Saturday, November 10, 2007

News Brief

Los Angeles Times: For Marla Kanelos, the Writers Guild of America strike is shaping up like a soap opera story line. She should know; she's been writing daytime dramas for the last decade. The 38-year-old WGA member, who until last week wrote for "All My Children," adopted a Russian orphan earlier this year. Her 19-month-old daughter came to California in April when a strike "seemed like a far-off possibility." Between the expensive adoption process, which cost well more than $35,000, and last year's purchase of a modest two-bedroom home in Sacramento where she writes, the single mother's personal savings are all but wiped out.

Toledo Blade: Without writers, soap opera characters will soon be forced to utter more inanities than they currently do. Even so-called reality shows wouldn't be possible without writers; someone, after all, has to impose some structure and pacing on hundreds of hours of banality.

National Ledger: Soap opera fans needn't get in a lather about the Writers Guild strike, which commenced this week. All of the soaps have enough material to go through January of next year. After that? Most likely others folks will be taking over the writing tasks, just as they did in the strike 20 years ago that lasted over 22 weeks. In fact, one of the most bizarre storylines came out of that strike. The late, great "Search for Tomorrow" had a beloved character named Ellie, who was married to Stu. Ellie was the show's long-suffering saint. During the writer's strike, several of the actors began writing scripts. At one meeting, a writer commented that it would be a hoot if Ellie left her husband, Stu, for a chef. The group of faux writer's laughed and then made it the central storyline. Not a great idea.

Spartanburg Herald Journal: USC Upstate's theater program was front and center Friday night, its reward for hosting a statewide conference. This weekend, the school is hosting the SCTA's 41st convention, which is held annually at a college campus in the state. Some of the featured guests include Ron Hale, an actor featured on soap opera "General Hospital", and Bobby Labartino, who will put on a performance of the one-man play, "Thom Pain (based on nothing)."

Jamaica Gleaner: On daytime television, John O'Hurley has had his fair share of drama, playing Jim Grainger on "The Young and the Restless" and Greg Bennett on "General Hospital", to name only a few of his soap roles. John has another role that he is particularly fond of: host of The National Dog Show Presented by Purina. This year will be John's sixth year of hosting the show, which airs November 22 on NBC directly following the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Age: They're called soap operas because after watching them you feel so dirty. This isn't the first time I've been forced to burn my clothes, sell my couch and shave off my hair after watching something for my readers. But it is the first time I've had to spend three days in a hyperbolic chamber. I plunged so deep into the televisual abyss I got the bends. But I only have myself to blame. I was supposed to watch three episodes. I watched 10. Why? I don't know. Ask the other 450 million viewers. Next time I'll do something less hazardous to my health. Like get addicted to meth.

Digital Spy: "EastEnders" staff members have been gossiping about a sex mystery sparked by one of the show's former stars. Shaun Williamson, who played Barry Evans, revealed earlier this week that he once overheard two of his fellow cast members making love in the next dressing room. He refused to name the stars that he was talking about. However, on-set gossip suggests that Williamson may have been referring to Lindsey Coulson (Carol Jackson) and Michael French (David Wicks), who were accused of having an affair in 1996.

The Times: Jesus never said "Blessed are the rich," but that is the message portrayed by the entertainment media. Actor Frank Runyeon gave a presentation Thursday night at St. Stephen's Church in Streator titled "Hollywood vs. Faith: The struggle to live as a Christian in the age of media values." Runyeon has acted in more than 1,000 television shows, including "General Hospital," "As the World Turns" and "Santa Barbara" and has worked for the past 14 years as a translator and performer of Biblical texts.

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