Posts Tagged ‘Jeanne Cooper’

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Daytime Emmys: What’ll Be Left To Nominate?

May 12, 2011

When they announced the Daytime Emmy Award nominations today, I had to wonder: what’s going to be left to nominate in  a couple of years? It’s clear the soap opera is fading fast from the television landscape.

And unlike the characters of daytime drama, these shows aren’t coming back from the dead.

ABC is pulling the plug on “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.” Last year CBS canceled “As The World Turns” and the year before that the network flipped the switch on “Guiding Light.”

Soon the Daytime Emmy awards broadcast will devote more time to farewell segments for canceled soaps than it does to handing out statues.

Does the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences even offer an Emmy when we’re down to one or two soaps? Will matriarchs Jeanne Cooper of “The Young And The Restless” and Susan Flannery of “The Bold And The Beautiful” be dueling it out for best lead actress in a daytime drama…when they are the only two soaps left on the air?

That’s something the Emmys will have to figure out. But audiences have already decided: daytime drama is no longer a genre worth watching. The days of appointment viewing for a soap, the endless hoopla over “Luke and Laura’s Wedding,” the cultural relevance of the soap opera…are gone.

The drama people want now…outrageous, unbelievable, absurd, over the top…is found in reality shows like “Jersey Shore.” Who needs  the feuding Mrs. Chancellor and Jill Abbott when you’ve got Snooki and The Situation smashed and looking to fight?

Networks, in fact,  seem likely to find it cheaper and better for ratings to replay primetime reality competition shows in the daytime…”Biggest Loser,” “Survivor”…and re-air reality shows produced for first run on cable entities owned by a network…the way NBC runs episodes of “The Real Housewives” franchise originally aired on the network’s Bravo cable channel.

Soaps have lost their audience by attrition for the better part of the last two decades as fewer people were home during the day to watch and as younger viewers turned to cable for more hip, fast paced shows.

While the audience doesn’t mourn the death of soaps they’ve long ago stopped watching, there is one thing I do find disappointing about it: the jobs lost.

I was on the set of “Guiding Light” twice, in 2008 and 2009, interviewing cast members for “ON THE SCENE” first about the show’s change in production model,  and the second time about it’s cancelation. (The shaky cam reality look it was going for didn’t work out so well.) But I remember all the actors and crew members… the make-ups artists,  photographers,  sound technicians, prop managers and others, some of whom had worked on “Guiding Light” for 30 years. Where are they now?

When a genre goes down, it takes a lot of good jobs with it.