob drama THE BLACK DONNELLYS filled a Monday night hole vacated by STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, and has bled viewers nearly ever airing. Last night’s episode earned a 2.0 rating. Donnellys will be replaced by the reality series The Wedding Crashers.

The 7th Heaven will finish its final season, with a finale to air May 13, but will not return this fall.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Happy 51st Birthday to AS THE WORLD TURNS!

On April 2, 1956, AS THE WORLD TURNS premiered on CBS. The Proctor & Gamble show, serves (or served) as sister show to CBS's GUIDING LIGHT, NBC's SOMERSET, TEXAS, and ANOTHER WORLD and, at various times, became home to six AW characters after that show's cancellation. ATWT is up for 16 Emmys this year, including nominations for Best Directing Team, and every acting category but one. Congratulations on 51 years!

(April 2 was also the date of the premiere of the much beloved law and order soap THE EDGE OF NIGHT.)

'Guiding All My Beautiful Restless Children:' Returning to Soaps After 20 Years Away

Emmy-Winning Writer Ken Levine (Cheers, M*A*S*H, Frasier, The Simpsons) says he last spent an entire day watching daytime soaps on June 4, 1987. Recently, he sat down to do so again, and discovered what he'd been missing. Read his essay on his 'return' to daytime (entitled "Guiding All My Beautiful Resltess Children") on Variety.com, here.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

GH's Monaco Joins FOOTBALL WIVES in First Use of New Contract Flexibility

The loss or gain (or return) of a major star is a surefire way to gamble with the ratings, and network and show execs have been criticized in the past for being particularly unwilling to work with hot, young actors tempted by outside projects. (GENERAL HOSPITAL is famously rumored to have sealed the end-of-contract departure of Jacob Young--then GH's "Lucky Spencer," now ALL MY CHILDREN's "J.R. Chandler"--when they refused to allow him to take a role the Renny Harlin-Sylvester Stallone film Driven.)

That is why many observers were surprised when ABC Daytime and GH were able to come to terms with a clearly happy Kelly Monaco ("Samantha McCall," ex-"Livvie Locke Morley," PORT CHARLES). Though the negotiations went down to the wire, Monaco--a ripe candidate for daytime departure if there ever was one (after raising her profile considerably by winning the first season of the breakout hit Dancing with the Stars)--declared that the show had given her unprecedented flexibility in exchange for ABC having exclusive rights to any prime-time "branching" she might seek to do.

The details were vague, and rumors had Monaco reporting to the set of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES for work seemingly every week (she wasn't). It now turns out that fate had an entirely different ABC nighttime soap in mind for Monaco: the highly anticipated, star-heavy British import FOOTBALL WIVES (based on the British hit soap Footballer's Wives). Monaco will be a featured guest star (hello, Heather Locklear!) for an undetermined amount of episodes, joining a cast that already includes Lucy Lawless, DAWSON'S CREEK's James Van DerBeek, SUNSET BEACH and Third Watch's Eddie Cibrian, real football wife Holly Robinson Peete of 21 Jump Street, and film star Ving Rhames, among others.

And what about GH? Despite Monaco's "Sam" being played in very heavy story, the show has let her out as required without objection. While a temporary recast was considered, GH decided to shoot around Monaco's schedule instead, confirming that the flexibility built into Monaco's contract by ABC is indeed extensive.

Should the experiment work, it may serve as a model for future contract renewals with breakout stars, allowing soaps to keep much needed (and significantly happier, no doubt) fan favorites, while allowing said favorites the chance to do the kind of outside projects that will not only serve their careers, but might also make new fans willing to follow them back to their "day job." Sounds like a win-win to me...if a potentially more complicated one.

College Viewers Continue to Deliver for Soaps Under New Ratings System

Soappipe has already explored how better measurement techniques by Nielsen Media Research of college students has revealed significantly greater viewership for daytime soaps (including NBC's PASSIONS and CBS's GUIDING LIGHT), boosting ratings in what was seen as a long-overdue move (and sadly, one made after the decision was made to cancel PASSIONS) to fully capture the viewing habits of young adults--often considered the key demo by advertisers.

In his MediaWeek piece "ABC Benefits From Out-of-Home College Viewers," writer John Consoli notes how the change is affecting the prime-time landscape (and clearly benefiting nighttime soaps like GREY'S ANATOMY and UGLY BETTY, and satisfactorily solving the mystery of why the seemingly lagging Anne Heche vehicle MEN IN TREES snagged a much coveted early renewal from the network.)

"MARCH 29, 2007 - ABC ratings have benefited more than any other broadcast network in prime time from Nielsen Media Research's new measurement of out-of-home viewing by college students,according to an analysis by media agency Magna Global USA. And, ironically, The CW, with the youngest median age, had the second to the fewest number of shows among the Top 20 which benefited most.

According to the Magna analysis, ABC Thursday night drama Grey's Anatomy has gained three rating points among the
18-24-year-old demo group, from a 6.0 to a 9.1, and that has boosted its rating by one rating point in the overall adult 18-49 demo group, since Nielsen began measuring out of home college viewing in January. ABC's other Thursday night dramas Ugly Betty and Men in Trees have also gained among the 18-24 audience, off lower bases.

Betty rose from a pre-college out of home measurement 18-24 rating
of 2.4 to a post measurement rating of 3.7,
a gain of 56 percent, while Trees went from a 1.4 to a 3.3, a gain of 140 percent."

Read the full article here.

Read earlier article Nielsen's Change, Soaps Benefit.

GL Stars Bring Full Hearts, Willing Hands to Norfolk, Virginia

GUIDING LIGHT stars Frank Dicopoulos ("Frank Cooper"), John Driscoll ("Henry 'Coop' Bradshaw") and Nicole Forester ("Cassie Winslow," pictured), will be in Norfolk, Virginia, this morning to donate their efforts as volunteers at Haven House, a local homeless shelter. The appearance will coincide (and hopefully help to promote) a major renovation for the shelter where volunteers will include painting, cleaning, landscaping and restoration of common areas.


The appearance is the latest in a series of public and community service efforts by GL stars in support of the GL "Find Your Light" initiative which encourages good works as a means of celebrating GL's 70th year of radio and television broadcast. For more information on "Find Your Light" and the milestone anniversary, visit www.findyourlight.net.

Videos, pictures, and a description of the GL cast's recent "Find Your Light" efforts to help rebuild the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast area, click here (it starts about 1/3 of the way down the page).

Friday, March 30, 2007

SHOWTIME Premieres 'Sixteenth-Century Soap Opera' with Film Star Rhys-Meyers

Period-soap fans mourning the series close of HBO's sumptuous ROME, need cry no longer. This Sunday, Showtime premeires THE TUDORS, what network president Robert Greenblatt has already declared to be one of the net's "great soap opera[s]."


While Showtime has been a pioneer in the nighttime serial field with the groundbreaking QUEER AS FOLK and THE L WORD, Tudors follows a more traditional, bodice-ripping, path, and stars Irish film star Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as a younger, fitter version of the ambitious and oft ill-tempered Henry VIII, with Sam Neil, Jeremy Northam, and Gabrielle Anwar in key supporting roles.

Here is the full text of a recent show profile by Bill Higgins:

"Showtime touts Tudors"
Show acts as sixteenth century soap opera

HOLLYWOOD -- Sixteenth century love, war and really well-embroidered costumes drew an overflow turnout to the Egyptian for Monday's screening of Showtime's The Tudors.

It's not often that a TV miniseries screening requires a second theater, or a Les Deux Cafe after-party needs overflow rooms, but such was the draw of [Rhys-Meyers] as a bare-chested, oversexed Henry VIII.

Key to the show's success, said Showtime [president] Robert Greenblatt, is that it's "a great soap opera."

"It's got sex, intrigue and dysfunctional families," said Greenblatt. "In fact, it's the original dysfunctional family -- nothing changes in 500 years. And who doesn't want to dress up like that?"

'Variety' Trio of Articles Focuses on B&B Dynasties on AND off-screen

Variety writer Michael Maloney recently contributed three soap opera-themed pieces, centered primarily around THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL's 20th Anniversary earlier this month.

[1] In "
Bell Family Into Soap-Opera Business (Daytime dramas offer domestic bliss for clan)" Maloney profiles the family of William J. and Lee Phillip Bell (co-creators of B&B and THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS), including children Lauralee Bell Martin (ex-"Christine Blair Williams" on Y&R), William Bell (president, Bell-Phillip Television, producers of Y&R and B&B), and Bradley Bell (executive producer and head writer of B&B):


William J. Bell brought to life the Newmans, Abbotts and Fosters
on [Y&R] and the Forrester, Logan and Spectra gangs on
[B&B], but the daytime guru's greatest family was always his own....the senior Bell passed away in April 2005, but his wife and children continue his legacy as driving forces in the daytime community....
Read the full article here.

[2] In "'
[B&B] Foursome Thrive on Stability (Soap's cast consistency brings believability)," Maloney focuses on the soap's four remaining original cast members, Susan Flannery, John McCook, Katherine Kelly Lang, and Ronn Moss, and the impact their playing their core characters continuously (not counting temporary replacements for illnesss, etc.) for 20 years, has on the globally popular show.

Television audiences are acquainted with both Darrens on Bewitched and a pair of Beckys on Roseanne, but for 20 years (a rare fill-in or two aside), soap opera loyalists have known only singular versions of core
characters Stephanie, Eric, Brooke and Ridge on [B&B], thanks to the
commitments of their respective portrayers.
Read the full article here.

[3] And in "
[B&B] Won't Eschew Issues (Soap mixes entertainment, education)," Maloney profiles Lee Phillip Bell's historical commitment, both as a journalist and soap opera creator/story consultant, to social issues, and how that legacy has continued on B&B, highlighting Stephanie Forrester (portrayed by Susan Flannery)'s homelessness storyline among others tackling alcoholism, rape, and child abuse.

Successfully combining entertainment with education isn't easy, but [B&B] sparked by co-creators Lee Phillip Bell and the late William J. Bell, has accomplished just that during its 20-year run.
Read the full article here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

HEROES: Coming to a Phone Near You

From Yahoo! Biz: "Gameloft and NBC Universal Enter Worldwide Agreement to Bring The #1 Television Drama Series 'Heroes' to Mobile Phones." Read it here.

AMC Takes Home GLAAD Media Honors

ABC's ALL MY CHILDREN was honored at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards in New York last night, for "their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives."

AMC, which faced competition from AS THE WORLD TURNS, GENERAL HOSPITAL, and PASSIONS, likely edged out the competition with its groundbreaking story of a transgender rock star, portrayed by Jeffrey Carlson. (Could this bode well for PASSIONS, and its similarly groundbreaking "down low" storyline next year?)

GLAAD describes itself as "dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation." Last night's ceremony in NYC saw the presentation 26 of this year's 42 media categories. Additional awards will be presented in Los Angeles on April 14, in San Francisco on April 28, and in South Florida on May 10.


More information on the GLAAD Media Awards, including a full list of nominees, categories, and information on upcoming ceremonies, can be found here.

How Branson, Mo. Courted ATWT

More on the AS THE WORLD TURNS remote shoot in Branson, MO. Read it here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When the Drama at the Daytime Emmys Isn't On-Screen...

Michael Schneider of Variety reports on a West Coast vs. East Coast Daytime Emmy battle that is producing drama enough to rival the best of the soaps the awards are set to honor:

“Yet another battle is brewing in the West Coast vs. East Coast TV Academy smackdown.

The New York-based National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences (NATAS), which runs the Daytime Emmys, has announced that it will pay for only one statuette per category winner this year, meaning that those who share a victory would have to shell out $350 apiece for their own statuettes.

But the West Coast-based Academy of TV Arts & Sciences (ATAS) -- even though it doesn't administer the Daytime Emmys -- plans to dig into its own pockets and reimburse any West Coast winners who are asked to pay for their statuette.

NATAS [president] Peter Price [said that] with nonprofits…facing increased financial woes, the group could no longer pay for so many statuettes.

‘We're a nonprofit, and our trustees mandate that we produce a breakeven budget. To do that, we have to pull in our horns on some luxuries we used to do. If ATAS feels that they have the deep pockets to do it, then that's wonderful.’

In a letter sent over the weekend to ATAS members who are also Daytime Emmy nominees, the West Coast group took issue with NATAS' belt-tightening.

‘The Los Angeles-based Television Academy wants you to know that, as a matter of principle, we do not agree with this decision and do not believe that any Emmy winner should have to pay for their award,’ the letter read.

ATAS recommends that winners who must pay for their Daytime Emmy statue go ahead and send the money to NATAS; ATAS will then arrange to reimburse the winner.

The two TV academies had worked more closely in recent years on the Daytime Emmys, but ATAS has been less involved this year. Unlike in past years, NATAS did not consult ATAS on the nomination process; also, ATAS will not produce or pay for this year's nontelevised Daytime Emmy Creative Arts Awards, which had been covered by the West Coast [organization] in past years.

ATAS and NATAS have battled off and on since the TV Academy split into two separate orgs in 1977.”

Read the full article here.



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Use of original Soappipe material either by reprint or linking permitted, as long as "Soappipe," "Soappipe|Opinion," or "Ben Bryant" is credited.