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38 April 26th, 2011 EXCLUSIVE: Former Soap Producer of canceled soap speaks out on state of genre, fans & industry reactions and life post-daytime!!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

On-Air On-Soaps received a call from a former soap opera producer of a canceled network soap who wanted to remain anonymous, but wanted to convey to us in an exclusive interview his thoughts after the heartbreaking decision of ABC to cancel both All My Children and One Life to Live at the same time. The producer offered his insider perspective on what ABC might have done differently to try to save the two soaps. In addition, he chats about what goes on behind the scenes of a canceled series, understanding life in the workplace after a career in soaps, and tries to make sense of the ‘blame game’ that he feels is currently running rampant through the genre at different levels.

You have been watching fans reactions and the reactions in the media and by former and current soap industry professionals. As a former soap producer, want do you want to instill to our readers?

PRODUCER: The minute the rumor mill started about AMC and OLTL, and ABC was doing their half-assed response, I knew that there was more validity to it then the normal cancellation rumors.  I did not however expect both shows to be gone. I admit I was a little shocked and obviously devastated for the daytime community and the fans. And a lot of my sympathy went to friends who I know and everyone who worked behind the scenes, because having been in their position, and trying to get work outside the genre, I know the difficulties it is to get jobs with a soap opera stigma attached to it. I have the opportunity to meet with some great people, and when I do have the opportunity to meet, I think they understand what my skill set is, but just as a random piece of paper,  I am just to them a soap opera producer. Just like that sort of second class citizen theory of soap actors, which has been out there for such a long time. It is a bit worse for the people behind the scenes, as they see you as the bastard step-children of scripted television.  Obviously, that transition is extraordinarily difficult as I am learning.

So seeing all the pushback and the anger, frustration, and people coming out of the woodwork providing commentary or thoughts on the cancellations of OLTL and AMC, what is going through your mind?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PRODUCER: Well, the reason I contacted you was that I had read Sara Saedi’s blog post on your site. I was reading some of the comments on your site that fans had posted.  And, I was like, ‘You know, everyone wants to play a blame game at this point.’  And, I understand that.  I wanted to play a blame game with my show. But the thing is, these shows have been dwindling in 20 years in audience.  I can remember when I started at my show; it was shortly before a pick-up.  People were saying we would be closed down. One of our hair people said, “I have been working here for 25 years and every day since I have been here they are saying the show is going to be canceled.” So, I always kept that in my mind. But now, audiences have proven that reality television is a viable option and a cheaper options to all scripted audience, not even just soap operas. Now the networks have another option that has the ability to make money, and if it doesn’t, they haven’t put that much money in the bank, to feel like they have lost the money.  This is the time now for the fans of the remaining four shows, and I would like to think that there is some sort of reprieve if possible for AMC and OLTL, but I don’t believe that is true, unfortunately, but I would love to be wrong.   But there are now four shows left, and if fans want them to be around, they have to prove their worth that they are still a viable options. Every one needs to stop the negative press. It has bothered me for years.  I have spoken my mind about it before to everyone at my former show.  I had such frustration with the soap press about the constant criticism of the genre.

So you feel the press should be held accountable and are partly responsible for the dismantling of the soap genre?

PRODUCER: If I just read Sara’s blog and would have called it a night, that would have been that, but I contacted you because I have known you to be fair.  And, I think there is always a place for constructive criticism. You are in the mass media, so you are subject to it. However, it has bothered me that the soap magazines, which only existed because the soaps are on the air, would be so negative too. I can’t imagine the soap mags are going to want to keep their publications around to cover just four shows. They are going to have to evolve them into something different. The soap press and the unions are also part of the death of scripted television as a whole.  This is a dying industry. It is no longer what it was. And if you want to have a job and an acting gig, and I think a lot of actors have learned this, you can be expendable unless you are willing to take a pay cut. The more the soaps are lambasted for things that are out of their control by their own press, it is sad.  And you can expect them not to last, and then more fans tune-out! You know, I would tune-out if every time I picked up a magazine, I was reading, “Well this show sucks, because A to Z is wrong.”

It is also so ironic that the mainstream press picks up stories when the soaps are canceled but never during the tenure of their years on the air!

Courtesy/ABC

PRODUCER: Our soap could not get covered by anybody in the mainstream, but the minute we were canceled we were on the nightly news, and we were on the front page of the New York Times.  That is the thing; it is really up to the fans to keep the other four shows going. We all know that each of those has renewal pick-ups. But those contracts will mean nothing when they are up in two years, unless the fans are supporting them and behind them. And that was what really inspired me from Sara’s blog. Any network in television because they own the shows, had a vested interest in making those shows a success, and ABC tried. They put those actors on Dancing with the Stars, they did fan events, and they brought in movie stars, and that whole list of things that fans said they wanted and clamored for… they did them, and in the end it did not make a hill of a difference. At the end of the day it’s a business.  I am not defending Brian Frons, certainly, but I am sure they probably said to him if he wouldn’t cancel them, they would hire somebody else who would.  And his job could go away too, just like Barbara Bloom’s went away, because there will be no need for him. So you want to please your boss, but it was his job to make sure he did what they wanted him to do, if he wanted a job.  So, that played a role in it, too. Everyone mocks product placement, but if that is going to keep your show on the air, and you have to deal with a minute of ridiculousness, what’s worth it? It bothers me when I read the comments on your post on Sara’s blog saying it was all lip-service because it is not, because if anybody tried, I say it was ABC.

What do you think ABC could have done differently in the way they canceled both soaps at one time to make way for The Chew and The Revolution?

PRODUCER: I think they should have put only one of those new shows on and proven their worth. I understand because of the time blocks there are problems with that.  A lot of what I have read is a lot of the affiliates are going to take that Oprah hour and make it another hour of their local news.  So what I think is they should have put one of those shows on and put OLTL and AMC into half hours, and see how that did.  I have always thought that for soaps, because the way we live our lives now, an hour a day is just too much.   These are things that the audience doesn’t know, or the press doesn’t know, but if we aired repeats it’s expensive. Flashbacks for instance are expensive. If those actors are not on the show anymore you have to still pay them. If there is music and anything before the late 90’s at the earliest, the music is married to the tape. So unless you own these shows, it’s a costly endeavor. It’s the same thing with weddings and funerals on the soaps and to be a glorified extra.  I am part of two Unions and I am not criticizing them, but the rates for Union things are ridiculous, just the minimums. I don’t even mean the negotiated ones, just the minimums. Why are we doing these reality shows? Because you don’t need a Union camera person on location.  Look at Jersey Shore! Those people made nothing their first season and now they are making six-figure paychecks and are a proven commodity.  The audience is proving that this stuff is viable. I don’t want to blame them, but they are proving to the broadcasters that we can put on schlock TV, and you’ll come. If they had proven that fifteen years ago, our soap would have been gone then. Now you have to prove that the four soaps left on the air, are important enough for you to keep them. And that is by tuning in, getting your friends to tune in or whomever, writing a letter every week to the network, something. . I don’t think it’s about reinventing the genre. And I think the late 90’s and 2000’s were all about what we can do to reinvent the genre. I never understood when people would say, “How do we reinvent this?” I would go, “You don’t. You go back to why it was successful in the first place.”  These are jobs and livelihoods and families, we are talking about.  That is a hard loss and it will be hard for anyone who has been in the soap industry for any length of time, to be seen as viable in other mediums.

Do you think the genre has evolved itself enough to do certain things to save themselves?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

PRODUCER: One of the things that still frustrated me in this genre is the inability to evolve in terms of staff, and people and writers. For example: I think some of GH’s darkest hours were the Megan McTavish years, and I think some of GL’s were the Megan McTavish years, and I think some of AMC darkest hours were the Megan McTavish years. Then I read somewhere that Brian Frons was courting Megan McTavish to come back, and I thought, really?

What were the stages you went through, as a producer, when you were told your soap was canceled?

PRODUCER: First, there was the initial shock. Then when you come into work the next day, and we still had to get product out. So we did not change anything the first week or two. Nothing changed in terms of story or script. Meanwhile, the executive producer and the writers had to lock themselves in a room for a couple of day’s straight to map out the end of the show.  It was probably a month before you see it in the scripts, and before you see the foundations of things. The other thing was; that in our personal meetings we talked about who we wanted to come back before the end of the series, and things we wanted to accomplish before we finished.  I know each of us were asked to write down five characters we would like to see come back to the show before the end of its run. I did not get angry until the show was over. My anger came from a place of that we could have been better. We never should have let the show get to where it got in order to pull the plug, and there are a lot of politics behind that, and that was a hard thing for me.

Did your soap pull collectively together for the final months of the show?

PRODUCER: I am so happy that in the last six months of that show we came back together again, and it reminded me of the place I started working at years ago.  I have been told this was not the case of another recently canceled show.  We knew we can’t change this, but we are going to go out like a big family reunion. Having those memories to look back on is nice. Everybody came through and pulled their weight and rejoiced what we had accomplished instead of playing a blame game.

So, where do you think we all go from here to save what is left of the soap opera?

PRODUCER: I have no opinion of Brian Frons, one way or the other, as I have never met the man. At the same time, I do believe he hung in there behind these shows as long as he could. Look at Les Moonves comments after GL and ATWT were canceled, “The strong will survive.”   He pretty much wrote the death sentence for daytime back then, and Barbara Bloom, I don’t think she chose to go because the soaps kept her viable.  I am sure the same thing is true for Brian. It is a business and ultimately the whole world is built on capitalism. So when things prove that they are not going to make money, but they can make money with something extraordinarily cheaper, you would be silly not to explore it. Does it make it any less heartbreaking? No, it’s awful, nobody wants it to happen. When NBC is proving that repeats of the Real Housewives is working for them in the fourth hour of the day, and one of the most watercolor shows on television, they are proving that lower production costs makes sense. Everything is viral today, it is hard when you’ve been there and you know how hard these producers, writers, actors, and production staff work. AMC was shooting eight episodes in five days.  I have seen it. And everybody thinks that the soap actors can’t handle it. Whether it’s good or not, it’s a different story.  The soap actors are worth their salt. Fans need to actively be tuning in to save their shows, and not after the rumor mill has started, because it’s already a done deal.

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  1. leah says:

    i couldn’t read all of the article so i may be speaking out of turn. How the heck is it media fault the soaps are cancelled? The media was not sitting behind the desk micro managing. I blame Frons. I blame Disney. I blame ABC.

    The final and best joke will be if NBC picks up one life to live and puts it on behind its major soap. It will be unstoppable… and i hope ABC folds…

    ABC went into a tizzy because they were losing Oprah… why then does stupid Frons add to the chaos by cancelling as the Philadelphia inquire put it the TENT POSTS of ABC day time. He should of left everything alone and replace Oprah with something else.. But no he just had to wield his murderous serial killer power. Why not cancel Rachel Ray. I honest find it hard to believe people watch her… and the View.. hm mm that could stay… Kelly and Reggis… well that is an awful show.. it stopped being good when Kelly started reminding me of Kathy Gifford. Now don’t let me start talking about who wants to be a millionaire… I guess the only reason that is still on the air is because Reggis was its father… Money talks bull shit walks… I would love to see how and where all these shows stand up against each other… I think more people tune in for the soaps then the other none sense…
    Not only that If ABC has been cooking the books on one thing – Why the hell should we believe them about other things. They tell their share holders one thing and the fans something else…. so which one is true.. ABC Disney- has just proved they are thieves and liars. Soaps are like apple pie , baseball and football.. its American baby… And Disney has no clue- or care… Time to fire the two heads at Disney so poor Walt Disney will stop spinning in his grave…..

    Reply

    Lilly replied

    They only way that NBC could air One Life to Live is if ABC sells it to them, so why would ABC be mad about this. Check out Days of Our Lives ratings, they are plummeting,so how could it help One Life to Live, when their ratings are worse than One Life’s? After seeing how poorly Days of Our Lives is Doing, why would NBC waste money on another expensive soap?

    Reply

    leah replied

    oLTL is not an expensive soap u are thinking about AMC and GH. Not only that the actors can act really good and the writing is top notch.. this week OLTL is ranked 2 tide with B and beautiful… OLTL is also filmed in New York not California.. I am not clear why you called OLTL an expensive soap? They always come in under budget and has the smallest budget of the three abc soaps..
    And not only that OLTL is not DOOL…. our actors can actually act and on top of that the writing is excellent. If Oltl were to precede or follow Y&R it would be a powerful combination.. the loyal fans would follow… abc at this point has pretty much screwed its self…. Abc will be pissed off when they realize the fans are going to follow the soaps. Abc day time is run by Frons.. Frons hates soaps. ABC/ Disney is following this mans directives thinking he knows what he is doing… check out the ratings…

  2. Leigh Schinaia says:

    While I agree with this “producer:” that it is a business, and they do need to make money. I do not agree that he implied the fans let these soaps down. Perhaps if they knew they were in trouble people would have rallied before it was too late, but then no one knew! It is not up to fans to save a show, it’s up to us to support a show, and tell you what we want different. Guess what? the writers and producers don’t listen. Fans try to get their voices heard and are shot down like they don’t matter more and more, so people lose interest and tune out.

    If maybe they actually listened to what their public wanted, the remaining 4 would do better. I have grown up with soaps and it is a sad day when after 45 yrs they are gone. I feel for all the crew, and it is a mess. But if ABC wants to buy into the drivel of reality TV to save money, that is their problem. When Jersey Shore does better because it is cheap, manufactured junk, it’s not a win. It’s a lose.

    People in general need to stop watching mindless non-sense, and in that state rally behind their shows, but the shows also need to listen. It’s a business, but it also needs to be a give and take relationship. If you want our attention, give us what we want.

    Reply

    TJ Smith replied

    It is because Brian Frons and Anne Sweeney wanted them to fail, that is why they came out and said the soaps were in good standing, instead of coming out and saying “hey, we need help.” They are liars through and through and soap fans do not forget.
    Also, I am wondering why on earth, they are STILL using the Nielson rating system, we all know that more people watch than what is taken from the rating system. It’s time to step into the 21st century, people. There also needs to be some kind of agreement between the unions to air old episodes, there are enough soap epis to fill three Titantics and every soap fan I know is chomping at the bit to watch them completely and not just clips on youtube. They don’t care, they want easy money.

    Reply

  3. Lilly says:

    I could only make it through the first five questions, because my eyes were about to roll out of my head. This ex producer is perfect example of why the attitude’s of those who work in soaps is the main reason for their downfall. He and others took for granted that people would watch whatever they produced, and wouldn’t expect them to produce quality in return for being loyal viewers. People watch soaps because they want to, and not because they have to. It is a commitment to watch a show five times a week, and people don’t expect to be rewarded for that commitment by having producers not care about storyline continuity, degrading women, or refusing to produce diverse shows.

    Maybe, if those who produced and wrote these shows had more respect for them and their audience, there wouldn’t be a stigma attached to writing for soaps. Maybe if, instead of having an exclusive clique of writers and producers, where the same producers get hired over and over again, and where it’s hard for new writers, especially minority writers, to break into the business, the genre would not have become stale, and people wouldn’t have given up on the genre.

    The people who produced these shows don’t have any respect for the genre, so how can they expect anyone else to respect it. And if this is the ex producer that I’m thinking about, he couldn’t even be bothered to watch his own show,, to make sure the stories made sense, remained true to characters, and that the writers weren’t contradicting themselves from one story to the next or within the same storyline. People are going to get invested in a show or characters when the characters are inconsistent, or change personalities in order to fit the plot. The characters, not the plot should drive the story, and be the reason why people remain loyal to the show.

    And really, he’s upset about negative press or comments by fans? Does he actually believe that by ignoring things that people can’t see how bad the genre has gotten. Soaps have bad reputations, but they’ve earned those reputations. For years, the soap press and viewers ignored the lack of diversity in front of and behind the camera, the misogyny, actors who can’t act, but who were hired because of their physical appearance, while actors of color or older actors who can act were marginalized or underused, the lack of consistency of the characters, and emphasis on plot and stunts instead of focusing on character driven stories. The result of this is that the shows became worse, and now the genre is pretty much dead. This ex producer should get over himself and fully take responsibility for the part that he played.

    Reply

    Leigh Schinaia replied

    I could not agree with you more, this is why they are dieing. They refuse to adapt to today’s culture, and are frozen in time. They are in a bubble, and will not change stories to fit what fans want, or even the actors they need to step up their skills. If they cared they would know we tell them often that they need to change, but they never do.

    Therefore, they get cancelled. I am so tired of not being treated with respect as a woman, and as an intelligent person. Just because we watch soaps does not mean we have no brain, and thus should be written to as intelligent individuals.

    I would like to be thought of enough to put in the thought to actually write a story that a 12 year old could not laugh at. Write for the people, and maybe they will watch!

    Reply

    Brooke replied

    Very well said, Lilly. From your words, to the ears of those behind the remaining soaps.

    Reply

    Edgar replied

    I wholeheartedly agree. There likely are numerous factors that contributed to the cancellation of all of these shows in the past few years. In my opinion, a primary one is the horrific writing that is taking place. This producer doesn’t give that solid writing much importance. He encourages us to watch the remaining shows. This viewer has watched Y&R since the beginning and I continue to do so to do my part to keep it on the air. Frankly, viewing it these days is NOT an enjoyment but a chore given how lousy the writing is.

    I have some idea who this unnamed producer is. If it is who I believe, I also watched his show for decades and the writing for it was very bad for that show’s final years. It is no wonder that he wouldn’t stress the importance of good writing when he clearly didn’t know its value when he was employed!

  4. Dani says:

    Sorry but I do not buy into the media playing a role in the cancellation of soaps. That is absolute bull. The soap press and fans who post comments on the web or through letters to the magazine voice their displeasure about certain storylines or pairings that just do not work. If they were so powerful than you would think that those storylines or pairings would change but they don’t. The powers that be at the networks and executives on the shows do not listen to the fans or soap press so that is bunk. Those two P&G shows were cancelled because P&G wanted out of the soap business, period. Whether this producer worked on GL or ATWT they should be blaming their executive producer for how absolutely crappy both shows looked and the idiotic creative choices they made to end these long running shows. Sorry but I do not think it is helpful to grin and bear it when these remaining four shows basically suck. I will not waste time watching stupidity just to ensure that these shows continue. No instead of chastising the negative press or fans they should just get their “stuff” together and make shows that are watchable for whatever time period they have left.

    Reply

  5. mike says:

    ABC and Frons made a mess of of this whole thing. Their lack of support of the shows the last few years led to a ratings downturn. Their holding on to a rating system that is no longer viable is a crimminal diservice to all shows and their fans. Their stupidity of cancelation of both shows at one time shows how out of touch they are. If they had canceled All My Children first, pointing to their steep decline, then waited a year for One Life to Live they would not have had as big a public relations nightmare that they wound up in.

    Reply

    Leigh Schinaia replied

    Also, they moved AMC from NY to LA and up rooted those actors and crew to make more money last year, and to have more space. And yet will not give them more time to get settled? If you put that much effort into making AMC move and go into HD, then at least have the decency to let them continue on for a few more years. ABC has blinders on and think GH should be there only soap, and screwed the rest of their soaps.

    Reply

    leah replied

    ps.. added thought. Dool is not major in the ratings… Y&R B&B are the majors. because of ratings…

  6. mememe says:

    Great article. I appreciate the person’s honesty. He/she kind of lost me with the union bashing — everyone’s mantra is bash the unions — ugh.

    In a way, I feel he/she is blaming the fans of the soap operas for their demise. But that is a wrong-headed assessment. I still watch a soap opera, the quality of the writing is uneven at best. I stick around because the actors on the soap are exceptional and their performances make silk out of a sow’s ear many times. You know what I’m thinking when I watch an episode? I’m thinking, “Gosh, I hope ________ decided to apply him/herself and write something good!” I shouldn’t be worrying if the head writer, who IS talented, decided that this time of the year isn’t important and has thrown on screen repetitive storylines. We the audience are BEGGING for better material, and yet TPTB would serve it up. Why should someone who is a casual soap opera fan tune in when it is a crap shoot as to whether the people in charge decided to apply themselves and write good material for the audience. To me, it’s a matter of quality, period.

    It’s like I’m damned if I do or don’t. There’s the argument on one side that says if I watch, I am rewarding mediocrity and telling TPTB to serve up more of the same. But then we have this person saying if I don’t watch, then I am at fault for the genre dying. It isn’t complicated how soaps could have saved themselves. They could have thought out of the box when it came to storytelling. They could have tried to keep up with the times and apply a bit of realism to their shows. They could have tried to add balance to shows by spreading the wealth storyline wise to all characters. They could have challenged us as viewers. I want to be challenged. I want to feel like someone appreciates me as a viewer and as an intelligent human being.

    Right now would be the PERFECT opportunity for a soap opera to try to aim higher, try to serve up something that will feed viewers hungry for something, I don’t know, deep, epic — something that shows the audience that they are respected as viewers. I’m not talking about bringing back vets or going back to ‘old fashioned soap opera.’ I’m talking about breaking out and charting a new course with relationships whether they be about family, friendship or romance. Why do we ALWAYS go with the same old, same old? It might fail, but since the genre is failing anyway, why not go for it? Sorry for the long post but I have felt this way for ages.

    Reply

    Lilly replied

    Amazing post.

    Reply

    Leigh Schinaia replied

    “To me, it’s a matter of quality, period.”
    Exactly, I felt the producer was blaming fans for the demise, which is probably why that soap died. If they put more effort into writing for fans, and as intelligent viewers, then they would have more fans! It’s about the quality, not quantity. We can tell you to stop shooting long hours, and treat the staff better. We can say what we want, but is there anyone to listen?

    Reply

  7. Jason says:

    The only thing that is making sense is that these people are not wanting the soaps on anymore. The fans have said differently.

    Reply

  8. john says:

    Interesting interview. I did agree with this person’s point about how the industry recycles the same people who do horribles jobs. Megan McTavish is one and the current AMC head writers and executive producer are others. New blood and new ideas are needed to stay viable.

    Reply

  9. Alison says:

    I think, if anything, the soap press (SOD, SOW, SID) have been way too KIND to the soaps over the years. I can’t remember the last time I read a negative thing in them – except for the feather-light smack of a “thumbs down” for a storyline occassionally. There should have been real in-depth reportage about ATWT and GL cancellations instead of the “we’ll miss you!” detritus that littered their pages. I mean, the whole ending of ATWT sucked donkey balls and was a perfect example of why the show got cancelled – did anyone in the mainstream soap press call them out on that? NO. I only read criticism in online blogs. Bloggers being the only ones who don’t seemingly rely on press releases for their content. The mainstream soap press have just been glorified cheerleaders for years.

    Real, in-depth criticism (and attention paid to it by producers/writers) about what doesn’t work could have saved the already canceled soaps. Unfortunately it’s already too late for most of them. The writing is on the wall.

    Reply

  10. Soaps says:

    So let me get this straight, it’s the media’s fault and the fans’ fault that these shows are being cancelled?? LOL! And why be anonymous??

    Reply

  11. Teri says:

    My shows have been gone for a while now, I was a CBS baby and stayed that way for years. I read the article and really didn’t learn anything I didn’t know. I understand about the money, I understand about the unions I even understand the comments about the media (though I disagree to a certain extent ). What didn’t make sense to me were the comments about the fans. How are fans supposed to do anything when all that matters are a set of numbers based on a limited number of people who watch during a specific time of day? Did I forget to mention if you are over 49 it really doesn’t matter if you watch at all?

    There is a lot of blame to go around however I don’t feel the fans should carry much of it. We may not have been able to sit home and watch but we did everything we could to see our show. DVR the Internet, Soapnet (though there you have ratings issues as well). We modified our viewing habits so we were able to continue seeing our shows, but all of those changes didn’t count because the weren’t measures for those all important ratings.

    I have

    Reply

    Elizabeth replied

    So much WORD! I couldn’t agree more, Teri! How can the fans be responsible for the ratings (even when we are consistently watching our shows, but not live) when the views don’t count anyway? I used to VCR record ATWT & GL in college, then I updated to TiVo, and now DVR (I currently DVR AMC and have been for 2 years), but since I don’t have a Nielsen box, I don’t matter. It didn’t matter at all that I’ve been recording daily for many years and honestly, even if I did have one now, I can’t always watch soaps the same day, so those wouldn’t count, either! So sorry that I have a full time job from 8:00-5:00 M-F AND I’m a devoted soap fan! And for the record, I don’t know one person (and I know A LOT of people) who has a Nielsen box, so I guess nobody I know “counts” either. IOW, the “blame game” should absolutely not be directed towards the fans who support daytime soaps.

    Reply

  12. FormerABCFan says:

    I’m of the belief that the soap media was too kind. I didn’t see one interview asking Bob Guza why he made Ethan a Spencer instead of a Scorpio. Not one.

    And the reason ABC Daytime is a mess is because Brian Frons wanted that way. Ratings kept falling and he kept the same producers and writers. Why not get some fresh blood and hire someone new? They didn’t and the soap audience dwindled. People don’t want to watch crap. They want to watch good storytelling. That’s the problem.

    Reply

    leah replied

    I agree with you.. the people who are not abc soap fans are a bit on the clueless side.. they don’t understand we have been watching this train wreck for a while and we have been reading and understand what is going on.

    Frons wanted the soaps to fail.. If you watch the soaps you can see his hand in Amc in and GH.. and he has destroyed the soaps so he can Create something new. and all he has created was a mess…

    Reply

  13. Tricia says:

    Ok, so basically someone who doesn’t have the balls to come forward agrees with Sara Saedi who says they did everything, except take computers out of our homes so we wouldn’t be distracted. No surprise there. Sara’s and this cowards words are typical of the disrespect shown to soap fans. Brian Frons is the worst thing to happen to daytime, and I will forever believe that ABC hired him to purposely destroy the soaps. I said this two years ago, and I just see further proof that I am right. Just look at his history. Message boards for all three of ABC soaps have fans screaming for change, some for more years than I can count. Some say GH hasn’t been worth watching in more than five years, where is the romance, remember fans have been screaming for “love in the afternoon”, instead we get violence, a child shot in the head and in a coma for “years” (this is what GH said this week) really years, wonder where the hell I was? a toddler run down by his drunk grandfather, or the same recylcled stories over and over again, we used to get intrigue? instead the story is drawn out so long, by the time the conclusion is reached we’ve lost interest. We used to get sex (insinuated but sex still the same) now, we can’t get anyone anywhere near a bed. OLTL and AMC still uses its “over 40″ characters and I LOVE it. GH’s, Bobby Spencer is missing in action, since her granddaughter almost died, and her brother killed his “grandson” and her nephew donated “his” sons organs which Bobby could helped both Liz and Lucky since she herself had been thru it. Leslie Charleson has been moved to recurring. Yet fans have been screaming for GH to use its vets, to use its ensemble, instead its basically the Sonny, Carly, and Jason show. and I have said this before but to me it is the strongest proof that he did everything to support the decline, the liason/Jasam fan war. I’m not saying which side I come down on this, because it doesn’t matter. If GH played it right, it could’ve been ratings gold, both fan bases could’ve been satisfied, anyone remember Alan, Monica, and Rick? Luke, Laura, and Scotty, instead Frons/Guza pitted the fans against each other, and therefore against GH. The fact that Frons and Co. are doing everything opposite of what fans have been asking is proof that he purposely set out to destroy the soaps.

    Reply

    Just Saying' replied

    ITA not only were the message boards users ignored. I emailed Frons more than once about my dislike for the changes that were happening at GH. History was changing, the mob stories were taking over and being more graphic. core families being destroyed, charactors were becoming unrecognizable. I have never received one response from ABC nor Frons. No thanks for writing, no form letter. nothing! I felt like my thoughts and/feeling were not even important enough to acknowledge.

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  14. JR says:

    This seems to have the imprint of Killer Ellen Wheeler former EP of GL. Case in point, she alluded to only having 6 months to wrap…That is excatly what GL had after it was canceled in April of 09

    Reply

  15. J Samuels says:

    I liked it, he was honest. I hated the tone of what Saedi said, but I can tell that this person is coming from an honest place. And I mostly agree with him. Not that I believe the press should “whitewash” soaps, they have a duty to be objective. But I do believe that always concentrating on the negative doesn’t do any one any good. GH made the New York Post, of course it was bcuz they were lambasting the Jake S/L (and rightfully so) but I hope we get that same coverage for Luke’s intervention which I’m going to go out on a limb and say will be done excellently (we won’t, but a gal can hope).

    And I COMPLETELY agree with him that soaps don’t need to be revolutionized, but return to basics. Less is more, rebuild your base, and then expand.

    And I’m just going to assume that he was a producer for GL which makes me love him even more!! lol.

    Reply

  16. Maureen says:

    First, the points I agree with…ABC and Frons would have been smart to reduce both AMC and OLTL to half hour shows and introduced one new generic chatter show. I also agree that a writer like Megan McTavish did no favors for the soaps she was the head writer on as her specialty was always making the soaps very dark with little to no humor or romance…and specifically rape stories. And that’s why Frons pointedly hired McTavish…the rape of Bianca in order to avoid having to show same sex intimacy between Bianca and Lena at that time.

    Second, I also have to disagree with pointing a finger at soap fans and the soap press for the downfall of the soaps. Acting aside because 99 percent of all soap casts go above and beyond…the managing, writing and executing of the soaps have gone downhill over the years. It is surprising that in the 21st century the soaps have become less relevant than they were in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I think OLTL’s bullying storyline is just about the most socially in-touch storyline across the board regarding all the soaps at the moment. That is not a great record considering how many stories all six soaps are juggling. Soap fans and soap press cannot be blamed when yet again we are watching a story about switched babies and DNA results and wondering who the real parents are.

    Soap fans also cannot be blamed if the ratings system is outdated. Again, it is the 21st century and yet networks want us staying home and watching live in order to be counted. Hello…the soap fan is the customer…the viewer…the consumer…the one with the money that you want us to part with. The customer should NEVER be bending to the will of the one who wants our business. Along the way somehow, things have gotten backassward.

    But as a few people have already pointed out in the comments…there is little to no respect for the soap genre…starting with the network people who manage the soaps…and that lack of respect is also true about how they feel regarding soap viewers and soap actors. Yet, soaps have been the best training ground in the US for a steady stream of acting talent for decades. Decades. Where else would an up-and-comer like Josh Duhamel get a shot at working with someone along the lines of the late-great James Mitchell? And soaps have been the bread and butter for local channels and network prime time shows for decades. Yet it is the fault of the soaps, not that overall there is a change in how people watch shows across the board and how everyone is supposedly losing ratings. Only big egos with small minds would see the whole genre of soap operas…serial story-telling…as a dinosaur whose time has come.

    The true dinosaurs are the network executives who either do not want to or are incapable of changing and improving the status quo of the ratings system that misses the majority of us viewers who are out here and watching…as well as the content of stories the soaps are telling to keep the viewers they have as well as attract more viewers who want to connect with stories that are current and relevant.

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  17. Brooke says:

    I have no trust in anyone who refuses to put their name with their words. In fact, I am pretty sure this is Saara, again.

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    saaara replied

    Seriously?

    Reply

    Brooke replied

    Dead serious, sweetie. By the way, just how much DID Frons pay you to write that drivel on your blog?

  18. NoCBSWelfare4Writers says:

    This former producer’s refrain “Keep watching to keep remaining 4 soaps in air” is nothing short of ridiculous when you take into account that it is the HW/EPs who are trafficking in muck, writing and producing crap that make viewers CRINGE!! Stop placing the blame/responsibility on Fans and accept the fact that HW/EPs and others who decide what will air are the ones killing soaps today! Remember, If it sucks they will run! People like MAB, Guza and those who conveniently forget that they are writing for the Fans and not themselves are directly responsible for Shows being cancelled and the poor ratings. Hire real Writers and talented people–turn it around, for it is much later than these pampered crap peddlers think!

    Reply

  19. NoCBSWelfare4Writers says:

    Oy, former EP! Picture this. A town hires a chef. At one restaurant there is a vast case of food poisoning to the point where the restaurant has to close for ladk of customers. CHEF applies to the restaurant across the street which KNOWS of the fate of the last but they hire him anyway because he has “CHEF” written on his hat. Keep in mind this is a family restaurant people have been going to for years taking their children and grandchildren who grew up loving this establishment. They love the wait staff and the ambiance. CHEF prepares a dinner fit for Oscar the Grouch and tells the patrons if you don’t like it, there is something wrong with your palate. As what happened previously, all the patrons become ill and emergency treatment is sought for food poisioning , causing this restaurant to close and all. Frustratingly this pattern repeats throughout the other restaurants left in town until the Health Department threatens to close the last restaurant. The Mayor and City Council then hold a Meeting at Hospital where people are still recovering and chastize the citizens for being ill. They then plead to the townspeople to patronize the final remaining restaurant despite the fact that CHEF is still employed there and tells the patrons it is their fault the other restaurants closed!

    Now see how ridiculous your argument is to keep watching these shows that have thumbed their noses at viewers for years?

    Reply

  20. luregolden says:

    I am extremely, extremely happy that ATWT got axed in the Fall of 2010. If this annonymous producer is Chris Goutman of ATWT, then he has no one to blame but Jean Passanante and himself for the demise of ATWT. The Luke, Reid, and Noah ending on ATWT was the worst and most pathetic ending in the history of soaps. In fact the whole show was a total mess and had absolutely no backbone. Now that OLTL is cancelled, JP is out. She would have destroyed OLTL anyway with her stupid plots and writing. CG and JP should never find work in any sort of media. If they do, loyal fans are going to be disappointed and left shaking their heads all the time.

    Reply

  21. jbj says:

    To piggyback on some of the Nielsens comments, because that is something that has become a problem across the board with regards to scripted TV becoming crushed as an artform, I think that the reliance on focus groups to guide story lines is another failure on the part of soap producers. The most loyal viewers are that because they appreciate the way actors can create chemistry and make the stories work on screen. The job of the soap producer is to see how well it’s going and shape the show so that everyone is performing at their best. Instead, the new model is for strangers to see acting and stories completely out of context, to look at chem tests, and to say, yeah if I watched stuff like that, I’d probably like it. Forget a character’s history, or the loyalty of an actor or pairing’s fanbase…let’s let some random people decide. Why have four people have dynamic, complex interactions, where the actors feed on their characters’ histories, when we can simply isolate and rotate pairs every 12 months after the long term amnesia kicks in.

    Reply

  22. Janet says:

    Bull Crap ratings have not drop , don’t care what anyone says everyone i know watched the soaps faithfully and whoevever idea it was to cancel them should be tarred and feathered ifi want to watch a show on cooking i will watch the food channel when AMC and OLTL is off the Only show i will be watching on ABC will be General Hospital and when it goes off the air I will no longer watch anything on ABC or anything they are affliated with , have done cancelled plans to go to disneyworld have no need to go there now . I think All soap fans should boychott things to do with ABC i know my family is A lot of us that worked still recorded the shows and came home to watch them religously I am doing my research and making sure i don’t watch or buy anything that is related to them . Will only be watching general hospital and thats it . hope everyone will follow in my footsteps and let them see that the soap fans are still many

    Reply

  23. vicki says:

    I blame the ratings system. They have no clue how many people are really watching. Please give me a ratings box. I promise it will tell you that there are peopke watching scripted shows.

    Reply

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