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« I Know I Owe You Guys a Days Post | Main | Our Column in the 4/8 Issue of Soap Opera Digest »

April 02, 2008


A few years ago, I was embroiled in a one-sided feud with Horatio Sanz. Like all Saturday Night Live viewers, I was offended by the fact that he continued to have a job despite breaking character in every sketch and never making me laugh, ever. The feud consisted mainly of me saying to others, "Can you believe this shmuck still has a job after breaking character in every sketch and never making me laugh, ever?" It was a non-violent battle that I eventually won after eight long years. Luckily, my commitment to complaining is never hampered by fatigue, illness or a short attention span.

It's becoming more and more apparent that I need to protest Brian Frons just...existing, except that I am running out of ways to describe my disgust with the fact that he continues to be employed. I don't think a combination of words in the English language could properly convey my angst, except, like, "He's...just...ugh...!!!...worst...???...ugh...hate", but that's not an actual sentence.

I really thought that someone, at some point, would realize that, since all of the ABC Daytime shows have bled viewers since he took over, he's not even competent at his job, let alone good at it. No dice. I thought that the SNM Fiasco would make some take notice and say, "Um, isn't this the channel for soap operas?" But, again, nothing. And now, more dumbassedness.

In addition to bolstering daytime with such ad deals, the company is broadening its plan for Soapnet, moving it from being a home for soap opera reruns to one for original content, as well as more acquired primetime soaps and movie dramas. The network has bought a packet of small to midsize movies to add to its Sunday night movie franchise: Romy and Michelle: In the Beginning; I Do, They Don't; Face on the Milk Carton; Relative Chaos; and I Want to Marry Ryan Banks.

Soapnet is also moving forward with Relative Madness, six hour-long specials this summer on the most over-the-top TV and celebrity families, with commentary from talent including comedian Joy Behar, dancer Chris Judd, and mother/daughter socialites Lisa and Britney Gastineau.

There is so much wrong embedded in those 124 words.

(1)Brian Frons PAID MONEY for the chance to broadcast:

Seriously, why not just buy the rights to "The Multi Cultural Megashow", the epic musical my elementary school did when I was in fifth grade? Sure, it had lyrics like "Here is a story, a story it is, and the drums are talking, that is how it is" and a song called "A Yup A Dup", but it's clearly higher quality than any of the aforementioned movies.

(2) You know what has nothing to do with soap operas? Television programming about celebrity families. Why are they ripping off the E! ripoffs of VH1 celebrity shows?

(3) Life has reached a new low when you're describing Joy Behar, J. Lo's second ex-husband and the Gastineau Girls as "talent"

(4) Isn't this channel supposed to be about soap operas? Isn't that what the SOAP in SOAPNet is?

Let's sit back and let Frons explain why this isn't a massive mistake:

“We wanted to recognize the fact that we live in a soap nation—primetime soaps, daytime soaps, Britney Spears soaps,” says Frons. Soapnet currently programs 40 hours of original programming a week, and Frons says he would like to double that number over the next two years.

“America has been getting their soap fix in a lot of different ways other than or in addition to the daily soaps, and so we're reflecting that on the channel, all with a soapy filter—otherwise it's just another women's network.”

Oh...okay, I think I get it now. As a nation, we watch a few primetime soaps that get middling ratings, we have been tuning out from daytime soaps in droves in the past few years and the shows that Frons himself oversees have been hemorraghing viewers and we are morbidly fascinated by the breakdown of a mentally ill popstar. Ergo, ipso facto, we want to watch crappy made-for-tv movies and d-list celebrities and celebrity hangers on talking about other celebrities.

SOAPNet is also going to broadcast a Canadian primetime soap about hockey player's wives or something. Frons explains:

"When we talk to the viewers about what kind of women they really like on shows, we get two answers: One is the very strong, powerful woman who is either a mother or businesswoman who has made her mark in the world, and the other is the one who has this great, hot guy and lives an amazing life," he said

I am pretty sure my brain just collapsed on itself. The fact that this man has a high powered, influential job has sent me spiralling into a depression. I am going to go eat some Ben & Jerry's and cry myself to sleep now.


silly frons, SOAPnet is for SOAPS.

i don't understand how he is still employed.

Canadian primetime soap about what? Erm? Or was that a joke? Sometimes it's a fine line between the comically impossible and the comedically(-challenged) possible under Brian Frons.

It boggles me that he continues to be employed as well, and causes me to break out in weird angry grunting noises. "He's...just...ugh...!!!...worst...???...ugh...hate" is actually commendably verbal.

I wonder if one fine day, all of the Melrose Place, 90210, and Buffy alums will come together to make the world's cheesiest Hallmark channel B-movie.

Hey if he doubles his "original programming" does that mean I no longer get to see The Jason Morgan Worship Hour three times a day? Cause I think I can deal with that.

You know i think I work with three year olds that make more sense than this...in fact I know I do.

There are no words. I mean really there are no words. This has for one time in months left me speechless. Disney, ABDC,Soapnet. Oy Vay.

Yeah, that's what the soap viewer has been waiting for--some jock-focused story about trophy wives and adultery. That's my guess about what that new "MVP" will be about. Another teen-aged boy's dream.

Ugh. Is there anything that can be said, anything that can be done, anyone that can be spoken to, any higher power that can be prayed to to get these people out of their positions and have them replaced by talented, insightful, smart, empathetic programmers?

I really like soaps, or I did back in the day. I will be very sorry to see them fade from the TV landscape. But they surely will, with people like Frons and Guza overseeing their future.

Oh, and I don't think that it's a coincidence that hockey is one of the most violent sports.

Yes - Frons is writing the epitath to soaps. He's already trying to figure out what is going to REPLACE the soaps he has killed in am amazingly slow painful death.

Serial Drama - don't fret. The reason you are struggling with words to describe the decay and rot going on in Frons' ideas is no matter how hard you try to have it NOT happen - truly stupid people do make anyone with an IQ above 70 stymied. It's very similar to a co-worker I have to deal with daily - I cannot wrap my head around the idea that she is turning 40 and is STILL as stupid as the day is long.

I actually never grasped the concept of watching reality tv - I have enough entertainment just turning off my tv and sitting on my porch and watching my neighbors. I don't watch Britney Spears - I pray for her. I guess I'll add Frons to those prayers.

Group hug to you Serial Drama - you desparately sound like you need it today.

I am one of the few Canadians in the country who actually watches--and *likes*--our TV shows. However. Having sat through the entirety of MVP with my face frozen in an expression of, "WTF am I *watching*??", I can honestly say:

Enjoy the dregs of publicly-funded Canadian programming, America! (Yes, Frons, the reason MVP had double the budget of Night Shift was because it was made by the CBC, which is guaranteed funding from the government, ie taxpayers. Who, when it comes to MVP, really ought to demand our money back.)


I was hoping this was another "April Fool's" post -- but knowing Frons, I'm pretty sure it's real.

This man is, without a doubt, the BIGGEST dumbass employed in the television industry. Whoever put the show "Cavemen" on the fall line-up last year is smarter than Frons -- seriously.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand HOW or WHY this man is still employed in any facet of the entertainment industry. My only guess as to why he hasn't been canned is that he has some seriously compromising photos of Mickey and Minnie Mouse doing some wacky S&M shit, and Disney knows he'll go straigt to The Enquirer with them if he's ever sacked.

Is it really THAT HARD to find a more competent head of ABC Daytime???? SERIOUSLY????? Cause, I mean, my dogs are always looking for a job. Sure, they can't TALK and they have no opposable thumbs so WRITING is out of the question, and my boy is 13 years old and blind and has senile moments every now and then and doesn't always have the best bladder control nowadays -- but really, I can't see how they could possibly do WORSE!

I don't understand. I mean, what soap fans are asking for is not that much. I understand that the days of the big location shoots are over. I JUST WANT MY STORIES BACK!

I have to just say that last quote had me literally laughing out loud. For like a minute and half. Is that a real quote? And if it is, surely he just made it up right??

Too funny.

Jessica, seriously. I would love to be one of the "viewers" Brian Frons talks to, but I might spontaneously combust with rage.

Here is my other favorite:

“America has been getting their soap fix in a lot of different ways other than or in addition to the daily soaps, and so we're reflecting that on the channel, all with a soapy filter—otherwise it's just another women's network.”

I mean, we would not want SoapNet to be a WOMEN'S NETWORK!!!! The horror! Especially when like, 95% of soap fans are women, what kind of sense would that make??

Where can I write Anne Sweeney. Dumbass is too kind a word. I mean as a female and considering 95% of a soap viewing audience is women, I want to find out where that last quote was published. Oh these are the kind of women women want to see

"strong, powerful woman who is either a mother or businesswoman who has made her mark in the world, and the other is the one who has this great, hot guy and lives an amazing life,"

What planet does he live on. How about just strong intelligent insightful beautiful(and not surface beautiful women) with families, careers, and friendships with men and women. Well that is the problem with all ABC soaps in that all women are pathetic shrews or whores.

I wish Anne Sweeney would do something with this twisted Hollywood version of programming he thinks the everyday intelligent woman wants to see. This man deserves to be burned at the stake.

You know anger is too subtle a word to desribe how completely angry this man makes me. I hate absolutely hate how he views American woman. He has contributed to pushing women back 100 years at least and at least 100 years ago women were fighting against this crap. Why or why do we put up with this and just shut our TV's off to everything he touches. I want my girls to grow up with self esteem and intelligence and Brian Frons treats women like empty headed nymphs. It will be a cold day in hell when I ever let my daughters turn on ABC Daytime or Soapnet again.

I already have Lifetime Movie Network. I already have E! and VH1. Way to render yourself redundant, there, SOAPnet!

Is that line about the woman who has a great, hot guy and an amazing life actually real? WTF? No, seriously, WTF? I have no idea what I'm supposed to make of that. How does he know which viewers have hot boyfriends and fabulous lives? Did they fill out a survey? "On a scale of 1 to 10, how hot is your significant other?" "On a scale of drab to fab, how amazing is your life?" When he was asked to comment, did he somehow confuse soap viewers with soap characters? I'm so confused.

On a completely unrelated note, "A Yup A Dup" sounds like a song Karen Brewer would have sung in those Baby-Sitters Little Sister books. I don't know why I thought of that.

Soapnet could only hope to touch the female viewing audience Lifetime does, Yes Lifetime has some sappy films but they also have intelligent female programming and decent movies and never portray women as idiots. Maybe that is why all women I know love this station.

get real ABC Daytime and Anne Sweeney. You need to fire Brian frons before he totally destroys anything that was once good on your network

For once I'm glad I live in a country that doesn't get Soapnet...

"When we talk to the viewers about what kind of women they really like on shows, we get two answers: One is the very strong, powerful woman who is either a mother or businesswoman who has made her mark in the world, and the other is the one who has this great, hot guy and lives an amazing life," he said

This quote was super educational for me. I've always wanted to learn about rage blackouts, and now I've had first-hand experience. Now I'm headed to bed with my hot guy and amazing life. Oops, my bad, I'm a businesswoman! Empty bed (and life) for me. ::sad face::

OK -
I am really.. truly...

.. stumped.
Is it really beyond reason for the powers-that-be to realize that most soap vewers would LOVE to have SOAPnet show reruns of classic soaps. Why on earth would I tune in to SOAPnet if I DID NOT WANT TO WATCH SOAPS?!?

*gasp* *Seethe*

Ok - does anyone know how to get the following points across to ABC:

1) We get that the budget is tight. We don't need to see Paris - hotel sets work just fine.
2) We do NOT need or want the "Cool" special effects - they are really dreadful
3) The in-show promos (GH) have made some viewers (me for one) choose to NOT buy anything pitched midway through a scene - "heart healthy? WTF?
4) It's the RELATIONSHIPS stupid! Ya'know, families?
5)Traditions are GOOD - the Nurses Ball, the Christmas story in the hospital (both GH examples, but you know what I mean).
6) We are DONE with the mob-war-infinity stuff on GH and the beautiful but wretched actors on all shows.
7) We will tolerate a lot - really! Demonic posession of the local shrink, vampires, aliens who turn out to be messed up kids, characters that marry Carly on GH having seen her track record...
I could go on - but really, does ABC Daytime need to make soaps into "non-soap" programming? If you hate the medium so much, QUIT!

Plus Lifetime, unlike SOAP and quite a few other networks (*ahem* A&E), actually sticks close to the premise of its network (except for showing "Fraser" reruns; now I love "Fraser" and don't own any of the DVD sets, so I don't mind, although it does cause me to spend ten minutes every day trying to figure out whether or not there could be someone out there who really does believe a show about a metrosexual man might as well be about a woman).

Girls, girls, don't let the quotes in Serial's blog upset you.

Just remember - if a man is talking in a forest and no one is there to hear him - is he STILL wrong? Absolutely - just because someone heard Frons say these things doesn't change anything. He's still wrong. It's just a shame that a man is trying to figure out what women want.
Snort. Like that'll ever happen.

Hey Frons - you village called - they miss their idiot - don't go home mad - please - just go home.

He's blaming or crediting his alleged conversations with viewers with that mysogynistic moronic repulsive description of women?


For this he must not just be fired but sent to college to get a BA in Women's Studies.

Nothing less is anywhere near acceptable.

Even his being hanged by his testicles on Lifetime would be enough.

OOPS, typo! Even his being strung up by his testicles on Lifetime would NOT be enough.

Okay, I misread the hot guy = amazing life comment. I thought he was describing the two types of women who watch his shows. No more crack for me.

HOWEVER...Now that I've read it properly, I'm even more filled with rage. WTF, ass? It's the women's fault women are portrayed so crappily on your network? We're all sitting here, begging for MORE female characters to have their existence defined by whatever hot guy they're currently sleeping with? We're all actually down with the misogyny? We want more triangles where women act like idiotic, useless fools over the likes of Ryan Lavery and Jason Morgan? Wow. All this time I was blaming lazy, out-of-touch writers. I had no idea I should have been blaming myself instead. Ass.

Even if we take Frons at his word, that he does talk to actual female people, what does he get from those conversations? Women like to see strong, powerful females who have made their mark on the world? Where are those women on GH? Women on that soap who are strong (as opposed to crazy/nasty like Carly or Claudia) are usually punished with murder, rape, loss of children or some other humiliation.

Can't the man even be consistent between his statements and his actions?

Actually, Frons probably didn't even pay for those "movies" because they were all ABC Family original movies (which I'm not ashamed to say I secretly love). Corporate synergy at it's finest!

Let me count just five ways to revive GH:
(1) Fire the sainted three: Frons, Guza and Phelps
(2) Let Sonny, Carly, Jason go off and have their own soap where
they can mob and kill and have explosions to their hearts
content and...
(3) Give us back our stories, vets, traditions, elevation of women
(4) No more one dimensional characters but characters with depth
and respect for history. No plots or characters that start then
sputter out. No introduction of a dozen newbies at once.
(5) How can this be done: bring Genie Francis back and have her
wake up from a 6 year nightmare thus Alan, Emily, Tony Jones,
Ned, Lois, Brenda, Lucy, Doc, etc. are on canvas.

I am so tired of cable channels abandonning their roots and going to reality shows and stupid celebrity related specials. I remember when A &E and TLC used to be decent channels. Now they are all reality. Why does VH1 even pretend that it still cares about music? And if MTV in 1981 could see MTV in 2008, it would cry. Even the History Channel seems to be moving towards reality based programing - I am not sure why shows about the present are on the History Channel. Now it looks like SoapNet is going to have more crappy reality shows and stupid celebrity shows. I would not be surprised if they start cutting out the 8 and 9 o'clock rereuns to start showing their crappy movies and specials. So much for watching Soapnet. I guess there's always Youtube.

I don't usually hate people I've never met but Brian Frons is definitely worthy of breaking that rule for! Is it really necessary to piss all over a television genre that you also claim to be trying to save?

I don't mind if they play primetime soaps along with the daytime but the OC and One Tree Hill do not count!! Especially since one is still on the air and the other one only went off the air 2 years ago. and the whole SNM thing is just...grrr!

Is he for real?! NO, REALLY, IS HE FOR FUCKING REAL?! I just....crackhead....hate...motherfucker....
die.....castrate....angry mob...wha-...grrrrrrr!!!! So, if you're a strong successful business woman you can't be a mother and if you are EITHER of those things, you must not have a hot guy or an amazing life, b/c, if you DID, you would spend all your time concentrating on him, just like your freakin' hero Carly, instead of on pesky things like children (who are, after all, only tools to catch a man with and then are to be dropped, immediately upon birth, on the nearest employable childcare provider who is not on the sex offender registry) or careers?! Mallory, please know that I adore you and Becca and you are my soap-opera-bitchiness sheroes, but are you sure that you didn't just make all this up to incite us readers to form an angry mob to go after Frons and mow him down like the rabid, evil dog he is?


Just checking. Off to make torches and coordinate flight plans.

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