Thursday, September 17, 2009

News Round-up: GUIDING LIGHT, Chappell, State of Soaps

Yahoo Buzz: Lights Dim for Daytime Soaps
Interestingly, though, the fans maintain their fix by tracking their favorites online. (Yes, they're mostly female, but men make up anywhere from 20% to 26% of soap-opera lookups). For instance, during the 2008-2009 season, searches for YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS increased 32% compared to the previous season. Some are holding steady: AS THE WORLD TURNS, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and ONE LIFE TO LIVE.

Losing Web steam are shows like DAYS OF OUR LIVES (-14% compared to last season), GENERAL HOSPITAL(-6%), and ALL MY CHILDREN (-4%).

GUIDING LIGHT demise continues soaps' decline
"It's very difficult to see how it could have survived," says Ashley Dos Santos, an account executive and pop culture expert with the Washington-based public relations firm Crosby-Volmer, noting that even she's ceased to follow GL in the past few years. With the multichannel universe, particularly the alternatives of talk shows, judge shows and reality shows, "I feel that a lot people, if they have to make a choice, they'd rather see 'Ellen.' "

Michael Sands, a Southern California-based media consultant, is blunter. "Soaps are passe ... old-fashioned," he says. "They're boring and stale. The public thrives on real-life drama. I'm surprised soaps lasted this long."

INTERVIEW: GL's Crystal Chappell (Olivia)
"I don’t think there was any hidden agenda. They wanted to tell a love story, and because the show was coming to an end. GL ends with the feeling that anything is possible and love is the most important thing. That’s true for Olivia and Natalia, and Frank and who he ends up with, and all these people in Springfield. We really just get the sense that there is hope for the future and life goes on, and some wonderful things are going to happen."

Soaps rose from serials, exploded with TV
Modern daytime dramas have their roots in the 1930s, observes Sam Ford, an analyst with the communications firm Peppercom. After catching on as local Chicago programming, the shows hit the national stage, largely thanks to Irna Phillips, a writer and creator of several daytime dramas. Phillips recognized the need for sponsors, and several brands -- particularly the detergent company Procter & Gamble -- saw a ready-made market of women. The two quickly came together. "By the late '30s, this was a very recognizable genre," says Ford. "There were dozens of soap operas."

GUIDING LIGHT fans brace for end, fall reunion with faves
GUIDING LIGHT actor Robert Newman is advising longtime viewers of the CBS soap to arrive armed with plenty of tissues when the final episode of the 72-year-old serial airs Friday. "As a cast we understand what the fans are going through," Newman says. "We went through the tears and all those emotions three weeks ago when we wrapped production. A therapist friend told me the most traumatic things we go through in life are death, divorce, moving and losing a job. This sort of encompasses all three."

GL: Hard to say goodbye
St. Petersburg native April Grant still fondly recalls many days spent watching the classic soap opera Guiding Light with mom Margaret — continuing a tradition that started with her grandmother, who first heard the 72-year-old program when it was a radio broadcast.

"It's like a death in the family … losing the last tangible piece of a grandmother or parents," said Grant.

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