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My opinion on how to save some of the soaps


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I've mentioned this on other boards in the past, but I feel like I'm alone yelling in the woods. For shows like DOOL or Guiding light which are in big danger of cancellation, why hasn't anyone made any real effort to suggest the shows be cut to 30 minutes instead of cancelled? There's no guarantee that any show they replace these soaps with will garner better ratings, and this way, you haven't burned your bridges. I think three things would help the soap genre... cut many soaps back to 30 minutes, because in today's busy world, a 60 minute soap DAILY is too much of a time committment for alot of people. I also think they really NEED to clamp down on spoilers. We didn't have these spoilers in the 70's and 80's and it made surprise twists much more delicious. And bring back the friday cliffhanger and play it out EVERY WEEK.

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The reason so many soaps moved to an hour was the network has an hour time slot to fill anyway (well a certain number of hours)> They realized it's significantly cheaper to produce one hour show for that slot than to have two completely different teams create two completely different shows. I suppose they could cut the soaps to 30 mins and fill the time with some reality news/entertainment shows but I don't think networks at this time are to eager to lose more of their time ti affiliates.

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Y&R use to do this back in the day- air an episode at night to draw in viewers, and give the daytimers a break...I doubt ABC has room for this kind of showing- but it was in the summer and usually after someone tried to kill Victor Newman. I remember watching at night and feeling extremely special.

I think way too many soaps have been relying on the fans to just watch no matter what....Now that we've started to see the 6week story line- I think many know they can walk away and come back two years from now with the soaps playing out the same old same old. I think SoapNet is going to cause more harm than good...It seems the commitment to daytime is becoming quite thin- you could tape and watch later, or watch on a marathon, but that's okay by the viewer because that must see story line really isn't a" must see"....Slowly they are chopping away at their core audience, and making things easier for people to watch and eventually walk away.

I'm not saying don't evolve- but perhaps airing old episodes from 15 years ago- I understand many actors would be paid, but I'm pretty sure something could be worked out in a contract. Daytime should start reevaluating who's at home during the day because many of us aren't home at night- but we still make an effort to catch a primetime soap. I've left Happy Hour on many occasion to watch Lost.

Cable networks make it to where many have to get their network in order to catch that new episode that everyone will be talking about at work- and they don't immediately throw it on DVD...They make those out of the loop feel "out of the loop." Meanwhile soaps have been throwing everything the viewer's way- spoilers, updates, reruns, and bad stories to boot. The so-called continual drama is becoming less continual because they won't allow characters to evolve in their own scope. That doesn't mean making Todd Manning a saint- but this guy is ridiculous.

Stop telling people who's coming back- if they aren't watching- they will wish they did!! Stop telling everyone the actor's business- it's making the behind the scenes more interesting than the show...Make spoilers blind and wrong on many occasions to where people don't even trust them past seeing them on screen. Previews don't hurt as long as you mix the good groups with the boring groups.

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First and foremost it starts with writing and then I would say consistancy! How often do some of these shows change headwriters?? Everytime you change a headwriter, you change not only story, but sometimes whole characters. How many careers has E.J. had on Days? Race car driver and now a lawyer? I remember ANOTHER WORLD changed Robert Kelker Kelly's second character Bobby about three times before they decided to stick with one. Not only is this frustrating for fans, it becomes laughable. I know I lose interest when a new writer comes on and totally changes personalities/behavior of characters.

Do we really need as large a cast as we do on most soaps? If you want to make shows less expensive, have less actors to pay. I know we have gotten spoiled by having large casts, and at this point it is too hard to start randomly trimming down shows without upsetting the audience. How about slowly filtering down the casts, as actors voluntarily leave. B&B, and lately OLTL, have been good at having actors flow in and out of story for a few months at a time, without having them on contract. OLTL had/has some of the best actors around NOT on contract, Tuc Watkins, Catherine Hickland, Pamela Peyton Wright, Ilene Kristen, for examples.

I would, also, agree that spoilers need to STOP. You can just read online the week before to see what's gonna happen, so if you watch you watch. It is way too easy to follow your shows these days without having to actually watch them. There are no longer major 'twists' at the end of a day's episode to get everyone talking because many viewers already new it was coming.

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I think the casting issue is much more about the writers keeping the same characters front burnered, and not developing much of the cast in the background. But how can they when all soaps have more than 3 story lines running at once. I think it comes down to casting people and immediately throwing them in contract...people should have to prove their character worthy- some fan letters, comment lines- in order to stick around.

I'm a firm believer in spending money to make money- so I don't think making cuts to the budget are going to improve work. But they should consider spending the money where needed- in hiring talented writers, directors, and actors to sell the show....

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I'm not sure I agree with this assessment. I was always under the impression that soaps were getting good ratings, and therefore the networks expanded them to 60 minutes. Many times they would cancel a lower rated show, and put the higher rated show to 60 minutes... expand a tried and true ratings winner instead of taking a chance on a new soap, which is an unknown commodity. .... that's certainly what happened in January, 1980... Love Of Life had it's last eppy, and Y&R went to an hour one month later. At that time, daytime was populated with nothing but Soaps, Game shows, and Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Phil Donahue, and Dinah Shore. The trash talk shows showed the networks that thye could get huge ratings at minimal cost... so naturally, you have SOME network execs wanting to jump on the bandwagon and put nothing but trash talk shows on... but the public gets tired of that. I still have not seen direct comparison between the drop in the rating for soaps COMPARED with the ratings of the rest of daytime in general... have the talk shows dropped as much? Has the midday local newscasts dropped as well? what about The Price Is Right? Genres ebb and flow... soaps can be great again, look at how 10 years ago everyone thought the game show was DEAD, talk about a phoenix rising from the ashes.....

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Who knows... soaps could move to cable. Let's alos keep in mind, with the digital changeover, most stations have digital "sub-channels" which is time that needs to be filled, what are they gonna do, have Jerry Springer marathons every afternoon? soaps may have to downsize, which means they just might have to go back to what they were in the early 70's, a 30 minute show shot live-to-tape. Heck, as we all know, many soaps in the 50's & 60's were only 15 minutes! Everyone goes on about the writing... but I'm not sure that's the answer, people were raving about Carlivati... but did the ratings budge? I still think these shows need to release DVD sets of past episodes to increase their revenue stream. but I KNOW why we never see old eppies of soaps that are still on the air, the networks are terrified that the fan base will watch the reruns and abandon the new shows.

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I don't think cable is the answer to current soaps- I think if they go to SoapNet it will last for a small amount of time before they start airing the O.C. all day long. I think soaps do best to stay on the basic channels.

But I also think they should never go to 30 minutes if they are scheduled for the full hour...They will stop looking and feeling like the original full hour just by the amount of time and commercials. In essence they will have to become about one couple- much like a host, but will end up turning into a sitcom- Dharma and Greg, Will and Grace, Mad About You- not great idea in maintaining the "soap" core viewer, because the core viewer must be committed to their story for 20 years without noticing- chemistry will be a must, as would the amount of time in doing the slow build. The setting of the story would have to decrease and go to- a job, someone's home, etc....That already exists in primetime. It all depends if it's about saving particular daytime serials, or creating new one's.

I think bringing in writers from other genres could increase the quality and merge some fans- whether that be from the romance novelist, comic book artists, or just writers would do books in serial form (detective series). Then you have different fans of the serial storytelling meeting to watch the show- all that would remain is maintaining a consistency in acting quality.

People are watching television for alot longer than they were in the 50s and 60s. Decreasing the time will be another cut in value of the storytelling. To make money you have to spend money....Look at GL. Would it have been any better if the show went to 30min? I doubt it. At bests, soaps should consider allowing some to go to once a week, instead of all five days. Allow some to get exposed when they think they're about to watch the news on Tuesday only to find it's GH. I like internet 5-15 minute pieces, but I my attention is short on the internet.

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