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Suds Report For December 5, 2008

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The Suds Report: Dec. 5, 2008

By Nelson Branco

Is ‘Y&R’s stud Don Diamont being killed off? Plus: Michael Graziadei out? Sarah Brown re-signs! Exclusive: ‘MVP’ coming back? Did Alison Sweeney give birth?


“Days of our Lives: 2008’s Most Improved Soap”

—Soap Opera Digest names one of the worst written shows in daytime TV history as 08’s most improved serial — and not soap crown jewel The Young and the Restless — in this week’s Best and Worst issue

Translation: Written by special guest editor Ken Corday.

“It was just a case of [mining] the rich gems that were already there.”

—Maria Arena Bell tells Soaps In Depth turning around a soap isn’t that hard, morons!

Translation: Take that Soap Opera Digest!

“I worked with Bill [bell] when he was working with [late soap legend] Irna Phillips at ATWT. He was a great writer. I learned a lot from him. And I think he taught Irna a lot of things, too. She was a great writer.”

—Y&R’s co-exec Paul Rauch in Soaps In Depth

Translation: I worked with the best of the best, bitches! Now, light up my cigar!

“There’s been a diminishment in production quality with some of the shows, not this one at all, but shows like GL and ATWT have been deeply affected by budget cuts. Visually, those shows are not what they once were — not because the people who run them don’t want them to be — but because of [economic realities]. There is less money because there is less audience. Producers have to be clever.”

—Rauch on the challenges soaps face today in Soaps In Depth

Translation: I’m working on the No. 1 soap in daytime! Take that, P&G!

All My Children, A/ABC — Melrose Valley rocks!

• Congratulations to baby daddy Jacob Young (JR) and his wife, Christen, who welcomed their first child Luke Wayne Young on Nov. 25. Little Luke weighed in at 7lbs., 5oz. and measured 20 inches. And, no, Tony Geary (Luke, GH) is not the baby’s father.

• Click here for your opportunity to stalk 15 stars including Toronto’s Cameron Mathison (Ryan), who is hosting the fan event. On Jan. 22, the cruise departs from Miami, Fla. with stops at Key West and Cozumel, Mexico for four fun-filled days. If you can’t make it, TVGuide.ca will be blogging live from sudsy tip with the entire scoop from the love boat.

• JR Martinez and Beth Ehlers (Broc and Taylor) appear on The View today, so don’t miss it. Poor JR — first the Iraq War, and now Elisabeth Hasselbeck? Give the real-life hero a break.

• Isn’t Melrose Valley surprisingly entertaining in a prime-time soap opera sort of way? So far, the biggest miracle has been the revitalization of Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, who has been on fire since she returned from her losing battle on Dancing With the Stars. La Lucci is clearly back in her element after returning to her home turf full time. The Emmy winner is delivering one unforgettable, electrifying performance of late. It’s been a joy to see Erica being written as a confident, powerful and compassionate force to be reckoned with once again. Who needs tornadoes when you have “I’m Erica Kane — Everything I do is breaking news?” Erica’s the only force of nature AMC should be concentrating on.

• Don’t be too surprised if McKenzie Westmore (Dr. Sinclair) sticks around Pine Place for a longer stint. Soap Opera Digest quotes head writer Chuck Pratt Jr. as saying he finds the former Passions star “an actress of great beauty and calibre.” How much you wanna bet Dr. Sinclair finds herself in a hot three-way with Rianca? Also, Melissa Claire Egan (Annie) isn’t going anywhere. In fact, Soaps Up aired a spoiler recently that has me scratching my head: Will Annie hire a Leo-look-a-like to ghost-light Greenlee? As for Michael E. Knight, the Emmy winner can be expected “to be worked to death,” according to Pratt. Literally, I bet.

• Who’s stealing the show these days? That’s easy — Tamara Braun (Reese).

As The World Turns, Global/CBS — Nookie for Nuke? Yeah, right!

• Who knew Jake Silbermann (Noah) could act? Clearly, the gay icon isn’t inspired by the crappy material his head writer pens for him. Don’t believe moi? Check out these audition clips.

• Welovesoaps.com’s Roger Newcomb is reporting that one of this past year’s best newcomers Eric William Morris (Matt) will be back in Brooklyn to tape in January. All I can say is: Don’t do it Eric. Hold out for an ABC show.

The Bold and the Beautiful, CTV/CBS — Ratings surge down under!

• B&B’s new prime-time slot proved successful in Australia. The most-watched daily serial in the world was the most watched B&B episode of the year, with an audience of 594,000 (up 26 per cent from the 2008 average).

• Paging Patricia Fields: I hate to say this, but B&B needs a new costume designer STAT! This is supposed to be a show about fashion? Memo to Birgit Muller: start watching Ugly Betty immediately. The ABC hit is the new Sex and the City.

Days of our Lives, Global/NBC — Labour day for Alison?

• Did Alison Sweeney give birth on the set of Ellen? No, she didn’t. It was all a gag. However, Sweeney should be proud: it was her best performance to date. Wonder if she wrote her own material? After her appearance on the Emmy-winning talk show, several media outlets reported she had given birth.

“She did not go into labor on Ellen. It was part of a stunt for the giveaway segment,” a rep told Access Hollywood.

Sweeney added, “It’s not true. I’m fine. The baby is fine. I have a checkup tomorrow, we’re still looking at mid-January when she’s expected. Thank you all for your concern. I’m sorry if anyone was alarmed! If I had any idea that it wouldn’t be clear that it was a joke, I would have said something, but I just didn’t realize how the story would get so out of control!!”

Guess who nabbed Sweeney’s big baby exclusive? People magazine, no less. The best part of the deal? People doesn’t have to crown DAYS the most improved soap.

General Hospital, CTV/ABC — Tristan Rogers-Rao airdate announced!

• Miss GH: Night Shift? As previously reported, Tristan Rogers (Robert) pops back on to the mother ship beginning Dec. 22 for a second Scrubs-erella wedding. If he is given some meaty material, perhaps Rogers can negotiate an Emmy nomination as outstanding supporting actor to compensate for NS ineligibility at next year’s 2009 Daytime Emmy Awards? With head writer Bob Guza’s tail hidden between his legs, maybe there is hope, right?

• The Alum Report: Soap Opera Digest music critic Ted King (ex-Alcazar) will be appearing on an upcoming Prison Break. Meanwhile, Genie Francis (ex-Laura) and Ted McGinley will star in The Note 2: Taking a Chance on Love, the sequel to The Note, Hallmark Channel's highest-rated film of 2007. Francis and McGinley's Hallmark Channel Original Movie premières Jan. 31 and was shot in Toronto.

• Maurice Benard has re-signed with the soap as mob boss Sonny Corinthos, confirms GH. “We are thrilled Maurice will be staying on the GH canvas for the foreseeable future,” says a rep. Also, Sarah Brown, who has no chance at winning a fourth Emmy with the material she’s being given in 2008, has re-upped with the show as well as for another year. Boy, times must be tough.

Guiding Light, Global/CBS — Pelphrey on GH?

• Emmy winner Tom Pelphrey (ex-Jonathan) is returning to New York to star in An Evening of Don Nigro, a production of four one-act plays from the Apothecary Theater Company from Dec. 11-20. Pelphrey is still being mentioned as a possible candidate to play Sonny Corinthos’ son, Dante, on GH. Memo to Pelphrey: you’re young, just sign up already and save us from David Lago (ex-Raul, Y&R). Puh-lease? The Jamey fans love you unconditionally, so they’ll understand why you need to join a successful series.

• GL is actually, [gulp], improving. Too bad it’s too late. Remember all that free mainstream publicity Ellen Wheeler attracted hailing her as the new soap opera messiah earlier this year? Attention, journalists and editors: the problem with your uninformed stories is the fact that you never follow up on them. How about checking back in to see if Ellen Wheeler did in fact save soaps? Oh, let me save you some trouble: GL lost 21 per cent of its key demo, Women 18-49 since you all shamefully hailed her the Soap Goddess. Next time you need a soap visionary, call up Y&R’s Maria Arena Bell — and not some actress-turned-producer.

• Is Jeff Branson (Shayne; ex-Jonathan, AMC) the new Billy Miller (Billy, Y&R; ex-Richie, AMC)? Sure looks that way to me.

MVP, SOAPnet — He Shoots, We Score?

• Is MVP returning to SOAPnet for a second season? An MVP star tells The Suds Report that the hockey drama has a chance. “There’s a strong possibility,” the star said. SOAPnet did not return numerous emails regarding the matter, so it’s probably true! But then again — MVP is a soap and we know there is no soap allowed on that net.

One Life to Live, A/ABC — Llanview rebounds!

• Poor Scott Clifton (ex-Dillon, GH) can’t get arrested! The popular GH actor lost out on the role of Llanview High's newest teacher. One Tree Hill’s sexy geek Brett Claywell (ex-Tim) joins Soap Opera Digest’s best soap pick for 2008 in January. Me? I’m thrilled. If you ever saw Claywell strip on Tree Hill, you know what I mean. Also, I prefer Clifton as a sarcastic CJ recast.

• This past summer, Daytimeconfidential.com’s Jamey Giddens theorized that head writer Ron Carlivati was being held against his will by the evil Passions’ writing team. It was the only logical explanation for Carlivati’s uneven, campy, and often-times offensive plotlines (save for the 1968 storyline) this past summer. Well, you know what? I’m becoming convinced Giddens was on to something. The show I’m watching right now is pure Carlivati. The Emmy winner’s writing style is so recognizable. His Thanksgiving episode may soon be considered the gold standard of holiday episodes. It was a stunning achievement and hands down, some of his most beautiful work to date. Essentially, Carlivati whipped out his pen and announced: “OK, Maria Arena Bell, you’ve got a fight on your hands for soap opera supremacy. Game on.” For the first time in about five years, I have not one, but two, count ‘em TWO soaps that I absolutely can’t wait to watch at the end of a hard day. If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up. Keep up the fantastic work, Ron. And oh yeah, welcome back. I’m not sure what you were smoking before, but I’m thankful that you switched drug dealers. Or network chiefs.

• This just in: The Jess/Tess/Bess and Brody flirtation is hot. Really hot. This past week, Brody met all three of Jess’ personalities. The poor ex-Navy Seal thought: ”And they think I’m crazy?” I wonder if Todd will join Jess and Brody at St. Anne’s — the hottest “it” destination in Llanview these days?

• No one understands Todd “The Mirror Has One Ugly Face” Manning better than Trevor St. John. No one — not even the writers. Well, except for Daytimeconfidential.com's Tina Guilford (is she writing the show's dialogue these days?). The future Emmy winner is cementing his status as one of our greatest soap actors ever thanks to his performance as Hamlet — on crack. No fan will be screaming out, “Rape me Trevor St. John,” thanks to his ugly portrayal. Speaking of Roger Howarth (Paul, ATWT; ex-Todd), I wonder what he thought of Todd and Marty’s rapemance? I’m shocked no one in the soap press has approached him about it yet.

• Can we lend superstar set designer Roger Mooney to Y&R, DAYS and GH?

• Roxy and John are my new favourite OLTL non-couple. Oh, and Dorrie and Moe, too! Also, here’s a shout-out for Hillary B. Smith, who reminded viewers why she won an Emmy Award after Nora horrifically recounted her marriage to gay murderer, Daniel Colson. “I was his beard,” she told Marty.

The Young and the Restless, Global/CBS — It’s Tiffany, bitches!

• Could Y&R be making its first major mistake? Since I trust Y&R chief Maria Arena Bell’s vision, I’ll say no, for now, but this news is causing me some concern: Don Diamont (Brad Branco), who originated the role in 1985, has been fired. Sources say Brad will die in a murder mystery early next year. Too bad, since Diamont has blown me away with his sly, sexy, and cocky new attitude. Diamont has never been better in the role, so this news is sad. The show had this to say to The Suds Report: “We appreciate the many years Don spent on Y&R and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

I pray someone lands Diamont. The uber-confident actor has all the makings of a great villain, Victor Newman-style. Don, don’t take the first soap offered to you. Play your cards right, buddy.

• More cause for concern: Next week, Jeffrey turns in Gloria to the police after he applies that contaminated face cream to his sexy mug. Hmmm… I hope you know where you’re going with this because I don’t want one of my fave soap couples to be compromised. You have to hand it to Maria Arena Bell, though —she’s lifting up the couch and looking to clean up past regime mistakes. The future Emmy winner is even tackling Kay Alden’s various messes — not just LML’s.

• TV Guide’s Michael Logan is reporting Y&R is in the midst of penning and planning a big, lavish wedding this spring. My bet? Victor and Ashley. Poor Nikki… I have a feeling she’ll be sloshed for most of ’09!

• Take note, OLTL: Y&R’s orgasmic Jabot’s coup d’etat is how you write a corporate takeover. And there wasn’t one polka-dot dress, chapeau noir or horrendous 1980’s dialogue in sight!

• Depressing news: It looks like Michael Graziadei is indeed leaving Y&R this spring. All my moles tell me, “Michael’s leaving.” Kill. Me. Now.

• Don’t forget to run out and purchase Eric Braeden’s independent movie, The Man Who Came Back on Dec. 9. The Emmy winner starred, and also served as executive producer. Yes, I’m on the Braeden payroll, too. Hey — Canada is suffering an economic recession, too.

• Just when you thought Y&R couldn’t get any better: Singer Tiffany will appear on daytime’s best soap as a Christmas caroler on Dec. 22. Memo to Tiffany: stay out of Ashley’s way. The sexy Jabot CEO is taking no prisoners — finally. Every time Eileen Davidson snarks, “Oh, Jackee,” I feel like a 12 year-old girl all over again. I love me some Ashley Abbott.

• Memo to Daniel Goddard: The thunder from Down Under needs to take a meeting with the writers immediately. Daniel Goddard needs to remind the writing team that he could have been Y&R’s next Shemar Moore. Daniel Goddard needs to remind the writing team that it’s possible to be a sex symbol and a damn fine actor. Daniel Goddard needs to remind the writing team he's a Chancellor and not a baffoon. Daniel Goddard needs to remind the writing team that pairing a 40-something character (The Goddard is 30-something) with a 12-year-old hair model, who couldn't act her way out of a parking ticket, is just wrong. Rant over.

SOAP OPERA MYSTERY HOUR: This week’s most scandalous blind items

—Which maligned head writer and executive producer are receiving death threats?

—Which actor was almost caught in a compromising position in his dressing room with a male crew member by his soap star wife? He owes a producer a really big favour.

—Which leading man is being paired back with the leading lady he can’t stand? Also, if you look closely he wipes his face after each on-screen kiss. “This won’t be pretty,” says a setsider.


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