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News Round-up: Linda Evans, GL, Burke, Miller, Irna

Linda Evans Reflects on Her DYNASY Days
It gave people an insight into what life could be like if they had everything they wanted," Evans said of ABC's prime time soap opera that aired from 1981 to 1989. "And yet showed that even if you are rich doesn't mean that you are happy, because there was a lot of drama."

The former DYNASTY beauty also opened up about her plastic surgery. Although she called it a "great gift to women," Evans acknowledged she might have taken it too far.

"I've made some choices where I've gone, 'Whoops,'" Evans said. "I think anyone who looks at me can tell. ... People know what you should look like and why you don't."

Paul Burke has died at age 83
Burke played Neal McVane on DYNASTY in the 1980s as well as C.C. Capwell on SANTA BARBARA. Burke, who had leukaemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, died with wife Lyn at his side at his home in Palm Springs, family spokeseprson Daniela Ryan said.

Irna Phillips, The Mother of Daytime Drama
A Jewish schoolteacher from Dayton, Ohio, she was a script-writer for a daytime radio talk show before creating and starring in the Chicago-based PAINTED DREAMS, the first daytime serial specifically targeting women listeners. By 1932, PAINTED DREAMS had become so successful that Phillips urged the local station, WGN, to sell the show to a national network. When they refused, Phillips took them to court claiming the show as her own property.

While the lawsuit was being settled (rights were eventually granted to CBS), Phillips went on to create several other soaps, including TODAY'S CHILDREN, WOMEN IN WHITE, THE BRIGHTER DAY and THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS.

GUIDING LIGHT PROJECT: Into the Home Stretch
Lynn Liccardo writes: "With GUIDING LIGHT's final episode looming at the end of this week, CBS News finally stepped up to the plate with extended stories on both CBS SUNDAY MORNING and 60 MINUTES. Even taking into account the formidable challenges posed by trying to do justice to GL's seventy-two year history in ten and fifteen-minute segments respectively, it was a mixed bag."

A genre in decline
In the 1960s and '70s — the heyday of the genre — as many as 19 soap operas dotted the daytime landscape. After GUIDING LIGHT ends, it will be down to seven. Blame competition from the Internet and cable, as well as prime-time television, which offers its own brand of melodrama via shows such as GREY'S ANATOMY and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Reality TV has also posed a stiff challenge with its ongoing dramas that offer soapy elements.

"Viewers have discovered that real-life drama can be a lot more intriguing and fun, in some cases," says Victor Miller, an Alameda resident who wrote for GUIDING LIGHT during the '90s. "Meanwhile, the networks have seen that reality TV can be done for a lot less money. Think about it: With JUDGE JUDY, you only have to worry about one set, one star, one assistant ..."

"Soaps aren't grabbing the young girls," he says. "Mothers and wives are too busy to be a captive audience anymore. And Grandma's out working at Wal-Mart. So who's there to put the kid on their lap and watch GUIDING LIGHT?"

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