• About Us
  • FAQ
  • Archives
  • Links
  • SOD Columns


  • Serial Drama on Facebook

Subscribe to Serial Drama

  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage

    Subscribe in Bloglines

    Add to My AOL

    Powered by FeedBurner

« 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?


Mallory, you have my nomination for Line of the Year:

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

Sing it, sister!!!

I only recently started getting SoapNet (which means I was spared Night Shift), but it sounds like these "soapy" movies are just more of what there's already way too much of on the Lifetime for Victims network. The only good thing I can say about these movies is that they keep women actors over the age of 35 working.

Then there's this: ". . . our viewers love the drama, fantasy and anticipation ripe in traditional soaps. . ." RIPE? Is that a typo or a malapropism (did he mean "rife")?

What the hell is wrong with these people? Politics can be as "soapy" as daytime dramas too, but that shit stays on C-SPAN. YOUR NETWORK IS SUPPOSED TO AIR SOAPS. I will be very interested to see how the ratings do with these allegedly relevant movies. We thought Night Shift was absolute crap but it was like SoapNet's biggest hit ever.

I'm going to pull out some old tapes and start recapping old NBC soaps in retaliation. That'll show the evil Mr. Frons! (Seriously, does tape/film of early Santa Barbara still exist? I bet they could run that nightly and people would flock to it.)

I know you and I have already discussed this, but after last week's episode, Billy Baldwin is going to be the death of me on Dirty Sexy Money, for reals. Why on earth did they hire him? There are probably a dozen soap actors who could have played the sleazy, conflicted politician better.

Oh yes, please, please bring back Santa Barbara. Mason Capwell is my favorite character of all time. I am ashamed to admit that I cried for days when Mary was killed by the big C on the top of the Capwell hotel. (And I think that was supposed to be campy.) The best pregnancy story ever for me was when Julia ( the superb Nancy Lee Grahn)wanted a sperm donor and got Mason to do it the old fashioned way and then they fell in love. I actually was thinking of this the other day re the Patrick/Robin story. Why couldn't he agree to provide the sperm and stay out of the way and then not be able to do it because he fell in love from afar with his offspring? Now that's soapy.

And yes many of the best episodes of Santa Barbara are available on YouTube. For those uninitiated, try the New Year's Eve ones focusing on Mason and Julia. Fantastic! Mary's death and aftermath are also available.

I saw the promos for the movies and I thought, this is the beginning of the end for SoapNet. All is lost when you lose your reason for being.

Actually I've never forgiven them for removing Another World from their lineup this year. This latest move isn't surprising at all.

this is my thing.... they are calling the sunday night movie... SNM. SNM??? when i hear it on TV, and i say it out loud, my mind drifts to a certain other S'nM that has to do with whips and chains and leather material. bad move soapnet

Brillant move, geniuses in charge! This has got to be the worst idea ever. I for one was definitely enjoying all the old GH episodes...why not continue with that? The ratings MUST have been pretty good with that lineup, I would imagine. I say get rid of SNM (I had dirty thoughts as well when I saw that promo!), The OC, One Tree Hill and whatever other crap is on. Put on classic soap episodes and run Port Charles and Ryan's Hope at hours when normal people are awake. WE GOT YOUR CHANNEL TO WATCH SOAPS!

The fact that SoapNet is not scraping every last cent together to put Santa Barbara back on the air, but is instead buying old crappy movies that I would not even watch on Lifetime made me insane.....until I figured it out.

Would you, as Brian Frons, want viewers to be able to compare current AMC and GH with SB in its rocking prime? Wouldn't BF live in fear that a higher up at ABC would see the obvious differences and say, as we all say, as we SCREAM....HOW DOES BRIAN FRONS STILL HAVE A JOB!!! Sorry for the yelling.

Out of curiosity I went through the week's schedule and I'm shocked at just how repetitive it is. Besides the lack of "Santa Barbara" (which has an amazingly strong following considering it's been off the air for over fourteen years now), where's all the old daytime soaps that could easily develop new audiences like "Search For Tomorrow" and "The Edge of Night"? Then there's all the successful prime time soaps other than "Dallas" like "Dynasty" or "Knots Landing" which have value in nostalgia alone.

I understand it costs a great deal of money to get rights, even to shows that haven't been aired in decades, but, seriously, if your lineup is that sad, why bother having a network?

Can it really be more expensive to get reruns of Santa Barbara, which has nowhere else to go, than it is to get Dallas, which might find a home elsewhere? I think this is a lack of imagination, rather than a lack of money.

Maybe there are no good copies of Santa Barbara, though if they can get Ryan's Hope, I would think anything would be available.

By the way, Ryan's Hope does not seem nearly as good now as it did then. I hope that would not be true with Santa Barbara. I really don't think so, if you could get past the shoulder pads and the big hair.

You guys should blog Dirty Sexy Money. That's a soap I still find worth while...for now.

I wonder if the strike has anything to do with ABC/Soapnet avoiding the acquisition of any more old soaps. Probably. Also, they're all just incompetent morons.

I would be all over some SB! I came late to the party and was loyal for the last few good years. Such a great show. Or even get the rest of RH, so that we can see what happened after it went back to the first days.

Why do we need movies and not soaps? If it were called Tacky MovieNet or something, I could handle it. This is SOAPnet, people. UGH! Give me old soaps or even add my beloved ATWT to the mix. Anything but movies.

I'm just happy they put Port Charles back on. Yeah, I know it's a bad soap. I don't care, because I'm addicted to shirtless Thorsten Kaye and he's shirtless alot more on PC than he ever has been on AMC.

I've always assumed that Brian Frons had pictures of Anne Sweeney with barnyard animals - that's the only reason the man can possibly still have a job.

My fellow fan friends and I have decided that everyone at GH is on drugs (excluding most of the actors...Jax I'm not so sure about). The only question is whether it's in the water or the candy bowls left randomly around the office.

It's the air vents.

It's not just SoapNet, though. There's pro wrestling on the Sci-Fi Network, live-action movies on the Cartoon Network, Dick Cavett on Turner Classic Movies and who knows what the hell Bravo is supposed to be these days. I'm guessing that before long there won't be any specialty networks left, just a bunch of general interest channels with a hodge-podge of "B" movies, reality shows and the occasional Kathy Griffin special.

santa barbara, my all time favorite, probably why I am here, I would easily pay 50 $$ a month to watch it on soapnet, those crappy movies? you would have to pay me to watch them

I wonder if game shows like Password and the 25,000$ Pyramid are next? You know maybe focusing on episodes guest starring daytime stars?

"Primetime on Soapnet tonight...tune in for soapy goodness with a very special episode of Password with guest star A. Martinez from LA Law fame followed by another special episode of of the Pyramid with the actress who plays Kay Chancellor's housekeeper on the Y&R. We can't be bothered to look up her name but tune in anyways!"


PS Flipped Out is now rerunning on CNBC!!!!! Now that show is soapy.

I think Babboon 17 has better sense.....

Anyone else remember when SoapNet was starting and they had the airings of Sisters on in the afternoon? just me? Now bring back THAT one back for my money. Young George Clooney being all tragically doomed and feckless? Yummy!

I thought I was seeing things last night when I was flipping through the channel listings and saw SN showing a movie....then I read the synopsis and looked at the calendar....surely it was APRIL 1st and not December.....I mean for freak's sake..Susan Lucci has done a gazillion Lifetime movies....and let us not forget Josh Morrow's classic "My Stepson, My Lover", Becky Herbst in the Hugh Heffner bio pic USA did (it's so freaking sad I can name these just off the top of my head sitting at my desk at work on a Monday morning...I need help!)..and the entire cannon of Tori Spelling movies (Mother May I Sleep With Danger? come on..GENIUS title..genius!) At least have SOME connection to the genre you are supposed to be showcasing!

I hate these people so very much. I was enjoying the 2-3 hour block of older episodes on Sunday night! I did wonder, though, how long it would be before the network morons realized the repeats were better than the dreck that airs today. (Beth R has a great point -- if they MUST air movies, air movies related to the genre!)

I swear, if they EVER take Ryan's Hope off the air, I will flip out. That is the best soap on the air right now! I record it every night. I never get to see Ron Hale on GH, but I can watch him every day on RH!

Why is Brian Frons in charge of a network that airs soaps that are broadcast on NBC and CBS? How does he explain to ABC affiliates that an ABC-owned network is helping their competition?

Idiots. All of them.

Why do I? Why do I? Why do I? Continue to watch? Continue to hope? Continue to delude myself?

It is statements like these that make me ashamed of being a GH viewer. Here's Guza in the latest ABC Soaps in Depth: "It looks like Robin will getting that baby she's wanted " There will be a father involved" Says Guza " this almost falls under the category of be careful what you wish for" it involves the usual suspects plus some different ones including Carly and Jax. "we're going to test Carly profoundly in the new year in ways that are new for her and extremely challenging."

If they do a accidental sperm swap story here I swear I will quit watching....and this time I mean it.

Alice, I couldn't agree with you more. There's only so much a viewer can take!

What you missed is that the promos are proclaiming that the Soap Net's Sunday Night Movie is SnM. Guess that tells us where Fronsi's mind STILL is! Come to think of it - ALL of the movies currently planned sound to me like it would be TORTURE to watch any of them - so I decided to pass. I mean - it's like - THIS Sunday night, the HD Movie Network had a JIMMY STEWART MARATHON! Not only were they showing Jimmy Stewart in HIGH DEFINITION - but the movie was also commercial FREE and UNCUT! You would have to be totally nuts to pass up a Jimmy Stewart marathon in HD AND without commercials in favor of Fronsi's ridiculous attempts at promoting 'movies.'

I DO have a theory about the sudden introduction of movies to "Soap' Net at the same time that Soap Net apparently does NOT have a penny to spare in order to air CLASSIC soaps. I am theorizing that, when the contract for DAYS runs out in 2009, Days will go out of production and NBC will fill the time with all news, all the time (This is because NBC is so out of touch with real people that NBC doesn't know yet that MOST people get their news via the Internet and NOT via TV). However, as soon as NBC becomes all news, all the time, ABC and CBS will be chomping at the bit to join them. I think Fronsi looked up and realized that, unless he joins the news department, his tenure as 'daytime' president and head of 'soap' net won't be worth a plugged nickel. So Fronsi buttered up the bosses at ABC and convinced them that, when ALL of the soaps go out of production, the big brass could STILL hang on to 'soap' net as a dumping ground for all of their stinker-oo movies that no one watched the first couple of dozen times that they were aired!

So - there you have it - the perfect logic of network nitwits - all wrapped up in a nutshell for you!

Sincerely, Deborah

ABC owns SoapNet, so presumably they could show old AMC, OLTL, and GH episodes for free, right? Why not do that.


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....

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment