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Soap Smarts: How Daytime Dramas Are Using Ingenuity To Get Back Into Production During COVID-19

Photo: JPI

Daytime dramas seldom get the credit they deserve, and now they should be getting further credit for being the first back into production as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, and trying to implement new ways to keep their trademarks love scenes, intimate moments and two-person scenes somehow looking in tact; even though it will be far from how it was done in the past.

In the story from the Associated Press The Bold and the Beautiful EP, and head writer, Brad Bell – who’s soap was the first one back into the studio – commented on how the show is utilizing mannequins, or real-life significant others to help pull off close contact love scenes and how it is rather groundbreaking. “We feel almost like television pioneers all these years later because we’re the first ones out, blazing new ways of producing the shows with the current safety standards, and we’re getting the job done. It’s very exciting.”

When B&B scripts written pre-coronavirus were reviewed in preparation for shooting during the pandemic now, originally all the cinches and smooches were cut. But Bell found a solution whereby a remote actor recites lines as their on-camera scene partner responds in a “low, intimate voice” and engages in “beautiful, yearning eye contact” with an off-camera doll.

As far as the soapy embrace or lip-lock, B&B cast member Katrina Bowden (Flo) has had her husband and musician Ben Jorgensen stand in for her on-screen love interest, Darin Brooks (Wyatt) since returning to taping new episodes.

Photo: JPI

Days of our Lives EP Ken Corday noted to AP:  The “learning curve” is steep. Before the pandemic, “we were producing eight, one-hour episodes a week. That’s basically 40 or 50 scenes a day.  That’s going to be basically impossible to reopen, so to speak, at that pace. We’re going to have to be more careful. So will there be five shows a week, or more? Yet to be determined.  It will certainly cost more.”

B&B and now Y&R which heads back into production next week, and the others soaps, will be using the company called Reel Health, which launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the entertainment industry, and hires medically trained workers to monitor sets and enforce protocols developed by a company epidemiologist and in accordance with industry and government standards,

Alicia Rodis, a veteran intimacy coordinator who helped the actors guild develop guidelines for taping scenes of romance and simulated sex. shared: “Finding ways to put romance on the screen is inevitable and necessary.  At the end of the day, intimacy isn’t going anywhere. Physical intimacy is a part of the human experience. And we’re going to have to find a way to be able to continue to tell these stories, even in extraordinary circumstances.”

So, what do you think of how soaps are tackling taping episodes in the new normal to give their fans a sense of all that they love from their favorite daytime dramas during COVID-19? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

General Hospital

Marcus Coloma On His GH Exit: “I Don’t Know Why That Decision Was Made, But I Don’t Feel Any ill Will and I Didn’t Feel I Got Fired”

This week, GH fans saw Adam Huss returning to the ABC soap opera as Nikolas Cassadine to finish out the rest of the scenes originally intended to be played by Marcus Coloma who ended his three-year run on the show a tad early.

As has been previously reported, Coloma came down with Covid-19 as his final tape days neared, and a decision was made for him to not return to finish off his last run of episodes.

With all the rumors and stances taken by everyone involved, Coloma was the special guest on this week’s episode of the That’s Awesome Podcast hosted by Steve Burton and Bradford Anderson and discussed his departure from the long-running daytime drama series.

Marcus expressed that when he took the role on GH, he was excited to be in that kind of environment (working on a soap opera), and only signed on for three years.  However, as time went by it became more difficult to reconcile leaving when his contract was up, sharing: “You fall in love with the crew and everybody along with it. So, two and a half years in, this decision that was so clear in the beginning is getting complicated.”

The actor added that while, “I knew the end was coming, it wasn’t like GH was saying, ‘Hey, Marcus, we want you to stay.’  There was no negotiation … and all I can say to that is I don’t know why that decision was made, but I don’t feel any ill will and I didn’t feel like I got fired. It just felt like … there was maybe an understanding that I was going to be there for three years. The big surprise is how much it hurt. Even though I knew I was going to leave.”

In the end, Coloma reflected that this may have concluded as it should, adding, “I really do have some big goals and those goals would have never been realized if I would have stayed. That’s not to take anything away from GH because I admire everything about it.”

Watch the episode of That’s Awesome featuring Coloma below.

Then weigh-in, what do you think of Marcus’ thoughts on his exit as GH’s Nikolas Cassadine? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Sean Kanan’s ‘Studio City’ Scores 13 Indie Series Award Nominations

Nominations were revealed on Wednesday for the upcoming 13th annual Indie Series Awards.  Sean Kanan’s streaming series, Studio City received 13 nominations in various categories.

Studio City’s nominations are fo: Best Drama Series, Sean Kanan, Michel Kanan, and Timothy Woodward, Jr., producers; Best Director in a Drama Series, Timothy Woodward, Jr.; Best Writing in a Drama Series, Michele Kanan, Sean Kanan and Timothy Woodward, Jr., writers; Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Sean Kanan; Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Carolyn Hennesy; Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, Tristan Rogers and Justin Torkildsen; Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Natalie Burn and Juliet Vega; Guest Performer in a Drama Series, Lilly Melgar; Best Ensemble in a Drama Series, Outstanding Cinematography in a Drama Series, Pablo Diaz, and Outstanding Editing in a Drama Series, Fady Jeanbart.

Courtesy/Studio City

In a statement on Studio City’s 13 nods, Sean Kanan shared: “I am overwhelmed and thankful that our show, which I refer to as the little-engine that could series, has received such support from the Indie Series Awards. Our second season was a collaborative effort of creativity, love of our content, and hard work. We look forward to creating more entertaining series in the future.”

Studio City tells the dramatic and comedic story of Sam Stevens (played by Kanan), a long-time soap opera actor starring in the number two most-watched daytime drama, “Hearts on Fire” as he struggles to keep his top spot on the show, break out of soaps into feature films, and deal with his own complicated life which includes a few dark secrets concerning his past, including an aging step-father, the twisted truth of his paternity, and a daughter that he never knew existed.  Season two consists of six episodes and is available on Amazon Prime.

For the complete list of this year’s Indie Series Award nominations, check them out here.  The Indie Series Awards ceremony will be on Wednesday, April 12th in Burbank, California at The Colony Theatre in Burbank.

What do you think of the nominees from Studio City for the ISA Awards? Let us know in the comment section below.

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All My Children

Kelly Ripa Launches Podcast on SiriusXM

Former All My Children stars Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo) can add launching a podcast to their extensive resume through their production company, Milojo Productions, and Sirius XM.

According to Deadline, Ripa will host Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa, where she will have in-depth conversations with celebrity guests. Depending on the subject matter, a specialist or expert could also join the episode to provide insight.

In a statement on her new hosting gig and show, Ripa expressed: “After 23 years of interviewing celebrities, authors, musicians and experts on live TV, the big takeaway is that the most compelling and unfiltered conversations happen off camera. I have dreamed of a platform where I can have these honest talks without all the fuss and filter of a camera. Now SiriusXM has made my dream a reality with a podcast featuring friends, both old and new, discussing a variety of topics we all face in life, while getting deep with some experts’ views and advice along the way. Not another podcast, this is off camera!”

New episodes of Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa will be available every week on Stitcher, the SXM App, and all major podcast listening platforms beginning in March.

Kelly will be quite busy co-hosting the syndicated talk show Live with Kelly and Ryan, in addition to Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa.

So, will you check out Kelly’s new podcast? Hope she has some All My Children alum on as guests? Comment below.

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