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There’s more on-again, offa­gain for Ali­son Sweeney – aka Sami Brady on soap Days Of Our Lives (1965cur­rent, see more on p29). She re­turned in April this year after quit­ting for the sec­ond time in Novem­ber 2015 and has an­nounced that she has fin­ished film­ing “my re­quired scenes”. She’s leav­ing Days for the third time to make yet an­other Hall­mark Christmas film. NB! Days in SA is about three years be­hind the US – keep up to speed with our State­side Soaps on p30.

De­spite fan­tasy se­ries Game Of Thrones (2011- cur­rent) claim­ing that “Win­ter is here” for sea­son 7, that’s not en­tirely true – the cast and crew had to go fetch it this time round. Kit Har­ing­ton (Jon Snow on the show) says that they had an “in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult time” find­ing suit­able con­di­tions to film. “We went to Ice­land to find snow, be­cause win­ter is there. We go this year and the glacier that me and [ex Ygritte and real-life girl­friend] Rose Les­lie filmed on four years ago, I saw it and it has shrunk. I saw cli­mate change with my own eyes and it’s ter­ri­fy­ing!”

Stay­ing with the Game, sound de­signer Paula Fair­field let slip at a fan con­ven­tion that while fi­nal sea­son 8 will have fewer episodes ( just 6), they could be the same length as fea­ture films. “Episodes could be in the 80-minute plus range,” she said after con­firm­ing that sea­son 7’s fi­nale episode 7 will be the long­est yet at 82 min­utes.

Stop read­ing now if you’re a fan of thriller se­ries Pretty Lit­tle Liars (2010-2017) and haven’t seen the fi­nale! The 89minute episode has flash­backs that an­swer a long-run­ning mys­tery: AD’s true iden­tity. And it was ac­tu­ally re­vealed in a 2014 in­ter­view, says show cre­ator I Mar­lene King. “I ex­plained how Troian Bel­lis­ario sent me a the­ory that was so well thought out, that Spencer has an evil twin named Alex Drake.” She adds that “when I read through all of the in­for­ma­tion the per­son delved out, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is a re­ally well thoughtout plan and it’s kind of a good one!’” I Mar­lene King has added that more Liars spin- offs could also be in the works de­spite failed sin­gle-sea­son spin-off Ravenswood (2013-2014). Pop­u­lar E! News an­chor Maria Me­nounos is step­ping down after three years at the en­ter­tain­ment chan­nel after be­ing di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mour. She will be un­der­go­ing more treat­ment fol­low­ing surgery to re­move most of the golf ball-sized tu­mour and she’s told fans that she wants to “re­turn to work as soon as the doc­tors give me the thumbs up”. Her cos­tume-de­signer mom Litsa is cur­rently bat­tling brain can­cer.

Ac­tion se­ries Hawaii Five- 0 (2010- cur­rent, see p36) is los­ing two of its stars over money. AsianAmer­i­cans Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim have quit after sea­son 8 wrapped in the US and sources claim it’s be­cause they’re paid up to 15% less than lead stars Scott Caan and Alex O’Lough­lin’ (Danno and McGar­rett) $200 000 (R2.6 mil­lion) per episode. Pro­duc­tion net­work CBS claims that they of­fered “a sub­stan­tial pay in­crease to both ac­tors” but are “ap­pre­cia­tive of Daniel and Grace’s enor­mous tal­ents, pro­fes­sional ex­cel­lence and the aloha spirit they brought to ev­ery one of their 168 episodes.”

The FX net­work is re­port­edly be­ing sued by Olivia de Hav­il­land for its por­trayal of her in drama­tised biopic se­ries Feud (2017-cur­rent). Sea­son 1 re­told the ri­valry be­tween Bette Davis and Joan Craw­ford on the set of 1962 film What Ever Hap­pened To Baby Jane and 101-year-old Olivia, the only per­son from the film still alive, has slammed her char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion as “hyp­ocrite gos­sip”, adding that “no one con­sulted me. I could’ve told them ev­ery­thing if they asked”. Drama se­ries True De­tec­tive (2014cur­rent) is con­tin­u­ing its tra­di­tion of big-name casts de­spite a third sea­son still not of­fi­cially be­ing con­firmed by net­work HBO. The pro­duc­ers are re­port­edly in talks with Ma­her­shala Ali (he won the 2016 Os­car for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tor, for drama film Moon­light) to take the lead, with Matthew Mc­Conaughey “very in­ter­ested” in bring­ing back his sea­son 1 char­ac­ter De­tec­tive Russ Cohle. Writer- cre­ator Nic Piz­zo­latto also re­vealed that he’s writ­ten two episodes for a third sea­son “but that op­tion is still up in the air”.

Troian Bel­lis­ario as Spencer Hast­ings in Pretty Lit­tle Liars.

Ali­son Sweeney is leav­ing Days after re­join­ing in April.

Ma­her­shala Ali could be join­ing True De­tec­tive.

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