- - Monday, April 25, 2011

Oprah: I can’t save canceled ABC soaps

“All My Children” and “One Life to Live” fans who have been hoping Oprah Winfrey would rescue the now-canceled ABC soaps and air them on her cable channel are going to be disappointed, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Ms. Winfrey sent a video message to fans last week addressing the pleas for her to pick up the two shows for her channel, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, since news broke April 14 that ABC will be replacing the long-running daytime dramas with two new younger-skewing, lifestyle-oriented series, “The Chewand “The Revolution.”

“I appreciate that you all think I could save the soaps, but here is the bone-marrow truth: The soaps have been an institution in broadcast history and television because they have the support of the audience,” she said. But as demonstrated by waning ratings throughout the years, “there just are not enough people who are at home in the daytime to watch them and because of that they are going off the air,” Ms. Winfrey continued. “Believe me, if there was a dime left to be made from them on broadcast television it would still be happening.”

Couric to make departure official; Pelley in line

Katie Couric is expected to publicly acknowledge this week that she will leave the “CBS Evening News anchor chair after five years, according to the New York Times.

The Hollywood Reporter notes the network also plans to announce her successor next week, after Miss Couric returns from anchoring CBS’ coverage of Friday’s royal wedding, according to the paper. “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley is expected to take over for Miss Couric.

Miss Couric’s CBS contract ends on June 4, and CBS News wants a month for the formal transition, which explains the plans for the two-step announcement in the coming days, according to the Times.

HBO in talks for show based on Pulitzer winner

HBO is interested in turning the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Visit from the Goon Squad” into a television series, according to the Associated Press.

The network said on Thursday that it had a development deal with the book’s author, Jennifer Egan. Such deals are first steps in making TV series, but not every project in development makes it on to TV.

Miss Egan’s novel about the passage of time recently won the Pulitzer for best fiction. It talks about how technology has changed the way people live and communicate. Its main characters are a punk rocker who grows up to become an influential record producer and his assistant.

TV on DVD: Lucy meets Hollywood

“The Lucy Show: The Official Fourth Season” (Paramount Home Entertainment, $42.99) takes viewers back to mid-1960s television to appreciate a colorful queen of comedy still very much in her prime.

Over 26 episodes on this four-disc DVD set, Lucille Ball moves to Southern California and delivers the laughs through her trademark hare-brained schemes and slapstick while mixing it up with Theodore J. Mooney (Gale Gordon at his comedic finest) and some industry legends.

The season impresses as Lucy finds herself on a date with Dean Martin, in a chorus line on “The Danny Thomas Show,” taking acting lesson from Mickey Rooney, and helping Wayne Newton and Mel Torme’s singing career.

Extras for television historians include cast and production notes for every episode, recording of Gordon’s “drive safely” messages from 1965, Ball’s appearance on the “Wonderful World Of Burlesque” (performing midair somersaults while strapped in a harness) and rare behind-the-scenes footage.

Joseph Szadkowski

Compiled from staff, web and wire reports

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