One of my favourite daytime soaps was always General Hospital. So I was thrilled to hear the stars and production crew of the show were honoured with five Daytime Emmy Awards in the Drama Series category – making them the big winners of the festivities.
But wait a minute. Who else was competing? Over the last decade we’ve lost All My Children, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns, Ryan’s Hope, and most recently, One Life to Live, plus a smattering of shorter-lived gems such as Santa Barbara, Port Charles, and Passions. So really, the competition wasn’t all that tight.
The daytime TV landscape has changed. It used to be that the mornings were for game shows and the afternoons were awash in sex, lies, and mystery. Now, we’re just overwhelmed with talk. Thank you, Oprah.
Not only did The Big O introduce us to Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Suzy Orman to name a few, she left a hole in the schedule that has yet to be appropriately filled for viewers or paying advertisers. And “O” how they’ve tried.
So it’s no surprise that this fall, a new crop is entering the talk show circuit. Ricki Lake is returning to the couch after an eight-year hiatus and a Dancing with the Stars diet. And Mr. Dimples, Survivor’s Jeff Probst, is going to see if he can do more than extinguish tiki torches and parrot pre-written scripts with his own show.
Getting the jump on the newbies is Bethenny Frankel whose “it’s all about me and my opinion” show is getting its first run this summer. She’s amusing and at times, quite frank (no pun intended), but heaven help the girl who takes her “advice” to heart. We could be in for a nation of Desperate Real Housewives in 10 years.
Katie Couric has left hard news and is once again aiming for softer subjects in daytime TV. She’s never quite lived up to her own hype since leaving The Today Show in 2006. My theory? She’s like a condiment. She made Bryant Gumbel more palatable and Matt Lauer more fun, but she simply doesn’t have enough substance to stand on her own. But only time will tell.
Of course, if you’re not a Talkie at heart, there’s still enough daytime sex without stooping to “those channels.” General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, and The Young and the Restless will soldier on this fall – not to mention, Coronation Street. And The Price Is Right contestants will continue to be heckled by my co-workers.
But even if the world ended tomorrow and the last of the daytime dramas disappeared into soap opera history, we’d still have plenty of afternoon sex, lies and mystery. After all, Dr. Phil still comes on at 4 p.m.
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