Monday, February 20, 2012

Three Daytime Soaps Share With New York Times How They Plan To Remain Vital & Relevant

In a feature in Sunday's New York Times titled "Days of Some Shows’ Lives Continue," producers from DAYS OF OUR LIVES, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS were "eager" to share the measures they were taking to remain vital and relevant in television’s changing landscape. Only ABC's GENERAL HOSPITAL declined to comment. Below is a summary:

DAYS OF OUR LIVES (renewed until 2013)
“The goal is to respect the tradition of the show,” said executive producer Greg Meng, “but tell the stories as they can be told today,” using modern dialogue in two-week or even three-day story arcs.

"We realized we needed to take the show back to where it was,” he said. “The show is about traditional Midwestern family values, and how they’re constantly tested. That doesn’t change.”

THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS (renewed until 2014)
Maria Arena Bell, executive producer and head writer, said: “Once upon a time soaps wrote to Fridays, where things would slowly build throughout the week, and Friday you’d have a stunning cliffhanger to keep your attention. I still build to Fridays, but my motto is that every day has to be a Friday.”

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (renewed until 2013)
“We’re no longer the schmaltzy, fluffy romance of the ’80s,” said Bradley Bell, the show’s executive producer and head writer. “Women are more independent and edgier,” he said. “The dialogue is clever and witty.”

“The old theory says: Keep things moving slowly, because if people are only watching two or three times a week, they need to know what’s happening,” Mr. Bell said. “Our new theory is: Something has to happen every day, and it’s more important to feel as though you’ve missed something by not watching.”


  1. I think MAB needs to go back to 'Once Upon A Time.." style of Bill Bell classic Y&R dramatic writing because the present incarnation of Y&R is simply unwatchable, IMO. I read this article yesterday and I understand the need for innovation if the medium/genre is to survive, but good writing is something that is timeless as well as the old adage...'if it ain't broke, don't fix it!'

  2. The Problem with Brad bell and MAB's method is that they are rehashing the same story over and over and are rarely taking chances with something new. (Just like Guza did with GH) At least with Days, They keep the founding families on Front burner and are taking chances with Will's story.

  3. It seems pointless to talk to the executives.

    Y&R: MAB gives us with Daisy a character for almost three years now that is disliked by the audience and keeps up having appearances. It great to think that every day is a Friday, but not when you write plot-driven sh*t with a dozen of new characters NOBODY cares about.

    B&B: Then Mr. Bell why are you still telling schmaltzy, fluffy romance of the ’80s when you say you don't??? When I look at scenes from the Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle it's like watching a melodramatic dialog from 20 years ago.

    DAYS: Tradition is good, but too much tradition can also hurt.

    To really keep things interesting, soap operas need to get involved in today's society. Look at the UK soaps, how they tell stories, how they tell stories with their younger set ... why do US soaps have to feel so old and so outdated, when it could be so easy bringing these shows to the new century (where ALL four soaps still not are).

  4. VL, I love EastEnders which I believe has been on since the 1980s.

    I often wonder why the US soaps never experimented to perhaps roll out episodes on a Season Cycle like prime time does. When the soaps were fantastic, I couldn't get enough (like in the 80s) but it has obviously now become too difficult to sustain a 30-60 minute episode 5 days a week schedule in any meaningful way. Why not try a reduced schedule where you have more time to focus on quality rather than quantity? I wasn't around but I have to assume that when soaps transitioned from radio to television they had to make changes, choices and adjust. Perhaps we are coming around to another era in which major adjustments in format must be made.

  5. agentprovocateur, I agree ... and therefore it's beyond me how the executives can speak about remaining vital and relevant, when they aren't able to adjust to today's quality standard in telling social storylines and creating characters that fit in into our society.

    I can't believe that B&B is actually set in Los Angeles but isn't using anything of what's happening in this town.
    B&B's teens aren't troubled, getting in touch with alcohol too early on or doing drugs ... no B&B's teens rather get married and divorce at a young age.

    You can tell so much new stories, especially in the US ... but it's just they same old stuff that has been there for the last fu***** TWENTY years.
    These shows used to be a popculture phenomenon that college students were watching between their courses. These shows entertained entire generations.
    Today the highest rated show is watched by five million.

    Well congratulations!

    How can daytime soap operas survive when web soaps like VENICE have a better look and doing something that feels fresh?
    How can US soaps survive when Spanish telenovelas are doing more controversial storylines than they do?
    How can someone even dare to put EastEnders and Y&R in the same sentence when a century seems to be between them?
    US daytime soaps used to be in the press with highly controversial stuff. They were the ones doing things for the first time in television. It's just that times have changed and US soaps are dying because they don't want to adjust, because they aren't vital and relevant anymore.