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Seven Culprits Who Killed the Soaps! Who or what else should join this list?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

TV Guide took a look today at who they deem responsible for killing the network daytime dramas!  They have come up with a list of culprits responsible for the fall of the genre.  The top seven contain: James Franco, The Real Housewives reality franchise, Farmville, plus several other wrong-doers! See if you agree with their assessment, and then let us know who or what else should be added to the list of the culprits for the demise of your beloved soaps.

TV Guide Top Seven List of Culprits:

1. Reality Television

2. Ratings Grabbers vs. Lame Stunts

3. Bratty Kids

4. Day Jobs

5. The Siren Song of Social Media

6. Talk Shows

7. Time-shifted viewing

Click to comment


  1. Jason

    May 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    how about people who claim want to help daytime, but are really ruining it?

    • Rae

      May 6, 2011 at 1:49 am

      I’ve thought for a few years that one network was intentionally writing their soaps to drive down the numbers of viewers. A major leading character spends years in an upright comatose state. She would sit motionless while her ‘daughter’ would comb her long hair. The character was portrayed as a weak helpless woman for years. The characters daughter grew up off camera supposedly raised by her grandmother. The soap couple had been loving and great parents a decade earlier…dream parents. The network ended it with just a toss away story. No real storyline. Just a few basic lines to write her off the show while trying to make the character appear unstable and certainly not the mother that we all watched for well over a decade. The actress would have returned for major family events but the network would not allow that. The viewers were supposed to somehow believe this incredible mother would not attend her own grandsons memorial (oops…that was off camera too) or stand with her daughter when she was deciding about having an abortion. What this network did to destroy their soaps would fill Tom Clancy length novels. What they did to keep them on the air is minimul. Thank God for the actors that made something good out of nothing. It was intentional suicide by that network and a few columnists over the years have openly suggested that it had to be intentional.

  2. Jan

    May 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I think it hasnt helped OUR soaps writing things PEOPLE just couldnt buy.
    Twins, characters coming back from the dead and or just storylines shoved down our throats. Bring in characters that DONT belong.
    Characters leaving, that meant the end of True Love , for example; Brandon Buddy
    leaving his role of Cole. Pairing Starr with another leaving Sole to just die.
    Actors come and go but THAT was crushing.
    I stopped watching even before Buddy left.
    The Natalie & John story ruined by a stupid one night stand with Brody.

    • Heather CT

      May 5, 2011 at 7:00 am

      think you are on the right track with this comment Jan…. prime time soaps don’t write this way anymore…… we are not stuck in the 80’s are we ……and I think TPTB have forgotten that today’s viewer is NOT the same kind of viewer that our mother’s were….our attention span is much shorter I think…..even as we may want to escape for an hour in our favorite show…dreaming of love in the afternoon….we are an intelligent viewer…not mindless…and I think some of this is not throughly planned….thought through…storylines arcing to make sense…or too many dropped storylines….why is that …is that the writers fault or production cut backs making that happen?? not sure ……..BUT in a nutshell I agree we are not buying the characters and stories that don’t belong……and with other things so easily accessible for the viewer to turn too to instead…..remember also we are the generation that fast forwards through the commercials sorry to say

  3. sus

    May 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Soaps in the era of reality TV… it’s all about shock and sensationalism. The stories on daytime television were once apparently really thought out and fine tuned, where a few months in advance you would see foreshadowing of what was to come (i.e. The Left Handed Boy). Now there is no intricate, fine tuned, build up of story. Pretty much they are writing 2 hour movies of the week (if that), where the whole cast of characters change to support the plot de jour. There is no character consistency. Their whole personality, moral code, cognitive functioning can change on a dime so the writers can prop the lame plots and stunts for what they believe is maximum effect… they have put their wants and desires with regard to what they think would be interesting in front of what is really important to the daytime audience.. the characters! These are family members to us, best friends…. TPTB (for GH anyway) treat the whole audience like we have ADD or ADHD, or they have it themselves.. and nobody seems to get that the pay off is much better when you take it slow, and build, to the point where the audience is at the edge of their seat in anticipation. (L&L 1979-1981). There is no more anticipation… and truthfully that’s what the genre has.. the only thing it has to it’s advantage that no other genre did…is time… time for the build, time for the REAL maximum payoff. They can’t compete with the plots, stunts and special effects of movies and streaming Net Flix, they can’t compete with adult entertainment (though they seem to try .. and it is pathetic to watch the lame sex scenes that they can’t really do anything with for those of us who are over 12, and they miss the point that for this audience it should be about getting there.. the emotional build ). The people in charge have tried to take soaps and make them something they were never intended to be. They have thrown out their core viewers, their dedicated, loyal fans thinking somehow they were going to win new viewers (more important ones) with stunts (a friday cliffhanger was about human beings in an emotional situation, and one would say something and we would wait all weekend just to see the response, the effect, the human reaction… gun shots, explosions ring hollow .. yes even to the younger demographic!) The truth is good storytelling will never go out of fashion. I cannot tell you how many teenagers got hooked on L&L in 2006. Why? Because it was a good story, one with roots, one with emotion, one that they could relate too. They need to stop understimating the younger viewers and just tell good, intelligent stories about characters the audience cares about. It needs to be about emotion, not plot. Serialization has been around for a long time, and it will be around for a long time.. but the networks have ruined daytime drama in the era of reality television, by trying to merge the two together, when they just don’t fit.

  4. laura

    May 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    daytime executives who neither like nor understand the genre…..and dont listen to the viewers who do

  5. Webbie

    May 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    The OJ Simpson Trial (which could be combined with the “reality TV” group). There is probably a direct correlation between the trial and the dwindling number of viewers. Watching that trial for weeks and weeks gave people a taste of “reality” TV and that was it. I don’t think the numbers ever recovered.

  6. Annie

    May 5, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I agree 100% with SUS, it’s the writing that killed the soaps. Watch the old Ryan’s Hope on SoapNet if you want to see what was so great about the soaps in the old days. The “story arc” is a thing of the past – slow build-up to a satisfying pay-off. Doug Marland was a master of it (ATWT). Nowadays, there simply is no pay-off. If the villian in a story is “popular”, doesn’t matter how atrocious or vicious their crimes are (I’m specifically thinking of Adam on Y&R, but there are many others), the original story goes out the window, they rewrite it so that they can somehow keep the character around, and the integrity of the story is completely lost so that no one cares any more. And don’t even get me started on the fact that no one ever stays dead now. It used to be that a character being killed off was a real reason to grieve and get invested in it. Now, it’s almost a certainty that they’ll somehow rise from the dead, so you know it’s just a waiting game. The emotional tie has been completely removed.

    I so wish that there would be a true Soap channel out there that would show the old soaps from the glory days. Such good stuff back in the day, it’s really sad what they’ve become.

  7. Rob

    May 5, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Clunky plots and stunts instead of character driven storylines. The reason The Bold and the Beautiful is seeing a ratings decline is this very reason. I find the Brooke/Thomas storyline completely unbelievable and ludicrous. One Life to Live is an excellent example of character driven storylines, utilizing the old timers and newcomers equally. Unfortunately just as I got attached to it, they cancel it. How many soaps, hell any television series, can claim the surge in ratings and quality that this show has shown recently? Not a one.

  8. Linda

    May 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

    1. How ratings are compiled (don’t understand why it doesn’t count if you watch more than 3 days later)

    2. Having daytime executives who lack the ability, or desire, to think outside the box

    3. The writing. The writing. The writing. Watching any vintage episode shows that in spades.

  9. Stephanie

    May 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I think what really killed the soaps was the poorly written shows. If the shows had been written better fans would still watch but since they’re not people who were once faithful watcher’s have moved on to other things. There are way too many other things for people to do with their time, You’ve got tons of cable stations along with On Demand that allow you to watch what you want on your schedule and then there’s the internet that allows us to interact socially with others on FB, Twitter etc . and play online games through game systems.

    I was once a huge fan of soaps in fact I watched them for 30 years but the writing just got crazier and crazier not to mention the writers would use the same storyline every couple of months for different characters so I got sick of the show I watched and started watching shows or movies on cable.

  10. Maureen

    June 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I’m sorry but I get annoyed when I see people blame reality tv. I don’t know many people who actually watch reality tv in the day. It would be easier to just say cable television because it encompasses everything. I am more likely to watch reruns than reality tv. But I am also more likely to surf the web than watch tv like most people my age (20s).

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All My Children

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