November 30, 2005
End of DAYS: What will happen to soap?

NBC's longtime soap opera Days of Our Lives may have just celebrated its 40th anniversary last week, but there is talk, evidenced by an article in this week's Soap Opera Digest, that the show could end up on the cutting block around this time next year.

According to the article, the soap may soon have to consider other distribution options. The President of NBC Entertainment, Kevin Reilly, addressed the cast and crew at the meeting, claiming that Corday Productions and their partner Sony Pictures Television should consider other options, like Video iPod feeds, mobile phones for distribution, etc.

"We're going to be working very hard trying to figure out how we will keep this great franchise alive," Reilly said, noting the constant flux of the main networks these days in trying to keep content fresh that involved constantly shifting lineups.

NBC indicated that they were in constant conversation with Sony about alternate distribution methods should the show be taken off the network but said it was Sony's decision, since NBC doesn't own the show.

Ken Corday signed with NBC in 2003 for a three year deal with a two-year option, meaning that the end of 2006 may see DAYS attempting these new forms of distributions we have been discussing in the consortium.

Other talk, such as a discussion on the Media Domain message board for DAYS, indicates many believe the "great franchise" could end up on ABC, FOX, or the cable network SOAPNET.

These rumors come at a time when soaps have settled into a much lower ratings than they had 20 years or even a decade ago, as cable competition for daytime programming proliferates. DAYS remains a fairly popular soap in comparison with its competitors and almost always does better than most in the key young female demographics.

However, these threats reflect an overall downsizing of the soap opera industry with lower ratings than in former times and what many perceive as a major drop in quality of the DAYS show in particular.

What do you all think? What are the implications if a major TV franchise like DAYS, with a 40-year history, starts using the iPod or mobile phones as the primary means of distribution?


On December 15, 2005 at 12:06 PM, Sam Ford said:

Soap Central has two stories up about the potential of both Days of Our Lives and Passions losing their airtime, that you can read by clicking. Might be worth checking out if you're at all interested. Would this mean that the network would be doing a major shakeup by getting out of the daytime drama business altogether?

Considering that not that much work seems to be done in promoting these shows and investing in trying to hold up standards of quality, it could be possible. On the other hand, Passions has a hardcore following and DAYS has a 40-year history and still a comparatively strong overall following, so there is still definitely a fanbase out there for both properties.

On August 27, 2006 at 11:22 PM, faithfull Days watcher said:

I love Days of our lives, its basically the only soap that i watch, but they need to get into the habit of not dragging scenes along. example, how long do we have to wait for shawn to find out claire is his baby and that Mimi and kate knew. the sami lies, trickery and deceits are getting boring, kates lies and manipulations are getting stale. i just think that things need to be switched up a little bit.

On September 1, 2006 at 3:31 PM, Sam Ford said:

My bias is clearly stated throughout this blog for As the World Turns in particular, but I think your complaint about Days permeates throughout soap fandom. Days is more popular for the occasional viewer, and particularly ones that only have loose expectations of deep content and continuity.

I'm interested in seeing what place Hogan Sheffer finds as head writer on the show, considering that he was so successful Emmy-wise with ATWT. Many World Turns fans considered him a little too fantasy based for a soap that is best at its most realist, but it seems that his penchant for storytelling while also displaying the strange, often in very over-the-top ways, will fit in well with Days while bringing the show a greater degree of continuity and quality.

We'll see.