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Daytime and Primetime


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A lot has been made about Daytime's youth obsession (perhaps rightly) being cited as a decline in the popularity and quality of the genre. And a lot too about the fact that Primetime viewership has also declined down the years, but we can ask this: is Primetime television in anywhere near as bad a state as Daytime? I think not, and I'll explain it in these terms.

Look at all the successful, enduring Primetime serials. All of them feature middle-aged and often less-than-glamourous characters front and centre. And many shows have a far better mix of youth and veterans than a lot of soaps do these days. (Even though I never really cared for it, even the OC gave storylines to the parents as well as kids) It goes to show that Daytime PTB's ideas of what viewers want, and especially of what younger viewers want, are seriously misguided. The idea that to appeal to the younger demos, you need talentless models playing out stupid storylines- which has clearly been proven not to work.

Daytime might need to look at what drives successful Primetime shows, in order to save itself.

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Great thread.

Perhaps the problem is that in the end the younger audience in just never going to get as interested in soaps as TPTB want them to be. I mean I really don't know that many young people who watch soaps. And I get the feeling that most Daytime viewers are either oldtimers or children of the oldtimers.

As for the new hires I agree that good looks are not going to cut it. I want drama. I want to see close relationships that have deeper signifcance other than "sex and hooking up". Although that is a part of teen and young adult culture. But thats not all that we're about. Or at least I'm not. I'm more of a romantic and thats why I love ATWT. Because the romantic relationships have always moved me.

Bottom line though is that Daytime needs to decide if they can actually get new younger viewers to watch soaps or if they're just wasting time and money while driving away oldtime viewers at the same time.

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ICAM! Daytime producers and network executives need to realize that teens aren't going to tune in just because teen characters get more airtime. The intergenerational storytelling of the genre's best writers (Phillips, Nixon, Bell) attracted plenty of teen viewers back in the day (myself included). The thrill of the wait was once part of the allure, tuning in each day to see if a couple would finally say "I love you." Now, they just have sex within a week and we're supposed to root for them?

I think TPTB need to focus instead on luring back lapsed viewers by bringing back the vets they let go (for example AMC's Julia Barr), writing romance instead of hookups, and telling frontburner stories that involve characters of all ages. I can think of at least 5 people off the top of my head (two exes, my mom, and two friends) who have quit watching AMC in the past 2 years. IMO, if the genre is going to survive, they need to keep the current audience and get back the former one. Maybe teens will even tune in occasionally with their moms like in the old days and get hooked.

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The thrill of the wait was once part of the allure, tuning in each day to see if a couple would finally say "I love you." Now, they just have sex within a week and we're supposed to root for them?

Ugh, that annoys the crap out of me, I swear. Part of the reason why I originally loved Gwen and Will was because you *knew* they would end up together, but you just had to tune in every day to see if and when they would finally admit their feelings toward one another.

I think a lotta things have to do with daytime being in such a sucky, sucky state right now. I think a lot of it has to do with TPTB wanting lightning-fast responses to things. If they do a story where it gradually builds and slowly gains momentum and then finally comes to a climax after a month or two, it'll take a while for the ratings to grow. But if they do a two-week story where a building has been blown up or a serial killer has taken folks hostage or something like that, the ratings jump up so quickly. So the result if an endless stream of explosions, murders, hostage situations, natural disasters, etc.

It's like taking a diet pill, really. If you want to lose weight the easy way, you take a diet pill, and the weight comes off, but you just gain it back again, so you have to take the diet pill over and over again. They're getting high ratings the easy way by doing these outrageous and ridiculous stunts, and the ratings do rise, but they just fall back down again...so the outrageous stunts just keep on coming.

If you exercise and change your eating habits (if they start to tell *real* soap opera stories again and start treating the show and its characters with respect), you will lose weight (the ratings will go up), and if you learn to maintain what you've been doing (if they can continue to write great stories), you'll keep the weight off (the show's ratings will stay up and possibly grow even more).

Damn, that's a good analogy, I think.

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It's like taking a diet pill, really. If you want to lose weight the easy way, you take a diet pill, and the weight comes off, but you just gain it back again, so you have to take the diet pill over and over again. They're getting high ratings the easy way by doing these outrageous and ridiculous stunts, and the ratings do rise, but they just fall back down again...so the outrageous stunts just keep on coming.

If you exercise and change your eating habits (if they start to tell *real* soap opera stories again and start treating the show and its characters with respect), you will lose weight (the ratings will go up), and if you learn to maintain what you've been doing (if they can continue to write great stories), you'll keep the weight off (the show's ratings will stay up and possibly grow even more).

Damn, that's a good analogy, I think.

I agree with you Professor All My Shadows!

And the Network Executives should stop focusing so much on teens. Daytime will become more profitable and gain higher ratings if the soaps would go back to attract a wider audience. And besides, most teen viewers doesnt watch for the teen characters anyway. Letting the shows be driven by teens in order to attract teens is just a stupid business idea that has never worked well before, and it never will.

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In the past at least they understood that kids go to school during the day. The teens would come out for the summer and then disappear. It was bad, really bad, since most of them couldn't act at all and were horribly annoying (though not, as I recall, as annoying as this Stephanie on Days.)

Now they can't seem to grasp that the kids aren't there when the shows run so the shows are chock-a-block full of non-stop and often deadly dull kids.

The falling into bed immediately thing is another huge problem. It isn't simply that they want to rush things. It's that they've completely forgotten how to tell stories. The writers truly don't know how to build & construct. They're also being ordered to have nothing but shock & big bang foolishness, stunts for the sake of stunts & shocks instead of for any real REASON, and sex sex sex violence violence violence violence (and yes, ABC is by far the worst about this stuff.)

The writing these days so often stinks. It's not always the shows people complain about. Some of the complaints such as about Y&R don't even make sense to me because of the writing being on target with that show. It's working on all levels, I'm watching & enjoying it, I really like it and often love it.

Far too often, in order to try to fix things executives on all networks have stepped in and made things worse. That's the case with the nightmarish messes all over ABC daytime.

It's what's caused Days to suffer considerably and often for many years now. To some extent you can say it's been ongoing almost non-stop ever since Sheri Anderson left. Days has never really recovered even though it has had some lucid periods here & there.

It's also off and on caused lots of trouble for GL & ATWT in different ways.

The lack of competent good writers has been a major problem. Simply promoting from within hasn't worked in many cases. Just because someone can turn out a good script or breakdown doesn't follow that they know how to keep the shows plotted & flowing in an interesting & smooth manner for any length of time. But trying to hire from without has also ended up in some nightmares such as the Stern-Black ATWT & some of the Hogan Sheffer stuff. Calling for new blood has caused damage sometimes. Calling for young blood has ended up in such things as the dull GL.

But possibly worse than any of these has been the fanbase problem. Yelling about hacks when the writers are actually doing a damn good job is a particular problem and has cause irreparable harm on some shows such as for example the never-ending GH problem. It was in response to fans yelling when they shouldn't have been that Angela Shapiro brought back Guza & Pratt. That should NEVER have happened.

Various other fanbase agendas have done damage to ATWT, GL, Days and others. Fanbases seem to be currently trying to mess with at least 2 CBS shows by yelling "get rid of the hack" as far as I can see things. I can't interpret things any other way. I see competent good writing on one show and mixed but not poor writing on another. Then I see all this screaming & yelling on message boards. There simply isn't the fire to back up the smoke of many of the complaints from what I'm seeing. Just because you don't like a particular story direction or a particular actor getting more screen time than another (or even groups of actors than others) doesn't mean a writer is a hack. There are enough real hacks out there not to cloud issues by saying it about ones that clearly aren't.

But ultimately it's a business. The business people behind things are going to continue to do whatever they want and the shows will be messed with however those execs see fit. Even if it runs the shows into the ground and off the air. Then they can replace them all with cheap talk shows and tacky reality garbage. It's probably what some of those executives want to happen anyway.

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But ultimately it's a business. The business people behind things are going to continue to do whatever they want and the shows will be messed with however those execs see fit. Even if it runs the shows into the ground and off the air. Then they can replace them all with cheap talk shows and tacky reality garbage. It's probably what some of those executives want to happen anyway.

Thats the truth if I ever heard it. And while its not right I sometimes feel like no matter how hard any of the shows try they are NEVER going to please their viewers or reach the level of popularity they use to. And thats only because as the genre changes and new faces are added to the mix, the vetran viewers refuses to tune in. Claming that the show is beyond all redemption, horrible, etc. I don't want to say soaps are perfect right now cuz thats far from reality. But I do think that some of them are really trying and doing pretty good. So in essence I blame both viewers and the execs.

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Ugh, that annoys the crap out of me, I swear. Part of the reason why I originally loved Gwen and Will was because you *knew* they would end up together, but you just had to tune in every day to see if and when they would finally admit their feelings toward one another.

I think a lotta things have to do with daytime being in such a sucky, sucky state right now. I think a lot of it has to do with TPTB wanting lightning-fast responses to things. If they do a story where it gradually builds and slowly gains momentum and then finally comes to a climax after a month or two, it'll take a while for the ratings to grow. But if they do a two-week story where a building has been blown up or a serial killer has taken folks hostage or something like that, the ratings jump up so quickly. So the result if an endless stream of explosions, murders, hostage situations, natural disasters, etc.

It's like taking a diet pill, really. If you want to lose weight the easy way, you take a diet pill, and the weight comes off, but you just gain it back again, so you have to take the diet pill over and over again. They're getting high ratings the easy way by doing these outrageous and ridiculous stunts, and the ratings do rise, but they just fall back down again...so the outrageous stunts just keep on coming.

If you exercise and change your eating habits (if they start to tell *real* soap opera stories again and start treating the show and its characters with respect), you will lose weight (the ratings will go up), and if you learn to maintain what you've been doing (if they can continue to write great stories), you'll keep the weight off (the show's ratings will stay up and possibly grow even more).

Damn, that's a good analogy, I think.

Bingo!

Good post, All My Shadows!

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Primetime isn't always all that. Some considerable amount of junk winds up airing in prime time as well as in daytime.

I strongly suspect that in order to try to survive, daytime show producers are going to try more attempts to branch out in ways like the most recent Amber/Allison crossover & internet show business. That sort of thing & reaching out through other different technologies to try to catch more interest & viewers will probably step up a lot in the coming times.

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As we're already into this...

Primetime can be flashy at times. They have 22 nights a year to fill. Some with good stories others with lots of guest stars, musical montages and huff & puff.

Daytime HAS to be consistent. There is no season finale. That's why ALL depends on the dialogue and the actors eventually. You can have one good story but what happens if everything falls flat afterwards? Viewers go buh-bye (see DAYS after the serial killer)

You can't hide that with ludicrous events, guests and music - day after day. Yet, it is impossible to consistently have THE most exciting and fresh story. Period. You need to cache that with dialogue and your talented roast of actors. If this however fails you got one big mess...

That's just one of the reasons why that hag LML is failing so miserably at Y&R - more so since she turned the show into sth. it totally is not.

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As we're already into this...

Primetime can be flashy at times. They have 22 nights a year to fill. Some with good stories others with lots of guest stars, musical montages and huff & puff.

Daytime HAS to be consistent. There is no season finale. That's why ALL depends on the dialogue and the actors eventually. You can have one good story but what happens if everything falls flat afterwards? Viewers go buh-bye (see DAYS after the serial killer)

You can't hide that with ludicrous events, guests and music - day after day. Yet, it is impossible to consistently have THE most exciting and fresh story. Period. You need to cache that with dialogue and your talented roast of actors. If this however fails you got one big mess...

That's just one of the reasons why that hag LML is failing so miserably at Y&R - more so since she turned the show into sth. it totally is not.

ITA.

Good stories support themselves (as do good actors).

Great post, Sheila!

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Interesting topic. I agree with so much that's been said, especially Sheila and Heather. One thing I've noticed is how many elements of soaps primetime uses these days. It used to be that most episodes of primetime shows could stand alone. There was no need for the "Previously on..." that they all have now unless it was a "to be continued" episode. Now a lot of pt shows - if not all of them - are serials. The storylines on pt have also become very soapy - Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives are pure soap, and they are extremely popular. I have no idea why so many people who praise those two shows are so snobbish about daytime. I think one of the biggest problems with daytime is that tptb don't use the biggest advantage of the genre - time. They have 5 days a week to build characters and stories, to let the audience see everything develop gradually, to let them get to know and love the characters. They tried too hard to copy certain flashy elements of pt shows, which could have worked, but they focussed too much on the plots and not enough on the characters.

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Interesting topic. I agree with so much that's been said, especially Sherry and Heather. One thing I've noticed is how many elements of soaps primetime uses these days. It used to be that most episodes of primetime shows could stand alone. There was no need for the "Previously on..." that they all have now unless it was a "to be continued" episode. Now a lot of pt shows - if not all of them - are serials. The storylines on pt have also become very soapy - Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives are pure soap, and they are extremely popular. I have no idea why so many people who praise those two shows are so snobbish about daytime. I think one of the biggest problems with daytime is that tptb don't use the biggest advantage of the genre - time. They have 5 days a week to build characters and stories, to let the audience see everything develop gradually, to let them get to know and love the characters. They tried too hard to copy certain flashy elements of pt shows, which could have worked, but they focussed too much on the plots and not enough on the characters.

I so totally agree. They just took and took and took from primetime and completely forgot the elements of daytime that made it daytime. There are some things that should be taken from primetime (the best thing soaps can get from primetime is storyline possibilities - there are so many things that are explored in primetime that daytime has barely touched), but some things, IMO should just stay in primetime. Words cannot express how absolutely pissed I am everyday at around 12:01 PM, when I have to remember that AMC is being taped in a style resembling "That's So Raven!" and "Hannah Montana."

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And did AMC not just win an Emmy for its camerawork? That'll tell them it's working and people like it. Why not just FILM THE SHOW? Why do they have to be like NYPD Blue or whatever?

I'm a Y&R fan, and the teen crap is NOT why I'm watching these days. Certainly not for Amber that's for sure. I'm so glad her "cousin" won't be a problem anymore. But why the hell was Daniel SO ADAMANT that Kev not call the police? Just ridiculous.

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And did AMC not just win an Emmy for its camerawork? That'll tell them it's working and people like it. Why not just FILM THE SHOW? Why do they have to be like NYPD Blue or whatever?

I'm a Y&R fan, and the teen crap is NOT why I'm watching these days. Certainly not for Amber that's for sure. I'm so glad her "cousin" won't be a problem anymore. But why the hell was Daniel SO ADAMANT that Kev not call the police? Just ridiculous.

Usually teen or young adult stories don't bother me...BUT that is one thing that Y&R has been failing at miserably lately. Amber has got to go and and I think that LML realize that she or her storyline isn't working. I don't think Plum was supposed to die but they killed him off rather quickly and I think Amber is out of the door next. As far as the other two soaps I watch..I don't have a problem with ATWT teen storylines...to be honest they have been better than the adult storylines. I'm sick of the Craig, Lucinda, and Meg mess..it's idiotic and stupid. As for B&B, they never really focus a lot on teens and I don't see Phoebe being on the show much longer since their teens are usually in and out until they get adults like Bridget and Rick (who I could see staying). B&B has bigger problems than it's teen set, they can barely write for their adults.

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