Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: DOES VICTORIA ROWELL HAVE A CASE AGAINST Y&R?


Updated 6/28/16: The lawsuit is back on!

Updated 11/12/15: 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: http://community.ew.com/2015/02/24/victoria-rowell-lawsuit-the-young-and-the-restless/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THE KINDS OF DECISIONS MADE ONLY ON SOAPS....

My good friend, the novelist Kyra Davis, once explained, “You know it’s a soap opera if whatever choice a normal person would make, they make the opposite.”

Nothing illustrates her observation better than the goings-on on all four of the remaining network daytime dramas last week.

Find out what they were at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/21/only-on-a-soap-decisions/


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SOAP OPERA GEEKS!



Will (soap-opera) geeks ever inherit the Earth (while staying geeks)? Find out at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/14/soap-opera-geeks/

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

LAST WEEK ON THE SOAPS: NOTHING HAPPENED


Exactly a year ago, I wrote a post wondering WhateverHappened to Classic Summer Love Stories? I name-checked the classics like General Hospital’s Luke and Laura on the run from the mob and, later, stopping an evil maniac set on freezing the world (and saving us all from global warning, but nobody realized it at the time). There was Days of Our Lives Bo and Hope and Kayla and Patch (that’s Steve, to you new viewers) and Kim and Shane and Roman and Marlena and location shoots and prisms buried in ice and Phil Collins music (yes, I realize I’ve compressed several summers and stories into one, but doesn’t it all seem like just one glorious season?). We had All My Children’s Erica facing down a bear and breaking her lover out of jail, and One Life to Live’s Vicky going to Heaven and traveling through time to rescue her husband from the Old West. Guiding Light featured young love via the same rich girl/rich boy/poor girl from a big, salt of the earth, fatherless household triangle writer Douglas Marland would later recreate on As the World Turns, while Santa Barbara contrasted the angst of Cruz and Eden against Mason and Julia’s banter, and Another World threw an Electra complex into its triangle for some very different results.

Let’s all take a moment to recall the 1970s, 80s (and some of the 1990s).

Now it’s summer of 2016. Time for fun and travel and romance, right? Right? Find out what's happening on the last four soaps left standing and how it measures up to the glory days at: http://community.ew.com/2016/06/07/nothing-happened/

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

SOAP STARS ON HOLLYWOOD'S WALK OF FAME (You'll be shocked who is - and who isn't!)

On May 19, 2016, Deidre Hall, who has played Marlena on Days of Our Lives on and off for almost 40 years now, received her star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Of course, Hall isn’t the only soap-opera actor honored along that glittering stretch of street. There, the daytime denizens can be divided into three major categories.

Find out what they are at Entertainment Weekly: http://community.ew.com/2016/05/31/which-soap-opera-stars-are-on-hollywoods-walk-of-fame/

Friday, May 27, 2016

FANS PICK THEIR FAVORITE MOMENTS FROM 'GENERAL HOSPITAL'S' NURSES' BALL


It’s time, once again, for the Nurse’s Ball on General Hospital! First held in 1994 as an on-screen fundraiser for the titular institution’s Pediatric AIDS Unit and Outreach Programs, the Nurse’s Ball has served as an annual (through 2001 and then again starting in 2013) showcase for doctors, nurses, administrators, their friends and family, as well as occasional mobsters, to unveil heretofore hidden musical and dramatic gifts on par with… trained actors.

Though one outlier on Twitter confessed to disliking the Nurse’s Ball, the majority of those surveyed responded enthusiastically when asked to name their favorite moments from previous years’  festivities.

Watch the top 5 vote getters at Entertainment Weekly and have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TOP 10 SOAP OPERA STAND ALONE EPISODES


Last week on Days of Our Lives, viewers found out that the presumed dead Aiden was – like so many previous residents of Salem – actually alive. But instead of getting the story of where he’s been (spoiler: held prisoner, talking to a dead bird that somehow managed not to decompose over a period of months) via dialogue, or through watching Aiden in his pen all this time, viewers were treated to a stand-alone episode that began with Aiden’s kidnapping on his wedding day, and went all the way through his escape back to Salem. They also got to watch actor Daniel Cosgrove grow facial hair.

Stand-alone episodes are obviously a departure for daytime, where a typical show will feature multiple storylines happening in near-real time (though if characters are flying from the United States to Europe, that might happen during a commercial break). DOOL wasn’t the first show to break format in such a manner. Check out some previous classic episodes at Entertainment Weekly, here.