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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

Mark Consuelos Exits ‘Riverdale’

Last night, All My Children alum, Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo Santos) made what appears to be his final appearance for now on CW’s soapy drama, Riverdale.

Consuelos departed Riverdale as a series regular on the season 5 finale, after coming on to the show in its second season in the role of villain, Hiram Lodge.

Riverdale executive producer and showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, shared with Deadline a statement on Consuelos contribution and run on the series: “From the moment Mark joined us, he was up for literally anything, a hundred percent committed to making Archie’s life a living hell. And what’s funny is, Mark couldn’t be more different from Hiram. A classy pro and the sweetest guy, always looking out for everyone. We wish Mark the best and hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Hiram Lodge.

Consuelos offered up these sentiments in a statement on his Riverdale exit: “First and foremost, I would like to thank Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for this incredible opportunity. Never before has playing a character that was so bad, felt so good. Huge thanks to the Riverdale fandom, to the brilliant crew and amazing cast, whom I consider dear friends and family.”

So, will you miss seeing Mark on Riverdale? Elsewhere, still no word on the “Pine Valley” reboot in which Mark and wife, Kelly Ripa, are two of the executive producers of that many All My Children fans were hoping would come to fruition. Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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All My Children

TONIGHT: Jacob Young in Lifetime Movie Network Premiere ‘My Daughter’s Double Life’

Premiering tonight, Lifetime Movie Network kicks-off his “Shocktober” with a thriller starring Jacob Young (All My Children, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful) in the pivotal role as the leader of cult!

In My Daughter’s Double Life, previously titled, Fatal Following, the story follows Heather, a single mom who is desperate to find her daughter Ally when the teenager goes missing. After the police find Ally’s belongings on the riverbank, it’s presumed that she drowned in the river.  However, Heather isn’t so sure.

Photo: JYoungIG

While leaning on her minister and friend, Jack, Heather begins looking into her daughter’s things and is shocked to discover Ally was spending time with a group of troubled teens at a mysterious youth center.  That youth center is led by Bridger, played by Young.

The LMN movie also stars  Jacey Nichole and René Ashton.

You can watch a trailer for tonight below from Jacob’s Twitter account.

So, will you be checking out My Daughter’s Double Life, beginning at 8 pm EST Friday night? Comment below.

Friday Oct. 1st on @LMN ! Start your Shocktober off right! #shocktober pic.twitter.com/KxPSD2HFl3

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All My Children

Beloved Soap Stars Left Out of 2021 Primetime Emmy Broadcast In-Memoriam Tribute

Last night, during the presentation of the 73rd annual Primetime Emmys broadcast on CBS, the annual In-Memoriam segment brought with it so many households names in a year that saw so many legacy talents and more pass away.

The tribute was performed by Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste to Bridge’s song, “River”, and as the images of the departed played across the screens from Cloris Leachman to Cicely Tyson, to Ed Asner to Michael K. Williams, and more, it was clear that several of the major late daytime soap stars were not included in the on-air tribute as well as other omissions.

Now granted, we know they will all be a part of next year’s 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in-memoriam segment, but still these actors were a part of this community and not only appeared on the soaps, but other shows as well.

Those that daytime fans noticed were not included were: Michael Nader (Ex-Dex Dexter and Dimitri Marick, Dynasty and All My Children) Stuart Damon (Ex-Alan Quartermaine, General Hospital), Ray MacDonnell (Ex-Joe Martin, All My Children) and Jay Pickett (Ex-Frank Scanlon, Port Charles).

From primetime MIA action were: Michael Constantine (Ex-Room 222), Tanya Roberts (Ex-Charlie’s Angeles), Director, Richard Donner, writer Larry McMurty, and DMX, to name but a few.

However, the Television Academy did list all of its members who died on their website in the In-Memoriam section, because due to time constraints, they could not possibly showcase everyone.

What do you feel about the omissions of Nader, Damon, MacDonnell, Pickett, and more from the In-Memoriam tribute? Let us know in the comment section, but first watch the segment.

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