The news of the hate-filled attack on Jussie Smollett (of "Empire") was soul-crushing. I first met him decades ago when he and the rest of his ebullient family were on a press tour. While some of his siblings also continued to act, Jussie was the most prolific. His "Empire" character is gay. In 2015, he guested on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and revealed he is also gay.
Having just arrived from a very delayed fight — seven hours instead of two — he arrived at his Chicago apartment at about 2 a.m. His pantry sparse, he decided to go to a nearby Subway for a sandwich. That was when he was beaten, had a chemical — possibly bleach — poured over his face and a noose tied around his neck. Although he suffered broken ribs, he drove himself to the hospital, where he was kept for observation. According to Chicago police, they are still looking for the attackers. If found, they will likely be charged with a federal hate crime times two. They apparently not only attacked Smollett because he's gay, but also because he's black.
"Days of Our Lives" are growing shorter. Several actors have been pinked-slipped or had their status changed from contract to recurring. A contract actor is guaranteed a set salary no matter how many days they work. Non-contract actors are paid for each day.
"Days of Our Lives" was renewed last week for at least another year. Its ratings have increased by 4 percent. With all that going for it, the show's budget was still slashed.
First off, Galen Gering (Rafe) will be off the canvas for a while. Many characters will be gone for good, including Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), who has been with the show on and off for 20 years. Olivia Rose Keegan (Claire) is also part of the purge. Paul Telfer (Xander) will be gone for a while. Telfer tweeted that he will be returning to the show, but did not give a date. Telfer always has many acting gigs and travels with his wife, who is an opera singer. Rumors are swirling that Kyle Lowder (Rex) is on the chopping block as well. Perhaps the women will be involved in a Salem serial killer plot. The show loves to do them.
Over at "The Bold and the Beautiful," Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) will be off for a while. She has signed to the Australian version of "Help! I'm a Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here!" No word on how or why Brooke is away or for how long. Lang is thrilled about the new gig. She has been trying to be on the show for years, but scheduling always made it impossible. This time, the stars aligned. Lang was honest about being away from "Bold and Beautiful" for a while.
"I need a break from the people and the show. I love them, but many times, I see them more than I see my family." As for the reality show gig, she has nothing to worry about for the physical challenge. She is an amazing athlete. She does admit she's not certain how she'll do when it comes to being a small space with several strangers. She says that she likes people but this may be too close for comfort.
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.