Monday, March 2, 2009

News Round-up: John Black, DTV Coupons, B&S

LA TIMES: DAYS OF OUR LIVES' spy John Black may have seen his last comeback
"I've gone through a life of the soap opera," said Hogestyn, 55, as he flipped through scripts and phone messages at his manager's office in Burbank. "Now I'm ready for something different."

Letting go is tough. John Black was modeled after Robert Ludlum's super-spy, Jason Bourne. Hogestyn admits a certain connection with the character.

"For years, my thoughts were his thoughts," he said.

He has caught himself giving John Black's signature look -- arching one dark eyebrow, eyes narrowing -- to store clerks and talking to his fan club staff as if he's still on the show.

"There's an old expression: I could have been an actor, then I got a soap opera," Hogestyn said.

"It stopped being about me. It stopped being about me going out for film. It stopped being about me pursuing anything that I wanted to do -- what my dreams were as an actor," said the father of four. "My mission was to provide for these little birds in the nest. . . . I think that's why I kept the character alive for so long."

Soap Operas Are Always Ahead of the Curve
Jaime Weinman writes for Macleans: "Soap operas are always one step ahead of prime-time programs when it comes to content. Any “shocking” issue that turns up on prime-time television has already turned up on a daytime soap. And of course prime-time is constantly playing catch-up with soaps when it comes to storytelling: serialization, shocking deaths, the use of a large ensemble cast where any cast member is expendable, elaborate mythology; all these things became commonplace in prime time only after they’d been commonplace in soaps for decades. So if soap operas are ratcheting up product placement to a new level, we can expect to see it in prime-time eventually."

TOM CASIELLO: Back in the Saddle... like Riding a Bike... or Mixing a Metaphor
"I am three episodes into my trial. I am regrouping, learning, growing, and contributing as much as I can. I adore the team of people I work with, and I am doing the best I know how, and working hard to live up to the legacy Y&R has given its fans all these years. My first episode will air in late April, and I'm highly enjoying myself as I step back into the role of Breakdown Writer. Whatever comes of it, I'm living for the moment and enjoying each week as it happens."

Deep Soap: Llanview Is The New Santa Barbara
Sara A. Bibel blogs: " I’ve noticed that OLTL shares a number of characteristics with another critically acclaimed but low rated soap, SANTA BARBARA. Like OLTL, SB was the hip, sophisticated, modern soap. It was known for playing with the form, occasional forays into fantasy (Mason’s visit to heaven where God was played by *shudder* Brian Frons, Patrick Mulcahey’s brilliant Twilight Zone inspired 'The Capwell Zone' episode. Most important, both shows were deliberately quirky and comedic in ways that often served to encourage the audience to acknowledge that they were watching a television show rather than eavesdropping on other people’s lives."

ITV needs radical action
Commercial terrestrial broadcaster ITV needs further radical action if it is to have a long-term future. Caught by both cyclical and structural change, the home to talent show the X-FACTOR and soap opera CORONATION STREET may have to suspend its dividend, increase cost savings and consider a rights issue if it is to protect its programming budget and retain advertisers. It may also be forced into non-core asset sales as it confronts the rapid downturn in advertising.

EMMERDALE's Roxanne Pallett voted off DANCING ON ICE
EMMERDALE actress Roxanne Pallett has become the latest celebrity to be voted off ITV's DANCING ON ICE contest. Pallett, who plays Jo Sugden in the soap opera, lost out in the skate-off to former Blue Peter host Zoe Salmon.

"It's been such a treat - an amazing experience," said the star. "I can't believe I made it this far."

BROTHERS & SISTERS: Well, technically someone did die
Robert flatlined, Nora ran in, the music swelled, the paddles charged and Robert was dead. Until he wasn't.

NTIA: Coupon Waiting List Shrinks, But Only Slightly
Over a million households who say they rely on analog television remain on the waiting list for DTV-to-analog converter box coupons, with over 600 TV stations having already pulled the plug on analog. That's according to the latest figures from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, which is overseeing the converter box coupon subsidy program. NTIA is still waiting for the Office of Management and Budget to free up $650 million in converter box coupon funding so it can get 2.3 million households off the waiting list. The good news is that the list is no longer growing. NTIA said Monday that the list shrunk by about 144,000 applications over the past three days.

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