Thursday, April 15, 2010

P&G: Daytime Dramas Have "Run Their Course"

In a new article today, P&G global marketing officer Marc Pritchard says that daytime dramas have "run their course".

After a five-year break, Procter & Gamble Co. has resumed producing prime-time family TV movies.

"People tell us that they want more shows to watch together as a family, or appealing to all family members," says Marc Pritchard, P&G global marketing officer. "Tell everyone that 'Family Movie Night' is back."

In 1999, P&G helped establish what is known as the Alliance for Family Programming, a consortium of leading advertisers that helped to develop GILMORE GIRLS, CHUCK, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS and other family shows. P&G and Walmart executives co-chair the group.

While moving into movies, the Cincinnati-based consumer giant also is listening to pitches for new TV projects, including miniseries. But the company which invented the "soap opera" in 1933 is not looking for new daytime dramas.

"I think they've run their course," he says.

P&G's last daytime drama, AS THE WORLD TURNS, will be going off the air in September. Fans of ATWT and GUIDING LIGHT will be holding a "Save Our Soaps" rally on Friday morning in New York City.

What do you think? Have daytime dramas run their course? Or are perhaps the wrong people, with the wrong attitudes, running them into the ground?

- America Ferrera To Make Interactive Telenovela With P&G


  1. Well, one thing's for sure. Don't be looking for any gay characters on P&G's new "family" shows... especially if they are teaming up with Walmart.

    It's a shame that in 2010 these companies don't yet realize that there's all KINDS of families.

  2. Soaps have NOT run their course. I have been watching for almost 34 years and have no intention of giving them up.

  3. Daytime dramas HAVE run their course. Dramatic serials have a future so bright, we've got to wear shades.

    Scripted programming that runs in the daytime for people who stay at home (esp. women) is not economically feasible, and not socially desirable.

    Interesting, P&G soaps had the worst out-of-daytime distribution (a bit of online, no Soapnet or other TV distribution). Thus, they have plummeted.

    Daytime soaps that have found other dayparts and other distribution venues (like online) are doing a bit better--because they have more revenue streams. (I'm not counting international sales).

    For me, the future of serial drama is in Roger's weekly list of "ratings for all serials". Primetime and cable, 13-week shows...that's the new soap. It is taking all kinds of forms (genre: Lost, True Blood; crime: Breaking Bad, Justified; Family drama: Parenthood, Brothers and Sisters). This is a terrific strong, relevant area.

    I know WLS also champions indie soaps and streaming...I'm a late adopter there...and I'm also discouraged by the short form of it, and the lack of a sound economic model so far. But there may be hope.

    But daytime soaps in the US are dead, dead, dead. Internationally, the successes (e.g., Germany, England) are daily serials that run in early-prime. Greedy US affiliates have no stomach for giving up their Entertainment Tonight/Wheel of Fortune revenues. So that isn't going to happen.

    If you need evidence of death, look at how daytime's "pearl" (Y&R) is currently fueled by a steady diet of crime, psychos, doubles. It calls out with a desperate "look at me" that is--instead--offputting and turning us all off.

    Let daytime die, SOON. It is past the point of dignity. The few warm embers that sometimes glow are scarcely worth the agony it still takes to endure with these dying things.

  4. It's more a case of P&G and networks are hell bent on running the soap genre into the ground. What amazes me, as one that lives outside of the US, is they all know that soaps are in trouble, but are not taking really positive action to address the problem. They can hire new writers as much as they like, but if the writers' hands are tied by the dominance of networks, then change is not going to come.

    In my opinion, American soaps need to be more true to life...gritter, and reflect the diversity that makes up our world, along with the problems that they face. One of the main reasons that the Otalia story worked (minus the pregnancy issue and non kiss)is that it resonated with so many people who came to fall in love with someone of the same sex later in life.

    American soaps have created a monster for themselves in that they only have mostly attractive people on the screen. And whilst I'm not denying the acting talents of the majority of actors/actresses, they don't represent the general people. If you just look at the highly successful primetime series, Ugly Betty, I believe that part of its success (apart from the witty dialogue and great acting), is down to the fact that the central character, Betty is a little ugly duckling at the beginning, who turns into a swan by the end. And what I love about the part too is that she's not a size 0 actress.

    Even turning to web series, one of the new web series that I think will continue to enjoy success, is The Guild (which garnished a couple of awards at the recent Streamy awards show). The diversity of the characters is central to the story, and makes them more life like to me as a viewer.

    As I've mentioned before, soaps need to ditch the current production model and go with the production model that GL used in the last 18 mths of the show. They also need to shoot more scenes outside.

    Networks and TPTB could take a leaf out of the European soaps, such as Coronation Street (running for 50 yrs), Eastenders (running for 40 yrs), and Emmerdale (running 38 yrs)on how to keep successful shows running.

    Also, all of the above shows run for 30 mins (apart from special episodes which run an hour)and I think that american shows should return to this format.

    At the end of the day, whatever changes need to be made, need to be made sooner rather than later, otherwise there will be another show on the line come next year.

  5. I think what he should have said is they are done with soaps!

  6. What a thoughtless, arrogant comment for him to make. I'd've thought tripe like "Let's Make a Deal" would have "run its course" twenty years ago, but he's paid to tow the company line. As the old Ad execs said, "It's not creative unless it sells."

    Soaps as we know them have been mismanaged, especially for the last decade. But they will reinvent/adapt and survive until some 20 year old "global marketing" genius decides it's time for them to come back.

    Meantime, we hang tight...savor & support the folks who still "get it" and produce the content we want to see. I believe that the sponsors will eventually follow.

  7. "Or are perhaps the wrong people, with the wrong attitudes, running them into the ground?"

    Bingo! I would say that the people who are in charge of the daytime dramas have run their course. They need to be put out to pasture...maybe be put in charge of a reality show somewhere. To blame the story-telling form when it is the fact that the uncreative suits have taken over the daytime dramas and sucked everything they could out of nerve.

    I guess they think that if they say the same crap enough times...we will eventually start to believe them. Which goes right along with how they think the soaps should be written.

  8. This just proves P& G doesnt wanna be in daytime where Bell/Sony & ABC still do

  9. Does anyone know a long time avid soap fan of As the World Turns going to the rally this Friday in New York or just a fan of the show itself. Email me if you're from the Atlanta area. Thanks

  10. Well certainly the current regime have placed their mark on daytime television by killing decades long successful franchises and replacing them with shows devoid of creativity and innovation. It's the same pattern we're seeing everywhere. Foolish short sighted people making foolish decisions with devastating long term implications.

  11. I never thought this day would come in P&G History. My heart is breaking.

    I have grown up with P&G soaps. I remember, on shopping trips with my mother, always admonishing her to buy P&G products.

    I am grateful to have had the opportunity to express my love for P&G soaps and the Soap Opera Genre in a forthcoming book, and to have had the honor to participate in the recent American Popular Culture Association Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

    A big part of my life will be going by the wayside when the world stops turning in September.

  12. This is ATWT comment Line There still saying finding ATWT a home, I know it hard to believe. I straight out asked her if you were giving me lip service, I told them about this.
    and told them about the bible As the Earth Turns. Would they at least give it a decent ending.
    ATWT phone Line, Note; this doesn't have anything to do with CBS,
    Speak to a live person.

  13. If your are mad has hell please call this number. This does not have anything to do with the network.
    ATWT phone line, talk to a live person.

  14. Please come read Shawn Christian's response to this piece at

  15. No one wants to watch anything that's for "the whole family". This is the age of TVs in every room, specialized channels and hyper-specialized genres geared towards specific demographics.
    That aside, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Damon's last comment. There is no love for soaps within the group that is producing them. I'm not even sure soap writers even care about their characters anymore. It's all a very depressing state of affairs for soap fans, but there is nothing to be done besides watching and writing and voicing our opinions.

  16. Maybe we should start sending soap again, They did get the FBI involved. I sent soap, I did get a letter saying please call, write or email. But shit if that's the only way to get their attention. My sister sent Summers Eve (Unused) saying what a douche bag you are for canceling ATWT and GL.