SOS & LTAS’ 2014 Accomplishments

The way is gonna beHello, Soap Fans!

Phew! 2014 was quite a year at LTAS and for the SOS movement as a whole! We at LTAS don’t like to toot our own horn—but it’s time for a “TOOT! TOOT!”Here is a quick run-down of the blog posts that have been tipping the scales in our favor—aiding in bringing back our soaps in 2015! I am going to present them in a sort of us/them format. The networks said “x,” we proved them wrong with “y.

1. First I will simply point out the most basic and important (to ABC/Disney) fact. nielsen rattingABC/Disney said low ratings were the primary reason the soaps were canceled, and we all know ratings to be the bottom line for any network’s programming decisions, right? Well, “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live” (OLTL)were averaging a 2.4 Nielsen ratting (NOT including SOAPnet viewing, DVR recording and viewing, but only daytime views on ABC). The shows that replaced them, “The Chew” and “The Revolution” started at a 1.9 Nielsen Ratting, sinking to a 1.6 within a week. “The Revolution” was cancelled, but “The Chew” continues to founder at this lowest rating in the history of daytime at the time of this writing.

So, in 2014 LTAS covered these topics in our weekly blogs, topics vital to the arguments for getting our shows back

follow the money the network2. The networks said the sluggish economy was making it difficult for them to produce the soaps. But putting some faith and capital into a business enterprise, such as continuing to produce AMC and OLTL, would benefit the economy, which would then allow for continued production of those soaps (not to mention profit), and on and on in a feedback loop. Also, bringing the soaps back to NYC could allow for the (re)creation of forty-thousand jobs and up to four billion dollars in revenue for the city. We think Mayor DeBlasio would be very happy about this, don’t you? It’s not just actors, writers, director, producers and camera operators who come to work, its caterers, set designers, costumers and all the small businesses that open to service these people. We must tell the story of soaps to the city leaders. We must write them, email them, attend city meetings and ask them about bringing soap production back to the city. Do they know what they are missing and that there is a loyal fan base waiting for the soaps to return to NYC? Probably not! And bottom line, as we know that is the big concern for any business, the return of AMC and OLTL and other soaps to NYC will be a big boost to the NYC economy! Let’s tell TPTB!

  1. gh kids3. Another untrue claim by the networks that they used as a reason for canceling AMC and OLTL was that young people don’t watch soaps. THIS YEAR, we brought on board two weekly Cliffhanger Friday bloggers who are “young people.” And all of us soap viewers know soaps make sure to cater to all age groups—even pre-school-age kids! Witness Spencer, Emma, and Cameron on “General Hospital
  1. follow the money 24. The networks said there is no money left in soap production. Our interviewee, Dr. Donald Boudreau proved that a total lie! He’s an expert on business and daytime dramas rightly pointed out that the daytime dramas have and were at the time of their cancellations big cash cows—with swollen udders and barely the ability to move!—for the ABC/Disney (not to mention other networks before them). In particular, Boudreau pointed out that daytime drama revenue helped fund their huge nighttime show franchises.
  1. reality tv5.The networks love to say reality TV is cheaper to produce and as appealing to fans. We disagree. Reality TV doesn’t have lasting power. It comes and goes, because viewers ultimately see it for the fast food of TV fare it is—cheap, sure, but ultimately unfit for consumption and doesn’t fulfill their basic human needs—in the case of fast food, quality nutrition, and in the case of reality TV, quality storytelling.
  2. There is no international market for soaps, the networks say. Not true. The networks make millions and millions in royalties from the soaps airing overseas. Please see our wonderful guest blogger, Lidia’s, piece on the subject of U.S. soap popularity in Spain.

hatie6.  Ha! Look at that $20 million investment disaster known as “Katie”! Gone, because of low ratings. 20 millions train wreck. That failed because daytime viewers want the masterful storytelling of soaps, no more reality TV and Talk shows.

 

  1. 7.Disney axed SOAPnet saying a dedicated soap channel wasn’t making them money. We know this is wrong, right, soap fans? A place we can go to watch our soaps in re-run, or for the first time if we missed the original airing was a genius idea by whoever came up with it. I had SOAPnet on all the time in my home! And I know lots of other soap fans did tosoap neto! And then, of course, any products advertised on a dedicated soap channel would see rises in consumption, benefitting advertisers and networks, and of course, they control programming decisions. Here’s another link to Dr. Boudreau’s interview post, part of which covers this topic:

 

  1. prospect park pic8.ABC/Disney says they can’t reboot AMC and OLTL because of the ongoing lawsuit between them and Prospect Park. We interviewed a legal expert, Troy Veenstra, who looked at the case and told us otherwise. You can read the post via this link. Just know this one basic fact: ABC currently owns the rights to AMC and OTLT, and despite the lawsuit, which involved only a few characters and whose expenses to ABC are like a teardrop of a legal bill in their ocean of revenue, they can reboot them at any time!

rp_Bryan-Frons-246x300.jpg9.The networks have said, or shown rather, by their actions, that soaps and soap stars are expendable, easily replaced by other fare. If this were true, would the cancelling of AMC and OLTL see a fan backlash like no other in television history? The networks said, and advertisers went along with, the insulting belief that we viewers can be trained, like simpleminded fools who will just take what they give and like it. Wrong! The Disney execs who tried to “train” us and follow their silly programming decision as the poor children followed the Pied Piper in that old fable, why are Frons, Sweeney, and soon Iger gone, while SOS groups, boycotts of all things ABC/Disney, and continuing actions by soap fans to save AMC, OLTL, Dallas, other soaps, and the soap genre going strong. We are not dogs waiting for our masters to teach us tricks! See our blog on this topic: 

The networks want to make money. We understand. They have a bottom line, like any business. Our advice, BRING BACK OUR SOAPS, AS MANY AS POSSIBLE, IN 2015. We will not let them down, profit-wise, right readers? We are loyal, dedicated fans! Here is a challenge to the networks: first of all, get soap fans like us back on your side, and you won’t regret it—you’ll be rolling around naked in money on your beds! (Hmm—where was I going with that one!? But you and they know what I mean! J). CBS/Warner Brothers: bring back “Dallas” before ABC/Disney brings back “Dynasty” in 2015, which they are going to do. You don’t want to be behind them! Networks, when you see how soap fans make your primetime soaps a huge success (after giving them a chance, unlike was done with “Dallas 2.0,” cancelled before it could be nurtured and shown by fans to be hugely in demand, as the “Save Dallas” movement evidences, you (ABC don’t you want to be the vanguard here) will want to bring back your daytime soaps, and we fans won’t let you down! 

Please comment, readers? What do you think about all these topics? What did the events of this past year show you about soaps and their imminent comeback,? What do you want to say to the networks about it? Comment, and subscribe in the upper-right corner of this page!

And, as always, Stay Soapy!

Your Editor-In-Chief,

Akbi Khan

Decoding the Latest Development in the Ever-Tedious PP vs. ABC Lawsuit

pp abc picHello, Soap Fans! Hope you’re all doing well this Monday! This blog is intended to continue demystifying the lawsuit involving Prospect Park and Disney. Both this blog and the previous one , both of which are interviews—this one being just two quick questions and a link to the legal document Trevor McBain and Karim El Masri alerted us to!—with a legal counsel colleague of ours, Troy Veenstra. We would like to thank Trevor McBain, big soap fan and blogger, and Karim el Masri, also a big soap fan, for making us aware of the legal document that this blog references.

Here is a link to it

http://www.law360.com/articles/578671/creditors-slam-one-life-to-live-producer-s-ch-11-plan.

Click here to read the full transcript in a PDF doc.pp legal jargon

Do you know, soap fans, how over this lawsuit your trusted editor and friend, Akbi Khan is? It’s starting to feel like just another way for ABC/Disney to prolong the pain of soap fans like us and you. Am I right?

So we asked our friend and legal counsel, Troy Veenstra , to help us understand the latest legal drama (if only it were as interesting, well-written, touching, etc. as a soap!).

LTAS: What, essentially, is this latest chapter in the increasingly irritating and way-too-long legal battle between ABC and Prospect Park?

TV: Because the Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan is based on PPN winning their lawsuit against ABC, Wilmington Trustee’s say that it is unfounded, unreliable as its using the basis of the payment of the suit to pay their debts, relying on funds that currently are not tangible. Meaning funds that don’t actually exist and will only exist IF PPN wins their lawsuit. (This is kind of like saying; I will pay my bills once I win the lottery.)

Furthermore, because PPN has failed to release or disclose their monthly operating cost to the Bankruptcy court, the trusties want to change the chapter 11 filing to an all-out bankruptcy, chapter seven, liquidating all assets. I have attached a copy of the Bankruptcy Docket for your reader, it includes some information you might find interesting and useful.

Trustee Blasts ‘One Life To Live’ Producer’s Ch. 11 Disclosure

Share us on: By Jamie Santo

Law360, Wilmington (December 16, 2014, 2:35 PM ET) — A U.S. Trustee on Monday blasted the disclosure statement of bankrupt Prospect Park Networks LLC, the production company that tried to revive soap operas “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” online, saying it outlines a Chapter 11 plan that doesn’t pass muster.

U.S. Trustee Roberta A. DeAngelis argues that PPN’s disclosure statement should be rejected because the plan itself is defective and would only take effect once funds are available to pay administrative and priority tax claims, a situation that seemingly depends on the company succeeding in its $95 million lawsuit against the ABC television network.

“The debtor’s disclosure statement should not be approved because the underlying Chapter 11 plan is unconfirmable,” DeAngelis said in an objection filed in Delaware bankruptcy court. “The plan has an indefinite, contingent effective date and appears to hinge on speculative litigation winnings.”

PPN launched a breach-of-contract suit against ABC in California state court in April 2013, alleging the television network sabotaged the online relaunches of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” and entered bankruptcy in Delaware this March after its online versions of the soaps failed to generate sufficient revenue.

The Hollywood-based production company unveiled a Chapter 11 plan in August that would create a liquidation trustee to wind down the estate, and filed an updated plan and disclosure statement in October.

DeAngelis contends the proposed plan violates the Bankruptcy Code requirement that administrative and priority tax claims be paid in full soon after confirmation, since holders of such claims would have to wait until PPN has raised sufficient funds, the objection said.

“The effective date can occur only if the debtor accumulates enough money — presumably from the ABC litigation — to pay administrative and priority tax claims in full,” the trustee said. “But that contingency may only come to fruition at an indefinite future date and may not come to fruition at all.”

The disclosure statement touts the ABC litigation as PPN’s most significant asset, but fails to state how much cash the estate has on hand and whether it is sufficient to cover the required claims, according to the objection.

“If the estate does not have enough money to pay administrative and priority claims in full on or around the time of confirmation, then a hearing on the disclosure statement should not go forward,” the trustee said.

Moreover, considering the disclosure statement at this time is inappropriate because PPN has failed to file its required monthly operating reports since July, said DeAngelis, who concluded with a request that the court consider converting the case to Chapter 7.

LTAS: ABC/Disney still own the rights to All My Children, we know this. But do the latest developments have anything to do with or change the fact that ABC/Disney owns the rights to One Life to Live? Will this latest development interfere in any way with ABC/Disney’s ability to reboot the soaps?

TV: No the latest development doesn’t have anything to do with or change the fact that ABC owns the rights to AMC or OLTL or their ability to reboot the soaps?”

Hope that helped! In other LTAS news, we are working on a blog on advertisers/advertising and soaps. Dr. Donald Boudreau’s interview delved into this topic often, but this upcoming blog will be dedicated exclusively to it and will feature the answers of someone who knows that industry.

We would like to thank our friend, Troy Veenstra for his continued help in understanding the lawsuit between Prospect Park and ABC/Disney. Thank you, Troy! Veenstra is also the author of a book titled, “The Murder of Jeffrey Dryden: the Grim Truth Surrounding Male Domestic Abuse,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Please comment on this post and anything related in the comment section below. Also, subscribe to our blog to get immediate e-mail notification when we put up a new post. And as always, soap fans: Stay Soapy!

Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

American Soaps Overseas: Popular Much?

????????????????????????????????????Hey, soap fans! Have you ever wondered whether American soap operas were and/or are popular overseas? Well, wonder no more. Here is one example, written by a LTAS contributor “Lidia”. She is a young Spanish woman and has a fascinating story to tell about the popularity of American soaps overseas. Read on, fans!

I was born at the beginning of the 90s.

TV series are something I’ve grown up with. Personally, I am a huge fan of Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I’ve also consumed an endless list of series and I’ve enjoyed them greatly.

I’ve always lived surrounded of a TV culture that, daily or weekly, allowed me to visit for a while someone else’s life, and usually that someone else was American. And these series that surrounded me were of all kinds and genres, Family, Comedy, Action, Science Fiction, Horror… and also of course Soap Operas.

All these series have made me and people very different than me, people that may never set foot in the USA, become strangely familiarized with the American lifestyle, culture and even history. With the curious and strange (for us) American high school hierarchy, with American dollars, with American presidents, with Thanksgiving… through our TVs, American culture entered our homes, and it was very welcome!

But, even though I’ve always lived surrounded by all this, even in the 90s this was a pretty new situation in Spain.

It may be strange to read this for an American, because you’ve been enjoying a great variety of TV shows for decades (even from the 50s and 60s, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch… and I’m not even sure all of them were aired in Spain! Talk about how strong American culture is), but in Spain, when we look back with TV nostalgy… we don’t have to look back much, because it’s all pretty recent in comparison.

Because in Spain, back then, we only had two networks (although, ironically enough, in some aspects they were much more productive than nowadays). I was born at the same time as channel plurality in our TVs, in 1990.

I tell you all this because it’s important to keep it in mind to fully appreciate how big of a deal it is that Spanish audiences keep some things, certain soap operas, certain characters and moments, so close to their hearts.

All these was important because in the years that followed this birth of multiple TV channels, in these first decades of TV in Spain, what was aired was carefully chosen, and it was supposed to be a big hit for the audiences, it became part of our popular culture.

These decades gave us shows that had their golden age in our TVs and endure in people’s memories as fantastic products that made us love the small-screen. American cop shows, family sitcoms… and Soap Operas.

A huge and very beloved part of these TV revolution were those great series about wealthy families and colossal financial empires, with archetypical characters, fabulous openings… the 80s was a glorious moment for American Soap Operas. Those were dramas starred rich and powerful families, where its members hate each other for their wine or oil businesses, and they ruled TV audiences for years and won their hearts with those wicked villains, those love triangles—and even quadrilaterals–those mansions and those stories full of secrets and unexpected twists.
For the audiences, the characters, their lives full of luxury and intrigues, the whole package was just fascinating.

falcon crestA great example of all this was “Falcon Crest”, which apparently was more successful in Europe than in the United States. In Spain, people loved how very involved the wine culture was on a story level. Even just the opening theme is one of the most famous from TV shows history. An everyday conversation back then might probably include some references to certain character who became part of our TV culture… because Angela Channing was a celebrated villainess par excellence. “Falcon Crest” was one of the firsts Soap Operas to arrive on Spanish TV. Here, it truly became a social phenomenon. Each new chapter made thousands of homes stay paralyzed, everyone looking at the screens, tuned to the wine/love stories of those characters.

Alexis ColbiSpeaking of TV villainesses becoming popular icons… if “Dynasty” had an added bonus, it was Joan Collins, another great wicked villain: Alexis stole the scenes every time she appeared. And, even though the show was famous for the incoherence in its scripts and the apparitions/disparitions of characters, in a sense, it also laid the foundations of the genre in our screens, and “Dynasty” is still a synonym of glamour for us.

Dallas JRAnother great Soap Opera to arrive here was “Dallas”, of course, the show that made the breakthrough. It was the first luxury saga, set on a Texas ranch, that told parallel stories of several families whose members were by no means moral exemplars, to the point that “good” characters were a rarity. What the Spanish audiences enjoyed was its narrative structure: several entwined plots giving us a story about a Texan family, the Ewings, millionaires from the oil and cattle industries. And also, once again, people loved the unforgettable villain: J.R., another villain that would influence greatly our popular culture, even being named and referenced in a lot of programs and pictures by comedy actors such as Lina Morgan on Spanish TV.

Dallas also paved the way for other classic shows to try to make a comeback. In summer of 2012 it was on the news that TNT Spain would air the “Dallas” revival, to the joy of the online community of fans of the show… even though a couple of months ago we learned about its cancellation after three seasons. Fans wondered, is this the destiny for the Soap Opera genre?

Spanish network la Sexta announced in 2011 plans for having its second channel completely devoted to Soap Operas and telenovelas, making a profit from its association with Televisa.

This genre is so beloved in Spain that our studios have tried to replicate the success with some projects hugely inspired by the classic American productions. One example would be “Herederos”, in 2007, a production that followed the line of the great American Soap Operas and told the story of a wealthy family from the bullfighting scene, the Orozcos, living under the scrutiny of the press and fighting internal disputes, with intrigues, the fights between classes, double morals and plenty of betrayal. The main character was played by a very well-known Spanish actress, Concha Velasco, and it was impossible not to see references to shows such as Falcon Crest, Dynasty, or the recent Brothers & Sisters.

The problem for the Spanish audience of today, young people like myself that were born after the successful era of this genre, is that first of all we would have to learn to differentiate two different genres that are seen as one and the same nowadays: Soap Operas and telenovelas. This confusion is, in this case, damaging the Soap Opera genre because young audiences are not very keen of Latin American telenovelas (although this genre also has its own audience and tends to be successful in terms of numbers).

Meanwhile, we are living with a trend in which everything “retro” is fashionable, a trend driven by nostalgia that makes young people want to experience everything that made a hit decades ago (remember the “A-Team” movie, for example…). Just mentioning any of the great American Soap Operas evokes the idea of those popular TV shows that we’ve heard about so much, but in most cases never had the occasion to watch.

AMC OLTLI should say the confusion between Soap Operas and telenovelas in Spanish audiences’ minds is not damaging at all in the case of American audiences. Univisión is huge in the USA thanks to their telenovelas. We learned, much to our surprise, of the cancellation of classic Soap Operas such as “All My Children”, “One Life to Live”… while each new Televisa or Telemundo production is sold to an average of 20 countries.

Some people think Soap Operas today would be almost obsolete formulas for being “serialized dramas that require a hard loyalty that nowadays would be difficult to get”. But actually, that hard loyalty from audiences is today much easier and normal than it used to be before the Internet. Online communities of fans have had a huge impact on shows such as “Lost”, “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones”. The only difference would be the genre, it might be that the audience’s taste has changed… but even that would be arguable.

daysofourlivesIf “Grey’s Anatomy” still works, it is thanks to its distinctly Soap-Opera-esque quality, very much in the tradition of shows like “General Hospital” or “Days of Our Lives”, that allows them to keep, through thick and thin, a large number of captive audiences that have endured ups and downs and some very bizarre moments.

General HospitalIt’s not so much that the tastes have changed—people still like a good Soap Opera. What may have changed, in fact, are expectations. We expect quality TV.

TV business has changed. We are living a new golden era for TV shows. In foreign countries like Spain we can enjoy an endless amount of American shows, for all kinds of tastes, being aired with less than a week of difference than in the USA. Now there are very different kinds of creators, genres, broadcasting…

Then, why would it have to be the end of ANY genre? Especially given how much television owes to THIS genre. Right now, there is an audience for pretty much any genre you can think of, and definitely there is an audience eagerly waiting for the great return of Soap Operas.

Then, what are networks waiting for?

Lidia,

As always, soap fans, stay soapy! And don’t forget to comment. And subscribe to our blog (upper-right-hand corner of the main page).

Your Editor-In-Chief

Akbi Khan

Soap Opera And Business (American & International), Pt 1

Don book cover.jpgHey, Soap/LTAS Fans! Hope you’re all doing well and NEVER giving up on all soaps, near and far! 🙂

Dr. Donald G. Boudreau is an internationally recognized expert in the field of economic statecraft and is the author of several books, including American Business and Daytime Dramas (Smashwords, 2012).  He and his wife, Zoraida de (together with their two dogs and two parakeets) are happily building their new home in a small coastal fishing town that serves as a gateway to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We at LTAS have been big “Dr. Don” fans for a while now. And not just because of his wonderful book, but because he is an exemplary colleague in general, supporter of soaps, and friend to all of us here. He knows a great deal about why things happen the way they do in the soap-advertiser relationship, and we wanted him to share some of that knowledge with you. This is just part one of our interview with him! There’s more to come!

Dr. Boudreau, first of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview and for always being a friend to the soaps—and LTAS.

 LTAS: How did your book, “American Business and Daytime Dramas,” come about?

DB: For 20 years, my wife and I were avid watchers of “One Life To Live” (OLTL). It was a sacred entertainment ritual that became as much a beloved part of our daily lives as the ever-talented ensemble cast of “One Life” (and, all that incredible Cartini magic) were treasured guests in our family home. Of course when I say Cartini, I am referring to the noted team of executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati most currently affiliated with General Hospital. I wrote the book American Business And Daytime Dramas (Smashwords, 2012, available at Smashwords and Amazon.com) largely out of anger and grave disappointment at the erroneous decision announced by ABC/Disney Television on Thursday, April 14,2011, regarding its cancelling of All My Children (AMC) and “One Life To Live,” two of noted writer Agnes Nixon’s longstanding soap opera masterpieces. My reasons for writing such were not altogether selfish in that, moreover, I believed that the cancellation decision was also a horrific business decision on business case economic and market share grounds and that, historically it would become upon serious reflection viewed as such by business schools worldwide, ultimately becoming akin to other historically notorious business decisions such as New Coke. I believed then and I believe now that ABC/Disney, and the faulty decision circle embraced there by the then senior management trio of Bob Iger, Anne Sweeney and Brian Frons would eventually come to long rue the day upon realizing they had seriously miscalculated in making such decision. Noted national and international business schools (not to mention the industry‐wide knowledge thereof) will long observe and study the many egregious business failings of these ABC/Disney executives and the conditions and factors that led them to so miscalculating to the detriment of the loyal ABC television viewing public, and moreover, to the many ABC/Disney share holders that have been damaged as a result. I would be remiss if I failed to note too the many dependent families affected, again adversely via the cancellations, including but not limited to, the casts and crews of AMC and OLTL and the millions of loyal fans of these two shows nationwide. And, let us not forget, the two shows many corporate sponsors who depended on the buying power patronage of those fan bases.

LTAS: In your book you mention that people at ABC were responsible for the cancellation of AMC and OLTL. Fans swore their heads would roll, and they either have or are slated to roll in the future. Can you explain, from your position as a soap fan and expert on big business/daytime drama explain the firings, or upcoming departures, of Brian Frons, Anne Sweeney, and Bob Iger?

DB: The great lady, Cheneise Carey‐Beebe, co‐host of Let’s Talk About Soaps fame, known too for her wonderful YouTube videos defending AMC and OLTL against ABC Disney, was prescient in her prediction that as a first imperative corrective measure, there needed to be a housecleaning writ large of the parties that brought about this train wreck decision of cancelling these shows. That the individuals responsible for substituting them with a chain of overwhelmingly failed reality and talk shows, so‐called replacement shows be called to task. It is these shows which, on the whole, have failed miserably in recapturing the lost fan bases that were devastated by losing AMC and OLTL. It is extremely difficult to reverse the effects of highly dysfunctional business decisions in large, complex organizations, powerfully witness the almost Zombie‐like fealty to continuing to produce low-rated talk shows, akin to cranking out mediocre, lowest common denominator entertainment happy meals fare, and surely not filet mignon, always seeking to find the next, ever elusive cash cow show a la the Oprah show. Powerfully witness the notoriously expensive, ABC/Disney’s Big Fail of a television talk show that was named Katie. Remember it? Frankly, we know who the responsible culprits are who created that daytime show fiasco, hint: ask Cheneise Carey‐Beebe, why she’ll tell you who in a nanosecond. The relentless follies of ABC Disney television’s daytime programming decisions are continuing unabated as ABC/Disney and Prospect Park remain mired in seemingly protracted litigation as the ever valuable franchises of AMC and OLTL continue languishing, gathering dust, shamelessly it is to be lamented. So much for the ABC/Disney Television network’s creative programming decisions and its loyalty to the millions of many decades long fans nationwide of AMC and OLTL, still waiting, once again, to be tapped into viewing their beloved shows if only they would return with a view to rebuilding integrity and respect. Imagine if only but for a moment, ABC/Disney saying publicly, “We heard you ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ fans and we’re sorry…we sincerely apologize, we blew it, yes, but ‐we’re coming back and bigger and better than ever,” in a nationwide televised and social media blitz campaign, aimed at successfully resurrecting these two shows and with new international marketing efforts acknowledging these two ABC Disney properties as the valuable (and profitable) franchises that the network and the public earnestly knows them to be. ABC/ Disney would, accordingly, take the reins…

 

LTAS: In recent column, a frequent LTAS contributor, my esteemed colleague Eternelendrea wrote a blog post “With a Hidden Dagger, Network Fakes a Smile.” He was especially referring to ABC/Disney’s leading of fans down a primrose path using Prospect Park. Can you talk a little about the painful rollercoaster ABC/Disney took viewers on with the aforementioned company and its versions of AMC and OLTL?

DB: Observers have remarked on the troubling relationship between Prospect Park and ABC Television and there are many theories regarding such. Some people believe that ABC intentionally conspired with Prospect Park to bring the shows back as a means of defusing fans ire at ABC/Disney over the cancellations. Some observers note that one of the two Prospect Park partners had formerly served as a senior Disney executive. Other observers note that the very name Prospect Park has meaning linked to ABC as further evidence of the existence of collusion, a conspiracy if you will, between the two companies. But many of these conspiracy theories fall apart it seems to me when you look at the current day reality. Both firms are now mired in expensive and protracted litigation with a view to resolving various claims and counterclaims that have been made by the parties. Meanwhile, it is the fans who continue suffering, once again. It is extremely difficult to believe that sufficient due diligence was made by ABC/Disney in protecting its shareholders property interests relative to these two soap opera daytime television franchises. Other more viable prospective agents for producing these shows may or may not have been given due consideration at the time by the powers that then prevailed in ABC/Disney Television. The obviously high risk business decision involved, in taking the shows from television to the Internet, was also so novel for this type of a business arrangement that ABC/Disney may one day if not sooner lament that it do not take on a larger equity role in developing this new medium of entertainment given that with each passing year, more viewers are moving onto other types of viewing platforms, mobile devices in real time, on demand applications and uses, regardless of geography, that which is becoming so omnipresent in our world today. But the Prospect Park experiment was by no means flawless, of course, and its shortcomings and pitfalls soon became evident. Longtime fans, too, are extremely loyal to the shows, their franchises, and to the integrity of their story lines and characters in a serious manner not to be cavalierly discounted or ignored by its producers, without grave consequences being brought to bear, as was the case with Prospect Park surely to a degree it seems to me (as any reasonable reviewing of the many soap journo stories, of that day appertaining, powerfully demonstrate). At the end of the day, the fans are the ultimate customers of these shows and it is they, the fans and their families and extended families and friends, who decide to reciprocate loyalty by either buying the corporate sponsors’ products, or otherwise choosing not to. One ignores such, arrogantly or ignorantly, at one’s peril it seems to me.

 LTAS: Ultimately, we at LTAS feel, the soaps were meant for television, not the Internet. And now it seems that LTAS co-host Cheneise Carey’s theory that before the soaps come back, we need a clean house. And you have said that the soaps must come back with the same cast, writers, directors, crew, back in New York City, etc. General Hospital (GH) is now back in its 3:00 p.m. time slot, indicating this process has begun. Can you explain what it would entail from a business point of view for the completion of that process?

DB: As in our own household, we too like “Let’s Talk About Soaps,” are favorably inclined given our long, historically favorable experience, to viewing our show (OLTL) on television rather than on the Internet. Having said that, I have in the past stated my desire (like so many countless others) that the shows need to be returned intact, as much as possible, preserving their character and their integrity.Yes, I am a firm believer in Cartini magic, too, based on solid evidence and their phenom track record with “One Life” and now surely too, with GH. I fully believe the noted soap journalist, Daytime Confidential’s acutely perceptive blogger and podcaster, and ever ingeniously comedic Jamey Giddens, when he observes that OLTL, in the five years prior to it leaving the ABC airwaves, produced some of the finest soap opera writing ever witnessed in the genre, bar none. This is no small treasure—not that ABC Disney, in its blind spot, ever fully appreciated the value of such a jewel that Cartini’s prowess manifested with “One Life” on multiple fronts. But, I have never yet deluded myself into believing that such a resurrection process of the two shows, intact in New York City is currently underway, except perhaps in pleasurable dreams; fantasies, that I might on occasion allow myself the pleasure of having. ABC/Disney surely has all the requisite resources for successfully carrying out such a mission yet needs the corporate will necessary for embarking on such an ambitious venture. Some people suggest that the cancelled soaps, as such, will never return. But I think it would be folly for fans of AMC and OLTL to lose hope. America is a very nostalgic country and American entertainment is heavily prone toward following suit in repeatedly bringing such to the marketplace. One need look no further than the current list of Broadway shows as powerful, and exceedingly profitable evidence of such. ABC/Disney has a long and fruitful history of producing viable, profitable soap opera in New York City for many good reasons, including the high geographical concentration of talented cast and crews and other talented support staff that, for many past decades, have made it good commerce and fruitful enterprise for many; long having been in ABC/Disney’s shareholders best interests, too.

 LTAS: If you combine SOAPnet, soap star weekends, soap fan cruises, and other soap tie-ins, wasn’t ABC/Disney making millions of their daytime lineup?

DB: As the acutely perceptive soaps activist, John Larsen of New York City (also known as Midnighter on Facebook and Twitter) powerfully observes, ABC/Disney historically made substantial profits from its daytime soap opera lineup; funds that long supported substantial parts of the network’s other operations, including many of its historical blockbuster, prime time successes. The two valuable franchises, AMC and OLTL possessed, and still possess, multiple possible profit centers for ABC/Disney, including among other things, international syndication rights. Loyalty, important loyalty exists for a network in various forms of purchasing power; the patronage extended to goods and services advertised, by millions of fans too, to the network at large, and to Disney as a company, bringing multiple spillover economic benefits that are now, intentionally and unwittingly shortsightedly it can be argued, being foregone thanks to its myopic decision making to the detriment of the economic growth of both ABC and Disney corporate enterprises. But that surely does not have to remain the case and appropriate corrective measures can be taken. But that takes sound business leadership and creative thinking.

Stay tuned, Soap/LTAS Fans for the continuing story of Dr. Donald Boudreau on soaps! Remember when they used to say that on some of our soaps–the part about the continuing story? And as ALWAYS, Stay Soapy! Subscribe (upper right corner) and comment away!

Your Editor,

Akbi Khan

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Dr. Donald Boudreau on Soaps and Advertisers

UPDATE; November, 28th, 2014: My dear readers, I was a little confused by the first two comments below, as much as I appreciate them in general and any you may post. It seemed to me that Mary Jo Sawyer and Toure Cannon thought WE at LTAS were AGREEING with the advertisers. I wanted to MAKE SURE that anyone who reads this understands that we ABSOLUTELY do not agree with advertisers or network executives in their view of soap fans or how they treat us. We are doing our best, and will be in the future, to prove them both wrong about their misled views on our viewing and consumption habits. Again, WE DO NOT AGREE WITH THE ADVERTISERS OR NETWORK EXECUTIVES IN THEIR IDIOTIC ESTIMATION OF SOAP FANS LIKE THOSE OF US AT LTAS, AND YOU, OUR WONDERFUL READERS–WE ARE TRYING TO SHOW THEM THAT WE ARE VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT (although we shouldn’t have to show them this, but that’s life, right–ugh!). And ultimately, of course, we are trying to get AMC and OLTL back–not to mention GL, ATWT, AW, Loving, Dynasty, and Dallas.

———–

Hey, Soap Fans. Now, this is neither the interview with Dr. Donald Boudreau that we told of in our “Hot December Promo” post the other day, nor the interview with an unnamed expert on advertising that we also promoted in that post. Dr. Donald is an expert on this topic, as it is a big part of business, and that is his specialty. So we asked him just one question.

Recently an LTAS idol, soap journalist, and author of, “Love in the Afternoon: Why Soaps Still Matter,” Carolyn Hinsey, reported in a recent column that advertisers don’t target older audiences, because they think we are set in our consumer habits and aren’t going to be useful targets for them for their ever-new products and ads. We told Dr. Boudreau this and asked him what he thought. Here is what he had to say…

“Jeffrey Bercovici (2011) observes that, “Advertisers have been bamboozled.  They’ve been told by the networks for 40 years that the only people worth targeting are 18-49 year olds.  It originated with ABC, which was getting its ass handed to it by CBS.”

In my book, American Business and Daytime Dramas (published by Smashwords, 2012; available at Smashwords.com and Amazon.com) an entire essay is devoted to the subject, “On the Economic Prowess of the Baby Boomer Generation As Television Advertisers Audiences.”  It powerfully goes about documenting how misguided television networks are for not supporting both retaining and expanding viewership among these age groups, in light of their proven adaptability to adopting new technologies with enthusiasm, contrary to the conventional wisdom, and given their strong purchasing power, relative to other age/gender demographics.  While advertisers are generally focused on targeting the ages 18-49 year olds, what this means is that more than half of the affluent boomer demographic is being completely ignored, according to Nielsen’s own research.

Moreover, if the aforementioned should somehow still fail to convince one, then at least take note of the following.  According to a recent study, “Inheritance and Wealth Transfer to baby boomers,” commissioned by MetLife from Boston College’s center for Retirement research, two out of three boomers should get something, with $64,000 being the median amount.  The study is anticipating an intergenerational transfer of wealth totaling $11.6 trillion, including some $2.4 trillion that has already been gifted.  Corporate advertisers spending your advertising dollars at major network Upfronts for television show advertising, pay heed to this key Baby Boomer age demographic, ignoring it at your own peril.

In recent years, Nielsen’s own Joe Stagaman and Pat McDonough presented findings at the Consumer 360 conference on the opportunities that exist for advertisers seeking opportunities beyond traditional demographics.  In fact, marketers who are only focusing on the traditional 25-54 age demographic are missing approximately 58 percent of the United States population totaling 180 million people.  Additionally, in the process of neglecting them, television networks are overlooking growth opportunities as baby boomers age and those under 25 wield increasing influence over household spending.

Conclusively and finally, recent research suggests (Tedeschi, 2006) that, in fact, older adults engage in more consumer spending than any other age group and have become major players in the web economy, good reasons to be given all their due respects by the major television networks and production studios.  And that respect includes the rapid returning to the airwaves of ABC’s One Life to Live (intact as heretofore, including Cartini style) and, of course, All My Children complete too with the great Susan Lucci, et al.  Now that would not only make good sense and a renaissance to ABC Daytime television; it would also make sound business sense in the best economic interests of ABC Disney’s shareholders and that of the shows many longtime corporate advertisers, those household names who loyally and profitably supported the same for decades.”

What an answer! See, advertisers! We are an audience worth targeting! Also, yes, many soap viewers are “older.” But many are younger too. Our two new recent staff additions, Casey Hutchinson (“The Young and the Restless” Cliffhanger Friday columnist) and Sofia Bryan (“The Bold and the Beautiful” Cliffhanger Friday columnist) are just two examples of this.”

Now, soap fans, what would YOU say in response to this view by advertisers that the older viewers/consumers are, the less likely they are to be valuable advertising targets? Write your responses in the comments section below this post! It is so, so, so important and wonderful for us to hear from you on any and every subject and post, including this one.

Don’t forget you can and should subscribe to our blog in the upper right hand corner of this page!

And also don’t forget to, as always, stay soapy!

–Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

LTAS December promo

1. We will be posting an interview with Dr. Donald Boudreau, author of “American Business and Daytime Drama.” He is a soap fan, a brilliant business thinker, a wonderful writer, and one of the most gracious and kind people. You’ll see all this reflected in our interview, guaranteed.

2. We will also be posting an interview with an advertising industry insider who has some fascinating insights into soaps and their relationships to advertisers. We drew inspiration from Carolyn Hinsey’s recent column on the same topic.

3. Our Cliffhanger Friday columns for “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless,” penned by Casey Hutchinson and Sofia Bryan will be starting up.

4. And we have a surprise interview in the works. I wish I could tell you more—I’m itching to—but I you’ll see it soon enough.

And as always, soap fans, stay soapy!

–Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

Photo on 5-2-14 at 3.42 PM #3

The Cliffhanger Friday

Casey picHey, LTAS fans! We have some exciting news. We are thrilled to be inviting a new member on to our staff. His name is Casey Hutchison, and he will be doing The Cliffhanger Friday weekly  of “The Young and the Restless (Y&R). In the comments following his recaps, we encourage Y&R fans, and fans of any other soaps, and soap fans in general, to communicate with each other, vent about issues related to Y&R, and most importantly show the networks YOUNG PEOPLE DO WATCH SOAPS! We at LTAS are so excited to have a talented and enthusiastic writer like Casey on board as part of our team. Welcome, Casey! And below find Casey’s introduction of himself.

LTAS: Can you provide a basic introduction of yourself and your favorite soaps?

CH: My name is Casey Steven Hutchison. I was born on October 28th, 1999 in Springfield, Illinois. As of June 20th, 2014, I currently live in Rosebush, Michigan. I watch two soap operas that are my favorite as well. They are “General Hospital,” and “The Young and the Restless.”

LTAS: What about your new column for us?

CH: I will be recapping “The Young and the Restless” for LTAS I will recap the whole week for you super fans!!!

LTAS: Networks claim young people don’t watch soaps. Do you agree?

CH: I think younger people would be missing something in their lives if soaps were gone. This genre is one that viewers can rely on to come on their screens every weekday. Not too many TV shows do that. Three words to advertisers who think the young demographic doesn’t watch soaps.…you are wrong. I have been watching soap operas since I was three. That is twelve years! I have let them come into my home and my life. So, advertisers… there is how you are COMPLETELY wrong.

LTAS: Do young people—like the so-called “older demographic” of people over 37—need soaps in their lives?

CH: People, including young people want a constant in their lives, and daytime serials can still provide that.

LTAS: Any final words to your future readers?

CH: I hope that you enjoy what I have to say about my favorite soap Y&R! I cannot wait until you see what I have to offer to the soap world. LOVE ALL THE SOAPS, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

We also have a November 28th, 2014 launch date for our Cliffhanger Friday recaps.

Another wonderful soap fan and writer will be doing recaps for “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

We are looking for two volunteers to do Cliffhanger Friday recaps (e-mail me at akbikhan@gmail.com for details) for “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives.”

And as always, soap fans, stay soapy!

–Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

Halloween on the Soaps

As temperatures dip, multicolored leaves crunch beneath our feet, and ghouls and goblins stare at us with inhuman eyes from storefront and homes’ windows, it can only mean one thing: Halloween is here!

This goes not just for us, but for our beloved soap characters, families, and towns.

Halloween has always been a time of storyline advancement, complication, and various twists and turns we fans couldn’t have seen coming on our soaps. We get both tricked and treated by our soaps at this time of year. And I don’t think I’m wrong when I say: we love it!

Soap characters love to get decked out in elaborate costumes and throw parties. “General Hospital” (GH) took this one step further this year and scheduled Carly and Franco’s wedding for Halloween (as if weddings were not events of seminal change and plot advancement already!). I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen the last couple day’s episodes yet, but boy, did GH have some surprising tricks and treats in for us viewers on Halloween!

And who can forget last year when Robin dressed up in a costume, complete with a mask, before revealing herself to be alive, to get the chance merely to see Patrick and to hug and be near Emma.

Now, fans with better memories will have to correct me on this, but before “One Life to Live” (OLTL) was cancelled, didn’t original Todd show up as his son’s favorite crime fighter, Spider Man, to a party in order to get a glimpse at the family he had been kept apart from for ages, and to enlist his son in his plan to get rid of Second Todd?

Soap characters are always having fun and being together at Halloween, but a few of them are always up to something, even a little extra something, at this time of year. And isn’t that part of why we love our soaps: the fun and family bonding, coupled with villainous plots being set in motion or heightened. Halloween has always been a pivotal time for soaps (characters and storylines) and soap viewers.

Those Who Will Not Be Silenced

Susan memoirKim's bookIt’s hard to overstate the affection which devoted fans of a soap opera feel toward the actors who play the characters they follow on TV every day. We’re talking about true, dyed in the wool fanatics here. These are the people, more than anyone, that the actors are talking about – and talking to – when they thank their fans for their support, because they are the people who provide encouragement and a human connection between the actor and their fans, and who most passionately inspire others to join the ranks of the fandom. We all know the type: They familiarize themselves with the actors’ career prior to appearing on the show, they write fan mail to the actors, they attend events where the actors are scheduled as guests. And they listen, very carefully, to everything the actors say.

 Which is why the irony is so overpowering that, many times, the actors really can’t say anything at all. It’s not their fault, it’s in their contracts. They’re working under a gag order.

What is a gag order? Put simply, it’s a clause in an actor’s contract (they’re also used for people in the Department of Defense who handle top secret classified government secrets) that requires them not to reveal sensitive information about their show or be outwardly critical of its producers. Basically they are obligated – under contract – to avoid saying anything that embarrasses the show, angers fans, or otherwise risks the profits of the suits behind the cameras. And these gag orders are serious business; if you violate one, losing your job on the show is the least of your worries. You could be looking at a hefty lawsuit.

This is why it’s so impressive when an actor is willing to risk such harsh consequences in the name of the truth. A prime example would be Kim Zimmer (Reva from Guiding Light CBS), who wrote a book entitled “I’m Just Saying” in which she was brutally and beautifully honest about her feelings towards the studio’s production methods on her show. In the book, she accuses the studio of abandoning their pride in a job well done, and concerning themselves only with churning out an hour of television (of whatever quality) as quickly as possible. She became disgusted with the caliber of her own soap, and she told everyone about it at hers bosses’ expense. It’s the kind of thing anyone under a gag order risks being severely disciplined for, but she loved Guiding Light too much to keep quiet.

 Another prime example Susan Lucci (Erica Kane, AMC) : Her rage is captured in excerpts published by the NY Post on Saturday.”An iconic show was losing out to greed … If Brian Frons could show his bosses that he could save the network 40 percent … he could keep his job even if the rest of us lost ours,” she writes, referencing the decision to go with a cheaper show — food talk show “The Chew — in the place of the classic soap. “I watched Brian Frons’ decisions destroy the production of our show and the lives of people on both sides of the country.”

Yet when this does happen, all too often there’s no appreciation for the courage of the outspoken actors, because there’s so little understanding of the risk they are taking. I’m hoping to put a stop to that, right here and now, at least for anyone who reads what I’m writing here. Let’s not be too hard on those actors who abide by their contracts and keep silent at all costs – they have good, personal reasons to do so – but please, let’s give credit where credit is due and acknowledge the downright heroism of those whom no order can gag!

By Eternalendrea,

Remember two things, soap fans, you have a voice, and an important one, at that. Use it! And two, as always, stay soapy!

“Dynasty” is Coming Back! And We Must Save “Dallas”!

DallasVsDynasty“Dynasty’s” first iteration aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 until May 11, 1989.  After 8 years, ABC/Disney cancelled it. But an inside source told us that “Dynasty 2015” is about to make a comeback on A&E , a cable channel owned by–you guessed it–ABC/Disney.

 

We at LTAS have to wonder why ABC/Disney doesn’t just air the new “Dynasty 2015” in primetime on ABC?

In a recent, related development, TNT has decided to pull the plug on their reboot of “Dallas,” which fans were loving. The incomparable Shawn Brady  whom we have interviewed here on LTAS,

(http://www.letstalkaboutsoaps.com/an-interview-with-shawn-brady-soap-hero/#.VDx3LEt4VG4 ),

one of the leaders of the influential and important group, Soap Fans United, is now working on convincing another network to pick up  “Dallas”.

Please sign these petitions, have your friends and family sign it and pass it on to Save Dallas. The first one is intended to convince TNT to rectify their mistake and keep on airing “Dallas”. The second one is to demonstrate to ABC, CBS, NBC, to pick it up. Here is a link to the first:

https://www.causes.com/actions/1772642-sign-the-petition-to-tnt-channel

and here is a link to the second:

http://chn.ge/1yfM080?recruiter=165010389

Now, back to “Dynasty,” We at LTAS have criticized ABC/Disney a lot, it’s true–always with good reason, we feel. Nevertheless, we are generous of spirit and believe in reinforcing good behavior, so: THANK YOU, ABC/DISNEY/A&E FOR MAKING SOAP FANS HAPPY AND DOING SOMETHING SO VERY RIGHT!

Hey, ABC/Disney–wanna know something else you can do that fans would love and that would also be so very right? LTAS will tell you: until you return “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live” (OLTL) to the 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. time slots, respectively, on ABC, you can show the last “x” amount of televised months of both AMC and OLTL in those 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. time slots on ABC! We know it will take a while to work out all the legal and financial kinks, get all the actors’ contracts in order, etc., so we are willing to be patient. Because, as we all know now, the rights to AMC and OLTL have reverted back to ABC from Prospect Park, and there is no reason you can’t restart both soaps.

http://www.letstalkaboutsoaps.com/a-legal-counsel-explains-the-abcpp-lawsuit-in-detail/#.VDs0ZEt4VG4

We at LTAS think the rest of AMC’s and OLTL’s fans would join us in waiting patiently until we get to find out who JR ended up shooting and who Alison Perkins’ was reading the final draft of “One Life to Live” to!

Remember two things, soap fans, you have a voice, and an important one, at that. Use it! And two, as always, stay soapy!

 

Your Editor,

Akbi Khan