College Soap Opera

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Among the careers Texas Christian University is training students for is life as a soap opera actor. Its students are producing a recurring soap opera called "Southern Comforts" to help prepare for work in the television industry.

TCU oversees all aspects of the soap opera. Over two semesters, classes in the radio-TV-film department crank out ten episodes, forcing them into jobs and a schedule mirroring real-world conditions.

Many schools offer classes that produce pilots, short films or other productions. What makes TCU unique is the collaboration throughout the department and multi-installment features.

TCU professor Richard Allen is a past Daytime Emmy-award-winning soap opera writer. He says he got the idea for the program more than a decade ago when he realized many students didn't know what to expect.

TCU produced its first soap in 1995 and later tried a sitcom. In 2000, Allen decided to do a soap again -- and a college television network picked up the episodes.