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Why did your favorite show die?


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A great many of us have seen our favorite soap cancelled recently. Why do you think four soaps have been cancelled in two years? Was it the fault of writers, networks, short-sighted producers, cultural changes in society, the enlarged work force, death of the networks, too many vets, not enough vets? I actually expected soaps to rise in a recession that has seen a recent drop in cable usage. I thought maybe the poor economy might prompt viewers to escape into the private lives of more wealthy characters.

My final question is whether you think the decline of the genre began long ago or is the result of budget cuts and competition from cable and TiVo/DVR?

Personally, I think the genre failed to evolve in the middle 1990s and that this inability to transform led to the end of the genre. It seems as if soaps failed to manage the new ways in which the two sexes adapt and interact with each other. A good example centers around how couples now dely marriage and breeding; however, on soaps, the average woman is married three times by 30 with a boat load of kids. Soaps have also failed to provide many solid friendships between men and women. I've noticed that the last two generations of women seem unable to relate to their daytime counterparts.

What do you all think?

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I think as much as we all preach we want diversity, socially/culturally relevant characters and storylines, modernizing with the times, the majority of the audience wants the soaps as is. Period, end of story. I saw this when PP nabbed AMC/OLTL. A lot of us hoped for different things but the majority elsewhere didn't want anything changed. I think we need new, modern soaps with a classic feel to them. I love all of the old soaps too, but I don't think any of them are ever going to adapt and change.

I think this IS a good topic, but we could be here forever debating this. I'm hopeful for a good discussion but it's already not off to a great start, LOL.

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This is such a depressing subject to talk about, but I think that this is a valid topic because it might shed some insight into why different soap viewers gave up on their shows. I have watched 6 shows that I adored die (LOV, CITY, SuBe, PC, AMC, OLTL), and each one of them broke a part of my heart. I also got into Passions, GL and ATWT towards the end and it was very say to see them go.

I'm a relatively young viewer (almost 25 years old) that has stuck with my shows as long as I can remember. I started watching soaps literally as a baby and continued throughout high school and college and my new found independence as an adult. However, due to a combination of network interference (or negligence?) and just sheer life, I am exhausted. What started as something I couldn't live without has turned into a chore, another show to fill up my DVR. That's not to say that I don't thoroughly enjoy watching the remaining soaps on air, which i do, but I feel broken. Soaps were meant to be an escape, a way to get away to "another world" for an hour and forget about the [[email protected]#$%^&*] dragging you down in everyday life.

I guess, the thing I want to know is, what happened to "Love in the Afternoon"? When did we as soap fans change? Because, to be perfectly honest, WE gave up. WE let things get to this point. WE let our own couple/character agendas get in the way of what was best for our shows.

As much as you (an I) can fault the networks for driving fans away and ruining the shows, why didn't we fight earlier? Regardless of the PP situation, the fans rallied and made something happen. Why wasn't that same drive there 10 years ago? 15 years ago?

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I guess, the thing I want to know is, what happened to "Love in the Afternoon"? When did we as soap fans change? Because, to be perfectly honest, WE gave up. WE let things get to this point. WE let our own couple/character agendas get in the way of what was best for our shows.

I don't see where. For instance, Y&R was known as a show which wasn't about fans demanding certain things for a character or a couple. Yet it was eviscerated anyway. Fans had nothing to do with that.

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Soaps really regressed in the 90s, especially on ABC when Disney took over Capital Cities and began to slowly ruin ABCD.

I don't see where. For instance, Y&R was known as a show which wasn't about fans demanding certain things for a character or a couple. Yet it was eviscerated anyway. Fans had nothing to do with that.

Exactly. Bill Bell wrote the show he wanted to write. Those who followed him did not. Kay Alden was good, but she was not Bill. Were there issues, yes, did Sony and CBS interfere, yes. Did they cause the destruction we see today? Yes.

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I think what hastened the demise of soap operas was alienating their base. A lot of these shows got their audience via word of mouth, as many viewers introduced the programs others. The whole older generation pulling in the younger ones, and over the years that got lost as grandma got pissed and turned off their show(s) in disgust. Or if they continued to watch they wouldn't pass it down because it wasn't good enough. Also those who are younger who watched for many years were also being screwed in a sense as what attached them to the programs were being thrown away. I know I'm not the only viewer under 40 who has favorite performers that fall in the 50 plus club for example.

That said, evolution is okay, but throwing things overboard is where they went wrong. The planning went into the dumper and instead of changing course during rough times they threw out the rule book instead. They broke things that weren't broken if that makes sense.

cityfan01, I totally understand the broken feeling as that's how I would describe myself when it comes to soap opera viewing. I feel the shows let me down as it is their job to entertain me. I will not just accept whatever they toss on screen and call it golden. Sometimes couple/character agendas come to pass because you have viewers who invest in most of a canvas and over time are left with only one or two people on an entire show they enjoy. That's on the show, not on the viewer, when it happens.

I remember years back reading an interview with Jimmy DePaiva (Max on OLTL) and how he was told the reason he lost his job at the program was because the focus group said while they all liked him, they wouldn't stop watching if Max was written out of Llanview. My reaction to that was abject horror, as for me the people who you should keep on a show are the ones who are well liked by the audience (silent majority and all that). If all the shows were cutting casts in this manner, it explains a lot of what happened with GH and earlier GL. The elimination of the performers who are common ground to viewers whether due to death (like Days' Alice Horton) or firing (like Stuart Damon's Alan on GH), is what causes divisiveness. The character/couple agenda only became insanity when it felt like the only actors who kept their positions had loud viewers who sent mail to the programs en masse.

That said, general viewers don't watch for one or two people they watch for the show as a whole, and over time if they lose too many people they do like, and the new people aren't as entertaining they stop watching. This kind of gradual loss cannot be measured.

P.S. to me cancellation doesn't always equal death as to some their favorite show died years before the airing of the final episode.

BTW with Bill Bell and Y&R, well that was a different story. While he may not have catered to viewers, he had a defined point of view, even if there were missteps. I think with that show losing Bill is what hastened its issues.

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I may get flack for this, but I don't care. Haven't we discussed this fairly thoroughly in at least five or six different threads over the last few months?

This topic has been discussed but I was hoping to approach the subject in a different way. Back in college, about ten years ago, I studied a lot of women's studies and sociology classes and I can't help but notice that today's soap characters/stories must be so unrelatable for many women in key demos. Would they want to live in a totally white town? Would they want to be Y&R Nikki or Day's Hope? Would they want to bed or marry GH Sonny or OLTL Todd? I love soaps but see most of these shows as totally detached from any reality past 1980. ATWT was my favorite show but, in terms of relationships, people no longer interacted that way. I almost think an EON crime soap might do well now because it would no be focused on silly or toxic relationships that do not and should not ever happen.

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BTW with Bill Bell and Y&R, well that was a different story. While he may not have catered to viewers, he had a defined point of view, even if there were missteps. I think with that show losing Bill is what hastened its issues.

That is a part of it. He was the senior writer for 28 consecutive years, and Kay Alden was with him from about 1974 or so. I always thought they shared a similar point of view, but I am sure when ratings dropped it was easy for Sony and CBS to put pressure on her then Bill Bell. Also, it was easier for them at that point too to get others involved who may not have understood Y&R the way Kay did.

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There are only two shows I think were hurt by the "my couple or else" mentality, and even then I don't blame the fans, because they don't make the decisions. Those two shows I would say are GL and DAYS.

You often have shows like AMC, where it was a struggle to find a Rylee fan anywhere, and yet the show was repeatedly torn to pieces because of this couple.

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I almost think an EON crime soap might do well now because it would no be focused on silly or toxic relationships that do not and should not ever happen.

Oh yeah? Well, about a half-dozen cancelled shows that used to be that enlightened, for lack of a better word, might say otherwise.

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