Wednesday, April 15, 2015


If Luke Skywalker had been a soap-opera watcher (did they have soaps a long time ago in a galaxy far away?), he'd have had some inkling that the guy he hated most in the world was likely his long-lost daddy. It's kind of a soap-opera given. And yet, the characters involved still appear to be surprised. Every. Single. Time.

This week, it was Days of Our Lives John's turn. Remember Paul? The guy you chewed out for seducing your married, step-grandson, Will? Well, surprise, John - Paul's your son! Congratulations! What dad doesn't want a son who's a professional baseball player?

And their little squabble over Will isn't all that bad. It's not like when upstanding (with just enough beard scruff to keep him "edgy") cop Bo found out that Victor, the criminal mastermind he'd been trying to bring down and who'd tried to kill him on numerous occasions, was his biological father. Victor wasn't too thrilled about it, either. Especially when Bo pretended to be warming up to Newfound Daddy Dearest. But it was only so he could dig up evidence to put Victor behind bars for good.

On General Hospital, upstanding (with just enough hairstyle scruff to keep him "edgy") cop Dante was also determined to see mob kingpin Sonny rot in prison. He went by the book, did his homework, got a warrant and everything. He told Sonny he was under arrest. At which point, the mobster whom half of Port Charles swears is really the most noble and decent man in town, shot him in the chest. Dante's mother, Olivia, freaked, and blurted out that Sonny was Dante's father. Sonny then promptly declared his love for the boy. Because that's what noble and decent men who shoot cops in the chest apparently do.

Like Bo and Dante, who both found out they were really part Greek (maybe that explains the sexy scruff), The Bold & the Beautiful's Ridge also acquired a new ethnicity when his mother's old friend, the vaguely shady Massimo, turned out to be Ridge's biological father. Ridge didn't necessarily want Massimo to go to jail. He just wanted him to stop butting into Ridge's relationship with Brooke. Later, once the two had gotten to know each a little better, Ridge wanted Massimo to keep his other son, Nick, away from Brooke. (The fact that Brooke, herself, chose Nick was of no relevance to Ridge.) Ridge threw the mother of all hissy fits, blamed Massimo for his screwed up love life, and went back to being a full-time Forrester. These days, he's fighting his stepbrother for control of the family empire with nary a mention of his Italian blood ties.

Of course, lest you think that soap-opera parent/child feds are limited to newly discovered fathers and sons, rest assured, there are plenty of mothers and daughters in the mix, too.

Read the entire post at:

Friday, April 10, 2015


On March 31, 2015, That National Academy of Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced nominees for 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (get your exclusive cheat sheet to who will win in the soap-opera categories, here).

A day later, on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, the 6thAnnual Indie Series Awards handed out their trophies for the best in independently produced, scripted entertainment created for the web.

Held at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, the sold out show was hosted by Daytime Emmy winner Eric Marsolf (Brady; Days of Our Lives). Presenters included Lilly Melgar (ex-Lily; General Hospital), Martha Madison (ex-Belle; DOOL), and Patrika Darbo (ex-Nancy; DOOL).

And familiar soap faces were well represented in the winners’ circle, as well. Three-time Daytime Emmy winner Sarah Brown (ex-Carly & ex-Claudia; GH, ex-Julia; As the World Turns, ex-Aggie; Bold & Beautiful, ex-Madison; DOOL) was named Best Lead Actress – Drama for Beacon Hill. Andrea Evans (ex-Tina; One Life to Live, ex-Tawny; B&B, ex-Rebecca; Passions) won Best Guest Actress – Drama for DeVanity, and even Richard Hatch, primarily known for his work on the original Battlestar: Galactica, and an Indie winner for Best Guest Actor – Drama (Pairings) got his start on All My Children.

Gregori J. Martin, multi-Indie winning director, writer and producer of The Bay praised, "I think the ISA's are a wonderful up and coming awards ceremony and a great outlet for independently produced web shows to get some sort of recognition for all the hard work and efforts we put into producing our shows. They are certainly growing!"

Colleen Zenk, host of the 2013 awards and a 2015 nominee in Best Lead Actress – Drama for Thurston, added, “I came on board as the MC/Host for the Indie Series Awards in 2013 not knowing anything about this new world. I had a sharp learning curve and was completely smitten and wanted to be a part of it, in any way. Here is why: Not all of the shows are network quality, but the support and love of the people in the Indie community is unlike anything in network television. To see this kind of joy for the competition is rare. Everybody watches everyone else's shows and the love in the room is palpable. Unlike the political - and, sometimes bitchy - feelings that were always at the Emmys.”

But could it be on its way?

Find out what's next for independent soaps and actors at Entertainment Weekly:

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


Although soap-opera episodes air five days a week, 52 weeks a year, the Daytime Emmy Awards, which serve to honor the best of the best actors, writers, directors and shows, distribute their golden trophies based solely on two, self-submitted episodes (in the case of The Bold & the Beautiful, which is a half-hour long compared to one hour for Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young & the Restless, they may submit four).

Unlike movies, which have a definite beginning, middle and end, soap-operas are almost all middle. It's difficult to get a sense of a complete performance from only a snippet, but that's what the Daytime Emmy judges have to work with. As a result, winning comes down less to a great acting moment, and more to the power of the story itself. As I explained once, completely unironically, about an actresses' chances, "She had a great year. She was raped!"

So even before the stars and shows announced as 2015 Daytime Emmy nominees reveal their reels, we present your Daytime Emmy Cheat Sheet, based not on what the actor actually did, but on which Emmy bait card they played, at Entertainment Weekly.

Monday, March 30, 2015


A summary of last week's live writing at:

I have four scenes outlined in my mind that I intend to write today. Let’s see if any of them end up being anything near like what I planned, or if the characters will just laugh and do whatever they like. As usual. (Meanwhile, in the middle of writing this, my computer ran out of power and turned itself off. Even it is against me.)

Yesterday, I said that I had four scenes outlined that I intended to write. I managed one. Working on the next scene today. Want to put down bets on how far I get? (Hey, not bad, two more!)

My favorite writing tip to keep a story moving: Start with a line that gets right to the point of the scene, and assume your readers are smart enough to keep up. (Thanks, smart readers!)

Stopped in the middle of a scene. I know how I want it to end, but have written three versions of getting there, and none of them work. Deleted the whole lot and will try again Monday. See you then!

Today is Monday. Still have no idea what I'm going to write. Though why should that stop me?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Last week’s The Bold and the Beautiful was an utter shock to viewers. The last time we in soap land were so surprised by a revelation may have been in 1981, when General Hospital‘s wedding of the century ended with (warning: 34-year-old spoiler ahead) Scotty catching his ex-wife Laura’s bouquet.

Then–head writer Thom Racina told me in my book, "Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments," “It’s a twist, and God knows, in daytime, twists are the foundation of keeping the audience tuning in tomorrow.”

In 2015, the Internet makes that kind of shocking twist almost impossible. There are simply too many spoilers out there, some leaked by insiders, but many officially released by a soap opera’s own publicity team to drum up interest and viewership.

That’s why the recent March Madness Wednesday cliffhanger on B&B was such a genuine jaw-dropper. Not only was supermodel Maya (as played by actress Karla Mosley) once a man named Myron, but her secret hadn’t been predicted and endlessly anticipated by every viewer and online pundit for months. It was classic soap opera at its best. And it was only the beginning.

Read more, and check out a history of soap-opera transgender stories and how they worked out at:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


After six years as the NY Gifted Education Examiner and Kindergarten Exmissions Consultant at River Park Nursery School, I am finally heeding all those who urged me, "You should write a book," and I am... writing a book. (That isn't about soaps, or figure-skating or romance, that is.)

"Getting Into NYC Kindergarten (September 2016)" is scheduled to be released this May. (Yes, that's almost a full year and a half before your child would enter Kindergarten, but that's how early you need to begin prepping for the process. See bottom of the post for a schedule of workshops to get you started.)

The book will cover:

* Public School/General Ed (zoned and unzoned)
* Public School Gifted & Talented (District & Citywide)
* Public School Dual Language
* Public School Magnet Programs
* Charter Schools
* Hunter College Elementary School
* Private Schools (Independent and Religious)
* Test Prep (Hunter, G&T & private school)
* Insider Application Tips
* Working the Waitlist
* Application Timeline & much, much more!

No other book like it currently exists. There are books on NYC's top public and private schools, books on applying to private school, and books on how to prep your child for a variety of entrance exams. But "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten (September 2016)" will be the first to cover everything in one. And because it's electronic, it features links to dozens of sites, articles and reports for you to learn more about each topic. Plus, as the NYC Department of Education is notorious for changing rules and requirements on a whim (sometimes smack-dab in the middle of the application season), "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten (September 2016)" can be instantly updated, unlike a print book, which is often out of date the moment it hits the shelves.

"Getting Into NYC Kindergarten (September 2016)" is a book for every New York City parent. It lists and explains your options, then offers an insider's guide for how to get what you want.

Ready to dive in? I'll be giving two "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten" workshops in May:

* Thursday, May 14, 2015 at River Park Nursery School on the Upper West Side

* Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at Evolution Enrichment in Chinatown

Click here for more information, registration, etc...

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


St Patrick’s Day is a perfect time to ask: Just how lucky have the Irish been on American soap-operas?

These days, daytime’s most prominent Irish family are the Bradys on Days of Our Lives. (Even if one the Brady kids, Bo, was actually fathered not by patriarch Shawn, but by a Greek named Kiriakis.) We know they’re Irish because they run a pub, and because two of their boys are cops. Also because, in 2007-8, we got a whole storyline based on flashbacks to the “old country.”

Novice nun Colleen Brady fell for doting dad Santo DiMera (Colleen’s little brother, Shawn, was buds with Santo’s son, Stefano). When she found out Santo’s wife wasn’t quite as dead as he’d led her to believe, Colleen fled back into the arms of the church. Santo interrupted Colleen taking her vows, and she fled for a second time – right off the edge of a convenient cliff. Or, at least, that’s what her family assumed. There was a cliff, there was her nun’s habit. What else could they possibly think?

How about that a pregnant Colleen fled to Argentina (they’ve got Catholics there, too), where she placed her son in an orphanage, only to have him given up for adoption without Colleen’s permission. That son turned out to be John Black, who’d once believed he was long-lost Brady son Roman. Then he thought he was Forrest Alamain. Now, at long last, John knew who he really was! He was Ryan Brady, who’d been adopted by the Alamain family. No wonder the Bradys had long accepted him as one of their own. He was one of their own! Talk about the luck of the Irish!

Except that, in 2013, John learned that Colleen had been lied to. John wasn't her son. Colleen's son had died as an infant. It was all a bunch of blarney, after all.

Read more at "Entertainment Weekly!"