"The serial is our chosen form of dramatic entertainment," TV Guide's Logan said over the phone last week. "Most reality fits into it, as well. The cliffhanger, the catfights, from AMERICAN IDOL to SURVIVOR to THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL it's all coming in the same kind of stew pot now."
This isn't new, but very true. Almost everything is serialized now, and most of the non-daytime soaps are based more on human emotions more the cliched soap staples of back from the dead characters, evil twins, etc. Daytime soaps have the opportunity to explore current issues in a way no other medium can but they mostly don't seem interested.
Some mourned the passing of the ancient soaps, despite their questionable quality. As a defender of daytime TV, Logan sees irony in the buzz for such shows as MAD MEN, which draws some 2 million viewers a week on AMC, while AS THE WORLD TURNS was cancelled with 2.5 million watching five days a week.
We say this all the time. This is one reason why WE LOVE SOAPS TV posts ratings for all soaps together - daytime, primetime and cable. It's interesting to hear reports of daytime dying, yet ABC Family, The CW and AMC Network all tout successful series with the same or worse ratings.
ABC owns its soaps, unlike the CBS relationship with P&G. ABC's ONE LIFE TO LIVE is soon to announce a deal to live two more years.
We haven't received confirmation from ABC on this one. In the past they have said their don't "renew" their soaps because they own them. Despite the inconsistent writing and poor behind the scenes decisions this year on the show, as long as it is on the air, there is a chance to regain its former glory.
Eventually, and probably not on broadcast television, someone is going to take a chance on a modern variation on the daytime soap and it will become a hit. Perhaps this will be a television version of an indie web soap, or maybe some brand new program. Either way, as soon as it happens, other networks will copy it and a resurgence will begin. It isn't likely to be five hours a week again, but whatever it is, audiences will always be drawn to well-written serial stories.