RUMOR REPORT: Will ABC Daytime CUT 20 Scripted Episodes Per Year, Per Soap?!





The daytime community is reeling this weekend after news began to circulate that ABC Daytime is seriously toying with the idea of cutting their order of scripted, new episodes by 20 shows per year, per soap.

"In a cost-cutting measure, ABC wants to replace as many as 20 episodes a year  with 'classic episodes' of the three ABC soap operas," says a source. "These new, classic episodes would highlight current couples the network wants to promote."

In addition to the six holiday episodes a year where classic episodes are already aired, this would bring the total of annual re-airings of ABC Daytime soaps to 26. If it happens, this move would alter the guarantees ABC has to pay its actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. Keep checking back with Daytime Confidential.com as this potentially game-changing story develops...

 
 

Comments

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
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Cutting shows to half an hour wouldn't make sense, because they would have half the commercials and therefore would have half the revenue coming in...which means they'd have to cut the budget dramatically, if not in half. Isn't that right?

I wonder if the writers will be encouraged to write 20 "stand-alone" episodes per yer (with minimal continuing story elements), so they can be used as the rerun episodes. For instance, recently AMC did an episode that was almost exclusively about Angie Hubbard coming to the realization that she is starting to lose her vision. That's the sort of standalone episode that would rerun well.

Ryan-Scott's picture
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4 May 2009
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Would be nice if the money saved went into some writer development programs at ABC.

The 6 remaining shows need new writing blood. Like 10 years ago.

alstonboy4315's picture
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12 February 2010
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I TOTALLY agree that ALL the soaps need fresh, innovative new writers/writing, but TPIC seem too complacent and distracted to really care about these soaps, like neglectful parents who are too busy playing on their Blackberrys while their children are playing in traffic about to get hit!!!! The current crop of writers are gonna completely alienate the few million loyal soap fans that are left within the next few years, driving most of them away permanently-----and then it'll be doomsday for the genre, and daytime will then be comprised of a bunch of cheesy game shows, and I will be forced to relive the good old days on YouTube!!! Not looking forward to it, but unless something changes NOW, that's exactly what'll happen!!!

Member since:
21 May 2008
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I would love this if they were going to air classic episodes of when ABC Daytime was great - the 80s. I would love to see old GH episodes of Luke & Laura, Robert & Holly, Frisco & Felicia, Duke & Anna, Robert & Anna, etc. But you know Frons will only allow classic episodes from the Sonny Era. No thanks. I see enough of that on CurrentGH.

Member since:
4 February 2009
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Can one of the DC staff pull the metrics for the repeats of the last year and compare them to new episode ratings?

It would be interesting to see how they hold up.

Great idea ABC. At this point, anything that keeps the shows on longer than not is good for me as a fan.

Member since:
28 August 2008
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2 years 25 weeks

I won't mind seeing Classic episodes- if they really ARE classic episodes. Reshow the great stories of the past- and you'll have me hooked.

reshow an episode that aired in the last 10 years- i turn you OFF.

Member since:
8 May 2008
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I think this is a good idea, can't believe I saying this, LOL. But the writers are getting restless coming up with s/l ideas and this way they can get a break and not repeat the same thing over and over again. Then the shows can be in budget and dont' not have to be canceled. I hope not!!! But the ABC shows needs new leadership like getting rid of Frons and new writers for GH and new stories instead of the try and true.

Member since:
8 May 2008
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GHvetfan wrote:
So, we will have to watch Sonny shoot Dante again and again and again..........................

LOL, that will be a classic episode, watch and see, LOL. Sick

angrierblackerman's picture
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8 September 2009
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I know how they can cut 354 episodes and save a ton of money...ABCD can cancel One Life to Live. That show is so done. It's time to send One Life to the great Beyond.

Soap_Stud's picture
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28 November 2008
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A letter I just sent to Brian Frons:

Dear Mr. Frons,

As a fan of soap operas, I have to say that ABC Daytime needs to show soap opera fans how much it believes in the genre by making an eleventh hour deal with Procter & Gamble to bring “As The World Turns” over to the ABC network as a thirty minute soap opera to be paired with “One Life To Live”, which would also be shortened to thirty minutes.
As a fan of both OLTL and ATWT, I believe this change would not only work for the network, but would attract more fans and further help ABC’s daytime lineup secure itself as the “go to” network for soap operas. Soap operas have been a staple in the world of television since the 1950’s and despite cancellations, budget cuts, and a death sentence from numerous reporters and magazines, millions of fans still find the time on a daily basis to tune into their stories.
Obviously, some tough choices would need to be made as far as what Oakdale characters would appear on the soap. In my opinion, based on the characters I enjoy watching the most on the soap and the characters and stories that seem to get the most coverage from various media outlets, including soap opera fan message boards. I think it would be best for the show to focus on Holden (Jon Hensley), Lily (Martha Byrne, only), Luke (Van Hansis), Faith (cast new), Carly (Maura West), Jack (Michael Park), Parker (Mick Hazen), Emily (Kelley Menighan Hensley), Paul (Roger Howarth), Barbara (Colleen Zenk Pinter), Henry (Trent Coleman), Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens), Emma (Kathleen Widdoes), Lucinda (Elizabeth Hubbard), Molly (Lesli Kay) and Dusty (Grayson McCouch). Other characters could easily appear on a recurring basis. I’d change the behind the scenes executive producer to either Ed Scott or Wendy Riche and I’d beg Claire Labine to write the soap.
The thirty minute version of OLTL would also mean a reduction in characters. Based on the same reasons mentioned earlier, I would focus the show on Viki (Erika Slezak), Charlie (Brian Kerwin), Jessica (Bree Williamson), Brody (Mark Lawson), Dorian (Robin Strasser), Kelly (Gina Tognoni), Todd (Trevor St. John), Blair (Kassie DePaiva), Starr (Kristen Alderson), Bo (Robert Woods), Nora (Hilary B. Smith), Matthew (Eddie Alderson), Marty (Susan Haskell), Cole (Brandon Buddy), Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) and Gigi (Farah Fath). Other characters could easily appear on a recurring status with the show. I would keep the current producing and writing team in place.
If this letter actually reaches you and you have the time to read it, digest it, and ABC daytime does choose to save ATWT, I thank you for doing this for the millions of soap opera fans everywhere.

Soap_Stud

Member since:
6 February 2009
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What a ridiculous idea. I have never watched a soap opera rerun and I never will. It really irk's me now when they put on a rerun as they did July 5th. IF they must rerun something drag out a real old show like Luke raping Laura or something big with Brenda. These rerun's of a show they aired 2 week's earlier is beyond cheap and ridiculous.

TV Gord's picture
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18 February 2009
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Soap_Stud, what you are suggesting means two huge production crews, two writing staffs, two casts (even if they are reduced), but only that one hour's worth of commercials paying the bills!!! I know this is a variation on what I wrote earlier, but where are the savings in having to employ two sets of workers where right now there is only one set? From a business point of view, it just makes no sense.

inspiron's picture
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I love this measure, as long all the old TnT and TnB episodes they show are with Roger Howarth. Better than anything they are showing now!

Member since:
7 April 2008
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1 year 25 weeks

totally fine with it. it's on like 300 days a year anyway. what's 20? if it keeps the shows on the air, i'm good. it's a huge commitment to donate 15 hours per week to watch the shows. i usually just end up letting one fall behind for a while and cycle through. maybe this would help people actually be able to keep up, thus keeping more viewers?

Member since:
3 March 2009
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I actually think its a great idea ABC has come up with. Prime-time show actors gets their summers off to do movies and make extra cash. Soap actors could probably do some extra work during their down time while earning extra cash. I say Kudos to ABC.
Some viewers are probably thinking they will go through soap withdrawal when their favourite soap isn't on TV. But hey some of these soaps stories run at snails-pace and therefore if you dont watch for an entire month, you can pick up where you left off in two seconds.

Member since:
28 June 2009
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I think this is a really bad sign. The ratings for soap operas started their steep decline during the OJ Simpson trial when soaps were not shown and soap viewers started changing their viewing habits to watch other shows or to just not watch the soaps at all. The fewer fresh episodes there are, I think the easier it will be for viewers to gradually tune to other channels or tune out altogether. I hope this isn't true but I really think this is the beginning of the end. Oh, and unfortunately I think OLTL is living on borrowed time based on its recent ratings. Very sad.

TV Gord's picture
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18 February 2009
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On the other hand, how many of us have a backlog of episodes on our DVR. This could give us a breather to get caught up! Wink

EricasEvilTwin's picture
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Devils in the details I guess. If they took a few epis of say Brenda Sonny and condensed them to only BreSon and then did the same with Brenda/Jax that is something I would so watch. If the mixed some old school Robin/Stone and Robin/Jason with some narration to explain what happened in between with some current Scrubs stuff that would be so interesting. If Genie decided to come back and then showed snippets of the rape, being on the run, the wedding and then her losing her mind and then him getting with Tracy, again I would love to revisit some of that. I have always thought one of the biggest hurdles to soap viewing is not knowing the history. This COULD be a way to make current stories more user friendly to current audiences if its done right. The problem is I think instead we are going to get a ton of recent epis just reaired.

Joan76's picture
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9 September 2009
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GL tried product placement It was kind of shameless though. P&G makes Pringels, and they would often be sitting on a counter they even said their phase no one can just eat one. But if it makes some extra money. Way back in the day when TV first started they would intergrade the commercial into the program.

alstonboy4315's picture
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DAYS did the most SHAMELESSLY ridiculous form of product placement I've seen in a LONG time last week during those park scenes with EJ and Sami, complete with a weird close up of the Chex Mix bag, MIDSCENE!!! I was like, what the (bleep!)???? I even had to hear EJ ask Sami what "Chex Mix" is, and have her tell him that it's like having an explosion of different flavors in your mouth at the same time. Groan!! Sick Sick

Whatever gets the soaps more money and more positive attention, I guess.......

Member since:
19 January 2008
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If it keeps OLTL on the air, I'm all for it. Of all the ABC soaps, OLTL is the only one I enjoy, whereas the others continue to provide only minimal entertainment. Good for ABC for developing an alternative solution to cancelation. If this proves to be true, I might start to actually believe the claims that ABC is committed to its line-up. We've seen three soaps go off the air in as many years. Here's to hoping innovative measures taken by ABC will keep 2011 from being another chapter in the heartbreaking story that is the end of the daytime drama.

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25 February 2009
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Alstonboy, I nearly hurl every time I see one of those stupid product placements. They make it so obvious, so it's REALLY annoying. You may have missed them showing some kind of almond mix at the Brady Pub last month. It's really getting old. Here's an idea for them: Cut some actors and that might actually save money! Duh!!
They could get rid of Chloe and put Roman and Lexie and Abe on recurring after this sleeping pill storyline. I mean, don't get me wrong, we need actual people of color on this show, but they never have a storyline. They could also put Caroline on recurring. I love a lot of these people, especially the older characters who actually made this show popular, but still, they need to make cuts to pay. It makes sense. Heck, even John Aniston isn't on contract, and he has a storyline most of the time.
Anyways, I think all the soaps could make cast cuts. It's survival of the fittest these days for soaps, and the producers need to start making smart choices (heh, look at who I'm talking about!)

Member since:
15 November 2007
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3 years 39 weeks

its a good thing or a AWFUL!!!!!!!! thing. im sure my stance has been made clear. 20 new episodes, damn, oh i know this has been said a lot "Classic Episodes" are not from 6, 7, or even 8 months ago.

thecourt99's picture
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30 April 2009
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3 hours 37 min

While I understand the need for this, I will wait for readers to realize that the statement didn't just say "classic episodes". The statement said "new, classic episodes to highlight the current couples that that network wants to promote". For OLTL that means episodes of Rex and Gigi. For AMC it means episodes of Ryan and Greenlee. For GH, it may mean Sonny and whomever.

My point? I don't expect to see real classic stuff...we'll see. It's only a few episodes, but I hope the impact on contracts is minimal.

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8 May 2008
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Yeah, I so sick of Frons and tptb pimping their favorites down our throats. Sick

craigcp's picture
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6 May 2009
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I don't like the product placement ideal either, it was the way GL did it. They had a convenience store where they all went too fans called it the P&G convenience store, they also promoted the cars they drove in. But there has been product placement in movies and TV since the early '80s ET The Extra-Terrestrial had Reeses Peaces was the first product placement. and the famous fight scene in Superman II. For any one here that is old enough to remember them. And Seinfeld insisted on using real products started on TV. I guess it just depends on the way its done.

Superman II no CGI crap just good old fashion movie making.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiGZXhs9V9s

Ryan-Scott's picture
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4 May 2009
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I say these should be real classic episodes...do we remember "A Daytime To Remember" kids - the little bridge of classic episodes that aired between "The City" going off the air and "Port Charles" coming on.
That was the shit!

Oh to see Greg and Jenny again....and not on Youtube...

TV Gord's picture
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18 February 2009
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I agree, Ryan-Scott. I have most of those on tape still! Unfortunately, those days are gone, because Frons will only put stuff on the air that promotes the agenda he's got currently underway on the three soaps. I'm sure the last thing he wants is for viewers to be reminded that things ain't what they used to be!

henry007's picture
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24 January 2010
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2 years 49 weeks

I think it would be a good ideal, perhaps a recap, for people who are looking for other soaps to watch after ATWT end. Some can't start watching another soap not knowing their history or there background. I hope the actors can go on other soaps, but I'm not sure I can just start watching another soap. My mom has watched ATWT since the beginning, these people are in are lives every day it's like loosing a family member, network pinheads don't realize that.

Belinda's picture
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30 September 2007
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38 weeks 6 days

Wow. I don't know. If they let the fans pick the classic episodes might work, or if they replayed GH from day one in consecutive order. I'd never miss a weeks episode of that!