For the production companies that make soap operas, one of the few bright spots over the last few years has been the international market.
The rights to many of the shows produced and aired here on daytime are sold to international networks and programmers. The Bold and the Beautiful is a huge hit in Italy and Australia, where it was briefly in prime time.
Sony makes a steady profit selling the rights to The Young and the Restless and Days of our Lives overseas.
ATWT runs in a handful of countries, most notably in the Netherlands, where it’s immensely popular. (Elizabeth Hubbard, who plays Lucinda on ATWT, is so popular there she recently made an appearance on that country’s most popular homegrown soap.)
And for Guiding Light, perhaps its strongest international audience is in Italy, where the show is known as Sentieri (Italian for “paths” or “pathway”). I remember that Ron Raines (Alan) mentioned Sentieri‘s popularity when I visited the GL set.
Raines is an accomplished singer and has several students who he teaches opera to. Apparently, one of his Italian students became very popular with friends and family because he was being taught by Alan Spaulding!
Since you know I have a thing for theme songs, I thought I’d show you a few of the show openings for Sentieri.
In 1982 – roughly around the time that stateside GL had its “disco opening” – Sentieri had an old fashioned opening.
Somewhere in the mid-80s, Sentieri started using a theme song we know and recognize – This is The Time by Billy Joel. Here’s the 1988 version (which looks to be running episodes from about 1985 or so in the States).
The opening from 1993 – for Italy, the Curlee/Demorest era Sentieri.
One from 2004, when Sentieri was playing 2002 GL episodes. Notice the Freudian slip when they refer to Joan Collins as “Alexis” instead of “Alex!”