In a report and perspective from Peter Bowes in the L.A. bureau, he spoke with among others, Mal Young the producer behind the British soap hits, EastEnders and Coronation Street and Robert Thompson a professor in pop culture at Syracuse University. Here are some excerpts!
Mal Young is currently in Los Angeles developing a soap opera for primetime US TV, and details that Americans are yearning for more dramas about real life. “One of the shows that I’m developing out here is to tap into that. A British-style soap opera, with real people, real issues, working class blue collar families and not the Dallas and Dynastys and the Desperate Housewives.” Young believes US viewers would buy into a Coronation Street or EastEnders set in small town America. “I think they’re ready to go on story-telling journeys in drama and see themselves. We haven’t seen the demise of the soaps. We’ve seen the demise of a certain type of them but as a machine, as a business, a cost model, they’re so effective as long as they’re done with a great heart and they’re relevant to the audience. I think they’re ready to go on story-telling journeys in drama and see themselves.”
Professor Thompson offered up his thoughts on the the fractured daytime landscape: “The future of the daytime-type soap opera is not in the daytime. That ship has sailed and I think they are going to be gone pretty soon. However, I think there is a possibility, especially in the new economics of television that the telenovela model, the five days a week, cheaper budget kind of thing could at some time be tried in this country and work.”