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All: 25 biggest blunders in Daytime Soap History


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So why, at the height of her success, was the amazing Ms. Riche fired?

GH wasn't at the height of its success by any means. Due to a number of factors, including her focus on Port Charles (to GH's detriment), and her battles with Bob Guza, GH began having noticeable slumps in her last 2-3 years, and 1999-2000 was a sleeping pill. Nothing happened. People yelled about Jason. People cried over Jason. Occasionally, for variety, people cried over Lucky. People cried over baby Michael. AJ/Carly, Stefan/Laura, Ned/Alexis, Jason/everyone read the same scripts for years. The only hint of life was in forced "comedy" skits with Donna Pescow, and in the livewire performances of Sarah Brown. Couples who could have had a big fan following, like Alexis/Jax, were dismissed outright.

GH needed a change. Unfortunately the change ABC chose was JFP, who blundered all over the show from the start.

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The destruction of Edge Of Night probably should be higher. How much worse can it get than the show being moved from its timeslot even while ratings were decent. Then the move to the other network proved to be a bad fit because the show's ratings dropped. Then they fired Henry Slesar. The End.

Anytime I read someone discuss the 30 vs 60 minute thing, they always say they liked 30 minutes more. I think if you go back and watch some of those old EON episodes on youtube or Ryan's Hope or Dark Shadows (on Netflix) the 30 minute format counter-intuitively allowed for slower scenes where not much happened, but it enriched the scenes that did happen. Also, characters would disappear for weeks at a time as the stories flowed from one corner of the town to the other, but it all seemed to work and you never got the feeling someone was being shortchanged.

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I don't think expanding soaps to an hour was a blunder. Didn't ratings rise rapidly when they expanded to an hour?

laugh.png All tied for #1.

Yeah, agreed. It also saved the neworks money AND gave the soaps higher budgets to do things like more location shots, just because an hour show was significantly cheaper to make than two 30 minute ones. In hindsight we can say soaps shouldn't be an hour now (something I believe), etc--but for a good while it did prove to be a good move for soaps in general, though more and less depending on the particular soap.

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I don't think expanding soaps to an hour was a blunder. Didn't ratings rise rapidly when they expanded to an hour?

IA on this. Soaps were great for DECADES under the one hour format. I dont think their decline in quality has anything to do with the hourly format.

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GH wasn't at the height of its success by any means. Due to a number of factors, including her focus on Port Charles (to GH's detriment), and her battles with Bob Guza, GH began having noticeable slumps in her last 2-3 years, and 1999-2000 was a sleeping pill. Nothing happened. People yelled about Jason. People cried over Jason. Occasionally, for variety, people cried over Lucky. People cried over baby Michael. AJ/Carly, Stefan/Laura, Ned/Alexis, Jason/everyone read the same scripts for years. The only hint of life was in forced "comedy" skits with Donna Pescow, and in the livewire performances of Sarah Brown. Couples who could have had a big fan following, like Alexis/Jax, were dismissed outright.

GH needed a change. Unfortunately the change ABC chose was JFP, who blundered all over the show from the start.

I have to agree and disagree with you. I really thought her GH was the BEST it has been in years. Obviously things started to lose steam in her final years as you mentioned with people always talking about Jason ect.. but I have to say it was tolerable and watchable. Now GH is just pure crap. NONE of the characters are still there (Besides Luke, Monica, Tracey and a couple of others)

Hiring Frons and Barbra Bloom HAS to be #2 and #1.

I have to agree with all the focus groups. That is why soaps are dying...

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Anytime I read someone discuss the 30 vs 60 minute thing, they always say they liked 30 minutes more. I think if you go back and watch some of those old EON episodes on youtube or Ryan's Hope or Dark Shadows (on Netflix) the 30 minute format counter-intuitively allowed for slower scenes where not much happened, but it enriched the scenes that did happen. Also, characters would disappear for weeks at a time as the stories flowed from one corner of the town to the other, but it all seemed to work and you never got the feeling someone was being shortchanged.

It's no secret that many of the best writers in the biz, notably Agnes Nixon and Bill Bell both resisted the change and seem to have felt that they lost some control with the change to an hour (they certainly had to hire more writers to help out).

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I have to agree with all the focus groups. That is why soaps are dying...

Focus groups and network interference in general. While it's no secret that P&G did basically micromanage their soaps for a long time, and many writers found a lot more freedom when they moved to ABC, etc, it wasn't till the 80s it seems when network execs realized just how much money they could make from soaps that this really became a problem--at first just a slight one (though writers like Labine have said that even in the ealry 80s they felt much more story dictation, etc, from execs) that just got steadily worse.

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I have to agree with all the focus groups. That is why soaps are dying...

Oh yeah, focus groups was the death knell. I like the comment how if Ford asked consumers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse. All of the great producers in Hollywood had vision and didn't need people telling them what they wanted.

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IA on this. Soaps were great for DECADES under the one hour format. I dont think their decline in quality has anything to do with the hourly format.

I used to feel this way, but then I think about some of the hour soaps and how quickly they became a chore once the material fell off. It takes a very special talent to make an hour show work - Doug Marland is the main one I can think of.

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IA on this. Soaps were great for DECADES under the one hour format. I dont think their decline in quality has anything to do with the hourly format.

I think we can see how the change in format took the writer out of the equation to some extent. Look at this screencap from a 1975 EON

82196599.jpg

No associate head writers, no assistant writers, no dialogue writers and breakdown writers, just one writer writing, like the job implies. I think in later years he had some help from Lois Kibbee.

Now the quality of the show is sort of beyond the writer's control because he doesn't even get to write the dialogue.

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When Slesar was fired from Edge he was brought on to co-HW (I believe) One life. I always wonder why they did that, though I guess it wasn't a contract issue as One life was ABC and Edge was P&G

I used to feel this way, but then I think about some of the hour soaps and how quickly they became a chore once the material fell off. It takes a very special talent to make an hour show work - Doug Marland is the main one I can think of.

A number of soaps did seem to initially flourish as an hour--AW, AMC, OLTL all benefitted at least at first, but they also all had great teams behind them at the time.

I think we can see how the change in format took the writer out of the equation to some extent. Look at this screencap from a 1975 EON

82196599.jpg

No associate head writers, no assistant writers, no dialogue writers and breakdown writers, just one writer writing, like the job implies. I think in later years he had some help from Lois Kibbee.

Now the quality of the show is sort of beyond the writer's control because he doesn't even get to write the dialogue.

To be fair, Slesar was an infamous exception--Irna used dco-writers (though only a couple) even in the 15 minute days. But yes they did have more control and the writing teams were not as massive as they often became.

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