Over the last several years, soap opera fans have witnessed a few attempts at creating a new online destination where they are offered a mix of the old and the new, familiar fan favorites, and exciting new programming all rolled into one go by the wayside.
Now comes exciting news this week that formidable, and talented writer Meg Kelly (formerly co-head writer of Days of our Lives and As the World Turns) and marketing entertainment guru, and Broadway producer Joseph Craig, have formed a very intriguing and exciting partnership together with Conklin-Intracom. Upcoming digital destination: SudsvilleTV.com.
SudsvilleTV.com is set to offer up an original soap, an original soap opera talk show and game show, and ancillary programming that fits solidly with the demographic of the die-hard, passionate, and fun-loving soap fans. We caught up with the Meg and Joseph to get some insight, Intel, and to get their thoughts on their hopes, their programming, and what users that come to the Sudsville TV experience might find!
On Wednesday, Sudsville TV.com launched its sign-up page, where fans will be able to have access to more direct detail on the programming, its stars, and the network’s progress. Here’s what Meg and Joseph shared with On-Air On-Soaps about their new venture!
Meg, fill us in on your original soap, and the concept behind it?
MEG: First, I want to say that I love story, and story structure. There are all kind of soaps like that, and they are all family-driven dramas, and so I just started from that premise. We are going to tell this in 40 episodes, with the first season being 10 episodes with a season ending cliff-hanger. We’re going to have a beginning, middle, and end to the story. We have some great daytime and nighttime actors who love the scripts, and are very interested in becoming involved and being part of the series, and we will be giving out casting announcements in the near future. The basic premise is to tell dramatic stories about two families, and have a lot of great plot twists. We all love characters that we love to watch going through hell, and then coming out ahead. This story is about two families, who are living in which once was a New England fishing village, now reincarnated as a summer vacation destination.
Joseph, how did you use your marketing and audience expertise to create SudsvilleTV.com?
JOSEPH: I have used all the information that I gathered from Nielsen, and my own company, and I have used that information for creating the shows for this audience. Meg created the big soap, which is brilliant, and I created the 16 ancillary shows we are building around it. The soap opera audience is also a very valuable and often under-appreciated group that we want to deliver great programming to.
What are your plans on how you are going to shoot the soap? Exteriors and interiors … on a set …? And where?
JOSEPH: We are not shooting web-style at all. It’s being shot like nighttime television.
MEG: We are looking to shoot in the Tri-State area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
What are the plans for the roll-out of the programming on the SudsvilleTV.com platform?
JOSEPH: The ancillary shows are building up to Meg’s soap opera, and just like Netflix and Hulu, we’re programming it that if you would like to tune in on Monday night – two of our shows will be released – one from 8:00-8:30PM, and one from 8:30PM-9PM. However, once it’s on the platform, you can watch it anytime you want, but we are programming Monday through Thursday evenings – two shows – two half hours shows. The soap opera talk show A.M. Sudsville is being released every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9am.
Tell me more about A.M. Sudsville!
JOSEPH: A.M. Sudsville has three hosts, and they are talking about what happened on the latest daytime and primetime soaps, and what the latest positive gossip is, and who wore what where. They discuss what is coming up on the soaps, show clips, and they will do interviews with soap stars, etc. It’s that normal mix you would expect from a Kathie Lee and Hoda of The Today Show. These hosts are not snarky, and their chemistry is through the roof. It will be produced like every other talk show out there, but with this soap opera bent to it.
Your partnership with Conklin-Intracom … how did that come about?
JOSEPH: Sudsville TV is going to be a state of the art platform that is being built right now as we speak. Conklin-Intracom are awesome partners. They came to us, and they said, “We’re looking for content,” and it just so happened that at the same time we were looking at building something like this. The timing could not have been more perfect.
Meg, what about the other shows on the platform? Will you be writing those as well?
MEG: I am going to be writing them with a mix of Emmy-winning writers from primetime and daytime. The majority are daytime writers, and it’s a small, but very talented team!
What can you tell me about what kind of shows fans can expect to see?
JOSEPH: There will be a comedic-reality show, and there is another reality series which has stories that are amazing. There is a soap opera game show called The Amazing Soap Trivia Challenge, which will be hosted by former Guiding Light star Michael O’Leary (Rick), which is a trivia show, and then there is a second game show in a different vein.
What are you looking at as your premiere date? When do you think realistically, if all goes as planned, the shows might start to live on the platform?
MEG: We are looking to launch with the ancillary programming in late fall. We want people to sign-up through our website, which goes live today. We encourage people to come and sign-up. We will let them know what is going on through previews, promos, updates, and news, as we release names of our actors and writers who are joining the team, and shout-outs from the set as we lead to the launch of the platform. The fans will not be in the dark, and they will not be guessing. They will know exactly what is going on. This is being built out in a very organic way with the fans. They are a part of this. We have a facebook page and Twitter (@sudsvilletv) page we launched, as well! This concept in our head is really a neighborhood, because there are all these daytime fans that go to different places – but we are saying there will be one place with all of these people you love, and all these news sources you are familiar with. We will be connected with them, and they will be connected with us, and let’s just create this world. It’s like, “Come in and play,” rather that just putting up content to watch. We are also trying to create an experience for them, and not only for them to see original content, but for them to participate with it.
A bit about you two: Meg, you have been co-head writer for Days of our Lives and As the World Turns working alongside soap scribe and novelist Hogan Sheffer. What was your takeaway from that?
MEG: I came away from the whole experience of liking the soap audience, and they are fun, and they are really rewarding to write for.
Joseph, are you a fan of the soap genre? I am sure the fans want to know! (Laughs)
JOSEPH: Such a huge fan! My grandma used to watch The Young and the Restless, and you had to be quiet when the show came on! (Laughs) My soap viewing goes way back to the old days of Y&R when Jamie Lyn Bauer (Laurie), Thom Bierdz (Phillip IV), and David Hasselhoff (Snapper) were on the show! Y&R was my whole thing from start to finish! That show was so well-plotted.
So, what do you think about the concept of SudsvilleTV.com? Excited to hear a new soap, new soap talk show, and game show are on the way? What do you think about Meg and Joseph’s comments, and their plans as the platform heads towards an exciting launch towards the end of 2015? Share your thoughts below, and make sure to sign-up to get up-to-the-minute updates on the latest from SudsvilleTV.com!