Tonight, ABC’s Nightline looks at the recession and viewership woes of Daytime TV. Of course, the show is an advertorial for All My Children and its veteran star Susan Lucci. But there does seem to be some journalism in the aftermath of pulling the plug on Guiding Light , the veteran CBS soap, or firing senior actors off NBC’s Days Of Our Lives. Even La Lucci had to take a pay cut. Julie Hanan Carruthers, All My Children‘s exec producer, says the recession is hitting the folks behind Pine Valley. “So far, the tough economic times haven’t actually worked their way into the soaps’ ever-evolving plot lines. But behind the scenes, daytime shows face tighter budgets, shrunken ad revenues and competition for viewer attention from new media,” Nightline says. Luke and Laura’s wedding on General Hospital pulled in 30 million viewers in 1981. These days, soaps are lucky to pull in 3 million. Soaps increasingly use paid product placements. All My Children story lines have been built around Campbell’s Soup. “One of the things that I love is actually using real products, because it validates and authenticates our fictitious Pine Valley,” said Carruthers. And this past year, the soap used CGI technology to create a giant tornado. “In a bad economy, that’s when the audience really wants to watch something that really helps,” Lucci told Nightline. “The escape is in some ways instructive, and is also really hopeful, exciting and fun.”
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