As pink slips float around in most businesses these days many believe the world of entertainment are immune. That’s not the case in the land of daytime love, greed and sex. Soaps are feeling the belt tightening just like the rest of us.
The stars are seeing their pay cheques shrink like a wool sweater thrown in the dryer. Susan Lucci, star of All My Children and cast mates Michael E. Knight and Ray MacDonnell are part of the crowd getting a taste of the simple life. All of ABC’s soaps are cutting costs.
ABC Daytime on Tuesday confirmed a new focus on belt-tightening. A statement from the network spoke of “carefully and responsibly managing our costs, which include some production cuts, but in ways the audience will not see on screen.”
Lucci is lucky. Over at NBC those cuts include a pink slip for some stars. Days of Our Lives Deirdre Hall and Drake Hogestyn have been favorites on the show for decades. That didn’t help them, they will exit the soap in early 2009.
Agnes Nixon, the creator of ‘All My Children, has seen her pay cheque reduce year after year. She is now a paid consultant for the show. Since 2006 her pay has been cut in halves each year.
The soap stars can blame their money woes on O.J. Simpson. Ever since the 1995 trial for the murder of Nicole Simpson that preempted almost the entire year of shows audiences haven’t been as plentiful. Without the core audiences advertising revenue is reduced.
A decade ago a dozen soaps ruled the daytime television world. Now there are only eight shows still on.
The world may turn but it seems viewers want more than a general look at hospitals and young and restless people. Maybe being bold and beautiful just isn’t enough. There’s no guiding light leading us to passion in this one life we live.