Saturday, May 5, 2012

Why are soaps disrespecting their vets?

There are only four network soaps left.

I know, this is not news to anyone who loves the genre.

What should be news – bad news – to fans, though, is the fact that show runners are ignoring their wishes with those that remain.

What am I talking about?

Veterans. That’s what.

We want them, and they want to cut them.

Earlier this week, news broke that longtime ‘Days of Our Lives’ actor Peter Reckell has rejected a pay cut and has been “quietly” informing his co-workers that he will be leaving the soap.

Reckell has portrayed Bo Brady since 1983 – despite leaving the soap several times over the years. When it was time to re-sign his last contract, Reckell reportedly took a 45 percent pay cut. Reports say he was asked to take another pay cut, but this time refused.

I’ve been a sporadic watcher of DOOL at best, but Bo and Hope have been the heart of that show for decades. To let Reckell go is a huge slap in the face to fans – especially when there’s so much dead weight they could trim from the younger cast.

That’s the rub, though. The younger cast is cheaper than veterans. Of course, most of the younger cast also believes they’ll use this opportunity as a stepping stone to go on to bigger and better things. I’ve got news for the majority of them – um, unless you consider porn to be bigger and better things, you’re not talented enough to make the breakthrough to the big time.

Sorry to be harsh, but Reckell’s departure is a smack in the face to soap fans everywhere and I am livid about it.

‘The Bold and The Beautiful’ made the same mistake earlier this year when they cut fan favorites Jack Wagner and Leslie-Ann Downs – and show runners there admitted it was so they could focus on the vapid Hope, Liam and Steffy triangle. That sound you just heard was fans everywhere throwing up.

The good news is that the show runners at ‘General Hospital’ seem to be getting the message about veterans. Not only have Tristan Rogers, Kristina Wagner and Emma Samms made guest spots in recent weeks, but Finola Hughes has been signed to a long-term contract.

The interesting thing about GH is that Maurice Benard and Steve Burton are the top earners on the soap – especially since the core of true veterans was decimated years ago – with only Anthony Geary remaining.

If GH wants to truly free up money to bring back veterans and give fans what they want – they are going to have to get rid of one of these guys.

Since I’m sick to death of Jason Morgan, most people would probably guess I’d pick him to be the sacrificial lamb – especially since I’m loving John McBain and Sam so much. You’d actually be wrong. I just want Jason returned to his Quartermaine roots – oh, and the Quartermaines truly revitalized with real members (not faux ones like Skye).

Actually, I think the smartest thing GH could do is bring back Vanessa Marcil long enough to reunite Brenda and Sonny and then send them off into the sunset together. Sonny’s “I love my children more than anything” schtick is getting old – and I haven’t found him compelling with a woman other than Brenda in years.

GH has been renewed for a year – which is good for fans – but no one should rest on their laurels.

Look at DOOL. Fans there thought the reboot a few months back would be the answer to their prayers. Instead they had to say goodbye to a bevy of characters again. Saying goodbye to Reckell, I think at least, will be the final nail in that show’s coffin.

What do you think? What’s the best way for these soaps to balance out their casts and still make a profit?


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