alt="Photo""> The Year In Review

The 10 Biggest SOC News Stories Of 2001: Part 5

by Dan J Kroll
Posted Monday, December 24, 2001 9:02:57 PM
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The Year In Review | The Ten Biggest News Stories of 2001

Port Charles Takes Chances With Vampires

Television viewers have more choices now than ever before. Some cable outlets carry hundreds of channels and the number of programming choices a viewer can tune into at a given time continues to grow. Capturing the attention of television viewers is increasingly difficult.

Port Charles' decision to introduce shorter, faster moving storylines may very well have been the biggest story of 2000. In 2001, the show also made a surprise move - introducing vampires into its storylines.

When "Tainted Love" debuted in June, PC's writers tickled viewers with ideas that Michael Morley and his evil "brother" Caleb might be symbolic of God and the devil. It would later be revealed that Caleb was actually a vampire. Moreover, Michael and Caleb were also the same person.

NBC's Passions had already used supernatural storylines quite readily, Days of our Lives featured a demonic possession in the 90s and General Hospital brought back a character from the dead by thawing him out. Something about Port Charles' vampires, however, seemed more believable and certainly less campy than any of the other programs' attempts.

Read The StoryPC introduces vampires in "Tainted Love." [Jun 4, 2001]
Read The StoryVampires continue in "Tempted." [Sep 3rd, 2001]
Read The StoryPC will not continue vampire saga in '02 [Dec 3rd, 2001]

Terrorist Attacks Prompt Changes in Soap Opera Content

The terrorist attacks against America were the top news story of 2001.

The attacks sent shockwaves throughout America and indeed the world. From Ground Zero in Manhattan to small, rural communities in Iowa. And certainly no one expected that the attacks would cause major changes to daytime television.

For four straight days, the major networks aired wall-to-wall coverage of the aftermath of the attacks. It was the first time since the OJ Simpson trial that soaps had been preempted for a substantial period of time.

General Hospital had planned a dramatic climax to its Spencers versus the Cassadines saga. The plot, however, planned to use themes of bio-terrorism. Following the attacks, the storyline had to be quickly rewritten. The resulting changes forced the show to dump one of its recently signed stars, Robert Kelker-Kelly (Stavros Cassadine).

At Port Charles, the show had planned a storyline that focused on one of its main character's past as a terrorist.

As The World Turns ran special advisories before several episodes warning viewers that some of the show's content might upset viewers.

Soap Opera Central's Chatterboard became a forum for soap fans from around the world to share their pain and find comfort. It was no longer important to know when the identity of Hope's baby would be revealed or whether or not Todd and Blair would ever get married.

To many discussing the changes to a soap opera in the aftermath of the attacks might seem trivial. There is certainly no attempt to detract from the horrible tragedy and the number of lives that were lost. But for many viewers around the world, Soap Operas serve as a forum to escape the drudgery of every day life. Soap operas, while poked fun of by late night talk show hosts, are a chance for so many people to escape and find 30 or 60 minutes of entertainment. The attacks came as a wake-up call to many behind-the-scenes executives, forcing them to evaluate the course of their programs. In the weeks following the attack, soaps started to return to traditional storytelling... stories of love and romance and families.

Read The StorySeptember 11th: We Will Never Forget [Sep 11, 2001]
Read The StoryPC rewrites terrorism storyline. [Oct 8, 2001]
Read The StoryY&R star's flight makes emergency landing. [Oct 1st, 2001]
Read The StoryB&B cancels European photo shoot. [Oct 8, 2001]
Read The StoryGH scraps biotoxin plot, axes Kelker-Kelly. [Oct 8, 2001]
Read The StorySpecial report: Terrorist attacks cause changes to soaps. [Oct 8, 2001]

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