You heard quite a bit from me as we were ramping up towards the Daytime Emmys broadcast in August. There was a lot to say. I also said that after the Emmys my relevance will have dissipated and therefore you wouldn’t hear from me much. So the fact that you’re hearing from me now must signify something important. I’m about to share with you our decision about The Daytime Emmys that wasn’t easy to make but you’ll know why we made it as you read further. It seems apropos this announcement comes as we wind down 2009 and we can look back at what has been, to say the least, a transitional year for the daytime soaps.
One thing is certain. The health of the soaps were riding on the success of 2009. This was the year everyone was measuring as to whether they felt the soaps were still relevant or becoming passé.
As an avid daytime fan for the last 30 years, as well as being a successful industry professional who has seen the wizard behind the curtain (and not always a pretty sight), I have to say that 2009 ended in the right direction. In addition, the new media outlets I was talking about over the last two years and especially at the beginning of this year are now becoming realities for our daytime stars. It’s really happening and as a producer/distributor this is thrilling news for me. As a former actor, my creative side is on fire. More on that later. But let’s take a look at why 2009 was great for the soaps.
THE DAYTIME EMMYS: I firmly believe that had this not happened for television this year, the outcome for 2009 would have been much different. Part of me would like to think that we were the instigators in the soaps having a great year end, but the reality is that the soaps themselves did all the heavy lifting and we did the cheerleading. The Daytime Emmys broadcast was certainly the exclamation point. I think the soaps were reinvigorated by our passion to save the Emmys. In addition, we gave the soaps three more platforms of promotion in 2009. One was our 2009 Hero Awards which aired in July, another was our 2009 World Magic Awards which just aired a few weeks ago, and our next is The Hollywood Christmas Parade which tapes this Sunday and airs on December 10th in primetime (Susan Lucci is our Grand Marshal as we welcome AMC to Hollywood). If you recall, I said we can provide that platform of promotion, but it’s up to the soaps themselves to use it to their advantage. And that they did.
ALL MY CHILDREN: After a rough start, they’re off to a great finish with the promise of 2010 being solid. Was very appreciative of Julie Carruthers and company to incorporate our Africa story into the show. The move to Los Angeles is just what it needs.
AS THE WORLD TURNS: Was on death’s door, but now seems to have new life and perhaps another new contract. Great actors, great stories.
ONE LIFE TO LIVE: Like watching a symphony. Everybody is important to that show at any given time. All are “A” stories. Not a real clunker in the bunch. Credit Valentini and staff for that as well as the ability to craft great story arcs and support them with talented actors.
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL: The #1 soap in the world. The only show that has that ability to be fun, but then hit you with that Betty White right hook when you least expect it. Great pacing.
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: The best character soap on television and certainly has some of the finest actors in the business.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES: The comeback kid of the century! Literally a breath away from cancellation, this show proved that it not only deserved to go on, but kick ass in the process.
GENERAL HOSPITAL: Since September has proven why they have such a legacy. Jonathan Jackson is back. Adam Lambert “ Mad World” soundtrack. Even movie heavyweight James Franco gets how cool the soaps are.
GUIDING LIGHT: Well…their demise was put well into action before this year even started and there was no way to reverse the momentum. But they went out strong!
Now, the new media outlets. Let’s take a look at what the web is bringing forth. GOTHAM, VENICE, IMAGINARY BITCHES, not to mention the upcoming THE REPUBLIC and the much anticipated REALITY BYTES just to name a few. Last year at this time, this was all wishful thinking. But the evolution is happening! And this is the most exciting news in soaps since they announced almost 60 years ago that you can start watching your soaps on television instead of just listening to them on the radio. This is huge! And it happened in 2009. Why is this so great? Is it the money? Well, not yet. Is it the fame? Not yet. So what’s the big deal?
I’ll tell you.
If it serves only one purpose right now, it’s that it’s a giant middle finger to the powers that be that control your viewing decisions. Right now you can count on literally ONE hand the number of people who control everything you see on television overall. You’ve got committees who look at show ideas, evaluate them, do focus groups, and then try to package them with the producers, actors and writers they think you should have. And then they can yank it if they decide they no longer like it. And your dream is dead.
On the web, ANYONE can be their own studio! If you’re creative enough and technically savvy enough (or at least know someone who is), you could have your very own show on the web that is for the people and by the people. Nobody has to approve anything. Nobody has to green light your decisions. Nobody has to rate your shows. Nobody gives a rat’s ass if you’re in the 18-49 demo. With this technology, you can create a look that is every bit as good as you see on television. The web is the wild west! It’s the frontier. The Gold Rush! Time is now to stake your claim because I guarantee you someone will find a way to monopolize it and push the little guy out. But not if you’re there first! That’s why seeing all these great new web shows take place-and creating another outlet for these great soaps stars- is the most thrilling news for the genre since 1950. Hands down.
And so…because of this renewed vigor and faith in the genre, we have activated our option to produce The 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 2010.
But what does that mean? Well, not much. But it’s a start!
What it means is that after months of careful deliberation, we have committed ourselves on paper to produce next year’s event. This was all based on the caveat of two things:
1. That the daytime genre, especially the soaps, are collectively strong enough and want this to continue.
2. That we can top what we did this past August-including the venue.
The answers to both are yes. And no it’s not a moneymaker for us.
We got involved in this past Emmys show because we were fans of the genre and felt it was a prestigious thing to do. We wanted to give the shows a platform of celebration and recognition. As we moved into the summer, we realized this was more of a survival mission not only for the Daytime Emmys, but for the soaps themselves. That show had to be great because it could very well have been the last. There’s a chance that it still may be the last. When I said that my announcement doesn’t mean much is because there is so much more that has to happen. But our decision was key to this even moving to the next step. Now all the rest of the pieces have to come into play such as NATAS, the broadcaster, and the date. When that all happens, we’ll make a formal joint announcement with NATAS.
So the good news is that we’re ready and we’re committed. I feel strongly the rest will follow suit. The 2010 watch begins now.
Thanks to Jim for his support of daytime. Things are definitely looking brighter as we wind down this year and decade.