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Soap Operas

March 30, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
From the nation that brought you "Are You Being Served?" comes "Mr. Selfridge," a loose dramatization of the founding of a British retail institution, the Selfridge & Co. department store, familiarly called Selfridges. Its eight-part run begins Sunday, under the colors of PBS' "Masterpiece. " Starring Jeremy Piven as Harry Gordon Selfridge, the American who brought recreational shopping to Britain, it is neither a miniseries nor a biopic, but a full-on, open-ended TV series - a second season is already slated for 2014 - which, like "The Tudors/The Borgias," takes real people from a real place and time and embroiders their lives with the sort of things you watch television for. There are resemblances to "Mad Men," as well, in that it is a period piece about the business of selling and the dreaminess of buying; and of "Downton Abbey" because it is concerned with social mobility at the end of the Edwardian era and ... big hats.
March 29, 2013 | By Meg James
Fifty years ago, a gallon of gasoline sold for 29 cents, the Beatles were preparing the release of their first song in the U.S. and "The Beverly Hillbillies" loomed large as the No. 1 show on television. And ABC's "General Hospital" debuted on April 1, 1963.  Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the show -- the longest running soap opera currently in production - after 12,776 original episodes. PHOTOS: 10 long-running soap operas A year ago, fans fretted that ABC would cancel "General Hospital" following the demise of the Walt Disney Co. network's two other signature soaps, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live.
February 1, 2013 | By Meg James
Prospect Park wants its soap opera stars back -- but the company said it is willing to share some of them with ABC. The production company has requested the actors from "One Life to Live" make themselves available as the company gears up to produce Web versions of two canceled ABC daytime dramas -- "One Life to Live" and "All My Children. " Two actors, Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson, have been appearing on ABC's widely watched "General Hospital" since "One Life to Live" went off the air last year.
January 7, 2013 | By Meg James
The production company Prospect Park, having secured agreements with Hollywood guilds, plans to revive the canceled ABC soap operas "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" as Web productions. "We are pleased to confirm that Prospect Park is reviving the beloved soap operas, 'All My Children' and 'One Life To Live' as the anchor programs on the Online Network (TOLN)," the company's principals, Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank, said in a statement. The privately held firm said it had arranged financing and signed pacts with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
December 23, 2012 | By Sheri Linden
"Hidden Moon" is a two-hour romantic drama that feels like two seasons of a telenovela - not because the story, set in Mexico and Los Angeles, is rich with divergent subplots and intertwining characters, but because the attention it pays to every fluttered eyelash, flared nostril and furrowed brow makes for one long haul of an affair. Devoid of irony or humor, the kind of soapy romanticism that director José Pepe Bojórquez espouses is a tough fit for today's big screen under the best of circumstances.
December 6, 2012 | By Michael Kinsley
As an Anglophile, I'm as pathetic as the next chap. My idea of a good time is to be in London, drinking at lunch with some well-lubricated British journalist friends, stumbling out when it's getting dark, tea at a fancy hotel and then theater in the evening. Then repeat. And yes, when I'm not in London (that is, almost all the time), I rarely miss an episode of "Downton Abbey. " But at least I have the decency to be ashamed about it. The shameless popularity of this blue-blood soap opera, which starts its third season in the U.S. next month, is astonishing.
October 7, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
Soap operas may be nearly dead in the United States, but telenovelas remain a booming industry in Mexico and throughout Latin America. "The Factory of Dreams" by photographer Stefan Ruiz goes behind the scenes at Televisa, the world's largest producer of telenovelas . From 2003 to '11, Ruiz was granted access to the actors and sets at Televisa's Mexico City studio and at the Centro de Educación Artística, Televisa's soap opera acting school,...
July 26, 2012 | By Yvonne Villarreal
As it gears up to celebrate its 50 th anniversary, “General Hospital” is the last soap standing on ABC.  And it hopes its aging knees don't buckle soon. Executive producer Frank Valentini was joined by some of the sudser's cast Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour - and it wasn't long before they found themselves addressing a shifiting daytime landscape. From a high of nearly 20 daily series, only four remain: NBC's "Days of Our Lives,"CBS' "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful," and ABC's "General Hospital.
July 22, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
Gold Chris Cleave Simon & Schuster: 336 pp., $27 There are undoubtedly fans of Chris Cleave who will pick up his new novel, "Gold," and enjoy it as much as they did his blockbuster bestseller, "Little Bee. " There is the possibility, however, that some will find it as much of a slow-moving soap opera as I did. Which is too bad, really, for a book about two Olympic cyclists. The two women, Zoe and Kathy, are friends and rivals (heavy on the rivals). Their lives are knit together onward from the age of 19, when they first face off competitively and are taken on by the same coach, Tom. The two women have markedly different personalities.
July 15, 2012 | Eric Sondheimer
When it comes to star power, junior quarterback Alexander Diamont of Venice can more than hold his own. Whether directing the Gondoliers' offense or posing on a beach for a modeling assignment, Diamont knows how to stay cool, calm and focused. As a sophomore last season, he finished with 2,213 yards passing and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions. The potential he displayed has Coach Angelo Gasca excited about what he might accomplish this fall. "He's tough and he's serious and has a good feel for the game and really loves it," Gasca said.
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