Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I Won’t Watch THE TALK

Tracie Powell is a freelance writer and law student. She’s also the co-founder of Bring Back Our Soaps (BBOS), a grassroots effort to prevent further destruction of the soap opera genre. She has reported for both People and Newsweek magazines. Most recently she was a web editor for a national trade publication and was a political columnist for Congressional Quarterly (CQ) in Washington.

Why I Won’t Watch THE TALK
By Tracie Powell
Guest Editorial

Networks claim that they are interested in family viewing. How can that be true when they are slowly destroying a much beloved genre - the soap opera? These shows have been passed down in families from one generation to the next for half a century, and are now being replaced with reality TV and talk shows.

I will not watch THE TALK, which premieres this month on CBS. And it’s not just because I am still bitter that the network’s CEO, Les Moonves, decided to make room for it by canceling a show I have watched and loved since before I could spell television.

Thanks to Moonves’ decision to ax the 54-year-old beloved soap, AS THE WORLD TURNS, I joined an increasing number of Americans in firing my cable company, choosing instead to watch my favorite shows on the Internet. In truth I had contemplated canceling my cable subscription for months, but losing WORLD TURNS in September helped make that decision much easier.

This is the more immediate, but not the sole reason, I won’t be watching THE TALK; talk shows aren’t exactly destination spots on the World Wide Web for people looking to be entertained.

For millions of WORLD TURNS fans like me, that’s what the show represented: entertainment, an escape, and in many cases, family. That’s gone now, and in its place CBS is choosing to replicate ABC hit, THE VIEW. Not surprising considering network executives are known for being copycats.

The spin surrounding THE TALK is that it will cater to stay-at-home moms, which thoughtlessly dismisses all of us who aren’t.

Contrary to popular belief, the daytime audience isn’t just filled with home-bound mothers and the unemployed. We are millions of high school and college students, empty-nesters and baby boomers who represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, as well as professional working men and women. And yes, even the childless.

These fans are angry. They are still reeling over the cancellation of WORLD TURNS, one of the oldest daytime dramas in television history and one with ratings that were comparable or better than other daytime and prime time shows. Fans are channeling their anger at the hosts of THE TALK because they can’t attack the real decision makers.

I don’t have anything against the slate of women hosting the show. I grew up with creator and co-host, Sara Gilbert who portrayed the acerbic Darlene Conner on ROSEANNE, watched Holly Robinson Peete on HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER and I like rock star wife Sharon Osbourne. Most soap fans have nothing personal against these women; it is how this show was presented that many of us find offensive. Some of daytime’s older fans, in particular, feel as if they are being pushed aside after years of loyalty to CBS as well as WORLD TURNS’ parent company, Procter & Gamble (Telenext Media).

In addition to ROSEANNE and HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER, I also watched another family sitcom in my youth, THE COSBY SHOW. In one particular episode one of the daughters brought home a fiance her parents had never met. Although the young man appeared nice enough on the surface, her father, portrayed by Bill Cosby, compared Vanessa’s introduction of the fellow to being served a succulent prime-cut of meat atop a trash can lid.

That’s exactly how soap fans feel about THE TALK. It’s all in the presentation.

Les Moonves coolly and callously pronounced an end to the soap opera era when he announced that CBS no longer wanted WORLD TURNS.

The days of the soap operas have changed very much. GUIDING LIGHT left last year. AS THE WORLD TURNS will leave this year. They had long and distinguished runs. And they're day is over.
He then promptly replaced it with a show featuring his wife, Julie Chen, which only rubbed salt in fans’ wounds.

I wish the ladies of THE TALK success. But I, for one, won’t be watching.


  1. There's already the View. Why do we need a clone?

    I'm sure the hosts of the Talk are all nice people, but there are zillion talk shows on TV. Why do we need another one?

    I guess we should be grateful that CBS didn't add another judge show featuring a nasty, acerbic jurist to moralize.

  2. It is interesting that one of the reasons that executives and tv experts give for the soap genre dying is the rapid extinction of the stay at home mom; but yet they create a new show targeted for stay at home moms.

    My belief is not that the women joining the workforce that is driving people away from soaps, it is the lazy writing and the multiple shows that casting wise do not reflect their audience.

  3. Another possibility for "closing soaps; especially long running" ones is possibly the same reason that companies lay off people or close mills. Perhaps its the economy, bad management or an upper management/owner with nothing better to do for that month. Obviously they didn't get enough input from the public who watch them. The Neilsen ratings aren't all that. I watched GL & ATWT, what's next B&B or Y&R?

  4. While I love Sharon Osbourne,I won't watch this show because I am a die hard ATWT fan. I am a stay at home mom and don't need this show.

  5. I also am a stay at home mom, I will not and have not watched any of those new shows CBS replaced my soaps with. I now watch soaps on ABC and NBC because CBS has nothing more to offer me. I need my soaps back!

  6. for 1 i love my soaps guiding light and as the would turns why do we want to hear how to take care of kids and stuff like that you take good stuf off the air and put something that is lame the talk show can just go and please put our soaps back on