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LATEST RATINGS: December 9-13, 2019

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17 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

But things had changed after the trial.  A whole network was started just to cover court cases.  Cable news exploded.  The rise of white trash talk shows had also exploded.  Everything changed in that period of time.

 

The problem wasn’t just daytime execs trying outlandish and short term things to goose the ratings.  It was their blind attempts to get back to “normal” when television had changed.  The problem was a short sighted belief that those old numbers would return.  The audience had been splintered, and that has continued ever since with an even larger amount of options for viewing.  They killed their own products through panic, stupidity, and a lack of innovation matched with traditional daytime values/pacing/writing.

 

I think a core reason why Y&R stayed higher than everybody else was because they had viable, important black characters that the audience loved.  It gave them viewers that the other shows ignored.

 

They needed to calm down, and recognize that the daytime marketplace had changed.  It took prime time until the end of the 1990’s, very early 2000’s to see the same thing happen there.  Nobody will ever see consistent high ratings again like Friends, Seinfeld, ER, etc.  They eventually stopped trying for those kinds of numbers for prime time, and gave up on daytime.

 

 

There's so much to agree with in those statements.  It's why I've tired so easily of this notion that daytime was the victim of one trial, rather than a pattern of failing to adapt and the arrogance to believe that audiences would just 'assume the position' back in front of the T.V. sets. By the way, daytime dramas also blamed women who worked outside the home and VCRs for their decline.  What about themselves?  Did they never accept any blame?

 

Daytime soaps began to get pretty complacent by the mid 90s.  There were still good storylines and a lot of talent and some very loyal soap fans and that was pretty much what sustained the industry for as long as it has.  Beyond what you see in front of the cameras (sets, actors, music cues) there were virtually no innovations as @titan1978 said.  There was also very little investment in cultivating a high caliber of talent behind the cameras.  And I'm not talking about a maybe, sort of, kind of program that one network had for daytime, I'm talking about a serious investment of the kind that would partner with the best film schools and writing conservatories in the country to develop a feeder system to bring in fresh talent to apprentice with the crew and writing rooms of these shows. It's that lack of investment that explains how the soaps became stagnant over the last 15+ years. 

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Something else people seem to not understand!  Execs at networks in the mid 1990’s began a pattern of dictating story and seeking story approval in a way they never had before.  Across the board.

 

So you keep hiring a McTavish, because she presents a good package to network execs.  Her storylines are thin, easy to understand, attention grabbing, and shocking.  You know Bob Guza is going to build up to a sweeps event every time.

 

They wanted to shock the daytime audience and have them tune in.  I love a good stunt.  But what we needed for the health of the shows was shocks like daring storytelling.  For every Marlena floating above her bed we should have had more diversity, lgbtq characters etc.

 

Finally- where did the romance go?  Even though I am not a romance novel type, I ate it up on soaps.  Instead the shows destroyed on great couple after another, didn’t get them back together, and didn’t build up the next generation of those couples.  And when they did (DAYS I’m looking at you), they were married with kids at lightning speed!

 

Ugh I just hate what happened to these shows.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

Finally- where did the romance go?  

My favorite thing about soaps were the people, the characters that you knew...even when you traveled far from home, you could turn them on and it seemed like family.  Some of my favorite characters and couples over the years - H.B. Lewis and Henry Chamberlain, Nadine and Billy, Billy and Vanessa, Little Billy when it was played by Buffington, Michele Miner as Michelle, Maureen and Ed, Roger and Holly, Roger and Amanda, Roger and Alexandra (alot of Roger), Reva and Josh, Beth and Phillip, Rick and Mindy, the Frank/Eleni/Alan Michael triangle, Harley and Mallet, Phillip and India, Blake and Ross, Nadine and Buzz, Jenna and Buzz on Guiding Light.  I could just keep going.  World Turns - I started watching as a child during Betsy and Steve, Kim and Nick, then of course later Holden and Lily, and I loved Shannon and Duncan.  Man Duncan was smoking hot.  Emma and Cal - always wanted them to end up together.  Loved Kathleen Widdoes.  And  James/Barbara were World Turns answer to Roger/Holly.  The guy who played James Stenbeck - there was something sexy about him.  Bob/Kim/Lisa...and I loved Marie Masters - Susan Stewart/Bob/Kim triangle... 

Edited by Fevuh

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1 hour ago, titan1978 said:

Something else people seem to not understand!  Execs at networks in the mid 1990’s began a pattern of dictating story and seeking story approval in a way they never had before.  Across the board.

 

So you keep hiring a McTavish, because she presents a good package to network execs.  Her storylines are thin, easy to understand, attention grabbing, and shocking.  You know Bob Guza is going to build up to a sweeps event every time.

 

They wanted to shock the daytime audience and have them tune in.  I love a good stunt.  But what we needed for the health of the shows was shocks like daring storytelling.  For every Marlena floating above her bed we should have had more diversity, lgbtq characters etc.

 

Finally- where did the romance go?  Even though I am not a romance novel type, I ate it up on soaps.  Instead the shows destroyed on great couple after another, didn’t get them back together, and didn’t build up the next generation of those couples.  And when they did (DAYS I’m looking at you), they were married with kids at lightning speed!

 

Ugh I just hate what happened to these shows.

 

Yup, I mentioned network interference in an earlier post and I know I'm not the only one. When you had the Bill Bells and Agnes Nixons and Doug Marlands et. al, that had confidence in their abilities, they were able to hold off too much network interference but when you get hack writers who don't actually believe in what they're writing, they are far more susceptible to the "advice" of the networks to intervene in how the stories are written and how they play out onscreen.

 

In terms of 'where did the romance go?' , it seems as though cynicism about love, romance and lasting relationships have gone out of style on soaps.  Soaps aspire to be seen as 'hip' and 'with it' and somehow, they've decided that love is an old-fashioned notion that must be thrown out as it no longer fits the cynical, sniping image. They'd rather come up with zany one-liners that they hope their dwindling fanbases can use as memes and gifs, than to actually spend time to build a relationship that blossoms into a romance--that takes too much effort when they are solely concerned with creating an Emmy-worthy scene every now and then.  

This has not only impacted the lack of romance, it also has had an impact on the lack of friendships on daytime drama. You used to have same gender/opposite gender friendships that were strong, now people are more inclined to look past each other in scenes, if they even share scenes at all. 

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25 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

Yup, I mentioned network interference in an earlier post and I know I'm not the only one. When you had the Bill Bells and Agnes Nixons and Doug Marlands et. al, that had confidence in their abilities, they were able to hold off too much network interference but when you get hack writers who don't actually believe in what they're writing, they are far more susceptible to the "advice" of the networks to intervene in how the stories are written and how they play out onscreen.

After the era of Warren Littlefield at NBC, which was the 1990’s, but especially after around 1996 or so, I think even the best were seeing interference, and if they hadn’t yet, it was coming.

 

I think if Marland and Bill Bell had been alive and still writing their shows by 2002, even they would have been forced to talk to suits more.  Even Bell was forced to expand his show to an hour over his objections.  The execs had decided they were capable of being just a creative as the talent, even if it did not suit them.


And yes, I still hate Brian Frons.  I can’t say I hate people often, but I hate him.

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I think the downfall is also the outlandish stories instead of character building and relationships.  I remember The Doctors doing some shrinking potion story.  But then really GH and DAYS got into a competition to one up the other in crazy stories and then practically every show started trying it.  It became plot driven crazy instead of character driven.  It’s B&Bs problem today - characters you really don’t care about.  Plot - someone falls against an electric panel - someone falls in a fake vat of acid - someone falls off a cliff - dead baby switch by a character who nobody cares about.  There are virtually no characters to like.  

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On 12/24/2019 at 1:31 PM, titan1978 said:

After the era of Warren Littlefield at NBC, which was the 1990’s, but especially after around 1996 or so, I think even the best were seeing interference, and if they hadn’t yet, it was coming.

 

I think if Marland and Bill Bell had been alive and still writing their shows by 2002, even they would have been forced to talk to suits more.  Even Bell was forced to expand his show to an hour over his objections.  The execs had decided they were capable of being just a creative as the talent, even if it did not suit them.


And yes, I still hate Brian Frons.  I can’t say I hate people often, but I hate him.

 

True, but don't you think that with so many options for Emmy award winning writers and showrunners, these master headwriters would've also had options to take their talents elsewhere?  Time doesn't stand still.  Just as you have Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, Kenya Barris et. al, going to online streamers, I think someone like a Bill Bell Sr., Agnes Nixon and Doug Marland would have had options online had they been around and active in today's media landscape. Bill Bell Sr., if he still had control of his show(s) could have threatened to take them elsewhere.  I just think, yeah, the  bean counting execs could feel they would have to bargain but the creatives also would've had more bargaining power in today's media landscape.   

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