LYNDA HIRSCH ON TELEVISION — GOSSIP, by Lynda Hirsch
There is a new virus out there. It is soapusinterus. It is a side effect of COVID-19. The major symptom? You sit down to watch your soap and instead of a lusty love scene, talking heads pop up. It could be a governor offering updates on the coronavirus or the president on the screen offering information on the it-is-all-a-hoax virus. This week, it was the hearing for the new Supreme Court nominee. BORING. I would rather watch a loop of opening credits for “Days of Our Lives.” It is like watching sands through the hourglass, only not as interesting.
If more than 20 minutes are not shown of the soap, the entire episode will air on the next airdate. Twenty minutes or less, the scenes are edited into upcoming shows. A show’s interruption or scuttling is decided by the news department. That is why some soaps may be airing on one network and not another.
When soaps were live, the actors did not know if their scenes were being aired. The show just went on. “As the World Turns” actor Helen Wagner (Nancy) was doing a scene when she glanced at a camera and was horrified. There was an announcement about JFK being shot. “We had to continue the scene until Walter Cronkite came on to announce the shooting. As actors we could not break the moment and had to stay in character until the network cut away.”
“Days of Our Lives” had to shut down production when a staff member tested positive. Since the show is six weeks ahead in shooting it, will not affect the show’s airdates. Contact tracing was done. Anyone who came in contact with the staffer is in lockdown until the show heads back to production on Oct. 26. Cast and crew were notified by email.
When it returns later in the fall, “The Price Is Right” might look wrong to some viewers. On hiatus since March, the show started producing new shows on Sunday. Drew Carey is back as host. George Gray, the “come on down” guy for 11 years, suffered three heart attacks in the spring. He is on the mend. There will be no audience. They could not do the show virtually, as contestants could go online and check prices. Although I never understand how contestants claim they have watched the show everyday since they were born and not know the price of the contestants’ row items. Hint: The smoker/grill is $1,175. The show’s new set is on one level. There will be 77 games as always. Some things needed to be adjusted because of COVID-19. The show usually tapes two episodes a day. Now, three shows are taped. The adjustments have spiked the price by 20%. Sunday is one taping day, as fewer shows, like “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless” do not tape over the weekend. There is one constant: the wheel. The contestants are given hand sanitizer for the first spin. They apply more sanitizer for the next spin.
Last week, Nancy Lee Grahn was set to get married. Just before the ceremony, it was halted due to a few minor issues. It was decided to hold off until after the election. With some time on her hands, Grahn voted.
To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.