Sunday, April 27, 2008

Evening News

The death of daytime television drama?
In the past six years, DAYS OF OUR LIVES ratings are down 44% overall , 52% among 18-49 year old women and a stunning 74% among women 18-34. 74% in just six years. The tombstone will read: "Young women no longer watched". The sands in the hourglass appear to most definitely be running out for DAYS.

No soap has bucked this trend completely, though some are better than others. Older women are hanging on to ALL MY CHILDREN and GENERAL HOSPITAL which dropped only 37% and 31% respectively overall, but in the female age demos they’re down more. AMC has lost roughly 43% of its 18-49 year old female base and a whopping 62% of its 18-34 year old females.

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL may be holding up better overall, and in the 18-49 demo, where it’s lost 25% and 23% of its overall and 18-49 year old female base respectively since 2002, it still has lost 50% of its female 18-34 year old audience.

AS THE WORLD TURNS and THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS outperform the field in terms of youth drop, being down 29% and 17% overall respectively, but down "only" 19% and 15% among 18-49 year old women. Among women 18-34 they’re down 30% and 37%.

They're not your mother's daytime dramas anymore
On the venerable CBS soap opera GUIDING LIGHT, the fictional Bauer family each year holds a big Fourth of July barbecue. The production crew typically sets up fake smoke, in a fake grill, in a fake backyard.
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"That's how it has always been," said Ellen Wheeler, the soap's executive producer. "And we add the sound of sizzling hamburgers."

Now the annual event, set to tape in June, will look a lot different. No more actors in swimsuits with water sprayed on them from bottles. This time, the cast really will be outside, and Wheeler is contemplating the idea of having live sparklers during the scene - an impossibility in a studio setting. "When you really are outside, it changes the feeling for you," Wheeler said.

Soap operas have by and large been shot as if they were an old warhorse like "I Love Lucy," with bulky, 300-pound "pedestal" cameras panning from a distance while actors strut their stuff in front of a three-walled set, Some production tricks are borrowed from old-time radio.

Networks certainly have a reason to make their programs look and feel more like a reality TV show. Research shows that audiences found the programs' look outdated, said Brian T. Cahill, senior vice president and managing director of TeleNext Media Inc., which manages GL and AS THE WORLD TURNS for Procter & Gamble's P&G Productions, owner of the shows.

AFA protest of Nuke's kiss backfiring?
The American Family Association, founded by Rev. Don Wildmon, posted the video below with the headline, "Procter & Gamble promotes explicit open-mouth homosexual kissing." The delicious irony here is that the "As the World Turns" clip that they posted was the #1 video on Youtube Saturday, bringing the soapy gay content to a whole new audience that's probably in school when the show airs.

GL's Zimmer wows the crowd at Grand Rapids event
Broadway Grand Rapids' fourth annual fundraising gala was somewhere over the top Saturday night with Emmy Award-winning actress Kim Zimmer sharing the spotlight -- and friendly barbs -- with local torch singer Kelly Carey.

Zimmer, a native of East Grand Rapids, is best known as Reva Shayne Lewis, the role she has played on television's GUIDING LIGHT since 1983. But Saturday night she was a good natured, bawdy entertainer passing out hugs as she visited with the crowd of about 270 that wandered through the expansive lakeside home of Roger and Kathleen Schiefler.

The highpoint of a 90-minute cabaret show was a medley of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and "Somewhere Out There" with Zimmer mouthing and overacting the words while Carey sat hidden behind her singing.

Fishburne looks back
At 12, Laurence Fishburne landed a role on the soap opera ONE LIFE TO LIVE, a role that lasted three years. He says he still sometimes thinks of himself as "the kid who rode the subway from Brooklyn to get to work."

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