Thursday, January 18, 2007

Daytime Soaps Have One Foot In The Grave

NBC's goofy daytime soap "Passions" is cancelled and will be gone by June. And the "Days Of Our Lives" contract is up in 2009 and NBC entertainment head Kevin Reilly says the news department is going to take over a chunk of daytime programming. Soaps cost too much money and just don't pull in the viewers anymore. Ratings have plummeted from even where they were just ten years ago. CBS has the relatively dominant lineup. Maybe if NBC pulls out of the soap business, that could help CBS (and ABC) survive for years to come. And with DVR and Tivo technology, even folks who aren't stay-at-home parents have no excuse for missing their shows. But soap operas are clearly on the ropes.


Anonymous said...

This might make me sound misogynistic...but man do I hate women.

OK, just kidding. But really, I don't think it makes me sound like a chaunivist to say that soaps came into being because at one point women didn't work nearly as much as they do now. Before terms like "housewife" or "homemaker" got replaced with "domestic engineer." Many women were home, and heck, what were the nwtworks supposed to do, put on a test pattern? Soaps didn't used to be nearly as expensive, generated decent revenue, allowed some actors to develop a following that would convince producers of prime-time product to take them on, like a minor-league baseball team. And people loved them in spite of their faults, cheap sets, wild plot lines, women are pregnant one year going on to fight their now-grown daughter for some the attention of some dude whose name sounds like a Land's End catalogue color (Flint, forget about Cobalt & Salmon, marry me!) But now, who's home during the day to watch soaps? Anyone who is home during the day either works night (and is catching up on their favorite prime-time shows during the day thanks to VCR, DVD-R and DVRs), OR they have kids, so they're watching Nickelodeon and Disney videos AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN...adults who ARE home and want some drama can turn into talk shows, who can provide a sweeps-week's worth of drama into a 15 minute segment...daytime soap operas just can't survive. Certainly not the only genre to be hurting, but IMHO, one of the hardest hit.

And of course, this will be true until one of them starts becomgin popular again, and everyone starts developing soap operas again.

Michael in New York said...

I agreed with everything you said -- especially your caveat at the end that said they would rise again, though never dominate the way they did. It's a perfectly viable format -- telenovelas are massively popular in the Latino world and they're just primetime soaps a la our daytime version. In the Uk, the two biggest shows year in and out are Coronation Street and Eastenders, two regular primetime soaps akin to our daytime fare. We just can't support four of them on all three networks. ONe network will prevail or they'll all push just one or two. But it's a perfectly valid genre, just like gameshows and variety shows, which should never have been gone from primetime for so long either.