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10 April 23rd, 2011 Michael Fairman on state of soaps, cancellations, & what fans can do!

Courtesy/Michael Doven Photography

On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman was asked by SoapTown USA for an interview with their online platform to get his impressions and thoughts on the state of the soap genre, the recent cancellations of OLTL and AMC, what fans can do and how fans are dealing with the loss. SoapTown also takes a look back to when Fairman started his career in soaps through the the tail end of it’s heyday, to it’s dwindling days of current times.

Here are just a few excerpts below, but make sure to read the entire interview at SoapTown USA for the context of these remarks below and more.

Fairman on what fans can do over losing AMC & OLTL other than boycotts or petitions: “When people ask me, ‘What can we do?’ The decision has been made. I want people to fight (this decision) but I want them to fight smart. The way to be smart is to NOT turn off One Life to Live, but tune in to the last nine months, because the show is going to be great. One way, to illustrate, to counter ABC’s decision-making is to tune in and make the ratings go way up! Show them, ‘We’re at a 3.5, look what you did!’”  We can pick up and celebrate what we have left, but right now, I think we’re all feeling a bit deflated. But you should still watch your shows. They’re still vital. What people really to want to see is good story. How are the writers going to structure the canvas? Who are we supposed to root for, I don’t know at times. You need people to root for. Fans want to see the characters they love. And then have things shaken up. We’re running out of time. I think everybody should feel that the clock is ticking.”

Courtesy/ABC

Fairman on of why televnovelas are scoring big ratings and American soaps are not : “They really capture the imagination right now of the Latin community. They’re over the top, they’re dramatic, and they feature beautiful people. All the stuff that soaps should be and it’s working in that market. And the telenovelas have a beginning, middle and end, unlike U.S. soaps which go on to infinity, unless you’re canceled! We’re stuck here in the States. It’s a fast food mentality. If I can see all my bitches, hunks and babes on these reality shows that cost a smidge to produce, why would the networks want to put on Days of our Lives when these shows are cheap and get more audience? That is what is going on through the networks minds. Many out there will say the serial format is your grandmother’s and it’s old, but you have to remember that soaps are passed down from generation to generation, which is why this is so horrible. It’s crushing. I asked people on my Twitter page, ‘What would you say to a programmer if you wanted to sell One Life to Live to them?’ The responses were amazing and well-thought out. One Life to Live was also under budget and lately has had some decent ratings, which makes this decision even more of a slap in the face to the intelligent One Life viewers.”

Fairman on how replacements series: talk-shows, game shows, vs soaps, and the network’s perceptions: “You have to understand, soaps are not the cash cow they once were, the advertisers are not clamoring to sign up, the ratings are down. When The Talk scores ratings equal to or better than As the World Turns, that’s a sign to networks execs that they’re doing something right and justifies their decisions, I think. As for game shows, there’s no emotional investment for viewers, again it’s an hour of fun or distraction but there is no heart. But we have to remember the networks are running that, a network which does need to be filled with all types of programming options for the farthest reach to the public. The bottom line is that soaps have validity, they comfort people, they’re part of Americana, and they bring social issues to life wonderfully when done correctly. They have attempted things that should be commended. Soaps can be used to help families, mothers, children that might be around during the day, or whenever they can tune-in. But why couldn’t soaps get back the audience they lost a decade or more ago? Part of the thing that failed was soaps needed to get back the audience that they lost and get new people in, and that’s one of the struggles they’ve had for several years. A lot has to do with the times we live in, working families, tons of options on channels, it has become a very difficult climb to get back up the mountain for soaps.”

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  1. kay killgore says:

    Michael, you are so right on. It does not stop th sadness in our hearts that something else has come to an end!

    Reply

  2. Doe says:

    Michael. Loved all your insights on the what, why , and how the soaps are being tossed aside for lesser programing. Obviously, besides us die-hard fans, no one else has an investment in years of dedicated and loyal soap watching. You know the soap industry better than anyone. You have covered it and shared your views for so long and I hope you will still have stories to tell and comfort us with your knowledge. Thanks for sharing with us, Michael. You are to be commended!

    Reply

  3. Days says:

    I have watched soaps sence I was 16 and now Im 63, I set with old people that are at home or in rest homes,we all love soaps,we laugh and cry and get mad as hell,but we love all our soaps,we want them to stay on free TV. Joanne

    Reply

  4. Kathy says:

    As a long-time fan (36 years) of “As the World Turns”, and a recent convert to ABC’s “One life to Live”, my heart goes out to all of you ABC soap fans. Those of us who lost our beloved ATWT – and before that Guiding Light – are still angry about the decision of CBS and Proctor and Gamble (both equally responsible for the demise of GL and ATWT) to cancel our 54-year old soap and replace it with an innane, irrelevant talk show for mommies – “creatively”named “The Talk” – hosted by Julie Chen (wife of Les Moonves, Head of CBS who just was rewarded millions in bonuses and compensation on top of his already obscene salary – probably enough to have paid for another year of ATWT) and her dimwitted panel of Hollywood sidekicks. (God help us if this crowd qualifies as capable of passing along parenting advise!) ABC soap fans: cheap-to-produce replacements like “The Talk” which now fills “As the World Turns” old time slot, as well as a remake of “Let’s Make a Deal” which replaced “Guiding Light”, are why AMC and OLTL are slated for cancellation. I honestly think that ABC execs took a look at the CBS model and saw that they also could unload a genre they just didn’t want to invest in and replace it on the cheap. On a personal note, I can only hope that if any of the hosts from “The Talk” on CBS (the pathetic blabfest replacement to Emmy-awarding winning “As the World Turns”) are presenters this year at the 2011 Daytime Emmy Awards to be shown on CBS, they will be greeted by stone-cold silence and absolutely NO applause. I would love to see pickets, protesting, and widespread support of the soaps at the 2011 Daytime Emmy Awards this year – just to let ABC, CBS, NBC, and advertisers know that soap fans may not be their “ideal” demographic, but we are loyal viewers who are committed to preserving our soaps and are more than and willing to switch channels, turn off the TV, or take our buying power elsewhere. (Ironically, as a “Boomer” my peers and I have money to SPEND and time to spend it – unlike the demographic these ill-informed idiots choose to target!) Protests may not have worked with CBS and Proctor and Gamble, but the anger and outrage I sense that is out there right now towards ABC is very strong and may actually make a difference in the end! (And I’ll be rooting for “As the World Turns” to win the 2011 Daytime Emmy because it deserves to, and just to stick it to CBS and Proctor and Gamble for axing this icon of daytime drama in the first place!)

    Reply

    CINDY replied

    I agree with most of what you said in your statement, even though The Talk has some good guests. Anyway, I started watching y&R, B&B,GH, Edge of Nt & OLTL,AMC when I was 10 yrs old with my Mom and sister. I began watching ATWT when I go married 20 yrs ago because my husband watched it.Then I got into GL. How upsetting it is to see our daytime stories disappear so quickly!!! 38 yrs I’m watching soaps, and it’s shocking to see what the networks are doing…Like hey have nothing else to do but cancel our daytime lives. I feel it’s my way of getting away into my other life and it relaxes me . i am part of their lives. I still tape them and watch 3 now..I loved it when I could take a day off school to go to the mall and meet the stars.. or wherever they were signing autographs. They were the good old days – 1977-80. It will be so VERY DEPRESSING if they start replacing ALL the rest of them with DUMB REALITY shows- the world is so sick of this!!! I guess theres nothing else to do but make up ridiculous shows !!! Well i am thrilled to see Genie Francis join Y & R soon– She’s great.. Iis just too bad GH wouldn’t pay her to remain on GH.-(so I heard)–one of my favorite soaps!!!

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  5. Ceridwyn2 says:

    Read the full article. Lovely interview, Michael. So appreciate the work you’ve been doing over a lifetime. I started to respond in here, but then it just kept expanding as I wrote. So, I decided to take it over to my blog, and post the link here.

    “The continuing saga of daytime soap opera cancellations” – http://www.celtic-dragon.ca/blog/?p=474

    The lyrics of “One Life to Live” tell the tale:

    Here’s what you do
    When you don’t find the rainbow’s end
    This time

    Here’s where you going to do
    When it looks like the rain end
    Don’t cry

    There’s always tomorrow
    Where you can have a second chance
    And after tomorrow
    All that you have to remember.

    Here’s what you do
    When you think nobody cares
    For you

    Look in my eyes
    And see there’s an answer there
    It’s true

    We’ll find tomorrow
    A place for us
    I know because

    Time only knows
    How long forever’s gonna last

    Let’s live today
    And find someone to share it with
    Cause we only have one life to live.

    Don’t cry
    I’ll give you tomorrow
    Let me be the one to share it with

    And each day that follows
    Cause you only have one live to live!

    Reply

    Outspoken replied

    C! Nice Touch!

    Reply

  6. Todd says:

    Of course I will bw watching oltl every day until the end. I do now. I watch it o.line as I am not home in the afternoon. I cant in my heart watch anythi.g else anymore on abc. Not castle, not modern family, not dwts.i dont know if it helps or hurts, but it makes me feel better

    Reply

  7. Jackie Garlow says:

    I can’t believe AMC is being cancelled! I have been watching it for years! Never disappointed. Do they really think another boring reality show or equally boring cooking show will be able to replace the shows they are taking off?? Reality and cooking shows have been way overdone! They are just a cheap way to fill air space! Save the soaps!!!

    Reply

  8. Donna Robinson says:

    I work hard through the busy days and record my soaps at night while I cook for my business. I watch all 3 soaps.They might think of the bottom line but I hope the sponsors think of their bottom line.I WILL NOT PURCHASE ONE ITEM THAT SPONSORS ABC NOR WILL MY FRIENDS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE IN OUR WESTBROOK/PORTLAND MAINE AREA.Being a business owner I like to keeps my customers happy and it’s quite clear ABC does not. When OLTL and AMC are off we are OFF!!!!! I

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