NEWS ROUNDUP: Mark Pinter Joins THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; Man Shoots Girlfriend In The Back While Fighting Over THE WALKING DEAD

Surprise! Soap Opera Ratings Bubble Up
Social media and increasing use of DVRs also are helping drive viewers. "There's a water-cooler sort of effect in social media," says GH exec producer Frank Valentini. For instance, a mid-November episode of Days was seen live by about 1.8 million people. Another 409,000 time-shifted to later that day, and an additional 178,000 watched within seven days. (That means about 25 percent of overall viewers watched a recording.)

Given the resurgence, could this mean new dramas soon will be coming to daytime? Says Bill Carroll, vp and director of programming at Katz Television Group, "At some point in the future, the trend will once again be soap operas."

Mark Pinter joins THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
A rep for Y&R tells TV Guide Magazine that Pinter will be seen as Marcus Wheeler, "a powerful and sophisticated congressman involved with Victor [Eric Braeden] and Jack [Peter Bergman], who will go to any lengths to protect his image and career."

Pinter starts shooting Y&R on Dec. 6. He hits the air Jan. 10 and will be seen at least through Feb. sweeps.

Man Shoots Girlfriend In The Back While Fighting Over THE WALKING DEAD
According to reports Jared Gurman and his girlfriend began arguing on Sunday night after the hit AMC zombie drama ended. Apparently the couple disagreed as to the plausibility of a real life zombie outbreak. "He feels strongly about the possibility that some military mishap could occur. She thinks it’s ridiculous,” Nassau County Detective Lt. Raymond Cote explained. “She was not taking him seriously or taking the show as seriously as he does.”

NASHVILLE Songs Light Up iTunes Charts
According to label partner Big Machine Records (home to Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire), 702,000 digital downloads have been purchased as of Dec. 3, which a source estimates has netted the company $1 million.

See how the show's top 5 selling singles stack up below:

"If I Didn't Know Better" (Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen): 166,669
"Fade In To You" (Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen): 126,368
"Undermine" (Hayden Panettiere and Charles Esten): 103,095
"Telescope" (Hayden Panettiere): 73,519
"No One Will Ever Love You" (Connie Britton and Charles Esten): 68,037

Former soap opera actor Joseph Gallison to play Kris Kringle
The last time Joe Gallison played Santa Claus, he was playing Dr. Neil Curtis playing Santa Claus at a Christmas party for the Horton family on the long-running NBC soap opera DAYS OF OUR LIVES. Dr. Curtis didn't have an invitation to the party, possibly because he later married the woman who shot Marie Horton, who was his wife at the time. Or it could've been because he had a love affair with Maggie Horton, who returned to her husband, Mickey, as Dr. Curtis left town in 1991.

In any event, Gallison is set to portray Kris Kringle yet again, this time for the Thalian Association's production of "Miracle on 34th Street," opening Dec. 6 at Thalian Hall.

Australia's Channel Ten opens news with Ridge Forrester goodbye
In the wake of the final episode featuring Ridge Forrester, the main character of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Ten newsreader Mal Walden began his 5 p.m. bulletin on Tuesday in a slightly unorthodox way.

"Farewell Ridge. Good evening," Walden greeted viewers, some of whom would have watched the soap that immediately precedes the news, and some of whom would no doubt have been in tears at the departure of 60-year-old actor Ronn Moss, after 25 years.

DOWNTON ABBEY takes on EASTENDERS on Christmas Day
High society is pitched against the East End in a Christmas Day scheduling clash that sees viewers forced to choose between Downton Abbey and Albert Square.

The EastEnders special runs for an hour from 8.45 p.m. - the same time the two-hour Downton starts over on ITV1.

History's 50 Hottest TV Actors
The list includes Brian Bloom, Lorenzo Lamas, Trevor Donovan and Dennis Cole.

TRUE BLOOD alum Denis O'Hare to visit LAW & ORDER: SVU
The Tony winner will play Father Shea, a priest who is pulled from his car and brutally beaten. When the police arrive, they arrest Fin's ex-wife's brother, Sam Randall (BOARDWALK EMPIRE's Erik LaRay Harvey). Despite Sam's former criminal record and various stints behind bars, Fin (Ice-T) doesn't think Sam is their man and asks his SVU partners for help getting to the bottom of the case. The episode is tentatively set to air sometime in January.

The 45 Most Powerful Images Of 2012
No. 1 - Tourists sunbathing next to the Costa Concordia.

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