Disclaimer: this blog post is not advocating the movement of the soaps currently on the West Coast to NYC. We are saying that the five soaps that spent the majority of their lives on the East Coast–AMC, OLTL, GL, ATWT, and AW–should come back there.
On October 20, 1930, a new kind of entertainment program was created. Conceived at the time as a series of 15-minute radio shorts, these programs would emphasize the interplay between characters, focusing on romantic drama, family dynamics, and personal rivalries and alliances, all on occasion to a melodramatic extent. Because the shows were originally produced by soap manufacturers (Procter and Gamble prominent among them), they earned the name “soap operas“, a title that has stuck over the years. And from an early date, a time some might even call the genre’s golden age, they have been associated with one key factor: Production in New York City.
New York is the cradle of the soap opera. And for a long time, it was the soap opera’s nursery as well. Early soaps, played on the radio, were broadcast live from New York’s studios. But somewhere along the line – mostly in the 1960’s and 70’s – that changed, so that live-action television soap operas came to be produced predominately in Los Angeles. The reasons for this are manifold: A warmer climate, greater access to acting talent, an established filming infrastructure. But what’s true in so many avenues of life also applies here, and if you want the most prominent reason of all for the egress of the soap opera from New York, you need only follow the money. It became more cost-effective to produce these shows on the west coast, so that’s where the shows went.
But the process also works in reverse. Provide economic incentives for a return to New York, and a return to New York you shall have. The easiest way to accomplish this is with tax breaks. The equation is really quite simple: Fewer taxes on a given business, equates to more of that business. Modest subsidies for cinematographic production would achieve the same effect, and together they would make an excellent two-pronged strategy. Throw in relaxed industry regulations for an even greater lure. The idea here is to cut the costs of filming in New York, so much that even Los Angeles cannot compete. Do that, and the Big Apple gets its soaps back.
The benefits of soap opera’s return to New York for that city would be immense. In addition to the prestige of once again hosting these beloved daytime shows, New York’s economy would grow appreciably. Bringing business brings money, because the people who work in that business live and trade in the city where their business is conducted. Satellite enterprises spring up – in this case caterers, nearby restaurants, any imaginable outlet that could provide services to the production crews. More people would be employed, with they and their employers paying taxes to the city. The math is simple – where is the will?
No one is saying this is going to be easy. But it will most certainly be effective. Do what it takes to bring the soap opera back to New York, and all New Yorkers will reap the benefits.
One easy thing we can all do is sign this asking ABC to bring All My Children, One Life to Live, and SOAPnet back. Here’s the link: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/savedaytimetv
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Written by Eternalendrea,