Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photojournalist Tim Hetherington killed in Libya

I just heard the tragic news that Tim Hetherington, the award winning photographer and film maker has been killed in the Libyan city of Misrata. I interviewed Tim earlier this year when he was nominated for an Oscar for Restrepo, a documentary about a platoon of soldiers serving in Afghanistan. He was a hugely talented and dedicated photojournalist. Somewhat bewildered by the Hollywood hoopla at the time, he was eager to return to the field to pursue the kind of journalism that he excelled in. This was Tim's last tweet - hours before he died. My deepest sympathies.

Happy Days actors sue for royalties

President Obama swings into CA for a town hall meeting at Facebook later. And, as ever, he will not miss the opportunity to some some fund raising in LA. Be warned West LA folks, if past visits are anything to go by, tonight's commute will not be pretty.

They often say in showbiz, 'where there's a hit there's a writ' - well this one has been a long time in coming. Four actors from the 1970s sitcom Happy Days have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles accusing CBS of cheating them out of millions of dollars in merchandising revenue.

Talk radio in LA is enthralled by a story reported by the LA Times that a California inmate who says says she is harassed and sexually assaulted by male prisoners, and needs sex change surgery to be transferred to a women's prison.

-- listen to my weekly wrap of California news on BBC 5 Live's Up All Night at 0434 BST every Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Soaps in the US and Mari Wilson

Everyone seems to agree that daytime soaps in the US will soon fade to black, for good. Following the announcement that two, long-running shows, All My Children and One Life to Live, have been axed by ABC. But could British style soaps, like Coronation Street and Eastenders work on US TV? Not those shows - but dramas based on working class people set in small town America.
I have a fascinating chat on the subject with veteran soap producer, Mal Young, on 5 Live's Up All Night last night (final 30 minutes on the player)

He says: “I think they're ready to go on story-telling journeys in drama and see themselves.”
“We haven't seen the demise of the soaps. We've seen the demise of a certain type of them but as a machine, as a business, a cost model, they're so effective as long as they're done with a great heart and they're relevant to the audience.”

We were also joined on the show by Mari Wilson, Mal's wife, and 80s pop star best known for the single Just What I Always Wanted. Mari talks about her latest projects, a one-woman show that she'd love to bring to the US and her fascination with Los Angeles wildlife.