Our Soapy New Year’s Resolutions

Hey, Soap Fans. We at LTAS wish you a happy new year!

This is the time of year for resolutions, right? So here are ours:

  1. We resolve to continue not to watch ABC (except for watching “General Hosptial”), boycott all Disney products, advertisers, parks, etc. No support of The Rat until “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live” (OLTL) are back in their 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m time slots on ABC, respectively.
  2. We resolve to boycott Proctor and Gamble, the original soap killers that set this whole nightmare in motion, all their sponsors and products, until “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns” are returned to their original time slots on CBS. (See Kim Zimmer’s (Riva Shane GL) book, ‘I’m Just Sayin.’).
  3. We resolve to support the advertisers who support the soaps.We will support all Soap Opera Website by clicking at least ten times on the advertisements on those sites, to make sure the soap admins get revenues and can keep their soap opera websites going. [Also, we humbly request that you do the same ten clicks on our ads too! Please. :).
  4. We resolve to pressure Warner Brothers to make a deal with CBS to bring “Dallas” home.
  5. We resolve to get the “Dynasty” reboot off to a good start and make its ratings sky-high by faithfully watching it (but first and foremost, because we love it) from its first day back.
  6. We resolve to support in any ways we can the soap stars, who have been at the forefront of the fight four our soaps.
  7. And we resolve to remain vigilant and do whatever the moments call for in the future to make sure we are never in this position fighting for our soaps to return to us again.

Also, remember that we will be posting a run-down of our 2014 accomplishments next Monday, our and the many other faithful Save Our Soaps groups’ accomplishments being the reason we are confident our resolutions will make a difference and that even without them, AMC and OLTL are on their way back.

P.S. To Disney: The only way to have the boycott of all your goods and services lifted is to return AMC and OLTL to their original time slots. If they return in any other form, yes, we will follow them, but your millions of soap viewers (AMC and OLTL) will not end the boycott of all things ABC/Disney. Also, Spain has a second soap channel, and we don’t even have one! Why? We want SOAPnet back!

Remember to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail in the upper-right corner. And comment below, of course! Say anything you feel, for example share with us your soap-related resolutions!

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

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

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

With Hidden Dagger, The Network’s Fake Smile

pp abc picAt the end of the day, television networks are beholden to their viewers. There simply cannot be an ongoing production of television programs without people to watch them, because those people (and their money) attract advertisers, and it is those advertisers who provide the network’s revenue stream. Thus, with there entire business model relying upon the viewing audience, it behooves networks to listen with a careful ear to the needs and wants of that audience and to comport themselves accordingly.

Somehow, all of this got lost in the translation to whatever language is being spoken at ABC/Disney, who are – or were – responsible for the production of the beloved soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live. Despite the fact that these shows were well liked, with legions of loyal fans behind them, the network took the decision to cancel both productions. The backlash was as swift as it was terrible, with millions of outraged fans flooding ABC/Disney with angry letters, as well as organizaing boycotts of Disney commercial products in wholesale retaliation. Advertisers, as ever they do, took notice, and the danger of remaining, unrelated ABC/Disney productions suffering a loss of revenue become very real. In what could be called a panic, the network put on their best politicians’ faces and took to damage control, assuring fans that the soap operas were not dead, but had merely been leased to Prospect Park Production, who were now charged with taking over stewardship of All My Children and One Life To Live. And, not to worry, the network said: In the event Prospect Park doesn’t continue production within a certain time frame, the rights to the shows will revert back to ABC/Disney and the shows will go on anyway.

 But ABC/Disney’s smiles were as fake as the plastic constituting Mickey Mouse’s ears. Trusting perhaps a little too much, the fans were mollified and backed off of their outrage and boycotts, calming advertisers, but after the promised time period had elapsed there was still no sign of the soaps. When fans demanded answers, they were told that Prospect Park was now conducting a lawsuit against ABC/Disney, and neither party was legally able to produce the shows until after the litigation was resolved.

 This explanation is nothing more than a slap in the face to millions of soap opera fans. It was ABC/Disney themselves who promised that full rights to All My Children and One Life To Live would revert back to them if Prospect Park did not continue production, so now that production remains stopped, why is it that the work cannot make good on its promises to pick up the shows again? It is all too obvious what has happened. Soap opera fans everywhere had the wool pulled over their eyes, listening to the sweet poison whispers that told them what they wanted to hear so that they would stop hurting the network’s bottom line. Well, it’s time to stop trusting the network, and it’s time to stop getting fooled. They panicked enough to resort to these despicable tactics because they feared viewer boycotts and subsequent advertiser withdrawal. Now it’s time to renew those threats, and this time not back down until our soaps are back on the air!

By Eternalendrea

Comment, subscribe (upper right-hand corner), and let’s dish, discuss, and commiserate!

We Need Alexis Carrington Colby!

IDynasty’ve been watching the new “Dallas” on TNT, and I’ve seen how or favorite Southfork family has been brilliantly and successfully resurrected as a prime time soap. The new Dallas combines the best of the past with engaging new stories for the next generation of Ewing’s, Barnes’ and their associates. As I’ve watched how easy it was to become reengaged with the Ewing’s of Dallas one thought keeps coming into my mind: We need Alexis Carrington Colby back!

Yes, it is time for the powers that be to realize that Americans are eager to catch up with their favorite night time soap families from the 1980’s and it is time for them to bring Dynasty back! Dynasty was a unique soap because the writers were not afraid to tackle the most controversial issues of the day. At least they did at first, until circumstances of the day caused the producers and writers to pull back and be more cautious. With society at a much different place now, imagine the ground breaking and dramatic storylines a new generation of Carrington’s and Colby’s cold bring to life on the television screen.

Dynasty premiered in 1981, and it was far ahead of its time. Think back to that year. 1981 was the year that Ronald Reagan moved into the White House ushering in an age of business, riches, greed, opulence and entrepreneurship. It was the perfect time for a show like Dynasty. Americans loved to watch the Carrington’s live large and they came to represent the 1980’s in the most perfect way.

 Still, 1981 ushered in a conservative era when women still had subordinate roles in the workplace, for the most part, and 1981 was the year that AIDS burst onto the scene, setting back the gay rights movement for another two decades. Dynasty’s writers and creators pushed the envelope with topics like women in positions of corporate power and a gay character in a relationship with another man. Americans had not seen anything like it, even on the powerhouse Dallas, which had more traditional storylines. The Dynasty writers had to constantly calibrate just how far they could go to tell the stories the wanted to tell.

 Two characters were central to these ground breaking stories. There was Steven Carrington, the family son and heir to the empire. Steven was handsome and smart, and he was rebellious and independent. Steven was also gay, and in a relationship with another man. The very first season was crafted around the trial of Steven’s father and family patriarch Blake Carrington for killing Steven’s gay lover when he found them in a compromising position. Americans were riveted to their televisions when Steven testified in great detail about his relationship with another man and when Blake was cross examined and angrily revealed his feelings towards gay men. Topics like this simply were not discussed on American TV in 1981, not until Dynasty came along, that is. Sadly, when the AIDS epidemic burst onto the scene, the topic became taboo and the Dynasty writers had to scale back their provocative story, even making Steven straight and pairing him with Heather Locklear’s Sami Jo.

 The second character to break through with amazing stories was the one and only Alexis Carrington Colby, played to perfection by Joan Collins. I have to say that one of the television moments that I will never forget was the last few minutes of that first season when the prosecution in Blake’s trial called their surprise witness, his ex-wife Alexis! It immediately became television history. The producers had not yet cast Alexis, so they had to have the actress wear a hat with a black veil to cover her face. When the show returned in the fall of 1981, Joan Collins was under the veil, but in that episode in the spring, it was just a woman and a veil, and the audience immediately knew that this woman meant business!

 Alexis is what set Dynasty apart from its main rival Dallas. That show of course had its ruthless corporate villain, JR, but Americans were used to men playing the role of greedy vicious businessmen. 1981 was only one year after the movie “9 to 5” which shined the spotlight on the plight of American women in the work place. In 1981, most women who worked outside the home worked in the hospitality industry, were teacher or nurses or worked retail. Those who were in the corporate world were most likely part of the secretarial pool. No one had seen an ambitious woman charge the corporate board room and do whatever it took to reach the top. Not until Alexis did it!

 Alexis was ambitious and determined to get what she felt was rightfully hers. When she didn’t get it from her ex-husband Blake, she chose to get it by any means necessary. She would use her children, her knowledge of people’s past for blackmail purposes, and most of all she would use her sexuality. Who can ever forget how she went after Cecil Colby, convinced him to marry him and then watched as he had a heart attack during their passionate night of sex? For 1982 this was shocking, but Americans loved it! Unlike the storyline of a gay man dealing with his sexuality in a time of AIDS, America was ready for a strong woman to enter the corporate arena with a men and beat them at their own game, so the writers made Alexis bigger than life and were not even afraid to have her roll around in the mud fighting with her arch nemesis, and Blake’s wife Krystal.

 Dynasty ended in 1989, and like all series, sputtered to an end, suffering from storylines that were no longer fresh and cutting edge. There was a two part mini-series a few years later to wrap up loose ends and it seemed like the end of Dynasty for good. Today, however, we have seen the rebirth of Dallas, and it works! The new Dallas is riveting and most important it is fresh, focusing on modern and contemporary issues like alternative energies and the tension in Texas between the law enforcement authorities and the Mexican drug cartels. The characters are familiar, but they are modern. The older Ewings have one foot in the past and the other in the present and the younger generation is fully engaged in the issues that contemporary 20-somethings face every day. There was even a three-way sex scene!

 Imagine what Dynasty could be today if it was reborn. Its not 1981 anymore and there are no boundaries. Americans have come to accept the most controversial subjects and there would be no limit to what the writers could do. Steven could be out and would probably be married to his lover. Younger Carringtons could be involved in any number of situations and there would really be no limit.

 Best of all, Alexis could be unleased and watching Joan Collins reprieve her iconic role would be incredibly entertaining. With the children of the ‘80’s now the adult and parents of the new millennium, there is a craving for the icons of that incredible decade; Dallas has proved that.

So now, with one voice, the fans of Dynasty are proclaiming – BRING BACK DYNASTY AND BRING BACK ALEXIS CARRINGTON COLBY!

David Arwood

David Arwood

Written by David Arwood.

 

 

 

 

And thank you, soap fans, for reading. Remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper left-hand corner), and most of all,

STAY SOAPY!

A Legal Counsel Explains the ABC/PP Lawsuit in Detail

prospect park picHello, Soap Fans! Lets Talk About Soaps recently sought legal counsel from, Troy Veenstra. We asked him some questions about the ABC/Prospect Park lawsuit and its implications. Here are our questions and his answers. 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.

LTAS: First of all, Troy, we at LTAS want to thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview and demystify a lot of the legal issues involved in the ABC/Prospect Park lawsuit and its implications for us.

LTAS (Lets Talk About Soaps): So, to placate the viewers and attempt an end to the boycotts of their products, did Disney said they had leased the rights to “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live (OLTL) to Prospect Park?

Troy Veenstra (TV): This statement is partially correct, whether or not it was to “placate” the viewers I cannot legally say one way or the other, but ABC did lease the rights to AMC and OLTL to Prospect Park Production. The original licensing agreement between ABC and Prospect Park first entered into in July 2011, after the network cancelled the two long-running soaps, gave Prospect Park twelve months to put together online versions of the shows. Prospect Park would then have the exclusive right to produce fifteen seasons of each show. In Jan 2012, the agreement was amended to also state that, “If Prospect Park Productions did not produce the shows for 18 straight months, the rights of AMC and OLTL would immediately revert back to ABC, which Disney does own.

LTAS: Is Prospect Park owned by Disney?

TV: According to the IRS, and Public Records of ownership, The Disney Corporation does not own Prospect Park Productions, nor does any of its subsidiaries. In fact the only property that Disney owns that even sounds close to Prospect Park Productions is Prospect Park Studios, which is not part of Prospect Park Productions. That said, several former employees of Disney own Prospect Park Productions, but there is no paper trail that shows otherwise.

LTAS: Now, Prospect Park is suing Disney, and then—what a coincidence—Prospect Park goes into bankruptcy. But, there is supposedly still an ongoing lawsuit for the rights of AMC and OLTL.

TV: Prospect Park Productions is suing ABC, not Disney (I know you think they are one of the same by ownership but legally speaking they are two different entities). As for Prospect filing for bankruptcy that is also true, and as far as the fact that the lawsuit is ongoing for the rights of AMC AND OLTL, this is also true as the lawsuit was started by Prospect Park Productions, and their bankruptcy is only a Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization) instead of a Chapter 7 (full out bankruptcy).

LTAS: And I don’t understand how can there be a lawsuit with a company who has filed for bankruptcy, as Prospect Park has.

TV: First off, a chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the United States Bankruptcy Code, states that a debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. Thus this all for the company to stay afloat while also try to pay those business they may owe huge amounts to in partial payments rather than full payments. Secondly, though as you obviously know, The Bankruptcy Code halts pending litigation against companies who file for bankruptcy. Often companies will file for bankruptcy for this very reason, as litigation costs and liabilities pile up. However, if the lawsuit was initiated by the company that filed for bankruptcy, suing another company, the lawsuit can continue, as this helps maximize value for creditors, a main goal of bankruptcy, because creditors will also benefit if the company in bankruptcy is successful in the litigation. Thus, because Prospect Park Productions started the lawsuit against ABC before filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the lawsuit can continue forward as the other creditors that are owed funds by Prospect Park Productions have a better chance of getting their funds paid if Prospect Park wins their case.

LTAS: Do the details of the lawsuit demonstrate that it is just a smoke screen to keep soap fans off ABC’s back?

TV: Unfortunately, as this is an ongoing case, getting actual court records of the inner workings is impossible, as each party is only privy to that information until the case is resolved.

 Now with all this said I cannot legally tell you that there is some scam going on between ABC, Prospect Park Productions, and the Disney Corporation as the information just isn’t there to show it. However, as a professional author, who has written his own conspiracy theories in the past, I would say that it’s a bit suspicious that the owners of Prospect Park Productions are former employees (head employees I might add) of the Disney Corporation… that I find kind of odd… but again legally I’ve done all I can for you.

LTAS: In a law suit, can both parties keep the lawsuit going forever, or they can just decide to settle and close the law suit overnight. Is this correct?

TV: A lawsuit can go on for sometime, until either the judge handling the case gets tired and demands otherwise, or both parties can decide to come to some agreement and request the lawsuit be terminated. But it can be officially terminated only by the plaintiff (the one that brought the suit up in the first place)

LTAS I just have one final question. As the rights of AMC and OLTL were reverted back to ABC, is there any legal reason that the law suit could prevent ABC from producing the soaps or airing them? I mean, I remember a few years back they had a law suit with General Hospital, but that did not affect the shooting or the programming of General Hospital.

TV: If the rights were reverted back to ABC than no, there’s no reason they couldn’t restart the programs.

LTAS: Once again, thank you so much for consenting to do this interview and providing us with such valuable information. We really appreciate your time and expertise!

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And thank you, soap fans, for reading. Remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper left-hand corner), and most of all,

STAY SOAPY!

Your Editor,

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Akbi Khan

An Interview With Shawn Brady, Soap Hero

Shawn BradyShawn Brady, 45, has been a central figure in the fight to bring back All My Children and One Life to Live after their cancellation by ABC. In 2011 he joined with Maree Blackston, Dana Meyer, Candace Straight, Cheryl Hutton, Kimmie Watson and Jennifer Snelling, forming the group Soap Fans United (SFU). The group has grown from several hundred members on Facebook (link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SFU2011/) 7,077 and counting!

SFU was instrumental in hosting four rallies in the Save Our Soaps movement, from the two ABC Upfront Rallies in NYC, to OLTL’s 43rd Anniversary Rally and the final AMC & OLTL Prospect Park welcome back rally. The group has garnered national and international publicity in the process of fighting for our soaps.

Below he talks about the creation of SFU and where we are today in the battle to save soaps, among other topics.

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LTAS: Hi, Shawn. First I want to thank you for doing this interview. Next, How long have you been a soap fan, Shawn, and how did you get interested in them?

SB: I have been a soap fan before I was aware I was a soap fan! My first show that I got hooked on a child was the prime time TV show Dallas. I will never forget how fast my heart pounded when I was about to find out “Who Shot JR!”   In fact the first cover of Soap Opera Digest I ever bought had Dallas on its cover.

My first experience with daytime soaps was thanks to my Biology teacher Mr. Zingaro (aka Mr. Z). I was babysitting his son, and he had episodes of AMC on videotape. We lived overseas in Turkey, so we often got VHS tapes form the states. My first memories of AMC are in the Martin kitchen with Tad, Joe and Ruth.

When I moved back to the states, I then discovered One Life to Live, General Hospital, Loving, and Days of our Lives. These were of course during the golden days of the mid 80s!

Whether I was finishing high school, away from home at college, or starting a new job in a strange city, my soaps were always with me! I knew how to use a timer on a VCR while people still tried to figure out the blinking 12:00 sign, an was one of the first adopters of the DVR to record and watch all my soaps! At one time or another I ended up watching all soaps from As The World Turns to Santa Barbara.

Shawn Brady and Susan Lucci

LTAS: Can you tell readers about the creation of Soap Fans United?

SB: Soap Fans United is a group that formed organically following the cancellation of AMC & OLTL. Ironically, I can thank a medium I seldom use (Twitter) for my involvement with the soap movement. It’s true what they say about Twitter; it’s a strong medium that can bring people together for a cause. I got online right after hearing about the cancellation of our beloved soaps and met a wonderful group of people. We all got involved in planning an ABC Upfront Rally and worked together on our first press release. The next thing I knew, I was flying to New York to help organize and execute it on the ground and SFU was literally (and figuratively) born!

LTAS:David Arwood, an LTAS blog writer, in a blog post suggested that the return of soaps to NYC would bring 40,000 new jobs and $4 billion in revenue to the NYC economy? Do you agree, and if so can you talk a little about this—how soaps are not simply entertainment, but a boon to the economy?

SB: I do not have specific data on the economic impact of bringing soaps back to production in NYC; however, producing daily serialized, scripted drama most certainly brings more permanent jobs because unlike primetime shows, soaps tape year-round.

In addition to the soap writers, cast and crew, there are also ancillary services and businesses that crop up in the area around a studio to meet the needs of the hundreds of folks involved in producing a daily soap year-round. Bringing permanent, year-round jobs to an area has the effect of creating some stability for businesses and it can lead to entire neighborhoods being revitalized. Contrast that environment with what happens in primetime where often a pilot is shot, and it is not picked up, or even if it is, you get an order for 13 or 22 weeks. Businesses, particularly small businesses, are not going to want to spend the money to expand into an area to serve needs that are fleeting, but soaps provided jobs and stability for all sorts of ancillary businesses in NYC for decades.

LTAS: In Kim Zimmer’s (Reva, Guiding Light) book, “I’m Just Saying,” she exposes the Proctor and Gamble sponsors as “the original soap killers,” as my colleague Tessa Kendall McKenzie calls them. Can you suggest some ways that fans can show sponsors that if they support the soaps, we will support them, and that if they don’t they will get boycotted, as ABC/Disney did.

SB: The difference between P&G and the rest of the sponsors is that P&G actually created the soap opera industry to help sell their own soaps! They created the shows, sold them to all the networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) and sponsored them at the same time. The reason Zimmer refers to P&G as “the original soap killers” is because P&G got tired of producing their own soaps and wanted out of the business. That is why there wasn’t much resistance to the cancellation of Another World at CBS and later As The World Turns, and Guiding Light at CBS.

In today’s economy you have multiple sponsors sponsoring multiple shows, whether it’s one of our beloved soaps or The View, so targeting sponsors is more difficult, but at the end of the day, sponsors still want to know that their product is being viewed favorably and their ad dollars are being spent wisely.(Hoover pulling out of ABC Daytime was a great publicity stunt for which they deserve our thanks and support. That goes for any other sponsor who publicly calls out ABC or any other network for cancelling a soap!)

At our Upfront Rallies where advertisers meet with ABC executives and talent, SFU prepared and distributed detailed flyers pointing out ratings research we gathered which demonstrated how many ad impressions advertisers were losing since the AMC & OLTL cancellations. We were not appealing to advertisers’ “emotions,” we were appealing to what they were interested in which is their bottom line.

One of the best way fans can show their support for their soaps is to support or target the network that airs them (depending on the approach). For example, while SFU is not a group based on boycotting ABC like Fans United Against ABC (FUABC), many of our members (including one of our founders) are ABC boycotters except for GH.   Besides rallying and getting press to show advertisers how wrong ABC was in cancelling those shows, I cannot deny the effect the boycotting of ABC has had on its ratings, which are still problematic to this day!

The boycotting of ABC has a trickle down effect from ABC Daytime to local news to ABC Primetime, late local news and even late night shows. If you do not have loyal ABC daytime watchers, then you will not see the network promos for new shows; if you tune out of your local ABC news, the network affiliates become unhappy with the network for declining revenue; by not seeing the promos for new shows, you will not watch ABC primetime; the domino effects continue. It’s amazing to me how ABC TV Entertainment President Paul Lee still hasn’t figured it out yet!

Now on the flip side, you can still support GH by letting ABC and your local ABC affiliate know if they resurrect AMC & OLTL their ratings will increase all across the board.   It’s a win-win situation!

Re: the soaps on CBS & NBC, again, write the network and local stations to let them know why you love watching their soaps and how loyal you are to their entire lineup!

directv smallLTAS: We at LTAS have spoken with a DIRECTV representative who said that if fans show the interest, they would consider creating a soap channel. Could fans redirect the coupon campaign to show DIRECTV that things like the Facebook page dedicated to garnering support for a cable channel to pick up our soaps is serious business? What are some other ways fans could bring to fruition the creation of a new soap channel by DIRECTV? Can you also describe the coupon campaign and how you came up with it for those who are not familiar with it?

SB: DirecTV was one of the last bastions for SOAP Net. DirecTV promised soap fans early on they would not pull the plug on SOAP Net until they were absolutely forced to by Disney, and they were good to their word and maintained SOAP Net until Disney stopped the network feed. DirecTV was attuned to what soap fans wanted.

The need is still great for an all-soap network. I look around the dial at all the various niche networks, and I can’t imagine a serialized drama network would not be at least equally as viable as some of the other networks on the cable and satellite dial.

I would also like to take a moment to salute what TV Guide Network is doing in terms of re-broadcasting soaps. I think Y&R and B&B do well for them. Of course, CBS owns TVGN, so it is probably easier for them to make a deal with TVGN to rebroadcast their soaps.

With regard to the Coupon Campaign, Soap Fans United was one of many groups involved in promoting that campaign. It was not “our” campaign. The Coupon Campaign gained a lot of traction and received national attention including Globe Magazine and Soaps In Depth and a number of other articles in local newspapers, blogs, etc.. While we didn’t get a new soap channel from the Coupon Campaign, what we may have achieved from the publicity surrounding the Coupon Campaign was a longer life-line for SOAP Net than Disney otherwise planned. While some soap fans lost SOAP Net early on as Disney intended, a great many soap fans throughout the country had SOAP Net nearly 18 months longer than Disney’s original announcement back in 2010 about sun-setting SOAP Net. Many in SFU only lost SOAP Net as of December 31, 2013.

The Coupon Campaign data is several years older now, and to be honest, I am not even sure who has the data, so I don’t know if that information could be parlayed into anything that would provide leverage to get a soap channel; however, I think it is useful for soap fans to continue to contact their cable and satellite providers and let them know there is a need and a desire for a soap channel.

I  love what Retro TV is doing bringing back the soap, The Doctors. It is smart to let them know we are interested in more soaps. I think Retro TV would be smart to target soap fans to help them expand into more markets, much like Disney originally used soap fans to get market share for SOAP Net. When SOAP Net started, Disney asked us to contact our local cable & satellite providers and ask them to carry the channel. Retro TV could do the same type of thing, if they are willing to explore vintage soaps that would appeal to soap fans.

daytime emmyLTAS: The chairman of the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recently said the Daytime Emmys would be back on television next year. From a PR point of view, what would this mean for the network that aired them, in terms of ratings, popularity, etc.?

SB: I feel the credibility and brand of the Daytime Emmys were severely damaged when they outsourced it and streamed it themselves. If a real broadcast network like (ABC, CBS, and NBC) were to air the show in primetime again, it would go a long way towards repairing the damage done to the entire Daytime Emmy franchise. It would be an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate the drama and utilize prime time actors who got their start in daytime like Nathan Fillion (Castle) and Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds)!

While rumors are the 2015 Daytime Emmy show will air on TVGN (TV Guide Network; also owned by CBS) , the channel is in limited distribution and not available in high-def (HD). However, I have heard the ratings for TVGN have surged with the addition of airing B&B and Y&R on a nightly basis in primetime. I feel the Daytime Emmy should get the same type of promotion and recognition as its nighttime peers!

LTAS: Many American soap operas are wildly popular overseas—when the Bold and the Beautiful cast visits Italy, riots practically break out! Can we get the international audience to unite with us to get our soaps back, and if so, how can we do it? Can you suggest some ways our international soap fan brothers and sisters could get involved in the Save Our Soaps movement?

BB castSB: Did you know that B&B is the most watched show in the world, let alone soap opera?! Brad Bell is able to take advantage of his show’s status by doing multiple location shoots from around the world! I definitely think we can get the international audience to work with us to help Save Our Soaps! One way is to get an international TV studio to help co-produce our beloved AMC & OLTL and secure an international distribution deal. But in order to push for that we need to make sure ABC gets the rights back to both shows.

I also believe outreach on social media and groups such as Soap Fans United play a role in encouraging international soap fans to join together with us to promote soaps worldwide.

LTAS: When our soaps are back, what could you suggest fans could do not to get complacent and make sure they are never, ever taken from us again?

SB: First, let’s support the remaining four soaps we have on the air right now. If you are an AMC fan, give DAYS a shot. If you are an OLTL fan, check out B&B. or vice versa! Personally, I watch all four.   When the shows come back write in and show your support to the network/studio that brings it back, write to your local affiliate who airs them, and fill out a contact form on the advertisers’ web site letting them know you appreciate their support for our soaps.

LTAS: Many soap fans, including all of us at LTAS, but many others as well, look to you for guidance in this continuing struggle to save our soaps. If you could suggest one or two main things that fans can do now to get our soaps back, what would they be? Would you like to say anything to all the to the angry, heartbroken soap fans out there who want their soaps back?

SB: First, let’s learn to be patient. The rights for AMC & OLTL are in limbo until Prospect Park and ABC sort out their lawsuit and the Prospect Park Bankruptcy.

Secondly, and maybe most importantly, keep the buzz about our soaps going all the time. Celebrate AMC & OLTL. Comment on any mainstream article that references soaps, and mention how much you miss AMC & OLTL. Vote for AMC & OLTL in various Internet polls about “favorite shows” or “most missed shows.” In general mention AMC & OLTL every chance you get on social media and on mainstream blogs.

I also suggest tweeting, face booking or emailing your local ABC affiliate periodically to let them know we still miss AMC & OLTL. It never hurts to remind them, particularly now as The View appears poised to implode and The Chew isn’t doing much to write home about. On the heels of Katie’s abysmal failure, many of the ABC affiliates are reassessing their Daytime programming needs. They are faced with choosing among a variety of syndicated talk shows where one is just as bad as the next. Now is a great time to remind our ABC affiliates that they once had higher ratings and better programming options in Daytime when AMC, OLTL and GH formed the core of their Daytime line-up.

Until then, support GH, DAYS, B&B, and Y&R. Don’t take any of the remaining soaps for granted!

For those who are disillusioned or disheartened, I say “don’t ever give up!” We collectively had the power to bring the soaps back once, and we shall do so again!

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Shawn would like to thank the following people for their parts in saving our soaps: Flo DiBona, Cole Bell, Denise McMann, Sharon Solomon, Tina Gray, Tammy Kreiss, Rose Gencarelli, Susan Hoffman, Bruce Marchesani, Zach Fisher, Johanna Marlin, Fred Titcomb, Stephen Parker, Liz Arnold, Robynn Wildman Cote, Judy Wernsing, Gina Zarola, Eddie Hicinbothem, Donna L. Harper (Disney Save Our Soaps – raised $5K for AMC & OLTL Hollywood Reporter ad), Kymberleigh McLaughlin, John Larsen (Save AMC & OLTL), SFU rally co-organizer MarcAnthony Ouckama (+ partner Brian), Globe Editor Jeff Rodack, OLTL’s Cat Hickland, OLTL / GH’s Ilene Kristen, ATWT’s Colleen Zenk & AMC’s Jordi Vilasuso, Loretta Lamar, Justice and Vitina Varone, new SOS rally-er Karim el-Masri for his tireless dedication to save #AMC and #OLTL, and the countless others who support our soaps endlessly

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Thank you, again, Shawn for doing this interview. And thanks all for reading. Please remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper-right corner), and stay soapy!

Your Editor,

Akbi Khan

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