News Round-up

Sean Kanan entering reality rehab
Seven celebrities have agreed to a stint in rehab — with the TV cameras watching. All will be put under the microscope for a new reality series, REHAB, for the U.K.'s Living TV as they fly to the Passages rehabilitation clinic in Malibu and battle "life-threatening" addictions. Sean Kanan (Deacon, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL; A.J.; GENERAL HOSPITAL; and recently Pierre on SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES) has a painkiller addiction to resolve.

The contestants, who are all said to have been driven to breaking point by their addictions, will be filmed in group therapy, one-on-one sessions and supporting each other. Each episode will document one troubled celeb’s journey, with the final show of the series catching up with them all.

Creative director Nick Samwell-Smith said: "Our aim was to get right under the skin of the processes involved in rehab, and these patients' painful battles with addiction in all its forms."

Screen Actors Guild sets strike vote on Jan. 2
The Screen Actors Guild plans to send strike authorization ballots to more than 100,000 union members on Jan. 2, a date that leaves the Golden Globes safe but puts Oscar night within reach of a potential boycott. Votes will be counted on Jan. 23, nearly two weeks after the Golden Globe Awards ceremony, but ahead of the Feb. 22 Academy Awards, the most important date on the Hollywood calendar.

Approval by 75 percent of voting members is required to pass the measure. If it is approved, the SAG national board can call a strike. Guild President Alan Rosenberg has said a strike is the last resort to force a resolution in stalled contract talks with major movie studios, but that if it is necessary, it would be timed to have the most impact.

Lisa Rinna (ex-Billie, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) is hoping actors won't strike. "But the unfortunate thing is it's the only way we're going to get what we want in these times, when it's the worst of the worst," she said Wednesday night at a private book-launch party in Beverly Hills.

DAYS' James Reynolds on Armed Forces tour
James Reynolds of DAYS OF OUR LIVES is one of five actors who visit U.S. military personnel stationed throughout Germany and Kosovo from Dec. 17 through Jan. 2 as part of an Armed Forces Entertainment holiday tour. "Being a former U.S. Marine, I think of an Armed Forces Entertainment tour like this, as continuing service; to be able to reach out to these young men and women and bring them a piece of home is the highest of honors," explains Reynolds who is s chairman of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 2009 National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans. Bill Brochtrup of NYPD BLUE, Ramon DeOcampo of THE WEST WING, Lissa Layng from the film Say Yes and Amy Danielson from the feature film Take Out are also on the bill.

WONDERLAND coming to DirecTV's The 101 in January
On the heels of its groundbreaking deal that made a new home for the critically acclaimed series FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, DirecTV makes television history once again with the bold return of the highly controversial television series WONDERLAND, the gritty drama that delves into the lives of the doctors of Rivervue, a fictional New York psychiatric hospital.

All eight episodes of the series, including six never-before-seen on television, will air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT beginning Jan. 14, 2009, only on DirecTV's The 101 Network and DirecTV on DEMAND.

The series stars Michelle Forbes (ex-Sonni, GUIDING LIGHT), Dax Griffin (ex-Shane, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) and Billy Burke.

MARK HARDING: Wow! GL and the blogosphere!
"...it was only recently that Tom Casiello reminded us of the SuperFan (my word), and the use of social networking and devoted fans to 'spread the word' about media properties. Sam Ford (sample blog here) has often talked about this whole area of 'convergence culture', and is basically single-handedly introducing the concept to 'thinking fans' who care about soaps.

There can be no clearer sign that the GL team remains committed to moving the show into the new world. I give much credit to that team. Even though I don't know how long the GL experiment can last in this economy, and I'm not sure they're doing everything right, I want to kiss them all for trying. I can't wait to hear the many insights that will flow from this."

CSI and CBS spell a big new job for Laurence Fishburne
"They had a basic premise for who this guy needed to be," former ONE LIFE TO LIVE actor Fishburne says. "You're talking about Grissom leaving, and that's a big hole. Bill Petersen has anchored this show, and he's irreplaceable, but I think you have to create a character who has a kind of intellect and presence and authority on par with Grissom's. I sort of fit the bill in a way, but Ray Langston starts as a level-one CSI. He's the new kid on the block, and he has to prove himself."

HOLLYOAKS to introduce disabled character
Channel 4 soap HOLLYOAKS is to introduce one of its first prominent disabled characters to the show.

Bubbly, fun-loving practical joker Hayley Ramsey, played by 24-year-old soap newcomer Kelly-Marie Stewart, is to turn up in the village at the start of next year, much to the surprise of her brother Zak (Kent Riley).

Both character and actress suffer from Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an acute disease of the peripheral nervous system which affects the nerves in the arms and legs, resulting in inflammation, weakness and sometimes paralysis of the limbs.

Hayley hates being identified by her condition, but is realistic about its limitations to her everyday life, especially where romance is concerned.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES may get four more seasons
Series creator Marc Cherry let slip Wednesday that he is in talks with ABC about continuing the hit comedy-drama for another four seasons.

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