Let me start off my saying some of this article are my own personal thoughts, observations and suggestions. Not all will be popular but they are mine. This is my experience and how I feel. This is a long article and these are the things I have been thinking about for months up to and including the announcement today!
Now onto the issues at hand:
I know today there are a lot of aggravated fans as a result of the Online Networks News that they are cutting All My Children and One Life to Live from 2 hours a week of new shows respectively to one hour a week of each and they are combining the 2 Interactive and what I considered wrap up or time waster shows into one. I have to admit that combining the two wrap up or recap shows into one half hour is a good professional decision and I will state my reason why here.
The Wrap-up-Re-cap show:
During the launch week of the shows I thoroughly enjoyed the wrap up shows. I found them interesting and even stimulating because there was a lot of ground to cover but I did not really know how to interact with it especially since there was no real time air time expect we are not daytime, we are all time. Their words, not mind. When I viewed the wrap up shows the second week I found they were already losing their luster and I wondered how they could keep them new and fresh weekly. I simply did not think they would have enough weekly content to keep 2 wrap up shows interesting. Looks like I was right in that assumption and I think they can keep it interesting if they are looking back on both shows and combining interviews with actors and actresses from both shows and hopefully that will help to make the wrap up re-cap show better.
My viewing background:
To understand what I am going to say and where I am coming from you must know a bit about my background so you first understand how much I love these shows. I have watched these shows since I was a little girl. I saw and remember the very first episode of both All My Children and One Life to Love. I had been a viewer during elementary school, junior high and high school. I was falling in love for the first time when Jessie and Angie were falling in love and I was having a baby as a teenager when Jessie and Angie were having Frankie. I have been through the birth of children, my own marriages and divorces with these soaps and all of my husband’s have endured and even watched with me as they were kind of forced to if they wanted to communicate with me during the afternoons when my daughter was little. When I no longer had pre-school age kids, I got a job and I taped my shows daily and watched at night when I got home. I would tape all three on my VCR, All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital. I very rarely watched Prime Time as my soaps were my Prime time shows for years while working in Law firms took up my daytimes.
Soapnet and the DVR:
I watched for years on Soapnet and I was one of the first to incorporate a DVR into my home. I work most of the time from home nowadays and I still DVR my daytime shows. Since the ABC cancellation I have started watching Bold and the Beautiful and Young and the Restless. I have been watching Days of Our Lives for years already because that was offered on Soapnet and I had Soapnet for years and loved it.
Summing up my daytime programming viewing:
So to sum up my daytime viewing, I currently watch via the DVR, General Hospital as I just won’t give real time viewing of anything to ABC as I no longer consider them viewer friendly. While I love the new nighttime Drama Nashville, I even DVR that. Do I want to see General Hospital get canceled, absolutely not but ABC has shown me that I cannot depend on them to keep something I like on the air and I am now of the mind to simply like it while it is there and not get too attached as losing All My Children and One Life to Live literally broke my heart. So I watch Young and the Restless in real-time and right after Y & A, Bold and the Beautiful comes on so I watch that. Then if I still have my TV on, my DVR automatically switches the channel and Days of our Lives comes on. If I am not too busy I may watch it or just have it on for background noise and watch it in its entirety later. What I find I have been doing is watching my shows at night when the day is through. I will lay in my bed and click on General Hospital and watch the show and zoom and I mean zoom through commercials. I will do the same with Days and watch what I might have missed in an episode during the day.
What happened to my empty time slots when AMC & OLTL were canceled?
When my shows were cancelled I incorporated Young and the Restless and Bold & the Beautiful into my daily life in an attempt to fill the empty void. Like the song says, if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one your with. Y & R and B & B have filled the daytime if I am around to watch. To be brutally honest, I have my DVR set to record Y & R daily but normally watch it in real time but if I am on appointments or super busy I know it is there for me to catch later on. I have never DVR’ed B & B as I just don’t care enough about the show to do that. I am not saying that it is not a good show and that I don’t like the actors. In fact many of my favorites have moved over to that show and I have made a few new favorites like the character of Steffie who was an ass and took a motorcycle ride while pregnant and now has to live with the loss of her baby because of that ride but I digress.
Hardened My Heart
I fear ABC may have hardened my heart and made me timid to love openly and fully again any show as one tends to protect ones heart from the possibly of pain. Now I will tell you how I am viewing the re-launch of my most favorite ever shows.
MY viewing habits of the re-launched shows:
The first week of the re-launch I watched both shows the same day they aired originally. I am viewing through my WII and I did subscribe to Hulu Plus for the $7.99 a month. I have used my WII to play games with my grandkids and even exercise on occasion and it took a little getting used to just to get the shows to play. Because of that I decided to wait until Friday and watch the rest of the week then along with the re-cap shows and that is what I did. Then last week I watched All My Children, all 4 episodes on Thursday night after my workday and supper dishes were done. I had to once again go through the process of getting the WII up and running but it surely was much easier finding the show and letting them run straight through. It was Thursday so the All My Children recap show was obviously not available. Then on Friday I viewed all 4 episodes of One Life to Live and both recap shows. It was easy streaming the shows back to back but the WII is a bit clumsy and I had to find my way back to the All My Children recap show and I did but using the WII controllers can be a tricky and sensitive thing. I think my feelings and viewing habits of the re-launch is probably close to what the average viewer is doing.
Is Primetime on anybody’s mind?
Cutting the show back to one hour a week of programming per show is like having a one hour show on Prime time. One has to wonder if the shows are being tested for a Prime time position?
What happens to the actors?
I spoke to one of the All My Children actors the other day and I told him of my new viewing habits and he told me about his thoughts. I wondered why they started the shows back on the same day considering All My Children ended 6 months earlier than One Life to Live and I naturally assumed they would start up All My Children first and start back One Life to Live a few months later so starting them at the same time surprised the hell out of me and I thought they may have been biting off a little more than they could chew. No pun intended. I was wondering how they were actually working the recording schedule considering both shows were being filmed at the same location. That has to be a logistical scheduling nightmare.
The financial ramifications:
The actors that are used to being on soaps are used to being in contract either as full time no days off type of deal or on recurring status. The concern of some of the actors and their decline to rejoin the re-launch already was that there was just not enough work having the shows cut back to five weeks on taping schedule and five weeks off. Actors are people and people have to make living. How will this cut back affect those salaries? So I leave you all with these questions.
How will the cut backs affect the actors financially?
How many might be forced to jump ship simply because they have to make a living?
Or will the cutbacks enable them to be able to adjust the filming schedule to the point where they can remain playing the characters on these shows and be able to find additional work to keep food on their tables at home?
Is this a test?
Is the Online Network and Prospect Park viewing this and arranging this more like the filming and scheduling of a one hour a week dramatic series like Nashville, Castle, Revenge, The CSI’s, the Law and Orders and so on and so forth? Are the shows being looked at for possible pick up and addition to a nighttime drama series? Think along the lines of Dallas, Knots Landing, and currently the hit show Nashville;
What can you do fans?
Do the fans have the right to be concerned? Absolutely, but what you need to do is keep watching, keep interacting and keep telling them you want to see your shows regardless and Primetime as well as on Hulu would be even better. One the shows are in the can, getting them picked up somewhere else is always possible. It can happen.
Would ION OR FX BE A GOOD HOME?
I personally think it would be cool to see All My Children and One Life to Live on primetime on FX or ION and then available on Hulu as well for free like so many show already are. My personal opinion is if you are going to cut us back to only one hour a week of our all time favorite shows, then give them to us on a conventional viewing platform like FX or ION and also available on HULU so new viewers can watch there and let the recap show continue to run on HULU only!!
Are you reading this Prospect Park and The Online Network?
Are you reading this Prospect Park and The Online Network? I am reading from the viewers of their disappointment about having to first go from 5 hours a week per show which is 10 hours a week combined to only 2 hours of programming a week per show which is only 4 hours. Now to cut that back even further to 1 hour a week per show which is 2 hours a week total seems unfair and mean to them and is most definitely a culture shock. I some behave badly because of it, let me say that it just because they are still so raw from losing the shows in the first place and they certainly are feeling doom and gloom regarding the announcement today.
We all know that you were trying to do a good thing but it is starting to feel like a tug of war, a switch and bait so the fans are reacting.
If you are trying a new business/show model, tell the folks that.
Are the viewers viewing the shows differently than they did when they were on conventional television, of course they are. Things are different. You are right about there being nothing to measure this on. These are uncharted waters but I don’t think cutting back to two hours a week in total is the answer.
Some viewers are saying run one them one week on and one week off.
I think you guys need to create a poll and find out what the viewers want.
I used to view my shows nightly on TV when they were all on TV. Now AMC & OLTL is not on conventional TV so I am viewing them in the most convenient way possible for me. A big part of all of this is convenience.
Perhaps before the shows aired for the first time, there should have been a disclaimer about the fact that this schedule may not be set in stone as this is uncharted waters for all of us and some adjustments may have to be made. At some point the viewers are going to say enough is enough. If you must cut back to a Prime Time scheduling and taping of these shows, then you need to give the viewer a Prime Time time-slot and a Prime time standard and conventional way to view these shows. It’s that simple.
Viewing warning notice:
While we are speaking about disclaimer notices, I wanted to add that it would probably be a good idea to add the notice before the shows air that parental guidance is advised and that all subject matter and language might not be suitable for all ages?
Honor and Pride:
Give the viewer and the shows the honor of being on primetime. The honor they surely deserve and let’s make history once again.
My Dare to Prospect Park:
I dare you to make history again and get ION or FX to Air them. I double dare you.
To the viewers and loyal fans, being Positive is Key:
I think we need to be positive and tell Prospect Park that we love the effort that they are making and that we are here to support them and maybe we can help get these shows to the next level. First we must find out how to help keep them being produced and secondly, we must find out if we can help get them elevated to the status of Prime Time?
Posting is Welcome:
Okay, you all can post your comments and feedback at the bottom of this article but please be constructive. You never know who is reading.