Today's Entertainment

August 16, 2020

The Brainerd Dispatch - Today's Entertainment Magazine

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Brainerd Dispatch • August 16 - 22, 2020 •20 By Kyla Brewer TV Media S oap operas, like just about every other major TV production, were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and forced to shut down for months. However, it appears that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for daytime actors as most of them slow- ly but surely get back at it, much to the delight of their fans. You can watch new episodes of your favourite soaps this week, starring the likes of Annika Noelle from "The Bold and the Beautiful" and John Aniston from "Days of Our Lives." Given that soap operas have been around since before the dawn of tele- vision, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they've been so resilient. Week- day daytime serials existed on radio before making the jump to television in the 1940s and 1950s with such se- ries as the now-defunct "Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns." They have continued to entertain viewers through the ages, persisting through wars, cultural upheaval and now a global pandemic. These days, four daytime dramas survive in the network television landscape. "Days of Our Lives" de- tails the various comings and goings of the Bradys, the Hortons and the Di- Meras in the fictional town of Salem on NBC. "General Hospital" shines a spotlight on the sagas of doctors, nurses and their loved ones in Port Charles. CBS airs the sister soaps "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Young and the Restless," about wealthy and working-class families. Set in Los Angeles, "B&B" originally centered around the Forrester family and its fashion business. "Y&R" takes place in the fictional Genoa City and originally focused on the Brooks and the Fosters. All of the current soap operas had to shut down production in March, along with just about every other TV and movie production in the world, to protect the casts and crews from the threat of COVID-19. One of the Amer- ican network daytime dramas was better suited to withstand the ex- tended hiatus than the others. At the time, "Days of Our Lives" had been shooting about eight months in ad- vance. That means that the soap should have new episodes to offer viewers until sometime in October. In fact, "Days" fans may be in luck as they may be the only ones not to ex- perience a break in their beloved sto- ries. In early July, it was announced that production of the show would resume in September. Soon, "Days" characters such as Victor Kiriakas (John Aniston), Chloe Lane (Nadia Bjorlin) and Lucas (Bryan Datillo) will be back in action. However, the return will be bittersweet for fans of Kristian Alfonso, who's played Hope for 37 years, as it was announced in July that she would be leaving the show. "General Hospital" wasn't quite so well poised to weather the shut- down, but the production had about two months' worth of episodes in the can when things went awry in March. As the longest-running American soap opera currently in production, the show has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years. A net- work staple since its premiere in 1963, it ran out of original episodes in May and has been treating viewers to classic episodes since. The soap re- sumed shooting on July 22, and new episodes are slated to begin airing on Monday, Aug. 3. Sonny (Maurice Ber- nard) will return to the airwaves, along with Jax (Ingo Rademarcher), Carly (Laura Wright) and the rest. Over at CBS, both "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Young and the Restless" were approximately six weeks out when they had to stop shooting. The episodes lasted until April, at which point both series start- ed airing memorable repeat episodes as part of special theme weeks. Re- peats of "The Young and the Rest- less" featured such classic characters as Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Coo- per) and Victor Newman (Eric Braeden), while "The Bold and the Beautiful" whisked viewers away to Monte Carlo with Darin Brooks (Wy- att Spencer), Courtney Hope (Sally Spencer) and others. "Both of these shows have ex- traordinary legacies, and these spe- cially curated episodes are only a small portion of what we hope to be able to present in the coming weeks," CBS executive Amy Reisen- bach said in an April article. When "The Bold and the Beauti- ful" returned with new episodes on Monday, July 20, it offered viewers a recap of what had been happening. "The Young and the Restless" had been slated to return to production on July 6, but pro- ducers decided to delay the return due to an uptick in cases in Califor- nia. There has been no official word from CBS as to when "Y&R" will return. This is not the first challenge soap operas have faced over the years. In the mid-90s, they were pre-empted by extensive coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial, but fans didn't forget about them. More re- cently, low ratings have them on shaky ground as viewers' appetite for such melodrama wanes. Howev- er, all may not be lost for soaps. Perhaps there's a chance that the pandemic could lead to a revival for such sudsy daytime offerings. After all, TV viewers are now on the look- out for new content. The restart of soap opera production means new content in a medium now becoming saturated with reruns, even on pop- ular streaming services. At some point, having something new to watch may trump watching the same old things. If you're looking for something new to while away your television- watching hours, watch the daytime drama unfold on "Days of Our Lives," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "Gen- eral Hospital" and "The Young and the Restless." The show must go on Soap operas carry on in face of COVID-19 Feature Story this week Annika Noelle as seen in "The Bold and the Beautiful"

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