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Australia’s ‘Neighbours’ First Soap Back In Production During COVID-19; Will Their Blueprint For Safety Be Used By Others To Follow?

Photo: Fremantle Media

The soap that is going back into production first, and actually the first show, period, amidst the coronavirus pandemic is none other than Australia’s Neighbours.

Production is scheduled to start later this week and then in full-swing next week.  According to a statement from the series producers, Fremantle Media “(On Monday) we returned from a scheduled production break, originally two weeks that we extended to three weeks to give our production team time to refine our production model to meet the gov’t guidelines re. health & safety and social distancing. We will be filming with a small unit this Thursday and then full production resumes Monday,”

As to how the show will be filmed to protect the cast and crew during the continued COVID-19 pandemic, Fremantle offered up “Due to the style of our show and the vast size of our production studios and back lot, we realized we are in a position to resume filming in a way that protects everyone’s health and still delivers the Neighbours viewers know and love.”

Neighbours premiered back in 1985  and while over the years it has jumped to different broadcasters (it is currently on Peach formerly Eleven in Australia) it still has not deviated from its 22-minutes per episode, five episodes per week schedule. The soap is licensed in over 60 countries. . If Neighbours did not restart production it would have run out of episodes by June.

As to the filming guidelines that the series has set up to begin taping new episodes, here is what we know via Deadline:  “The studio space has been divided into quadrants, with three production teams isolated from each other and only three actors allowed to cross between the groups. Because of that setup, if someone gets sick, only the group whose member is affected will be suspended and the shoot can continue with the other two groups.   There will be a nurse on set, and everyone entering the site will have their temperatures checked;   Male actors will have no make-up, female actors will not be touched up;  There will be no physical contact between actors including kissing, holding hands or intimate scenes;  Actors will also practice social distancing, with camera trickery used to make them look closer together;  There will be be no outside extras, with crew members already on set doubling as background performers.”

Fremantle shared that no pressure has been put on cast and crew to return, if they are not comfortable. Special measures have been taken for older employees, and the company says it is willing to make further adjustments.

Commenting on the lack of kisses and hand-holding coming on newly-filmed episodes of the soap, Chris Oliver-Taylor, the chief executive at Fremantle Australia told ABC Australia.“It’s going to look a bit odd.  But, Neighbours is a show that can get away with it.  We employ hundreds of staff who want to work and feel they can. It’s important we continue to produce a show that reaches millions of people in he UK and a significant audience in Australia.”

So, what do you think of the safety precautions Neighbours is implementing to begin shooting new episodes of the soap?  Id this the blueprint others might follow in the U.S. to start up our soaps and TV productions? Comment below.

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I hope they are successful and their measures can be used or tweaked to help other people get back to work.

Foreign soaps do many outdoor scenes which ours do rarely…maybe ours could still do something like this…no people at the bars..no bedroom scenes…maybe on Days for example…at the Dimera Mansion Chad is on the phone with Abigail in split scenes while Gabi stands 6ft away in the doorway arguing with Chad and Abby who is on speaker-lol-this way you get all three in the scene!!!

All soaps have a lot of hugging and kissing
and phoney sex..
the characters are quite close, in all scenes..
ahaa imaging this;
making out wearing protective gear.
it could be scary for the actors, actually.

Wow. that’s very different. We’ll see if it can work.

The next couple of weeks will be scary. I’m sure a lot of eyes will be monitoring what goes on on that set to see if they succeed or not. I hope they all stay healthy. If that does happen, other shows in the US may follow.

My concern, first and foremost, is for the cast and crew. As a loyal soap fan all my life, I will watch my shows whenever they return. In the meantime, I’ll gladly remain vigilante for any news on them.

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The Young and the Restless Renewed for Four More Years at CBS

Congratulations are in order to the cast, crew, creatives and fans of CBS’ The Young and the Restless. On Wednesday, the top-rated daytime drama was renewed by the network for four more years.

The renewal will bring Y&R through the 2027-2028 television season, and brings the series through its 55th season. The Young and the Restless has continued to remain the #1 daytime drama for over 36 years and is CBS’ longest-running series.

In a statement, Amy Reisenbach, president of CBS Entertainment shared, “The Young and the Restless has been a staple of daytime television for over 50 years, and it is with great pleasure that we will continue that legacy at CBS,The talented cast and writers deliver compelling performances and stories on a daily basis and have provided iconic moments that have kept the show on top of the ratings and thrilled generations of fans for over five decades. We look forward to seeing what new creative twists and turns they have planned for the folks of Genoa City.”

Photo: JPI

According to CBS, Y&R is averaging 3.50 million viewers this season. The series is also the #1 daytime program among African American viewers. Full episodes of the series are streaming on Paramount+ and CBS TVE.  The soap opera airs weekdays at 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m.-12:30 p..m. PT.

Y&R notables are also celebrating anniversaries in 2024 including series icons: Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) for 45 years this month, and Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) for 44 years. In April, the show will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Nikki and Victor’s wedding, which aired in April 1984 and was one of the highest-rated episodes in the history of the show.

Photo: JPI

Other notable cast anniversaries in 2024 include: Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott) at 35 years and Joshua Morrow (Nicholas Newman), Sharon Case (Sharon Newman) and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Summers) all at 30 years.

Photo: JPI

The Young and the Restless debuted on March 23, 1973 and the show celebrated its 50th anniversary season in 2023. Y&R was co-created by the late William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell. At present, Josh Griffith currently serves as the series executive producer and head writer.

Share your thoughts on the news that Y&R had been given a four-year renewal by CBS and will continue on with the lives of the people you love in Genoa City through its 55th season via the comment section below.

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Kimberlin Brown ‘Killed-Off’ as Sheila Carter on The Bold and the Beautiful in Shocking Twist

The Monday, February 26th episode of CBS daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful brought with it the apparent end to one of the all-time villains of soap opera.

In story, Steffy Forrester (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) was being stalked by Sheila (Kimberlin Brown) in the dark. Eventually, Steffy stabs Sheila in the heart with a knife and she apparently dies.

Speaking with TV Insider, Brown admitted that it is extremely hard to leave a now iconic role she made soap-famous since 1990 on first The Young and the Restless and then The Bold and the Beautiful.

Photo: JPI

Kimberlin expressed: “It’s a tough place for me to be in right now; I’m not going to lie about this. I guess if anyone were going to take Sheila down, I’m happy it’s Steffy. I just wish that no one was taking Sheila down.”  Three time Daytime Emmy-winner, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood expressed: “It’s bittersweet because I absolutely love working with Kimberlin; she is just the consummate professional.”

Courtesy/CBS

However, the stabbing is vindication for Steffy as Wood related, “This is her moment. How long has it taken Steffy to take her down and it’s finally happening, so it’s going to be a big shock.”

As to her B&B death scene and to her future plans, Brown revealed, “Laying there on that floor when the paramedics pronounce the time of death, my eyes were closed and you’re holding your breath so it doesn’t look like you’re breathing. It was just like, ‘Wow, OK, I guess we’ll have to see what might come next for me.’”

Courtesy/CBS

If this holds up and Sheila is “dead” dead, it will open up the story and trouble in the marriage of Finn (Tanner Novlan) and Steffy, because ultimately, Steffy killed her husband’s biological mother.

Photo: JPI

This is leading many to believe this move will bring Steffy back together with Liam (Scott Clifton) while Finn and Hope (Annika Noelle) draw closer. Is that part of the reason for Sheila’s death? Stay tuned.

What do you think about The Bold and the Beautiful killing-off Sheila Carter and Steffy to be the one who put an end to her life? Comment below.

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Daytime Stars We Lost Remembered in 2024 SAG Awards In-Memoriam Tribute

On Saturday night at the 30th annual SAG Awards streaming on Netflix, several stars from the world of soap opera were remembered in a very moving In-Memoriam segment.

Honoring those actors we lost this past year, and set to the song “How do I Say Goodbye” by Dean Lewis, the screen was filled with so many heartbreaking losses.

Those who were remembered in the tribute included: Bill Hayes (Doug, Days of our Lives), Ellen Holly (Carla, One Life to Live), Nicolas Coster (Lionel, Santa Barbara et al), Tyler Christopher (Nikolas, GH, Stefan DAYS), Billy Miller (Billy, Y&R and Drew, GH), Sharon Farrell (Flo, Y&R), Arlene Sorkin (Calliope, DAYS), Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio, OLTL), Jeffrey Carlson (Zoe/Zarf, AMC) and Mark Goddard (Ted, OLTL).

Photo: ABC

Other notable stars who passed away and were included in the tribute were: Chita Rivera, Andre Braugher, Suzanne Somers, and Matthew Perry.

Before the video package was played, actress Naomi Watts took to the stage and shared, “We have lost so many extraordinary actors in the past year, but because they touched the world with their talent, we all share their loss. To those of us who worked with them, alongside them, we feel their loss and their absence deeply.”

Photo: Netflix

She added, “Of course their memory will live on in our recollections of the precious time we shared together — and through their work, their performances captured in countless frames of images, ever ready to dance across the screen and come to life again, if only for a while.”

What did you think of the In-Memoriam Tribute at the 2024 SAG Awards and seeing a lot of familiar faces being included who represent the soaps? Comment. below.

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