Friday, April 27, 2007

Gun-in-school scenario too close to real 'Life'

From today's NY Daily News:

In an effort to keep art from sadly imitating life, "One Life to Live" has pulled scenes from 17 episodes that featured a troubled kid named Henry taking a gun to Llanview High School.

"'OLTL' had planned, taped and edited a story to air throughout May sweeps tackling a high school hostage situation and the people in the community who are affected by such an event," reads ABC's statement. "In light of the recent tragic events [at Virginia Tech], ABC Daytime has pulled the story that affected 17 different episodes and is working to rewrite, retape, reedit and entirely rework the show in order to deal with this story in the most sensitive way possible.

"Out of respect for those affected by this devastating tragedy, I felt that it was important to remove this story line from our show," explains executive producer Frank Valentini. "I'm not sure how we're going to do it, but we're figuring that out now."

One of the problems is that "OLTL" hired Jonathan Groff, currently starring in the Broadway hit musical "Spring Awakening," to play Henry.

"We went to great lengths not only to get him, but to work around his schedule," says Valentini. "He's a very good actor. I wanted the audience to have a really good experience watching these high school shows. I mean, this kid is going to be a huge star. We're lucky that we were able to get him again and are able to reshoot the story with him."

The story, involving a car accident, will be retold using the same players. Henry will still be a main character, and the same girl will probably be hurt as a result of something he does. (That story was still being worked out yesterday.)

Elsewhere, fans can expect the Nash/Jessica/Antonio triangle to be amped up, especially since Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio) is back to work after shoulder surgery.

"When Jessica finally tells Antonio she loves Nash, you will understand why we had to wait so long for it," says the executive. "It will so be worth it. Fans will say, 'Okay. I get it.'"

Speculation is that "OLTL" will dovetail the car accident story to the buildup for the big musical the kids are already preparing on-air.

"It's called 'Prom Night: The Musical' and it starts airing in the beginning of June," says Valentini. "Everybody is going to be very busy rehearsing."

And rewriting, retaping and re-editing 17 episodes of the already complicated soap opera.

"It's going to be tough, but I have confidence in my team that they will be able to do this," says the executive.

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