Friday, July 5, 2013

NEWS: Hulu Accepting Final Bids; Robert Newman Explores Dark Side; MAD MEN The Soap; OWN-ing Up

Hulu Deadline for Final Bids Arrives: Keep an Eye on DirecTV
Hulu and its corporate parents are accepting final bids for the online video service on Friday, and according to several individuals close to the process the field has whittled down to three companies: Guggenheim Digital Media, Chernin Entertainment/AT&T and DirecTV.

But keep your eye on DirecTV.

Here's why: Chernin is bidding with AT&T, but the telecom giant is driving that bid, according to one knowledgeable individual. Hulu management is apparently wary of being owned by AT&T.

Observers of the M&A landscape are skeptical that Guggenheim has the intention to step up to the desired $1 billion selling price.

That leaves DirecTV. Buying Hulu would give the satellite service a major foothold in the digital world.

Former GUIDING LIGHT star Robert Newman explores his dark side at the Barn Theatre
Newman's latest role is Sidney Bruhl in "Deathtrap." Bruhl, the scheming playwright in the classic stage comedy-thriller, is a bit more subtle than Hook, but he's got his dark side.

"Hook's a psychopath in a bizarre way, too," Newman said. "He's constantly talking about murdering the boys, children."

Coming out to the Barn, where he got his start in 1981, is a vacation for Newman.

"I adore this theater." And he loves the community -- getting breakfast in Galesburg is much more pleasant for him than doing the same in NYC. "It's a nice break for me from the business ... This business can just beat the crap out of you. When I come here I feel I can just shove all that aside and focus on playing a great role."

Yes, MAD MEN Is a Soap Opera—and That Shouldn't Be an Insult
To dismiss soaps is to dismiss what makes much of today's TV shows great. All serialized dramas began with GUIDING LIGHT, and decades ago when soaps were a thriving genre they essentially bankrolled most of television. Also, while some soaps are indeed silly declaring bad soaps as indicative of an entire genre would be like writing off all of sci-fi and fantasy, including quality shows like LOST and GAME OF THRONES, just because TEEN WOLF is bad.

In the '80s and '90s the late Bill Bell produced THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, both of which looked and sounded completely different from most soaps on the air. Bell played out realistic storylines of psychologically complex characters over years, stretched melodramatic moments to unbearable breaking points, and covered several character arcs per story. While many soaps featured only brightly lit sets, close-ups, and shot-reverse-shot camerawork, Bell used gothic stage lighting, long shots, and soft focus. While many soaps featured cheesy dialogue underscored by even cheesier music, Bell wrote economical dialogue and mixed the background music with heartbeat sounds and faint screams to create an atmosphere of tension and dread. These were artistic choices made within the soap milieu of melodrama and absurdity, and they shouldn't be scoffed at.

MAD MEN is definitely a soap--even Don Draper's name has the artifice and iconography of Erica Kane. The soap archetypes are all there: hidden identities (Don Draper/Bob Benson), corporate intrigue (the changing of the guard at SCDP), secret pregnancies (Peggy), secret paternities (Joan's son), divorce and quick remarriages (Don and Betty), absurd moments (the lawnmower incident), amnesia (Pete's mistress), and even return-from-the-dead (Don Draper died in the war).

Oprah's OWN soap hope is low-risk and high yield
The return of both ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE to “mainstream” TV — albeit cable, and only for a limited run — will likely draw more eyeballs to OWN, which has made some viewership strides of late but is still struggling to forge an identity in the crowded cable landscape.

Aiden Turner and Jason Brooks star in The Perfect Boyfriend
On July 5, Lifetime Movie Network debuts The Perfect Boyfriend, a thriller starring Aiden Turner (ex-Aidan, AMC — Jason Brooks, best known to daytime fans as Peter on DAYS, co-stars) — but the title is a bit misleading, as Turner's role channels Aidan-when-he-went-psycho-and-kidnapped-Kendall toward the end of his Pine Valley run and not the dashing hero he played for most of his soap career.

"My character, Jacob, is definitely more of a villain," says Turner. "He and his wife have a scheme to get rich. He goes to his high school reunion and targets his high school crush. The plan is for him to seduce her and murder her mother to get his hands on her money, but not everything goes the way you would think." The actor had a blast slipping into the sinister character. "It's a different kind of role for me and it was a lot of fun. We shot it in just a few weeks, which was challenging. Doing daytime television definitely prepared me to work quickly!"

Ricky Paull Goldin joins the cast of the upcoming web series BEACON HILL, will also produce
Goldin is joining the cast, playing the role of Andrew Miller. As Katherine's (Sarah Brown) chief of staff, Andrew is addicted to power. His ambition and underhanded actions may harm Katherine's upcoming campaign and ruin any chance she may have to reconnect with Sara (role is still to be cast).

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