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LYNDA HIRSCH ON SOAPS -- GOSSIP

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It's about time we received some good news for soap viewers. Brian Frons' plot to kill all things soap may not be the winning strategy he thought it would be. SOAPnet will change its name to Disney Junior, but for the forcible future, it will feature same-day repeats of the soaps. Cable channels choose which stations to put on their viewing list. SoapNet is unique — another cartoon network, not so much. Here is an official statement from ABC:

"Yes, it's true that ABC Family has been given the opportunity to work with SOAPnet during the transition of the channel to Disney Junior," a spokesperson told Soaps in Depth. "There are some great programming opportunities and numerous cable operation protocols/systems between the two groups that make this a smart move."

"We've always viewed the launch of Disney Junior as a transition, not a flip of the switch," says the new cable channel's camp. "As such, SOAPnet will remain available for an undetermined period of time as additional carriage deals for Disney Junior are finalized with distributors."

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I live 20 minutes from the Chardon, Ohio, school where six students were shot and three died. There is no word as to why the teen shot these students. Nobody has said if it was bullying or drugs.

High school is never easy. Ask Lady Gaga. "General Hospital's" head writer, Ron Carlivati, and Producer Frank Valentini are doing a beautiful storyline about Alexis' daughter, Molly. Molly is smart, she loves books, and she can do math. Of course, this makes her unpopular. Why? I don't know. Molly is also pretty and fun and loves to giggle. One thing is for sure: IF Molly can make it through high school, she will be just fine.

Valentini and Carlivati are making an interesting teen story line. Kudos.

***

The sudden death of passionate conservative Andrew Breitbart, 43, has a soap opera connection. Orson Bean's daughter Susannah by his second wife, Carolyn Maxwell, was married to Breitbart.

Bean's present wife is Alley Mills, who plays "Bold and Beautiful's" Pam.

***

Next to his children, the thing Jack Wagner (Frisco on "General Hospital" and Nick on "Bold and Beautiful") loves most of all is to play golf. Wager plays against pros and wins all the time and has a great golf swing. Hopefully he can swing maracas, too, as he is going to be one of the contestants on "Dancing With the Stars." In fact, it would be good if he could swing everything. The judges on "Dancing With the Stars" do not like dancers who are too rigid.

The stars began rehearsing Feb. 29. Reports say that they are already black and blue, ice packing and dancing out their hearts.

***

Sadly, the wife of John Enos (Bobby on "Young and Restless") passed away after a lengthy illness. Jennie Lee and Enos wed in 2005. The actor played the mobbed-up character from 2003 to 2006. Enos was also seen as Mr. Too Big on "Sex in the City" and appeared in the film "Phone Booth" with Colin Farrell.

***

Just what "Y&R" needs: another character. Seems like the character-packed soap is looking for another good looking actor (does "Y&R" have any other kind?) for the role of Max, who is 20. Rumor has it that the character of Max has already been on the "Y&R" canvas — with a different name, of course.

***

While "Y&R" is beefing up its cast, "GH" is cutting back. The character Karen, played by Kodi Kitchen, has been let go. The show will reveal the big secret that Karen and her former lover Steve (Scott Reeves) are hiding. Also going are Ethan (Nathan Parsons), Cassandra, (Eric Cahill) and Kimberly McCullough (Robin). Of course, Valentini and Carlivati are not responsible for these exits. Nathan and Cassandra were already going to be off the canvas. McCullough left the show to concentrate on her directing career.

The axing of Karen and many more characters to come was Valentini's call, though. He has often said the hardest part about being a producer is having to release actors.

To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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