|Is there finally good news for soap fans? |
Read this guest post by Troy Turner.
Contrary to the headline above, this is not a plot summation of the four remaining daytime dramas on network TV. Rather, here is an analysis of noteworthy events behind the camera this last week pertaining to the future of network daytime drama as we head further into 2013. But, sometimes these events can be exciting as well.
The return of Prospect Park - As was first reported by Nellie Andreeva of Deadline on December 17. On Monday, Jeff Kwantinetz and Rich Frank of Prospect Park finally confirmed deals with SAG-AFTRA and DGA, two key unions needed in order to continue Prospect Park's efforts to bring All My Children and One Life To Live back in online versions.
While credit should be given to them for not giving up on the project, I don't know if it's time to celebrate yet. This news feels like a rush job, an effort to put something out there before the rights to both shows revert back to ABC next month, as has been reported by Daytime Confidential. Despite their claims about coming back, many fans of both shows are very skeptical of Prospect Park. A deal with the WGA would help allay some fears, as would actual information on how the shows will be viewable. Essentially, Prospect Park MUST be honest brokers with fans after the roller coaster of last year when the programs were axed by ABC.
GH hits 3 million viewers - The comeback of General Hospital continues. The move to 2 pm ET continues to benefit GH, per the Nielsen ratings for December 24-28 released on Tuesday. GH averaged more than 3 million viewers for the first time since December 27-31, 2010. The storm of Steve Burton's (Jason) departure looks to have been weathered and the upcoming return of Genie Francis in a promising storyline can only help. However, the return of Prospect Park could hamper GH as well; it's conceivable that Prospect Park will ask for the intellectual property of One Life To Live characters Starr Manning, Todd Manning and John McBain. Despite that possibility, it appears to be a formality that GH will continue beyond its golden anniversary in April - though nothing is guaranteed when ABC is involved.
More sand in the hourglass - It appears that Sony and NBC are rolling the dice in renewing last-place Days Of Our Lives through September, 2014 - as they both announced on Wednesday - and are looking for a huge payoff. Having returned to Salem this fall (as a viewer) after better than 30 years away, I can see why Days works for some people, and doesn't for others. The cast, perhaps daytime's deepest, has the potential to deliver spectacular work, though frequent writing staff changes have hamstrung their growth. Eileen Davidson's return as Kristen DiMera and the budding romance between Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis (progressing farther than previous gay couples in daytime) are bright spots. In addition, don't underestimate the impact of social media, as it's my belief that social media helped save Days. All four daytime dramas utilize it, but as far as I know, they are the first to fully embrace it, using the hashtag #DAYS at the beginning of each episode. Being a member of Twitter, and joining in the fun, I know Days fans are very active. Despite the renewal, though, Days needs to take more chances if the show is to survive.
2013 has the potential to be the most influential year in the history of daytime drama. Will it all happen as viewers hope it will? The best answer is, as always, to stay tuned...