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NY Post: Collective Bargaining & Unions the secret villain to soaps demise!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

The New York Post has a very interesting piece out this weekend on what the death of soap operas say about our economy and the way Unions are structured. And that even though ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons, handed down the death sentence verdict to All My Children and One Life to Live, that there was a bigger villain looming in the background and that was Collective Bargaining and all the Union costs for the various areas involved in the making of soaps, that of the cast, crew, and creatives. Read below some key excerpts on what soaps have been facing internally all this time, while trying to put out a show five days a week, and why reality series looks like a great option for network programmers!

NY Post: “The soaps are effectively an industry heading for bankruptcy, and even union members realize it. In the last decade, soaps have been trying to cut costs to the bone. But those bones are covered in the impenetrable gristle of AFTRA (the daytime actors union), WGA (the writers guild), the DGA (directors) and the backstage union IATSE.

Soaps are “certainly not expensive by other entertainment gauges,” says former producer Michael Laibson, a leader of the creative teams at All My Children and Guiding Light. But “they don’t pay the people [on reality TV] the same kinds of wages. The acting, the above-the-line costs [for creative talent] are much higher on soaps. Generally, on a soap there are about 30 actors that are under contract so they have a guaranteed number of performances per week and a guaranteed salary per performance.”

Union super-minimum wages lead directly to high unemployment. AFTRA requires each of the main performers to be paid at least $913 a day, but stars get much more. Seventeen Writers Guild jobs disappear when the two ABC soaps go dark. They aren’t getting paid in Palmolive, either. Head writers (of whom there might be more than one) get at least $35,345 a week. Writing expenses are minimal on reality, which the WGA hasn’t successfully penetrated yet.”

“The soap industry is highly skilled, and Days of Our Lives is a more polished product than The Biggest Loser. Soaps are more like airlines. The value of their product has dwindled rapidly, but unions don’t provide flexibility for trimming costs to keep up. Since soaps aren’t a separate industry, they can’t use bankruptcy as a wedge to reopen contracts and make cuts. An AFTRA source who didn’t want to be identified says, “We’re certainly mindful of the challenges the industry faces,” although not mindful enough to back down on their main goal: “We want to increase pay and benefits for our members.”  Hundreds of IATSE members are going to be out of work. Even unionized reality programs like ABC’s upcoming soap replacements The Chew (Mario Batali cooking show) and The Revolution (a Biggest Loser-style weight-loss show) will bring far fewer jobs in makeup, costumes, set moving, etc.”

“Maybe renegotiating the daytime serials portion of the contract would have beaten layoffs. But from the unions’ perspective, any concession sets a dangerous precedent. If they take a hit on daytime, isn’t that an invitation to cut prime-time contracts? So unions will continue to shrug at reality and the marketplace will continue to punish them.”




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Nicole
Nicole

So is Frons trying to get the blame off himself and blame the Unions?? Is he hoping for infighting amongst the unions so that AFTRA and IATSE don’t support each other anymore? Since the actors can’t support the ABC protests publically (because they are worried about backlash from Frons), is this around about way of trying to make sure the other unions don’t support the SAVE OUR SOAPS Protests and Boycotts….create infighting amongst the unions?

John
John

Again we blame the unions? People have INCREDIBLY short memories. Or a really deficient schooling in what working conditions in this country were like before unions. And what they will be like again if unions are crushed. I can’t help but feeling that our grandchildren will be spilling their blood fighting for rights which our ancestors spilled their blood to hand down to us, and which we so take for granted.

Brooke
Brooke

What a load of bunk! You can’t blame the unions, who protect the workers, for the out of control GREED on the part of ABC’s and Disney’s top level management and shareholders.

This FAUX News style propaganda a la GOP ain’t gonna fly.

Brooke
Brooke

“Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert A. Iger commanded a 35% jump in salary and bonuses in 2010, rewarding what the board of directors’ compensation committee called his “exceptional performance” in the face of a slow-recovering U.S. economy. Iger’s salary and bonus reached nearly $16.3 million, up from $12 million a year earlier. His total compensation, including equity awards, reached $28 million… “(LA Times 1/28/2011)

Tracy Thomas
Tracy Thomas

What a crock of S**T!!!!! So Brian Frons is AGAIN trying to deceive us with his pack of lies! Like I said, “what a crock of SH**T!!!!” While I understand that managing soap operas can be expensive, why is it NOW they’ve become too expensive to handle?! They have been going on for as long as I’ve been aound! What kills me is that Disney is too greedy and doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about us, but also the fact that Brian Frons can’t take responsibilty for his own stupidity! He continued to lie to our faces about AMC and OLTL then did exactly what he wanted to do in the first place! Soon ABC won’t have a network because we will grow sick and tired of Frons, Disney and all the lies they’ve told! Even Pinocchio can’l lie that much! He (Frons) talked about being in the witness protection program… well honey, you’d better start running! There are MANY, MANY people who would like to get you alone in a room for just 5 mins.! Now THAT’S a reality show I would pay to see!! Don’t blow smoke up our a$$e$ when you know that we’re on to you!
Sorry Michael! We still love you and all you do for the soap world! Thank you for keeping us informed! Best wishes!

todd
todd

You can’t believe anything that you read in the New York Post. It is owned by Rupert Murdoch and is a political paper. It exists as propaganda for far right conservative causes. Having thousands more mad at unions now, with all that is going in the Midwest, is too convenient.
Unions can be blamed in the same respect, for all of the US jobs being sent overseas. It boils down to corporate greed — money beforeanything else. OLTL made money,but a reality show will make more. They don’t care that less will watch. It will make more profit. They don’t have to pay as many people, or as high a wage. Frons will get a promotion, not fired. If you think any US corporation is any different, you are wrong. It is capitalism. Even Hoover saw the dollars that would benefit them in supporting our cause. I want OLTL back more than anybody. I have been in a daze since the news broke. I just cant see a Network picking it up.

CINDY
CINDY

WELL SHE SOME ACTORS ARE WILL TO GO CUT PAY AND SALARY !JUMP ON THE BAND WAGON FOR SOMEONE TO BLAME AND THIS THE CURRENT TREND.HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IS. THEN PUT IT ON SOAPNET AND WE’LL PAY FOR THE CHANNEL!

Lori
Lori

All that article is doing is trying to switch the blame game on Unions.I am sorry if there wasn’t Unions around it go back to what it was before the 1900 ‘s.I mean Unions stop child labor laws before there were Unions they were having ten or even nine year olds working under the worst conditions inmagable.I mean think about the garment fire back in the early 1900’s when how many young women and children lost there lives.They can all say it is caused by the unions,but all this does make trouble were it don’t belong.Common sense with this so-called “Reality shows are done with real people who I believe don’t have to have like the join the actor gulid.They can all say it is cheaper,but just how cheaper is it when and I mean when someone gets hurt bad enough that the network get sued then what.I mean these people have to get there a**** out of there heads.And just stop and think I do believe some of these actors who have been on the show long enough they would kind of enough take a pay cut.It just the higher ups think if we read this we quite blaming them and that won’t work in my book.

Brooke
Brooke

NO ONE from the network approached the unions for negotiations.

leah
leah

REALLY – ABC and Disney are trying to break the unions… I hope no one falls for or stands for that. If top execs who do nothing would take a pay cut that would be wonderful. Frons isn’t doing much any way.. keep the calls up people.. cause his ass needs to be out like yesterday unions unite

All My Children

8 Years To The Day Of All My Children & One Life to Live Being Canceled; Still Considered By Many Worst Move For Daytime

It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago today on April 14th, 2011, the soap world, its fans, and the cast members, learned of the heartbreaking news that ABC, in one swift move, decimated its daytime line-up when they announced the cancellations of long running series, All My Children (which would end at its 41st year), and One Life to Live (which would ends its run in its 43rd year).

At the time, ABC announced it would move to more lifestyle/entertainment series to replace these dramas.  In its place came The Chew and The Revolution, neither show is still on the air today.  Executives at that time pointed to research saying that times are changing and that their decision was “guided by extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want,” and blame, in part, “the changing viewing patterns of the audience” for the axing of AMC and OLTL

Then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons had joked to Deadline about the big announcement that he: “Pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.”  He added that “The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making.  A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go.  When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them.  Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew and The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama.  The way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”  Of note is that when it went off the air, One Life to Live was in third place among its competitors in the ratings.

The press release that came with the cancellations stated: “To honor the core, passionate audience and their rich history both shows will conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Following the cancellations daytime reeled. The mainstream was sure it meant the endings of the soaps, period.  However, four shows illustrated that is not true at all.  For Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless all remain, and still whether they are up or down in their numbers/ratings, they remain relevant and important to the enduring daytime viewing audience.

Sadly, as with any shows, the end of ABC’s AMC and OLTL meant loss of jobs for so many working in front of the camera and behind the scenes. One Life was the last soap opera in production in New York at the time.  AMC was already being shot in LA to cut costs to save it.

Still in 2019, if you venture on to social media, especially Twitter, you see fans constantly missing its stars and the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, wanting this wrong rectified.  Although Prospect Park tried to revive the show with their online versions, eventually after legal battles that went on for a few years, ABC now retains the right to these properties,

The good news is that many favorites from AMC and OLTL have found success and been hired on other soap operas, bringing their followings with them, whether it be on-screen, or in the writing, producing, directing or crew departments.

So, do you think the loss of AMC and OLTL consolidated daytime and made the remaining shows stronger so they would not be touched or canceled?  Do you think ABC should try to mount a resurrected AMC and OLTL or an amalgamation of the two?  Do you remember where you were when you learned the two soaps were cancelled? Was this the worst misstep of all-time for daytime? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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All My Children

George R. R. Martin’s “Leak” Of New Hulu Series WILD CARDS Featuring Eden Riegel, Thorsten Kaye. and Greg Rikkart

April Fool’s Day started off with a bang today when Eden Riegel (Ex-Bianca, AMC) posted a photo of herself with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Greg Rikaart (Ex-Leo, DAYS)  in a very intriguing image.  See above pic!  As it turns out, it’s said to be from behind the scenes from some leaked footage of the upcoming Hulu series, Wild Cards.

The premise of Wild Cards is based on the sci-fi anthology series edited by George R. R, Martin, best known for writing the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based.  Riegel’s husband, Andrew Miller is the showrunner attached to the upcoming series.

On Martin’s website he teases the set-up of the “leaked” video clip:  “This was not supposed to go public.. Everybody (Well, everybody that has been paying attention knows that we are developing two Wild Cards as a series for Hulu  Andrew Miller has taken the reins as showrunner, a writing staff has been hired, and they have been hard at work for months.  What was NOT supposed to be known is how far they’ve come.  Not only have some scripts been finished, but the first show has gone into production and has been shooting.  That was supposed to be a deep dark secret, however.   We wanted to surprise the world. It’s hard to keep secrets in Hollyweird, however.  And now it appears that some of the rough footage has been leaked by person or persons unknown”

Meanwhile, Riegel sent out a series of tweets: “Hooo boy…cat’s out of the bag! Fans, please don’t judge our show based on these leaked videos!! The effects are going to knock your socks off. And my costars, and , are doing the best work of their lives!”  That was followed by, T”hank you for the chance to work with you on your first foray into soaps! I am humbled and honored. We won’t let you down.” And then, “I’m probably not allowed to share this with all the NDAs I signed, but damnit I’m just so proud of the team!  think we are breaking new ground for soaps. So proud to work with you!”

Now below, check out the Wild Cards “leaked footage” and let us know if you think of the …. um … drama! Comment below.  And one more thing … Happy April Fool’s!

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All My Children

WATCH: All My Children Reunion On Strahan & Sara

On Monday’s episode of ABC’s Strahan & Sara, the show welcomed several stars of the beloved All My Children for a reunion, of sorts. Joining hosts Michael Strahan and Sara Haines were Susan Lucci (Erica), Walt Willey (Jack), Cady McClain (Dixie), Jacob Young (JR) and Jill Larson (Opal).

While it was wonderful to see the stars from Pine Valley again, it was also a painful reminder that this network, ABC, canceled the show, and had put in its place – The Chew, and now Strahan & Sara – since canning the series.   In fact, as you will see on the clips below, many of the crew who work on this talk show were once the crew for All My Children.

During the segment, Susan Lucci was tested to see if she remembered all of Erica Kane’s wedded names.  Later, Walt Willey and Susan re-created the final scene of the ABC version of All My Children between Erica and Jack, where Jack walks out on her.  However, this time, they have Jack changing his mind and coming back to Erica and sealing their relationship with a kiss – a moment of closure that never happened (since the show moved to online via Prospect Park).

In addition, Cady McClain and Jacob Young re-created the infamous Dixie “dying from eating poison pancakes” scene, as JR watches his mother die, only this time she lives.

It’s always great to see these veteran performers, but Strahan & Sara is trying to capture the soap viewers to put eyeballs on their show by bringing in talent from the show that sadly and wrongly went off the air.

Watch the clips below from the All My Children reunion below.  Then, let us know what you thought of it via the comment section below.

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