The Christian Science Monitor has a new article up enittled "Soap Operas: All Washed Up?", which once again details a brief history of the daytime soap opera genre, its current woes and possible future online. One interesting factoid that popped up concerns the alleged cost to produce an episode of NBC's lone sudser Days of Our Lives:
And while NBC – which has only a single remaining soap opera, "Days of Our Lives" – cut the soap's budget in half two years ago, the team behind the show says it has ridden the reversal back to its creative roots. An episode which previously cost some $300,000 to produce now comes in for half that amount through cost-cutting measures. No more exotic locales, couture clothing, and extravagant set decorations, says Greg Meng, executive in charge of production for "Days of Our Lives." "We've gone back to delivering a good story, well told, with compelling characters without all those extras," he adds.
So, if DAYS is now being produced for roughly $150,000 per eppy, that means its weekly production budget is somewhere around $750,000, which is damn impressive! Yeah, I know I've griped about all of DAYS' ugly purple sets, but if the six remaining soaps can all operate under $1 million per week, and TPTB can begin to aggressively develop new revenue streams (i.e. special DVD collections, more book tie-ins, finding new cable channels to license same day repeats on, branded content webisoap spinoffs) perhaps soaps don't have to go the way of the dinosaur?