The much-maligned world of reality television is winning praise these days for "keeping it real" in an unexpectedly relevant way -- reflecting a more diverse America than its more highbrow cousins in scripted prime-time shows. Despite decades of public pressure on the major networks to diversify, the lead characters in all but a few of prime-time scripted shows this season are still white -- and usually young and affluent. In contrast, reality programs consistently feature a much broader range of people when it comes to race, age, class and sexual orientation.
The culture mix is driven by more than just political correctness. Although reality shows aren't directly in the business of bringing racial and ethnic enlightenment to America, they are in business. For shows that thrive on conflict and drama, a collection of cast members from varied backgrounds often serves that goal. Unresolved issues surrounding race, class and sexual orientation can either quietly fuel tension on programs or generate outright emotional explosions.
INTERVIEW: GENERAL HOSPITAL's Natalia Livingston (Rebecca)
"Bob and Jill called me in, and I met with them on a Thursday. We talked about the character, and they told me what they had been thinking for this storyline. Basically, I had that one night to absorb what they had said about this character and get a completely different look, and be ready for work the very next morning at 7 o'clock! So it was less than 24 hours to get ready."
Phil Carey honored with military service
Phil Carey (ex-Asa, OLTL) was remembered by former and current castmates, friends and family on Friday, Feb 13 in a military service at a Catholic Church in Manhattan. Carolyn Hinsey reports that Bob Woods, Erika Slezak, Patricia Elliott and Executive Producer Frank Valentini gave moving tributes, along with telling a few funny stories about "Philly." Carey's son Sean eloquently eulogized his dad, and Mark Derwin flew in from L.A. to do a reading.
CORRIE stars pay respects at a memorial service for Sara Roache, late wife of actor Bill Roache
DARK SHADOWS actress Marie Wallace to star in "The Chiselers"
Marie Wallace, who played Eve, Jenny Collins and Megan Todd on the gothic soap opera, will star in Mark Finley's "The Chiselers," which begins performances at TADA Theatre Feb. 26.
HOLLYOAKS stars run Marathon
HOLLYOAKS stars Nicole Barber-Lane, Loui Batley, John Pickard and Junade Khan, have all signed up to run this year's London Marathon.
Barber-Lane told Digital Spy: "I'm hoping this year's going to be better than the last! I didn't know where I was going or what I was doing! I didn't realize that you had to walk a mile before you got to the start line."
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Soap vet Maeve McGuire
"I have never been asked to consider doing another daytime show but I fully intend to continue working in theater and television for many years to come!"