GAYEST QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“When I did the TV Guide interview I was angry because there is the whole perception now that I came out and I went back in. And what upset me was, I felt that because I did not “come out” in that interview, I felt it was unfair to fans that bought the magazine expecting to get a tearful story that says ‘I’m gay.’ I thought it was misleading, and now because I was upset by that cover, I am apparently back in the closet and people hate me. I think with that article, and what came across as ambiguity, was actually my attempt at making it a non-issue. Look, I am gay, and I just wanted there not to be this big emphasis on it.”
—Lesbian Clementine Ford (Mac, Y&R) to TheAdvocate.com’s Michael Fairman regarding an awkward interview with TV Guide’s Michael Logan

QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Got earth, World Turns?

• Have you noticed that the earth in As The World Turns’ logo is tragically fading? Just another sign of the times? Or a subliminal message?

SUDS FLASHES
Bloom almost fired? Bryton taken off contract!

• Wes Ramsey (ex-Sam, Guiding Light) is currently taping his new role on Days of our Lives. And no, he isn’t a Max Brady recast. “But his character will fill in the void should Darin Brooks decide to leave DAYS for his new prime-time series,” says an insider, who adds that Ramsey, who also has a recurring role on CSI: Miami as lab tech Dave, looks a lot like Jesus these days.

• CBS VP of Daytime Barbara Bloom’s contract expired in December — and it almost wasn't renewed, report network sources. “Les Moonves isn’t happy with her work, so fans should continue to write to CBS,” claims a Bloom critic. Yep, there are a lot of us out there!

• According to show insiders, Emmy winner Bryton has been taken off contract as Devon on The Young and the Restless. Smart move.

• From the ABC media desk: continuing ABC’s lead in providing quality programming with high production values, General Hospital will be broadcast in HDTV beginning April 23 — the first day of the May 2009 sweeps. Also, the series’ new nurses’ set will debut a week earlier to coincide with storyline, as the newly refurbished hospital reopens following the massive explosion that rocked the medical facility.

CBS Soaps in Depth is reporting that Guiding Light star Marcy Rylan (Lizzie) is expecting her first child this fall.

• Emmy winner Finola Hughes (Anna, GH) has been replaced as host of her style show, How Do I Look.

SHOULDA COULDA WOULDA
New book gives new hope for our fave soap characters

Damon Jacobs’ new book Absolutely Should-less
is a must-read for the following soap characters. The author reveals his list exclusively to TVGuide.ca:

1.  One Life’s Dorian Lord: Her “shoulds” include, “I should be as respected as Viki”, “My girls should never be in pain”, etc., and usually lead her to be ostracized and rejected by those she loves.

2. World Turns’ Barbara Montgomery: Her “shoulds” lead her to try to protect her children, her company, and interfere in ways that have her end up in physical and financial jeopardy.

3. DAYS’ Lexie Carver: Her “shoulds” around Theo’s autism was causing her much stress and sadness.  Now that she has learned to accept his condition she is feeling much better (though unfortunately off-screen).

4. World Turns’ Luke Grimaldi: His “shoulds” about being “right” ended up with him being expelled, and nearly cost him his relationship Noah.

5. GL’s Natalia Rivera: Her feelings for Olivia are in conflict with her religious “shoulds” about relationships and intimacy.

6. All My Children’s Annie Lavery: Her “shoulds” about being in a relationship with Ryan literally drove her crazy. It wasn’t until she accepted this relationship was over that she began to move forward and heal.

7. General Hospital’s Robin Scorpio: Her “shoulds” about being a perfect mother are in conflict with her post-partum depression and feelings of alienation and separation from her infant.

8. GL’s Buzz Cooper: His “shoulds” about his son’s death and his perceptions of the Spaulding role in this tragedy are leading him to drink, smoke, have cost him his relationship with Lillian, and have already given him a heart attack.

9. The Bold and the Beautiful’s Stephanie Forrester: Her “shoulds” about Ridge’s sex life have led to an immeasurable amount of anguish and frustration over the past 22 years.

10. Y&R’s Katherine Chancellor: Her “shoulds” about Jill’s betrayals have been the primary source of her drinking relapses for decades. Will she perceive Jill’s recent actions as another painful betrayal that she’ll try to drink away?

THE IDIOT RATINGS
All soaps increase — including GL!

Ratings for the week March 23-27, 2009
—Courtesy of Soap Opera Network

*TVGuide.ca values viewers of all shapes, sizes and ages, which is why we print the total viewing audience tallies. Screw you, Madison Avenue! We’re not buying your bull anymore. And memo to soaps: perhaps you should start selling ad space, which cater to older — and gay — audiences. These are desperate times — you can’t afford to turn away any cash available.

(Compared to Last Week/Compared to Last Year)

Total Viewers
1. Y&R 5,195,000 (+79,000/-258,000)
2. B&B 3,495,000 (+196,000/-549,000)
3. DAYS 3,052,000 (+66,000/+210,000)
4. GH 2,844,000 (+198,000/+25,000)
5. AMC 2,779,000 (+80,000/+318,000)
6. OLTL 2,768,000 (+104,000/+338,000)
7. ATWT 2,730,000 (+198,000/-413,000)
8. GL 2,249,000 (+166,000/-328,000)

Households
1. Y&R 3.6/12 (same/-.2)
2. B&B 2.5/8 (+.1/-.3)
3. DAYS 2.2/7 (same/+.1)
4. AMC 2.1/7 (+.1/+.2)
4. GH 2.1/7 (+.1/same)
6. OLTL 2.0/7 (same/+.1)
6. ATWT 2.0/7 (+.2/-.2)
8. GL 1.6/5 (+.1/-.2)

FAN CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
Was Spixie’s fan base responsible for GH’s decline in ratings a few weeks back?
Click.

That was the sound of disillusioned GH fans “voting with their remote” and turning off their TVs in the middle of sweeps. Seldom have fans reacted so swiftly and with such determination, but fans of Spixie, Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and Maxie (Kirsten Storms), were true to their word. On Friday (3/13), Spixie fans got a wonderful surprise as Maxie told Spinelli she loved him and would love him forever. From Friday to Monday (3/16), daily ratings inched up as fans tuned in for the continuation of the long-awaited “I love you’s”; unfortunately along with those “three little words,” Spixie fans were treated to Maxie threatening to sleep with Johnny, (Brandon Barash). Once again, GH was giving Spixie fans a love story with one hand and snatching it away with the other; Tuesday’s (3/17) ratings declined from Monday’s highest-rated show of the week.

By Tuesday (3/17), horrified Spixie fans watched Maxie in total self-destruct mode, kissing erstwhile gigolo mob prince Johnny Zacchara in the back of a limo. Whiplashed from being jerked around for nearly a year, a volcano of Spixie fans erupted, flooding the GH Comment Lines with hundreds of calls vowing to turn off their televisions on Wednesday (3/18). One of the large Spixie fan websites documented over 300 angry fan calls to the GH Comment Line. Spixie fans may have been as good as their word as ratings plunged noticeably further between Tuesday's sleazy limo scene with its 1.9 rating to Wednesday’s 1.8 rating.

Incredibly, ABC’s venerable GH, winner of last year’s Emmy for best daytime drama, boasted a 1.8 rating for its Wednesday (3/18) episode, the worst daily rating received by any ABC Daytime show during the week ending 3/20/09. Complicating GH’s troublesome decline, this is a “sweeps” rating period instrumental in setting future advertising rates. Even more embarrassing, on Wednesday (3/18), GH featured a promoted cameo by NASCAR star Jeff Burton, without which the 1.8 daily rating may have been even lower.
 
GH needs a serious shake-up. Over the past year, GH has angered nearly every fan base. There seems to be no long-term vision, no commitment to character development, no commitment to couples, and no commitment to the show’s rich 46-year history. GH has no romantic stories, no happy couples, and scant little love in the afternoon. GH is an unrecognizable, sleazy, violent mess, and in any given week is in danger of lagging behind the rest of the ABC Daytime lineup. Rumours abound of upcoming cast changes and high-profile returns of beloved characters, but is that where changes should occur? Are General Hospital fans telling ABC Daytime loud and clear, they enjoyed the scabs’ interpretation of characters, couples, and stories as much or more than anything currently on tap?
—Spin’s Vixenella

PICTURE OF THE WEEK
Kelly Monaco bares almost all!

CAREER THERAPY
Farah Fath delivers her best performance to date, but does it mean the end of Gigi?

It’s no secret that I fell in love with Farah Fath’s spirited Gigi Morasco when the single mother debuted during One Life’s charming Paris, Tex. storyline. However, ever since Gigi moved to Llanview, the strong-willed character — who once inspired Viki to pursue happiness and love without fear — has taken on many incarnations. Some good. But mostly, bad.

Last week, Fath kicked it out of the ballpark with her best performance of her career when Gigi learned her evil sister, Stacy, refused to donate bone marrow to her dying son unless she broke up with Rex. Thanks to her visceral performance, Fath has finally made critics and fans take her seriously as a dramatic actress, but I’m afraid there’s danger ahead. As one of my pals warned me recently: “This storyline could destroy the character of Gigi because of the fact that she’s not telling Rex about Stacy’s machinations. It’s simply stupid. Passions-stupid.” I agree.

SOAP SYLLABUS
Saints and Sinners — One Life To Live

Soap creator Irna Phillips had a very strict rule, albeit a very black-and-white one, when it came to her stories. Characters had to be either “Saints or Sinners,” as she put it. But there was one more caveat: all characters had to be good parents.

I recently had a dream involving One Life’s Todd Manning  (get your mind of the gutter), who was spending a fun-filled day with his daughter Starr. He whispered in Starr’s ear, “you make me want to become a better person.”

Immediately, I woke up because Todd’s children do not inspire him to become a better human being; in fact, it’s the opposite (though I appreciate One Life’s renewed focus on Todd and Jack’s father-son dynamic). Irna wouldn’t be very happy about that fact. You see, One Life is seemingly obsessed with pushing Todd to the limit. The only reason Todd Manning is still popular with audiences is not because of the writing but because of Trevor St. John. In his extremely capable and oh-so talented hands, St. John fills in the blanks. In fact, I still hold out hope that one day, Todd will realize a catharsis of sorts and redeem himself by facing the dark truth.

After a lot of thought, I have realized that there is only one plausible explanation for this man’s destructive behaviour — which is that Todd is repressing his homosexuality. While GLAAD may not be happy that a rapist/murderer on daytime is gay, One Life could tell a fascinating story about the hell that ensues when a person denies the very core of who they are.

It’d make sense, too. To me, Todd gang-raping Marty with his frat boys, always seemed more about participating in a sexual act with his buddies. Moreover, Powell and Todd’s contentious friendship (sharing the same women) felt homoerotic to me at various points. And let’s not forget that the sight of any heterosexual act sends the man into a violent tailspin, most recently beating up his daughter’s boyfriend, Cole, after he took Starr’s virginity. St. John has wisely hinted at Todd’s latent homosexuality with the character’s man-crush on John and other males on the show. Last week, Todd demanded that hit man, Jackie McNaughton, meet him in a steam room of all places to discuss business!

Let’s hope Todd does the emotional homework he needs to do to heal himself before more people he loves are hurt. Hiring a therapist like Tony Soprano’s Dr. Melfi would be an amazing start, One Life. If not, Todd runs the risk of remaining paralyzed emotionally — and that may not be fun to watch in a few years. Characters on soaps need to grow and evolve — while keeping their personality traits. It’s a tricky balance, but it can be done.

With all due respect, maybe Phillips got it wrong: soap characters should instead be a hybrid of the saint and the sinner.

THE NELSON RATINGS
Can’t watch all the soaps this week? No worries — here’s a cheat sheet!

Top Soaps to Watch:
1. The Young and the Restless, CBS/Global
2. One Life to Live, ABC/A
3. Guiding Light, CBS/E!

Top 3 Storylines to Watch This Week:
1. Nick dumps Phyllis, Y&R
2. Otalia, baby! GL
3. ATWT’s sexy Zac kissed a boy, and he liked it!

Top 6 Actresses to Watch:
1.Crystal Chappell (Olivia, GL)
2. Jessica Leccia (Natalia, GL)
3.Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R)
4. Adrienne Frantz (Amber, Y&R)
5. Daphne Duplaix (Rachel, One Life)
6. Lesley Ann Down (Jackie, B&B)

Top 6 Actors to Watch:
1. Greg Rikaart (Kevin, Y&R)
2. Billy Miller (Billy, Y&R)
3. Trevor St. John (Todd, One Life)
4. Tuc Watkins (David, One Life)
5. Joshua Morrow (Nick, Y&R)
6. Zac Conroy (James, GL)

Top 5 Duos to Watch:
1. Olivia and Natalia, GL
2. Zach and Todd, One Life
3. Amber and Kevin, Y&R
4. Zac and Noah, ATWT
5. David and Dorian, One Life

Top 3 Love Triangles:
1. Phyllis/Nick/Sharon, Y&R
2. Olivia/Natalia/Frank, GL
3. Zac/Noah/Luke, World Turns

Top 3 Duos to Avoid Like The Plague:
1. Neil and Karen, Y&R
2. Billy and Mac, Y&R
3. Rick and Steffy, B&B

Top 4 Hair — And Lingerie — Models:
1. Drew Tyler Bell (Thomas, B&B)
2. Jackie MacInnes Wood (Steffy, B&B)
3. Ronn Moss (Ridge, B&B)
4. Crystal Hunt (Stacy, One Life)

Top 4 Passionate Fan Bases:
1. Otalia, GL
2. Nuke, ATWT
3. Spixie, GH
4. Phick, Y&R

Top 3 Soap Magazine Covers:
1. Soaps In Depth: The Truth Finally Comes Out — GH's Sonny/Jason/Claudia
2. Soap Opera Digest: Y&R’s Nick leaves Phyllis
3. Soap Opera Weekly: Ins and Outs

Top 3 Soap Moments To Watch:
1.Tuesday: Ray and Dorian kiss on One Life. “Oh, Eden, you taste so delicious,” coos Ray. “Oh, David, you’re so old all of a sudden,” coos Dorrie.
2. Tuesday: World Turns' Luke catches Lily with a shirtless Damian. “Hot body, Dad — I didn’t get that gene,” gripes Luke. “I hate my life!”
3. Friday: GH’s Maxie kisses Johnny in front of Spinelli! “There goes our ratings,” says Maxie.


 


 


 

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Nelson Branco is a Toronto freelance entertainment journalist, who regularly contributes to Hello! Canada, The National Post, The Los Angeles Times' theenvelope.com, TV Guide USA, tvguide.com, Inside Entertainment, OUT, and fab magazine, along with spearheading the soap coverage for TVGuide.ca's popular daytime TV hub. After graduating from Ryerson University in 1997, he moved from Toronto to New York in 1998 to take on the roles as senior news editor at Soap Opera Update. Branco first freelanced for Soap Opera Weekly as an intern in 1994, and after leaving Soap Update to help create and launch Bauer Publishing's In Touch Weekly in 2003, Branco continued to freelance occasionally for its sister publication, Soaps In Depth. Most recently, he helped create and launch Canada's first celebrity magazine, Weekly Scoop in 2005 as its news and entertainment director. Branco is also a contributor to a new TV show titled Planet Soap to air in Canada and America.