Thursday, February 15, 2007

"As the World Turns" Brings Back Ali

Marnie Schulenberg has been cast as Alison Stewart on "As the World Turns." She was last played by Jessica Dunphy. When Dunphy left the soap to pursue other opportunities, Alison the character moved to Seattle to join boyfriend Aaron Snyder (Agim Kaba).

Alison was a bad girl just like big sis (and bio mom) Emily Stewart (Kelley Meninghan Hensley) when she first came to Oakdale, but by the time she left, she had finally matured and gotten her man. Now it seems the newest incarnation of the character resembles Alison during her teenage years. In an interesting crossover, the character will first be seen on "The Young and the Restless" (both are CBS soaps, but "Y&R" is not a Procter & Gamble-owned soap like "GL" and "ATWT" are) on Feb. 22nd. Ali will help friend her Amber (herself a character crossover from "Bold & Beautiful," played by Adrienne Franz) trick Chancellor heir Cane into marriage.

You can get caught up to date on Alison's shenanigans on the Internet by watching the Innertube original series "L.A. Diaries" at Schulenberg will debut on "ATWT" on Mar. 21.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

When Singers Perform on Soap Operas

Lately, there's been a trend of real-life singers and bands performing on soap operas. From the Scissor Sisters on Passions to Nelly Furtado on OLTL to Josh Gracin on Y&R (to name only a few), concerts seem to be the trend du jour. Weigh in on how you feel about this.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Farah Fath and Judi Evans Depart Days Next Month

As we reported in December, Bonnie Lockhart's days in Salem are numbered, as Days has confirmed that the actress, along with her TV daughter, Mimi, will be leaving Salem. Their last air date will be March 1.

When I spoke with Farah Fath (Mimi) last winter, she was excited about her impending departure, as she had been itching to stretch her acting wings. Farah explained: “I want to go through pilot season. I’ve never done that before. Not as many new shows are being produced, and it’s harder to get the job, but it’s something I really want to do and am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can give it a try.”

Judi Evan's (Bonnie) departure will be bittersweet, as she always was a hoot to watch, but as she readily admits, Bonnie was not a central character. While she had her share of fans, her character garnered her share of detractors, too. “I get a lot of hate mail,” Judi proudly confessed to me last fall, “which I love the most. If you can strike a nerve with people and have them take time out of their day to put pen to paper to express it, then it shows you’re doing your job.”

While we'll definitely miss them, perhaps this opens the door for an Adrienne and Justin (Wally Kurth) Kiriakis return to Days? Please?!?

SOAPnet Announces First Original Scripted Drama: General Hospital: Night Shift

SOAPnet has just announced that it will air original episodes of a General Hospital spin-off soap, tentatively titled General Hospital: Night Shift. (Read the whole story on the network's Web site. ) While viewers are accustomed to catching reruns of their favorite soaps on the cable network, airing an original soap will be a first for the network.

According to the article: SOAPnet has greenlit 13 episodes of its first serialized drama General Hospital: Night Shift (working title), a storyline extension about the lives and loves of General Hospital's favorite characters during the night shift at the hospital. This is the first time a soap has extended its current story line beyond what is seen in daytime.

"We are committed to growing the soap genre and the General Hospital franchise by expanding its storyline only on SOAPnet. General Hospital: Night Shift will launch with an audience that is already dedicated and compelled to know more about what happens on the night shift at the hospital," said Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group.

"Now that we're in almost 60 million homes, the time is right for SOAPnet to launch its first serialized drama," said Blackwell. "Our continued growth enables us to give our viewers more of what they want – original series that go deeper into characters, stars and story lines and acquired series that feed their soap habit. Our new line-up will do all of that and more."

This is exciting news for the series -- and soap operas in general. If this works for GH, then perhaps more soaps can get in on the act. Imagine the new audience that some shows could attract. This could bode especially well for some shows that have been struggling in the ratings -- they could bring aboard a whole new set of fans!
Personally, I would love to see Guiding Light get into the act. (Although I don't like to pick favorites,) GL is consistently (IMO) the best-written, best-acted and best-directed show on daytime telelvision, and it deserves more of an audience. It's been around for 70 years, and it deserves at least 70 more. Maybe this is one way to do it?

Eric Braeden Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

Earlier this year, Eric Braeden (Victor Newman, "The Young and the Restless") was honored with the 2007 Pacific Pioneer Broadcast Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. And what better way to celebrate than to have your friends and colleagues roast you?

As Eric told me last week: "There were 10 people roasting me. Dabney Coleman -- my crotchety old friend -- did a very good roast."

Also on hand to tease the King of Daytime was on-screen son, Josh Morrow (Nicholas Newman) and on-screen rival, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott), along with "a lot of old friends."

While Eric had a wonderful time, and things got a little R-rated, as roasts tend to do. Unluckily for us fans, this was a private affair -- no cameras captured the high jinks. That's too bad, too -- I'd pay good money to see Victor Newman being roasted by Jack Abbott.

Congrats to Eric, and my hat's off to you for being such a good sport!

SPOILERS! Week of Feb. 12th

AMC: "Janet from Another Planet" returns to Pine Valley.
ATWT: Gwen and Maddie take things too far with Adam.
B&B: For "B&B's" 20th anniversary, the four original cast members gather at Big Bear cabin.
Days: Hope and Chelsea try to let go of the past until Bo learns of his daughter's deception.
GH: Nikolas is distraught when he can't find Emily after the explosion.
GL: Gus and Harley eagerly await the judge's decision about Sydney.
OLTL: Blair has her hands full when she catches Starr with Cole.
Passions: Ethan is outraged when Jared refuses to give up his love for Theresa.
Y&R: Colleen makes a shocking discovery in Korbel's apartment.