The economics of daytime

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GL Two Scoops: The economics of daytime
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The week of December 15, 2008
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Like Jonathan, Shayne has returned to Springfield as a very angry man. It's too soon to tell where the story is going, but hopefully Shayne will have a softer side; his anger is hard to bear. If he's paired with Dinah, perhaps they'll be able to heal each other.

As a lifelong fan of daytime, I've seen some big changes in the genre - some good, some bad. And with the bad economic news we see every night on the news, television isn't exempt from the realities of the world. Since I work in the financial industry, I see more than my fair share of news stories about companies that are hurting - and need to make tough choices in order to survive. And they are never easy to read.

In daytime, there have been countless times when outside forces, mostly economic, have had a drastic effect on the show - in fact all shows. Daytime is an expensive medium to produce, with a larger cast and crew than many shows. And veteran performers, like veteran employees anywhere, earn more. It's just a fact of life. GL has taken some steps that have been well-documented, to save some cushion in their bottom line. But the reality is that the ratings are not improving - which means that shows could be in trouble come renewal time.

The show has been filming mostly in Peapack, NJ for some time, which was supposed to bring a new, fresh look to the show and save on studio costs. I have to admit that from this fan's standpoint, it has failed miserably. The camera angles, the poor sound quality, and the lack of warmth a set really produces are all missing. Yes, I would love to see a great outdoor wedding (as they did with Bill and Ava - who were married for half a second). But to watch Gina Tognoni gawking at her ex getting married in a downpour of sleet was very hard to watch - way too distracting. Why did they waste money on Marina's wedding dress to have her end up getting married in jeans? Yes, these little things are a distraction to me while I'm watching - so I thought I'd share them with you.

The 2008 departures of Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin left a gaping hole in Springfield - which doesn't seem to have been filled. It also left a gaping hole in GL's bottom line. But I don't see any improvement with the dollars that they left behind that would offset the hackneyed stories we've seen since they left. The stories that GL has focused on have moved too slow and taken up way too much air time. We've seen characters on screen in a haphazard manner. How can a fan appreciate a character they see so infrequently?

Thanks to the archives on the website, (which are more than a little cumbersome to navigate) I know that Lizzie was kidnapped on October 9, 2008. So this story has been dragging on for over 2 months - with Lizzie missing until Bill finds her 20 days later. Bill was in a coma about the same amount of time - yet his trial is soon - late 2008 or early 2009. Yes, this story has twists and turns, but takes up so much air time and seems to go at a snails pace.

The other story or pairing that drags on and on are Daisy and Grady's romance. Since he came back to Springfield full time he and Daisy have been on-again off-again, while no one in her family can make her see that he's nothing but trouble. Yes, the show has to have a villain to work well, but it's hard to have any sympathy/empathy for a guy that has little remorse for killing Tammy Winslow not to mention framing Bill for the kidnapping he mastermind. Surely this whole plot will wind up sending the Aussie to a U.S. jail for a long, long time. But will Daisy stay in town? Sources are saying that the show is getting rid of many of its younger players, including Bonnie Dennison (Daisy) and Kane Manera). The writing certainly supports this idea.

With those exits, plus a few more that are rumored, it makes room (both cast and budget wise) for the returns of two Springfield veterans - Grant Aleksander (Phillip) and David Andrew MacDonald (Edmund) in 2009. Hopefully these veterans will spark some great stories that move and involve more of the cast to improve ratings and keep fans happy in 2009.

While I never like to see an actor (or anyone else) lose their job, I want to see GL work smarter with what they have. I know money is tight and ratings are down. But you have a great cast who seem to be working in some pretty basic conditions and a shrinking loyal fan base. You need to play to your strengths and make the most of the cast, the money you have, to maximize the return on your investment - both to your advertisers AND your fans.

As far as the show itself, I have to admit that the wedding was a disaster. Marina has long dreamed of her wedding day and GL buys her a dress, does her hair in a nice style, only to have her spend what should have been her wedding night in tears. Then to get married in jeans the next day? Yes, her family was there - which is key. But why go to all of that trouble - and eat up so much air time - for this?

Shayne's return to Springfield is a mystery. For those who don't remember, I have to say that this Shayne is MUCH angrier than the one who left all those years ago. I've taken to calling him Jonathan 2.0 since JB came to Springfield much the same way, without the wheelchair. Where this story is going is a mystery but I hope that Shayne has a softer side because all of this anger is a little much to bear. I guess he'll be paired with Dinah - who I still like with Mallet much better, but I'll have to get over it. Maybe the two characters so full of hurt can help heal each other.

Speaking of healing, it was nice to see Remy talking about Max this week. I really like him with Christina and hope that, if the show is keeping them, they stay together. Of course, this week will be an interesting test in their very fragile relationship when a familiar face returns to Springfield....

The other relationship that could have some interesting twists is Beth and Coop. Of course, Alan is not really a man you want to cross. But Alan AND Phillip both vying for Beth over a cutie pie Coop? Like Reva and Josh, I am sure that Beth and Phillip fans are rooting for a reunion. I guess only time will tell...

Hopefully with all of the changes coming down the road 2009 will be a strong year for all of us - both inside and outside of Springfield, U.S.A.

Until next week...

Keep the Light Shining and Have a Great Week!

. . .

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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