Fans worry about the future of Y&R, should they be worried? Click here to read more--->>>
Days of our Lives has arguably been the most consistently entertaining soap of The Final Four for well over a year. However, The Young and The Restless has been daytime’s Crowning Jewel for a long time. It’s no secret that daytime’s audience has been on a decline since the 90’s. It wasn’t too long ago that it wasn’t unfathomable that the end had arrived.
But thankfully (even with the cancellation of One Life to Live and All My Children) the genre which looked to be on its way to crashing and burning, steadied itself and has been cruising on auto pilot.
Lately though, one could argue there has been another shift, another crack in the already vulnerable foundation of soaps, in 3 of the 4 but especially The Young and The Restless. I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree, Y&R post Bill Bell has floundered and failed to secure a steady creative footing. This most likely has been a direct result of their game of musical chairs of Execute Producers and Head Writers. And there have always been the whispers of network interference and “too many cooks in the kitchen” which has also attributed to creative challenges over time.
Yet, Y&R has managed to stay above or in some cases ‘just above’ the fray with all the soap cancellations and threats of cancellations. This time Y&R’s ratings decline somehow feels different. Are fans just tired of being sick and tired? Was letting Mishael Morgan go a line drawn in the sand? Is it the current direction of TPTB? Something else? A combination of factors?
Whatever it is fans are tuning out and staying away. Unfortunately, it’s been the trend that when fans leave soaps these days for the most part they don’t come back. Is it too soon to sound the alarm? No. The daytime networks with surveys and adding third hours of news shows and a plethora of talk shows are hardly hiding the fact that a daytime without soaps is more than plausible.
Two or three years ago, one couldn’t imagine daytime without Y&R. Now? Who knows? Who doubts if Y&R leaves the airways whatever soap(s) remaining will soon follow? Does Y&R hold the fate of the soap genre in its hands? With the state of Y&R that isn’t the most pleasant of thoughts yet it could be our sobering reality.
The good news is most of the issues that plague Y&R and daytime as a whole can be fixed. And the solutions aren’t anything new or revolutionary.
1) Hire storytellers. Daytime seems to have abandoned this singular yet simple premise. They are called stories. Tell stories. The pioneers of daytime were storytellers. Storytellers have been replaced by episode tellers, scene tellers or getting enough material for a reel tellers. Stories should have a definitive beginning, middle and an ending with a thrilling climax and payoff.
2) Vets vs pets. We’ve heard this a million times enough said.
3) Every show has to introduce new characters fans want and understand that. Integrate new characters. Don’t shove them down viewers throats. This is an extra tip, even if an actor has been successful on a prior soap he’s still considered a newbie on the current one.
4) Don’t rewrite history. A lot of viewers have been watching for decades and can remember. And for those who can’t or for new viewers there is something called Google. And if you must rewrite, please don’t rewrite recent history. How about no rewrites of at least the last ten years?
5) Multi-generational storytelling. That.Is.All.
6) CHEM TEST. Hot, steamy, chemistry laden couples are still what viewers want to see. Take the time and invest in chem testing. Don’t put couples together because they are the same race, age group, look good together or they are the only two left so….A hot couple can do wonders for a show i.e. #Cin.
7) Listen to fans. No, shows can’t listen to every fan. You absolutely can’t make everyone happy. But if there is a general consensus, listen to fans. Fans have literally kept the genre afloat and on the air. There is no harm (actually it’s pretty smart) in showing fans some love and appreciation.
8) Do all you can to keep fan favorites for as long as you can. Some actors do move on. Fans understand, will support their decision and support them in whatever they do. But when it’s in the show’s power and feasible to do so; keep them.
9) D-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y, D-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y, D-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y. When people watch television, they want to see a reflection of themselves and the society they live in. Primetime tv, cable and streaming have made great strides in this area. Daytime has not. Why aren’t soaps reflective of their audience? It’s baffling.
10) 1-9. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
These are concerning times for Y&R and could be a turning point (and not in a good way) again for soaps in general. Shrinking budgets and executives who aren’t invested in the soap genre, make these times that more perilous for our beloved soaps.
Fans continue to do all they can to keep the genre alive. We are hopeful Y&R will right the ship and stop their ratings freefall. Daytime needs them to.
What changes do you want to see at Y&R? Or in soaps in general?
At some point our soaps may very well come to an end….but we will go down fighting!
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