A lively debate

For soap fans, there are many outlets and resources to turn to for our soap news and analysis.

Roger Newcomb’s We Love Soaps website is my personal favorite – a great mix of news and history. Sara Bibel’s “Deep Soap” blog is also a must-read. I mentioned Mala Bhattacharjee earlier this week as another favorite. There’s also Carolyn Hinsey, whose opinions are featured in Soap Opera Digest, and Michael Logan, who has been reporting on soaps for several decades and who writes for TVGuide.com.

One of the most notable soap reporters is Nelson Branco, who writes for TVGuide Canada. Nelson’s column, which appears on Mondays and Fridays on the TVGuide.ca site, is no holds barred. He’s brash and outrageous, and whether it engages you or enrages you, it gets people talking about soaps – and about what he’s said.

Nelson has some critical things to say about the trip that the “bloggers” took to the Guiding Light set in December. His point: that inviting the bloggers (and by “bloggers” he means me) wasted valuable PR resources on yes-men bobbleheads that didn’t ask any challenging questions. And why the hell would they invite me and my sad, undertrafficked blog, anyway?

Hey, it’s a legitimate question to ask.

Though I’m probably not an objective party, my take is this: I think it was an interesting, fresh approach for the PR team to take, and I would have thought so even if I hadn’t been included. In an increasingly diverse media market, taking a “viral” approach is inventive. God knows the mainsteam soap press wasn’t covering the show much, and neither magazine is featuring either Telenext/P&G show on their cover. (Yeah, yeah – I know they do on the subscriber editions, but newsstand covers are steadier publicity streams, regardless of actual sales.)

Do I think it was effective? Well, I think all of us bloggers had a “trickle-up” impact, where our conversations about our trip got viewers (and the media) talking, raised awareness and primed the pump, so to speak, for the big (and welcome) changes in writing and story that followed.

Nelson cites a new interview by Danielle McClure in Soap Opera Digest as one where Grant faced “tough” questions for a change. It’s a great interview – I wholeheartedly recommend reading it – but I don’t see any questions in there that we didn’t ask, or that were really tough or off-limits (e.g., the allegations that Aleksander had clashed with producers and/or other actors prior to his departure).

He also posted a list of questions that he would have asked. Several of them are deliberatly outrageous or flip (“do you ever tan?”), undoubtedly intended to shake the interviewee – and get an unrehearsed answer.

Nelson did mention an absence of questions about about Beth Ehlers or Ricky Paull Goldin. I concur – I didn’t ask about the departures of either. It had been months since their departures, and it had been covered quite significantly in the magazines (particularly Ehlers’ interview with Hinsey). I write about things that interest me, and frankly, I didn’t give a shit about months-old backstage intrigue.

No offense to people who are all about the gossip (it’s fun and addictive – I’m addicted to Dlisted, myself) but I was on a mission. Look, just about everyone but the CBS janitor admitted the writing was a total fail while they changed production models. What I wanted to know was: What’s happening now, and is there a coherent direction that everyone’s following moving forward? I felt like our conversations with Jill Lorie Hurst and Ellen Wheeler gave me an answer, and said so.

I wanted to write from the viewer’s point of view. I’m sure readers expecting industy intrigue were disappointed, but it’s not what I thought was compelling. James Reilly once said daytime was very samey-samey, and that an ideal daytime for him would have shows that were different, almost like cuisines – a little Italian, a little Thai, and so forth. So it is with people who write about soaps; different approaches keep us all on our toes.

Yes, I love the P&G….err, Telenext, shows. Yes, I am writing primarily about them (they’re the shows I watch, after all, and someone has to counterbalance the bajillion inches of soap press for GH and DAYS).

But to be crystal clear: I write what I damn well want to, and no one signs off on my content or offers approval. What goes into this blog is between me and my Mac.

P.S. – If you want the official P&G blog, you gotta go here. I only wish someone was paying me to be a staff writer these days, folks.

3 thoughts on “A lively debate

  1. Nelson is a talented writer and is very entertaining but let’s face it, he’s made a career out of being snide and “feuding” with people – including TPTB over at GL and CBS. Why he (still) seems to have a problem with this GL/blogger event is beyond me, especially since it seemed to be a positive experience overall.

    Patrick, I love your blog and appreciate your intelligent and insightful coverage of our shows and the industry. Keep up the great work!

    A number of people expressed extreme dissatisfaction or disapproval with the list of invitees on that trip – Nelson was not the first to do so.

  2. I think Nelson is just a little peeved he wasn’t invited. When I read his “post” today it Pi@#ed me off. I’m sick of his negativity. He has a problem with the quality in daytime (so do I). However, he can’t or won’t recognize that this week in particular has been a good week in Springfield. Was it the greatest week ever (not compared to May 1991)? Was it better than most of the other shows? Yes! I include OLTL in there.

    I hope GL just continues to get better and Mr Branco has to eat all his nasty words. I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of GL but I really don’t want it cancelled. Okay I’m done! Love your posts!

    Louisa, thanks for your comment!

    Listen, everyone’s welcome to their own opinions, and no one is required to agree with me.

    I just think that, metaphorically speaking, he often cracks open a peanut shell with a sledgehammer when he’s making a point.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful column Patrick. As someone who wasn’t invited to that gathering, I was quite impressed that Telenext made innovative efforts to invite journalists with different voices and different media outlets. If certain people are jealous of that then that’s really their choice.

    Damon, thanks for your kind words – you shouldn’t have – LOL!
    (NOTE: Damon’s the author of a great book called “Should-less”…..)

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