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Cartoon triva - Result #4
Jan 15, 2003
(for 1/14) School House Rock - Result #3
Jan 13, 2003
seconds before midnight
I am afraid. I am very, very afraid. Unfortunately, I have to ask you to read some really boring crap to get some background info to you on what I'm about to complain LOUDLY about, so bear with me.
Check out what Head of ABC Daytime, Brian Frons, had to
say about his dream plans for General Hospital. The main points of my
freak out will be accented in red:
According to a recent "Media Life" report, ABC Daytime president Brian Frons--the guy who brought us JOURNEY in record time--believes the disappointing ratings (read: dips and nothing in the highly coveted women 18-49 group) during the last Luke and Laura storyline, wrapped up in September, due to their age. People want "young love," L&L the way they used to be in the 80s, without wrinkles, love handles and elderly baggage. Not just the MTV crowd of under-25, but people of all ages.
The characters divorced shortly before their 20th anniversary and only managed to generate a modicum of interest among daytime viewers with a revisit to the wedding last September. ABC used a programming stunt, coinciding with the departure of actress Genie Francis, in which flashbacks from that famous wedding were shown.
Still, daytime viewers are drawn to the show, which posted a modest 2 percent increase in its rating in fourth quarter, compared to the same time last year. “General Hospital” ranked No. 1 with a 2.8 rating among women 18-49 and had a 21 percent increase in its rating for women 18-34. “In that week with Genie leaving the show, there was certainly some nostalgia,” says Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime. He points out, however, that ABC research suggests fourth-quarter ratings were driven more by two ongoing love stories and a murder mystery. “It’s really young love that has always driven ratings on ABC.”
ABC’s daytime dramas were the
highest-rated of any network’s in fourth quarter with a 2.3 rating,
compared to NBC’s 2.1 and CBS’s 1.9. NBC, however, tied for No. 1 in the
demo when all daytime programs are included. CBS ranked No. 1 in overall
viewers with an average of 4.5 million people watching their daytime dramas. ABC
was No. 2 with just under 3.9 million and NBC was third with 3.5 million.
Outside of “General Hospital,” only NBC’s “Passions” posted an increase in
ratings in fourth quarter. The show is still one of the lowest-rated
daytime dramas, at least among women 18-49, but its rating was up 20 percent
compared to the same quarter last year, to a 1.8 rating.
“Passions,” like ABC’s “Port Charles” puts much of its focus on reaching younger viewers. Both shows have become notable for outrageous stories and faster story lines. “Port Charles,” in fact, is one of only two daytime dramas to air for a half-hour. “We get a premium when we can deliver women 18-34,” says Frons. “The way we can do that is with dynamic love stories, especially among people in their 20s. “They seem to have a halo effect in which they also bring in teens and thirtysomethings.”
While both “Passions” and “Port Charles” have succeeded to some degree in attracting younger viewers, it’s still older women who make up the bulk of the daytime drama audience. Both of the younger-skewing shows were among the lowest rated of 10 network soap operas.
“General Hospital” was the highest-rated soap with a 2.8, compared to CBS’s “Young and the Restless” and NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” both of which were down from last year, to a 2.5 among women 18-49. ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” both had a 2.3 rating, while CBS’s “Bold and the Beautiful” had a 2 rating. All of CBS’s dramas posted year-to-year declines. NBC’s “Passions” ranked No. 7 with a 1.8 rating. CBS’s “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” came next with a 1.7 and 1.4, respectively, and ABC’s “Port Charles” had a 1.2 rating.
Source: January 9, 2003© 2003 Media Life
Yikes!! There is so much that scares me about that that I am not sure where to start. Hell, I'll find a place and just start ranting.
First, here's your target:
This harmless, relatively attractive grandpa man is Brian Frons, also known as the buck stoppin' place in ABC Daytime. I don't think I've ever seen a President of ABC Daytime who was more hands on and controlling of the individual shows.
Previous Prez, Angela Shapiro, was more of a macrocosm worker, developing things like our favorite aspect of ABC, "SHOP THE SOAPS" (also known as "Sell Impossibly Fake Shit to Gullible People For Outrageous Prices"). She co-founded Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Update, created Super Soap Weekend and sought to interlink the 4 ABC daytime dramas through (tiresome) crossovers. She also instituted the concepts of the novella form of story production on Port Charles, as well as the "Previously on this here soap" and "Next on this here soap" recaps and previews. She has a BA and although her experience in TV is definitely impressive, her major career focus in her work history was marketing and direct business involvement, including the delivery of the Mood Ring to the world.
Brian, the Microcosm Master who is intricately managing each of the four soaps, has a Master of Science degree in Communications (with a BA in History as well, evidently not SOAP history). He has twenty years of experience in TV programming and was responsible for creating the Soap Opera Digest Awards.
I'm not telling you all of this to bore you to death and God knows I nod off anytime anyone starts talking about demographics and ratings and all that. If someone writes to ask what I think about how this show or that did in the ratings, I glaze over and reply, "Pfft. I dunno." I watch a show and then gab about it. That's about it.
I'm telling you this because it explains a lot about how they each have handled the network's daytime arena. Shapiro is a marketing expert and she works hard to sell on a more global scale, getting the shows and their stars "out there" in the media, through the fan events and magazines. She works in an outward projection fashion. Frons is a programming expert and is more concerned with specific demographics and what is specifically happening with each individual show to target the pet audience he's looking to reach. He also has held head honcho positions on both CBS and NBC networks' Daytime TV divisions, so he knows his competition well. He works in an inward directing fashion.
One of the first things Frons did was to "label" the shows and view them pretty much in a pigeon-hole fashion. Of OLTL, he said in a recent Soaps In Depth interview, "[It is] a clash of traditional WASP aristocracy against the up-and-coming Hispanics and black populations of [Llanview]” The Buchanan, Vega and Gannon families offer “a different mélange than the other shows”. So OLTL is basically an ethnic contest, it appears. He said that he doesn't plan to make major changes right away, but will be using the current characters to make the changes he foresees.
He flat out says that he uses the film "The Godfather" to characterize the current GH, calling it, "[an] action-packed, run-and-gun soap opera [read: "mansoap"] – fast, wild and unpredictable. Especially these days, you can’t turn on GH and not have something happen where you go, 'That was great'" It makes me wonder if we're watching the same show, because honestly, Brian, I can do that just about any day of the week. Me saying, "That was great" is more of the exception rather than the rule he proudly proclaims. He previously worked with GH Executive Producer, Jill Farren Phelps and GH co-Head Writers, Bob Guza and Charles Pratt on the show, "Santa Barbara," so he's with old buddies. I had to laugh when he said of Guza and Pratt, "You haven’t even seen the full bore of what they’re capable of." I don't know, Brian...I'm pretty damned bored, so if there's more, I'm not sure I want to see it.
He says PC is, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in the afternoon and comments, “There are legitimate roles for Ian, Lucy, Kevin and Elizabeth to play, but the tone of the show is driving forward in that sort of ‘BUFFY meets Frankenstein’ manner.”
For AMC, he promised (threatened, more like it) that young love would be what he would bring to AMC. He feels that in addition to all this young love, he'd like to create a more balanced show. He says, "Right now we have great stories for the Annas and Davids and Lizas and Adams, and we’ll continue to service those characters, but I really want to also see a love story for Maggie, which the fans, by the way, are asking us for.” He likens one story on AMC to "Sex in the City" by putting Greenlee, Kendall and Simone in business together, saying, “That will be a lot of fun.”
OK, so like I said, this is some really boring stuff, but it speaks volumes about where we are now. Basically, the guy is patterning the shows off of other shows rather than letting them stand as their own entities and grow out of their own rich, varied and individual histories. Whereas Shapiro was a marketing genius and drove the network's daytime division from that angle, pimping the shows on every corner and creating a variety of means for exposing them to the public, making them more up close and personal with the fans, Frons is studying numbers and looking inward to HIS wants and views of the specific shows rather than outward to the fans. In my opinion, this is a really, really big mistake.
Now, I want to talk about the red letter words above. They paint a pretty interesting story.
disappointing ratings (read: dips and nothing in the highly coveted women 18-49 group) during the last Luke and Laura storyline, wrapped up in September, due to their age. People want "young love," L&L the way they used to be in the 80s, without wrinkles, love handles and elderly baggage. Not just the MTV crowd of under-25, but people of all ages.
OK, to set the record straight, and I hope these words reach Brian's royal ears, the last Luke and Laura story that wrapped up on September did NOT flop because Luke and Laura are not "young love," but are instead beset with wrinkles, love handles and elderly baggage. The last Luke and Laura story flopped, yes in ALL age groups, because we had NO build up to the reunion, got to see VERY little of it onscreen and because the writing sucked in a very loud and dishearteningly slurpy fashion. It was horribly mismanaged and largely happened off screen, so how were we supposed to get all gaa gaa over it? "Elderly baggage," my ass.
“In that week with Genie leaving the show, there was certainly some nostalgia,” says Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime. He points out, however, that ABC research suggests fourth-quarter ratings were driven more by two ongoing love stories and a murder mystery. “It’s really young love that has always driven ratings on ABC.”
Is this guy high? See, there are your operative words, "ABC research." ABC research is about numbers and that's where Frons is looking and as most thinking folks know, statistics are as fickle as anything can get and seldom reflect general consensus. Does anyone, ANYone out there really believe that the two ONGOING love stories (I'm trying to decide if that is Skye and Jax, Carly and Sonny or Courtney and AJ) elicited more sighs and tears than the retrospective nod at nostalgia that was the bone they threw to us when Genie Francis left? The murder mystery? As if anyone really does care who killed Alcazar? Isn't it really just something to do while we're waiting for GH to get better? Figuring out the Alcazar murder mystery is the soap equivalent of drawing pictures in the hymnals and making airplanes out of the church bulletins when the sermon gets boring. Young love drives the ratings? Since when? In ALL of GH history, I'd say we've had exactly four young love stories that were a force to be reckoned with in any way, shape or form: Luke and Laura (even though only half of the couple was young), Stone and Robin, Zander and Emily and Elizabeth and Lucky. That's NOT a lot for a show that is forty years old. The rest were all fairly forgettable and are largely lost in the folds of GH history. We can think back and remember that Decker was cool and that Blackie and Lou had great chemistry, but did they "drive the ratings?" No, I really don't think so.
Who did drive the ratings, then? I'm betting that if you look to the courtship and weddings of Sean and Tiffany, Robert and Holly, Robert and Anna, Anna and Duke, Bobby and Tony...THERE you will find your ratings. When Alan was creeping up the stairs of to the nursery with a gun, ready to pop Rick and Monica, THAT drove ratings. When Sonny and Carly started making out and in no time at all were painting the walls with each other, we HAD to watch! When Tony and Monica tried out the new technology of *69 to get back to Bobbie and found out she was staying in the same hotel, same ROOM as Alan, THAT drove ratings. Ratings happen because we WANT to tune in because something really damned cool is going to happen and we want to be there to see it!! NONE of those stories were focused around young love! They were ALL old like us!
Soaps used to have a very safe and comfy flow. Friday was always, I reiterate, ALWAYS, a vicious cliff hanger that left you breathless, cursing the wretched weekend and waiting with baited breath for Monday. Monday, we got some rectification from Friday, Tuesday was cool-down day, Wednesday had a mini event to bridge the week, Thursday was set up day, and then back to the big cliff hanger on Friday. Why they had to screw with a golden formula like that, I'll never know. You USED to be able to say, "Of course she's not going to die! It's only Wednesday!" Now, all bets are off and the flow is pathetic. A lot of newcomers, sadly, may not even KNOW that there was a time when if something came up unexpectedly (heavy traffic, news bulletin, etc), rather than thinking, "Oh, man, that's a pisser! I was all set to watch soaps and now I'll have to just go do dishes instead," our reaction was, "NOOOOOO!!! DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, NOOOOOO!!!' accompanied by much screaming, sobbing and hairpulling. It's not that we were more pathetic back then...it's that they were really that good. Now, if I have to miss a soap, it's more like, "Pfft. Whatever. Nothing was going to happen anyway."
“We get a premium when we can deliver women 18-34,” says Frons. “The way we can do that is with dynamic love stories, especially among people in their 20s. “They seem to have a halo effect in which they also bring in teens and thirtysomethings.” [which is dripping in irony when you look at the next red batch], it’s still older women who make up the bulk of the daytime drama audience. Both of the younger-skewing shows were among the lowest rated of 10 network soap operas.
There. Now, you see? It's like they look at the numbers and don't get what they are really saying, which is that the bulk of their audience is comprised of mature women, but they are targeting the 18-34 group, when other soaps that do that are in the lowest ratings! Of course, they are doing that because they figure they've already got the older audience hooked on their GH Heroin and need to reel in the demographic in which they are the weakest, so they target the stories and featured characters to THAT group to the exclusion of what would interest the largest portion of their current viewers. That might make sense in some board room, but in the world of rational thinking, it's just stupid.
The majority of women that I know who watch ABC soaps ARE older women, definitely in the over 35 range. I have it on authority that they are watching the soaps to escape the whining, moaning angst of teens and just-out-of-teens. If they see a kid on soaps, it had damned well have a raging case of aplastic anemia or be en route to its room or a fun time at camp. If they can recognize that the cookie sheets in their cupboards and the underwear in their drawers have seen more birthdays than the kids who are dominating their soaps, they are going to glaze over.
The soaps are about an escape into fantasy romance, tawdry behavior, over the top adults acting out against their freakishly exaggerated, lurid pasts and good old illicit, passionate lust. If they want to watch kids, they will turn around from the TV and watch their own kids. They want to watch something that ISN'T already in their life! Otherwise, why bother??? It's about escape, not reiteration!
Until the powers that be figure this out, we're all screwed and we're likely to continue this pattern of watching mind-numbingly boring shit interspliced with the occasional really cool "1 scene out of a story," musical montage or stand alone episode. Those occasional good tidbits are thrown to us like a treat tossed to the starving dog who hangs outside McDonalds, dreaming of the day he can rush the place and be in burger heaven.
It's not just the viewers who are twiddling their thumbs, waiting for something to happen. From what set-siders are reporting, actors are ready to bail on GH in droves. Jackie Zeman, Billy Warlock, Tony Geary and Kristina Wagner are all rumored to be ready to call it quits. Billy Warlock specifically did NOT deny he was considering leaving when asked by our friend, Coggie, in a recent interview. Real Andrews is reportedly (for the folks who asked me, there IS further confirmation on this, but nothing official, as is ABC's way) not re-signing his contract. It's not just the older actors either as both Jacob Young and Coltin Scott are expected to join Marissa Rameriz in the outside world before long.
One thing that is for certain is that as long as Blake Gibbons is on GH, Sage will be watching! He now has an online community at http://pub10.ezboard.com/bblakegibbonsonline that is well worth checking out if you are a fan.
That is the bare minimum it takes for Sage to keep holding on. The dream date for me? I'm begging, begging, begging, CLAIRE LABINE, FRANCESCA JAMES, PATRICK MULCAHEY... HEAR MY CALL!! THEY could show these idiots what ratings are really all about and how to make them happen!
Now, on to some tiny bits of gossip:
GEDSTERN'S is back up in a lighter form, sort of Geddy Lite with news, hotsheets, The Year in Review and those delicious Wubs. She also has a wonderful interview with Cynthia Preston (Faith) that I think you will really enjoy, so head on over and check it all out!
Emily's recast is taking form and although I hear that the person has been selected, no name has yet been announced. The reconnect between Emily and Zander apparently is planned, but will not happen right away as the powers that be want a slow build (let's hope it's not a slow build of Liason pace). From what we hear, she returns when someone she loves is injured, possibly Jason being shot ala Joe from 1920's (not killed, but injured). The other theory is that she returns for a wedding. The tearing down of Zander as he works through his issues with his father is part of the set up and we can watch for some POWERFUL scenes between Zander and Cameron, as well as with the individual actors. BIG stuff.
On the AMC, side of things, the rumors are still flying, largely from GHH, that Finola is leaving AMC for GH, despite the recent signing of a 3-year contract with AMC. GHH has had the exclusive on this for months and to my knowledge, no one else had heard a single breath about it and all my sources are denying it up and down, so they must have one hell of a source if it's true! :)
Jason Oliver was released from the role of Frank Hubbard, primarily because AMC didn't know what to do with him. It's like when a kid asks for a toy, gets it home and doesn't play with it.
On OLTL, there will be a very special episode on January 15 (Wednesday) to commemorate Eric Torpey's last day on the show. You'll see loads of Jessica memories as Viki reflects on her daughter's childhood upon her departure from Llanview. Jessica will return from seeing Clint on February 5th in the form of Bree Williamson, following close behind the return of her also unrecognizable brother, Joey, who will now be played by Michael Hall and will first appear on February 3rd (how's THAT for a run on sentence, baybee??). Here's a pic of Michael with his twin brother, Seth:
In other OLTL news, sounds like Ol' Cristian is going to get a little jailhouse rock upside the head as he is attacked during his 30 day visit to Llanview's finest. He has the exact same effect on me, so I really can blame his assailant.
The dates have been set for the episodes of AMC, OLTL and GH where the dream scenes sent in by fans are played out. These, of course, are in no way related to the true story progressions on each show and will be aired as stand alone episodes:
AMC, Wednesday, February 12
OLTL, Wednesday February 19
GH, Wednesday, February 26
These are DEFINITE VCR moments and as one of those treats thrown to the fans I was telling you about (starving dog, McDonalds, burger raid), it is NOT to be missed.
Lastly, a big thanks to those who have chucked a few bucks our way to meet our site expenses. Your contributions help more than you could ever imagine! If anyone else is interested in making a donation to the continuation of Eye on Soaps via check, money order, online payments, etc, you may learn how to do so by clicking on the little white box below:
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Darlins, I loves ya and if you have any bitching you want to do to the powers that be, you can reach them by going to www.eyeonsoaps.com, clicking on the soap of your choice, then when you are in the site, click on "contacts" in the frames to the left.
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