Sunday, October 28, 2007

News Brief

New York Daily News: Dinah sets a fire to escape the loony bin this week on "Guiding Light," only to run into the one person in town crazier than she is.

Glasgow Sunday Mail: British soap round-up for "Coronation Street", "EastEnders", "Emmerdale", "River City", "Hollyoaks", "Neighbours" and "Home and Away".

This Is Lancashire: Radcliffe actress Jane Danson was unfairly voted off a TV talent show, it has been revealed. During an investigation into alleged phone voting discrepancies, it emerged Jane should not have been the first person to be evicted from Soapstar Superstar. The former Radcliffe High School pupil, who plays Leanne Battersby in "Coronation Street", was not in the bottom two when viewers voted by phone. "Emmerdale's" Verity Rushworth and "Hollyoaks" actor Leon Lopez received the fewest votes from members of the public and should have faced the axe instead. The scandal was found after a review of 60 ITV programmes was published last week.

Newsday: Can soaps regain their cool? Or will daytime viewers just be subjected to ever more "Maury" scandalmongering?

That's a question CBS is trying an interesting tack to answer, according to an online report from TV Week's James Hibberd. The trade writer says CBS plans to "modernize" its two New York-shot daytime dramas, "Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns," with new and more nimble production techniques that include digital cameras, four-wall sets and exterior locations to make the shows look more natural.

Soap production otherwise hasn't changed much in all the years these venerable titles have been on the air. ("ATWT" premiered in 1956, while daytime granddaddy "GL" arrived on TV in 1952 after running on radio since 1937.) Rows of three-wall studio sets have always been used, giving the shows a theatrically static if not claustrophobic feel. Rare exterior forays have usually been limited to stunt events like weddings in exotic locales.

But CBS' new approach isn't only aesthetic. It's also designed to cut costs in an era when reality-based daytimers seem to make more economic sense. Hibberd reports soap production can cost five times more than court shows and twice as much as talkfests, while the latter deliver increasingly higher ratings.

Expect to see "ATWT" and "GL" take on their fresh look of "realism" early in 2008.

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