Friday, March 13, 2009

News Round-up: Davida Williams, McCain, Kaye

ATWT's Davida Williams loses her father
The local funeral for guitar great David Williams didn't feature any of the musical giants he backed over 40 years in show business. Michael Jackson, Madonna and Mariah Carey didn't eulogize Williams at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Temple in Hampton on Thursday morning. Aretha Franklin didn't sing. Neither did Bryan Ferry or Dionne Warwick. In fact, there were few celebrities among the 600 or so people who attended the service. They chose to keep a low profile.

But there was no shortage of love expressed for the guitar player, a Newport News native who died last week at age 58. Outside the sanctuary on Thursday, the guitarist's daughter Davida Williams stood on the steps minutes after the casket was loaded into the hearse. An actress who plays on television's AS THE WORLD TURNS, she paused for a moment to say a few words about her father.

"He was a great man," she said. "He always made people laugh. We're going to miss him."

CAROLYN HINSEY: Bad economy a "boon" for soap fans
The bad economy is turning out to be a boon for soap fans because old favorites are re-signing - and returning - at record rates.

"The economy played a role in my return, but not in the way you think," says Cady McClain, who will reprise the role of Rosanna Cabot on "As the World Turns" in May. "I see this as an opportunity to reach people who are struggling right now and offer some sort of comfort in the form of entertainment. A lofty goal, but I would guess most actors feel this way in these times.

"Although," she adds, "God knows, it's good to have a job."

Meanwhile, Thorsten Kaye has re-upped with "AMC" to continue playing Zach after a protracted negotiation.

"I re-signed because I think we can still do a good job over there," Kaye tells The News. "As long as I feel I can help the show, I want to stay."

That said, "You always want to leave the stage while they're still clapping."

Kaye prefers not to comment on the length of the contract, or if he had to take a salary cut like other ABC daytime actors.

"The economy has had a domino effect on the industry," he says. "When somebody leaves a show, it affects the whole company."

ITV's EMMERDALE hunting for fresh backer
ITV is on the hunt for a sponsor for its weekday soap opera EMMERDALE to replace Reckitt Benckiser. The long-running program attracts nearly 7 million viewers an episode and actors Amanda Donohoe and Maxwell Caulfield have just been introduced to the series. The deal on offer includes broadcast sponsorship on ITV1, ITV2 and ITV3, online sponsorship of the website and mobile sponsorship, together with branding on ITV's marketing and off-screen licensing.

Magazines disappear in Hawaii as Mainland vendor fails
It has been nearly five weeks since Anderson News LLC, which supplied and distributed 90 percent of national magazines in Hawaii, abruptly ceased operations on Feb. 7, citing financial reasons. Since the closure, big-box retailers and chain bookstores in the Islands have worked with major distributors and publishers to resume delivery, while Hong and other small-business owners in Hawaii have been left to find alternative distribution channels.

At least two groups — Hawaii book distributor The Islander Group and Florida-based Source Interlink Cos. — have been working with major stores in Hawaii to resume delivery. Source Interlink publishes Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly.

FNL still struggling to hit ratings pay dirt
The audience on NBC thus far is confoundingly smaller than last year's. But the game isn't over. Five episodes remain, with the season finale airing April 10. And though representatives of NBC and DirecTV say no deal has yet been struck to continue FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS for another season -- they are voicing hopeful talk.

This season of FNL did well in the fall on DirecTV, says Eric Shanks, its executive vice president of entertainment. The 13 episodes averaged 600,000 viewers a week among DirecTV's universe of 40 million. Shanks notes: "But we're not in the ratings business."

BACKSTAGE actor faces child porn charge (South Africa)
Actor David Dukas appeared in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Friday facing charges of sexual assault and possession of child pornography, Johannesburg police said. Inspector Bookie Keulder said Dukas was arrested after he handed himself over to police in Linden on Thursday. Dukas is best known for his role as Mike Jennings on the e-TV soap opera, BACKSTAGE.

GLAAD: What You Should Be Watching
"Already missing THE L WORD? Hungry for lesbian images? Believe it or not, you should be watching a soap. And no, we’re not talking about ALL MY CHILDREN, with the tumultuous love between Bianca and Reese. We’re talking about CBS’ long-running GUIDING LIGHT. For weeks, sparks have flown between Olivia and Natalia, but they are now officially a couple — and setting the soap world ablaze."

INTERVIEW: GH's Lisa LoCicero (Olivia)
"When I was on LOVING and THE CITY [where she played Jocelyn Brown], even the front-burner storylines didn't have quite so many words to say. It's definitely a jump in workload, but it's been fine, because the writing has been so much fun to play. What [head writer Robert Guza Jr.] and his team have been writing for this character has really been more in my wheelhouse than [Sonia Santi] on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. That was a wonderful character that they wrote; [but] that whole storyline, as we've all joked, never quite took off with the fans. It was never anyone's favorite tale. I did have fun playing Sonia, but this character, Olivia — they've really written something that's fun for any actor to play. I feel sort of honored that they wrote this for me."

Roscoe Born back to Y&R
Soap vet Roscoe Born returns to Y&R in March 31 to reprise Tom Fisher, Kevin's abusive dad. Since this cad was shot dead by a pistol-packing John Abbott in 2005, Terrible Tom will be returning from hell to haunt his poor demented son.

Y&R's St. John to guest on EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS
Kristoff St. John (Neil, Y&R) appears on the sitcom EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS that airs on March 20. Kristoff will play himself when he's brought in for a police line-up, thanks to a car accident caused by Chris (Tyler James Williams).

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