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« General Hospital Week in Review | Main | Our Column in the 12/11 Issue of SOD »

December 02, 2007

Why I Am Not A Network Executive

In my rare moments of self-awareness, I sometimes come to terms with the fact that I'm just not cut out to hold certain jobs. I could never, for example, be an aerobics instructor, because I am not capable of perpetual cheerfulness (also, I trip a lot). I could never work at a hedge fund, because the term "hedge fund" in and of itself makes me want to take a nap. I could never work at 30 Rock because I'd just follow Tina Fey around all, "But ohmigod, you're, like, the coolest ever! How did you get to be so cool! You're awesome! Call me! Let's have coffee and be best friends forever!" and get escorted out by security.

And I could never, ever be a network executive because I have no mental deficiencies.

I don't know about you, but when I hear the name "SOAPNet", I don't often think "made for tv movies starring C. Thomas Howell", but that's exactly what is playing on SOAPNet tonight. Double you tee eff?

Apparently, the SOAP OPERA NETWORK has acquired the rights to several motion pictures and made for tv movies that will be broadcast on Sunday nights. Included in Frons's big coup:

  • Deception (You guys, they PAID for rights to an ANDIE MCDOWELL movie)
  • Full Frontal
  • Kiss of Fire (...)
  • Tangled (Rachael Leigh Cook AND Estella Warren. It's Stars That Weren't on parade)
  • A Pyromaniac's Love Story (Ugh, Billy Baldwin. We really hate him on Dirty Sexy Money; he may even be the worst thing about it. Yes, even worse than Samaire Armstrong, though I don't think quite as bad as Sheryl Lee's evil character who took Gustave Brian Jr. away to Brazil and made me cry for an embarrassingly long time because of it!)
  • The aforementioned Dangerous Indiscretion
  • Deadly Sins
  • Double Cross
  • Betrayed by Love
  • Blindfold: Acts of Obsession (this, at least, has somewhat of a soap connection, what with Shannen Doherty and Kristian Alfonso. On the other hand, it has Judd Nelson's scary facial hair and is, you know, not a soap)
  • Keys

In case you were wondering what the hell was up with this terrible decision, Mr. Frons explains it thusly:

“SOAPnet is making strides to expand its ‘soapy’ programming and movies are the next logical step.  We recognize that movies can be just as soapy as daytime drama...our viewers love the drama, fantasy and anticipation ripe in traditional soaps and we are stretching their equity to incorporate reality, primetime, daytime and now movies, into our lineup."

Yes, Frons, the next logical step is airing movies from 15 years ago starring Alyssa Milano and Kelly Preston, not, you know, using this money to get the rights to Santa Barbara or put Another World back on or, you know, air Ryan's Hope during an hour when people are actually, I don't know, AWAKE.

I don't think that word means what he thinks it means...

Seriously, and I know we ask this question quite often, but...how does Brian Frons still have a job? Is it because he's a master of inventing words to make his lame ideas sound impressive? Is it because he dares to dream big enough to hope for a world where we all watch soaps on our cell phones? Is it because Disney-ABC has not yet been able to negotiate a deal with the Bronx Zoo to hire Babboon #3 to come run ABC Daytime?

Comments

Deborah,

While your conspiracy theory has some interesting points, I just don't see it. People don't move from daytime to the news departments at networks that often. And the way to get ahead at the net is to do your job really well, even against long odds, not preside over the demise of your genre.

Frons would have a much brighter future if he was somehow able to turn around his daytime lineup and make it more profitable. I just think he is really bad at what he does.

Frons is a nitwit but he's stupid like a fox. I'll explain. Why doesn't SN show classic episodes of their own shows? Why showcase the best and highlight the long rapid slide into crap that has occured during Frons's tenure? It has to be getting harder for him to explain why he's keeping Guza on the job with all the bad press and downward spiraling ratings piling up (Seriously...he just got called out in SOW for copying himself with the B/W Ball and you know he had to pitch taht to network execs and they all thought no one would notice it was the same damn story?), but if they were airing say mid 90s, Labine era GH episodes on SN and they were beating the ratings of the showing of today's GH? I'll even go with some early era Guza stuff before he believed his own hype and got total creative control of the show. Well I don't think Savion Glover can tap dance that fast to justify that logic.

The real answer lies in Frons's continuing lack of understanding about what audience he is serving exactly. That and I think the Lifetime Movie Network probably gets better ratings than SN. I know I get sucked into one movie on that channel...I end up watching them all. (I see one showing of 15 and Pregnant or Gracie's Choice? Shut it down...I'm done for)

Well, of course, as conspiracy theories go - I believe that the ONLY logical explanation as to why Fronsi, Guza and The Soap Assassins are STILL toiling in the business at all if because they ARE doing EXACTLY what the big brass want them to do - which is to kill the soap genre entirely. I believe that the biggest wigs at the top of the Network Netwit pile WANT to kill soaps but are afraid that if they just come right out and cancel them - they will end up with hoards of angry viewers, perched on their doorsteps, brandishing signs and chanting demands for their heads because the Network Nitwits killed a still-viable genre. ERGO!! The need to kill the genre slowly by hiring the most bizarre bunch of hacks ever assembled on the face of the earth - letting the hacks do whatever pleases them - and then billing the downward spiral of ratings as 'The Greatest Success Story of the Century.' At least, that was the M.O. used by The Soap Assassins when they were slowly dumbing Port Charles to death! If it worked once - why wouldn't it work TWICE as well the SECOND time around? ERGO!! Employ The Soap Assassins to bury AMC right next to Port Charles! We already have poor Kendall talking to herself as she types out a 'Book' entitled 'Charm.' AMC had a 2.2 rating when The Soap Assassins took over and AMC is now down to 1.8 in the ratings -- That is a loss of more than 451,000 viewers in just a few short months! JUST as Fronsi did when The Soap Assassins were doing their best to bury Port Charles for good, Fronsi is out there, once again, babbling to the trusting soap press that this loss of viewers is ACTUALLY the greatest success story of the century! The ONLY explanation is that the loss of that many viewers really IS Fronsi's ultimate goal. Fronsi really IS doing what his bosses really and truly DO want - which is to kill the soap opera genre so that the big bosses can fill the time with cheaper(?) newscasts and/or really BORING reality shows.

I am guessing that Fronsi has been offered some kind of secret bonus for succeeding at killing the ENTIRE soap genre. Hence, the addition to Soap Net of shows from other networks - such as DAYS - which is already tied with AMC for dead last in the ratings - and is reportedly headed for oblivion when 2009 arrives. TIIC want to be sure that ALL of the soaps die an ignoble death at about the same time so the rush to cheaper (?) all news and all reality shows can happen like - overnight!

I am guessing that what the Biggest Nitwits at the Network have promised Fronsi is something like a lifetime of watching Kelly Monaco and OTHER Playboy cuties cavorting in an endless stream of SnM flicks written and directed by Guza, Fronsi and The Soap Assassins. Of course, the supposed 'purpose' for watching all of these SnM flicks would be to decide WHICH SnM flicks should be currently airing on Fronsi's own personal, private SnM network, "Soap' Net!

It is clear as mud - but it covers the ground!

Sincerely, Deborah

Last night I was thinking about how disappointed I was that SoapNET doesn't primarily air old soaps. It seems like they could air some of the soaps that didn't have a huge run -- like Capitol or Generations -- and people who missed them the first time around would probably tune in just to see if they liked it.

And then I remembered Loving/The City -- another show I never saw. That was an ABC show -- why not run it? That seems so obvious now!

Yes minirth..I'm with you! Loving/The City reruns all the way! Remind of a time when seeing Laura Wright didn't cause me to bang my head in frustration....and let me re-live my first and forever soap couple true love...Casey/Ally. Although Amelia Henely...does temper the excitment just a bit....

Mallory and I were bitching about this -- assuming for the sake of argument that ABC isn't trying to kill the genre, if they just did good promotion, don't you think more people would watch some of the old soaps instead of edited versions of shitty movies, making more sense from a purely economical standpoint? Especially if they made it digestible, so you didn't have to commit to, say, Another World's entire run. (Although AW is fab and is far preferable to this movie nonsense, as Mal noted.) What about re-airing Days' Cruise of Deception? Or the original Luke and Laura arc on GH, or their return in the early 90s? Stone's illness and death? If they wanted to spend a little money they could edit old stuff so that, for instance, you only got scenes of the couple/story you decided to highlight for that month or whatever. I just don't get how they're running this network. I, too, lack the mental deficiencies necessary for such comprehension.

I would cheerfully shell out hundreds of dollars for dvds of Santa Barbara; I would pay per view episodes of Santa Barbara; I would stop resenting the cost of Soapnet on my cable bill every month if they would only add Santa Barbara. I might even forgive them for the egregious sins of re-cancelling Another World, and running Ryan's Hope once a night during the infomercials.

I've heard that the music rights are what is preventing SB from being picked up. (If that's true, everyone, lobby your congressmen to clear up fuzzy copyright law. )But frankly, I suspect it's just that Lifetime Movies are cheaper, and will kill off Soapnet faster, making way for ABC to unload it. I suspect they've found they don't like running a cable network, and are looking to get out.

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