Who is Melissa Ordway? The former Snellville resident is one of the stars of the new Nick at Nite program “Hollywood Heights,” which makes its official debut tonight, June 18. It follows the template of telenovelas or traditional soaps by airing nightly and taping very very quickly.
This is a risky effort to try to convince young folks who grew up on “Real Housewives” and other reality shows that a scripted soap is worth the investment while daytime soaps such as “All My Children” have fallen on the wayside. Last week, Nick at Nite aired the first episode five times in five nights. Now it moves on with 80 more episodes over 16 weeks, shot one episode a day. (Typical dramas will tape an entire hour episode over a week – or longer.) This means you get one clean take and that’s it.
A quick snapshot of Ordway:
Raised in: metro Atlanta, graduating Shiloh High School in Snellville and attended Georgia State University. Her family still lives in Loganville.
Film/TV credits: “17 Again,” “Privileged,” “Entourage,” “Bones,” “Cold Case” “CSI: NY”
Role in “Hollywood Heights”: Chloe Carter, model/girlfriend of rock star Eddie Duran
Fictional persona: Self-centered, mean girl. She has another boy on the side, plus she has to deal with a newcomer possibly catching Eddie’s attention. Her basic ideal: “She wants to be famous.” So far, based on early feedback, “people hate my character. So I guess I’m doing my job!”
Just missed going to school with: Diana DeGarmo, runner-up of “American Idol,” who is four years younger. “I remember her coming to the high school and singing when she was in middle school. That girl was so good – even in middle school!”
Speed demon: “I freaked out at first by the schedule. I wasn’t used to learning 35 to 40 pages of dialogue in one day. But the more we did it, the faster it became. You learn ways to quickly memorize lines.”
Broke into the business thanks to: Andy Dick. Yes, the wacky actor Andy Dick. In 2004, he created a mock reality show called “The Assistant” on MTV which made fun of shows such as “The Bachelor” and “American Idol.” Ordway won and somehow didn’t let that hurt her acting career. Rather, it jumpstarted it. “I didn’t really know who he was before the show. Now he’s out there in the press for not great reasons. He was always good to me.”
Modeling: “I had always wanted to do something in the entertainment industry. Modeling ended up being the thing that pays the bills at the beginning of my career. I met my modeling agency while I was outside taking a walk. I was walking my dog and she signed me. Some people have to be waitresses while waiting for their big break. I was able to be in front of the camera. I did work briefly at Abercrombie & Fitch when I was first starting as a model. Fortunately, I didn’t have be a server. I would have been horrible!”
Oddball guest star: Actor James Franco. “He plays a movie producer in a multiple episode run.”
“Hollywood Heights,” 9 p.m. weeknights, Nick at Nite
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk