It's only my opinion, but Carolyn Hinsey has had quite a memorable career covering soaps. That part of her professional journey will come to an end with this Friday's issue of Soap Opera Digest, when she officially gives up her wildly popular column, "It's Only My Opinion".
I caught up with Hinsey to get the scoop on her new gig at In Touch. She shares why it lead to her having to give up her column, dishes on some of her fondest suds memories and reveals if she plans to stay connected to the soapyverse she's called home for over two decades.
Daytime Confidential: I hear congratulations are in order! Tell me about your new gig with In Touch magazine?
Carolyn Hinsey: Thanks! I’m general editor, doing the "OMG" section of the magazine which is gossip mixed with humor (If I’m doing it right). I’m back working with Mark McGarry from Soap Opera Weekly and Jennifer Lenhart from Digest. I’m not writing about soaps, but I’m working with some of my favorite people from the soap magazines, so it’s the next best thing.
DC: I know this amazing opportunity is a bit bittersweet for you, as it means you will be ending your legendary Soap Opera Digest column, "It's Only My Opinion". Was that a difficult choice to make?
CH: Yes. I had been freelancing at Digest the last few years which gave me the time to write my book and work on Tainted Dreams and do some traveling. But it was time for a full-time job again. I had hoped I could keep my Digest column while working full-time at In Touch, but the owners of Digest [American Media] said it was a conflict.
DC: Your soap coverage has always been decidedly gossip free; Now you'll be covering A-list celeb dirt and dish at In Touch. Will that take some getting used to?
CH: No, because I don’t know the people I’m covering now. The Daytime community is so close knit, I knew everybody! I mean, I was a bridesmaid in Rena Sofer’s wedding and I couldn’t even write about it because she wanted to keep it private! I don’t think I’ll be donning a pink bridesmaid dress for Katy Perry or Jennifer Aniston anytime soon.
DC: The digital revolution has been hard on most magazines, but celeb-focused zines continue to thrive. Why do you think that is?
CH: Surfing the net is fine, but you only get a small taste of the story. I like holding a magazine in my hand and going through it cover to cover. Most people like to kick back with harmless entertainment on the weekend, like a good magazine – or a good soap opera.
DC: You were the editor of Soap Opera Weekly and had popular soap columns in New York Daily News and Digest. What has been your fondest memory of writing about the genre?
CH: I’ve spent 22 years in Daytime - I have thousands! The Soap Opera Digest Awards in the 90's were pretty great… 21 Daytime Awards Ceremonies with Stephanie Sloane and Michael Logan… going to all the sets and hanging out… New Year’s Eve at Catherine Hickland and Michael Knight’s apartment… cocktails with the Buchanan men… Jamaica with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos (when Hayley and Mateo were falling in love, too)… dishing guys with Michelle Stafford and sports with Thorsten Kaye… laughing with Lynn Leahey and Stephanie Sloane every day at work… getting to know the fans at Super Soap Weekend, charity events, on Facebook and Twitter… I’ve made great friends on all sides of the business who will stay my friends. Some of them might even like me better now that I’m not writing about them.
DC: You went from being a soap opera journalist to a suds producer with Sonia Blangiardo's passion project Tainted Dreams. Will you still be involved with that venture?
CH: Yes. Sonia is still in the process of selling the show, which will hopefully fund Season 2 when it happens. I hope to consult and blog and maybe even play myself again. Working on TD was so much fun… fingers crossed!
DC: In 2011, with daytime soaps under siege, you wrote Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter. Are you pleased to see a bit of stabilization for the four remaining daytime sudsers? Is the book still for sale?
CH: Yes. I think the cancellations of GL, ATWT, AMC and OLTL were gigantic wake-up calls for the networks, and they finally started paying attention. It’s sad that it took us losing those great shows for that to happen, but better late than never, right Jamey? And yes, autographed copies are for sale on the Tainted Dreams website. A portion of the proceeds go to Sonia's charity for her late brother.
DC: Now that you won't be paid to watch, will you still follow daytime dramas?
CH: Of course! I watched soaps before I got my job at Digest in 1992 and I always will. I’ll still tweet and Facebook about them too. I love talking to soap fans. They’re smart and snarky like I try to be.
DC: Which daytime soap is currently in the best shape, in your opinion? Which needs the most work?
CH: I’d say GH and B&B are in the best shape – funny, well-plotted and entertaining. Y&R needs a jolt; too many recasts. Hopefully Chuck Pratt can shake things up over there. DAYS needs the most work because they haven’t filled the hole left by Ali Sweeney, James Scott and Eileen Davidson. They need a big umbrella story starring A players like Marlena, John, Kate, Hope, Lucas… Oh my God, there I go writing an Opinion column!