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BKuzak

20 years since OJ Simpson coverage affected soaps

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I saw on a news website a couple days ago that this week was the 20th anniversary of the OJ mess and I knew someone would bring it up here! haha

I agree with most that the OJ trail played a SMALL role in addition to MANY other things to soaps decline. By 1994 soaps as a whole were already losing the powerhouse ground they held in the 80s, storylines on most soaps were struggling, many more women are working than 10 and 20 years prior, CABLE TV is now very mainstream, which is wasn't 10 and 20 years prior. Yes, OJ did play a role, but IMO it was very small role. I believe Days' ratings even went UP after the OJ trail (mainly due to Marlena's possession storyline).

DAYS was the last soap to ever post significant gains, until the past couple years after ATWT/GL/OLTL/AMC were canceled and viewers returned to the remaining shows.

But it goes to show, what was said above about soaps failing to "stay the course" is wrong. In fact, they failed to modernize. DAYS in the 1990s was doing things never before done, and its ratings went up. The other soaps remained reactionary, and our modern society lost interest in the same old stories and tropes that had been repeated since the 40s.

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What am I reading here? Were folks really blaming OJ Simpson because Networks CHOSE to sensationalize that trial? He had no power over that trial being broadcast on EVERY channel. That's like blaming a person who has an accident because the cops choose to stop traffic as opposed to rerouting it.

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I definitely agree that the exec's panic at trying to get the audience back did them no favors, and hurt their chances at recovering their lost audience. But that's the thing; they lost their audience to begin with, due to the trial. P&G in particular played musical chairs with those in charge (EP's, headwriters) at ATWT, GL, and AW in 1995.

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What am I reading here? Were folks really blaming OJ Simpson because Networks CHOSE to sensationalize that trial? He had no power over that trial being broadcast on EVERY channel. That's like blaming a person who has an accident because the cops choose to stop traffic as opposed to rerouting it.

We're blaming the trial and the coverage of the trial, not OJ himself. C'mon now...

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I definitely agree that the exec's panic at trying to get the audience back did them no favors, and hurt their chances at recovering their lost audience. But that's the thing; they lost their audience to begin with, due to the trial. P&G in particular played musical chairs with those in charge (EP's, headwriters) at ATWT, GL, and AW in 1995.

The ratings for those shows were already poor (at least GL and AW) before that point. The ratings for GL went up a fair amount after they got a new producer. The problem is the new producer and writer were rancid.

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DAYS was the last soap to ever post significant gains, until the past couple years after ATWT/GL/OLTL/AMC were canceled and viewers returned to the remaining shows.

But it goes to show, what was said above about soaps failing to "stay the course" is wrong. In fact, they failed to modernize. DAYS in the 1990s was doing things never before done, and its ratings went up. The other soaps remained reactionary, and our modern society lost interest in the same old stories and tropes that had been repeated since the 40s.

The thing is, DAYS wasn't "modern" at all in the 90s. It was extremely traditional soap, mixed with camp and zaniness. A huge chunk of JER's writing in the years that the show shot up in the ratings was old school soap. Soaps of the 40s didn't have demonic possession, but they had wild streaks.

Soaps thought that viewers wanted endless car chases and shootouts. Soaps thought that the new America hated women, hated black people, hated all minorities, hated business stories, and only wanted stories about brooding "antiheroes" with tight little butts who would rape and maraud the canvas as we cried on cue over how they suffered so nobly from those "hypocrites" who could never understand them.

Soaps began to hate themselves and hate their fans. And their fans got the hint and said fuckity bye.

OJ killed two people. Two lives were lost horribly.

I may be acting like a pansy, but this thread title seems to me to be in incredibly poor taste.

I sort of paused at it too, but I don't think the OP meant anything so I didn't want to comment.

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Does anyone remember watching the trial? I remember very well the car chase but i think i only saw the trial occasionally.

I remember the trial, not all of it but many things. The sister was one of the more dramatic witnesses and it was a little something out of a movie when she testified. Kato was not nearly as interesting as the media hyped him to be. F Lee Bailey vs Mark Furhman was certainly memorable. I remember vividly the verdict, working in Brooklyn and hearing the cheers in the streets that a murderer got off. And then listening to these idiots talking to me completely ignoring DNA and playing their moronic trump card "where are the fingerprints?" The concept of DNA was lost on them.

I do recall it being on in the daytime and I vaguely recall shortened episodes of the soaps airing either btw sessions or late night at 2 am. Hard to believe it has been 20 years.

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Please keep the discussion to the trial affecting soaps. If you want to talk about the trial, please post in the OT forum.

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No. Some folks do blame him. That's why I am astonished. Lol

I honestly do not think that is the case. Saying that "OJ killed the soaps" is a short way of saying the endless coverage of the murder trial killed the soaps.

Just like nobody believes that an actual video killed any radio star ;)

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I honestly do not think that is the case. Saying that "OJ killed the soaps" is a short way of saying the endless coverage of the murder trial killed the soaps.

Just like nobody believes that an actual video killed any radio star wink.png

Someone specifically said OJ should rot for causing folks to lose their jobs. LOL

Did not watch the trial, only the car chase and the verdict.

95 million people watched the chase on a Friday night.

Daytime was never the same.

150 Million watched the verdict. Like someone else said, those ratings are what started the obsession with reality tv. Does anyone know of any series that sprouted after the trial? I can see why any network exec would think that it was better to move away from soaps and try to recapture the audience that wanted to see that type of thing. But it is an impossible thing to achieve.

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