Anyone who’s read this blog before knows that I have a lot of love for the Procter & Gamble soaps. I’ve covered them since I was writing for the Marlena Delacroix blog, and have talked about them a great deal in this blog.
Cincinnati-based P&G has been producing these shows since the Irna Phillips era. I have a lot of affection and respect for the people who worked on these shows, both in front of the camera and behind it.
But with the end of P&G soaps six months away – and no clear or viable option to revive them in sight – I have to ask for answers to questions I have and puzzles I still don’t understand. Maybe those questions are much higher up the food chain, so to speak.
Can I squeeze the Charmin? Can we solve these mysteries of Cincinnati?
(1) Why was it never an option that Guiding Light or As The World Turns could go to a half-hour? Wouldn’t that have been a wiser option for both shows in 2007 or 2008?
(2) Why has P&G not capitalized efficiently on its library of old episodes and the interest in its programming? The PGP Classic Soaps blog and Another World Today are valuable, and a great start, but I’m surprised P&G hasn’t started its own Web channel.
(3) If P&G/Telenext wants out of the soap opera business, why weren’t the shows and rights to P&G material sold back in the 1990s when there was interest? What possible reason was there not to sell? Is there some hidden goldmine we as analysts are missing? Or is it true that P&G upper management has always looked at soaps as filling time between one batch of ads and the next?
(4) How much control did you have to cede to CBS to keep the shows on the air? Who owns the decisions and stories told over the last five years on these shows?
(5) Why were these shows – particularly ATWT – taped so far in advance? Did you want to avoid a repeat of Another World (a 35-year show that had to be tied up in 10 episodes) if they were cancelled? That may have been wise, but when ATWT is taping almost 3 months in advance, how do you address issues, failed chemistry, etc.?
(6) Not understanding why P&G was such a misanthrope in the soap world. You didn’t sell, you don’t share your history and you didn’t come to terms to run on SoapNet. Why? We know Soap City was going to be P&G’s answer to SoapNet, but it (sadly) never took off. Why didn’t you make a deal to run these shows and let another audience see them and get involved?
(7) How could you have so totally fumbled the interest in Noah and Luke, which would have (with minimal cost, investment and effort) put a huge rating spike to work for ATWT? I know it’s beating a dead horse, but it seemed so promising and it was such a pointless fumble. It was the biggest P&G fumble since Rely. What happened?
(8) Why did Guiding Light go so long with stories that were clearly not working? Why did it take so long (until February 2009) for improvements to show up on air? Why did it take so long for Grant Aleksander’s return to hit the air?
(9) When GL was cancelled, why did ATWT make almost EXACTLY the same decisions and same mistakes, almost to a T – in particular, waiting until the show was on the endangered species list to make much-needed changes to story and/or cast?
(10) What really happened when Telenext attempted to shop GL around? Where is the company on the search for a new home for ATWT?