Deep Soap: Why Is ABC Daytime Airing Reruns?

by | October 27, 2010 at 2:11 PM | TV News

Welcome to Budget Wednesday

Today, ABC is going where daytime has never gone before: reruns.

This is the first of its scheduled non-holiday repeats, though the Brendapalooza in August was clearly a dry run for the concept.  Budget cuts have forced the network to scale back the number of original episodes.

Rumor has each show may lose twenty original episodes a year.  ABC is billing the day’s episodes as a salute to classic couples.  However, the network could more accurately describe the day as a salute to current couples that the network desperately wants fans to love.  The episodes feature ‘All My Children’s‘ Ryan and Greenlee (Cameron Mathison and Rebecca Budig), ‘One Life To Live’s‘ Todd and Tea (Trevor St. John and Florencia Lozano) and ‘General Hospital’s‘ Jason and Sam (Steve Burton and Kelly Monaco).

I understand why ABC thinks that it should attempt to use its reruns to promote current storylines.  I disagree.  No matter what, the reruns are going to get terrible ratings.  CBS should send ABC a giftbasket, because a lot of ABC viewers might check out ‘The Talk‘ out of sheer boredom. The only people who want to watch previously aired soap episodes are the sort of hardcore fans who read blogs about soaps.  It’s easy to forget that only represents about ten percent of the viewers.  So why not cater to them, and by them I mean me?

It’s possible to air true classics that are still relevant to the current show.  OLTL has featured flashbacks of Echo’s (Kim Zimmer) original storyline from 27 years ago.  This is the perfect opportunity to show an entire episode from that storyline.  I, like many current viewers, was not watching at the time and would love to get a glimpse of Llanview in the shoulder pads era.  If AMC is determined to make Greenlee and Ryan happen, how about an episode from the original Ryan/Greenlee/Leo triangle that would be a reminder that Ryan and Greenlee have always had an unhealthy relationship?  I’d like to see Leo stop Greenlee from hacking up Ryan’s office with an axe again.  The show was fun then.

This is GH’s chance to sell me on Sonny and Brenda’s great love again, since the current storyline is not doing the job.  How about Sonny and Brenda’s first significant encounter, when they got into a conversation while Brenda was buying a car?  I would welcome an hour of Claire Labine’s superb writing.  I don’t think there is any sort of conspiracy not to remind fans how much better the shows used to be.  I think it’s just that the executives think there is more interest in more recent shows.  I suggest ABC put up a poll on its website and let the small percentage of fans who might actually tune in vote for which classic episodes they would like to see.  I bet they would be surprised.

Watch ABC Daytime Sneak Peek:

Going Out With A Bang

‘One Life to Live’ has once again managed to build months of lousy storyline to a couple of epic payoff episodes.  Monday and Tuesday’s shows had so many shocking twists that I felt like I watching ‘Vampire Diaries.’

I thought Cole (Brandon Buddy) might die a noble, albeit stupid, death when he ran into the collapsed warehouse under the mistaken belief that Starr (Kristen Alderson) and Hope were inside and touched a light that was emitting sparks.  Instead, the electricity killed Cole’s few functioning brain cells and he decided to steal a gun from an evidence box and murder a handcuffed Eli (Matt Walton).  If this were GH everyone would give him a pass because he thought Starr and Cole were dead, but everyone who is aware of what happened agreed that shooting an unarmed person was wrong.

I found Cole’s behavior in character, given that he nearly beat Todd to death under similar circumstances.  Instead Marty (Susan Haskell) told Cole to flee the scene, then told Natalie (Melissa Archer) she did it.  She was pretty convincing when she pointed out that Eli caused her miscarriage, though Natalie was skeptical.  I assume Cole’s fingerprints are going to be on the weapon, so the truth should come out soon. I love that Marty has figured out that Brody could be the father of Natalie’s baby and now has to figure out what to do with that information.  That’s classic soap storytelling.

Everyone figured out that Destiny (Shenell Edmonds) was Greg’s (Terrell Tilford) child a long time ago, and that Eli used that information to blackmail him. The unexpected twists were that Greg slept with Sean’s girlfriend while Sean (Sean Ringgold) was in prison, and that Greg killed her. (It would have been nice if OLTL had picked up this story Tuesday.)  The guy has been a terrible, selfish person all along.  That would explain why he was willing to help a serial killer rather than just have a difficult conversation.  If it turns out that Greg killed the girlfriend in a metaphorical sense, by not realizing she was suicidal or not stopping her from using drugs, I’ll be disappointed.  I’ll also be disappointed if the girlfriend is actually dead.  She’s Destiny’s mother and Sean’s ex.  She needs to come back to Llanview and cause some trouble.

There was also an acknowledgment that Blair (Kassie DePaiva)  and Tea are the true supercouple on the show, as they worked together to free themselves from the rubble.   Their love-hate relationship is far more interesting than Tea and Todd’s.  I like that OLTL will allow women to save themselves.  Meanwhile, Todd was relegated to saving John (Michael Easton), who thoughtfully offered to make out with him.  I realize it was a device to keep Todd and Tea from seeing each other until the end of the episode, but it was entertaining.  I am upset that, thanks to ABC’s pre-emption,I am going to have to wait another day to find out what happens next, which is the mark of a great episode.  If OLTL could make all the months between its epic payoff episodes entertaining, than the show would be in great shape.