Monday, November 23, 2015


Last year, in honor of the holiday, we listed 5 Things SoapOpera Fans Have To Be Thankful For.

This year, we asked those same fans to list some of their favorite Thanksgiving moments from the past 70-plus years of daytime television.

One particularly high vote-getter was General Hospital’s Frisco and Felicia Thanksgiving of 1985, which included a celebration at the Brownstone with the same-initialed couple, as well as Frisco’s brother Tony, and his then-wife, Tanya, heading upstairs after dinner and presumably leaving Bobbie to clean up the mess. It also led to a morning-after Frisco and Felicia discussing how many children they’d like to have one day. Felicia offered six – or seven. Frisco didn’t look thrilled. Probably a major clue about the two daughters he would abandon down the road (not that Felicia stuck around much for Maxie and Georgie, either).

Kelly Applegate offered: My favorite was Guiding Light when they held hands while "We Gather Together" played and The Young & the Restless when Classic Billy and Victoria had their first Thanksgiving.

While Keith Alvarez recalled: There's All My Children when the combined Kane/Montgomery family had their Thanksgiving at the Valley Inn.

And another AMC fan reminded that Thanksgiving 1990 was Kelly Ripa’s debut as Hayley, all black goth wig and tough-girl attitude.

Meanwhile, few Days of Our Lives fans could forget 2004, when Cassie was stabbed to death and stuffed into a turkey piƱata the Salem kids were battering with sticks. (Of course, later it turned out that Cassie wasn’t really dead. She was merely another victim of a mind-controlled Marlena thinking she’d killed a bunch of people. How that explains all the folks who saw dead Cassie, I’m still not exactly certain.)

But the most interesting thing about calling out for favorite Thanksgiving memories was how many fans, instead of merely suggesting a scene or plot point, talked about year after year traditions.

In their honor, we count down the Top 5 Favorite Soap Opera Thanksgiving traditions at Entertainment Weekly.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


The New York Times has announced that Manhattan's District 3 (Upper West Side) will not be rezoning their very popular (and very overcrowded) elementary schools for the upcoming 2016 school year.

What this means is that schools like PS 199 and PS 87 will continue to turn away local families, and to choose the kids who do get to attend via lottery.

It is very important for NYC parents to remember that they are not guaranteed a seat at their zoned school. The Kindergarten Connect application, which opens on Monday, December 7, is not first-come/first-served. It is entirely possible that you will be wait-listed at your local school and sent somewhere else.

What options do you have? Several?

Check out our podcasts below for the Secrets to Getting Into NYC Schools. And make sure you RSVP for my free Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshop on Tuesday, December 8 at the littleBits store in SoHo. Space is limited, register here.

Public Unzoned, Dual Language, Magnet Schools & More

Hunter College Elementary & Private Schools

Gifted & Talented Citywide & District Programs

Charter Schools

Thursday, November 12, 2015


A judge has dismissed Victoria Rowell's retaliation suit against The Young & the Restless, CBS and Sony.

Here is what I wrote for Entertainment Weekly when she first filed....

Originally published 2/25/15

On February 11, 2015, actress Victoria Rowell announced that she was suing her former employer, The Young & the Restless, and its parent company, Sony. Rowell contends that the show won’t rehire her to play the role of Drucilla, a part that Rowell vacated in 2007, due to Rowell’s outspoken activism regarding Y&R’s dearth of African-American actors, writers and directors. The suit also alleges that Rowell faced racial discrimination during her 14 years of starring on the soap, and that she was never offered the opportunity to either write or direct the program. Rowell is seeking back pay, and a return to playing Dru.

CBS and Sony have denied all charges, insisted that the lawsuit has no merit, and that Rowell is attempting to “rewrite history.”

Does the actress have a case?

It would seem that the easiest charge to dispute would be Rowell’s claim that racial discrimination kept her from getting the chance to write or direct her show.

True, some actors, like Days of Our Lives Alison Sweeney have directed. Pamela Long went from an actor on Texas to its Headwriter, before assuming the same position at Guiding Light and One Life to Live, among others. And Ellen Wheeler and Christopher Goutman were able to transition from actors to directors to Executive Producers of GL and As the World Turns, respectively. But that’s literally only a handful of people among the tens of thousands of actors who’ve passed through the daytime drama world. It can hardly be considered a common opportunity offered to all, save Rowell.

When I interviewed her for my book, “Soap Opera 451: A TimeCapsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments,” Rowell asserted, “You don’t stay in a storyline if you’re not selling a story, and if you’re not selling the story, you don’t stay employed.  At the end of the day, this is about keeping a show on the air, and a show that’s selling soap.  You’re selling products.  I understood the business dynamics.”

This is presumably why Rowell’s lawsuit also charges that, by refusing her entreaties to reprise Dru, CBS and Sony are undermining their own financial interests for purely personal reasons. Rowell believes that she is a fan favorite whose return will help raise Y&R’s ratings.

Rowell, however, is not the first actor in daytime history to be fired (or, in her case, not be rehired) despite vocal fan support and to the show’s apparent detriment.

To get the inside story on examples from DOOL, GH, ATWT and more, go to:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It was The Towering Inferno on The Young & the Restless last week, as Newman Tower caught fire in the middle of their Halloween party. (Fun-fact, Emmy-winner Susan Flannery, who appeared on both Y&R’s sister-soap, The Bold & the Beautiful, and on Days of Our Lives actually co-starred in The Towering Inferno movie.)

Among the highlights were Stitch and Ashley getting trapped together and an injured Stitch confessing that he was still in love with her (this despite Stitch being engaged to Ashley’s daughter, Abby). The pair were rescued by Adam, who was supposed to be handcuffed to a hospital bed, but had escaped to go after ex Chelsea and son Conner. A vending machine fell on Patty, so Jack and Phyllis assumed she was dead. Having never, ever in their soap-opera lives seen people survive much more deadly encounters. A very much alive Patty ended up rescuing evil cult leader Ian. Dylan landed a helicopter on the roof to whisk the rest off to safety and absolutely nobody perished. They did cough a few times to convey the seriousness of the situation.

But soap-opera fires don’t necessarily need to kill people in order to heat up story. Check out some of our favorite blazing action at Entertainment Weekly, here.

Monday, November 09, 2015


The Ice Theatre of NY, which provides the video for my enhanced ebook Figure Skating Mystery series (watch an example, here), turned 30 years old in October, and I covered their Gala celebration for International Figure Skating Magazine:

Former World ice dance bronze medalist Judy Blumberg praised ITNY’s invaluable contribution to the development of artistic skating. “It has given so many people a wonderful place to explore new directions,” Blumberg said. “I’ve been so happy to be a part of it. ITNY can move in any direction. It is open to exploring so much in skating, bringing in choreographers from dance as well as other art forms. I think that’s made us all grow as skaters and performers.”

Sarah Kawahara agreed. “ITNY brought great visibility to the whole arena of ice theater, and now there are ice theater companies all over the world. ITNY is very much responsible for that.”

JoJo Starbuck said that the company has brought an awareness of a beautiful art form to a lot of young people that would not have otherwise known about it. “ITNY has been a real pioneer and made a huge difference in the sport,” she said. “It has inspired other companies to spring up. I just wish there were more companies like them.”

Moira North, who started ITNY in her loft 30 years ago, said it takes a village. “It has evolved into a substantial, major dance company on ice. I look forward to what we can do together in the next 30 years.”

Read the entire article, including tributes to honorees Dick Button and Toller Cranston, here:

Thursday, November 05, 2015


Though she retired from American Ballet Theatre this past June, ballerina Julie Kent will be performing at a special, one-night-only benefit for DEBRA of America on Monday, November 16 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Get your tickets before they're sold out, here!

But that's not all! Julie also talked to the NY Gifted Education Examiner about how her parents went about raising a dance prodigy, and how their example is helping her nurture her own gifted and talented children in Part #1 of her interview.

And in Part #2, Julie explains her new role as Artistic Director of ABT's Summer Program, how your child can apply, and the way in which early dance training helps in every aspect of life moving forward.

Read both parts at the links!