SCMS Conference To Cover Current/Future State of Soaps

Veteran soap opera actor Tristan Rogers, best-known for his portrayal of Robert Scorpio on GENERAL HOSPITAL and spinoff series GENERAL HOSPITAL: NIGHT SHIFT, will be joining the three co-editors of a forthcoming book on the current state and future of the soap opera in a panel about the genre at the 50th annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 18 from noon until 1:45 p.m. Rogers, who is currently developing the upcoming web soap REALITY BYTES, will speak about his contribution to the book, a short perspective on changes in the soap opera industry, with soap opera audiences, and with the shows themselves.

Alongside Rogers, UC-Berkeley professor Abigail De Kosnik will present on how, in an era of falling soap opera ratings, many of the activities soap opera fans have long engaged in are now being directed toward celebrity gossip. De Kosnik is author of the forthcoming University of Georgia book Illegitimate Media: Minority Discourse and the Censorship of Digital Remix Culture. Sam Ford, Director of Digital Strategy for public relations agency Peppercom, will examine the unique ability of soap operas to tell the daily story of a character from birth through decades of their life, using the case study of AS THE WORLD TURNS character Tom Hughes. Ford previously taught an MIT course on the soap opera industry and conducted his Master's thesis work on "As the World Turns in a Convergence Culture." Finally, Miami University professor C. Lee Harrington will share a research project on age and aging in soap operas, based on interviews with a variety of soap opera actors, experts, and fans. Harrington has written on soaps for two decades, including co-authoring the 1995 book "Soap Fans" with Denise Bielby.

"The Survival of the Soap Opera: Transformations for a New Media Era," the book from De Kosnik, Ford, and Harrington, will be published later this year from The University Press of Mississippi. For more information, contact Sam Ford at samford@mit.edu.

The full SCMS conference runs from Wednesday, March 17th, through Sunday, March 21st. Registration information can be found at cmstudies.org.

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