In a very interesting post at TheBlowOff.com, Sara Saedi, the writer of the very the clever, What-If crossover series that aired on ABC.com and SOAPnet.com, and formerly a creative executive at ABC Daytime, offered her thoughts on the last several history making days in the world of soaps, which saw the demise of All My Children and One Life to Live as handed down by ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons.
In her new blog, Saedi elaborates at all the things she says ABC tried for their soaps, and then looked at what the network was up against, or, did not do to save their soaps. Here are some excerpts!
Saedi commented in her blog post, “I believe the network and specifically Brian Frons (President of ABC Daytime) have gotten a bum rap these last few days. In the time I was at ABC, we tried EVERYTHING to save the soaps and increase the ratings. We brought back legacy characters, we brought in younger characters in hopes of raising our teen and 18-34 demo, we cut costs, we executed high concept action driven storylines, we executed high romance emotionally driven storylines, we started a cable network so women could watch their soaps at night, we produced webisodes, we used CGI to raise production value, we did endless research to figure out what was working for viewers and what wasn’t, we went back to focusing on social issues, we went HD, we traveled all around the country so soap stars could meet their fans.We hired Latino actors to attract the telenovella viewers, we went more salacious in our narratives, we went more true to life in our narratives, we went multi-platform, we did shorter close ended story arcs, we sat in rooms for hours with writers and talked in great depth about every single character on each show and what their objectives were, we took risks, we played it safe, we sold an All My Children perfume in Wal-Mart, we published books “written by” our fictional characters, we killed off beloved characters, we brought back beloved characters from the dead, we even brought a movie star on General Hospital…and the ratings still didn’t go up.”
“Now, here are the things us execs did not do to save the soaps when I worked there: we didn’t dispose of computers and additional TV sets in people’s homes to get families back to one TV per household. (Teens and kids don’t watch soaps with their moms anymore, because they don’t have to— they have their own TVs in their rooms or computers to keep them company.) We also didn’t try to get women out of the work force and back into their homes to watch TV during the day. We didn’t confiscate every single DVR in every single house and destroy it. We didn’t put an end to cable TV and the 200+ channels soaps compete with, we didn’t hold Telemundo and Univision hostage and forbid them from airing telenovellas, we didn’t outlaw Reality TV or primetime shows that ripped off our format, and we didn’t create a time machine to take us back to the heyday of soaps in the 1980s. It’s been thirty years since the heyday, which means a lot of time for viewer fatigue. I love Modern Family, but if someone asked me if I wanted to watch it everyday for the next thirty years, I’d probably pass. It wasn’t the network that killed the soaps. It was the progression of time, technology, and competition.”
What do you think of Saedi’s remarks and commentary? Let us know!