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N.Y. Times Takes a Look: How Are Remaining Daytime Soaps Adjusting to Stay On the Air?

Courtesy/NY Times

Courtesy/NY Times

In another New York Times article this weekend on the daytime soap genre,  this one by writer/reporter Taffy Brodesser-Akner takes a look at how three of the remaining four daytime soap operas: Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful have made changes in their storytelling and their budgets to adapt to the downturn in the soap landscape and to keep viewers coming back.  According to the article, General Hospital was asked to participate, but declined to comment as part of this piece, so take that as you will.

Interviewed for the Times feature were Days of our Lives star, James Scott (EJ DiMera), Deidre Hall (Marlena), the show’s co-executive producer, Greg Meng, plus NBC’s Senior VP of Current Programming,  Bruce Evans.  In addition, B&B’s head honcho, Brad Bell, and Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Arena Bell.  Below are some interesting excerpts from the story from some of the soap notables!

DAYS James Scott noted, “Some soaps were able to adapt financially and streamline production, and some were not.  It was disappointing when All My Children got canceled.  It wasn’t necessary.  They failed to come in on time and under budget.”  James also told the Times,  he and his “Days” co-stars had become used to the quicker pace of shooting.  His shooting day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. to avoid overtime, while his friends on All My Children would routinely tape until 8 p.m. “I’ve had a second take on less than 15 scenes out of the last thousand I’ve shot,” he said.   Adding to the consistent cancellation rumors of the soaps in general, James added, “Maybe we’ll be canceled in 18 months, but do you know anyone who gets this much notice that they’re going to be fired? If you want stability, go and become a doctor. People always get sick.”

Bruce Evans reassured that DAYS is in a good place and financially healthy and also stating, “Keeping the show on the air makes good business sense for us. The numbers are important, and the numbers are good.” Greg Meng noted how the story of Sami and EJ having grief sex and the fallout has had some light-speed viewer feedback never seen by the series, “We had record-breaking feedback.  It got people talking on Twitter, Facebook, in the grocery store.  That’s how you create a drama.”

B&B’s Brad Bell talked about the difference in his show from the 80’s to its modern day version, “We’re no longer the schmaltzy, fluffy romance of the ’80s’.  Women are more independent and edgier.  The dialogue is clever and witty.  The old theory says: Keep things moving slowly, because if people are only watching two or three times a week, they need to know what’s happening.  Our new theory is: Something has to happen every day, and it’s more important to feel as though you’ve missed something by not watching.”

Finally, Y&R’s Maria Arena Bell added, “The desire for this sort of wholly American art form that you can have a relationship with day after day is still going to be there. If we can weather this storm, then we can ultimately see that the daytime has room for various kinds of programming, just the way prime time does.”

So what do you think about the comments from some of soaps luminaries?  Do you feel and see the adjustments the shows creatives are making when viewing your favorite soap at home? Let us know!

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Gman
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Gman

While I completely agree that daytime is in a serious state of flux, and any changes that can keep the shows on the air need to be implemented, the only thing I still disagree with is the statement from Brad Bell about not keeping things happening slowly. Y&R was notorious for taking forever to bring stories to a conclusion, and it was masterful. That’s how they became the #1 show on the air. There was depth, there were layers, and subtleties, unfortunately missing today. Not that it has stopped me from watching though =)

barbara t
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barbara t

wish abc felt the same about our 3 soaps ,one life to live was under budget and the evil abc/disney still wasnt happy until they had more money in there pockets and now there programing is cheep ,its nothing special ,you can go anywhere and find the same low budget trash that I wont watch ,all my children and one life to live are class shows that abc will never have again ,general hospital is going on 49 years ,abc will never have any show on there network ,that will come close to that many years.who ever made the decision… Read more »

janice
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janice

Amen!!!@

krktoday?
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krktoday?

The highest rated The Chew hasn’t even come close to the lowest rated All My Children. They aren’t looking for rating’s they just want all the profit. They put these unheard of people of talk show’s and pay them next to nothing. No one is watching but I don’t think they care. They will pay Katie Couric a lot to replace GH but not as much as they pay for the entire cast of GH. No one will watch her. No one watched her do the new’s. She was alway’s way back in third place. I have never watched the… Read more »

janice
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janice

very good article. Too bad ‘the powers that be’ at ABC aren’t doing the same…..or are they, finally? we’ll see. I sure hope so.

david
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david

ABC is not doing the same. The three soaps “eager to share the measures they were taking to remain vital and relevant in television’s changing landscape” didn’t include ABC because ABC doesn’t know how.

janice
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janice

I figured as much . That sucks

david
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david

After reading in Michael’s latest post (General Hospital wins WGA Award) that ABC was too cheap to buy seats for their nominated writers, I think it is clear ABC/Disney doesn’t give a damn about its last daytime soap. They won’t even engage the media to garner any attention for GH on any level. We can only assume the decision to cancel GH has already been made.

janice
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janice

sadly, I think you’re right 🙁

barbara t
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barbara t

I hope your wrong.I m trying to stay possitive,I wish abc would just come out and say one way or the other,if the revoultion stays and gh goes ,there are alot of maggots working at abc/disney ,they want more money ,and we lost all of our beloved soaps ,because of greed ,abc/disney does not care about the soap fan base,or for the many people who worked for them .such disrespect.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

General Hospital chose not to comment because General Hospital will be off the air in September

Heather
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Heather

And how do you know that? Care to let us know

lipstickcat
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lipstickcat

ABC will not announce GH’s cancellation until the last minute because of the backlash it got the last time from AMC & OLTL fans! If you believe anything they promise you’re stupid! Didn’t you learn they don’t want to be in the soap business! Genie Francis even said this in an interview last year!

Heather
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Heather

Judging by your numerous posts I’ve seen from you in the past, it’s obvious that you want General Hospital to be cancelled. I think that you’re jealous that GH was chosen over OLTL. Otherwise you wouldn’t be so obsessed about the demise of General Hospital?

1loveabcsoaps
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1loveabcsoaps

Hey Heather: I see you had a little something something of a catfight going on. I’m sure U have read mind. At least you guys made your comments and kept it moving. Im with you Heather, I’m a die yhard GH fan, no matter how bad it is. I love GH. At some point or another, each abc soap has been my favorite soap (when story line dictated) so, I’m not being bias. It has always depended on the storyline(s). OLTL just happened to be the best running soap here of late, and I’m glad it has gotten all the… Read more »

Shelly
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Shelly

I heard the same thing over the weekend.

barbara t
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barbara t

where did you hear about this?I heard that abc will let us know in a few weeks ,unless of course you are a fly on the wall at abc/disney.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

Heather its a fact that Katie Couric’s show will start in September in the 3pm EST time slot so where would GH go? It will be cancelled just like the two previous soaps. ABC wants out of the soap business clearly and will only broadcast talk shows. I don’t have any in the know information this is just obvious. The way ABC lied to everybody about AMC and OLTL i would think you all would not listen to a word they say about GH staying on the air. ABC cares nothing about longtime fans of the soaps and cares only… Read more »

Heather
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Heather

“Heather its a fact that Katie Couric’s show will start in September in the 3pm EST time slot so where would GH go? ”

Have you forgot about the OLTL/Revolution timeslot? I’m not necessarily saying that’s what will happen nor do I deny the POSSIBILITY that General Hospital will be cancelled. But to assume at 100% that General Hospital will be cancelled is foolish in my opinion.

barbara t
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barbara t

I dont think that abc wants to pay 30 dollars to the few people who are willing to walk in and watch the revolution, there not even telling the truth on the name of the show ,so general hospital can go on at 2 .I f they dont cancel that show ,mickey mouse should fire everyone who is doing the daytime line up ,because they dont know what there doing ,you shouldnt have to hand over money ,begging people to watch a mystery show, that sucks.and if abc cancels general hospital and keeps the revolution.you have to wonder,what the hell… Read more »

kay killgore
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kay killgore

Unless I am wrong AMC was moved to LA to help with budgets etc and the actors were told to move and it would be saved so I am trying to figure out Mr. Scotts comment? And was AMC given 18 month’s warning I thought the actors uprooted and then got the rug pulled out from under them someone correct me if I am wrong.

barbara t
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barbara t

your right kay killgore,when everyone moved to la they all thought this move would help to save money,I dont under stand that because it costs a fortune to move across country ,Ive done it 3 times but north to south,they had no Idea abc/disney were going to kill the soaps ,they were all caught off guard and that weasel frons did it at a meeting ,that he didnt attend ,I heard he tapped it ,he didnt tell them the soaps were over in person,they watched it on a t v.can you believe that? some of the cast were with abc… Read more »

krktoday?
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krktoday?

Another thing that was so unfair to the AMC cast was many probably sold their home’s at a loss in this economy in New York just to find out they didn’t have job’s in LA. If they had been told this might happen they may have kept their home’s in case they wanted to go back to New York and do stage play’s.

Heather
Guest
Heather

Actually, Frons told the cast of All My Children in person.

It’s the cast of One Life to Live that were notified on video because the show is based in New York while Frons and All My Children were based in Los Angeles.

krktoday?
Guest
krktoday?

I am positive Susan Lucci didn’t get 24 hour’s notice. She was telling a crowd of fan’s AMC wasn’t going anywhere a week before the show was canceled. GL cast was told on April 1st they would wrap up the show Sept 18th. That is 5 month’s. Quite a stretch from 18 month’s.

krktoday?
Guest
krktoday?

I think the soaps need to inject more humor into their drama’s. Back in the 80’s when GH ruled the soap world they had so much humor with people like luke and Laura Lucy Coe and Kevin. Now it is how many people can we have to do a complete meltdown in one day or how many can we shoot. Who can do the best depressing cancer storyline. When we watch the soaps we want to see rich people conniving each other, or something that makes up laugh and forget we are home unemployed. It used to be the rich… Read more »

barbara t
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barbara t

I take it you never watched one life to live,the writers were very good with romance and real comedy.now that the writers from one life to live are at general hospital,maybe we will see it in port charles again ,I hope so.

krktoday?
Guest
krktoday?

Yes I did watch OLTL every single day and I loved it. I was mostly talking about GH. It used to have some really enjoyable laugh out loud scene’s and in the past few year’s it has been nothing but serious. If a person was depressed they sure better not tune into that show for a lift. I have watched GH since 1963 so I don’t like to complain about it but it is just one person after another having a melt down. If they do have a wedding you can just count on someone getting shot. I am hoping… Read more »

Emily
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Emily

So true, so true!!! I taped OLTL & GH daily (loyal to GH), but that’s why I was taping OLTL the last 8 – 9 yrs or so. I had always watched OLTL on and off, mostly on. But the last 8 or 9 yrs I fell in love b/c of the writing (humor and drama, creatively mixed). I was like wow, that was a great show!!! GH was becoming dark and I was getting a kick out of OLTL. Still in mourning….

Debi
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Debi

How depressing GH wouldn’t participate!!!!!! 🙁

barbara t
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barbara t

interesting ,general hospital news over at soaptown usa (loose lips) ,go there every week, looks like alot of good changes happening in port charles ,cant wait,and I hope the rumors of kassie depava and roger howarth staying on general hospital is true.

Dee
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Dee

I think Y and R will survive if MAB and her crew of hacks are replaced..she has ruined my Y and R and I barely watch anymore and I might add 7 of my friends have abandoned Y and R too and its sad as we used to watch it faithfully until MS Bell decided that only a few couples are worthy of writing for.

Jules
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Jules

It was reassuring to read what an NBC head honcho had to say. Keep up the good work DAYS!

cathy trinque
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cathy trinque

Days is a great soap! I hope it stays around to make up for the loss of AMC. Of course, ABC declines to participate. ABC execs are ignorant and arrogant!!!

LUMI
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LUMI

I love Days and hope its here to stay for 50 more years,but Corday said he was going to try to keep it on the air to it see’s 50 years,and its been here sence Nov: 1965.
I know we all love our soaps and not everyone watch the same soap,but when
Another world went off the air,I cryed for weeks,but I got over it,but I still miss it everyday,that was the soap my mama and I watched and Days was too,my mama is gone now,but she is still watching Days everday with me 🙂

Heather
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Heather

With the ratings GH and Days have right now, I don’t see either show celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Heather
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Heather

With the ratings GH and Days have right now, I don’t see either show celebrating their 50th anniversary.

LUMI
Guest
LUMI

IF Days can hung in there 3 more year they will have 50 years 🙂
I hope they make it 🙂

Carole
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Carole

I started watching AMC when I stayed home when my first child was born and I quickly became hooked. I just LOVED watching beautiful well-dressed people living glamorous lives during this phase of my life. Thanks to my VCR and my DVR, I never had to miss an episode when I returned to work. All My Children had tons of humor and dealt with topical issues like Aids, Homosexuality, Prostitution,etc. with wit and class. When I envision Disney now I see not Mickey Mouse but a big ugly rat with a resemblance of Brainless Frons.

barbara t
Guest
barbara t

same with me,disney should never have bought abc ,they use to be good to the soaps then slowly they started to go downhill in the writing and time spent advertizing them ,the nurses ball ,the soap thing in orlando ,so much more .brainless frons isnt the only problem abc has ,the problem is they want to put the cheapest programming on to put money in there pockets and because of that there shows arent anything special anymore ,the soaps were a big part of my life ,I was a faithful viewer .and I wont watch talk,food or dumb reality shows… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

MARIA ARENA BELL, If you want to keep viewers you need to start reading these message boards and start listening to what the fans are saying!!

NO MORE DAISY!

NO MORE STUNT CASTING!

PAY ATTENTION AND HONOR THE HISTORY OF THE SHOW!

Jared
Guest
Jared

I second that!

Cindy Longstreth
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Cindy Longstreth

It’s so sad ABC/Disney threw away they best the ever had. They never realized that theses were not just people or cast or charters to us, they were our Family’s. Part of our every day existence, they helped us cope with problems in our own lives along with great stories , humor and drama.We NEEDED them we LOVED them and we still do! It doesn’t matter what we say or do to them because they don’t care about us but what they don’t realize is how much they meant to us. I’m afraid that in a few months they are… Read more »

RJ4
Guest
RJ4

I think if the remaining soap operas develop good story lines and characters by either keeping them real and relevant to the world today, or they come up with imaginative stories that keep you guessing and wanting to come back for more they may get enough of an audience to stay on the air. With all of the challenges and stresses of life today, it is nice to have an afternoon break for romance, fantasy , escape, – watch other people work through their problems that you can either relate to or say – their problems are worse than mine… Read more »

jenna k.
Guest
jenna k.

please dont let them get rid of days of our lives.i love the show dont replace it with some 24hour kiddie channel

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Ron Carlivati Thanks Olivia Rose Keegan Ahead Of Isabel Durant’s Debut As Claire

Today on DAYS, Isabel Durant makes her on-screen debut as Claire Brady and fans are intrigued to see what she brings to the role, previously played by this year’s Daytime Emmy winner for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series, Olivia Rose Keegan.

Days of our Lives head writer, Ron Carlivati took to Twitter to wish Olivia well and thank her for her dynamic portrayal of Claire, sharing,  “Huge thank you to @oliviakeegann. who brought Claire Brady to life and made us care about her even when she was at her most dastardly. Wishing Olivia all the best as she writes her next chapter…”

Then, Carlivati officially welcomed Isabel to the role expressing: “But as one chapter ends, another begins. Please help me welcome Isabel Durant to Salem as she steps into the role of Claire.”

Make sure to check out Durant’s debut today and then let us know your thoughts on Olivia’s exit and Isabel taking over the role via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Soaps Get Mainstream Media Covers With Being Back to Work During COVID-19 & Returning With All-New Episodes

It’s so rare, but so welcome, to find the hardest working people and the hardest working genre getting some love from the mainstream press.  Now, next week’s upcoming double issue of TV Guide Magazine will feature all four daytime dramas and some of their current iconic couples on the cover!

The covers are a special edition and four different versions went to print.  Inside the magazine details some previews from the head writers and EP’s of the series as well of what’s to come in Genoa City, Port Charles, Los Angeles, and Salem.  Look for the edition to hit newsstands tomorrow on Thursday, August 12th.

The Bold and the Beautiful cover features Thorsten Kaye and Denise Richards as Ridge and Shauna.  Days of our Lives is represented by John and Marlena, played by Drake Hogesytn and Deidre Hall.

Meanwhile, The Young and the Restless has Victor and Nikki, played by Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott, and General Hospital has Maurice Benard and Laura Wright as Sonny and Carly,

The TV Guide Magazine double issue dates are August 17th-30th.

As fans of the soaps know, Y&R returned with new-episodes this Monday, B&B starred airing new ones a few backs, GH was back last week, and DAYS had new episodes in the bank till mid-October and is set to return to taping September 1.

In addition, it should be noted that The Bold and the Beautiful was the first American broadcast television show that went back into production during the coronavirus pandemic.

So, glad to see the soaps getting these collectible covers? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

GH’s Maurice Benard and DAYS Kassie DePaiva Named “Power Performances of the Week”

Two daytime vets in two very opposing types of storylines delivered emotional and riveting work during their scenes.  First on General Hospital, Maurice Benard (Sonny) in yet another stellar knockout performance in the Alzheimer’s storyline; showed the anguish and pain of a son trying to come to terms with his father’s ultimate fate.

This week saw Sonny originally deciding to try to prolong Mike’s (Max Gail) life by having him placed on a feeding tube, but soon after seeing the fate of Yvonne, another Alzheimer’s patient, and a talk with Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Sonny changed course, and did what’s best for Mike, not for himself, and decided to let his father die with dignity and with as least suffering as possible.

We don’t think there could have been a dry eye in the house when Sonny visited Mike’s hospital bedside, and told him that it’s OK for his dad to let go, and not have to stick around for him.  Max Gail, as per usual, was also so touching in these scenes.

Benard did not overplay a beat, and for anyone who has had a parent die of this dreadful disease, you could relate to what Sonny went through in the more than capable hands of this two-time Daytime Emmy winner.

Over on Days of our Lives, what a return for Kassie DePaiva in her role as Eve Donovan! This time, she has come back unhinged and at an emotional rock bottom, so much so that she had abducted Ben Weston (Rob Scott Wilson), had him taken to an abandoned warehouse, strapped him up, tortured him with an assist from Dr. Rolf’s protege, Vincent (Michael Teh), and came up with this twisted plot to have Ben turn back into the “necktie serial killer” and kill his bride, Ciara (Victoria Konefal).

Why, you say? Well, because Eve’s daughter, Paige was one of Ben’s victims and it has been eating Eve alive this whole time. She is a mama grieving for her daughter so deeply that she can’t understand why Paige is dead and he is left on earth to roam around free and find love and happiness… and we find out she was gutted when Ben got a last-minute reprieve when he was recently sentenced to death by lethal injection.

DePaiva played this arc of Eve’s story as a soapalicious villain, but when you really deconstruct it, Eve is just in so much pain… and all of that came through even in the darkest of scenes.  And … there is yet more to come!

Kudos to Maurice and Kassie for being named Michael Fairman TV’s “Power Performances of the Week”.

So, do you agree with our picks for Maurice and Kassie? What did you think of their work? Comment below.

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B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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Maurice Benard as Sonny. KassieDePaiva as Eve

GH & DAYS

Airdates: Wk of 8-3-2020

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