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October 9, 2015

Could the networks drop the soaps?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 6th 2008 1:37PM
Susan Lucci with husband Helmut Huber and Susan LucciYou would think that with higher unemployment and more people spending more time at home during business hours that networks would be throwing money at their daytime TV divisions. (insert ominous organ music that implies trouble is ahead here)

You would be wrong. Networks are starting to scale back on their daytime soaps including some stars' salaries, according to USA Today.

ABC has been doing the most axe-chopping to their daytime lineup. Long running favorites like General Hospital and One Life to Live have been ordered to make some serious cutbacks and All My Children stars Susan Lucci, Michael E. Knight and Ray MacDonnell are seeing paychecks with George Costanza-like shrinkage.

Those of you who are worried that the network may be interrupting your "stories," fret not. The network claims the cuts will not affect the viewing experience for the audience, as long as you don't count Lucci's frumpled forehead lines that are bound to make a special appearance on the show when she can't cover her Botox payments.

But it's not unlikely that the network could start popping some of the bigger bubbles in their soap dish. Even though it's daytime, some of their biggest stars draw huge salaries. Lucci, according to IMDB, draws $10,000 per episode, a sum that really adds up for a show that airs five days a week plus or minus a few reruns. So if Lucci hocks her only Daytime Emmy at a pawn shop, start burying some money in the backyard because the financial apocalypse is a-coming.

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frances bryden

please bring back Gennie francis back to general hospital
the show has lost its glamor without her .she is great...everyone misses her.luke has lost his charm by the writers having him stay with tracy .you all need to bring back Gennie Francis...Steve Burton is great but thr writers limit his love life to sam..not a good choice...changes need to be made to gh soon;;;
Frances Bryden

March 05 2009 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Each network would be wise to cull the herd. With women now in the work force, the total daytime viewing audience has shrunk considerably and this isn't going to change any time soon. Soaps might be able to survive if there weren't so many of them splitting the total soap-viewing audience. Also, I only watch one soap (GH) and I watch it on DVR. As with so many shows, daytime and primetime, this method of viewership is growing. Unfortunately, ratings are still determined by the outdated Nielsen Ratings.

December 08 2008 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't understand why it's all or nothing with the networks. Instead of chopping stars integral to their show, why don't they start with lowering salaries? If someone gave me the option of making nothing a year or 5,000 less, I think I'd pick option a.

December 07 2008 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Anita's comment

Oops, I meant option b ;)

December 07 2008 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agreed. What's the "all or nothing" mentality in this country these days?

As for the soaps, besides lowering pay to the actors, why not simply scale back the number of episodes produced, at least until (if) the economy picks up again?

December 07 2008 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reruns? I guess soaps run as reruns on a cable channel or in burundi but in the USA, it's a new show every weekday unless it's a holiday or pre-empted.

December 07 2008 at 2:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think top salary is warranted if those top-paid stars are keeping or bringing in more audience. While I don't watch AMC, I do watch GH and when the show is devoting much of the screentime to certain characters (Sonny, Jason,Carly), yet the ratings fall week after week, it says to me that it's time to get a little innovative and move the focus away from those characters (and adjust those stars' salaries).

December 06 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


December 06 2008 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

That is just insane. $10,000 per episode for daytime. And the networks wonder why they are having trouble meeting their profit forecasts. Paying those kinds of salaries to their stars sounds like a prime reason.

December 06 2008 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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