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Michael Fairman on state of soaps, cancellations, & what fans can do!

Courtesy/Michael Doven Photography

Courtesy/Michael Doven Photography

On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman was asked by SoapTown USA for an interview with their online platform to get his impressions and thoughts on the state of the soap genre, the recent cancellations of OLTL and AMC, what fans can do and how fans are dealing with the loss. SoapTown also takes a look back to when Fairman started his career in soaps through the the tail end of it’s heyday, to it’s dwindling days of current times.

Here are just a few excerpts below, but make sure to read the entire interview at SoapTown USA for the context of these remarks below and more.

Fairman on what fans can do over losing AMC & OLTL other than boycotts or petitions: “When people ask me, ‘What can we do?’ The decision has been made. I want people to fight (this decision) but I want them to fight smart. The way to be smart is to NOT turn off One Life to Live, but tune in to the last nine months, because the show is going to be great. One way, to illustrate, to counter ABC’s decision-making is to tune in and make the ratings go way up! Show them, ‘We’re at a 3.5, look what you did!'”  We can pick up and celebrate what we have left, but right now, I think we’re all feeling a bit deflated. But you should still watch your shows. They’re still vital. What people really to want to see is good story. How are the writers going to structure the canvas? Who are we supposed to root for, I don’t know at times. You need people to root for. Fans want to see the characters they love. And then have things shaken up. We’re running out of time. I think everybody should feel that the clock is ticking.”

Courtesy/ABC

Fairman on of why televnovelas are scoring big ratings and American soaps are not : “They really capture the imagination right now of the Latin community. They’re over the top, they’re dramatic, and they feature beautiful people. All the stuff that soaps should be and it’s working in that market. And the telenovelas have a beginning, middle and end, unlike U.S. soaps which go on to infinity, unless you’re canceled! We’re stuck here in the States. It’s a fast food mentality. If I can see all my bitches, hunks and babes on these reality shows that cost a smidge to produce, why would the networks want to put on Days of our Lives when these shows are cheap and get more audience? That is what is going on through the networks minds. Many out there will say the serial format is your grandmother’s and it’s old, but you have to remember that soaps are passed down from generation to generation, which is why this is so horrible. It’s crushing. I asked people on my Twitter page, ‘What would you say to a programmer if you wanted to sell One Life to Live to them?’ The responses were amazing and well-thought out. One Life to Live was also under budget and lately has had some decent ratings, which makes this decision even more of a slap in the face to the intelligent One Life viewers.”

Fairman on how replacements series: talk-shows, game shows, vs soaps, and the network’s perceptions: “You have to understand, soaps are not the cash cow they once were, the advertisers are not clamoring to sign up, the ratings are down. When The Talk scores ratings equal to or better than As the World Turns, that’s a sign to networks execs that they’re doing something right and justifies their decisions, I think. As for game shows, there’s no emotional investment for viewers, again it’s an hour of fun or distraction but there is no heart. But we have to remember the networks are running that, a network which does need to be filled with all types of programming options for the farthest reach to the public. The bottom line is that soaps have validity, they comfort people, they’re part of Americana, and they bring social issues to life wonderfully when done correctly. They have attempted things that should be commended. Soaps can be used to help families, mothers, children that might be around during the day, or whenever they can tune-in. But why couldn’t soaps get back the audience they lost a decade or more ago? Part of the thing that failed was soaps needed to get back the audience that they lost and get new people in, and that’s one of the struggles they’ve had for several years. A lot has to do with the times we live in, working families, tons of options on channels, it has become a very difficult climb to get back up the mountain for soaps.”

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kay killgore
kay killgore

Michael, you are so right on. It does not stop th sadness in our hearts that something else has come to an end!

Doe
Doe

Michael. Loved all your insights on the what, why , and how the soaps are being tossed aside for lesser programing. Obviously, besides us die-hard fans, no one else has an investment in years of dedicated and loyal soap watching. You know the soap industry better than anyone. You have covered it and shared your views for so long and I hope you will still have stories to tell and comfort us with your knowledge. Thanks for sharing with us, Michael. You are to be commended!

Days
Days

I have watched soaps sence I was 16 and now Im 63, I set with old people that are at home or in rest homes,we all love soaps,we laugh and cry and get mad as hell,but we love all our soaps,we want them to stay on free TV. Joanne

Kathy
Kathy

As a long-time fan (36 years) of “As the World Turns”, and a recent convert to ABC’s “One life to Live”, my heart goes out to all of you ABC soap fans. Those of us who lost our beloved ATWT – and before that Guiding Light – are still angry about the decision of CBS and Proctor and Gamble (both equally responsible for the demise of GL and ATWT) to cancel our 54-year old soap and replace it with an innane, irrelevant talk show for mommies – “creatively”named “The Talk” – hosted by Julie Chen (wife of Les Moonves, Head of CBS who just was rewarded millions in bonuses and compensation on top of his already obscene salary – probably enough to have paid for another year of ATWT) and her dimwitted panel of Hollywood sidekicks. (God help us if this crowd qualifies as capable of passing along parenting advise!) ABC soap fans: cheap-to-produce replacements like “The Talk” which now fills “As the World Turns” old time slot, as well as a remake of “Let’s Make a Deal” which replaced “Guiding Light”, are why AMC and OLTL are slated for cancellation. I honestly think that ABC execs took a look at the CBS model and saw that they also could unload a genre they just didn’t want to invest in and replace it on the cheap. On a personal note, I can only hope that if any of the hosts from “The Talk” on CBS (the pathetic blabfest replacement to Emmy-awarding winning “As the World Turns”) are presenters this year at the 2011 Daytime Emmy Awards to be shown on CBS, they will be greeted by stone-cold silence and absolutely NO applause. I would love to see pickets, protesting, and widespread support of the soaps at the 2011 Daytime Emmy Awards this year – just to let ABC, CBS, NBC, and advertisers know that soap fans may not be their “ideal” demographic, but we are loyal viewers who are committed to preserving our soaps and are more than and willing to switch channels, turn off the TV, or take our buying power elsewhere. (Ironically, as a “Boomer” my peers and I have money to SPEND and time to spend it – unlike the demographic these ill-informed idiots choose to target!) Protests may not have worked with CBS and Proctor and Gamble, but the anger and outrage I sense that is out there right now towards ABC is very strong and may actually make a difference in the end! (And I’ll be rooting for “As the World Turns” to win the 2011 Daytime Emmy because it deserves to, and just to stick it to CBS and Proctor and Gamble for axing this icon of daytime drama in the first place!)

CINDY
CINDY

I agree with most of what you said in your statement, even though The Talk has some good guests. Anyway, I started watching y&R, B&B,GH, Edge of Nt & OLTL,AMC when I was 10 yrs old with my Mom and sister. I began watching ATWT when I go married 20 yrs ago because my husband watched it.Then I got into GL. How upsetting it is to see our daytime stories disappear so quickly!!! 38 yrs I’m watching soaps, and it’s shocking to see what the networks are doing…Like hey have nothing else to do but cancel our daytime lives. I feel it’s my way of getting away into my other life and it relaxes me . i am part of their lives. I still tape them and watch 3 now..I loved it when I could take a day off school to go to the mall and meet the stars.. or wherever they were signing autographs. They were the good old days – 1977-80. It will be so VERY DEPRESSING if they start replacing ALL the rest of them with DUMB REALITY shows- the world is so sick of this!!! I guess theres nothing else to do but make up ridiculous shows !!! Well i am thrilled to see Genie Francis join Y & R soon– She’s great.. Iis just too bad GH wouldn’t pay her to remain on GH.-(so I heard)–one of my favorite soaps!!!

Ceridwyn2
Ceridwyn2

Read the full article. Lovely interview, Michael. So appreciate the work you’ve been doing over a lifetime. I started to respond in here, but then it just kept expanding as I wrote. So, I decided to take it over to my blog, and post the link here.

“The continuing saga of daytime soap opera cancellations” – http://www.celtic-dragon.ca/blog/?p=474

The lyrics of “One Life to Live” tell the tale:

Here’s what you do
When you don’t find the rainbow’s end
This time

Here’s where you going to do
When it looks like the rain end
Don’t cry

There’s always tomorrow
Where you can have a second chance
And after tomorrow
All that you have to remember.

Here’s what you do
When you think nobody cares
For you

Look in my eyes
And see there’s an answer there
It’s true

We’ll find tomorrow
A place for us
I know because

Time only knows
How long forever’s gonna last

Let’s live today
And find someone to share it with
Cause we only have one life to live.

Don’t cry
I’ll give you tomorrow
Let me be the one to share it with

And each day that follows
Cause you only have one live to live!

Outspoken
Outspoken

C! Nice Touch!

Todd
Todd

Of course I will bw watching oltl every day until the end. I do now. I watch it o.line as I am not home in the afternoon. I cant in my heart watch anythi.g else anymore on abc. Not castle, not modern family, not dwts.i dont know if it helps or hurts, but it makes me feel better

Jackie Garlow
Jackie Garlow

I can’t believe AMC is being cancelled! I have been watching it for years! Never disappointed. Do they really think another boring reality show or equally boring cooking show will be able to replace the shows they are taking off?? Reality and cooking shows have been way overdone! They are just a cheap way to fill air space! Save the soaps!!!

Donna Robinson
Donna Robinson

I work hard through the busy days and record my soaps at night while I cook for my business. I watch all 3 soaps.They might think of the bottom line but I hope the sponsors think of their bottom line.I WILL NOT PURCHASE ONE ITEM THAT SPONSORS ABC NOR WILL MY FRIENDS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE IN OUR WESTBROOK/PORTLAND MAINE AREA.Being a business owner I like to keeps my customers happy and it’s quite clear ABC does not. When OLTL and AMC are off we are OFF!!!!! I

All My Children

All My Children Alum Christopher Lawford Dead At 63

Sad news to report this Wednesday.  Christopher Lawford, best known to soap fans as Charlie Brent on All My Children from 1992-95, as well in the role of Senator Jordan on General Hospital in 2004, passed away at age 63.

Lawford who is the son of the actor Peter Lawford, and Patricia Kennedy, and whose uncles were Ted, Robert and President John F. Kennedy apparently died at a Yoga Studio on Tuesday night during a health emergency according to a report from TMZ.

As of now, it is being reported that Christopher’s death appears to be from “natural causes.” The coroner is performing an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Christopher had battled addiction in his life back in the 70’s and 80’s.  The actor was also a New York Times best selling author with his book, ‘Symptoms of Withdrawal.’

Being the nephew of John F. Kennedy, Lawford also spent time in the political arena with staff positions with The Democratic National Committee, and campaigns whether it be at the national, state, or local level

Lawford’s cousin Kerry Kennedy announced his death on social media.

Susan Lucci (Ex-Erica Kane), Lawford’s co-star on All My Children, shared her thoughts on Instagram at his passing: “Such very sad news that wonderful Chris Lawford has passed away. Chris was so great to work with—always prepared and always with a smile and an ease about him. He was warm and charming whether on set at AMC—or working hard for his charity. My deepest sympathy to his family. RIP, Chris”

Share your condolences and remember of Christopher via the comment section below.

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All My Children

Morgan Fairchild And Soap Notables Filming New LGBTQ Series ‘Mélange’

Over the next several days in New York, some very familiar faces to daytime soap fans are busy filming episodes of a new series entitled Melange, which stars Morgan Fairchild (most recently ex-Angelica, DAYS).

The series is set against the backdrop of a historic New York City gay bar named “Melange”, and the fight for ownership over it, when it’s proprietor has suddenly and mysteriously died.  Melange will explore themes of sexuality, immigration, addiction, power, and inclusion.

Guiding Light’s Robert Newman, All My Children’s Darnell Williams, One Life to Live’s Scott Evans ,  Kristen Alderson, Ilene Kristen, and David A. Gregory are some of the daytime faves tapped for roles in the series, which is said to be a half-hour drama.

In story, Newman, plays Syd Winchester, the deceased owner of ‘Mélange’. Scott Evans stars as Ryann Parker, a young man who fights to keep Mélange away from Syd’s wife, Vivian played by

Melange was created and being executive produce by Tom D’Angora, with former OLTL director and Emmy Award-winner, Gary Donatelli, and Tony Award winning producer, Tim Kashani.

According to Variety, at this time no network is currently attached to the project.

So, what do you think of the show concept of Mélange?  Intrigued by the cast?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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All My Children

One Life to Live & All My Children Reunion Event Photo Gallery

Over the weekend, actors who appeared on two beloved legacy soap operas: All My Children and One Life to Live took part in a reunion event held over GH Fan Club Weekend.  And while the fans in attendance were excited to see some of their favorites, it was the former cast members themselves getting to see their former co-stars for the first time in years which made the event all the more touching.

Then, in big surprise to the attendees, none other than former One Life to Live star, Nathan Fillion showed up to give hugs to his former castmates including: Erin Torpey (Ex-Jessica), and James (Ex-Max) and Kassie DePaiva (Ex-Blair), among others.  Fillion, who has gone on to primetime success with his show Castle, and his upcoming new series on ABC, The Rookie, has never forgotten his beginnings in show business as Joe Buchanan!  Who can forget his on-screen affair with Robin Strasser’s Dorian, which sent Viki (Erika Slezak) into orbit!

Kassie DePaiva (now Eve on DAYS) told Michael Fairman TV on Fillion’s appearance that she had reached out to him to let him know about the event: “I knew the fans would love it.  He is very proud of his roots.”

When asked about seeing the original Blair, Mia Korf, at the same event whom she had never met, Kassie said, “I went, ‘There’s the real Blair,” but it was really nice meeting her.  You know with One Life to Live actors, even if you didn’t work with somebody there is such a camaraderie, which makes this show so special.”

All My Children fans were thrilled to see appearances by Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee), Vincent Irizarry (Ex-David), Jordi Vilasuso, who will soon be seen in his new role on Y&R, and played Dr, Griffin Castillo in Pine Valley, and many more.

Check out our photo gallery of some of the past cast from both AMC and OLTL who showed up to say “hello again” to each other and the fans below.  Then, let us know if it makes you miss Pine Valley and Llanview all the more in the comment section, and which photo you liked the most!

Photo Credits: JPI Studios

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Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

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