The Push to Recapture the Soap Opera Audience

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Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) –- “Days of Our Lives” Co-Executive Producer Greg Meng and Actress Deirdre Hall discuss the soaps’ battle for female viewers. They speak with Adam Johnson and Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Greg and deirdre.

I understand this is the 4000 episode.

You came back in 2011 eared it was part of a larger effort to revamp the show.

What made you decide to do that?

They asked.

And fans kept asking when i was coming back.

And i said to my don't know.

Ask him.

And he said, come back, and i said ok.

You are seeing your ratings up at the same time that you are seeing a lot of talk shows trying to get into this space.

And a lot of soaps have been kicked off the air.

What do you attribute your success to?

We don't attribute it to fans of other soaps.

We think these are fans that have come back to our show.

We are telling stories they want to hear.

Is it any more drama?

We are telling stories more quickly.

And we also have deirdre back.

That was a big deal.

We are also telling stories that are more cutting-edge, more today.

Like the storyline we have with characters will and sunny eared will is her grandson on the show.

Using this appeals to a younger demographic?

Likes it is not just a gander demo, but it is about romance -- it is not just a younger demographic, but it is about romance.

Pre-k's how do you tell a story faster and still make it believable?

You wrap up stories more quickly.

Instead of six months, you tell stories in three weeks.


About how intensive a soap opera is.

You are shooting ace -- think about how intensive a soap opera is.

You are shooting a storyline and you've got all these actors, all of these tape editors putting this together.

Compare that with a talkshow.

Queen latifah is now in syndication.

There is one studio, one audience.

A little less manpower that goes into it.

How do you stay competitive?

We have now increased to eight shows a week, not five.

And we have found we have eliminated the flower arrangements, a lot of stuff that we thought was important, especially for old-fashioned soap operas.

We cleaned the cameras and we found out that we are better, cleaner, and quicker.

A stronger storyline?

Yes, and we are telling real stories with a little bit of fantasy.

And you reduced cost?

Absolutely, we had to, to survive.

We cut the costs and still produce a wonderful show.

We don't do a second take.

That is what we were asking.

How is it that you prepare for this.

It is being shot every single day and we talk about live versus non-live.

And you said to me, we don't do extra takes.

It is almost live.

We do as much as we can and we go dark one week a month.

What do you show during that time, reruns?

Know, we keep -- no, we keep showing new episodes.

That is why they are making eight week instead of five a week.

Soap operas got the name because affectively, procter & gamble, you were trying to sell soap.

Do you get the impression from advertisers that they want you to convey a certain story?

Is there a distinct line?

No, and i can be bought.

[laughter] you look at some soaps and one that has been very successful, tele-novella.

They are in prime time.

What is the difference between what they are doing and what you are doing?

They are five days a week.

There is a difference there.

We have up our game to where we are more like a prime time show.

We are not the old-fashioned, campy soap style anymore.

And that is the storyline.

Yes, and the way we have executed.

We are all adapting.

What about putting it wherever people are?

We like that idea.

Why not do it?

We have a wonderful network.

Nbc has been extremely behind us.

We are part of their family.

We are happy there.

Are you on netflix?

Everybody has been talking about how wonderful that would need.

We are in 18 to 22 markets around the world right now.

That is where a lot of our profit comes, the international market.

Can you give us any hints on the exciting storyline to come?

We are so far ahead of you imitating schedule.

Right now, chris and i are battling over who's got the hard drive.

There is an incriminating hard drive floating around.

And a wonderful way that gary tells stories, you never know who has the hard drive.

Does marlena have it?

Does victor have it?

How do you get it back?

Thank you so much for being

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