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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

‘ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway’ One-Night Only Streaming Concert With Favorites from AMC, GH and OLTL

Beloved stars from All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital will reunite for ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway, a one-night-only streaming concert benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.   The free streamed event can be viewed on the Broadway Cares website beginning at 8 pm Eastern on Thursday, February 11.

Additionally, the event can be seen on Broadway Cares’ YouTube Channel, ABC-owned television stations’ 32 connected TV apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku and each of the eight stations’ websites around the country, including abc7ny.com and Good Morning America’s Facebook page..

PhotoL ABC

The star-studded lineup will include performances by All My Children’s Bobbie Eakes, Melissa Claire Egan, Vincent Irizarry, Eva La Rue, Susan Lucci, Cameron Mathison, Eden Riegel, Chrishell Stause and Walt Willey, One Life to Live’s Kristen Alderson, BethAnn Fuenmayor, Kathy Brier, Kassie DePaiva, David Gregory, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Catherine Hickland, Mark Lawson, Hillary B. Smith, Jason Tam and Brittany Underwood; and General Hospital’s Bradford Anderson, Brandon Barash and Anthony Geary..

For the February 11 streaming special, viewers can expect to hear a bevy of Broadway classics and jazzy standards.  The streaming event will be directed by John Dietrich, who also directed each of the live stage performances.

Dedicated fans also will have the opportunity for one-on-one virtual meet-and-greets with their favorite soap stars on Saturday, February 13.  Further information on tickets and the lineup of special guests  will be announced later this month.

From 2005-2011, the stars of ABC Daytime took the stage at New York City’s Town Hall one night each year for ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares. The evening featured dynamic production numbers, heartfelt ballads and hilarious skitsNow, 10 years after that final performance, the iconic ABC Daytime actors revisit their performances as they help raise money for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the event began in 2005. it was for a one-night benefit concert to celebrate All My Children’s 35th Anniversary. With overwhelming support from fans, the event continued for six more years and included cast members from One Life to Live, General Hospital and co-hosts of The View. Over its seven-year run, ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares raised an incredible $1.85 million.

“This event is truly one of a kind,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “We are so thankful to the stars from ABC Daytime for joining us again as we relive moments from this delightful tradition, while helping to provide lifesaving medication, healthy meals and emergency support to those struggling during this ongoing pandemic.”

“It was such an incredible privilege and joy to join my fellow co-stars to perform in the seven ABC Daytime Salutes concerts to benefit Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS,” said former All My Children star Susan Lucci. “There are no fans like ABC Daytime fans. Their love and support continue to astonish us.  We can’t wait to share these special performances with them and help raise money for so many in need during this difficult time.”

Lucci also shared her excitement on her Instagram account expressing: “We’re getting the fans and cast back together!!! Join us on Thursday, February 11 at 8pm for “ABC Daytime: Back on Broadway”—a fabulous online event revisiting seven years of singing, dancing and plot twists, featuring your favorite ABC Daytime stars. And it’s all to help Broadway Cares support our friends and neighbors who are struggling during this pandemic. Watch the stream at
broadway-cares.org, to join the fun! I hope to see you there!”

So excited to hear about the ABC Daytime Back to Broadway event? Let us know in the comment section, and check out the announcement from The View’s Whoopi Goldberg below.

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All My Children

Eva LaRue Reveals COVID-19 Diagnosis

During former All My Children, B&B and GH star, Jacob Young’s podcast, Real Conversations with Jacob Young, he welcomed his good friend and former Pine Valley cast mate, Eva LaRue (Ex-Maria, AMC, and Celeste, Y&R).

At the very top of the episode, LaRue revealed she and her daughter Kaya tested positive for Covid-19.  She shared, “We thought we had dodged a bullet, but sure enough, on New Year’s Eve, we both tested positive.”

“Oddly enough,” she goes on to say, “I really feel like we’ve been so sick of being scared to death of the invisible monster underneath the bed all last year, always looking over our shoulders.”  Eva added, “Nobody knows which one they are. Are they someone who’s going to survive it or succumb to it? Or have residual effects? All we can do is pray for the best.”

 

However, LaRue has been trying alternative methods of helping her with Covid-19 via IV treatments.  “I’ve got this amazing integrative doctor who I’ve been working with for a long time, and I know a lot of people are like, ‘No, we only do Western medicine,’ and that’s fine, I love Western medicine… but integrated medicine and Western medicine have to go hand in hand, in my opinion. Because, I just feel like, we need to open our minds to what is new and what is out there.”   So because of that, Eva has chosen to receive these treatments to hopefully starve off any long term effects of Covid.

In addition, Eva told Young she has hopes for the new primetime All My Children reboot that is in the works:  “I have my fingers crossed that they’ll be doing something with this new Pine Valley show.”   Remember, the Santos family and the Kanes are said to be the epicenter of the revival, so perhaps LaRue will be a guest-star on it, since she is also close friends with two of the EP’s, Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley, AMC) and Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo, AMC)!

Send your well-wishes to Eva and her daughter, Kaya and let us know would you love to see LaRue on the ‘Pine Valley’ primetime reboot?  Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Primetime Reboot “Pine Valley” in the Works at ABC from Kelly Ripa & Mark Consuelos and Andrew Stearn

Huge news that could bring back a new updated version of daytime’s All My Children to primetime!

ABC is eyeing a revival of Agnes Nixon’s long-running beloved series that ran for 41 years on the network and then saw an online reboot from Prospect Park that lasted only one season.

According to Deadline, former AMC stars Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley) and Mark Consuelos (Ex-Mateo) will executive produce along with Andrew Stearn and Agnes Nixon’s son, Robert Nixon.

 

The series is currently in the early stages of development, but what has been revealed is: the reboot will be written/executive produced by Leo Richardson (Katy Keene, Star), and it will center on a young journalist with a secret agenda who comes to expose the dark and murderous history of a town named Pine Valley only to become entangled in a feud between the Kane and Santos families. The series explores all the secrets that come with the Kane and Santos family names.

In the new incarnation, Pine Valley, will feature a new generation of characters and some old favorites.  As of this moment, no original cast members have deals, but the plan would be to have them make appearances, plus Ripa and Consuelos could also make a cameo.  Of course, many are already pondering if Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) might actually be a mainstay on the new primetime series; since the Kanes are one of the core families in the reboot.

Photo:ABC

Pine Valley plans to continue the original series’ tradition of tackling difficult social issues of our time and being inclusive, which the show was known for under the iconic Agnes Nixon’s storytelling.

Of note is that Stearn is also a lifelong fan of AMC and has been the driving force behind the reboot.  In fact when he was deciding between ABC Signature and one other studio for an overall deal, he chose ABC Signature because it was going to allow him to pursue his dream of rebooting All My Children.  It was then he started tracking down the rights to the soap.  As soap fans know, the rights to AMC reverted back to ABC after Prospect Park’s online version fell apart.

Later, after meeting with a number of writers to helm Pine Valley, Stearn went with Richardson, who had worked on the British soap EastEnders in his native Britain. Stearn also got on board the estate of Agnes Nixon, with son Robert Nixon joining the project as an executive producer.

So what do you think of “Pine Valley”, the All My Children primetime reboot being in development?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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