What little is left of daytime soaps is broken.
We only have four soaps left – and all of them are
struggling creatively and in the ratings.
The biggest problem I see on soaps these days is the
eradication of beloved vets in favor of vapid newbies (read: cheaper “talent”).
Three of the four current soaps recently ousted high paid
veterans for financial reasons.
NBC’s ‘Days of Our Lives’ said goodbye to longtime bad boy
Bo (Peter Reckell) when contract negotiations broke down and Reckell refused to
take another pay cut. Reckell had his pay slashed at least twice in recent
contract negotiations and refused to do it again.
On CBS’ ‘The Young and the Restless’ things are a little
more murky when it comes down to contract negotiations for Eric Braeden (Victor
Newman). Braeden has made waves several times over the past five years when it
came time for contract renewals – even leaving the soap for months at a time
while the two sides hammered out an agreement.
It should be noted that Braeden is still on Y&R – but both
sides are being relatively quiet on how contract negotiations are currently
going. Y&R has had public contract spats with other vets over the years –
including Jess Walton and Melody Thomas Scott.
Finally, the big news to hit last week that was original
cast member Ronn Moss would be leaving CBS ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ in the
Moss may not be one of daytime’s finest talents, but he is a
stalwart of that show so the announcement that he would be leaving over money
Moss’ departure didn’t really surprise me – although, for
the record, Reckell’s did.
‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ is the worst of the four soaps
left on the air – mostly because the trio of Liam, Steffy and Hope has become
the story that ate the world.
Moss hasn’t exactly been the recipient of great storytelling
over the years. The past decade alone has consisted of him flip-flopping
between Brooke and Taylor every year – and little else.
Still, this past year, it seems that all Moss’ Ridge has had
to do was wring his hands over the antics of daughter Steffy and
‘Days of Our Lives’ continues to bring back veterans in an
effort to entice viewers – but then they saddle them with poor stories and send
them out of town months later. The fans of that soap have learned that they can’t
get comfortable with any character – with the possible exception of Sami.
‘The Young and the Restless’ also tries to bring back
veterans for guest arcs occasionally – but the creative force on that show has
went stagnant and I can barely watch anymore.
Which brings us to ‘General Hospital.’
‘General Hospital’ has one of the most expensive casts in
daytime – especially given how much leading men Maurice Benard (Sonny), Steve
Burton (Jason) and Anthony Geary (Luke) are rumored to make (more than $1
million a year each).
Yet GH is bringing back veterans for guest spots right now –
including Sebastian Roche (Jerry), Ingo Rademacher (Jax) and Robin Mattson
(Heather). No one knows that status of Kimberly McCullough (Robin) – because show
runners have been tightlipped about where her storyline is going.
Rumors on two different boards – Soap Central and ABC
respectively – say that Burton has apparently made his desire to leave the
canvas public. Apparently he lives in Nashville and has his finger in a lot of
Now, I’m not sure I honestly believe Burton would flee –
especially given the probability that GH only has one year left – but still I’m
starting to wonder how GH can afford to keep bringing veterans in for guest
spots while paying top dollar for their three male stars.
When you add to that the fact that Michael Easton and Roger
Howarth are probably not making “newbie” money and things start getting even
Of course, that could be why the soap looks to be ramping up
for another “killer virus” storyline with Jerry Jax. I wonder how many cast
members they’ll kill off in this one?
What the show runners at daytime soaps need to realize is
that fans want quality storytelling with beloved veterans.
They don’t want gimmicks.
They don’t want talentless newbies in bathing suits.
And they certainly don’t want their favorites relegated to
the back burner or tossed completely.
I understand that Reckell and Moss opted not to take the
lower contracts being offered them – and I’m still not sure Moss’ actions weren’t
a bluff that backfired – but these are performers that earned the right to at
least be able to feed their family.
I know the days of soap stars getting paid well are long
behind us – but insulting these stars with subpar offers isn’t the way to keep
If we aren’t careful, we’re going lose the four soaps we
Now, I’ve seen people on the TV Guide website and Soap
Central message board laughing at the Moss loss. Of course, most of these
people aren’t fans of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.”
The truth is, the days of pitting soaps against each other
is over. It’s not every soap for themselves. Fans should be uniting and
fighting – because this time next year I predict we’re going to be at least one
more soap down.
And, when they’re all gone, will fans be happy then?
What do you think? Are soaps making a mistake losing their