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Soap Showrunners Reveal Why They Didn't Tell Pandemic Storylines

General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless

Looking back on 2020, did COVID-19 offer any storyline opportunities for daytime dramas? Variety asked soap showrunners why they chose not to bring the pandemic to our TV screens, and here's what they had to say.

General Hospital executive producer Frank Valentini shared:

We wanted viewers to be able to jump into a world that was unencumbered from the fear we all felt during the pandemic. Also, there were so many new production costs with testing and protocols. The most expedient and cost-effective way to go back to work was to go with the scripts we already had.

The first scripted show to return to production, The Bold and the Beautiful also innovated in front of the camera, using mannequins and stand-ins for some scenes. Showrunner Brad Bell didn't want to bring COVID-19-related storylines to Forrester Creations, though, because the issue was very complex. He explained:

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We want to learn every aspect of a social issue so that we can present it to the audience in an informative way. With COVID-19, there were so many unanswered questions.

Days of Our Lives EP Ken Corday stated that the show had several months' worth of episodes in the bank when filming shut down. If COVID had been written into the show, those episodes wouldn't have aired until October, which might be incongruous with the timeline of real-world events. Plus, the audience didn't necessarily want to see COVID in Salem. Corday said:

Viewers didn’t want another blow to the head over something we were already being bludgeoned with.

The Young and the Restless' head writer and co-EP Josh Griffith remains positive about the direction filming is heading in, saying that Y&R is moving towards being able to have bigger gatherings or more actors on screen.