Nope, that’s not a typo. And no, we’re not in a time warp. I’ve been waiting a whole year to talk about the 2007 Daytime Emmy broadcast on CBS. But I need a basis for comparison. To read live bloggers coverage of ABC’s orgy of corporate synergy, check out snark and serial drama (thanks to Mallory for the “corporate synergy” reference).
But back to 2007 and CBS. You may be surprised that I can remember with such clarity, but the truth (and problem) is that there was so very little to remember. This was the exchange I had with Snark back then:
“what is it with CBS?! they have 2 hours to promote their daytime shows and there's one (or was it two?) daytime promos. what a wasted opportunity! and what was the backstage stuff with lisa rinna? did they rent those segments to ABC and SoapNet? she didn't interview one actor from a CBS soap. and after all that, two CBS shows share best show. go figure.”
And Snark’s reply:
“They ran two, lynn. The dopey teen one and the silly 18 reasons why CBS rules. If this was ABC, they would have been on top of the promos. Even NBC back when they actually carried the Emmys was good with the promos.”
And just what did CBS run instead of soap opera promos during last year’s Emmys? Considering the carpet-bombing, both on the Emmys and the Tonys the week before, you’d think the words Viva Laughlin would have been permanently imprinted on my brain; of course, since the show lasted exactly two episodes, I had to rely on IMDB – once I finally remembered that Hugh Jackman was the star.
So, what is it with CBS? Why would they pass up the opportunity to put their shows front and center for two hours in front of an audience that loves soaps? Why did they think that pimping a show that lasted all of two episodes made more sense than, say, showcasing Guiding Light, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2007?
A big part of it goes back to that corporate synergy thing. And, I’m not being snippy here; ABC has it, big time. The network owns and produces all three of their soaps, then rebroadcasts them on SOAPnet. They used this year’s Emmy broadcast to heavily promote a new show that will run on SOAPnet, MVP (a show about hockey players and their groupies), then ran an episode on ABC immediately following the Emmy broadcast. Now, I would rather have somebody poke me in the eye with a sharp object than actually watch MVP, but you have to give ABC credit for how well they’ve connected all the pieces.
CBS, on the other hand, owns none of their four soaps; instead, the network has to deal with three separate corporate entities: Sony (Young and Restless); Bell-Phillip Television Productions (The Bold and the Beautiful); and, of course, Proctor & Gamble Productions (As the World Turns and Guiding Light). Then there are the stylistic differences between the Bell shows and P&G’s, which create additional challenges. And then, of course, there’s the PGP corporate ethos: a former CBS publicist used to complain to me about just how difficult it was to deal with P&G, which didn’t surprise me, or anyone else in the soap media. Or academia; this is from Sam Ford’s MIT class blog.
What’s really surprising, and more than a little dismaying, is that before she came to CBS in 2003 as Vice-President for Daytime, Barbara Bloom spent six of her eight years at ABC as Director of West Coast Daytime. During that time, ABC would have broadcast the Emmy’s several times. Did those shows have only two promos for ABC’s soaps? I doubt it. So, you have to wonder just how disjointed things really are at CBS that the network would squander last year’s Emmys under the watch of someone who really does know how it ought to be done.
© 2008 Lynn Liccardo
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