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The Suds Report 5/21/10


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    • Thanks for posting this @kalbir. I knew some of, but not all of this. Bell took a calculated risk with how built the Williams and the Abbott families, but he used two characters, though marginal, had been imbedded in the fabric of the show's fabric. It wasn't like the Rosales family where they had one minor character for a few months, then brought on his family, then basically switched him out for his brother as a major character. That was so weird. It seemed as if Bell gave the viewers a bit of a breather with Paul and Jack becoming more prominent. If it really is true that Y&R lost no market share are dismantling the Brooks and Foster families, then I guess the speaks to how the changes were received overall. Also, storytelling was so much more methodical back then. Characters had to prove highly popular before landing magazine covers and photospreads in soap publications. It's not like when the Rosales were posing for photospreads when nobody even knew who half the characters were. 
    • I'm not willing to go that far... yet. China is drastic in the way they deal with dissidents but they're not Russia...yet. China has been known to 'disappear' people who they feel are interfering with the way they run their government business but not usually such high profile individuals (and usually not famous women, who they consider their flowers). Also, unlike Russia, China only seems to take the most extreme measures when some serious criminal charge is made (like the man who was charged with tainting the milk supply, who was executed). Ai Wei Wei is a dissident artists who makes dissident art that is openly critical of Chinese politics and government and he is treated as a hostile force, but even by his own admission he is deliberately provocative, as he believes agit-art is the best way that he can try to get the attention of people who would force change. China is not really in the business of disappearing people like Russia does. At least, not permanently. Jack Ma is one example of someone who went missing for weeks, if not months, then suddenly turned up on his yacht out in the middle of somewhere. You've heard of "Too Big to Fail"? Well, Ma was too big/famous to disappear. With her level of notoriety, I think it would be next to impossible to just do away with her, she's not poor anonymous "Tank Man" in Tiananmen Square. She is Han Chinese woman whose notoriety has only been growing, she's not the unfortunate Uyghurs who are often locked away for months in "re-education" camps, but I suspect that the government will try to 're-program' her mind to forget her allegations, likely under pressure if not all out threats made to her and her family. If she emerges publicly, if not living in anonymity, there will likely be every effort to have her appear timid and cowed in public, much the way she appears now, with broad forced smiles, in front of a menagerie of plush toys.
    • Tubi has some great stuff and I'm currently watching the He-Man She-Ra Christmas Special from 1985 
    • I recently came across the 1997 book Worlds Without End: The Art and History of the Soap Opera. In the book Bill Bell comments on two pivotal events in Y&R history. I hope nobody minds that I quoted his comments in full. On Taking Y&R to One Hour "Once assured that Y&R was a runaway hit, CBS inevitably wanted to talk to me about an hour. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but after months of enormous pressure from the network and the affiliates, I somehow found myself committed to doing the hour show. What ultimately happened is that our ratings went down and it took us three years to become number one again.   How could this have happened? One reason is that when we went to an hour, we had a number of cast defections. The issue of performing in a one-hour show had not been part of their contracts. And some of our leading actors understandably felt that their popularity on Restless would open the door to fame and fortune in nighttime or films. Obviously we had to recast prime characters in our two core families, the Brooks and the Fosters. It was then that I decided if even one more actor from these families decided to leave the show, I'd have to do something radical.   A short time later, Jaime Lyn Bauer, who played Lauralee Brooks and was one of the very few original cast members remaining, came to me and said she was physically exhausted, which she was, and that she wasn't going to renew her contract when it was up in August. This was February.   There was no other answer. I had to replace what had been the core of our show since its inception. Two complete families. About eleven actors in all. But replace them with what?   As I studied the remaining cast, I realized I had two characters - Paul Williams, played by Doug Davidson, and Jack Abbott, played by Terry Lester - both of whom had a relatively insignificant presence on the show. They didn't have families. Hell, they didn't even have bedrooms. But these became the two characters I would build our two new families around. I remember the head of daytime for CBS advising me "with the strongest possible conviction" that I was making a grave mistake by replacing these families. There was a great risk, no question, but my conviction was that it could be even more disastrous if I didn't.   I immediately began establishing new families while interweaving the old. We made this transformation without losing so much as a share point. In fact, our ratings and share points kept building, with our two new families emerging as the dominant characters on the show.   This is where Victor Newman came into the picture."   On Victor Newman "You are not going to believe this, but this character, who today is daytime's number one romantic lead, was to be a short-term noncontract role. It would last between eight to twelve weeks, at which time he was to be shot by his beautiful wife. In short, Victor Newman was in concept a despicable, contemptible, unfaithful wife abuser.   When I saw Eric Braeden's first performance - the voice, the power, the inner strength - I knew immediately that I didn't want to lose this man. He was exactly what the show needed. Not the hateful man we saw on-screen, but the man he could and would become over time.   The first thing was to get Eric under contract, but he didn't want to go under contract. He was very uneasy about television, the daytime serial, the people he worked with, the producers. This was a whole other world for Eric. And Eric is a cautious man.   Over time, Eric became more comfortable with the medium, and more trusting with the producers, and agreed to sign a contract. If memory serves, it was for six months. I immediately changed my story in the hope of salvaging this character.  The rest is history."
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