Friday, January 25, 2008

News Brief

New York Daily News: As the writers strike approaches its third month and prime-time dramas grind to a halt, all eight network soaps continue to air new episodes every weekday.

"We had been planning for a possible strike for months," explains an executive producer, who asked not to be named. "We wrote ahead, we had a long-term story in place, and we made contingency plans in the event that our writers went out."

Those contingency plans included lining up execs or hiring former head writers to fill in if the current head writers walked.

For example, No. 1-rated THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS is now helmed by Josh Griffith, who was Y&R's co-executive producer and prior to that co-head writer of "One Life to Live."

Another exec widely believed to be filling in as head writer now (although not officially credited) is AS THE WORLD TURNS executive producer Christopher Goutman.

"CBS is declining comment on any matters to do with the writers strike," says a CBS representative.

Longtime GENERAL HOSPITAL writer Garin Wolf has gone "FiCore" (Financial Core, which allows WGA union members to return to work without censure) and is now the only name credited.

James Harmon Brown and Barbara Esensten have also gone FiCore and are co-head writers of ALL MY CHILDREN.

ONE LIFE TO LIVE brought in its former executive producer, Gary Tomlin, as head writer; he previously wrote for ANOTHER WORLD. days is using former OLTL head writer Dena Higley.

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is being written by former Y&R head writer Kay Alden. GUIDING LIGHT was the most ahead when the strike hit; the current staff is unconfirmed. Since a typical writing staff involves 15-20 people, obviously other, unnamed people are filling in. But some shows have discovered they can do the job - at least temporarily - with fewer people.

"GH" and "Y&R" are showcasing more musical montages than usual, while "DAYS" and "OLTL" are using more flashbacks. "AMC" chose to distract viewers from the spotty writing by bringing back fan favorites like Rebecca Budig as Greenlee. Most actors miss their writers and want them back writing ASAP, but a few have commented that their shows are more balanced now.

"Our head writer had a few pets that [he/she] always wrote for. The new one is writing for everybody."

"There is obviously some tap-dancing going on during the transition," says an insider. "But thank God for the people who stepped in to television's longest continuous genre and kept it on the air. Because we all know if soaps had stopped airing, we'd be done."

Media Life: Death in the afternoon? A likely story. An exaggeration, perhaps, but it doesn't look good.


AfterElton.: Best. Gay. Week. Ever. We've got Nuke this Friday on AS THE WORLD TURNS. Phew! Luke (and Noah) are there when Luke's dad, Holden, gets arrested for killing someone we don't care about because, well, they are aren't Nuke!

Winston-Salem Journal: Last May on the soap opera AS THE WORLD TURNS, the character Casey Hughes was dragged off to prison for theft. He’s now been released - and, when he returns to the show on Tuesday, he’ll look a lot like an alumnus from the N.C. School of the Arts. Billy Magnussen, who graduated in 2007, is taking over the role of Casey. That makes him the sixth actor to play Casey since the character was born in 1991. “This is a character that just got released from jail, who’s had gambling troubles and who’s stolen money,” he said. “There’s scandal and intrigue happening. It’s a fun plot line to play.” Magnussen, 22, got into acting when he was a high-school student in Cumming, Ga. “I was a big jock,” he said. “In wrestling I tore a hamstring and couldn’t take gym classes. So I took an acting class, and I fell in love with it.”

Miami Herald: ABC soaps stirring up the mix. We can't remember when there have been so many significant comings and goings at one time on daytime television. The big news is over at ALL MY CHILDREN, where four character additions are being made. Recently, fan favorites Rebecca Budig (the "real" Greenlee), Debbi Morgan (Angie) and Darnell Williams (Angie's beloved Jesse) have returned to the canvas. All three were wildly popular. Morgan and Williams joined the show in the early 1980s, and audiences watched as Williams' character was killed off. No matter, we will willingly suspend our disbelief to have this magic couple back. Many viewers didn't accept Budig's replacement, Sabine Singh, but she grew on a lot of viewers. Promos touting Budig's return as "the real Greenlee" were a real slap in the face to Singh, who was still airing at the time. Recently, the show announced the fourth addition -- actor/director Mario Van Peebles, who will be joining AMC as a love interest for Erica (Susan Lucci).

WFAA: Dallas actress turned ONE LIFE TO LIVE diva Melissa Archer will be back in town for the parade at the Feb. 2 Mardi Gras event at Victory Park called MystiQal 2008.

AFP: A star of South Africa's most popular television soap opera, GENERATIONS, has landed herself in hot water after accusing the ruling ANC party of trying to bump off its political opponents.

hello magazine: EASTENDERS actor Sean unveils new Hollywood comedy in LA.

Buzzworthy Radio: AUDIO: Interviews with ONE LIFE TO LIVE star Ilene Kristen and THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS diva Michelle Stafford.

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