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Let's Discuss: The Soaps + The Emmys

NATAS / Eclectic Pop

Last Sunday, the Daytime community was supposed to be honored at this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards. Even before the event, there was drama leading up to it. Instead of airing on TV, the annual event got streamed online. The first awards show to have the dubious honor.


Unlike other mediums, Daytime only has one night a year to be deservedly feted, and one would hope that given the rarity of such an occasion, the time would be carefully taken to craft a proper send-up to the evening’s honorees. Well, that is not what happened.


The red carpet hostesses had never hosted anything before. The “social media experts,” per The Washington Post, had a social media impact that had nothing to do with Daytime television, and yet they were selected to interview the night’s stars. So here’s my question, why were the writers/creators at soap-centered websites not the go-to hosts for the festivities? 


They are fans, and their organization of the fan base has been instrumental in keeping the heart of Daytime pumping. For years before the Daytime Emmys left television, the event had marginalized soaps to capitalize on talk shows and children’s programming. So, it came as little surprise that the sole kudos-fest for this spectacular industry was left hanging.


Pleasantly surprising was the mainstream media’s coverage of the event and the red carpet blunders that took place. TV Line’s Matt Webb Mitovich was among those leading the charge. Seldom do the soaps get the respect they deserve, and on the only official night that celebrates their well-earned achievements, they did not get it. 


One of the hostesses, Brittany Furlan, admitted that she did not even know who the guests attending the event were, per The Wrap. Would that lack of knowledge be tolerated if it were the Primetime Emmys or a movie awards show?


It is as if the soap genre is expected to get piled upon as if the dedicated people on soaps do not deserve respect those in other genres enjoy. Appropriately referred to, on a common basis, as the hardest-working people in the entertainment industry, the soap industry deserves their due.


Before there was “Game of Thrones,” there was “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives.” They all share in common, devoted fanbases and soap fans are just as much of a force to be reckoned with as any high-profile, primetime drama. 


Though the typical pop culture zeitgeist hardly gives soap fans the recognition they deserve. At their core, many Primetime series that have earned critical recognition and cult followings are soap operas, “Game of Thrones,” and “Breaking Bad,” topping that definition. 


Looking at the ratings, more people watch CBS’ “The Bold & the Beautiful” than AMC’s highly lauded “Mad Men,” for example. The last season of the retro-drama earned an average viewership of 2.49 million per weekly episode (via Wikipedia). While last week, “B&B” garnered 3.5 million viewers a day, per TV By the Numbers


Meanwhile, the top-rated sudser “The Young and the Restless” brought in 4.4 million viewers, per TV By the Numbers), and last week’s episodes of “Days of Our Lives” (sadly, the lowest-rated soap, currently) earned 2.3 million viewers; placing them neck and neck with “Mad Men.” 


So, why is there such a disparity in the ink spent on these prestigious programs compared to soaps? There is a perception that soaps are dying out, yet they bring in more ratings than some cablers that are getting viewed as runaway successes.


In closing, can you imagine how big of a scandal it would be if the cast of any nighttime series were treated the way the casts of Daytime were on the red carpet last week? I think we know the answer. Finally, soap operas have earned respect. Hopefully, they will receive some next year.

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