Thursday, January 11, 2018

Farewell to Jerry Van Dyke

Jerry Van Dyke passed away on January 5, 2018 at the age of 86.  Although Jerry was initially overshadowed by the success of his older brother Dick, he managed to carve out an independent career of his own.  He was able to create his own niche in the world of comedy.  The staff of MeTV posted the following assessment of Jerry's career on January 8th:

It has been said that Jerry Van Dyke lived in the shadow of his older brother.  That sells him short.  While Jerry may not have reached the same level of headlining Hollywood fame, he worked in his own spotlight.  In a way, he used his perception to his advantage.  Jerry brilliantly portrayed second fiddles, dimwits, the insecure, and hard-luck guys.- all while oozing charm.  He could make a sad sack seem like a ray of light.

Jerry McCord Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois on July 27, 1931 to Hazel Victoria (née McCord: (1896-1992), a stenographer, and Loren Wayne "Cookie" Van Dyke, a travelling salesman.  His brother, Richard Wayne "Dick" Van Dyke, was born in 1925.

Dick of course, became a famous comedian, actor, singer, dancer, writer and producer.  However, his younger sibling possessed special talents of his own.  Jerry had an aptitude for stand-up comedy and he was a skilled four-string banjo player.  He pursued stand-up while attending Danville High School and developed a routine, including banjo-playing.  He took his act to night clubs and dives in the Deep South.  For a time he was a regular on the Playboy club circuit and then an opening act in showrooms in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Atlantic City.

In 1952, during the Korean War, Jerry Van Dyke enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Tops in Blue and entertained the troops with his Special Services shows.  In the mid-1950s, he was employed at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, Indiana.  He had his own show, a popular half-hour 5 p.m.variety program called The Jerry Van Dyke Show.  Jerry played the banjo and the drums and performed comedy skits,  using a newsman as the straight man in his skits.  He also served as a disc jockey at the station.

Jerry made his  television acting debut in 1962 in two consecutive episodes in Season One of the classic Dick Van Dyke Show - "I Am My Brother's Keeper" and ""The Sleeping Brother."  He played Stacey Petrie, the shy, sleepwalking, banjo-playing brother of Rob Petrie, Dick's character on the series.  (In 1965, Jerry reprised his role as Stacey Petrie in a two-part episode).

After Jerry's 1962 appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show and some performances onThe Ed Sullivan Show, CBS cast him as as a regular on The Judy Garland Show.  In 1963, he became host of the game show Picture This.  That same year, he was a guest star on an episode of the anthology series GE True, hosted by Jack Webb.  When The Judy Garland Show was revamped, Jerry left the series.

In 1964, Jerry played James Douglas in an episode of Perry Mason entitled "The Case of the Woeful Widower" (Season 7, Episode 23, Air Date: March 26, 1964).

Jerry in 1964 Perry Mason episode

Jerry Van Dyke made a fateful decision in 1964.  He turned down a lead role in Gilligan's Island, a comedy about 7 castaways stranded on a tropical island.  Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, writes about offering the part to Jerry.  In his book, Inside Gilligan's Island, Schwartz states that "Jerry seemed just right as Gilligan."  According to Schwartz, he phoned the actor, had lunch with him, discussed the project and gave him the script.  Jerry said he would consider it and talk it over with his agent.  "But," writes Schwartz, "Jerry's agent was Rosey - George Rosenberg.  Would he allow the promising young comedy actor the lead role in a series he himself didn't want to represent?  Of course not!

The part of Gilligan went to Bob Denver instead.  Although Gilligan's Island was panned by TV critics, it ran from 1964 to 1967 on CBS.  It became a huge hit with fans and developed a cult following during decades of syndication.

In 1965, Jerry Van Dyke appeared in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show as a banjo-playing deputy sheriff named Jerry.  In the episode, entitled "Banjo-Playing Deputy" (Season 5, Episode 32, Air Date: May 3, 1965), Jerry fills in for Barney Fife, the regular deputy.  Don Knotts, who portrayed Barney, had left the show in order to pursue a film career.

Jerry never became part of the permanent cast of The Andy Griffith Show. Instead he opted to star in My Mother the Car," a fantasy sitcom about a lawyer named David Crabtree (played by Jerry) who purchases an antique car (a 1928 Porter), which turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother.  David's mother, Gladys, was voiced by Ann Sothern.

Critics savaged My Mother the Car and it has been labelled one of the worst American sitcoms ever. The show aired on NBC for a single season between September 14, 1965 and April 5, 1966.  Thirty episodes of the series were produced.  Unlike Gilligan's Island, though, it never found an audience.

To be fair, Jerry Van Dyke had no way of knowing that Gilligan's Island was going to be such an enormous hit.  "This My Mother the Car script," he declared in a November 15, 1993 People magaazine article," read like Neil Simon compared to the Gilligan's Island script."  "I became known as the guy who did the worst show in the history of television," he told writer Tom Gliatto.  "At least it took the edge off being Dick Van Dyke's brother," he quipped.

Unfortunately, Jerry Van Dyke gained a reputation for choosing clunkers.  In 1967, Jerry starred in another short-lived comedy series called Accidental Family.  In Accidental Family, he played the role of Jerry Webster, a widowed comedian who purchases a farm where he can raise his son when his his not on the professional tour circuit.  That same year, he also appeared as Howie in an episode the Marlo Thomas sitsom That Girl.  In 1968, Jerry had guest role in the Jim Nabors sitcom Gomer Pyle, USMC.  He played a nightclub comedian named Jerry Ball in an episode of the series entitled "Gomer and the Night Club Comic" (Season 4, Episode 27, Air Date: March 22, 1968).

Jerry in publicity photo for Accidental Family

By the 1970s, Jerry's television career was on the downswing. As the decade began, he found himself co-starring with Andy Griffith in an ill-fated drama/comedy called Headmaster.  The series, about a headmaster at elite California private school, only lasted for 13 episodes in 1970.  So, Jerry decided to return to stand-up comedy, spending much of the decade performing in Playboy Clubs and cruise ships, and headlining in Las Vegas and Reno.

Jerry guest-starred twice on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in 1972 and again in 1973.  He played Mary's boyfriend, Wes Callison in episode entitled "But Seriously Folk" (Season 3, Episode 8, Air Date: November 4, 1972).  He returned as Wes in an episode entitled "Son of 'But Seriously, Folks'" (Season 4, Episode 7, Air Date: October 27, 1973).

In 1979, Jerry Van Dyke was a member of the cast of a short-lived comedy called 13 Queen's Boulevard.  Only nine episodes of the series about the residents of a Queen's, New York apartment complex were ever produced.  Jerry portrayed a character named Steven Winters.

In the early 1980s, Jerry made guest appearances on TV series such as Fantasy Island (1981), The Love Boat (1982) and Newhart (1983).  In 1986, he played the role of Tucker Agajanian in Fresno, a five-part min-series that parodied prime time soap operas such as Dallas and Dynasty.  In 1988, he portrayed Mr. Merken in an episode of Charles in Charge, a sitcom starring Scott Baio.

In 1982, Jerry Van Dyke suffered a major disappointment when he failed to land the role of George Utley, the dim-witted handyman on Newhart, a hit comedy in which Bob Newhart portrayed a Vermont innkeeper.  Although the part of George was originally created for Jerry, it went to Tom Poston instead.  "We were living in a house that was being foreclosed on," Jerry told People magazine in 1993.  "I thought that show would save my life."

As the 1980s drew to a close, Jerry was cast in his most memorable TV role, the one for which he is known to younger viewers,  From 1989 to 1997, he played Assistant Coach Luther Van Dam, opposite Craig T. Nelson.on the sitcom Coach.  The not-too-bight Van Dam worked with Coach Hayden Fox (Nelson) as they oversaw a college football team, the fictional Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles.  Jerry's role on Coach earned him four Emmy nominations.

Jerry with Coach co-stars Craig T Nelson (centre) and Bill Fagerbakke (far left)

In 1997, Jerry portrayed his Luther Van Damme character in episodes of The Drew Carey Show  ("Drew Gets Married," Season 2, Episode 18, Air Date: February 26, 1997) and Grace Under Fire ("Vegas," Season 4, Episode 19, Air Date: February 26, 1997).

In 1999, Jerry appeared on Dick's crime/drama series, Diagnosis Murder.  He portrayed Stacy Sloan, the annoying brother of Dick's character, Dr. Mark Sloan, in an episode entitled "Sleeping Murder" (Season 7, Episode 2, Air Date: September 30, 1999).  Jerry's appearance on Diagnosis Murder was quite the family affair because his nephew, Barry Van Dyke (Dick's son), also starred in the series as Steve Sloan, a homicide detective who helped his father Mark solve crimes.

From 2000 to 2005, Jerry had a recurring role as Big Jimmy Hughes, the father of Jimmy Hughes on the sitcom Yes, Dear.  In 2008, he made a guest appearance on My Name is Earl as a character named Jerry.  The episode was entitled "Stole an RV" (Season 4, Episode 4, Air Date: October 2, 2008).

In 2004, Jerry appeared in a reunion of The Dick Van Dyke Show, along with Dick, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Larry Matthews and Carl Reiner.  The television movie, entitled The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited, aired on May 11, 2004.  It was hosted by Ray Romano.

From 2010 to 2015, Jerry played the role of Tag Spence in eight episodes of the The Middle, an ABC comedy starring Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame.  Dick Van Dyke appeared in a 2015 episode of the series entitled "Two of a Kind" (Season 6, Episode 21, Air Date: April 22, 2015) alongside Jerry.  Dick portrayed Dutch Spence, Jerry's character's estranged brother.

Jerry Van Dyke was married twice.  He married his high school sweetheart, Carol Jean Johnson, on January 22, 1957.  They had three children, daughters Jerri Lynn and Kelly Jean and a son named Ronald.  After a lengthy separation, Jerry and Carol divorced in 1974.

On December 21, 1977, Jerry married his second wife, Shirley Ann Jones (not the singer/actress of The Partridge Family).  The pair met in 1970 while Jerry was performing at a supper club in Hot Springs, Arkansas and she was a local country singer.

On November 17, 1991, Jerry's family suffered a terrible tragedy when his daughter Kelly Jean (born June 5, 1958) reportedly committed suicide in Los Angeles.  The 33-year-old was found hanged after a struggle with substance abuse issues.  Kelly Jean was an actress who performed in adult films.  She had a history of drug problems and had been to rehab and her relationship with her father had been strained.  In his 1993 interview with People, Jerry said he had had no idea how desperate she was.

Kelly Jean Van Dyke  Photo credit: Redheadenuf..

Jerry died of heart failure at his ranch near Hot Springs, Arizona.  His wife, Shirley Ann,, told CNN that Jerry never fully recovered from a "horrible car accident." a couple of years ago in which he was seriously injured.


* Jerry Van Dyke was an enthusiastic poker player.  He hosted a number of poker tournaments for ESPN during the late 1900s and early 2000s.

-* Jerry and Dick both battled alcohol abuse.

* 92-year-old Dick Van Dyke visited his ailing brother over the Christmas holidays this year.  It's been a difficult time for Dick because Rose Marie, his beloved colleague from The Dick Van Dyke Show, passed away on December 28, 2017 at the age of 94.

- Joanne                                                                                                                                           

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Internet TV Digest #6

This is the sixth of an occasional feature on TV Banter called Internet TV Digest.. Internet TV Digest contains recent news, information and discussion about online television.


What's new on Netflix this January?

It's a new month and a new year.  This January, Netflix will feature the Batman series of films, all four movies in the Lethal Weapon series and the Godfather trilogy.  There will also be a new season of TV originals including One Day at a Time, Grace and Frankie and The Adventures of Puss in Boots.  In addition, subscribers will be able to watch the complete five seasons of Showtime's Episodes, the second season of Colony and more episodes of Eastsiders.

FX  CEO claims that peak TV is overshadowed by Internet

John Landgraf

Yesterday FX Netowrk CEO John Landgraf stated that television continues to produce a record number of original series but is distracted by technology.  He declared that even worthwhile TV is a "sideshow" to what he described as the "daily three-ring media circus."  He addressed concerns over viewer's decreasing attention span and "dwindling intolerance for dissent."  Landgraf  made his comments at the TV Critiscs meeting in Pasadena, California.  He also said that the total number of cable, broadcast and streamed series reached an estimated 487 in 2017, a seven per cent increase over 455 in 2016.  The 117 streamed series from 2017 from rapidly growing streamers such as Netflix and Amazon represented the largest increase (30 per cent over 2016).  Those statistics are certainly worth noting.

Amazon is ready to bid for streaming rights to Premier League

Amazon is set to bid for the streaming rights to English footfall.  According to Bloomberg, the online retail giant is preparing  to add to its growing list of sports.  It is set to bid for Premier League broadcasting rights next month and will likely compete against UK broadcasters Sky and BT.  If successful, acquiring the rights to Premier League would be Amazon's biggest sporting deal after Thursday night NFL matches and ATP Tennis.  However, the bidding is expected to be high and the rights to Premier League soccer will be very expensive.

Hulu takes over streaming rights for "Lost" from Netflix

The complete six seasons of the ABC supernatural drama Lost are now available on Hulu.  On January 4th, all 121 episodes of the series became available to Hulu subscribers as part of a deal with Disney/ABC.  Netflix originally made a deal for the rights to Lost back in 2009, but Netflix's subscription-streaming rights to the show expired.

Disney acquired a 30 per cent stake in Hulu when it made a $52 billion blockbuster deal with 21st Century Fox.  It now has majority control of the decade-old video streaming company.  Hulu is now restricted to the United States,  according to Variety, there is speculation that Disney might try to expand its new acquisition into international markets.

Lost, which aired from on ABC from 2004 to 2010 is the winner of many awards, including Emmy and Golden Globe awards for best drama series.  It follows the adventures of the survivors of Oceanic Air flight 815, en route from Sydney and Lost Angeles.  The plane crashes on a mysterious island in the Pacific.

- Joanne

Y&R Report (January 6, 2018): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Hello fans. I hope you enjoyed the holidays. For some Genoa City residents, such as Sharon, the New Year began explosively.  When she discovered that her boyfriend, Scott, was ttwo-timing her, she took a really hard line with him. In fact, she hit the roof.  It's quite understandable that Sharon would be angry at both Scott and Abby.  She was deceived and betrayed.  However, I don't think she needed to get into a physical fight with Abby in a public place.

Sharon has made some improvements in her life since Dylan left.  She has been running the coffee shop and taking psychology courses.  She seems much stronger and independent.  Although Scott's betrayal was a huge disappointment to her, did she have to resort to a cat fight with Abby at the Athletic Club?  It wasn't necessary and was more like the old Sharon would have behaved.  Now that she's finished with Scott, she'll probably end up going back to Nick Newman eventually.  If so, I hope she takes her time about it and that she doesn't accept him back on his terms only.  She should not reunite with Nick out of desperation or to please Faith.

Scott Grainger has to be the most disappointing character of 2017.  When he first returned to Genoa City, I admired his expertise as a hard-nosed journalist.  He seemed interesting and exciting.  Now he is just a cheating louse.  His excuses for what he did to Sharon were flimsy at best.  At first he claimed he didn't know whether he was going to survive when he and Abby were trapped in the storage locker.  His latest excuse is that he has feelings for both women.

Lauren's wish that Scott and Sharon would break up.has come true, although she is not particularly thrilled about her son being involved with Abby.  Notice, though, that she has not chastised her sonny boy strongly for being a two-timer.

It's good to see more of Beth Maitland (Traci Abbott) on the show.  I hope she'll show up more often, not just during the holiday season.  I have to say I've also been enjoying the performance of Marla Adams as Dina.  I realize that the Alzheimer's storyline is not everyone's cup of tea.  Some people find it unsettling and disturbing.  However, it is difficult to dispute that Marla's performance as Dina is absolutely outstanding.  She is truly believable in the role and I think she is deserving of an Emmy nomination.

Here's some good news for CBS soaps.  The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful closed out 2017 with some of their best ratings of the year.  According to Nielsen, Live Plus Same Day Ratings, Y&R attracted 4.8 million total viewers, its largest weekly audience in almost a year.  We'll see if the trend continues into the new year.  If it does, then head writer Mal Young must be doing something right.


Graham (Max Shippee) returns to Genoa City

Max Shippee is back this month for another stint as Graham Bloodworth.  That means bad news for the Abbott family as Graham will continue with his dirty tricks and scheming.  He's already engineered the kidnapping of 2-year-old Christian.  The Abbotts are up against a formidable enemy in Graham.  He knows Dina better than her own children and he is able to use Diina's illness to his own advantage.

Michael Masini appears as Tony Kingsman

Michael Masini has joined the cast as Tony Kingsman, a professional who interacts heavily with Ashley Abbott and happens to be Michael Baldwin's nemesis.  Could this be a new romance for A.A.?  I think so, provided he stays around long enough.  He's more Ashley's style than Ravi because she is somewhat snobby. Tony is a lawyer and has a lot more social status than Ravi.  He is self-confident and bold.  He told Ashley that he likes to win.  Ashley admires those qualities in a man.

Michael Masini (born in 1975) had a recurring role as Joey on Passions from 2004 to 2007.  He's a New Jersey native who attended California State University.  He also played hockey for the Vail Avalanche, Boston Jr. Bruins and the Amarillo Rattler of the Western Professional Hockey League.

Michael began his career in television commercials.  He has recently appeared in episodes of NCIS and Rebel.  I hope he is signed to a contract with the show because I think he would be a great addition.  If you agree, let CBS know.  Some characters on Y&R, such as Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) and Kate Linder (Esther) became permanent cast members due to positive fan response.


Lily (Christel Khalil) finds herself in a quandary.  Just as she is making significant progress in patching things up with Cane, she is offered a great career opportunity.  The problem is that it involves travel to Paris and other places in Europe.  The feminist response to her predicament would be that men are rarely required to sacrifice career opportunities.  However, does it always have to be an either/or proposition?  Does it always have to  be so complicated?  For example, couldn't Cane meet her in Paris for a romantic rendezvous?  Couldn't she work out some way to shorten the trip while still accomplishing a great deal and advancing her career?  In real life, this kind of compromise would be possible but probably not on a soap.  There has to be conflict.  What do you think?  Respond to the poll below.

Should Lily go to Paris?

Yes. It doesn't mean she has to give up getting back with Cane.
Yes. Cane's not worth it. He broke her heart and he has poor judgement.
No. She shouldn't put a reunion with Cane in jeopardy.
I don't really care.
I don't know.
Please Specify:

In the last edition of Y&R Report, the poll question was whether you preferred previews from the next episode of the show or scenes from previous episodes.  Those who responded expressed a preference for previews from the next episode.  That is my preference too, because it's great to get a sneak peak.  In an ideal situation, viewers could enjoy both, since both have merit (Flashbacks from previous episodes set the stage for today's show).  Unfortunately, time constraints do not allow for an ideal situation.  It has to be one or the other. Still, this is another opportunity to make your opinion known to CBS.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  

My email address:

That's all for now. The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

- Joanne

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Y&R Report (December 23, 2017): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Well fans, we know that Nikki always returns to Victor.  So, it's not surprising that she's doing it again.  This time, according to Soap Opera Digest, not only will Nikki go back to the Big Man, but the two will prepare to renew their wedding vows on a special episode airing on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25th.  It seems like a charade to convince people that the two have truly reconciled, especially on Nikki's part.  The intriguing question is whether Nikki's feelings for Victor will resurface and they will sincerely get back together.  Deep down, Nikki loves Victor, in spite of his ruthlessness and controlling ways,  She also enjoys being lady of the manor at the Newman ranch. (By the way, Meloday Thomas Scott, who plays Nikki, has lost weight and looks great).

The Abbotts certainly had a miserable Christmas Eve dinner.  Jack and Ashley could not let go of their differences over Jabot, even for Christmas,  Their behaviour was so petty that even peacemaker Traci left the table in disgust.  Jack is Scrooge of the Year for 2017.  He couldn't put business on the back burner.  He was so miserable and cruel that he informed Ashley that he planned to use the fact that she was not a biological Abbott against her in order to retain his position as CEO.  This year, Jack put business ahead of everything else, including Christmas and his family.  

Ashley hasn't fared much better than her brother,  She is the one who brought the CEO issue to the forefront.  As much as she keeps insisting that she did it for the good of the company, she has admitted to guilty feelings.  That's because she realizes that she craves the power and influence that goe along with a CEO position.  At least she finally came clean with Ravi.  She finally admitted to his face that he was just a distraction to her and that she "may have" used him.  She tried to soften the blow by telling him that he's handsome and intelligent.  Despite being used and unappreciated, Ravi intends to remain at Jabot.  Nevertheless, it was unethical for Ashley to have had an intimate relationship with a subordinate and its time for Ravi to move on to a better relationship.

Two of Genoa City's most prominent citizens are now wealthy men of leisure.  Nick Newman and Billy Abbott are both gainfully unemployed.  What does Billy do all day?  Well, for one thing, he kisses Phyllis in elevators.  He also sends Phyllis flirty messages while she is speaking to a client or attending a board meeting.  That suits Billy Boy fine.  I don't he wants to work hard.  At heart, he's an irresponsible playboy.  He doesn't really want to settle down, either with Phyllis or Victoria.

As for Nicholas Newman, he spends his days venting his wrath against his father.  He has a great deal of anger inside of him.  He'll probably be working again before Billy.  Perhaps he should run Chancellor Park.  That would make him happy.

Scott sure was jealous when J.T. became friendly with Abby.  Abby accused J.T.,  a married man, of hitting on her.  Abby's reacted quite strongly to J.T.  Maybe she was guilty because she's involved with Scott Grainger, who's two-timing Sharon.

J.T. later denied to his ex-wife Victoria that he had been hitting on Abby. Then he revealed to Victoria that he was separated from his current wife, Mackenzie.  I was not surprised about that since it opens up new storyline possibilities and allows J.T. to remain in Genoa City.  It also creates an opportunity for Mac to come back.  Kelly Kruger, one of the four different actresses who have played Mac over the years has told Soaps In Depth that she'd love to portray Mac again.

Princess Victoria was very sympathetic and kind to J.T.  She invited him to spend to spend Christmas with her family and told him that no one should have to spend Christmas alone.


If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name.  

My email address:

Here are some comments from regular contributor CC in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Well the new head writer (Mal Young) is definitely moving things along quickly, like they do on Coronation Street, where he used to be in charge.  During the transition from the old format to this new one, they are overlooking some plot elements and moving on without explanation.  Ashley's treatment of Ravi is one example.  I don't recall her ever musing about what kind of relationship they would have or even that he must surely have known that because of all the differences (age, status, culture, boss/subordinate) they could never be more than friends with benefits.

I never thought the separation between Nikki and Victor was handled realistically and now the re-establishment of their marriage is being handled even more ridiculously.

Hilary is certainly lining up her ducks and will eventually pull the trigger on one or a few of them . . . Cane, Jack, Devon, are a few in the running.  We shall see which one presents her with the best options for making it to the top.

The J.T., Billy, Victoria thing is struggling to get off the ground.  Amelia Heinle (Victoria) looks much older than Thad Luckinbill (J.T.).  It must be awkward working together (Amelia and Thad's real life marriage broke up).  If the storyline doesn't fly, I guess Reed and J.T. can just move on together.

Your comments are very thought-provoking, CC.  Let's start with head writer Mal Young.  First of all, a correction.  Mal Young was not in charge of Coronation Street.  He was executive producer of another popular British soap - The EastEnders.  Yes, he is moving Y&R along at a faster pace.  I appreciate that, but sometimes, as you pointed out, there are missing elements or explanations for certain actions.  You mentioned Ashley's treatment of Ravi and her sudden decision to admit to him that they had no future together.  Mal Young obviously didn't want them together.

Another example of a missing element:  Why didn't Kyle support Jack Abbott in the Jabot board's vote on whether to remove Jack as CEO of the company?  That came from nowhere.  There had never been any indication that Kyle had any grievance against his father.  Will we eventually get an explanation?

I love your comments about Hilary.  Yes, the flamboyant host of The Hilary Hour is definitely keeping her options open as to whether reunite with Devon or start something up with Jack or Cane.  Hilary is pragmatic.  She'll do what suits her purposes.  To continue with your "lining up ducks" analogy, it would really "ruffle Lily's feathers" if her arch-enemy, Hilary, became involved with Cane.

Now to your remarks about J.T., Billy and Victoria.  Amelia Heinle is 44 years old  Thad Luckinbill is 42 years old.  So, so she is three years older than Thad.  I have to say that Thad has aged well.  He doesn't look much older than he did when he left the show in 2010, seven years ago.

It certainly must be difficult and heart-wrenching for Thad and Amelia to work together again. Some of the lines they have to say to each other must hit close to home.  They met on The Young and the Restless and their characters married on the show.  On March 3, 2007, they married in real life.  They have two children together (a son named Thaddeus Rowe, born November 2, 2007, and a daughter named Georgia March, born December 17, 2009).  Thad also became a stepfather to Amelia's son from her first marriage to actor Michael Weatherly.  On March 1, 2017, two days before their 10th wedding anniversary, Thad filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences).  I'm not certain whether the divorce is final.  It has only been about ten months since Thad filed, but I guess a quickie California divorce can go through that fast.

Actually, CC, I am pleased that Thad Luckinbill has returned to the show.  I think his storyline has great potential.  It has just begun and needs time to develop.  In my opinion, this storyline has great potential and will succeed if the writers handle it well.


Melissa Ordway (Abby) gives birth to baby girl

Melissa Ordway (Abby Newman) gave birth to a daughter, Sophie Jolie, on December 9, 2017.  Melissa and her hubby, Justin Gason (ex-Ben, Days of our Lives), were expecting their baby to arrive in mid-January.  However, the couple  received an early Christmas gift.  

Sophie Jolie Gaston weighed 5lb,, 5 oz.  She is the second child for Melissa and Justin.  They adopted a daughter, Olivia, who is almost 2 years old.  Olivia will now be a big sister.

It will be interesting to see how the early birth will impact Melissa's character on Y&R.  Abby is in the middle of a big storyline and she is involved in a love triangle along with Scott Grainger and Sharon.


Instead of previews.("Next on The Young and the Restless . . . "), the show now has summaries of past episodes ("Previously on "The Young and the Restless . . . ").  I don't feel strongly one way or the other.  I lean slightly toward the previews or "teasers" for the next episode.  However, the summaries of past episodes probably suit Mal Young's faster-paced writing better.  What do you think?  Respond to the poll below.and let me know.

Do you prefer previews from the next episode of Y&R or scenes from previous episodes?

I prefer previews from the next episode. It' more fun to get a glimpse of what will happen next.
I like the scenes from previous episodes. They help me catch up on things I may have missed.
I like them both equally.
I can do without either.
I don't care.
Please Specify:
Quiz Maker

That's all for now.  I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate.  I',m looking forward to watching the Christmas Day episode of The Young and the Restless.  The next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, January 6, 2018.  We'll see what the New Year will bring to Genoa City.

- Joanne

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Y&R Report (December 9, 2017): The Latest on The Young and the Restless

Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance.

Scott Gainger cannot have it both ways.  He wants a relationship with Sharon, but he can't keep away from Abby.  He claims it's just a physical attraction with Abby and that he wants to make things work with Sharon.  However, when Sharon finds out, I doubt she'll see it that way.  She's really going to be heartbroken after expressing so much faith in him.  In a conversation with Mariah, she declared that Scott would never let her down or hurt her.  Is she ever in for an unpleasant surprise!

Y&R head writer Mal Young is highlighting an Alzheimer's storyline because his own mother died of the disease.  It obviously affected him deeply and he feels that the story needs to be told through Dina Mergeron.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I can certainly understand Mal's motivation.  Marla Adams is really doing a fabulous acting job as Dina and I expect her to win a Daytime Emmy, or at least receive a nomination.

It's about time Ravi showed some gumption.  It's about time he stopped allowing himself to be used by Ashley Abbott.  We'll see what happens now that he's tendered his resignation from Jabot.  However, I wish he hadn't chosen to work for Newman Enterprises, a company headed by the unscrupulous Victor Newman.

Speaking of "Moneybags," he has certainly been busy man lately.  He's been spending all his time blackmailing and making bribes.  First he blackmailed Chelsea, implying that he would reveal Christian's real biological father if she didn't attend his tree trimming ceremony. (Chelsea's a fool for keeping the secret from Nick and putting herself in a position to be blackmailed by Victor - that's the way it has to be on a soap, though, to create conflict).  After blackmailing Chelsea, "The Moustache" turned his attention to Tessa.  He offered Tessa a bribe of $100,000 to find Crystal and leave town.  Tessa had the decency to turn down his money, but you can be sure that Victor won't give up.  He wants Tessa out of his grandson Noah's life and he isn't going to stop trying to make it happen.  He'll probably find out about Tessa and Mariah and tell Noah about it.

To top it all off, Newman Enerprises is the owner of the shell company that is planning to turn Chancellor Park into a development.  That's not surprising.  It's also not surprising that Nick vehemently opposes the development and is on a crusade to stop it.  This will bring him into further conflict with Victor.   

Princess Victoria has been behaving more like her daddy every day.  She supports Newman's involvement in the Chancellor Park development and defended it to Nick.  All that matters to her is business.  It seems that the power went to head when she became Chief Operating Officer (C.O.O.) of Newman enterprises.

Ashley is another character who has been given more power.  She has been trying to solidify her control at Jabot ever since she became temporary CEO of Jabot.  She would like her position to be permanent, so there is going to be quite a power struggle between her and Jack.  Ashley is already demanding that Billy, Abby and Traci take sides.  Traci, as usual is trying to calm things down .  She should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jack made an extremely hurtful remark to Ashley.  He said that John Abbott was his father, but not her's.  That was an incredibly cruel remark for Jack to make.  Where Ashley was concerned, it stung.  Her paternity is a very sensitive subject for her.  She adored John Abbott.


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Regular contributor Fifi in Collingwood had a few comments.  She has noticed a difference in the pacing of Y&R since Mal Young became head writer.  The show is definitely moving faster and there are more "before and after scenes" and less detail about what happened in-between.  

Fifi also commented on how quickly Dina's Alzheimer's has progressed.  At first, it was happening much more slowly.


Left to right: Sean Carrigan (ex-Stitch), Kate Linder, (Esther), Daniel Hall (Scott), Abhi Sinah (Ravi)

Here are some photos of Yours Truly with . . .

Sean Carrigan (Stitch)

Kate Linder (Esther)

Christian LeBlanc (Michael)

Abhi Sinah (Ravi)

Daniel Hall (Scott0

As is my report on the Y&R Tea for March of Dimes, which took place on December 3, 2017 in Toronto.

Kate Linder, as usual, was the driving support for the charity tea.  Kate likes to tell fans that if they want changes on the show or if they have suggestions to let CBS know.  She says that if enough people ask for something, the network will listen.  For example, many viewers wanted Esther's daughter to show up.  That's why Chloe appeared in Genoa City.

Sean Carrigan (ex-Ben "Stitch" Rayburn) made a surprise appearance.  He has been appearing as Coach Rafferty on American Vandal, a s true-crime satire on Netflix. I believe Sean has been dong some stand-up comedy in Toronto and I must say he looked fit and well.

Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin) showed up wearing Nick Newman's ugly Christmas sweater.  It was auctioned off to raise funds for March of Dimes.

Daniel Hall (Scot) auctioned off the shirt and tie he was wearing.  Daniel is a bachelor and he remarked that if he weren't an actor, he'd probably be a farmer.  He said he enjoys gardening.  By the way, Daniel thinks Scot really loves Sharon and that it's a physical attraction between him and Abby.

Abhi Sinah (Ravi) auctioned off a floral shirt he once wore on the show.  Some of my fellow Y&R fans have noticed a spark between Ravi and Phyllis and we mentioned it to him.

I really think that another female actor from Y&R was needed at this year's tea.  However, I guess it couldn't be arranged.  I hope that won't happen next year.


Thad Luckinbill returns as J.T. Hellstrom this coming week. I am looking forward to his reappearance in Genoa City.  What is the status of J.T.'s marriage to Mackenzie.?  It will be interesting to see if he will rekindle his romance with Princess Victoria and if he will have a good relationship with their son, Reed.  An online spoiler says that the princess questions why her former husband has returned to town.

What do you think about the return of J.T., fans?  Are you pleased about it?  Respond to this poll and let me know how you feel.

Are you pleased that J.T. Hellstrom (Thad Luckinbill) is returning to Genoa City?

Yes, I'm looking forward to his return. It should create some interesting storyines.
No, I can do without him on the show. I don't like his acting.
I'm not sure yet. It depends on the storyline.
Don't know
Please Specify:

That's all for now.  Don't forget that the nest edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, December 23rd.  

- Joanne

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Five Reasons TV Ads Still Work

TV Banter presents a guest column today on TV advertising  Although I am not a fan of television commercials (I find the sheer number of them annoying and distracting), there is another perspective.  Here is a look at TV ads from the point of view of marketers and advertisers.  

- Joanne


By Abby Drexler

Having faced stiff competition from Netflix and various digital providers, the television industry has experienced seismic transition over the last few years. One thing that has not changed, despite the transitions, is that television still runs the world of advertisement. Television and the web work even better when combined. For this reason, advertisers are beginning to use integrated marketing strategies to connect with clients on each type of screen, from a 50-inch flat screen TV to the smartphone. Integrating television and print advertising plays a vital role in reinforcing the advertiser’s ad and maximizing its impact.

TV commercials offer fragmented attention span

A recent report by eMarketer indicates that almost 70 per cent of Americans use smartphones while watching TV. Television serves as a powerful tool that helps to catch the attention of consumers when introducing a new brand or product in the market. This is because a large segment  of the audience uses either a second or third screen, such as a mobile device or a nearby laptop when watching. They might as well search for the TV ad they've seen for a product that is relevant to them.

In addition, TV can bring a direct positive effect on the user engagement either via social or search campaigns. The collaboration of television ads and digital campaigns plays a vital role in boosting online conversion and assisting advertisers in tracking their TV commercial performance.

TV commercials address specific audiences effectively

Cable television has generated a wide range of channels that target a number of specific audiences. An extended TV ad should not run while major programs are running. These ads, instead, can be placed and timed to address a smaller set of the targeted audience. Targeting of video ads is the primary reason many advertisers choose the web as an alternative platform. The local digital publication can air ads that are targeted to local clients, as the niche sites run lucrative ad campaigns that benefit from intense viewer interaction on these websites. Once you combine a broad reach of television with the targeted scope of sites, you will have an effective marketing strategy.

Television prompts people to act

A survey done by Deloitte in 2016 revealed that 10 per cent of respondents went to look for the items online after seeing them on a television sponsorship advertisement. For younger TV enthusiasts, the trend was more pronounced as 24 per cent of the audience of age between 16 and 24 went to look for the items they had seen on television. On top of that, television programs and ads were among the top three reasons why people considered making impulse purchases.

TV ads still have a significant impact on the public since they attract a considerable number of viewers who watch for at least four hours a day. Although the online world has been mainstream for more than ten years, the majority of people spend some time on social media platforms as well. Marketers have found out that cross-pollinating the online world and TV might help them generate more effective ad campaign. Therefore, whether you intend to advertise your site or you need to increase ad income on your website, make sure you use television advertising to conduct an effective campaign.

TV ads demonstrate how the product is used

Even though text and immobile graphics might be combined to create a powerful and memorable ad, nothing surpasses television when it comes to demonstrating an item’s usage. Additionally, viewer’s engagement is better when they see someone describing how a product is used. The proliferation of “how to” ads demonstrated on TV is proof that the majority of people want to watch how things are done. Demonstration helps the advertisers to take advantage of the curiosity of viewers when ads show items being used.

Profit making and responsive

This is one of the most vital aspects of marketing. Marketers want to make sure that once they invest in a TV campaign, they are going to receive an income. Various studies have been carried out in the United Kingdom about return on investment to serve as evidence that TV advertising is more effective than other forms of advertising. The majority of marketers will, as a result, never consider reducing their TV ads since they understand the importance of TV as a marketing channel.

A superior experience is created for clients when multiple forms of advertising are well integrated with each other to help sway a purchase. However, the challenge that advertisers face while using TV ads is trying to track and measure various engagement activities with potential clients. Tracking the key performance indicators after a consumer watches a TV commercial is now easier since the advertiser has a variety of tools to help manage macro and micro conversions.

Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for 007 Media Group. She often produces content for a variety of media and advertising blogs