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News for the week of 19-Jan-2009

by Carol Banks Weber

Watch selected GH episodes on ABC.com. The View’s talk show also received this privilege recently.

Natalia Livingston (Rebecca; ex-Emily) started off the transition from goody-two-shoes to femme fatale on GH by changing her hair color from brunette to blonde, and long hair to short (shorter by a foot). More makeup and the leather touch finished the new look and the new, edgier attitude. But it’s going to take her awhile to feel out the rest of the character, who is supposed to be different from Emily and harboring a secret agenda.

Jay Pickett (Harper; ex-Frank, PC) and Michael Dietz (ex-Joe, PC) bonded playing soap brothers on the former GH offshoot, Port Charles. Their bonding resulted in a real-life relationship as surrogate brothers and close buddies. They hang out whenever they can, doing barbecues, a coupla holidays… Dietz said he derived much of his inspiration as an impending family man from Pickett, who—at the time—was happily, lovingly raising his two daughters with wife Elena (they also added a son later). When Dietz and his wife Paige Rowland (ex-Kit, AMC) became parents to daughter Madison, he knew he had a great role model in his friend. He also had a perfect choice for his daughter’s godfather in Pickett (they gave her the same name as one of Pickett’s daughters for a middle name). On a humorous note, more than one person has noticed Pickett’s more than passing resemblance to Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan (“Drops Of Jupiter”), and acted on it. “At my bachelor party,” Dietz explained, “everyone thought Jay was the lead singer… People were asking for his autograph and taking pictures and asking him to sing. It was hysterical. We still laugh about that.” –Soap Opera Digest, “You Gotta Have Friends,” January 20, 2009

Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) teach a course on soap kissing 101 to the female finalists of The current Bachelor reality-TV series. The finalists will try out their kissing techniques on Bachelor Jason Mesnik, who was dumped by Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas in the last season. This will air on ABC primetime, January 26, 8 p.m. EST.

Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda) continues to remain elusive to GH execs with yet another primetime gig, Without A Trace on CBS. It’ll be for a couple of episodes as a semi-regular mainstay, kicking off in March.

Amanda Tepe (ex-nanny Colleen) and Matthew Ashford (ex-Tom Hardy) are two of several stars appearing in the off-Broadway play, The Dining Room, which premiered January 17th at the Burbank, CA Interact Theatre Company. Performances continue Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m., and Sundays, 4 p.m. Info: (818) 765-8732 / (818) 841-5421. Get 20 percent off tickets when giving the code ITC for reservations.

 

Don’t miss a chance to see Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) up close and personal when they appear together at the Bellmore, NY Brokerage Entertainment Club, February 21, noon ($55) and 4 p.m. (VIP-$99). Info: (516) 785-8655.

Storms joins Anderson again the following day at Pt. Pleasant, NJ’s Ferrara's Ristorante’s, 10 a.m.-noon, and 1 p.m.-3 p.m., (732) 899-3900. To attend that one, it’ll cost $100 per.

Tyler Christopher (Nikolas) and Sarah Joy Brown (Claudia; ex-Carly) also do Uncle Vinnie’s/Ferrara’s, but on April 5, 10 a.m.-noon. Cost: $100. On April 4, they’ll be in Bellmore, NY’s Brokerage Comedy Club, 4 p.m., $99, (516) 781-LAFF.

Daytime’s hardest-working actor, Steve Burton (Jason) takes some time to meet with fans on February 28, 2 p.m., at Vernon Hills, IL’s Zanies Comedy Club. Cost: $65. And again at the Saint Charles, IL’s Zanies March 1, 11 a.m. (630) 584-6342, $65. Burton and Derk Cheetwood (Max) do an appearance March 20, 8 p.m.-10 p.m., at Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.’s Ferrara’s Ristorante, at $100 per, and March 21, 1 p.m., at the Brokerage Comedy club’s Governor’s Location, $99. Please check the websites as the dates and times may have changed.

Tristan Rogers (ex-Robert Scorpio) has a lot to say about his recent turn on GH: NS2, on GH for the Scrubs 2nd wedding and as an active participant in his Project Cuddle charity. Scroll down to “DC #347: Tristan Rogers interview,” posted January 15th, and give a listen as Daytime Confidential’s Luke and Regan do their thing.

Gossip for the week of 19-Jan-2009

by Carol Banks Weber

A reader-turned-ex-reader took issue with me last week for pairing up the automobile industry downturn with the theorized cancellation of daytime dramas. So much so that she announced she’d quit reading these columns altogether. But I’m not wishing cancellation on soaps, nor am I equating one downturn for another, just relaying what has been buzzing around online in the last two, three weeks. And that is, there is a real, palpable fear in the daytime industry that it’s time has come. The downturn of the automobile industry doesn’t help, since a bulk of the commercials comes from selling cars. The recent firings of major soap stars from DOOL and Y&R further cement this fear.

In Franz Lidz’s January 9th Conde Nast Portfolio.com news piece, “Slippery Soaps,” the downsizing of CBS and NBC soaps is more grist for the mill. Don Diamont (Brad, Y&R) – a staple of this #1-rated CBS soap – was just let go, and more like him are rumored to follow. Deidre Hall (Marlena, DOOL) and Drake Hogestyn (John, DOOL) over at NBC were also let go. That’s unheard of, warning viewers that in this seriously flailing economy, anybody goes. The only light at the end of this tunnel is, I’m afraid, too little too late. While TPTB continue to target newer and younger viewers, the numbers continue to indicate it’s the older, entrenched viewers – mostly over-the-hill minorities who can barely scrape two pennies together – keeping the daytime dramas afloat with their committed habit.

Once again, Sonny needlessly made fun of the way Spinelli talked last Thursday. It’s beyond cruel, pointless, sickening and not at all in character OR entertaining. To whomever is in charge of this acting choice: Knock it off and grow the fawk up. The bullying of Spinelli makes Sonny look pathetic and ugly. Can’t the man pick on someone who’s not a kid? And isn’t the child abuser supposed to be the romantic lead we’re all rooting for? I just want a brick to fall on Sonny’s mocking face. For the record: I plan to FF any and all Sonny scenes because I simply don’t care to have vomit with my soap viewing.

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