Monday, January 5, 2009

THE DOCTORS on Hallmark Channel - Later in 2009

Last month, I reported that the classic NBC soap, THE DOCTORS, would begin airing on the Hallmark Channel at some point.

SFM Entertainment, on behalf of Colgate-Palmolive, struck the distribution deal with the Hallmark Channel to air the show.

A rep from SFM told me he hopes the show will begin airing "hopefully, later in 2009." No word on what time in the show's run Hallmark might start with when the show begins airing.

If this indeed happens (there have been rumblings for a long time), it would be great news for fans of classic soaps, especially if the ratings are good.

THE DOCTORS was in Hope Memorial Hospital in the fictional town of Madison. Over the years, the show featured well-known soap, prime-time and film stars like James Pritchett, Lydia Bruce, David O'Brien, Elizabeth Hubbard, Kim Zimmer, Kathleen Turner, Anna Stuart, Alec Baldwin and many more. The show ran on NBC from April 1, 1963 to December 31, 1982. The show was not supposed to be a conventional soap opera when it first aired in 1963 for a trial run as an anthology series with self-contained episodes about medical emergencies. When the show was brought back in 1964, it adopted a serial form of storytelling.

Here's an episode from 1979 to refresh your memory (along with an early 1980s opening). This show is not to be confused with the UK show DOCTORS, or the current daytime show THE DOCTORS.


  1. Hallmark is an interesting venue. Their voters skew old, and that doesn't seem to bother them. Indeed, they seem to want to be a niche market for women just beyond the desirable demographic.

    That said, I have concerns that classic soaps cannot generate sufficient eyeballs to be economically viable. It is not just the lack of desirable young eyeballs (while old viewers are the bane of most nostalgia channels, in terms of advertising revenue, if Hallmark specifically goes after that market, it is a good fit). It is the lack of eyeballs in general.

    It was once reported that Soapnet's Another World airings sometimes got near-zero (unmeasurably low) ratings. And I wonder if the cancellation of AOL's PGPClassicSoaps channel had to do, in part, with insufficient use to justify costs? (I have asked this question on Snark's blog lately).

    I hope hope hope this is a RAGING success...or at least enough of a success to be sustainable. Here's how I could see it working:

    Colgate basically GIVES the videos to Hallmark for free, agreeing to a profit participation deal. Hallmark does very little processing of the old videos...maybe a simple digitizing, but no clean up, and no captions. That makes the videos about as cheap as they can be.

    THAT model, I imagine, might be economically feasible if the show is broadcast in the wee hours (post-midnight), and/or in the mid-mornings.

  2. WooHoo, I am thrilled I loved The Doctors and I hope it begins with shows from the early 1970's.

    I will be a regular viewer. Since it is a half hour show, I hope they show it in 1 hour blocks.

    Kudos for the Hallmark Channel for picking a "classic gem".

  3. I haven't seen any updates on The Doctors coming to Hallmark. Is it dead in the water? Was the idea dropped? I guess with the state of soaps and GL ending next month I wouldn't be suprised that Hallmark gave up on the show. Anyone?

  4. I was just a kid when this show was on, but I remember being broken hearted when a caracter named Casey died after being hurt. It went on for a while not knowing if he would survive or not. Does anyone remember who played this role? I would love to know.

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