Welcome to the Chicken Coop, Mr Wolf

Chucky 2Politics. The word is so charged and laden with emotional baggage that many people wisely leave the room at its mere utterance. Give it a try, and if you’re anything like most people, the images it conjures in your mind are probably fairly predictable (and not at all unreasonable): Angry people yelling at each other, often-rigged popularity contests, and above all, disingenuous, unscrupulous individuals more concerned with attaining positions of power than with faithfully carrying out the responsibilities that are supposed to come with it.

 It may surprise you to hear, then, that – of all things – the inner workings of soap operas are surprisingly similar to this latter aspect of politics. All too often, favors and status from personal friends result in the appointing of someone to a role of some stewardship over a soap that the named person in no way deserves. Today we discuss one such example, in the infamous person of Charles Pratt, Jr.

 Of course, for soap opera fans, this man needs no introduction. A writer of influence for some time on All My Children, he was commonly ridiculed by viewers, who liked to joke that he “couldn’t write a grocery list”. His style and the content of his stories left it plain that he neither understood the show for which he was writing, nor cared about its integrity. Susan Lucci and Michael E Knight are among the AMC alum known to have criticized Pratt, and even to have approached him with protestations that their characters were being egregiously mishandled, all to no avail. Fed up, fans even launched an online petition, collecting digital signatures to demand that Pratt be removed as a writer.

 So naturally, he’s now an Executive Producer on The Young and The Restless.

 I’m afraid you read that right. Not only has Pratt never been punished for his careless attitude toward the show he was entrusted to guide and protect, he’s now been rewarded with a promotion. In addition to the fact that this is simply outrageous, it’s also a threat to another beloved soap, and it must be treated as such. This monster, who obviously couldn’t care less about the soul of the shows he works on, must not be allowed to do to Y&R what he did to AMC.

Fans must make their voices heard, speaking clearly and unequivocally their rejection of Charles Pratt, Jr, and be clear that they will not patronize his involvement. It’s his job to protect this show, but we already know he’s not going to do it. And that means it falls to us!

By Eternalendrea

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

Soaps Are Family, Especially At Christmas Time

jack and erica wedding picOLTL Christmas pic

It’s that time of year again when I miss the soaps that are no longer with us the most. As I decorate and wait for my family to arrive for our annual visit, I think back to many Christmases when I found comforts in soaps and when the soaps were very much a part of the family celebrations.

I’ve watched just about every soaps over the years and I always loved Christmas on the soaps. When I think of Christmas and the soaps I think of Days of Our Lives, Another World, General Hospital, All My Children, Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Young & The Restless, and more. These soaps played an important role in my life and each of them gave me special Christmas memories and in many respects, each gave me a tradition that I carry with me even today.

day christmasOne of my earliest memories of soaps at Christmas time was watching Days of Our Lives with my grandmother in the 1970’s. Each year, we would bake cooking and decorate the house, all while watching the Horton family prepare for their Christmas activities. I remember the Horton tradition of decorating their tree with bulbs that had the names of each family member. This tradition is one that carries forward to today, and it is one that stays with me. As Alice Horton always explained, the bulbs were a way to have the entire family present, even if the actual person could not be in Salem, or if they had passed and were no longer with us. As I grew into adulthood, I borrowed a variation of this tradition for my own tree. I don’t have bulbs with the names of family members, but I make sure to buy dated ornaments each year as a reminder of what that particular Christmas meant to me and my parents. Each year, as I decorate the tree, every ornament has a memory and a meaning attached to it, and each time I view them, I am transported back to a special time, and I always think of Alice Horton and the tradition she started.

As I entered my teenage years I quickly discovered that time honored soap Christmas tradition of bringing hope when things seemed most hopeless. This was always the case with lovers who had been torn apart for whatever reason, somehow, they always found themselves in the same place at the same time to remember what they mean to each other and to give hope to the viewer and signal that they would soon find their way back to each other. One my of favorite Christmas soap moments was JennyandGreg amcwatching Jenny and Greg on “All My Children” in the early 1980’s. The pair had overcome their different socio-economic backgrounds to find love, only to be broken up by the meddling of others. Somehow, though, at Christmas, they found themselves in the same place and the magic of Christmas let them, and the viewers, know that they needed to be back together, and soon! I had the same a feeling almost a decade later when “Guiding Light” reunited Phillip Spaulding with his long lost and believed dead love, Beth Raines. With the help of Phillip’s guardian “Nick” who somehow only showed up at Christmas time, the two lovers found each other again and celebrated their very own Christmas miracle.

I’ve written before of how I always had the soaps on in the background while I was decorating our family tree and I thought of that this week as I prepared my tree for the arrival of my parents for Christmas. As I hung the lights and ornaments, my mind immediately went back to those many Christmases when I would start decorating around noon and continue on through the afternoon as “Young & The Restless,” “Bold & The Beautiful,” “As The World Turns” and finally “Guiding Light” played on the television. By 4:00 PM, the tree would be finished, the house decorated, and another soap-inspired Christmas in my memory.

Christmas, sadly, can also be a time of stress and sadness, if you are thinking of lost love or family that is no longer with us. In those situations, there is nothing better than curling up with a warm cup of hot chocolate, some comfort food and the soaps. Many sop writers realize that there are viewers struggle through adversity and they always craft storylines around the holidays that center on finding hope in hopeless situations. No soap does this better than “Young & The Restless.” Each holiday season for the past several years, that soap has presented an episode that focuses on one character and the struggles they face. Over the hour, that character hits rock bottom and with the guidance of a stranger, they reach the end of the episode, not with their problems solved, but with hope that everything will work out over time. That theme speaks to so many during the holidays and it has spoken to me many nicki drinkingtimes. The episode that stays with me most is the one that centered on heroine Nicki Newman. Nicki has battled alcoholism for years and as she found herself alone at Christmas and involved in an alcohol fueled car accident on her way to her daughter’s wedding, she encountered a stranger who explained what life would be like for her loved ones without her in their lives. In the end, she discovered that the stranger was her long dead mother, manifested as her guardian angel.

Many dismiss the soap opera genre, but when done well, the soaps are inspirational, and I for one have been inspired, comforted and uplifted by the soaps year after year. I can’t imagine a Christmas without the soaps and I hope there will never be a holiday season when I can’t turn the television on and share my Christmas with my soap families. That is why we must work hard to keep our soaps on the air, and fight to get our old soaps back.

Share some of your favorite soap Christmas memories, I know you have some.

David Arwood

David Arwood

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 Operas and Business, American & International Pt.2

Don book cover.jpgHey, Soap/LTAS Fans! Hope you’re all doing well and NEVER giving up on all soaps, near and far! As promised, here is the second part of our interview with business, advertising, author, and soap expert, Dr. Donald Boudreau.  Have you ever wondered how much money the networks make or could make from the international soap opera market.  Wonder no more..read on.  :)

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.

LTAS: So far we’ve talked about soaps in the context of their domestic audience only? We know that American soap operas have had big international audiences for a long time, and thus the networks have/had big money to make there. If you were a network’s head of daytime programming, how would you handle the international audience?
DB: In my book American Business and Daytime Dramas, an entire essay is devoted to the international appeal of soap opera. In this regard, it is noteworthy that a show such as “The Bold and The Beautiful” in recent years has been deemed the most popular soap opera currently for its success domestically and internationally. This is a show that can be seen in more than 110 countries and garnered more than 24.5 million viewers worldwide in 2008, making it more watched than any telenovela or soap opera on television, according to the Guinness. It is also noteworthy that in France, “One Life to Live” did in fact have a brief stint during 1987‐1988,airingunder the name” On ne vit qu’une fois” which means “You Only Live Once.” Reportedly as well, “Loving” was big in Italy along with “Guiding Light,””Days of our Lives” in Australia, “Santa Barbara” in Armenia. “As the World Turns” is very popular in The Netherlands. And no wonder it is much to its credit, Proctor & Gamble is working hard in creating new soaps for Turkey and other Arab nations that are sweeping the Middle East with a view to marketing their suite of products throughout such, thanks to its worthwhile product placement and product integration techniques, if only major television networks take to wisely emulating the same. All of which raises the questions of what international syndication, international product placement, and international product integration opportunities the major United States television networks have heretofore to the present day yet failed to exploit through its valuable soap opera franchises? Why not be using platforms such as popular American soap operas like” One Life to Live” and “All My Children” in a similar manner per the aforementioned proven successful business model for “The Bold and the Beautiful.”? For the many ABC Disney shareholders’ interests, one wonders just how much in profits has been sacrificed, and over how many years, by senior ABC Disney executives not taking full international business advantage wisely of these valuable soap opera franchises thanks to abysmal management decisions taken including among others, cancelling them (One Life and All My Children)domestically, failing to exploit them successfully internationally, “replacing them” for a litany of in some cases, pricey, soon failed talk shows a la Katie, all failing to recapture the significant loyal market share soap opera audience followings lost, via the rank ill-conceived cancellations? Powerfully witness, too, that CBS has long taken advantage of airing soaps in French in Canada ala Days, unlike the ABC soaps. And, there you have it. There is so much work to be done now by ABC and the other networks, and lucrative new growth markets to be had for the taking.

LTAS: As of this writing, fans are working busily every day to get “Dallas” back on TV after it was resurrected and then cancelled again (on TNT). “Dynasty” is said to be making a 2015 comeback. How do you explain the fact that these nighttime soaps haven’t lost their audiences in 20 years?
DB: The cancelling of Dallas by TNT has unleashed an international uproar by fans on Twitter and other social media that is nothing short of impressive. Just earlier in November 2014, there was a Super Tweetathon that began in New Zealand and was held for 6 hours worldwide. Much has been written regarding Warner Brothers Pictures efforts being made with a view to Saving Dallas and The Globe Magazine has stepped up also with its campaign supporting fans efforts in this regard. Moreover, there was the Save Dallas European Tweetathon with its separate respective starting times for the European Union, United Kingdom, and United States that drew much attention and support to the cause. Andyes, Dynasty is reportedly being slated for a possible comeback. To what are we to attribute this phenomenon of strong staying power of fans supporting so‐called nighttime, primetime soap operas? Storytelling is a primordial basic human needs engrained in our very core of existence. it is what distinguishes us as people, we have stories to tell. All of these fans are sending messages to the networks and to all of the corporate advertisers who are listening. Deliver to the fans the entertainment what they are clamoring for, and their buying patronage and loyalty will reciprocally flow riches into the hands of your companies shareholders and corporate advertisers. That is the very proposition now set forth that waits for appropriate action to be taken by the networks and production companies forthwith. Networks and production companies need to pay heed in addressing these powerful consumer demands being made by vocal viewing audiences for good scripted, storytelling, classical American soap operas. These are the many millions of viewers who have been overly saturated with the lowest common denominator reality food and weight reduction show offerings entertainment. Quality storytelling is timeless, and will always win out in the end, as people continue demanding their stories presence in their living rooms. The pendulum is now swinging back into that rightful direction bring with it new business opportunities for growth aplenty, both domestically and in international markets.

LTAS: From an economic point-of-view, what would it mean for New York City to have AMC and OLTL return to production there?
DB: Regarding New York City, it is noteworthy that during the course of a livingthedream.mom.com podcast on Tuesday, May26, 2011. the widely respected actor Jerry ver Dorn, in recent years known for his work in playing the role of Clint Buchanan in “One Life to Live” observed that in 1978 when he first arrived on the scene in Manhattan, there were 3 networks producing 15 soap operas! Today, there are none, thank you ABC/Disney et al. Having One Life to Live and All My Children return to production in New York City would bring many jobs and economic benefits to ABC Disney shareholders, to New York City and New York state, and to the many ancillary businesses operating in the New York metropolitan region that would be positively affected by their presence. In my book American Business and Daytime Dramas, an entire essay is devoted to the manner in which the presence of soap opera in New York City long historically and successfully served as a training ground, a feeder system if you will, for the many talented actors and actresses who have go onto become blockbuster talents in today’s Hollywood movies and on the Broadway stage. This was no accident, and it was no small treasure, and yes it can be replicated no win force, and by orders of magnitude with new investment bringing good steady returns for the ABC Disney Company and its shareholders. There are many avenues open for more efficiently, economically producing these soap operas than heretofore had existed in past years, and ABC Disney is well positioned to take advantage of such opportunities given its rather impressive preexisting resource and infrastructure and skills bases, its significant footprint in New York City and let us not forget its production facilities in the surrounding boroughs as well.

LTAS: LTAS and the Save Our Soaps (SOS) movement as a whole are in the process of re-directing a coupon campaign to persuade the already-receptive DirecTV to create an exclusively soap opera-based channel. What that be a good move, business-wise, for DirecTV? Why or why not?
DB: Actually, I think it would be a good business move for DirecTV or for other takers with the necessary resources. In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of networks specializing their offerings based on viewing audience preferences. Here in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, for example, Me TV offers a wide range of nostalgic television show offerings that have a large and significant following. There are all types of network and cable shows today catering to more specialized viewing audiences than at any time in the past based on consumer preferences (e.g., crime related and law enforcement, foods, hobbies, sports, dress and fashion, homes and real estate, travel and leisure activities, etc.) and there is no end in sight it seems to me. The network or networks that are successfully able to create a forum whereby legions of fans of these many soap shows can take advantage of viewing these substantial catalogs, on a day‐to‐day basis, stand to realize significant revenues by monetizing these longstanding consumer loyalties to these shows. Millions upon millions of soap opera fans will buy the product lines advertising on, and thus underwriting, these shows continuing successes as such. Too many of these shows catalogs are now tragically lying dormant, gathering dust on company shelves, and this situation needs to be reversed, and sooner rather than later one hopes to be the case.

LTAS From a business point of view, do you think networks can simply air reality-based programing in time slots once occupied by daytime serials and hope for the profits and fan loyalty that latter once brought them?

DB: I am not here to demonize reality television as I have and do, on occasion, like many people enjoyed watching as how such as for example, Next Great Baker or another food, restaurant‐themed like show. But I believe that that pendulum has swung to an extreme level due to network group think. As some observers have noted, much of so called reality programming is, in fact, very much scripted and rehearsed programming, too. But the human condition cries out with certain basic, primordial needs which it craves and storytelling is one such critical need that soap opera programming, not just here in the United States but internationally, is the most dominant form of such that we find in the world today. Millions of American fans of American soap opera gravely miss All My Children and One Life to Live and they and their families and friends continue boycotting ABC and Disney, until such time that those shows are returned to the airwaves. One need look no further than social media protests that remain powerful forces in advertising their support for these shows clamoring for ABC Disney to take the necessary corrective actions with a view toward settling the protracted litigation with Prospect Park, and bringing these shows back to the their respective fan bases forthwith, and uniting those fan bases back to supporting ABC/Disney’s network and its ancillary businesses and its many corporate sponsors tied to supporting such shows programming. I find myself in near constant awe and feeling tremendous respect toward the All My Children and One Life to Live Save Our Soaps movement, its many leaders and its millions of supporting fans, nationwide. How can one not have been moved by the haunting image of one soaps activist Nathan Brookshire, standing on the side walk of a road in a town in America with traffic passing by, holding up a placard sign supporting these shows? How can one not be moved by the longstanding dedication and hard work evidenced by the team of unbeatable great ladies all, tied to producing Let’s Talk About Soaps (“LTAS”) out of Brooklyn, New York including among others, the show’s co‐hosts Cheneise Carey‐Beebe, Stella Winston, the noted songstress Alura Johnson, behind‐the‐scenes and always hard at work executive producer Tessa K. McKenzie, director Bernice Brook, and you, yours truly their phenom blogger, scribe Akbi Khan? How can one not be moved by the hours of heartfelt YouTube videos produced by LTAS’ Cheneise as she rightly and relentlessly hammers ABC Disney and its senior executives calling them out by name and deed, for their rank misguided, disastrous corporate decisions made by cancelling these two iconic American soap operas; shows, that had long been profitable ventures for the network for many decades, thus having provided the financing for so many of its historical prime time television successes? How can one not be moved by the heart wrenching YouTube videos produced by Tina Byrd Payne powerfully demonstrating how significant these shows are; the useful ongoing role that they play in fans and their families lives year‐after‐year? And too, do not forget her admirably selfless generosity in organizing the producing of actor Michael Easton calendars, again and again, selflessly supporting with so many other soap fans the good work of the American Cancer Society. Who has produced more astute, brilliant legal commentary regarding the ongoing, seemingly never ending ABC‐Prospect Park litigation than the wonderful Spin’s Vixenella, thanks to her talented presence on Twitter, in particular? Look at the leadership role in the soaps movement played by someone such as Shawn Brady of Soap Fans United, including among many others, how could one not be moved? Powerfully witness the work of so many of the soap journalists such as, among so many others, Nanci Hughes, of the New York Soap Opera Examiner, as a wonderful fan of these shows and a great supporter in the forefront of the Save Our Soaps (“SOS”) movement. Look at Canadian soap journalist, Nelson Branco, and his daring bravery and journalistic integrity in publicly and selflessly defending these shows in the face of their nasty cancellations. How can one not be moved? How cannot be moved by the acutely perceptive business observations, brought to bear by one John Larsen of New York City, he being no stranger to New York daytime television production, also known as Midnighter on Facebook and Twitter, as he powerfully lectures ABC Disney, in precise, hefty dollar figures, on its rank failed business economics case in cancelling these two shows and foolishly supporting talk shows (some pricey) that have in short order tanked in the ratings and been forced from the airways by relentless, boycotting soap fans nationwide refusing to watch them? How can one not come away impressed with the substantial body of work analytically crafted by the talented Michael Fairman of Michael Fairman Soaps in addressing the many thorny issues, tied to these two shows and their respective casts, since their infamous cancellations by ABC/Disney? How can one not be moved by the likes of Travis Stair creatively supporting, through his many Facebook postings, his unwavering conviction of One Life To Live as the greatest television show, ever? The problem with singling people out, with the naming of names of leaders and noted fans is, of course, that one will always fail to recognize many deserving contributors to the Save Our Soaps movement and its day‐to‐day work who too, are equally worthy of being duly recognized. To name but a few more, Marc Anthony Ouckama, Andrea Kollo, Denise Quinones, Heather Chajko, Mike Wahl, Tony R. Curtis, Mary Amos, Trevor Mcbain, Edna Jackson Barefoot, Toure T. Cannon, and Karim El Masri. How can one not be moved by the useful contributions made to these shows and this genre by the well respected Carolyn Hinsey of Soap Opera Digest fame and Mr. Dan J. Krol of Soaps Central Live? And, do not forget the indefatigable work of Richard M. Simms, the executive editor of Soaps In Depth magazine. They are, individually and collectively, a powerful, formidable force to be reckoned with along with the countless other Facebook pages, leaders and supporting fans there and on Twitter and related soap blogs and magazines and radio shows, too. Each and every one, mentioned here and not due to space and time limitations, have been core, critical to the success that is the contemporary soaps movement, aimed at rectifying this rank injustice and bringing the respect and honor due this genre by the entertainment industry writ large.

LTAS: It’s been a tough few years for soap fans. Do you believe, as we at LTAS do, that soaps, like Phoenix, will rise from the ashes triumphant? Could there be a second Dr. Donald Boudreau book about 2015 as the year American business AND daytime drama won?
DB: The legendary American baseball outfielder and pitcher, Babe Ruth, once observed that “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” And, somehow and someway ABC Disney and its daytime programming decision makers it seems to me must come to grips with this inexorable reality and get on with the business of countermanding and reversing these misguided program cancellations. The many millions of dedicated American soap opera fans of All My Children and One Life To Live are the very people that Babe Ruth was referring to as they do not give up. It needs to be understood by myopic television network programming decision makers, special note of each and every television network that soap opera and its audiences are anything but myopic or stove piped in their decision making and loyalties. These are the same and one consumers who will loyally buy the sponsors products when they visit their supermarkets and stores nationwide. These are the same and one customers who will plan their weddings and family celebrations and vacations on Disney cruises and at Disney’s entertainment venues. These are the same and one fans who will be coming to the soap fan weekends, patronizing all of the related businesses while there. It is they who will be bringing their children and their grandchildren to the company’s latest movie releases. The soap opera fans customer loyalty is not to be taken for granted, and accordingly, such will be richly reciprocated in turn. They are consumers, customers, and fans, all of these things and you marginalize ‐ or ignore them ‐‐or, but pay them lip service, at your career and the company’s peril. And yes, finally, if ABC Disney one day soon has a corporate epiphany, coming full circle, and doing the right thing for its loyal national television viewing audience, resurrecting these vintage shows to their rightful throne son Manhattan Island (and please, Luna Moody’s Soaps Goddess, may it be with none other than Cartini at the helm!), then yes, I can certainly envision writing another tome commending them for such, at long last. That actually would be my personal pleasure and a sequel worth penning. “Thank you” great ladies of Let’s Talk About Soaps for having me here with you once again, take care and be well and finally, keep on keeping on, in keeping the SOS faith alive. See you next time and happy holidays to all. Best wishes as ever, D)

Stay tuned, soap/LTAS fans! Now you’ve heard from Dr. Boudreau on the foreign soap market. Next week we will have a Spanish soap fan who will tell us all about American soap operas and their popularity in Spain!  And as ALWAYS, Stay Soapy! Subscribe (upper right corner) and comment away!

Your Editor,

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