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Jill Farren Phelps tapped as new EP for groundbreaking telenovela on Nickelodeon! Josh Griffith to write!

Photo Credit: Wenn Photo

Photo Credit: Wenn Photo

The former executive producer of General Hospital, Jill Farren Phelps, (who was let-go  when ABC Daytime brought Frank Valentini to steer the ship in Port Charles) will be at the helm for a brand new soap opera/telenovela for Nickelodeon!  The show, Reach For A Star is an adaptation of the popular Mexican telenovela; Alcanzar Una Estrella!

The new series is set to debut on their Nick At Nite block this summer. The cable outlet has ordered 80 episodes already of the series, which is good news for the show and puts this kind of a series on cable, which could give hope if its successful for others to follow.   Josh Griffith has been named head writer, whose previous soap work as writer and/or producer was with The Young and the Restless, One Life to Live and As the World Turns.

What we do know about Reach For A Star is that it is a single-camera, daily series that will follow Loren, an average high school senior whose life changes completely upon becoming a star and winning the love of her celebrity crush. Casting is currently underway, with production due to start in March.    You can view excerpts from the official Nickelodeon press release after the jump!

PRESS RELEASE: “Nickelodeon, in partnership with Televisa, has ordered 80 episodes of a groundbreaking, original one-hour U.S. adaptation of the popular Mexican telenovela, Reach for a Star (Alcanzar una Estrella) for Nick at Nite, it was announced today by Cyma Zarghami, President of Viacom’s Nickelodeon Group; and Jose Baston President of Television and Content from Televisa. The first telenovela ever adapted for the U.S. audience, Reach for a Star is a single-camera, daily series following a teenage girl whose life changes completely when she becomes a star and wins the love of her teen idol. Reach for a Star will be produced in association with Sony Pictures Television and is set to premiere later this year on Nickelodeon’s nighttime block for families–Nick at Nite. Production begins in March in Los Angeles, Calif.

“We have experienced first-hand the popularity of the daily scripted format with our kid audience through the success of House of Anubis and our teen audience with DeGrassi: The Next Generation,” and our Nick Latin American channel has already had great success in producing telenovela’s with Televisa,” Ms. Zarghami said. “This partnership brings together Televisa’s un-matched leadership in the telenovela genre with our expertise in making content, and we’re looking forward to introducing this first true English-language telenovela to Nick at Nite’s family audience.”

“As part of the steps towards building a strong presence in the Anglo TV market, Televisa is excited to coproduce with Nickelodeon one of the many successful scripts from our library in a daily series format,” said Baston. We are convinced that the daily series will be well received by Nick’s family audiences, and will capture their attention daily as it has happened in different markets in the world where Televisa has exported its production capabilities. The Televisa and Nick alliance will certainly result in a successful formula, and we envision Reach for a Star as the first of many joint projects.

“For more than a decade Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Televisa have been strategically building upon their regional partnership that today encompasses, distribution, consumer products and co-productions,” said Pierluigi Gazzolo, Chief Operating Officer, VIMN. “Reach for a Star marks a dynamic new phase in our partnership and VIMN is incredibly excited to once again be expanding our content portfolio with Televisa.”

Reach for a Star follows Nickelodeon’s success with its live-action serialized series, House of Anubis and Degrassi. Nickelodeon has also experienced tremendous success with the format in Europe and Latin America. The Reach for a Star series is an adaptation of the hit Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar una Estrella, first broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas and Univision in 1990. The success of the series led to a film and sequel telenovela starring Latin American pop sensations, Ricky Martin and Sasha Sokol.

Reach for a Star follows a smart, shy and independent high school senior, Loren, who has ambitions of being a songwriter and secretly sends her song lyrics to her celebrity crush, rock superstar Eddie Wild. Loren’s wildest dreams come true when she not only wins a songwriting competition sponsored by Eddie, but strikes up a friendship with her idol. Eddie sees beyond Loren’s potential as a songwriter and gives her a first break as a singer, and when the truth about his less-than-faithful girlfriend Chloe is revealed, Eddie and Loren’s friendship blossoms.

The series will be co-executive produced by six-time Emmy Award-winner Jill Farren Phelps (General Hospital, One Life to Live) and Hisham Abed (The Hills and The City). Josh Griffith (Young and the Restless, As the World Turns) will serve as head writer.”

So what do you think of the news?  Do you think the show is of interest to you?  How do you feel about Phelps and Griffith’s running the new series? And any soap stars you think Jill and Josh should cast into the new series? Let us know!

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Brandi Bridges
Brandi Bridges

I’d watch of Erika Slezak has a role in this new show! Someone seriously needs to snatch her up!

Tina Fowble
Tina Fowble

I would watch for Slezak too

barbara t
barbara t

whats with all the soaps popping up all over the place and the best one(one life to live)lays in waiting ,whats going on?Why cant everyone get together and save this soap before all the cast is gone ?If i had a couple of million dollars ,Id pitch in.erika slezak is vicki .I miss my landview people ,2 oclock is so boring I cant find anything to watch,seriously someone save one life to live before its to late.

Gloria
Gloria

You & me both. I told my husband “why can’t you be rich like Donald Trump & buy my damn show for me?” He said I would if I could! I miss OLTL so much. Why can’t someone,somehow save this show?

Enrique Buenrostro
Enrique Buenrostro

I think Andrew Trischitta or Eddie Alderson should be casted as the teen idol Eddie and I can see either Lexi Ainsworth or Hayley Evans

Monica
Monica

I was thinking of Eddie Alderson as well, but Andrew Trischitta would also be great. My daughter loves House of Anubis – even I got into it. Its wonderful that Nickelodeon is giving this a go and also fantastic to hear that a younger generation is hungry for scripted dramas.

B. Reese
B. Reese

I’d love to see Ted King, Erika Slezak, Trevor St.John and “Tea” from OLTL [having a mental block on actress’ name at the moment]. 🙂

Personally, I like all of the behind the scenes people mentioned. Jill is not well liked by some, but I’ve watched her shows for a long time and she does good work in my book. Also Josh Griffith on CBS and ABC.

I’ll be watching to see what they can do on a new network, and wishing them the best.

cathy
cathy

They can have JFP after how she treated the Robin character. Sick of her favoritism.

barbara t
barbara t

its not just robin ,that girl will be missed when she leaves ,ron and frank ,please dont let her die,put her in a coma somewhere,Ive watched her grow up since she was a little peanut,and I cant see her dying ,jfp is the one who started that franco stuff,I hope he is dead,I could care less if i ever see a port charles finger painting again.and if he turns out to be the father of sams baby,noooooooooooooooooooooo.didnt she also kill alan and put the quartermaines on the back burner,hell ,there not even on the show ,wheres bobbi ?wheres edward,monica,shes on very little,we will see .I like the old timers there the backbone of general hospital.

Torrey
Torrey

Good to see that Nickelodeon is stepping in, where the Major Networks are failing….They see something that ABC needs to open up their eyes and see. People watch soaps!!! The audience may not be tens of millions, but there is a large audience out there, who enjoy their daily dose of daytime drama. Production & Formatting should have been thoroughly researched at ABC, before they pulled the plug on AMC & OLTL. There could have and should have been better ways to cut cost….other than just canceling both shows.

cathy trinque
cathy trinque

If greedy ABC/Disney would let Agnes Nixon have the rights to AMC and OLTL back we would see our soaps back in no time. But Iger is too greedy and selfish!

josephine
josephine

Rick Hearst is my pick. We miss him on GH. Amazing actor, incredible charisma.

Lynn Edwards
Lynn Edwards

Love the idea of “Reach for a Star”! Would like to see Rick Hearst again. He is very talented and was very under utilized at “Bold & Beautiful.” His portrayal of Ric Lansing on “General Hospital” garnered 2 Emmys. The complicated relationship that he and his brother Sonny had was always one of my favorite storylines!

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL Flips The Switch In Sonny-Centric Episode Featuring Standout Performances

On Monday, in honor of Maurice Benard’s 25th anniversary as Sonny Corinthos on ABC’s General Hospital, the daytime drama took a look at what life would have been like if Sonny had not fallen in to a life of crime and in the mob. The standalone episode featured the return of Dominic Zamprogna as Sonny’s eldest son, Dante.

But in the twist on ‘soap-reality’, Dante was now the ascending mobster in Port Charles, and Sonny was a sergeant in the police department in Brooklyn married to Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero).  It all beings when Sonny remembers being 18-years-old and that fatal day when he shot Vincent Marino.  The young Sonny is played by Maurice’s real-life son.   Sonny then dreams of what would have happened to him if he never pulled that trigger.

Sonny is now a by-the-book cop, who visits his son Dante along with Olivia.  When they get there, Dante is now married to Sam (Kelly Monaco), who is his trophy wife.  Dante is working for the Jerome family – enter Julian (William deVry) and Ava (Maura WestO – and we quickly learn that “Jason Smith” is the hit man who works for them.  And, wouldn’t you know?  Seems like Ava and Jason have a “thing” going on … sealed with a kiss.

Now disturbed by his son’s life of crime, Sonny goes to the PCPD to talk to the police commissioner, who is now Anna Devane (Finola Hughes).  In the story, Anna is very inward, depressed, and more.  We find out that her daughter, Robin died of complications from AIDS in the 90’s, in which Anna has never recovered from.   We also learn at the PCPD that Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) is the current District Attorney.

Courtesy/ABC

Carly (Laura Wright) enters the scene, and she is still married to A. J. Quartermaine.  Sonny takes a liking to her and vice-versa.  We later learn that Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) is back working for the DEA and Dante has gone undercover to bring down the Jeromes; so the entire territory is under his control.

Dante and Sam have a major falling out, as he is excited by the power he will have once he rids the Jeromes out of his business.  Sam has had it. She doesn’t want to dress like this, be his trophy wife, or have this kind of life. When Dante walks out, an upset Sam is alone with Jason, and the two connect.

In the conclusion of the episode, Dante shoots Jason on the pier, a scene which Sonny walks in on.  Sonny and his son struggle for the gun, and once again Dante is shot, just like in the original version of the story years ago, but with the twist of the struggle.  Olivia comes running onto the pier and sees Dante shot, and yells at Sonny the signature line, “You shot your own son!”

CourtesyABC

At the end of the dream, Sony goes back to the mark in time where he decides whether or not to pull the trigger on Marino with Mike (Max Gail) and him looking on at the young version of himself.  In the end, Sonny still pulls the trigger.

The episode featured stand-out performances by: Dominic Zamprogna (how great was it to see him again, and to see him play Dante’s dark side), Maurice Benard (who illustrated the other side of Sonny, more reserved, and delivered a heartbreaking speech as Sonny to Dante about his life being abused, and the choices he made), Kelly Monaco (who showed a woman unhappy with the outward shell she had created and been a part of), and Finola Hughes,who gave us a different look  at what life would have been like for Anna had Robin been taken from her years ago.  Additionally, it was nice to see the entire cast deliver in support of making this episode work in the ‘flip the switch’ sequence of events.

So, what did you think of the Sonny-centric episode? Who was your favorite in it?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

GH Releases ‘The Sonny & Carly Collection’ Featuring 20 Pivotal Episodes With Three Carlys

The torrid love story between Sonny Corinthos and Carly has been going strong for over two decades.  Now the ABC app and ABC.com are offering up a collection of memorable episodes and pivotal moments between the duo.

However, this collection features three powerhouse actresses who have played the role of Carly: Sarah Joy Brown, Tamara Braun, and the current Carly, Laura Wright.

GH and ABC have released these episodes for viewing to coincide with Maurice Benard’s 25th year on the daytime drama series and a very special anniversary episode airing today on Monday, November 12th.

With the Sonny & Carly Collection, fans will be able to access 20 episodes from Sonny and Carly’s explosive and tumultuous 20-year relationship, chronologically.  Some of the episodes include: Jason is shot in an ambush. Sonny and Carly remarry, even though she is involved with Jax, Sonny confesses to Carly that he shot AJ, Sonny and Carly admit their feelings, and more

The Sonn and Carly collection is available now through February 12th and all 20 episodes are available for viewers with no sign in required at abc.com/sonnyandcarly  and on the ABC app.

The ABC app is available in the App Store, ABC.comAmazon AppstoreGoogle Play and on most connected TV devices.

Check out the Sonny & Carly Collection, and then let us know which was your favorite episode of the bunch via the comment section below!

 

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Breaking News

Kimberly McCullough Directs Episode Of ‘The Conners’; Shares Pics From Show Night

As fans of director and actress Kimberly McCullough know, earlier this week she announced that she would be directing an episode of the the re=branded and renamed ‘Rosanne-less’ series, The Conners.  She originally shared the news of getting the nod to direct the hit comedy sitcom with a photo of the famous Conner kitchen with the words “Yup”.

However on Saturday, Kimberly shared some more behind the scenes photos from tape night, or show night, as they call it in the biz.   She is pictured above with cast members Michael Fishman and Maya Lynne Robinson.

ABC executive Nathan Varni tweeted to McCullough: “Thanks for a great week ⁦⁩ directing ⁦⁩ #107! See you soon for your next episode”

No airdate has been released as to when Kimberly’s ‘The Conners” directorial debut will air, but MF TV will keep you posted.

McCullough was also busy directing an episode of the new FOX sitcom, The Cool Kids just the other week.

How fabulous that the woman who has brought General Hospital’s Robin Scorpio Drake to life is finding just as much success now behind the camera as in front of it.

Will you be checking out Kimberly’s episode of The Conners when it airs?  Do you hope that between all of these directing gigs, she might fit in a visit back to GH? Share your thoughts below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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