The Survival of Soap Opera: Transformations for a New Media Era
How the daytime drama format reaches or loses its audience in the Internet age.
The soap opera, one of U.S. television’s longest-running and most influential formats, is on the brink of disappearing. 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 reflections 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 website moderators, and by 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.
Edited by Sam Ford, Abigail De Kosnik, and C. Lee Harrington
Contributions by Ernest Alba, Kay Alden, Robert C. Allen, Nancy Baym, Sara A. Bibel, Denise D. Bielby, Denise Brothers, Tom Casiello, Mary Cassata, Giada Da Ros, Abigail De Kosnik, Patrick Erwin, Sam Ford, Racquel Gonzales, Erick Yates Green, C. Lee Harrington, Barbara Irwin, Deborah L. Jaramillo, Elana Levine, Lynn Liccardo, J. A. Metzler, Jason Mittell, Patrick Mulcahey, Jaime J. Nasser, Horace Newcomb, Roger Newcomb, Radha O’Meara, Julie Porter, QueenEve, William J. Reynolds, Tristan Rogers, Melissa C. Scardaville, Christine Scodari, Louise Spence, Bernard M. Timberg, Emma F. Webb, Carol Traynor Williams, and Mary Jeanne Wilson