NEWS: Deidre Hall, Mary Lynn Blanks, Kelly Ripa, Sean Blakemore, James Franco, Camila Banus, Taraji P. Henson

Mary Lynn Blanks: The Soap Opera Actress Who Captured Chuck Blazer's Heart has posted a fascinating excerpt involving one-time soap opera star Mary Lynn Blanks (ex-Tara Martin, All My Children; ex-Annie Stewart, As the World Turns; ex-Jenny Baylor, Loving; ex-Thelma, Another World) from the forthcoming book "AMERICAN HUCKSTER: How Chuck Blazer Got Rich From-and Sold Out-the Most Powerful Cabal in World Sports" by Mary Papenfuss and Teri Thompson. Copyright © 2016 by Mary Papenfuss and Teri Thompson. To be published on April 26, 2016 by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

"Mary Lynn Blanks was stunned to receive a letter out of the clear blue from long-ago lover Chuck Blazer offering sunny birthday greetings when she turned fifty. Blazer boasted in the October 2002 note that he had achieved 'most of my goals, both professional and personally.' He expressed the hope that she was enjoying a good life too."

100-year-old Days of our Lives fan meets cast members
Ann Young didn't know what to expect when 12 News sat her in front of a laptop and dialed a number on Skype. The people who answered were people she had only seen through her television set-they were members of her favorite show, Days of our Lives. Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans) was joined briefly by her co-star Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady) to wish Ann a very happy 100th birthday. After Kristian returned to work, Ann talked with Deidre for almost 20 minutes. They talked about the show, about Ann's love for the characters and the entertainment. Deidre asked Ann what her secret to long life is.

"Oh, surround yourself with young people, and lie about your age," Ann said.

Watch the 12 News story below.

Mark Consuelos, Regis Philbin support Kelly Ripa amid 'Live' drama
Consuelos, who married Ripa in 1996, and Philbin, who co-hosted Live! with Regis and Kelly with Ripa from 2001 to 2011, showed their support for the 45-year-old TV personality Thursday following word of Michael Strahan's unexpected Live! departure.

Consuelos re-tweeted a fan comment thanking Entertainment Tonight correspondent and former All My Children star Cameron Mathison for his remarks on Ripa. The post reads, "@CameronMathison Thanks for your comments on ET about @KellyRipa and @Mark Consuelos. I'm sure they value your friendship and loyalty."

Kelly Ripa says she'll return to work Tuesday
“I wanted to thank you all for giving me the time to process this new information,” she said in an email to Live staff sent late Friday.

Deadline is reporting that Sean Blakemore (ex-Shawn Butler, General Hospital) is part of the cast of a two-hour BET pilot, The Yard, set at a fictional college campus that also includes Anika Noni Rose and Jasmine Guy. The series is executive produced by Felicia Henderson and Rob Hardy. Blakemore will also appear in the upcoming season of Devious Maids.

Soap Opera Stars Raise Funds for SWFL Children’s Charities Camp Able & Island Theatre Company Kids Camp
Daytime actors return to Marco Island for 17th annual SoapFest Charity Weekend May 27-30.

“This year’s SoapFest children’s beneficiaries include Camp Able and the Island Theater Company Kids Camp,” says SoapFest founder Pat Berry. Camp Able provides a program for local special needs children and the three week summer theatre camp teaches children aged 8 – 18 about all aspects of the theatre with an emphasis on props, costumes, lighting and sound.

James Franco doesn't regret hosting Oscars
"I wasn't trying to turn the soap opera (General Hospital, where he played Franco) into something of my own making. I was in their hands," Franco said. "When I was asked to do the Oscars, I thought I'll do the same thing. Nobody expects me to host the Oscars."

But Franco -- who was nominated that year for best actor for 127 Hours but didn't win -- quickly learned that hosting the annual awards show and Hollywood's biggest night was not the same as guest starring on a soap.

"Nobody cares if you disrupt a soap opera, but if you go and host the Oscars and they get even an inkling of you trying to subvert it in any way or punk it in any way, people are going to get pissed," Franco added.

Days of our Lives star Camila Banus is joining the cast of ABC's Mistresses in a recurring role
A rep for the series confirms to TV Source Magazine that Banus will play Joss’ (Jes Macallan) assistant, Kylie.

TV Stars Reveal Their Favorite LGBT Characters
Which LGBT characters were you most glad to see on television or in theaters last year? This was the question The Advocate asked the stars at this year's GLAAD Media Awards an event that promotes positive depictions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the media.

A General Hospital storyline is what set a Texas physical therapist on his medical path
"I found physical therapy in an odd way. I was watching the soap opera, General Hospital, during the time of the Luke and Laura saga," said Scott Humpal, a physical therapist with Humpal Physical Therapy . "Luke was in an avalanche, and a physical therapist taught him how to walk and function again. He ended up being mayor."

The TV show helped Humpal decide on a major, and now years later, he has been recognized by his peers and patients as the recipient of the Caller-Times Health Care Hero health care professional award.

A Glimpse at What TV Shows People Are Watching, City by City
As part of its annual Watchathon week (going on right now), Comcast compiled detailed information about how viewers nationally, and in its biggest markets, consumed programming via Xfinity between April 1, 2015, and the end of last month. While the company doesn’t reveal specific numbers for shows, it does rank them in order of popularity. But, unlike Nielsen, it also doesn’t distinguish between shows currently in production and those which signed off years ago: If it’s available to stream, it’s eligible to make the top ten.

Quantico is moving from Canada to New York City
New York state tax credits helped lure the ABC drama from Montreal, where it shot its first season. But exec producer Joshua Safran insists while the tax credits did help, the move is largely a creative one.

Google is adding live TV listings to search results
The search giant announced on Wednesday that TV listings will soon appear right on a search results page. They will show up in a special widget like those that appear when people search for mathematical calculations, weather, and tracked packages. Users will be able to customize the listings for their TV provider.

Time’s 100 Most Influential list includes Gina Rodriguez, Taraji P. Henson and Idris Elba
Empire creator Lee Daniels wrote about Taraji P. Henson: "What I love most about Taraji P. Henson is that she’s fiercely loyal. During her audition for Empire, she told me she wouldn’t take the role unless Lucious was Terrence Howard. She didn’t have the job yet, but she was standing there fighting for Terrence. That was the moment I knew she was Cookie."

WWE legend and reality star Chyna dies at 45
Chyna, whose real name was Joanie Laurer, was found dead Wednesday night, but no cause of death was given.

Coronation Street stars pay tribute to actress Morag Siller
Siller died on April 15 at age 46 after a battle with breast cancer. She was originally diagnosed five years ago. Siller played Reverend Esther Warren on the ITV soap, and was also known for her portrayal of Leona in BBC drama Casualty and her role of Marilyn Dingle in Emmerdale.

A statement from AHA Talent Agency described her as a "brilliant, moving and funny actor".

Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in Coronation Street, said: "Morag Siller. What a woman. She was a magnificent human being. Devastated."

"I feel very lucky to have met her but I am devastated that she has passed away, she was such an amazing, generous, kind woman and a fantastic actress - just a beautiful human being," said Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Metcalfe in the soap.

RIP Scott Nimerfro, A Man Who Brought Major Weirdness To The Small Screen
Nimerfro, writer-producer of Hannibal, Once Upon a Time and Pushing Daisies, has passed away at the age of 54.

Indie Series Award-winning drama Whatever, Linda being adapted for television
Inspired by America’s recent financial crisis, Whatever, Linda is a wickedly dark comedy set in 1978 about four disenfranchised secretaries on Wall Street who become the engineers behind the world’s most notorious Ponzi scheme.

The web series’ original co-creators Hannah Cheesman, who also starred, and Julian De Zotti will write and executive produce the TV series version, in which Cheesman will not be acting.

Empire stars Trai Byers and Grace Gealey get married
The two, who portray Andre Lyon and Anika "Boo Boo Kitty" Calhoun, respectively, on the series centered on the Lyon family, announced the news on their social media networks last weekend.

Smart TVs, Streaming Devices Outnumber Cable Boxes In U.S. Households
There are now more internet-connected TVs and streaming devices in U.S. households than pay TV set-top boxes, according to a new report from the Leichtman Research Group. 65 percent of all U.S. TV households have at least one streaming device connected to their TV or a smart TV set connected to the internet, according to the report.

Coronation Street stars gather to see off their producer Stuart Blackburn
It’s the end of an era for the Coronation Street team as they gathered to say goodbye to their outgoing boss Stuart Blackburn.

Stuart, who has admittedly divided fans over his tenure, is leaving his role as producer and is being replaced by former Emmerdale chief Kate Oates. And a whole load of the cast from Bill Roache and Alison King through to Jane Danson and Kym Marsh were present to party the night away at Seventh Bar in Manchester as they said their farewells.

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