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This is just one of the many, many things for which I am thankful, but it sure was a nice pre-Turkey Day present!!

The Sopranos Goes Long
Monday, November 20, 2006

The Sopranos won’t be sleeping with the fishes as soon as we thought.

HBO will air an extra episode of the series after creator David Chase and his fellow producers decided that eight wasn’t enough to tie up all the loose ends of the seminal mobster drama before it goes to the great Bada Bing in the sky, a network rep confirmed.

“They going to give it a bonus episode, so fans are getting a bit of a holiday gift,” HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer tells E! Online. “They were originally going to do eight, but David Chase wanted the added episode to tell the story, and we obviously said, ‘sure.’ “

The extra episode was green-lighted “several weeks ago,” Schaffer says, adding that shooting is complete on the first six episodes.

Cast member Steve Schirrippa, who plays Bobby “Bacala” Baccalleri, the husband of Tony’s sister Janice, first broke the news about the surprise ninth episode to Celebrity Week at last weekend’s Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. The actor, a Las Vegas native, also revealed that his character has so far avoided getting whacked.

With The Sopranos’ small-screen goombahs preparing for their swan song, Schirrippa isn’t about to go quietly, telling the online magazine he’s currently developing a late-night talk show pilot for Fox. Several other cast members have deals in the works, including mob boss James Gandolfini, who has inked a development deal with HBO.

The Sopranos final season is slated to begin airing Apr. 8, with the extension meaning the series finale will air in early June.

And for those who can’t get enough of The Sopranos, Gandolfini and the rest of his crew have lent their voices to Sopranos: The Road to Respect, a videogame for PlayStation 2 that hit stores two weeks ago. A version for the Xbox 360 will be released early next year.

I’ve been gushing on and on about James Gandolfini. I even said he was the greatest actor ever in the history of television.

I admit that I should have qualified my assessment. Gandolfini is the greatest actor ever in the history of primetime television.

Daytime television? Different story.

The greatest actor in the history of daytime television is none other than my very dear friend, Clint Ritchie. ((Clint is retired, so I no longer get to watch his handsome mug on my television screen on a regular basis which explains my “senior moment”.))

Things just haven’t been the same since Clint decided, in December 1998, not to renew his contract with ABC and left the role of Clint Buchanan that he created on “One Life to Live” back on September 10, 1979.

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