Monday, March 31, 2008


As The World Turns' vets Kathryn Hays (Kim) and Colleen Zenk Pinter (Barbara) pose on the set.

In Roni Horn's large-scale installation Pi (1997-98), a circular horizon of photographs depicts various cycles that take place in and around Iceland: a couple and their habitual viewing of the daytime soap opera Guiding Light, the life cycle of eider ducks, and the tidal conditions of the surrounding sea.

Entire piece at, here.

The Hollywood Reporter handicaps the Daytime Emmys, here.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Actor Daniel Cosgrove (Bill; Guiding Light) shows off his skills with a basketball... and his slightly weaker ones with a bat.

TV writer Raymond Goldstone, who wrote for series including "Days of Our Lives," "General Hospital," "Knots Landing" and "Falcon Crest," died of a heart attack March 13 in Van Nuys, Calif. He was 88... In 1975, Goldstone and the "Search for Tomorrow" writing staff won a Writers Guild Award for daytime serial. During the late '70s, he was staff writer on "Days of Our Lives," where he shared Daytime Emmy nominations for outstanding writing for a drama series as well as a WGA nomination.

Entire obituary, here.

Canyon News chats with Eileen Fulton (Lisa; ATWT).

Thursday, March 27, 2008


The Charlotte Players' production is directed by Michael Ryan, who is sure to be recognized by longtime fans of NBC's "Another World" as the soap opera's fictional John Randolph, a role he played for 17 years. His resume also includes a series of on- and off-Broadway roles and minor film credits. Now retired and living in Punta Gorda for the past 10 years, Ryan is making his directorial debut with the Charlotte Players.

More, here.

CLINTON TOWN — If you're wondering why that young tough was handcuffed by police early Wednesday morning outside the town bookstore, don't worry. It was all for show.

The show in this case was "As The World Turns," the long-running, award-winning CBS-TV daytime drama....

Beverly Harris of High Bridge said she was a lifelong fan of "As The World Turns."

"I was raised on this soap," Harris said. "We sat in the restaurant and had coffee and there they all were — Casey, Emily Stewart, Tom and Margo Hughes!"

Complete story, here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Oakdale, Ill., will come to Hunterdon County on Wednesday morning when popular CBS-TV soap opera "As the World Turns'' brings its characters and cameras to Main Street.... Most of the filming will take place at about 8 a.m. inside and outside the Clinton Book Shop at 33 Main St., where owner Harvey Finkel was told that the film crew might have to move a few things around, but when they're done, he'll never know they were there.

Complete story, here.

Wes Ramsey returns to Guiding Light as Sam to help his sister Olivia through a difficult time on Friday, April 4 and Monday, April 7.

Wes has played the role on and off since 2002. He last appeared in February of 2004.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Comin’ in from “The Edge…”
Death…Exit Laughing

This famous quote from British poet John Donne ( 1572-1631) is often recited at funerals to give comfort: “Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so. For, those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow. Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me. ”

Well, from some of the responses I got to last week’s anecdotal tale-of-woe about my mother’s funeral arrangements, not only is death not proud, but sometimes it can be pretty darn funny. Read on…

From Laura -

Jews need to be buried or cremated within 24 hours after death, and the funeral parlor where my parents had made arrangements (and pre-paid ! ) 20 years before said we didn't give them enough notice for a service . We were sent into a panic to find another place, especially after this place told us there were no other places available, anywhere....can you imagine? In FLORIDA ?!!

While my father was cremated in Florida, he was to be buried in New Jersey, and there are all kinds of rules that vary from state to state about the proper transportation of cremains, so there was even more drama about the container that was used. Oye!

Anyway, his ashes are currently in my sister's house in Ohio, and we will bury him in June. Somewhere, I just know that Dad is laughing.

In an unrelated (except by marriage) incident, my brother-in-law was given the wrong body to say good-bye to when his mother died. He freaked when it was discovered, because he had kissed this total stranger good-bye!

(Comment : “He didn’t look first? Then, again…some funeral home cosmeticians do make the deceased look almost unrecognizable.)

From Anderson -

Have you noticed how things can really get/seem a bit absurd at a time such as this? Is it the rest of the world, or just me?

So we're burying my Dad, and we're headed for the cemetery in the motorcade. All of a sudden a dumb, in-a-hurry driver cuts into our procession. Well, our limo driver took it upon himself to GIVE CHASE to this irreverent driver. So here we go tear-assing through traffic after him, and with the rest of the procession (not knowing what's going on) following us at break-neck speeds!! I had to PHYSICALLY grab this man, and threaten bodily harm if he didn't break-off this nonsense and get us back into the funeral spirit!

Crazy…is it the rest of the world, or just me?
From Janice -

About 10 years ago, my cousin, Sonny, passed away. His family decided to cremate him and bury his ashes near his dear, departed wife. The services were to be held graveside, as it was to be simple and dignified (as was he). My husband, Mario attended the funeral with me. Mario was born and educated in Verona and we always knew he was one of those two gentlemen of Verona that Shakespeare wrote about.

After the ceremony, with devout reverence, Mario whispered to me soto voce "Where is Sonny?"

I pointed to the box-like urn that held his remains. Mario cleared his throat and whispered into my ear, "I thought that was the collection box…I was going to put some money in it!"

I laughed so hard tears were running down my face.

Ever since I hit midlife, death has become more than just a concept to me. With each passing birthday, the realization has set in -- especially with the death of my parents (and with greater and greater frequency, my peers, including several of my Edge of Night cast-mates) -- that death is an unavoidable destination to which we are all standing on a very slippery slope.

This brings to mind another John Donne quote: “But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space.

To which I’d like to make note that he says “a space,” not a lifetime ; and to which I’d like to suggest: make that space as brief as you possibly can, and then get on with living.

Life is too short and too precious, and you do your loved ones no great service by withdrawing from it just because they’re no longer around. And you do not dishonor their memory when you experience joy, love and laughter.

So, I offer a hearty “Thank you” to Laura, Anderson and Janice for sharing your funny stories with me. It felt really, really good to laugh...

Even if it was just to keep from crying.


PS -- If any more of you have humorous funeral stories you’d like to share, feel free to e-mail them to me at . I’m thinking that maybe, someday, I’ll include them in a book…which brings to mind yet another quote from John Donne:

“When one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language.”

That didn’t make me laugh…but it definitely made me smile.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Not only did Garces get the part, but the role also was expanded from two episodes to a recurring character to -- in the seventh and final season of The Shield that will begin sometime this fall -- a series regular. For Garces, 34, it's the meatiest role by far in a career in which she has played mainly arm candy (like Maria, the hottie-next-door in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) or dizzy teens (Pilar, the flighty young girl of The Guiding Light who killed her mom's boyfriend and then became a nun).

Entire article, here.

(Editor's note: Actually, it was Pilar's mother, Carmen, who shot Ben, and when last heard from, Pilar was in Italy studying acting, not in a nunnery. But why let facts get in the way of a funny run-on sentence?)


While each of their characters is currently going through a rough time on-screen, actors Michael Park (Jack), Maura West (Carly), Jennifer Landon (Gwen) and Mick Hazen (Parker) took a moment out of their professional suffering to pose for an all-smiles family portrait.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Austin Peck (Brad; ATWT), Murray Bartlett (Cyrus; GL) and other daytime stars will set sail on Soap Cruise, The Second Voyage on Thursday, January 22 until Monday, January 29, 2009.

Please visit or call (248) 855-7918 for more information.

Punk was evolving into the much more marketable and accessible New Wave, with bands like the Cars and Talking Heads enjoying hit debuts. A major-label bidding war ensued; the band signed with Warner Brothers and released its debut album, The B-52's, in 1979. The album went gold and the follow-up, Wild Planet, cracked the Top 20 in 1980. In 1982 the group even performed the song Private Idaho on a soap opera called The Guiding Light. "That inspired a whole generation of actors," Schneider quips. "Angelina Jolie became an actress after seeing it."

Entire article, here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Comin’ in from “The Edge…”
Mama Mia…R.I.P.

When I started writing this column, I said that the topics I’d be covering included the challenges of care-taking an aging parent, something that a lot of baby-boomers are either going through right now, or will very soon be going through.

Well, with Mom’s passing, that “challenge” is now over. But it has been replaced by a new one…grieving.

It’s been a little over a week since Mom’s death and, so far, my sister and I seem to be doing okay. Mom is now (“ashes to ashes, dust to dust”) in a three-pound, wooden box which we sit in her favorite chair (in front of the television) during the day, and tuck into her bed at night. Eventually, her ashes will be placed alongside my Dad’s in a columbarium back in Chicago, but for right now, we find keeping her cremains close to us in a “business as usual” fashion very comforting.

As illustrated by the following story, I have also found comfort in (even on the subject of death) maintaining my sense of humor, a quality I certainly inherited from both my parents…

Even though Mom was being cremated, we still had to find a funeral home, select a casket and schedule a viewing. Anyone familiar with the death/funeral scenes in the movies Kingdom Come, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Little Miss Sunshine or Weekend at Bernie’s should be able to wrap their minds around what happened next – except this isn’t fiction…

Mom was born and raised in Greenville, Mississippi, and my sister specifically wanted a “down home,” black-owned, “family” funeral home. Having lived in New York for less than a year, we didn’t know of any, so she asked a neighbor, who got a recommendation from a cousin.

Kathy was pleased with the price (thinking that maybe we were getting the “good neighbor” discount) and trusted the neighbor’s judgment (after all, we live in a very nice, upper-middle class area) so, sight-unseen, she booked the place and scheduled them to pick up Mom's body the next day. That morning, I suggested that maybe we should drive by the place, first, to check it out....

Turns out it was in an "iffy" neighborhood in Queens, twenty or so miles from the house. Even with Mapquest and a GPS, it took us almost an hour to find it. When we finally got to the right street, we saw a Funeral Home sign on a place that looked fairly suitable and we were relieved. Turns out, that wasn't the place. Driving down to the next block we saw another F.H. sign with peeling paint, bars on the windows, and a circa 1985 hearse parked under a carport... that was the place!!!!


When she was alive, my mom would never have been “caught dead in a place like this,” metaphorically. So, I damn sure wasn’t about to now let it happen to her literally !

Not knowing whether they had already picked up my mom's body, Kathy drove back to the other funeral home to check it out while I went inside the one we'd booked to see if (gulp) Mom was already there...

I had to be buzzed in , which pretty much confirmed my suspicions that the funeral home was a "front" for some other -- possibly illegal -- activities going on inside. I was let in to a muddy brown-paneled "lobby" where I was met by two young funeral home "assistants" dressed in jeans and t-shirts!!! I explained that I was Mentha Berry's daughter and asked if my mother's body had been delivered which point a door opened and a guy who looked like a cross between the hefty BET comic, Bruce Bruce, and Al Sharpton walked out, dressed in a "Harlem Knights" suit, bright yellow tie and wide-brimmed "pimp" hat.


I gave some lame excuse about needing to know when we had to bring the clothes Mom was to be dressed in. When told that Mom was scheduled to be picked up that afternoon (it was now almost 3 pm), I politely said "thank you" and hauled ass outa there, running up the street (to get my sister to call the hospital and tell them not to release the body!!!) so fast that I almost knocked over the midget loitering outside. (Okay, “midget” may not be a “politically correct” term, but trust me, this guy would have chafed at being called a “little person” – with any reference made to anything about him being “little,” considered an affront to his “manhood.”

He gave me a scathing look...I apologized and kept running. My brother-in-law, who was parked outside the other funeral home, said I was running so fast all he could see was hair flying in the wind like Medusa.

I was panting when I got to the other place, and the funeral director offered me a chair and asked if I needed a glass of water. He was so soft spoken and polite that I was almost able to overlook his Steve Harvey circa 1998 attire.

When Kathy and I explained our dilemma, he said he would be happy to have the service at his establishment but insisted that we call the other funeral home first and tell them that this was our decision and that he wasn’t trying to steal his clients.

I then asked if I could have a private moment with my sister. When he stepped out of the room I said:

“Look, you only talked to these people on the phone, but they’ve seen my face , and if the midget tells them how he saw me run out of there and up the street to this place, they might hold me personally responsible for their loss of income. And they already know what time the service is scheduled for…and they might be waiting for me to show up. I don’t want to come back here on Wednesday and end up in the casket with Mama!”

When the funeral director came back in, we thanked him and said we wanted to check a few places closer to home, first, and would get back to him. Quite frankly, I think he was relieved. He didn’t want to end up in a casket with Mama either!!!

Cut to the chase…We regrouped and found a beautiful funeral home just three minutes from the house. Our funeral director was a lovely young Hispanic woman who looked like she could be a member of our family. She was kind and compassionate and very sensitive to our circumstance.

It was an Irish-Italian owned funeral home. However, mom’s dad, Robert Adams was a 6-foot, 5-inch Irishman (to give equal recognition, grandma was a 5-foot, two-inch, black woman named Annie Pollard). So, since Mom is half-Irish…and this was a half-Irish owned funeral home…that sufficed as “down-home, family” enough for me.

After leaving the place, we went to a restaurant up the street to grab something to eat. Not five seconds after being seated, “Knocking on Heaven's Door” starts playing on their sound system. We all looked at each other…it was a sign!

Mom was at peace.

Happy belated St Patrick’s Day!
XO, Mariann
PS - After the service, Kathy mentioned the first place to another neighbor who said that I was right to have been concerned. She’d heard of the place in reference to funerals resulting from gang-related murders being held there. The reason people had to be buzzed into the place, she said, was to keep rival gang members out to avoid shoot-outs at the funeral !

By the way, did I mention, that the “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (written by Bob Dylan) playing at the restaurant was the Gun’s and Roses version?!

Obviously, even in the after-life, Mom hasn’t lost her sense of humor…and, the rejected funeral home notwithstanding, she still managed to go out with a bang !


Wednesday, March 19, 2008


As a long-time soap opera viewer, I've really enjoyed the chance to join my class--none of whom were familiar with As the World Turns when the semester began--in their journey into some degree of familiarity with Oakdale, Ill. Some of these students had seen soap operas from outside the U.S., one who was a fan of British soaps from his native U.K. and another who had seen some Australian soap opera during time she spent in the country over the summer. Some even had some preconceived notions of what U.S. soap operas would be like, some of which I fear are driven by the fact that soaps often become defined by people who don't know the genre well by the worst examples instead of the best.

It seems some people who don't watch soaps regularly know only the most ridiculous of plot devices that have been used in daytime, or the most famous of sub-par acting, rather than the artistry of what makes soap operas compelling television. My hope was to give these students firsthand experience of soap opera viewing from the semester, both by watching soap opera scenes from through the years but also by immersing themselves in one of the most historically significant shows not just in daytime serial drama but in the history of television--As the World Turns.

In the process, I've been fascinated by some of the observations the students make, and it's always fun to see the genre through new eyes, especially by new eyes who are interested not just in the current status of the show but also in the history of the show--and its characters. I thought I'd share a few observations from the class' blog ( with PGP Classic Soaps readers and invite you all to come by and join in the conversation with our students:

Jenn, in Ambiguous Narrative ( Ambiguity in American soap operas is key, with many questions left unanswered such as “is this character good or evil?”, “what might happen to these characters next?”, and the all-too-prevalent “I wonder when they are going to bring up [that thing that was mentioned once] again and make it into its own storyline.” I wonder about this in relation to some of the things we have seen lately on ATWT. A few weeks ago, Emily mentioned to Margo that she used to be a prostitute, and yet there has been no fallout from this. Is it at all possible that Emily’s revelation will go unmentioned? It is very doubtful that this won’t come up in its own storyline. We received slight mention of Barbara’s cancer a few weeks ago, and it now seems to be surfacing into a storyline…however, where it is going is ambiguous. Will Barbara putting her children in front of her radiation therapy cause the cancer to worsen and her to die? Or will she recover, battle it out and beat the cancer? Will she dramatically take a turn for the worse only to miraculously recover? Will she also lose her hair, as Lucinda did in the clips we watched from years ago? Where the story is going for Barbara is completely ambiguous right now.

Ernest from Character Analysis: Henry and Vienna ( How do you do a character analysis of soap opera characters? How do you do a literary analysis of this particular type of text? Plot must wither away, first of all; the characters’ feelings and interactions take precedence. These interactions and feelings must then be placed within the context of characters’ histories - their personal histories and their historical relationships with those around them. The first task of leaving plot alone in favor of character is possible for a student who has only recently started watching the soap. The second task of placing these characters in a historical context is nearly impossible. These people have developed outside of most newbies’ experiences, and have a rich history that applies to the character’s actions in ways newcomers to the soap can’t hope to perceive. Given this shortcoming on my part as a newcomer, I would nevertheless like to attempt an analysis of Henry and Vienna. I do know a little bit about these characters, and of all of the relationships on the show, I am particularly interested in theirs. Vienna wears her lust on her shoulder. [ . . . ] Poor Henry is in his own bind. [ . . . ] He is now faced with the huge burden of knowing she had sex with him, knowing it’s his fault, and knowing that she thinks she is justified in doing so because of his affair, an affair he knows never happened.

Laura from Reactions ( I think “As The World Turns” has succeeded in drawing us into its narrative. The first two weeks were mostly about figuring out who everyone is and what is going on. In the third week, we have fewer questions for Sam. We are starting to know these characters, and care about them. We have seen plots begin, end, and take drastic turns in this time. I think the most telling reaction from this audience is when we have all gasped or cried out in unison at some plot reveal or character moment. We may still be somewhat detached, looking at this analytically and academically, but they’ve got us to care, which I see as a success on their part. I believe the two biggest reactions were to Craig’s sudden and dramatic return, and to Katie’s poorly timed phone call during Jack’s bizarre Cowboy Jack scene.

Katharine from The "UGH" Factor ( At the risk of never ever having someone to watch a movie with again, I have a confession to make. I talk. I talk during commercials. I shriek when the murderer jumps out. And I definitely, most definitely say, “awww” when the couple that should get together does get together. So it was a really weird experience when every time I watched a soap and the sound, “UGH,” emerged from my mouth several times in a row. When Carly makes a ridiculously bad decision, when Casey decides to house a bunkmate from prison, or when Sophie makes a bad decision kidnapping the baby, the response is the same. It’s UGH! Forgive me for saying, but this rarely ever happens when I’m watching other television shows like “House” or “The X-files” and it doesn’t even happen when I watch unrealistic shows like “Walker Texas Ranger.” [ . . . ] The foreshadowing in soap operas is done in a way that the audience knows what should be done and shouldn’t be done, which can also add considerable frustration. Since the audience is able to access all the character’s and their thoughts, we’re always ahead of the game. The constant use of dramatic irony can really promote the “UGH” factor more.

Nick from Is it really all that bad? ( In a 1974 book called “TV: The Most Popular Art”, the author (now teaching at the University of Georgia) gives three plots that are a pattern of soaps, repeated ‘again and again’:
  1. Women who give up their children for adoption begin to search for them
  2. Good men go about their business, only to have it confounded by their scheming partners
  3. Pattern of accidental death followed by trial for murder

If we look at the three main stories from last week’s As The World Turns, we find:

  1. Sophie kidnapping her child from her adoptive parents
  2. Chris discovering his research partner to be Dusty’s murderer
  3. Sam being shot and killed, with the presumption of Parker as the murderer despite his motives and/or innocence
So I wonder - has ATWT really changed all that much, in terms of story? Certainly, the soap is moving at a much faster pace, but the same is true of the actual plots going on? I’m not so sure. "

Claxton from Soap Operas vs. Primetime Dramas ( Since soaps are never-ending and air so frequently, if a newcomer to the series seeks to “jump-in” it’s not difficult. Some of the longest running soaps such as Guiding Light and ATWT have been running for decades now. It would be nearly impossible for anyone to have seen EVERY SINGLE EPISODE AIRED from day one. It’s just unlikely and probably very difficult to accomplish. In addition to their long running status (and unlike primetime shows) soaps do not have seasons or any clear boundaries of start and finish; they air year around. This could make it very difficult for new viewers of the show to gain a sense of what is going on, as well as a desire to get into the show (for having missed decades of episodes). As a solution to this, soaps have to stagger multiple plotlines at once, jumping between them fairly quickly. This slows the progression of each sub plot. By doing so, the show is able to build even more intrigue by sometimes weaving two seemingly unrelated stories together, forming a new plot….in possibly a new direction.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


It’s a long way from Tyrone to Tinseltown, but Marcy Rylan made the trek. Rylan, a 1999 graduate of Tyrone Area High School, joined the cast of the CBS soap opera “Guiding Light” in February 2006 as Lizzie Spaulding, daughter of Beth Raines-Spaulding and Phillip Spaulding.

Read the entire interview, here.

The 39 Steps, playing the Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre through March 29, will transfer to the Cort Theatre. Directed by Maria Aitken and starring the original Broadway cast, the show will resume performances April 29, with a new opening night of May 8.... The cast includes Arnie Burton, Charles Edwards, Jennifer Ferrin, and Cliff Saunders.

More here.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Our class on the soap opera in the Program in Comparative Media Studies at MIT has spent a lot of time this semester discussing exactly what defines a soap opera, in particular the U.S. soap opera model. Some people liken the soap opera to telenovelas and other forms of serial drama around the world which have short-term stories that air several episodes a week, but there’s something fundamentally different--almost opposite--about a show that begins with a finite ending, rather than the U.S. soap opera model that shows like As the World Turns or Guiding Light follow, where the presumption is that these narratives will continue on for generations to come.

We've been talking about what defines the soap opera model launched in the U.S. from not only telenovelas but also primetime soap operas and the various other forms of serial drama in television. You could argue that anything from Friday Night Lights to Survivor to Lost to Heroes to 24 is, in some ways, a soap opera, but it just depends on what your definition of soap opera is.

I wrote about this recently in a post over at my class' blog (see here: I start with a list that scholar Mary Ellen Brown put together in the mid-1980s to define what the soap opera is. But of course it's hard to put a definition on this form. ATWT is not just like Guiding Light, and each of the other U.S. soaps can be quite different. I'd argue that they very well should be. These shows may share the same format, but they often tell very different types of stories.

Nevertheless, there are certainly some common characteristics that make U.S. soap operas fit together as a category, and likewise set them apart from primetime serial dramas and many other distant relatives. Recently, I was honored to be accepted to present my research as part of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies' annual conference in Philadelphia, where I made a presentation entitled "Vast Narratives and Immersive Story Worlds." This was based on research that originated when doing background for my Master's thesis work here at MIT. In that work, I have argued that U.S. soap operas belong to a larger class of entertainment I call "immersive story worlds." According to my definition, these worlds have six characteristics:

1.) A serial storytelling structure
2.) Multiple creative forces both throughout the history of the media property and at any given time
3.) A sense of long-term continuity
4.) A deep character backlog
5.) Contemporary ties to the media property's complex history
6.) A sense of permanence

The other two best fictional examples I could come up with, in addition to the long-running daytime serial dramas such as GL and ATWT, is the Marvel and DC Comics superhero universes and the world of professional wrestling. Each of these worlds requires more knowledge than any one fan could ever have, as well as any one creator. To me, it is the vastness of the worlds that attract people to them.

For me, what makes soap operas unique is this rich history and this idea, even when you begin watching it, that the narrative is bigger than you and that it will outlast any individual viewer, as well as any individual creator. This notion is what drives much of the fan discussion around soap operas and what keeps viewers watching, even when they are sometimes frustrated by the show. I'd love to know what PGP Classic Soaps readers think about this concept I presented at SCMS. Feel free to stop by our class blog to discuss further or see more of my writing on these concepts for the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium:

If you have further thoughts, feel free to e-mail me at

Friday, March 14, 2008


Fancast (, created by Comcast Interactive Media, is the first online destination that enables users to watch, manage and find entertainment content wherever it is available - on Fancast, on television, online, on DVD or in theaters. On Fancast, users can view an expanding free library of full episodes and clips from movie partners and top networks, find the content they are looking for across multiple platforms and create a personalized entertainment experience. Fancast features like the "Watch It" tool make it easy to access content wherever it lives while "Six Degrees" helps them explore the connections between TV shows, movies, cast and crew. Shortly, Fancast will enable users to set their DVR from their computer, receive email reminders about what they should tune-in to based on previous preferences and set designated "Watch Lists" of their favorite shows.

Among the shows available for viewing are As The World Turns and Guiding Light.

More info, here.


Henry has finally been rescued from his fate worse than death. Twenty-four straight hours with Cowboy Jack.

Does that mean he and Vienna will be reuniting?

And if that's the case, how will Grey react?

Hint: Not well.

Don't miss the fireworks, only next week, only on As The World Turns!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

MIKE 3.0

Jon Prescott joins the cast of As The World Turns in the role of Mike Kasnoff.

Mike comes back to Oakdale hoping for some closure with ex-wife Katie, but then finds himself in the middle of another on-again/off-again couple's relationship.

The role of the good guy contractor was previously played by Mark Collier from July 2002 until January 2007. (When the character slept with Carly the night before her wedding to Jack, was a candidate in Sage's Daddy Sweepstakes, married Jennifer while she was carrying Craig's baby, and finally wed Katie, only to take off over her feelings for ex-husband Simon.)

Before that, Shawn Christian was the original Mike from 1994 to 1997. Mike was in love with Rosanna, but accidentaly impregnated her long lost sister, Carly. Their baby girl, Nora, was stillborn.

Prescott, who has guest-starred on Las Vegas and CSI: New York, debuts on April 2.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Mick Hazen (Parker; ATWT) has received a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Young Actor - Recurring Role for a TV Drama Series. He is the only daytime actor to be included in this category this year.

Previous daytime winners include Dylan Cash (Michael; GH), Jesse McCartney (Junior; AMC), Brittany Snow (Susan; Guiding Light), Ashley Peldon (Marah; Guiding Light), Melissa Hayden (Bridget; Guiding Light), Bryan Buffinton (Bill; Guiding Light), Kimberly McCullough (Robin; GH) and Rachel Minor (Michelle; Guiding Light).

Also nominated for 2007 are Jake Cherry (Desperate Housewives; Any relation to the show's creator Marc Cherry?), Will Shadley (Dirty Sexy Money), Dominic Janes (ER) and more!
For further information please visit .

The awards will be presented on March 30th.

Robert Bogue (Mallet; GL - pictured above in the front seat) will appear in the following cities to promote the opening of his award winning comedy, Backseat:

On Saturday, March 28 th at the Quad Cinema in New York City;

On Saturday, April 5 th at the Opera Plaza Cinema in San Francisco;

On Sunday, April 6 th at the Landmark Shattuck Cinema in Berkely;

On Saturday, April 19 th at the Varsity Theater in Seattle and on Saturday, April 12 th at the Dobbie Theatre in Austin.

For more information, please visit
www. .

Bogue will be available for a meet and greet following the screenings.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Comin' in from "The Edge..."

Mama Mia…In Memoriam.

Mom passed away last Friday, March 7 at 8:28 pm. She was 91.

I used to think that "passed away" was a wussy euphemism for death. But the way mom made her transition, she really did "pass away." She'd had a good day, that day, and was even cooperating with her physical therapist! I fed her her dinner and afterwards she said she was tired and wanted to get back in bed.
About 20 minutes later -- and just 2 minutes after my sister walked in from work -- she took a big gasp like she was trying to catch her breath...and while she continued to breathe for a couple more hours, she never regained consciousness. So my sister and I just sat there with her...holding her hands and singing stupid pop songs and show tunes (Mom loved to sing) and watched the Chicago Bulls play the Boston Celtics (Mom was a big sports fan…and she loved her Bulls!) while her breathing became slower and more shallow…until finally it just stopped and she quietly passed away.

Mom had been in the hospital since January 28. I was usually with her from lunchtime (bringing her a "contraband" McDonald's happy meal or Taco Supreme from Taco Bell...her favorites :-) through the dinner hour till my sister got there after work at around 6:30, when we'd switch off. Sometimes I'd stay, too, and we'd all watch Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and American Idol together. We got to spend some good quality time together there at the end. Ironically, Mom was going to be released on Monday and my sister and I were making plans to bring her home with (thanks to Medicare) an attendant coming in 4 hours a day. I was looking forward to it...and to having a little more time for myself.

All Mom's nurses loved her. They thought she was quite a character and would brag about her feistiness and how she would cuss them out if they had to wake her up to take her vitals. But alternately, when she was in a good mood, she would also engage them in conversation and be "sweet as pie." During those last few hours, every nurse on the floor came in to pay their respects at one time or another...and to offer comfort to my sister and me. Several were so torn up, we ended up having to give comfort to them!
Being somewhat jaded by a lot of what seems to be going on in the world today, my faith in humanity has been restored by the goodness I witnessed -- and experienced -- from my mom's nurses.

Since my sister is moving back to Chicago in the next couple months, there will be just a small funeral service in New York. Mom will be cremated and there will be a memorial service late this spring/early summer at her home church in Illinois.

As I’ve mentioned before in this column, Mom and I’d had our issues over the years, so it has been a real gift to be able to spend these last nine months with her and to get a "healing" and closure to much of our drama...

Life with her wasn't always easy...but, in retrospect, the lessons I've learned, the wisdom I've gained and the strength I've acquired because of my mama has been my blessing.

May she rest in peace...
Well, maybe not right away…the Celtics ended up beating the Bulls 116 to 93. First, she’s gonna have to give God a good “talking-to” about that one!

Mariann - aka "Mentha Berry's Daughter"
My sister Kathy Coley, Mom and me.
* * * * * *
The content from this week’s column is from an e-mail I sent out right after Mom’s passing. Many of the responses to it gave much joy to my heart. This one, in particular, is one I wanted to share with you…
Hi Mariann,

What a wonderful and loving story! Please accept my deepest condolences. You have made me feel like I knew your mom well.
You have touched my heart with your loving and caring ways.
Your mom knew love.
You have given it without reserve,
and Mentha will have it forevermore.

She will shower it upon you from above
the gift from you and a mother’s love;
to honor, protect and watch over you
as you continue life's journey and do what you do.

She appreciated and enjoyed you so much.
She used words to smokescreen her loving touch,
to harden her precious daughter from the world's cold clutch.

The smile is inside.
From the world it would not hide.
That is the fortune.
It's yours to keep.
From your heart,
it will continue to steep.

Peace, Blessings and Love.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Circus clowns are scary. So, apparently, are circus magicians and lion tamers.

On the episodes of Search For Tomorrow currently airing on the AOL/PGP Classic Soap Channel, nosy teen TR (Jane Krakowski) and her friend Danny (John Loprieno), get mixed up in circus life courtesy of their new pal Ryder (Adam Storke) and his mother (Barbara Luna).

But it's not all fun and games under the big top. Evil lion tamer Bela (Lee Goddard) has some stolen gold stashed away -- and TR is getting close to finding it.

So what's a scheming cat handler to do but turn to his flunky, a clown, and order him to scare the girl?

And what option does a clown have but to rig the resident magician's "cut the girl in half" trick. Just in time for TR to volunteer her services as "victim."

Will the future 30 Rock star get cut off at the knees? Tune in to SFT today, and find out!

Peyton List (ex-Lucy).

Meg Ryan (ex-Betsy).

Margaret Colin (ex-Margo).

Annie Parisse (ex-Julia)

Friday, March 07, 2008


Read an interview with Myrna Overstreet, who oversees P&G's branded entertainment projects as marketing manager at P&G global branded entertainment, and Pat Gentile, North America TV program manager at P&G Prods. (PGP), here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Once while in her 20s, Victoria Lichterman got two job offers within a week. One was full-time assistant professor status at Brooklyn College, where she then taught speech and theater. The other was a principal part in a television soap.

Being young, she turned down Brooklyn’s offer and, for just a matter of months before a change in producers, portrayed Dorothy Royce in Search for Tomorrow. “I’ve done a lot of acting in my life, a lot of acting, so trying to remember what this character did is not right on the top of my head. But I know that she ran a personnel office and, through that office, ruined people’s lives,” says Lichterman — who, of late, and much later in her own life, at last returned to academe.

Read the entire article, here.

DS: Well, Paul Leyden is busy writing the screenplay. We met a while back and killed a whole Sunday at Triumph Brewery, talking about the book and movies and stuff. It was a blast. Though I think I’m still slightly hungover…

One funny thing: Paul’s a former soap star — he played “Simon Frasier” on AS THE WORLD TURNS. We had him over for dinner one night, and later the news got back to my mother and sisters. All of whom, it turns out, are big AS THE WORLD TURNS fans. They were like, “You had WHO over for dinner!?” It was like I had Barack Obama over for burgers, and didn’t tell them.

Read the entire article, here.

(Hat Tip for the original scoop: Sarah Weinman)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Olivia Birkelund appears on Guiding Light as Pheobe, an old flame of Cyrus’s on Tuesday, March 11.

In addition to several Law & Order guest-shots, plus playing Julianne Moore's (ex-Frannie/Sabrina; ATWT) friend in the feature film, Far From Heaven, Birkelund is best known to daytime audiences for her role as Arlene Vaughan, Hayley's (Kelly Ripa) drunken, husband-stealing mom on All My Children. (Where the husband she stole was played by GL's former Phillip, Grant Aleksander.)

Van Hansis (Luke) and Jake Silbermann (Noah) will be presenters at the 19 th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on Monday, March 17, 2008.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Comin’ in from “The Edge”…
Catching Up With Lela Ivey (aka “Mitzi Martin”)

Dear Mariann:

It has been great reading your posts on the P&G Soap Blog over the last few months. I was a big fan of "Edge" during the time you were on the show and was very sad when it ended. It is so hard to believe that next year will be 25 years since the cancellation!

At least, however, we've had the chance to see you in a variety of other parts since the show ended. Too many of your talented co-stars have either passed away, retired or weren’t quite so lucky in their post-Edge acting careers. I particularly enjoyed the work of Joel Crothers and Dennis Parker and both passed away way, way, way too soon, as did the wonderful Irving Allen Lee (whom I remember turning up all too briefly on As The World Turns post-Edge).

I hope that sometime soon you can give us some updates on the actors that are still around and that we haven't seen on our TV or movie screens in awhile; e.g. Ernie Townsend, Ann Flood, Mark Arnold (amongst my other faves on the show). Soap fans have l-o-n-g memories and it would be great to hear more about these actors we fondly remember.

Continued good luck in your acting pursuits. I am a lawyer by trade and by day, and singer on the side, so I know how tough it can be to keep pursuing one's "art" while satisfying all of life's other demands.

Robert Wargo
Los Angeles , CA
* * *

Well Robert, as much as I can, I aim to please, so here’s an update on the wonderfully talented Lela Ivey, who played my roommate, “Mitzi Martin,” during my residency in Edge of Night’ s fictional town of Monticello -- and with whom I enjoyed playing many fun, comedy scenes. While she was in LA, we also participated in the sketch comedy troupe, Small-Breasted Women , together. Unfortunately, the troupe went…uhh, bust. Ba-dum-bump!

Photo: Lawrence Cosentino, Lansing City Pulse

In addition to acting, Lela is now a filmmaker, director and faculty member in the Humanities & Performing Arts Department at Lansing Community College in Lansing Michigan , where she grew up. You can find out more in this on-line interview with Lela at

After a short introductory scene between “Jodi” (Kerry Emerson) and “Beth” (Sandy Faison) you can see Lela in a clip with a very recognizable, young “Desperate Housewife,” here!

Mariann also blogs at : Lee Bailey’s Electronic Urban Report

Monday, March 03, 2008


I am the project manager of a research group called the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT. This semester, I'm teaching a course on the history and current state of the American soap opera here at MIT's Program in Comparative Media Studies. We have a small group of students for this elective class, including not just MIT students but a cross-enrolled student from neighboring Harvard University, who are spending the semester immersing themselves in the world of Oakdale, Illinois.

Starting at the beginning of last month, the class has been following the daily lives of the Hugheses, Snyders, Stewarts, Ryans and all the other characters that populate As the World Turns landscape, as well as delving into the history of the American soap opera, ATWT itself, and academic work on soaps.

We meet each Monday night to watch the previous week's episodes of ATWT as a group, and the class is able to rely on one another to help piece together character histories and relationships. So far, the students have been drawing on soap opera discussion boards, Web sites, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Julie Poll's 1996 book on the show to help understand the complicated pasts of these characters.

We've even been using YouTube to watch 1960s clips of the Hughes family, as well as the 2000 ATWT episode celebrating the 40th anniversary of Don Hastings' and Eileen Fulton's portrayals of Lisa and Bob. When we started the semester, we discussed watching a variety of other shows to compare them against ATWT, but the students have decided that this show has more intrigue and rich history than they could possibly learn in a semester and have thus decided to concentrate solely on World Turns for their taste of American soaps.

None of the students who signed up for the class identify themselves as American soaps fan, although one--a British native--has been a fan of soaps in his country. The students have thus had a chance to test out and challenge some of their assumptions and stereotypes about what soaps are, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that the students have become interested in the fates of these characters and some particularly obsessed with learning the pasts of these characters.

One student has already taken to editing Wikipedia pages on the show, while another has admitted to losing significant amounts of time watching Luke and Noah videos on YouTube.

Procter & Gamble Productions has invited my class and me to post regular updates here on our progress of studying this historic show this semester, and we're excited to share our thoughts as the class comes to learn the complicated history of Oakdale and becomes immersed in the current show.

I personally came to this class after spending two years researching soap opera fan communities, the relationship between fans and soap opera producers, and the changes in how soaps tell their stories in the current age, as well as what I think is essential for the long-term continuation of these "worlds without end" that I feel are unmatched in the type of stories they tell and the depth of fan involvement they invite, at a time when the television industry is particularly interested in "engagement." I argue in my work that the American soap opera is, along with the world of pro wrestling and superhero comic book universes, the best articulation of what I call an "immersive story world" that invites not just deep viewing but community-building around these entertainment forms. See more of my work in this draft of my thesis, which I am continuing to revise.

Personally, I'm a lifelong viewer of As the World Turns, which has consistently been "my story," as my grandmother called it. My grandmother watched. My mom watched. And now I have created viewing as a regular routine with my wife. I realize that 25-year-old males may not be P&G's target demographic for this show, but I personally believe ATWT is unmatched both in its storytelling potential and in having a veteran cast of some of the best actors in daytime, as well as the richest history of any show on television.

I'm also co-editing a collection of essays on the current state of soap operas with Dr. Abigail Derecho of Columbia College Chicago and Dr. Lee Harrington of Miami University, which will include essays by both academics and fans and interviews with academics who wrote pioneering pieces on soaps and some key people from the soap opera industry. I will be speaking about my work on soaps at conferences in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara this spring and would appreciate any feedback readers might have. Feel free to contact me at

I plan to share regular updates on my class' perspective as the class moves along, but to start with here are a few notes:

-The Luke/Noah relationship is by far the storyline of greatest interest to my class, and there is continuous debate over how the show will progress the relationship. The class has also demonstrated strong interest in the outcome of the custody battle, which we will be watching on Monday night;

-Perhaps defying what one might stereotypically expect from target demographics, this group of 20-somethings have most continuously said that favorites on the show include Elizabeth Hubbard's portrayal of Lucinda Walsh and Ellen Dolan's Margo Hughes. Austin Peck's Brad Snyder is also a strong class favorite;

Throughout the spring, I plan to share the perspectives of various students, but if you want to read what the class is saying on a regular basis, a significant portion of their work in the class comes in the form of our class blog. Feel free to stop over that way and even leave comments to agree with, argue, or add to the class' thoughts.