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Soap pundits speak on state of soaps to ABC National Radio Australia!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

The ABC National Radio news program, Future Tense, out of Australia late last week had a segment led by series host, Anthony Fennell, who interviewed a diverse cross-section of  panelists including American soap journalists and pundits. The segment included soundbytes from The Red Room’s and US- based soap critic, Lynn Liccardo, and Sam Ford, Director of Digital Strategy for Peppercom Strategic Communications, a research affiliate with MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium, and co-editor of the book The Survival of Soap Opera.

Many issues were brought to light including: the social impact of soaps worldwide, the state of the storytelling, the demographic of the audience, and where soaps went into a downward spiral.  We particularly found some of thought-provoking comments of Liccardo of interest.   See below!

Liccardo addressing the demographic of soaps and the stigmas attached to them: A significant portion of viewers of soaps have always been men. Last time I looked at the numbers it was 24%. That notwithstanding, soap opera’s always been seen as something attached to women. And in the US culture anyway, anything that’s tagged as feminine is valued differently than what’s perceived as masculine. As an example, a few years back a woman I didn’t know especially well, but who knew that I watched soaps, turned to me and regarding nothing we were talking about, she just asked, ‘Who’s Dotty Thornton’s mother?’ And I replied, ‘Edna.’ I didn’t have to think about it. A bystander overheard, turns around, and says, ‘What are you two talking about?’ And we said, ‘All My children.’ And he was like, ‘Ugh! I can’t believe you two remember that kind of detail!’ And was dripping sarcasm and contempt. So I decided to try a little experiment. I said, ’56 games.’ And he shot back, ‘Jo DiMaggio’s hitting streak’ (baseball player). It still stands after 75 years, so the value is really in the eye of the beholder, and as I say, if it’s attached to women it tends to be valued as less important than what’s tagged as masculine. But the fact of that marginalisation and the reason behind it is a lot less important than understanding the insidious impact it’s had, both on how soaps have been perceived and what the genre has become.

Liccardo addressing, as the show calls it,The Enemy Within! “The self-loathing — and I actually prefer the term internalized marginalization, my editors like self-loathing — but you have the grandmother: she never misses an episode of Young and restless but when she’s watching with her grandson she reminds him that this show is ‘utter trash’. A newspaper reporter, a television critic, mocks soaps in her articles consistently but in ways that make it clear she has been, and possibly still is, a viewer.

And for those who make soaps: there’s Harding Lemay, before he became Another world head writer in 1970, he was an author and a playwright. Yet, he finds out that his editor’s wife is a fan, and he wonders why she’s wasting her time watching the show that he’s writing. But kind of the granddaddy of all of it was in 1978, Anthony Geary is asked to become part of General Hospital by Gloria Monty, the producer, who revitalized the show, and he says to her, ‘I hate soaps.’ Monty replies, ‘Honey, so do I. I want you to help me change that.’ Which they did, with enormous success. They introduced these adventure stories and comic books — fantasies like The Ice Princess. And what happened was other shows tried to replicate the success. They jumped on what came to be known as the ‘We’re not your mother soap opera anymore’ bandwagon. They pushed veteran performers aside, undermined the multi-generational storytelling that had been the heart of soaps and, in doing so, reinforced the idea that in order to survive, soaps had to abandon their roots.

Liccardo on how the state of soaps is driven by the bottom line…dollars! A big part of it’s driven by money. You know, scripted storytelling is very expensive to create, especially when compared to reality television, which is extraordinarily inexpensive to create. And episodic shows, which is to say shows that have a beginning, middle and end, shows where you don’t need to know what happened before to understand what you’re going to see in the next hour or so — they are very lucrative for producers because they’ve worked in syndication. I mean in the States you can sit down and watch 12 hours of Law and Order in a row, just one after the other. And they make a lot of money for the producers. You can’t do that with serialized television. They just don’t attract the kind of audience because you have to make that commitment to watching the whole thing. Money’s always a big part of this.

You can listen to the complete segment featuring all the guests,  or read the transcript by clicking here!

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kay killgore
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kay killgore

This article is so right on the money when OLTL & AMC got cancelled my sister sent a sarcastic message saying what is the world coming to? I responded with all the actors that have come from soaps who now have Academy Awards.

todd
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todd

What was said about soaps being perceived as feminine and by turn less valuable in our male patriarchal society is so true. It amazes me how consistent this message is. Being a vegetarian, I see a persistent and controlled message on tv and popular culture about vegetarianism being a feminist trait. In turn, this must be a bad thing and mocked at all times. Every character on tv that becomes a vegetarian (usually a girl) is mocked, and the meat eaters all decide that soy or tofu tastes like nothing and then eat meat. An entire philosophy called feminist vegetarianism… Read more »

All My Children

WATCH: All My Children Stars Recall Multi-Generational Impact of the Soap & Zany Plot Twists On E!’s ‘Reunion Road Trip’

Several of your favorite soap stars from the beloved All My Children appear together in the series premiere this Thursday night on E!’s Reunion Road Trip (9 p.m. ET).

In it, Eva LaRue (Ex-Maria), Jacob Young (Ex-JR), Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee) and Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan) reminisce about some of the great moment being part of the iconic soap that aired on ABC from 1970 to 2011.

The foursome is joined in the special hour by Susan Lucci (Ex- Erica), Alicia Minshew (Ex-Kendall), Debbi Morgan (Ex-Angie) and Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley) and Darnell Williams (Ex-Jesse).

The premise of the episode has the AMC stars reuniting at an exclusive Hollywood mansion to celebrate the soap’s 50th anniversary where they chat it up!

Two exclusive clips have been released ahead of the June 10th premiere.  Check them out below.

Now, let us know what was your favorite outrageous AMC storyline through the years and if you will be watching Thursday night on E!, via the comment section.

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All My Children

Chrishell Stause Back Filming New Season of ‘Selling Sunset’

It appears that the women of Selling Sunset are back filming their upcoming season which is sure to be filled with plenty of drama, real estate deals that go bust, or go big, and plenty of fashion.

Over the weekend reports surfaced that on Friday, former All My Children and Days of our Lives alum and Selling Sunset’s most notable star, Chrishell Stause, was seen with the rest of the cast from the real estate series were many of them posted photos and “welcome back’ messages on their social media accounts.

In the photos, Stause was reunited with ‘Sunset’s’ Heather Rae Young, Mary Fitzgerald, Jason and Brett Oppenheim, Maya Vander, Christine Quinn and Amanza Smith kicking off the taping of the series fourth season.

Stause posted on her IG, “Love when doing things I love, with people I love, can be called “work.”

Meanwhile, Maya Vander posted on her IG Story: “Me & my GIRLS, back like we never left 😚💖 It’s been so long since we’ve all been able to be in the office together but we’re back and SO happy to be reunited!!!” she wrote. “I may have missed the colorful memo today 😆 but everyone’s outfits were on point 😍.”

Netflix announced in March that the popular series was renewed for two additional seasons.

Stause is nominated along with her Selling Sunset co-star Christine Quinn for “Best Fight” in the upcoming MTV Movie & TV Awards in the Unscripted ceremonies.  The award show airs next Monday night on May 17th.

So, will you be watching Chrishell on the upcoming season of Selling Sunset? Comment below.

 

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All My Children

All My Children Alums to Appear in E!’s New Series, ‘Reunion Road Trip’

All My Children is having a bit of a renaissance of late. First with the previously announced primetime series in development, Pine Valley, and now a new series on E! Entertainment Television.

Coming up on the June 10th episode, which kicks-off the new show, Reunion Road Trip, several of your favorites from AMC are part of the first episode.

Look for Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee), Eva LaRue (Ex-Maria), Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan), and Jacob Young (Ex-JR) along with Alicia Minshew (Ex- Debbi Morgan (Ex-Angie), Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), and Darnell Williams (Ex-Jesse), to appear.

According to EW.com, who broke the news, viewers can look for Budig, LaRue, Mathison, Young, to come together at an exclusive Hollywood mansion to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary where they get some surprise visitors in the form of Minshew, Morgan, Ripa, and Williams.

Reunion Road Trip airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT with other episodes to feature the former casts of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, A Different World and Scrubs.

So, looking forward to seeing the Pine Valley crew on Reunion Road Trip? Comment below.

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