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Judith Light To Receive Isabelle Stevenson Award At 2019 Tony Awards

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Two-time Tony Award winner (and two-time Daytime Emmy winner) Judith Light will be this year’s recipient of the Tonys’ honorary Isabelle Stevenson Award on June 9th when it is presented to her at the the 73rd Annual Tony Awards in New York City at Radio City Music Hall. The telecast will air on CBS.  The Tony Awards Administration Committee made the announcement on Friday,

The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Light will receive the award for her advocacy to end HIV/AIDS and for her support for LGBTQ+ and human rights.

In a statement, Light said of receiving one of the highest honors in the theatre: “To be so generously acknowledged by The American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League and the Tony Awards, and to be included with these outstanding individuals who have received this honor before me, has been one of the most extraordinary gifts I have ever received in my life. The HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ+ communities are inspirations and demonstrations of how to be and live in the world; courageous, honorable, and uplifting. They inspire me and it is my privilege to be of service to them. I am humbled by this recognition from my theatre family, whom I so respect, honor, and love.”

Judith won Tony awards for her work in the plays Other Desert Cities and The Assembled Parties in 2012 and 2013.  Light became the first actress in decades to win back-to-back Tonys.  Light did the same thing during her soap opera career when she won back-to-back Daytime Emmys for her role as Karen Wolek on One Life to Live.  She has also been nominated for four pritmetime Emmys for her performances and roles in; Ugly Betty, Transparent and American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

Since the early days of the AIDS pandemic, Judith Light has been champion for  the LGTBQ+ community; speaking out and aligning herself with numerous organizations, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, GLAAD, NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Project Angel Food, and Elton John AIDS Foundation, among many others.  In 1993, Light spoke at the LGBT March in Washington. In 1995, Light rode her bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the California AIDS Ride to support HIV/AIDS Programs for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In 1996, she joined Elizabeth Taylor, who served as grand marshal, at the National Mall in Washington DC for the display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. In 1998, GLAAD recognized Light with the Vision Award for her dedication to fight HIV/AIDS alongside the LGBTQ+ community. Light traveled to South Africa for the AIDS walk to raise awareness for on the ground care in South Africa and research in the United States.

What do you think of Judith being named the recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Award for her humanitarian efforts?  Share your thoughts and congrats to Judith via the comment section below.

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Congratulations to Judith Light on this very well deserved award.

Very proud of this deserving actress!,,

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‘The Talk’ Renewed For 15th and Final Season to End in December; Does Its Cancellation Make Room for ‘The Gates’?

Things just got very interesting over at CBS daytime with the announcement today that The Talk is going to end its run on the network after its 15th season, and that season looks to be shortened as the series will come to its conclusion in December of 2024.

In a joint statement, Amy Reisenbach, President, CBS Entertainment and David Stapf, President, CBS Studio, shared, “The Talk broke new ground when it launched 14 years ago by returning daytime talk to CBS with a refreshing and award-winning format. Throughout the years, it has been a key program on CBS’ top rated daytime line-up as it brought timely, important and entertaining topics and discussions into living rooms around the globe.”

Reisenback and Stapf added, “It goes without saying that hosting and producing a year-round talk show is no easy task, and we express our sincere gratitude to our amazing hosts Akbar Gbajabiamila, Amanda Kloots, Natalie Morales, Jerry O’Connell and Sheryl Underwood, our Executive Producer/Showrunner Rob Crabbe and the hardworking producing team and crew.

Photo: CBS

Giving props to those who co-hosted or worked on the show through the years including: Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen Moonves, Carrie Ann Inaba Leah Ramimi, Marissa Janet Winokur, Holly Robinson Peete, Eve, Aisha Tyler, and Sharon Osbourne, the joint statement added, “We also want to acknowledge our former show hosts and colleagues who contributed throughout the seasons. We truly appreciate the skill, creativity, and dedication everyone involved brought to the show every day.  And of course, we thank the numerous guests who appeared, and the millions of viewers who tuned in daily. For the final season, we plan to celebrate the show and give it the proper sendoff it deserves when it concludes in December 2024.”

While no firm decision or announcement has been given at this time, it seems most likely that The Talk’s time slot could be given to the new soap opera in development The Gates from CBS Studio Ventures and from longtime soap opera writer. Michele Val Jean.  As previously reported, The Gates features the lives of a wealthy Black family who reside in a posh, gated community.

Photo: JPI

The Talk was originally the brainchild of Sara Gilbert, who had developed the show when it launched back 2010 and it replaced the beloved As the World Turns which went off the air after 54 years when CBS canceled it.

So, what do you think of The Talk being canceled? Will this make room for The Gates to begin to air in its spot beginning in 2025? Share your reactions to the news via the comment section.

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O. J. Simpson Dead at 76: Real-Life Murder Trial in Which He Was Acquitted, Changed the Trajectory of Soap Operas

Former Pro Football superstar, O. J. Simpson, who became infamous for being on trial for the murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, has passed away at the age of 76 of cancer.

Simpson’s family put out a statement sharing, “Our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren. During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

It was the murder trial that overtook the airwaves back in late 1994 and through most of 1995 that changed the landscape of daytime television forever, and in particular soap operas that many will recall.

Photo: AP

On June 12, 1994, Nicole Simpson, O.J.’s former wife, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were brutally murdered. When O.J. became the prime suspect, a wild pursuant of him by the police while in his white Ford Bronco was viewed on every network by some 95 million viewers. This June marks 30-years since the incident.

Ultimately, Simpson was charged with Brown Simpson and Goldman’s murders, though he was acquitted in what was dubbed The Trial of the Century.

The trial permeated the airwaves of every network and any time of day. Networks consistently interrupted soap operas while covering the day in and day out of the spectacle that was this star athlete and TV and film star’s trial.

With many of the soaps pre-empted on a regular basis, the public fascination of Simpson’s trial was to many better than a soap opera as it has all the ingredients. Writer Dominic Dunne noted the themes via an article in Vanity Fair of “interracial marriage, love, lust, lies, hate, fame, wealth, beauty, obsession, spousal abuse, stalking, brokenhearted children, the bloodiest of bloody knife-slashing homicides, and all the justice that money can buy.”

Because of the trial, soap operas lost a significant amount of their audiences. The murder trial went on for 11 months from November 9, 1994, to October 3, 1995.  They never were able to fully rebound as reality television became the next big thing.

O.J. Simpson is survived by four children: Arnelle and Jason, from his first marriage, and Sydney and Justin, from his marriage to Nicole Brown Simpson.

So, do you remember being frustrated that your favorite soaps could not air during the O.J. trial, or did you find the murder trial more intriuing than the soaps themselves? Comment below.

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‘Melrose Place’ Reboot in the Works with Heather Locklear, Daphne Zuniga and Laura Leighton

Looks like some of former residents of Melrose Place will be getting back together in a revival of the popular Fox primetime soap opera of the 90s.

Now comes word that original series stars, Heather Locklear, Daphne Zuniga and Laura Leighton are set to reprise their signature roles of Amanda Woodward, Jo Reynolds, and Sydney Andrews.

The project is currently being shopped and looking for a TV or streaming home and coming from CBS Studios. The new offering is written by Lauren Gussis, and in story, Melrose Place picks up years after the original series and would provide an update on the characters, one of whom may no longer be with us.

Photo: Fox

In the premise, former residents will reunite “when one of their dearest friends dies suddenly.” However, things don’t go smoothly when old traumas, the reigniting of old romances and old resentments, and new secrets are revealed. Thus, throwing our characters into chaotic drama that’s reminiscent of the past, but with a much more modern perspective.

The original Melrose Place debuted on Fox back in 1992 and aired for seven seasons till 1999, and followed the young residents of a Los Angeles apartment complex. Locklear’s Amanda was a ruthless advertising executive. Leighton played Jane’s sister Sydney and Zuniga played photographer Jo. The cast also included: Marcia Cross, Josie Bissett, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Grant Show, Thomas Calabro, Doug Savant, Rob Estes, Brooke Langton, Lisa Rinna, Kristin Davis and Alyssa Milano.

According to Deadline, more original cast member will sign on if the show gets the green light. This is not the first time a Melrose Place reboot has made its way to television.  The CW revived the series in 2009 with a new cast which lasted only one season. However, Locklear, Zuniga and Leighton all made guest appearances.

So, do you hope a Melrose Place reboot with several of its original cast makes its way back on network TV or a streaming platform? Comment below.

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