Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sinking Soap Goes Gay To Save The Day!

The February 2 issue of GLOBE has another look at some of the issues currently facing daytime. Typically, some of the facts are wrong, but you'll get the point. I'll add my comments after the article.

Sinking Soap Goes GAY To Save The Day!
Bedroom scene creates a brave new 'WORLD'

AS THE WORLD TURNS has stunned fans by making soap opera history with a sizzling scene that winds up with characters Luke and Noah having daytime TV's first gay sexual encounter.

TV pundits say Procter & Gamble's production company agreed to air the shocking romp to stop ATWT's steady rating slide, and hopefully grab a bigger chunk of the daytime viewing audience.

"This sounds like a last-ditch bid to bring in new fans," says noted TV industry analyst Stewart Eller. "It's a big gamble and it could backfire. The producers are obviously going after gay viewers, but the traditional audience could be turned off."

Luke, played by Van Hansis, and Noah, played by Jake Silbermann, initially sent out shockwaves on Aug. 17, 2007, when they shared a groundbreaking lip-lock.

It was the first gay male kiss in the history of American daytime dramas and was soon speeding around the internet. To this day, it's one of the most watched videos on YouTube.

But the gay audience wanted more and flooded Internet blogs with complaints that ATWT has a double standard, allowing straight characters to routinely hop into bed while gays are kept celibate.

Finally, 211 days after the first kiss,producers gave in and showed Luke and Noah - known as "Nuke" - in another passionate embrace before cutting to commercial.

When the show returned, they were stepping out of the shower together - and if there were any doubts about what had taken place, Noah cooed to Luke, "I know we did wait for a long time, but it was worth it."

But will the soap's shocking plotline be enough to nab viewers? Their ratings have been abysmal and the show is up for renewal soon.

With less than 3 million remaining fans, ATWT has lost nearly 400,000 viewers in last year alone.

The battle to build the audience and increase revenue has been a problem for soaps across the board.

As GLOBE reported in December, DAYS OF OUR LIVES honchos gave popular Deidre Hall her marching orders after 30 years as Dr. Marlena Evans to save her salary in order to keep the show afloat.

The sand in the hourglass also ran out for 22-year veteran Drake Hogestyn, Hall's on-again-off-again love interest, John Black.

And over at ALL MY CHILDREN, Susan Lucci was forced to take a massive pay cut for the sake of the show.

"Daytime TV is being hit with plummeting ad revenues and execs are desperate to cut costs and boost ratings," says a source.

EDITOR'S NOTE: After creating a huge buzz with the Nuke sex on Monday, Jan. 12 (over 300,000 hits to the various sex clips around the web), ATWT did not show the couple the next day. The were seen on Wednesday of that week as Brian was quickly rushed out of the town. The duo has not been seen since. AS THE WORLD TURNS has continually been able to get people interested in the storyline with big moments but each time has followed it up by having the couple disappear. New fans are not going to tune in for Nuke and get hooked by Paul and Meg (the worst couple in daytime), or the never ending Dusty/Craig battles. If that is the strategy of the show, it is way off target. In the most recent Nielsen ratings for the week ending Jan. 16, ATWT had lost more viewers (417,000) year over year than any other soap.


  1. Roger,

    I agree. ATWT has a gold mine with Nuke but seem afraid to plow ahead with their storyline. If Nuke were a male-female pairing generating this much interest and publicity, they'd be on 4 days a week.

    Instead, we get the yawn inducing Paul and Meg on 3-4 days a week. Thanks goodness for the fast forward button.

    Irna Phillips and Doug Marland must be turning in their graves at the way their baby is being handled these days.

    But I guess we should be grateful that they've stuck with Nuke this long, if only half heartedly.

    And we should also be grateful that Noah didn't get raped and become pregnant by that rapist. And that Luke didn't fall for pre-op female-to-male transsexual, played, of course, by a female actress.

  2. James, I agree about Nuke being featured more if they were a hetero couple who had created the same amount of buzz. The couples who create zero buzz get featured so there is nothing else to believe.

    I always try to temper my criticism with this story with a dose of praise for telling a story no other soap is doing with two men.

    I think history will remember Nuke fondly and see ATWT as groundbreaking. But longtime fans like us will probably always wonder what could have been if things were handled in a better way to take advantage of their limited opportunities to gain new fans.