Daytime Confidential #217: Nelson Branco Interview

TV Guide Canada’s Nelson Branco joins Luke and Jay for an in-depth discussion of the soap industry, his column’s The Suds Report & Nelson Ratings, all the latest soap gossip, his interviews with Michelle Stafford and Katherine Kelly Lang, his Emmy prediction, how the industry could reinvent itself with additional programming and much more including…

His belief that fans watch for the "little moments" and that soaps have been dumbed down. What is going on with the Proctor and Gamble soaps, including Guiding Light’s use of its couples, the "Nuke" controversy and letting go of Martha Byrne.

Branco predicts that Victoria Rowell will return to the Young and Restless by April or May and discuss the rumors of Jeanie Cooper leaving the venerable soap.

We learn why there isn’t more diversity on the Bold and Beautiful, which character was supposed to have been gay, and who might soon appear as a recast Thomas Forrester.

Could Cady McClain’s return as a ghost for May sweeps end up being more? The real reason why Susan Lucci lost the Emmy so many times. All My Children is using its veterans more often and how Nelson believe it is emblematic of the industry.

Will Days of Our Lives be canceled? Where could Brandon Beemer and Martha Madison pop up next. Might Kyle Lowder be returning to Salem and will Deidre Hall get a Emmy nomination.

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20 Responses

  1. Profile photo of timepass

    Just finish listening to it and I love it!

    Very interesting and very knowledgeable peoples talking about my favourite subject soap!

    I must confess that I don’t agree a lot with Branco view on soap on his sud blog, but I was pleasantly surprised by the podcast.

    Great job yet again! This is me applauding you all guys!

  2. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    Oh we had a blast. I loved Nelson’s idea of a Soap related SNL….I think it would be brilliant. I really think that in some respects soaps take themselves to seriously. B&B doesn’t take itself to seriously and its the #2 soap.

  3. Profile photo of mrsnoahdrake

    Great podcast! So glad you had him on.
    I always enjoy reading his blog.
    Maybe TPTB at some of the soaps will hear this and follow his idea for the soap parody and following Doug Marland’s rules, etc.

  4. Profile photo of soapscribe

    Thanks for having Mr. Bronco on the podcast! It was through his blog that I recently discovered Daytime Confidential, which has now become MY latest obsession as well. This blog and the podcasts are the best thing since Nelson’s soap columns and interviews. You’ve got me hooked! I’m just having a blast listening to all the previous chats. :)

    I really enjoy and appreciate everything you guys do. Thank you so much and keep up the great work! DC rocks!

    P.S. I’d love to see Brandon Beemer join B&B as Thomas Forrester. They should make him gay and hook him up with Storm Logan. ;)

  5. Profile photo of bebopblues

    Great podcast. Loved every true minute of it. It’s kinda a shame ABC owns soapnet. An independent owner might actually be on board with an SNL type of show attributed to soaps.

  6. Profile photo of KingTV

    LOVED this podcast with Nelson. Of course, when he announced his age of 33, I nearly passed out thinking that I am even older then this roving soap (and prime time and film as he kept reminding us) reporter. That was the only thing that bothered me. He was defending the soaps brilliantly but he had to keep telling Luke and Jay and us that he has one foot in the soap world and the other in film and prime time as if soaps aren’t a good enough genre to be a journalist for only. It was sort of hypocritical. BUT, otherwise, this man knows his stuff. His analysis of soaps past versus soaps present was sharp and knowing. The point he made about how the networks would take all the money they made from the soaps and put it into prime time or buying rights to sports events or other things was right on target. Instead of putting the money back into the shows that generated the revenue, the profits were spread elsewhere. That is a very good reason why we do not see anymore great sweeps location shoots or more background people or glamour, jewels and sets. The networks scrimp on these things thinking that we the viewer do not notice and that the remaining diehard soap fans will watch no matter what. Which is true to an extent. But then GL is the perfect example of a show whose fans have been driven away by the cheapness and poverty stricken look to the show. I don’t mean every character has to be a rich, blinged out diva but GL looks like crap and doesn’t have th stories to engage us despite it. The truest things nelson said are 1 – Bob Guza needs a break and GH needs to hire the person who wrote the winning entry for Save The Quartermaines 2 – That this website, is growing and informative and the best place for the thinking fan to go to air out their grievances and proclaim their love for a present story or classic past drama and 3 – That DAYTIME drama has about 2 years to turn it around and make things great again or else 2010 looks like the year that daytime drama died. Like he said, soap opera will always exist. It exists everywhere from prime time dramas to reality shows like The Hills to the internet. Continuing narrative will never die but afternoon stories are on the way of the dinosaur.

  7. Profile photo of Trudi

    I finally overcame my resistance to anything Branco says or thinks because of his personal take on some of my favorite soap stars, and I listened to the podcast. To my amazement I agree with much of what he said.

    One of the problems is that there’s this huge disconnect between the suits, and the audience. To them, we are simply an abstract source of a revenue stream, and unlike a consumer product, the soap opera isn’t really even the “product” they are selling, and the audience really isn’t the consumer of the product. The product is the commercial time, the consumer is the advertiser, and the audience is merely a distribution system. Sort of like shelf space in a supermarket. It’s really quite strange when you think about it, but if you consider the history of soaps, and how and why they developed as a genre, it makes a little more sense. They were originally developed to sell soap to housewives, and to some extent, although the “product” and audience has changed, they still exist for that purpose.

    The sad thing to me, as someone who spent most of her adult life as a marketing executive, is that I can guarantee you, if Frito Lay had people who were passionately writing in to tell them what to do to make chips better, they would listen!!!! They wouldn’t be doing focus groups to any large extent. No other genre or product I can think of generates that kind of devotion. Every industry I’ve worked in is trying to cultivate exactly the passionate sort of emotional connection to their product that soaps generate naturally. I’ve never had a relationship with a chip. But I have a 20 year relationship (much longer than I’ve known my husband) with certain soap characters. I set aside part of my day just for them. Sadly, the business people and the writers who drive the soap industry have such a lack of respect for their audience, they simply ignore what we want, even though we’re telling them. As a business person myself, I am jarred by the stupidity, and infuriated that something that has an almost unparalleled recipe for success relative to any other industry, continues to drive itself into the ground.

  8. Profile photo of naughtyeskimo

    Wow, about 25 minutes in and love it! Just two comments before I go to bed.

    a) Nelson, thank you so much for mentioning the “little things”… I’ve been preaching that for years by myself on my little board, and it’s so true. The fans want to see the moments that truly drive the story, which is the moments when you see bits and pieces of the characters, who they are and who they want to be/what they want. For instance, in this John storyline on DAYS right now, I don’t need to see John having an episode long (almost) conversation with the costums guy, as hot as he is. Nor do I need to hear him repeatedly say he loves power and money. What I, as a DAYS viewer, need to see is the moment when Marlena kisses John as she goes to leave, John touches his lips as she turns and closes his eyes. You can show the mansion blowing up the next minute, but you need to show those human moments to remind fans of why they fell in love with this show and those characters. Sure, show Hope being kidnapped, but in the midst of that show her touching or twirling her ring as Bo does the same to his. Show the connection.

    B) Just a correction Jay, about “ghosts”… (and man, I feel like I’m always correcting you, imo anyway, and I don’t mean to, I love listening to you)… Marlena’s appearance was in John’s dream, not as a ghost. He read the letter on the plane, then had a daydream/dream about what she said in that letter. I mean, DAYS was trying to get Deidre Hall back like the second after she left the studio, it sounds like, and they weren’t that stupid in the 80s.

  9. Profile photo of Jammylove

    Can I say now that this man is brilliant? I agreed with him 100%.

    Luke- Guiding Light made news with the Kissing Cousins (Not as Big as NUKE but it made some news other than SOD)

    Martha Madison as Marah Lewis please. I am not a huge fan of MM but we need REVA’S KIDS on SET ASAP.

    Degrassi In my Opinion, is a slap in the face to soaps its everything a soap should do but with MINORS. *Stabs Degrassi*

    Great Podcast =)

  10. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    Great show!!

    And did I hear correctly?! Did NB say that Ron Carlivati listens to the podcast!!?? OMG! That’s HUGE!

    And Jay, I hope you continue to submit your stuff for the ABC Development Program…you were born to be a soap writer!

  11. Profile photo of hunterforrester

    Nelson here — I was just trying to contrast how the two different worlds work, prime time/daytime, and I never assume people know what my full time job is. It’s a habit because in my full time job, I keep saying, “In the soap world…” or “I write a soap column, and soap fans are smarter than…” You get it. Trust me — I wasn’t trying to brag, because I value my soap work FAR more than my other gigs. But the way these two different worlds operate is worth noting.

  12. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Thanks Timepass! Don’t forget to look for our upcoming chat with Joseph C. Phillips, the orignal Justus Ward from General Hospital and Martin Kendall from The Cosby Show!

  13. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Oh doing the podcasts are a ton of fun! Sometimes I will think only 30 minutes has passed and Luke will inform me we’ve been recording for like 80 minutes! LOL We’re so glad you guys enjoy it!

  14. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Oh no Naughty! LOL thanks for the clarification! Hey I am the first to admit I need some brushing up from time to time! I was all of about 10-years-old when she died, so I guess all the Cap’n Crunch, Smurfs cartoons and pixie sticks mixed with the big hair on Days frazzled my brain a bit and made me see a ghost!

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