Brian Frons On SOAPnet Content: “The Original Programs Have Been Loss Leaders”

TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan pulled no punches speaking with ABC Daytime president Brian Frons. Logan chats with Frons regarding the mouse house’s decision to kill SOAPnet in exchange for Disney Jr.

So SOAPnet’s original programming is no longer important? Was it ever?

Other than the last season of Being Erica, which we’ve bought and will air, we’re not going to put any more money into original programming. Frankly, the original programs have been loss leaders. They’ve helped us expand and experiment with other ways to tell soap opera stories on the channel, but they are not our bread and butter.

Logan also discusses with Frons SOAPnet’s press releases about the ratings boom they’ve experience and if it was fiction or accurate.

Something doesn’t compute. We’re always getting press releases about SOAPnet’s remarkable success. In fact, one went out just a few weeks ago. Was that all bull?

This is not about SOAPnet doing badly. It’s about a bigger opportunity for the Disney Company. It’s very hard right now in the cable world to reach 75 million homes. It has taken us 10 years to achieve that. It’s much easier for Disney to transition a channel than to start one from scratch. Disney is very committed to the preschool brand. That preschool space is very important because that’s the way into kids’ lives. You get them at an early age, in the 2-to-7-year-old group, and then as they age they will migrate to the Disney Channel and to ABC. It’s important for Disney to get into that game in a bigger way.

14 Responses

  1. Profile photo of sassysdreams

    Do they really think that the people watching SoapNet to see their soaps at night will continue to watch Disney Jr?  I think they’ve just lost 90% of the 75 million homes that SoapNet had.  Clearly they don’t care about the soap fans.  And do children from 2-7 really need any more babysitters, especially after 8 PM at night?  How stupid does Disney think the soap viewers are?


  2. Profile photo of east.west

    And the online community says a collective "A DOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" to another one of the Frons quotes.

    I would SMDH to this, but look at who we are talking about. IDK the ratings for the soap reality shows like "One Day", "I Wanna Be A Sopastar", "Soaptalk", etc., but I am sure that we all thought that those shows were more inclined w/what this channel’s audience want/wanted. But no, instead (for whatever reason), he thought shows like that Louisville show and others would bring in the eyeballs to make the network viable.

    And I guess this was another one of his exercise in spin, but I thought the ratings he boast about actually meant something, but obviously not. 

  3. Profile photo of soapfan8

    Lmfao wooow duh the original programming was a loss leader they sucked holidate bank of mom and dad and that louisville bootleg real houswifes copycat. Experiments for ways with soaps this weren’t soapy they were reality trash and not even good reality tv. Being erica was a good show though but not really soapy. And if they were loss leaders why put them on soapnet I understand they lost the rights to Dallas and melrose place but what about dynasty and all the soaps they begun with or even classic episodes of soaps that were still on soapnet what about the soap marathons on Saturday mornings they just did not care and why was ryans hope at 5 in the morning. On sat and sun morning at 5 they don’t show ryans hope but 2 months ago soapography and one day with was still airing bring them back 4 the remainding 18 months instead of Louisville and holidate if people barely watch at that time then why not soap shows I wish soapnet would go out with a bang a new format that would suit soapfans schedule and some cheap classic soap shows u stabbed us but doing that isn’t pouring salt in wound. Nice job frons u ignored the question and promoted Disney propoganda u already have a preschool brand playhouse Disney he sounded creepy like mind controll well get them young then when their teens so when their adults theirs ours please if a child watches this channel doesn’t make them watch abc when they are grown theirs NBC and CBS fox and all the cable channels and the Disney channel sucks it’s the same soapnet format all reality no good quality cartoons for kids I feel bad for kids to watch that crap they may think Hannah montanah is hot but they won’t know about Jett Jackson or that’s so raven which it’s end marked the end of great Disney programming I’m done said enough.

  4. Profile photo of miller jean
    miller jean

    I watch all my soaps on that channel i hate to see it go but i think Brian Frons no longer cares about Fans why would he fire Drew Garett then?? He needs to be recast now!!

  5. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Brian Frons doesn’t care about ANYONE or ANYTHING other than making sure that he continues to receive his MASSIVE paycheck—a paycheck that he neither deserves or earns. He’s merely a talking head, and is not invested in QUALITY television, just whatever will make his pockets fatter. At least there’s still YouTube….

  6. Profile photo of marceline
    This is not about SOAPnet doing badly. It’s about a bigger opportunity for the Disney Company.

    I believe that’s true. This is about Disney washing it’s hands of ABC as a whole in hopes/preparation of selling the network

  7. Profile photo of Analiza

    Of course their "original programming" didn’t cut it–they made reality shows not soap-oriented entertainment. 

    As east.west mentioned, are they taking into consideration the older shows like "SoapTalk" or even "GH Nightshift?"  Or are they just looking at things noone who watches this channel wanted to see like "The Bank of Mom & Dad."

    I always thought they didn’t really do with this station what I think people wanted to see:  all soaps all the time.  Not "One Tree Hill" and "The OC" but "Dark Shadows," "Santa Barbara," "Generations," and maybe some prime-time soaps like "Falcon Crest" thrown in.  Heck, they could have aired "Guiding Light" for fans who were missing it.  And why wasn’t "The Bold and the Beautiful" added when Y&R was?

    Instead they wasted our time with movies no one needed to see on this channel (I love "Clue" but on SoapNet???) and "90210" ad nauseum.

    There are already 3 Disney channels; taking away the one and only channel devoted to soaps to give us a 4th is ridiculous.  They should have taken the station in another direction and maybe it would have made more money–just not this direction.

  8. Profile photo of gjr1969

    Frons should not be permitted to run a lemonade stand. This is really just another nail in the coffin for daytime soaps. They were able to justify soap ratings by saying there was some pick-up on Soapnet. Now the actors will lose these residuals. I predict OLTL has a year to go, with the news about its end coming by Christmas.

    If anything, they should have at least kept the soap line-up at night because preschool kids are in bed.

    It’s all so sad.

  9. Profile photo of elbugten

    Sigh. Just more proof that ABCD cares more about it’s bottom line than what fans want. Ironically, if they’d LISTEN to the fans, they could INCREASE their bottom line!  As others have said, original SOAP based programming produced well, like SoapTalk, a soap news show at least once a week, a soap reality show a la the defunct Starting Over which was part Real World, part Dr. Drew, updated SoapOgraphy, more episodes of One Day WIth… Combine those shows with a mix of current and former soaps and maybe same-week reruns of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters and Castle thrown in for good measure. Plus, why didn’t SoapNet pick up B&B, which is the most-viewed soap IN THE WORLD, or international soaps like EastEnders?  Head-scratching descisions, all.

    But no. ABCD is jealous of Nick Jr. and wants a piece of the preschool pie. Why stop at 2 year olds? Why not create programming for pregnant mothers? They could use laproscopic cameras to directly feed programming into their belly-buttons. That way, the kid would be born already loving Mickey Mouse and Co.!  I’m being facetious, but really, where do you draw the line?  

    Also, as someone else pointed out, are 2 year olds really up past 8 oclock?   I’m the youngest person in my home and I’m 40!  When SoapNet goes, I certainly won’t be watching Disney Jr, nor will anyone in my house.  I also don’t have a DVR and enjoyed watching my soaps when I got home from work.  I think there’s a lot of people out there who DON’T have DVR’s or access to online shows who relied on Soapnet to watch their soaps at night or on the weekends.

    I’m also concerned for the actors who are on coaps currently but are recurring, like Ron Hale and Ilene Kristen, who depend on residual checks from multiple airings of OLTL, GH and Ryan’s Hope on SoapNet.

    I’m sad to see one more nail go in the coffin of the terminally-ill soap opera. 

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