The Survival of Soap Opera: Transformations for a New Media Era

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Press: University Press of Mississippi (March 2, 2012)
Author Name:Ford, Sam; Kosnik, Abigail De; Harrington, C. Lee


The soap opera, one of U.S. 
television’s longest-running and most influential formats, is on the brink.
Declining ratings have been attributed to an increasing number of women working outside the home and to an intensifying competition for viewers’ attention from cable and the Internet.
Yet, soaps’ influence has expanded, with serial narratives becoming commonplace on most prime time TV programs.
The Survival of Soap Opera investigates the causes of their dwindling popularity, describes their impact on TV and new media culture, and gleans lessons from their complex history for twenty-first-century media industries.The book contains contributions from established soap scholars such as Robert C.
Allen, Louise Spence, Nancy Baym, and Horace Newcomb, along with essays and interviews by emerging scholars, fans and Web site moderators, and soap opera producers, writers, and actors from ABC’s General Hospital, CBS’s The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, and other shows.
This diverse group of voices seeks to intervene in the discussion about the fate of soap operas at a critical juncture, and speaks to longtime soap viewers, television studies scholars, and media professionals alike.

About the Author

Sam Ford, Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a research affiliate with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Convergence Culture Consortium and Director of Digital Strategy for Peppercom Strategic Communications.Abigail De Kosnik, San Francisco, California, is an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Berkeley Center for New Media and the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.C. 
Lee Harrington, Oxford, Ohio, is professor of sociology and a Women’s Studies Program affiliate at Miami University.
She has been conducting research on the daytime industry and soap fans since the late 1980s and is author of many published academic works on soaps, including Soap Fans: Pursuing Pleasure and Making Meaning in Everyday Life (with Denise D.


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Comment List (Total:2)

  •     If you're a fan of the daytime genre, this is a book you must read...... Join the rest of the Soap Warriors, read the book and join our fight to Save Our Soaps!
  •     It is very easy to write a review of this book, as I am one of the featured contributing writers.A genre that has been around since the time of Charles Dickens, the serialized drama, is at a major crossroads. Daytime soap operas that have been on the air for, literally, generations, are being snuffed out by the big-wig television executives.Soap Operas have been around since television's infancy. First, in 15 minue formats, then a 30 minute format, and eventually to a 60 minute format. One show, Another World, was briefly at a 90 minute daily format in the late 1970s.40 years ago, there were 19 daytime soaps on the three major television networks. As of January, 2012, these ranks will diminish to a mere FOUR...with all being produced on the West Coast.Why is this happening to daytime shows while many of the most popular prime-time shows are following the soaps' tried and true formula of 'continuing drama?'There are many reasons for the perceived decline in soap opera viewing, more women are working, as opposed to a half century ago, and today, with satellite and cable offerings, today's television viewer has, literally, hundreds of channels to choose from, rather than a mere handful.This book offers a unique perspective on the crisis facing daytime...contributors including actors and writers from today's most popular shows, academics, as well as fans.Earlier this year, two long-running shows, with a combined 84 years of broadcast history, were cancelled by ABC. Fan furor over these cancellations, over the next 12 weeks, brought about, yet a new chapter in daytime viewing, when ABC announced it had sold the shows to be airred on the internet.I urge everyone to purchase this book, as it studies this unique American Popular Culture genre.

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