Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rant on.... What's Become of Soapnet!?

In my opinion, Soapnet, the 24 hour all soap channel has officially jumped the shark. In fact, I'd say this happened several years ago when Soap Talk, the gabfest starring Lisa Rinna and Ty Treadway was cancelled. This was a show for soap fans, starring soap stars. That along with Soapography and One Day With..., which have also disappeared, were what I believed a soap channel should focus on.

But after those shows left the air (granted you can see Soapography and One Day With... reruns in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning if you're so inclined. But no new shows have been made) Soapnet went further and further away from it's soapy roots as they took on Lifetime movies, bumping some of the soap marathons that soap fans had come to rely on. Then it got worse and worse, as Soapnet then delved into reality shows. Sure, I Want to be a Soap Star makes sense. And I'll even give them their own soap, Being Erica. But when things like Southern Belles: Louisville started to crop up, my ire at the network grew. Yet another show about spoiled rich women??? Does the world need this? Doesn't Bravo have enough of those inane shows to sate people's need to know how the other half lives?

My disgust reached a fever pitch when Soapnet would not pick up the broadcast of this years Daytime Emmy's while the show floundered looking for a network to show it. How is it possible that the only soap channel on cable would not pick up the broadcast! Seriously, I'm flummoxed by this!

Today, a new press release came out announcing two new shows for Soapnet. One is Holidate. It was originally supposed to only be a one-hour special, but now has been expanded to a 10 episode series. Each episode will highlight two women who switch lives and date men in each other's towns. The women will communicate with each other as they hunt for true love. I'm going to be sick.

Next up is Bank of Mom and Dad. This show, based on a BBC series, shows what happens when mom and dad move in with their twentyish and thirtyish daughters who are not making ends meet on their own. Financial expert Farnoosh Torabi chimes in with help. I'm talking serious disgust here now.

Thank you Mr. Brian Frons. Thank you for changing a once great channel into yet another cesspool of reality nonsense. Thank you for removing shows that interest soap fans and replacing them with inane crap. Thank you for contributing to the downfall of soaps. This soap fan would much prefer to see classic episodes of my favorite soaps over this drivel. Where did Ryan's Hope go (oh wait I know, it's shown at 5 am now)? Why aren't you showing Another World, Edge of Night, Dark Shadows, Somerset and other soaps that are gone but not forgotten? Why are poorly made Lifetime movies on in place of classic soaps? Why all these new far from reality television shows? Am I really off the mark here? Do people... do soap fans who are supposedly the bread and butter of Soapnet, really want to see pseudo reality shows about snotty rich people and their catty arguments with other snotty rich people or their spoiled kids. Maybe I'm out of the loop. Maybe this is what soap fans want these days. All I know, this soap fan does not.


Go Ramblings said...

I totally agree with you. The only time I bother to watch Soapnet is probably to see reruns of Beverly Hill 90210. I miss Soap Talk, Soapgraphy, and Who Wants to Be a Soap Star.

erika said...

What a load of crap! Why is Frons so insistant on getting rid of the soaps and their viewers?

By showing old story arcs of the Summer of Jessie and Jenny on the run, Cliff and Nina falling in love, Erica and the bear along with various romances (I'd love to see her and Dimitri in Budapest again)... Not to mention other soaps and their famous arcs.

It would pull in old viewers along with new ones who are curious about the stories they hear about. WTF do they just let it all go to Youtube and then complain about copyright infringemant when they can do something about it.

This kind of stuff really pisses me off and then they have the gall to say that the viewers are no there but when you see those clips, they've been viewed a million times and then some.

As a long time viewer, I would LOVE to revisit those old memories, see sets of old, faces long gone and members of the cast still with us. I'd love to introduce my children to what I grew up with, why I used to play sick from school to watch Erica Kane be Erica Kane and why in notes with a friend, we used to make word finds for each other full of our favorite character's names and places.

We never did that with a Lifetime movie or shitty reality series.

Frons and company should be ashamed of themselves for destroying daytime tv, not showing the Daytime Emmys on THE NETWORK it BELONGS on. Shame on them for doing this, treating their actors the way they do and for chasing us away to the internet to watch clips that people painstakingly make for us to watch on Youtube. Maybe they should gather ratings from there and take note of what we watch so they can program the network accordingly.

What a shame.

PeppermintPatti29 said...

I only got Soapnet about a year ago, right AFTER they showed Greg and Jenny clips. Since I've had Soapnet, there haven't been ANY marathons from popular couples, like Greg and Jenny. In fact, the AMC weekend marathons are gone in favor of other crap about which I couldn't care less!

When I'd go to Super Soap Weekend at Walt Disney World (another event that is now RIP'ing, thank you, Mr. Frons), I used to watch Soapnet non-stop in my Disney resort, since I didn't have it at home. Now that I have it at home, it's not worth watching! I loved seeing Soap Talk, and I had friends (who had Soapnet) who taped the SSW talk shows for me, since they were fun for me to see, since I'd seen many of them in person.

It is such a shame that Mr. Frons thinks he knows what soap fans want. Let's cancel SSW and take the soap fans to the people. Soap Opera Mania barely lasted a month before it was canceled.

No wonder soaps are a dying genre. It's a shame that we have morons like this running the ship. I have a horrible feeling that this ship will sink rather quickly...sadly.

Jo said...

I agree. Excellent article. Let me also add that was upset when they started showing Gilmore Girls. Many other stations do that. Its not soap specific.Its the MTV sydrome. Mtv no longer plays videos and Soapnet will no longer show soaps at some point.Also may I add that the website has also deteriorated. Their "Weekly Recaps" used to be entertaining, but at some point they became horribly slanted and a source to promote characters and storylines that were unpopular. I used to have soapnet on 24/7, but now i haven't had it on in about 3 months.

krista said...

I only watch Soapnet when amc gets cut into at it's regular time.

I agree with everything you said. What a waste of a channel.

Culliton said...

I have to defend Frons and the other execs here.

SoapNet is a business. It's not something they do out of the goodness of their hearts for soap fans. And the fact is that all these shallow shows that have been added lately (and I hate them too) perform better in the important demos than the classic and current soaps.

The 18-49 demo rating for "Another World" on SoapNet was 0.0. ZERO! There's no way keeping that show on SoapNet could be justified.

The real sad thing here is that these new shallow/trashy programs do better than the classic and current soaps. SoapNet has actually bettered its performance under Frons' direction. That says something about the general public and their tastes.

Ginger said...

I wish I understood what these folks are thinking because they are obviously thinking something.

erika said...

If you don't air what the soap fans want to watch, they will stop tuning in and it is as simple as that. Then it does leave it to the younger demos who watch crap continuously.

It's too bad that these people don't want to see or understand how we feel and what we want. Their heads are so far up their own asses, I just don't see how they can even breathe comfortably with that air up there knowing that they have destroyed a whole genre.

Sorry if that offends anyone but honestly, that is what has happened to the genre I grew up with. The fans are forgotten and not cared about, history gets skewed and changed and all that has been gained gets lost.

Once shows like AW go away and are replaced with trash that was on the CB or TBS last week, it just makes Soap Net a run of the mill re-run of teeny-bopper and reality crap that none of us soap watching vets want to watch.

If soaps and their counterparts (Soapography, One Day with..., and Soap Talk) were shown consistantly now that most people in the US have Soap Net in their cable package, the ratings of older soaps would go up. ABC and othe networks cancel primetime shows before giving them a chance... Maybe if chances, real chances were given more shows would be winners instead of losers and longevity would reign again.

I think Soap Net is coping out.

Kathy said...

Thanks for responding Mr. Culliton. Yes, I'm well aware that soaps and soapnet are businesses. But fans are what keep them in business. The constant disregard to long time fans in favor of inane programming is what got my ire up today.

I certainly don't expect shows to put out storylines just because I want them. Nor do I expect networks to show what I'd like to see, "out of the goodness of their hearts." How could they? They've proven over and over through the years that they have no goodness left in their hearts!

Long time fans are all but ignored. It's always about pulling in new viewers. It's always about grabbing that younger demo. But once you get those younger viewers, and they can't follow a storyline, what happens then? They leave because their attention spans are about 5 minutes long. So by having the hot hunk on the show they can lure the precious 18+ demo. But once they get them they don't know what to do them.

To hell with the built in audience. What do we know. What do we long time viewers who put soaps on the map know about anything. I'm 43 years old and I have been watching soaps for over 30 years. What genre can boast that kind of loyalty when TPTB really don't seem to care about them at all?

BeckeyP said...

I can't speak to the ratings AW gets, or does not. I do know that I used to watch SoapNet ALL THE TIME when SoapTalk, Who Wants to Be..., etc were on. Now, I MIGHT tune in if I missed AMC and think something big might have occured.

Ang said...

I also used to watch SoapNet all the time. Loved Soap Talk, Loved the classic episodes, Loved "Who wants to be a Soap Star." It used to be a network I had to have on my cable tier. Not so much anymore. I don't even need it and couldn't even tell you the last time I tuned in. Heck, I couldn't even tell you the channel number at this point. If I miss AMC due to a pre-emption in my time zone there is always Youtube. I find clips from all the classic episodes there too.

Cindy said...

Count me as another who agrees with you! I only tune in SoapNet to catch an episode of AMC that I may have missed for some reason, or to watch "I Want to be a Soap Star." The rest is drivel.

If they DID show Dark Shadows, I'd be there. Same for vintage story arcs from AMC. Who wouldn't tune in for Billy Clyde Tuggle???!

As for these "Real Housewives" type shows. PFFFFT! It's just one rung up from Jerry Springer, if you ask me.

And the world simply does not need another dating show of any ilk!

Kesseret Steeplechase said...

All I got to say is "bank of mom and dad"? If your ass ain't making ends meet and need your parents to move in in your late 20s early 30s then maybe your parents don't know crap about finances and passed that on to you.

Fronz has destroyed what was once something many of us looked forward to. I loved watching the older soaps on Soapnet. In fact I caught AMC on soapnet for many years while my sat network wouldnt carry any network channels.

Well, TV in general is going to turn to mush. I can barely tune in to anything going on the Tube because it's all reality shows. Sorry but I can't handle all reality shows all the time. I actually have a brain and like to watch something else.

Tiffany said...

I could not agree with you more! I upgraded my cable service just so I could get SN and now I don;t even watch it. It used to be so good. What a bummer!!

NuttyAboutSoaps said...

I see both sides. On one hand, loyal soap fans (including me) want to see the "old" SoapNet, which featured lots of content about their favorite shows. On the other hand, as viewer tastes have drifted away from daytime dramas, the network has realized that it's far more profitable to show other (cheaper) types of programming.

The target demographic is a HUGE deal because it determines the type of advertisers the network can attract. The irony is that it's not simply about the amount of disposable income that viewers have - it's also about how set they are in their buying habits. Fifty-year-old women have far more discretionary cash than eighteen-year-old kids, but they are already loyal to specific brands of household cleaners and personal care products. The eighteen-year-old, on the other hand, is far more likely to be influenced by an ad for a new product and give it a try. In most situations, women between 18 - 49 make the spending decisions for the entire family. THAT'S why everything is aimed at the younger demographic.

So, chalk me up as an old, die-hard soap fan, who understands why the chips are falling the way they are. I don't necessarily like it, but I DO understand.

Ironically, I have also watched the genre disintegrate before my eyes over the past decade, for numerous reasons, from working moms to competition from 300+ cable stations. When I got hooked on soaps 40 years ago, we had three television stations. Three! I also had a stay-at-home mom who watched the soap with me. Now, kids have working parents, dozens of after-school activities, the internet, and hundreds of other shows to choose from.

Soaps needed to be at the top of their game to compete - and they haven't been for awhile now. That loyal, built-in audience that they could count on back when Luke married Laura has too many choices to stick with a bad show. And that's why soaps are dropping like dominos, one show at a time. SoapNet is trying to prepare for that day, while still serving the small, diehard audience it has.

ChrisM said...

I agree about Soapnet. The only time i even watch is if something interrupts AMC during the day. And why couldn't they ever do new Soap Talk or Soapography shows. I like hearing about their lives.

Cathie said...

I read all 16 comments so far and I agree with a whole lot of what I saw. So, will just throw in my own two cents.

I'm far from the demographics the advertisers so desire (I'll soon be 56) but today's 55 isn't the same as 55 twenty years ago. I listen to and purchase CD's from artists who recorded from the mid-50's to a lot of the "alternative" artists of today (leave out the 1980's, for the most part, however). I have "disposable income" and I spend it on things I like. I hate that I am not considered to be a viable person to the advertisers.

I live in one of the 10 largest U.S. cities and we can't seem to keep an oldies radio station going. Advertisers think that those of us who love the oldies don't have income to spend. Funny, but we "empty nesters" are those who finally DO have a little extra. My daughter, who is 26, loves the oldies. She doesn't watch soaps, however. She also doesn't care for the "teen dramas" or the Lifetime type shows (which she calls "victim of the week).

So, to take this rant even farther off field, look at GSN. It just happens to be on the same package that we pay extra for as SoapNet. THEY have figured it out! They show those old game shows people of my age grew up watching and loving (it was games in the morning, midday news, then soaps the entire afternoon), along with a little new content. They tend to have ads they think we old folk need. I don't think that I have ever bought anything I've seen advertised on GSN, but I'm sure others do. They seem to be going strong.

So, back to SoapNet. I believe it's time to change the name since they aren't a network devoted to soaps anymore. Kathy, you are right on here. Keep up the pressure! And, please forgive my ramblings here. (and DON'T get me started on the crap they show on ABC Family, much of which is FAR from what I consider family shows!!)

Mykhal Jaems said...

The soap net has been in trouble for a while.

I can't tell you how upset I was when I couldn't catch up on AMC on Sunday afternoon. Now it's on at Midnight, what a joke. They may as well not even run the shows.

I do watch Southern Belles, but it's not something that has it's not something that I couldn't live w/o.

The shows that are on Saturday morning, are shows that just don't interest me. And the annoying commercials for them continue to irritate me.

I do end up watching AMC & ONLT everynight b/c I'm working midnights and gettting up for the daytime showing of ABC isn't ever going to happen. I am glad they haven't taken them off prime time, yet. I'm expecting it anytime now.

lovebugz said...

I used to work with Soapnet a couple of years ago---that is when they were fun, creative and vivacious. Back when they'd do the fun marathons --like Classic Erica Kane episodes. They completely turned into Lifetime junior with the movies, and they try to get crafty with their original programming. It stinks. They don't really care what the viewers want, they are just trying to get subs--which we know brings advertisers. But even with subs, what differentiates this network? not sure The network was better off with reruns like Knots Landing than the crap they have on now. Network is really not good for much besides a missed AMC show every now and again.