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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
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
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 has sprung from this. I believe soaps are suffering the same patriarchal stigma. It is so pervasive that even its viewers and those in the industry have little respect for it. There is still perception that all viewers are 70 year old women who do not buy things, and do not know how to use the internet. Reality shows that as much as 20% of viewers are men. People grow up watching the shows with their grandmas. They develop loyalties. The go to school and get jobs. They can’t watch at 1 or 2 pm, so they have to watch online. There are more than 2.5 million viewers daily for OLTL, Neilsen just isn’t able to capture who watches them. There is no fight about the show being taken away, because patriarchal society views them as outdated mindless, terribly acted trash to occupy Grandma’s time. I think there is potential for OLTL to find a bigger audience online then daily airings on ABC at 2pm. I just wish ABC wasn’t still going to profit from the shows. If OLTL continues in the quality of the writing, acting, and social storytelling it has been telling….then the future is not bleak. There are concerns about the costs……but I pray there is a way to make it work. I keep up with all my shows on Hulu now. I would gladly pay for a soap channel that aired episodes online. They could save money on the expensive sets. I do not tune in for fires….guns….tornados…and explosions. I tune in for dramatic explosions like the big reveal at the twin Buchanan girls wedding. We fans were waiting for that moment for months. It was better than the Super Bowl. NOw we have the Tale of Two Todds. I would not miss their meeting nor the fallout from that big reveal if my life depended on it. And by the way, I am a man…..and a vegetarian.

All My Children

The Chew Cancelled After 7 Seasons; A Slice Of Justice For All My Children Fans?

Karma is a bitch! ABC announced yesterday that the foodie series The Chew has been axed after seven seasons. 

The Chew lost significant viewers when ABC fired main co-host chef, Mario Batali after reports of alleged sexual harassment over many years. Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, and Michael Symon have remained the regular series hosts.

In addition, The Chew dropped 17% with women in the 18-49 demo and this has been its least watched season since its debut in 2011.  As ABC Daytime fans know, The Chew replaced iconic soap opera All My Children, when ABC made the decision to cancel the beloved soap and replace it with the food show.

So, let’s take a look at the numbers: All My Children lasted 41 years, while The Chew lasted 7 seasons. Hmm …

ABC noted that The Chew will cease production at the end of this season, but will continue to air until September with all-new episodes in June.  In addition, ABC announced that Good Morning America will expand to three hours.  Thus, switching up the ABC morning line-up.

So, are you glad that The Chew got fried?  Is this justice for All My Children fans who miss their beloved Pine Valley?  Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Alum Kim Delaney Joins The Cast of CHICAGO FIRE!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Pine Valley’s Jenny Gardner, who is all grown up and had a successful career in primetime television and films, has landed a primo role on NBC’s hit drama, Chicago Fire!

Casting news has revealed that Kim Delaney is joining the show in Season 6 where she will play the role of Jennifer Sheridan, the mother of Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney).

According to Deadline, Kim’s new role as Jennifer Sheridan is described as “warm, scripture-quoting and church-going. At one point she may have partied like it was 1979, but now it looks like she’s on the path of the straight and narrow. If you ask her, she’s moved on from the past, namely her messy divorce from her ex-husband Benny (Treat Williams), but old habits die very hard.”

Chicago Fire is currently on hiatus until after the Winter Olympics, when it begins again on March 1st.  As viewers know, in the last episode prior to the break, Kelly and Casey (Jesse Spenver) were seen jumping off a roof of a building while it was in flames in an exciting cliffhanger. (more…)

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All My Children

TAINTED DREAMS Season 2 To Bow December 21st!

Tainted Dreams is back with a second season offering from Daytime Emmy-winning director and series creator, Sonia Blangiardo!

Beginning December 21st, the next chapter of Blangiardo’s the soap behind a soap, will be available for streaming on Amazon and Amazon Prime. (season one is also currently available on Amazon)

This series, which was nominated for five 2017 Daytime Emmys, follows the behind-the-scenes drama of a fictitious soap opera titled Painted Dreams.  Many soap opera notables have roles in the online series including: Alicia Minshew, Michael Lowry , Austin Peck. Terri Ivens,  Walt Willey, Kelley Menighan, Grant Aleksander, Bobbie Eakes, Natalia Livingston, Marnie Schulenburg, Nathan Purdee, Colleen Zenk, James DePaiva, Tonja Walker, Ilene Kristen, and the late Larkin Malloy . In addition, Jessie Godderz of Impact Wrestling and Big Brother fame, and Dina Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, also appear.

In a statement, Sonia Blangiardo said that she is “excited to take everyone along these characters’ journeys in Season 2, as they evolve and deal with ever increasing professional and personal turmoil.”

Fore more on Tainted Dreams visit their official website here.  (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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Joshua Morrow as Nick

The Young and the Restless

Airdate: 6-14-2018

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