Soap Opera Weekly’s Carolyn Hinsey Fired?

Carolyn Hinsey fired from Soap Opera Weekly? That is what Jossip is reporting. According to "the gossip’s gossip sheet’s" source the alleged firing is due to budgetary reasons. If true, this comes less than a month after Hinsey was ranked No. 14 on TV Guide Canada’s 2008 Influencial List.

29 Responses

  1. Profile photo of KingTV

    Good. I am in the magazine publishing business and she has a very bad reputation as being a talentless, demanding hack who has not done anything original, fresh or creative since she took it over. Mimi Torchin created the weekly and it was so glamorous and fun when she was in charge. SOW needs someone younger with a fresh, edgy yet respectful and creative perspective on soap journalism. I know the perfect person… Nelson Branco. He would revamp that tired rag and give soaps back it’s dignity. Instead of showing photo stills from shoots as covers why aren’t they designing, photographing and editing these shoots with the actual actors and make the cover relevant to what is current on a particular show like Soap Opera Digest did in their glory days. Is this really a budgeting firing or is their subscription base so low because the news they put in it is stale, the photographs stink and there is not enough behind the scenes articles. The summaries of the past week are 4 freaking sentences long. They used to do page long summaries. Interviews with actors. What ever happened to the Best/Worst of the Year issue? It’s gone just like Ms. Hinsley.

  2. Profile photo of Lewis0817

    Thats good news, Weekly is the worst soap publication, it loosk outdated, and i can’t believe it isnt even defunct. The pictures are awful, along with the content. Maybe their will be a better editor next, that can save Weekly, anymore i dont enjoy DIGEST or WEEKLY, just ABC & CBS soaps in depth.

  3. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    If this is true, I must ask what in heaven’s name have I and soap fans around the globe done to deserve such a wealth of sudsy blessings recently????

    The fact of the matter is that Hinsey turned Soap Opera Weekly (which I have read religiously since its inception…at newsstand prices) into a fashion obsessed, rumor mongering, spoilerific bit of yellow journalism that barely managed to remain credible despite itself.

    First, let me give a bit of credit where it is justly due. Hinsey did allow some readers who disagreed with her some space to rebut her in SOW. She also helped bring attention in the pages of SOW to some of prime time’s best soaps/series including Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, and, yeah, Grey’s Lobotomy…er, Anatomy. I have also found myself in agreement with Hinsey on some issues, like overzealous fans and the occasional specific opinion about this show or that storyline. Most importantly, after her most recent foray into trying to compete with OK! and US magazines, she (or somebody) recently returned more of a focus on soaps to the pages of the magazine.

    But I have nothing but contempt for the way she helped turn one of the most respected soap publications into a little more than reflection of her own ego. While SOW’s news and previews have been mostly solid, Hinsey long ago jettisoned the high journalistic standards set by Mimi Torchin and mostly maintained by Torchin’s successors. I do not believe I ever saw as many retractions, clarifications or corrections from previous regimes as I did under Hinsey’s. Long gone have been constructive and intellectual criticisms of the shows, only to be replaced by non-stop harangues that can be found on any Internet soap board including the ridiculous “Rage Page” that is dedicated to what people hate about their soaps without equal time given to what people love about their soaps.

    Soap Opera Weekly used to have a substantial number of interviews with the biggest soap stars, working producers and head writers. But that has been replaced by asinine features like “Double Take” where you’re supposed to spot the 10 differences in Photoshopped pictures taken from a soap scene, which is something I used to do in second grade with Weekly Reader. And, most offensive of all for this daytime fan, Carolyn’s interviews with various soap celebs invariably have been more about what she wanted and didn’t want to see as a fan as opposed to a credible soap journalist trying to gain insight into these people and various aspects of the genre.

    And that has been the true problem with SOW for the last couple of years. SOW has become a reflection of Carolyn’s “It’s Only My Opinion” column in sister mag Soap Opera Digest that more often than not has belittled the very genre and industry it has covered rather than reporting soap opera news and providing critical insight into the shows and stories both negative AND positive. It is for this latter reason that Lynn Leahy, editor of SOD, has run rings around Hinsey as an editor and made SOD a much more insightful and credible publication than SOW.

    When it comes to daytime drama journalism — now more than ever as the genre struggles to remain relevant and even on the air — there is a need for champions, impartial observers, and fair minded critics. Not frenemies like Carolyn Hinsey, whose editorial efforts at SOW have been as detrimental to the genre as any budget cutting producer, mob-obsessed head writers, or disgusted viewers.

    I really hope this news is true. After all…it’s only my opinion.

  4. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I am probably the only one who like Carolyn Hinsey’s “Its My Opinion” column in Digest and I do feel that she is not the one to change the content of the magazine. I feel it is that the shareholders and the soap industry that she has to kiss to get them to be in the magazine and can’t be very critique of them. I hope she has a webpage to tell what she really feels about what is wrong with the industry and give it a honesty opinion that what the soaps need to do to stay afloat in the business.


  5. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    Simon, I didn’t always agree with Carloyn’s column but I really did like “It’s Only My Opinion.” What I disliked — loathed — was how she turned SOW into a magazine length version of that column.

    And she was responisble for the editorial direction of the mag: that is her job. I think I can say as a reader judging the various changes and formats she tried over the years, that Carolyn saw SOW trying to compete with the other supermarket tabloids on their turf (fashion, gossip, rumors) that was never the focus of SOW in the past. In a case of curious symmetry, a magazine editor is very much like a soap opera producer: regardless of the pressures and edicts of higher ups, eventually and ultimately it is their vision as a producer/editor that we the reader or viewer get to see played out.

    I don’t think that anything I wrote about how SOW was changed or damaged itself or the industry under her leadership can be disputed much. Hinsey is a good writer and sometimes her insights are right on. But she made SOW more about her than the industry she was covering.

  6. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    I’m a little confused…I know she was an editor at SOW, but I didn’t think she was top dog. Was she really responsible for the changes over there?

    And does this mean she won’t be writing for SOD anymore?

  7. Profile photo of blackjack21

    i don’t get SOW, but i do get SOD. i love her column in SOD and on occasion that was my number one reason for renewing my subscription when i’m not really watching any soaps. i can’t speak to her as an editor, but i had no idea how poorly she is apparently looked on by others. i will take your words for it on her editorial talents, but hope her column continues in SOD. thanks for all the great info. i really had no idea about some of the behind the scenes stuff.

  8. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    Let me clarify my remarks about Lynn and Carolyn vis a vis SOD and SOW, respectively:

    If memory serves correctly (and correct me if I am wrong), Lynn Leahey was the editor of SOD prior to Stephanie Sloane. Ms. Sloane has basically kept Leahey’s vision of SOD’s editorial direction largely intact since Lynn’s promotion. And since Leahey appears in the pages of SOD as a contributor every once in a while, it is fairly clear that her vision of SOD has prevailed for which she should get credit. To drive the point home, look who wrote the “Editor’s Note” in the August 19, 2008 issue of SOD: Lynne Leahey, not Stephanie Sloane.

    Carolyn, on the other hand, more or less continued to shape and reshape and reshape yet again and reshape one mo’ gin even recently the look, style, and content of SOW (as I described above) from almost the first week she took over as editor. Carolyn herself has also maintained a VERY high profile involvement in the pages of Weekly as a writer and interviewer. For these things, Carolyn gets the credit. This is the way things work.

    Regardless of the dictates and edicts from higher ups (who ultimately approve or shoot down editorial ideas), it is the ultimate responsibility of the editor or editor-in-chief of a magazine to shape its content and style and is thus ultimately held accountable for the success or failure of a publication. And it is also why there is usually tensions between publishers, accountants and advertising divisions and editors-in-chief and their editorial and creative staffs.

    My comments were directed at the editorial directions Hinsey took SOW and their deleterious effect on the publication and the industry. Lynn gets credit for SOD being superior to Weekly in content because her template was established and maintained by Sloane, who is certainly the winner by default…for now.

  9. Profile photo of daisyclover1938

    I think I understand now. I’m a real dummy when it comes to these things and it was hard to tell the difference between what an Editorial Director does compared with the Editor…

  10. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    shallotpeel, I think we are in basic agreement on almost all counts. I do not mean to belittle Stephanie Sloane, who I feel has done an excellent job at SOD, but when I say she’s the winner “by default” it is because she is seemingly unscathed in this very public ousting: almost all of the commentary from other parties has been about either Hinsey, Leahey or both.

    Many years ago and in a another life, I published a small magazine in New York and I am painfully aware of the kinds of personal and business politics that can be involved. However, I am unqualified of the specific interoffice and inter-corporate intrigues at Primedia’s sister publications that are in the news today. My comments regarding SOD and SOW are merely as (I hope) an observant and somewhat educated reader.

  11. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    Daisy, you are about to take over the world! You are far from a “dummy” about anything!!!

    If I may, though, an Editorial Director is much like the Executive Producer of a tv show. They are responsible for overseeing the budget of their properties, the hiring and firing of staff, and the (usual) final approval from concept through the final release of product to the general public. They may or may not interject their own ideas onto the show running, editorial or writing staffs. They mainly interface with their corporate owners and are accountable for the performance of their properties.

    ED’s and EP’s can cary wildly in their hands on involvement with their properties. In the prime time, you have EP’s like Jerry Bruckhemier of CSI, Cold Case & Without a Trace and JJ Abrams of Lost who have very little input in their properties, leaving the general show running to their own EP’s (sharing the same title). You have other EP’s like Joss Whedon, Ronald Moore and David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) and Shonda Rhimes (Greys’) who are very hands-on with the actual writing and guidance of their shows.

    In the soap world, the parallels would be “hands off” Jill Farren Phelps and Frank Valentini (who basically produces Guza’s and Carlivati’s visions, respectively) and, until recently, “hands on” Bradley Bell (who was head writer and EP of B&B for many years) and currently Chris Goutman (who very actively guides story on ATWT).

    In the magazine world, an Editorial Director’s role is essentially (with some variation) the same as an Executive Producer.

  12. Profile photo of hunterforrester

    FYI: Interlink owns SPW and Digest now.

    And I appreciate you “nominating me” but I’d rather eat shards of glass before taking a laxative than edit a soap magazine! Let’s not and say we did, okay?!

  13. Profile photo of DS9Sisko

    Nelson, thanks for the heads up about Interlink. I could have easily checked the masthead but forgot to do so. As for shards of glass and laxatives, my understanding is that various combinations of that cocktail has been proposed for Ms. Hinsey by various people who have worked for her.

    Daisy, you can learn on the job. I think you are the change and leader we can believe in!

  14. Profile photo of hunterforrester

    What do I think? Well, this is why I hate when one corporation owns competing entities. I have heard for a while Interlink wants to kill SPW and turn it into a sole website, and keep Digest on stands. Anyone I know and respect won’t touch Weekly with Lindsay Lohan’s dick. I have a feeling because budget was a primary reason for CH’s dismissal, that Lynn will take over SOD and Steph will assume SPW until they fold it.

  15. Profile photo of hunterforrester

    BTW, DS… You and I need to have our own feature one week titled “IT’S ONLY OUR OPINION.” We need to be in touch. How do I get a hold of you? U are one of the few posters I respect and adore! Oh, shut up everyone! LOL!

  16. Profile photo of shallotpeel

    I enter the fray only really to point out an issue of fact, not opinion. I’ve posted already on Usenet about this somewhat. But, I would say that I have remarkably similar thoughts about journalistic integrity, what Mimi Torchin’s mag was, what it has been since Mimi was escorted out of the building & the mag was handed over to Carolyn Hinsey to run, and everything that falls into that vein.

    But, I would run over something about the hierarchy of these 2 magazines, owned by the same companies for some years now, pitted against each other interally, but doing some resource sharing, and what I’m getting to may also seem a bit odd. But, if you look at the mastheads in any issues that have already gone to print, since I’m not sure what the masthead on today’s WEEKLY will show …

    Editorial Director Lynn Leahey
    Editor Stephanie Sloane

    Editorial Director Lynn Leahey
    Editor Carolyn Hinsey

    Now, I don’t begrudge you or anyone giving Lynn credit and/or blame that they can back up so eloquently. Same as to Hinsey. But, hey, I can’t let ya go & leave Stephanie out of her fair share.
    If you’re going to give DIGEST a thumb up, which compared to WEEKLY I definitely think it deserves, then the parallel there is Hinsey Down, Sloane Up. I’m just sayin’.

    : ^> DonnaB < *>

  17. Profile photo of shallotpeel

    I think that what you might be overlooking is how long Sloane was Leahey’s #2 at DIGEST. (You also might not be overlooking it.) Lynn’s been removed more or less, higher up with corporate, for some time now. Hinsey was not a #2 to anyone for a long tenure as an Editor in the way we’re speaking of it here, although she has a long tenure as a writer. And, of course, many people at these magazines edit many people’s specific work, on different passes. But, in terms of shaping the magazine, I would say that Sloane has been a part of that, and moreso, and moreso, etc., etc. for a very long while. But, yes, at one point Leahey was totally hands-on and Sloane was totally hands-on. Yes, Carolyn has been a high profile persona, while both Lynn & Stephanie put the work out there, not themselves. And, yes, Lynn has always kept the Editor’s Notes in DIGEST. [I cannot think how long it has been since she has done anything but that, the Editor’s Notes.] She never gave it up. She also didn’t take WEEKLY’s once Torchin was ousted. It’s just the way it works. I don’t think Sloane deserves ‘by default’, basically. I think she deserves more without slighting Leahey. I mean, Leahey learned at the feet of another Editor. And, DIGEST has been mostly stable, although it used to be twice as long. But, I think we both understand each other, and perhaps agree more than we disagree. At any rate it is not the Editor’s position at DIGEST that is being done away with.

    : ^> DonnaB < *>

  18. Profile photo of shallotpeel

    Well, I know of things that are being said … and also of things being said that are just out there and about both Steph & Lynn, and now that there’s blood in the water about whatever & whomever! So, that could account for a little difference in our perspective – that of both Lynn & Steph being spoken of & no one being unscathed at least as far as message board commentary ‘somewhere online’ is concerned. But your comment about your own experience vis a vis business politics is very well taken! And the fact that you were so obviously educated about this, the biz behind the soap biz, was the reason I brought up the one thing. Enjoyed talking with you.

    : ^> DonnaB < *>

  19. Profile photo of shallotpeel

    When one corporation owns competing entities it is indeed bizarre. I was alluding to that in a prior post about how confusing it can be for people to understand DIGEST and WEEKLY’s behind the scenes structure. Plus, I’m still angry at whatever corporation it was at the time, just prior to PriMedia I think, that bought MONTHLY & Michael Kape & Joanna Koon & their third’s fine mag (an SON) that was doing the best soap journalism I’ve seen in my entire life – and folding them so they wouldn’t be competition for WEEKLY and DIGEST. Feh.

    But, the rumor that *whatever corporation at the time* wanted to get rid of WEEKLY & just have DIGEST only way way way pre-dates the change from PriMedia to Interlink. I’ve personally thought it was about to happen many times since Mimi was ousted.

    For now, though, one position has been eliminated only, and from a business perspective, it was the best one to go. And, letting jobs go to attrition has been going on for a decade or more, so it’s not even new.

    : ^> DonnaB < *>

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