In an article about, what else, the decline of the daytime soap opera, Conde Nast‘s Portfolio reveals that in the next two months CBS will follow NBC’s lead by slicing the licensing fees it pays independent production companys Sony, Bell Dramatic Serial Company and Proctor and Gamble Productions/TeleNext for their four soaps.

 The financial crisis is hurting daytime soaps more than other shows, and may well doom them. Not so long ago, there were 16 soaps. Today, there are eight—with more cancellations seemingly imminent in the face of TiVo, D.V.R.’s, decreased market share, declining ratings, and the loss of financially pressed auto dealers as local advertisers.

"I see this moment as the turning point for soaps," a top CBS executive told me. "No format has been hit harder than daytime serials."

The executive says that within the next two months the network plans to dramatically slash the licensing fees it pays to the independent production companies that make its soaps. NBC recently did the same to the fees paid for its lone entry, Days of Our Lives—which have recently run about $1.8 million a week."

18 Responses

  1. Profile photo of YRFan90

    I wonder if Y&R’s consistent high ratings helps it avoid too many swings of the budget cutting axe.

    Also would it be excessively costly for Y&R, for example, to shift to Prime Time?

    In 2006 there was a 40-episode prime time soap “Fashion House”. Though it was laughably bad (I tuned in just to see Bo Dereck and lipstick lesbian Morgan Fairchild), it at least generated some attention and viewers. Honestly I can’t imagine and would prefer not to imagine, a world without Y&R.

  2. Profile photo of Luke Kerr
    Luke Kerr

    Y&R’s “high ratings” is a mirage. It’s the No. 1 soap but it hasn’t escaped the viewer erosion that all the others have suffered. It just helps that they are No. 1 and no one focuses on their ratings. In theory they might be No. 1 at 1.8 two years from now if things continue the way they are.

    Hush John, the last thing I want to think of is the possibility of Maura West’s Carly being recast.

  3. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Y&R has lost half its audience in ten years. All the soaps are in trouble. Some are flatlining (GL), while others have been given a few more years to live. Is their a doctor in the house?

  4. Profile photo of Johnathon

    Lol I was just kidding Luke…but you know if Ken Corday was there he would say “No one is above recasting” *rolls eyes*.

    And not All soaps are in trouble, my awesome Home and Away is safe, and so is EastEnders, Coronation street, Hollyoaks, Neighbours, Emmerdale, Doctors, and a few others :P

    Just the US soaps are lol, Jamey gave me a opening so i ran with it :).

    A.K.A. ssjohn

  5. Profile photo of Chrystie-Delancey

    Sony owns all distribution rights to DAYS and Y&R once the network licenses expire and are not renewed. I’m surprised Y&R hasn’t felt the pinch already. Then again, after last year’s writer’s strike, NBC was the one to fire just about everyone, so it seems like they take the harder stance.

  6. Profile photo of Johnathon

    I just glanced at Good times Bad times on youtube (and did a little digging on it), the quality of the show seems amazing, the show looks 30x better then US Soaps. Unfortunately I do not understand anything from it, but that’s not the point lol.

    Glad to hear soaps are doing well there :)

    A.K.A. ssjohn

  7. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I think this is the time to go to Washington and ask for a bailout for soaps, LOL. I am scared about the industry will not last with this bad after bad news. I hope that they will survive, but I not counting on it.


  8. Profile photo of Mark

    Yeah, the show looks great. When I compare their location scenes to those of ATWT… Oy!

    Something else I really love is that they write for the whole cast. There’s only one actress still on the show who was also in episode 1 (An actor who was also on the show since episode 1 left in the last episode of last season). That actress was in 18 of the 23 episodes last month. No other actor or actress was in that many episodes.

    I do think the show could use more sets, but I think they’re working on it. They’re building a new studio in Amsterdam and that one is supposed to be bigger than the one they’re in right now (in Aalsmeer, a town near Amsterdam). I believe they will move to that studio in 2010.

    We’re in season 19 right now, but the show’s contract was recently resigned until 2011. So we’re going to see the show’s 20th Anniversary.

    One of my favorite scenes is this one (it was the end-of-season cliffhanger of season 10):

    What they’re saying:

    Ludo: Scared of heights?
    Bowien: Go away. What do you want? I thought you were here for Stefano (she’s on her honeymoon with him, his son)?
    Ludo: You still didn’t answer my question.
    Bowien: And I won’t.
    *Ludo takes a step towards her*
    Bowien: Coward! Come on then!
    *He starts to walk away*
    Bowien: And that’s why I chose Stefano! That’s at least a real man. And that’s why Janine fell for him. Women know things like that by instinct.
    Ludo: What?
    Bowien: Didn’t you know? Janine was unhappy with you so she found comfort in Stefano’s arms. Your wife slept with him, Ludo!
    Ludo: You’re sick.
    Bowien: You’re looking at the living proof every day. Or did you think that baby was yours?
    Ludo: You’re lying!
    *she’s hanging on the cliff*
    Bowien: Ludo, do something! Ludo! Help me!

    And after the break during the summer (do they have those for other soaps?) this is what happened:

    And this character actually died and didn’t come back from the dead. Shocker!

    Anyway, I love the way they filmed it and the use of dramatic music. My all-time favorite scene is not on YouTube. In that scene we see how one of the show’s bad guys is murdered. He’s in the bathtub and someone (we don’t see who it is) psuhes a TV in the tub. I was really young when that aired but it was a really scary scene. What followed was one of the best murder mysteries I’ve seen.

  9. Profile photo of Mark

    Yeah, just the US soaps, Johnathon. The ratings for Dutch soap Good Times Bad Times are going up after a couple of years where they lost a lot of viewers. The show reinvented itself this season and the viewers appreciate it and are tuning in again.

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