Using the cancellation of Guiding Light by CBS as a benchmark, TV Week's Sergio Ibarra has published an article detailing why the industry is dying and offering six steps for soaps to buy themselves more time. Here's what daytime industry veteran Jonathan Reiner had to say about TV Week's third step—Keep Story Quality as Priority No. 1.
It's all about the writing," said Jonathan Reiner, Emmy-winning writer for "Starting Over" and former editor at TV Guide Online and Soap Opera Weekly. "One of the reasons 'Guiding Light's' revamp failed is because the writing was too weak to overcome the amateurish production values. It really is all about the writing--the characters, the emotions, the relationships and the payoffs."
I couldn't agree more with Reiner, however I would have made story my first step, instead of my third if I was TV Week. GL was at the forefront of offering content online and available for download on iTunes. Ellen Wheeler seemed almost obsessed with all of that business. Would that she had been even a modicum concerned about story prior to the series receiving it's cancellation notice from CBS.
All the new revenue streams, gimmicks and gadgets in the world won't help if the product you are trying to deliver in these various new methods is a bad one, and prior to this past February, Guiding Light had become a bad product. It's really a shame that CBS didn't give the soap more time after seeing that it was finally taking the necessary steps to save itself.
Alas, GL's sister soap As The World Turns doesn't appear to have been paying much attention to what happened last April. Instead of storylines on ATWT getting better in the wake of GL's cancellation, they have gotten dreadfully worse. Why TeleNext simply won't FIRE Chris Goutman, Ellen Wheeler and Jean Passanante should be the million dollar question Barbara Bloom asks on one of her precious new game shows next season. Wasn't putting the final nail in Another World's coffin enough? Is it really just a given that these people have to be allowed to kill off the rest of the late Irna Phillips' Procter and Gamble soap operas?