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11 hours ago, Skin said:

 

This is hilarious. We saw Carly give birth to Morgan in 2003, during that panic room storyline with Ric. 

 

I personally think there is a sliding scale here on the spectrum. I recognize that soaps overall, have to compete with quarterly ratings 'sweeps' numbers that command them to do something to bring soap viewers in which is why you get these 'event' storylines such as fires, storms, illness viruses sweeping the canvas, serial killers, and more. You have to find a way to get people to show up continuously every three months (February, May, July and November) for the all mighty advertising dollars.

 

But honestly I felt soaps would try to accelerate this even more than every other month, and they were trying to do it weekly with all the Friday cliff hangers, then they would try to do it daily, then they would do it in almost every scene. You can't keep viewers on the edge of their seats in every moment of every episode, every week, until infinitum. At least not with lower staked stories (and especially if you don't bother to build them up with pay off - which takes time). As such they went with these outrageous storylines that almost pre-baked itself with so much drama that it was sensational but not at all realistic (possessions, time travel, supernatural elements, etc.). 

 

There are tons of soaps that are successful by being grounded in the day to day, but they also don't have the "burdens" that soaps do. Soaps have to create 200+ episodes of programming a year, while a lot of primetime series just have to fill 10-22 episodes within 9 months. Bridgeton, Grey's Anatomy, ER, Desperate Housewives, and so on are all soaps. Just different kinds of them. 

 

For years, I have said that soaps needn't be on air five days a week, especially if the quality simply is not there. The soap opera format began as a fifteen minutes serial. There is no law that they must stick with their present format. Except for a general obstinance and lack of imagination, that is.

If the format is the problem, change the format. Maybe if some of the soaps had opted for quality over quantity, a few might have averted cancellations.

Sometimee it feels like the five days per week explanation had become an excuse to continue to churn out badly written, poorly produced dreck.

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Well the format for daytime TV came from radio where pretty much everything was 5 days a week so it would take a lot to move away from that mindset.

How would it work in practice?

One soap on 3 days a week - would it be MTW or MWF ? What would it alternate with? Another soap? Or a gameshow?

If one format consistently outrated the other, wouldn't it make sense to take that 5 days a week? And it would be more costly to have 2 different shows in that timeslot.

When daytime experimented with TV movies and one off specials in the 70's, the ratings and expense put paid to continuing/expanding on that practice, no matter how worthy it may have been from other standpoints.

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Well UK has this model for their soaps.

I believe Eastenders airs 4 days a week, Corrie 3 days a week (although with 5 episodes) and Emmerdale 5 days a week (with 6 episodes).

 

So possibilities are endless

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Also I always thought that networks should have cut down the soaps in US (GL, AMC, OLTL etc) to half an hour before completely cancelling them. That might have worked.

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14 hours ago, Manny said:

Also I always thought that networks should have cut down the soaps in US (GL, AMC, OLTL etc) to half an hour before completely cancelling them. That might have worked.

 

For years before GL and ATWT were cancelled, I said the same thing.

These soaps weren't started as 60 minute serials, so why should they stay that way when it's clear that model no longer worked? It just seems like when execs' minds are already made up, there is a lack of will to do otherwise.

15 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

Well the format for daytime TV came from radio where pretty much everything was 5 days a week so it would take a lot to move away from that mindset.

How would it work in practice?

One soap on 3 days a week - would it be MTW or MWF ? What would it alternate with? Another soap? Or a gameshow?

If one format consistently outrated the other, wouldn't it make sense to take that 5 days a week? And it would be more costly to have 2 different shows in that timeslot.

When daytime experimented with TV movies and one off specials in the 70's, the ratings and expense put paid to continuing/expanding on that practice, no matter how worthy it may have been from other standpoints.

 

If networks could juggle two different versions of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", surely they had the mental faculties and imagination to figure this one out too.

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1 hour ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

For years before GL and ATWT were cancelled, I said the same thing.

These soaps weren't started as 60 minute serials, so why should they stay that way when it's clear that model no longer worked? It just seems like when execs' minds are already made up, there is a lack of will to do otherwise.

 

If networks could juggle two different versions of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", surely they had the mental faculties and imagination to figure this one out too.

Third-ing making soaps a half hour. The hour hasn't worked very well. Half an hour is great; you're in and out. I also support mixing up the number of weekly episodes. The Archers produced six episodes a week pre-COVID and now they're doing four. Hollyoaks is five a week; EastEnders varies. It's doable. Your audience doesn't care. Just don't waste their time with crap.

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38 minutes ago, mikelyons said:

Third-ing making soaps a half hour. The hour hasn't worked very well. Half an hour is great; you're in and out. I also support mixing up the number of weekly episodes. The Archers produced six episodes a week pre-COVID and now they're doing four. Hollyoaks is five a week; EastEnders varies. It's doable. Your audience doesn't care. Just don't waste their time with crap.

 

It makes sense. So, of course, American daytime dramas won't do it.

 

Just think of how much money, acclaim and talent CBS, NBC and ABC daytime has lost due to their inflexibility. Actors who were being ground down by the rigorous schedule asked for time off and couldn't get it and elected to leave. Productiom companies that left incompetent people in charge for way too long rather than make a concerted effort to search for fresh production talent. Refusing to even entertain the notion of merchandising products for the consumer marketplace because they'd have to *gasps* profit-share with the talent.

 

The 60 minute episodes werr successful for about a decade and then they should have switched, just like they switched in the early 80s.  Explain to viewers that, in order to be able to continue to make quality shows that are sustainable, they needed to revert to th "classic television soap model". Viewers might have grumbled at first, in which case they can level with the viewers that , if they keep going along this unsustainable route, many of their favorite soaps will inevitably be cancelled. TPTB never tried.

 

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I agree re half hour. That would have allowed for more flexibility in the schedules and meant soaps weren't competing with one another as much.

But economics have always ruled daytime so when it was established 60 min was cheaper than 30 ...

We can point the finger at Lin Bolen/Paul Rauch for that.

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1 hour ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

It makes sense. So, of course, American daytime dramas won't do it.

 

Just think of how much money, acclaim and talent CBS, NBC and ABC daytime has lost due to their inflexibility. Actors who were being ground down by the rigorous schedule asked for time off and couldn't get it and elected to leave. Productiom companies that left incompetent people in charge for way too long rather than make a concerted effort to search for fresh production talent. Refusing to even entertain the notion of merchandising products for the consumer marketplace because they'd have to *gasps* profit-share with the talent.

 

The 60 minute episodes werr successful for about a decade and then they should have switched, just like they switched in the early 80s.  Explain to viewers that, in order to be able to continue to make quality shows that are sustainable, they needed to revert to th "classic television soap model". Viewers might have grumbled at first, in which case they can level with the viewers that , if they keep going along this unsustainable route, many of their favorite soaps will inevitably be cancelled. TPTB never tried.

 

I'm TOTALLY with you on this one!

People forget that two of the highest rated scripted shows of our time, DOWNTON ABBEY and THIS IS US, are steeped in realism. And, guess what? They were runaway hits! Imagine, telling stories about real people who don't have memories implanted in their pinkie. 

1 minute ago, Paul Raven said:

I agree re half hour. That would have allowed for more flexibility in the schedules and meant soaps weren't competing with one another as much.

But economics have always ruled daytime so when it was established 60 min was cheaper than 30 ...

We can point the finger at Lin Bolen/Paul Rauch for that.

Wasn't there an article that came out in the late-70s (maybe 78) that said the cost savings of an hour and a slight increase in ad rates really didn't seem to justify an hour? I believe one of the arguments was that by restricting ad revenue to a few half hour slots made the show more valuable in the long term. If Lever Bros. couldn't advertise on a P&G show, but could in the next half hour slot, it would be more money than them being locked out entirely from a 60 minute P&G show. 

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I will forever hate ABC (Frons) for canceling AMC and OLTL, let alone at the same time.  I truly wish they would have tried what many fans wants them to try- to make them both half hour shows and see if they could make a go on ABC in that format.

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On 2/12/2021 at 11:13 PM, DramatistDreamer said:

 

For years, I have said that soaps needn't be on air five days a week, especially if the quality simply is not there.

I agree that soaps shouldn't be five days a week, and should be kept to a 1/2 hour.  22 minutes though, not 18 watered down with commercials.

 

For example, if it were CBS, (keeping soaps at 60 mins), I'd do:

Mon-Wed         Thu-Fri

Y&R 1-2pm      GL 1-2pm

B&B 2-3pm      ATWT 2-3pm

 

(OR) Ideal Scenario (30 min soaps)

Mon-Wed             Thu-Fri

Y&R 1-1:30pm       GL 1-1:30p

B&B 1:30-2pm      ATWT 1:30-2p

 

Less extra characters, less fluff and more matter. Fewer episodes, so more reason to tune in for every episode, every week. I'd opt for a Mon-Wed; Thu-Fri split. I think a Mon/Wed/Fri; Tue/Thu split might be too confusing to the layman audience. Y&R and B&B would get 3 days as they've had the higher ratings. 

 

As for the most realistic soaps, I'd say B&B and Y&R. Riche era GH in the 90s (minus the Cassedines) was a good realist period. I like a balance, some realistic and some over the top soaps. Just not DAYS and PASSIONS over the top. 

Edited by ironlion
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24 minutes ago, ironlion said:

I agree that soaps shouldn't be five days a week, and should be kept to a 1/2 hour.  22 minutes though, not 18 watered down with commercials.

 

For example, if it were CBS, (keeping soaps at 60 mins), I'd do:

Mon-Wed         Thu-Fri

Y&R 1-2pm      GL 1-2pm

B&B 2-3pm      ATWT 2-3pm

 

(OR) Ideal Scenario (30 min soaps)

Mon-Wed             Thu-Fri

Y&R 1-1:30pm       GL 1-1:30p

B&B 1:30-2pm      ATWT 1:30-2p

 

Less extra characters, less fluff and more matter. Fewer episodes, somore reason to tune in for every episode, every week. I'd opt for a Mon-Wed; Thu-Fri split. I think a Mon/Wed/Fri; Tue/Thu split might be too confusing to the layman audience. Y&R and B&B would get 3 days as they've had the higher ratings. 

 

As for the most realistic soaps, I'd say B&B and Y&R. Riche era GH in the 90s (minus the Cassedines) was a good realist period. I like a balance, Some realist soaps and some over the top soaps. Just not DAYS and PASSIONS over the top. 

Not totally against this, though I'd argue you could do M-W (say Y&R/B&B), then T-T (GL/ATWT, for example) with the watered down 18 minutes (purely for ad revenue reasons), then do a Friday (or Saturday?) Omnibus edition like they do in the UK for anyone that's behind. I honestly think the omnibus could be the key to making it work, as that gives folks an easy way to catch up, and it wouldn't be especially overwhelming, since it only amounts to a one-hour show a week. If it's successful, you can always expand from there, but I just think that leaving folks wanting more and giving the writers the time to breathe a bit might stop things from getting too bloated or messy.

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I was in favor of all soaps going back to thirty minutes in the mid-2000s when I still watched regularly, but I've never really agreed with the idea that they would benefit from cutting down the number of episodes per week. The UK soaps don't all air five times a week, but they're in primetime. US daytime television is stripped, especially on the networks, and if a person is going to be there to watch a show on MWF, then they'll be there on the Tuesday and Thursday, too.

If I had my way, instead of GL/ATWT/AMC/OLTL being cancelled, they would have been scaled down to 30 minutes, with each network being left with one hour-long soap. If the return to the half-hour was successful, then those hour-longs might have been reduced at some point, too.

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