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News for the week of 02-Sep-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

As rumored, Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman were appointed new co-head writers, according to Soap Opera Digest as of last week.

Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) believes Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) arranged for the perfect timing in her character’s final story, as well as a fortuitous meeting in a Monte Carlo film festival presentation earlier this summer. Scott told Michael Fairman in an August 26, 2013 interview all about it. First of all, having the last scene of Katherine be an ad lib by Cooper as she went up the stairs, with Jill looking upward… perfection, possibly intended by the late veteran soap actress. TPTB would never have dreamed of writing Katherine off during Cooper’s life, but they were acutely aware of her health problems toward the end, so they were prepared. Secondly, the timing of having Cooper’s actor son Corbin Bernsen (Father Todd) on the same stage in Monte Carlo a month or so earlier as Scott and Eric Braeden (Victor)…unbelievable, right? “We had to present an award at their film festival. And, who on earth would have orchestrated something like this? I know that Jeanne did it! There we are in Monte Carlo backstage getting ready to be presenters, and they announce us, and we walk out … and on stage was Corbin Bernsen! Little did we know he was on stage, because he was on the panel that voted at the festival! So, at one point there was just the three of us on-stage in Monte Carlo. It was just like, ‘Ok, I know what you are doing, Jeanne!’ That was the moment, and something she would do. The most unexpected place, people, and that gathering of the three of us, was definitely orchestrated by her!”

Peter Bergman (Jack) promises satisfaction for veteran fans in the upcoming memorial service for Katherine, September 3-4. A lot of the fan faves will return to remember and honor Katherine properly. The emotions will feel real, because they are. Bergman told TODAY contributor Michael Maloney [August 28, 2013]: “Nothing’s more real than watching Jess Walton — who plays Kay's longtime nemesis, Jill — at Katherine’s funeral. It’s palpable. You can feel the emotion in the air when she steps to the podium.” Or Corbin Bernsen (Father Todd), Katherine’s real-life son officiating the proceedings. Bernsen took a moment off-screen to let the participating cast know how much this means, relayed Bergman. “I want to say to everyone what a strange couple of days this has been for me. The line between life and art has been horribly blurred. It seems strange not to mention how much my mom loved this place and how much she loved all of you.” Bergman counted himself lucky to be amongst the group Bernsen got to address that day. He also remembered how very lucky he was to have been taken in by Jeanne Cooper the day he took over the role from popular Terry Lester, her “giant friend… That put her in a terrible position when I came in to take over the role, but she could not have been more supportive as she cheered me on,” Bergman recalled.

For fans who were unable to attend last weekend’s Y&R annual fan extravaganza, CBS.com has a neat collection of images and video of the fun from the Sheraton Universal Hotel—featuring the attending cast.

Eileen Davidson (Ashley) returns later in October for three quality shows.

Erin Chambers’ ill-fated, ill-conceived side character of Melanie Daniels is done, after having started work in June.

Beth Maitland (Traci) is an expert quilter. She just put out the first book in a series of how-tos, “Bewitching Fresh Stitching, Enchanted Needle Series: Book One.” Included amidst the instructionals are some recollections from her personal life.

Zack Conroy (Oliver) pops back up from B&B September 20 to do his photography thing.

Marshall Hilliard (ex-Dylan, DOOL; ex-Hart, GL) will be Officer George. Officer George will find himself in the middle of a big story.

Gossip for the week of 02-Sep-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

If Nikki has a long-lost son, could he be Dylan? That’d make Dylan and Nick half-brothers.

Last weekend, Y&R and B&B held their annual fan club events. GH usually gets the lion’s share of recap attention from fans. But these two CBS soaps do an impressive job connecting actors with their fans, oftentimes forging friendships throughout the years.

Y&R’s fan club dinner is, for example, a lot more intimate than GH’s. Only fan club members are allowed, which further fosters opportunities to catch up and make new friends. This annual event regularly attracts over 600 fans, many who keep up with their favorite soap stars on social networks, and some—like Eileen Hargis—who’ve met “through a weird set of coincidences.” Hargis met a lot of the soap stars through her various jobs. She’s worked on charity events and in the country music business (Alabama is one group). She even lived in Nashville for a time near Steve Burton (Dylan; ex-Jason, GH) before moving to Vegas. “My connections are what is weird. I have a lot of encounters that turned into friendships with soap actors, lots of them,” Hargis shared in the SoapZone Facebook Group last week.

As a result of her friendships with the B&B and Y&R soap stars, Hargis was able to share a lot more than just cursory observations about appearances and swag. Sean Carrigan (Stitch) and Burton fought over who knew her best. They even made sure she had plenty of water during an event when the weather was sweltering. Hargis gave Tracey Bregman (Lauren) advice on letting your children “fly” when the topic of college came up. “She cried when [her son Austin] left [to go back to college], and [having] the youngest in 11th grade and seeing him go in two years,” Hargis wrote. “I said they will always love you and will always come home to you, but you have to let them fly. Christian [LeBlanc/Michael] leaned over and said, ‘Listen to her, she is wise.’”

My Facebook Group is also where I repost my columns for each week after I submit them to Jeff Jungblut for uploading on his website, fyi. So if they’re not up here, they’ll be there. Just to prove I’m not slacking on the job.

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