The Survival of Soap OperaTransformations for a New Media Era

The Survival of Soap OperaTransformations for a New Media Era

Sam Ford, Abigail De Kosnik, and C. Lee Harrington

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781604737165

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

The soap opera, one of U.S. television’s longest-running and most influential formats, is on the brink. Declining ratings have been attributed to an increasing number of women working outside the home and to an intensifying competition for viewers’ attention from cable and the Internet. Yet, soaps’ influence has expanded, with serial narratives becoming commonplace on most primetime TV programs. This book investigates the causes of their dwindling popularity, describes their impact on TV and new media culture, and gleans lessons from their complex history for twenty-first-century media industries. It contains contributions from established soap scholars, along with essays and interviews by emerging scholars, fans and Web site moderators, and soap opera producers, writers, and actors from ABC’s General Hospital, CBS’s The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, and other shows. This diverse group of voices seeks to intervene in the discussion about the fate of soap operas at a critical juncture, and speaks to long-time soap viewers, television studies scholars, and media professionals alike.

Table of Contents

Section One Challenges to the Future of Soaps

Introduction

Sam Ford, Abigail De Kosnik, and C. Lee Harrington

Perspective

C. Lee Harrington

Perspective

Sam Ford

Perspective

Giada Da Ros

Perspective

Abigail De Kosnik

Daytime Budget Cuts

Sara A. Bibel

Giving Soaps a Good Scrub

Jaime J. Nasser

The Way We Were

Melissa C. Scardaville

Section Two Capitalizing on History

Perspective

Sam Ford

Perspective

C. Lee Harrington

Perspective

Sam Ford

Perspective

Abigail De Kosnik

Perspective

Abigail De Kosnik

Perspective

Sam Ford

Preserving Soap History

Mary Jeanne Wilson

Section Three Experimenting with Production and Distribution

It’s Not All Talk

Deborah L. Jaramillo

Guiding Light

Patrick Erwin

From Daytime to Night Shift

Racquel Gonzales

Section Four Learning from Diverse Audiences

Soaps for Tomorrow

Abigail De Kosnik

Perspective

Abigail de Kosnik

The “Missing Years”

O’Meara Radha

Constructing the Older Audience

C. Lee Harrington, and Denise Brothers

End Matter