Entries in Soap Operas (7)


As American Soap Operas Bust, Telenovelas Boom in US

Charley Gallay/WireImage(MIAMI) -- Telenovelas, those drama-soaked, tear-filled roller coaster TV soap operas, were traditionally produced in Mexico, but Hispanic actors are increasingly flocking to sunny Florida to film them.

In fact, Miami is being called the new Latin Tinseltown.

"A lot of them wanted to get away from the violence in their countries of origin -- the Colombians, the Mexicans -- and they found jobs [in Miami]," said Maria Morales, the executive editor of People en Espanol. "Just made sense. It was a marriage of opportunity with demand."

Former Miss Mexico World Blanco Soto, who stars in the hit telenovela El Talisman, is immediately recognized in Miami these days and gets mobbed by fans at restaurants and coffee shops. Soto, 33, helped catapult the previous show she starred in, Eva Luna, into one of the most successful and profitable telenovelas ever.

In the past, telenovela stars could not get the kind of traction in the U.S. that they had in Latin America, but demographics in this country are changing. Spanish speakers are the fastest growing population in the United States, with a burgeoning market of second and third generation Hispanic viewers.

Univision, which broadcasts El Talisman, Eva Luna and many other popular telenovelas, is now the fourth top network in the U.S. -- about 10 million people watched the Eva Luna finale last April. Morales said stories about telenovela stars comprise up to 50 percent of People en Espanol, which has a circulation of 6.5 million, compared to the roughly 3.5 million circulation of the English-language version of People.

And increasingly the slap-happy, sometimes sappy, and always dramatic world of Telenovelas is becoming a proving ground of sorts for Latin stars eager to make the jump into English language TV. Before Columbian-born Sofia Vergara played for laughs as Gloria on Modern Family, she was the sultry Leonora on Burning for Revenge. And before William Levy's mainstream breakthrough on Dancing With the Stars, the Cuban native glowered as Alejandro on Love Spell.

And when fans like you in this world, they really, really like you, Morales said.

"People don't really fall in love, at least in our market, with the person that you're playing on screen," Morales said. "They literally will transcend that screen and fall in love with you. That's why, William Levy, they know his name. They will follow him and vote for him on Dancing with the Stars."

While American soap operas such as All My Children and One Life to Live have been canceled, telenovelas have figured out how to stay on top in the ratings. These shows have been able to stay profitable, in part, because of their breakneck pace of production. Soto said she shoots 40 scenes per day on El Talisman.

"It's like one, one, one, another. Cry. In this one you don't cry. Now you're laughing. Now you're happy. Getting engaged. They are killing you. You're sick," she said. "It's great. It's crazy, the continuity, the emotion."

El Talisman airs five nights a week for 24 weeks, all on a tiny budget of $120,000 per episode, compared to its English-language soap opera counterparts, which can run up to $2 million per episode.

Another major difference between American and Spanish soaps is that telenovela writers change scripts based on minute-to-minute viewer feedback, which can be tough for the actors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could 'General Hospital' Move to Primetime?

ABC/Patrick Wymore(LOS ANGELES) -- Fans of the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital may have to catch the show at a later time at some point in the future, reports TV Guide.

The long-running daytime drama, which potentially could be replaced later this year by Katie Couric’s new syndicated talk show, may continue as a short-run primetime series, according to an ABC insider.

The thinking is, even at twice the price of producing the daytime version, a nighttime airing of General Hospital would still be an inexpensive ratings bet compared to the cost of producing other primetime series dramas.  It is estimated that current GH episodes costs around $200,000 each to make.

General Hospital is the only soap still on ABC's schedule, following the cancellation of All My Children and One Life to Live.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ABC's 'One Life to Live' Ends 43-Year Run on Friday

JPI Studios/ABC, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- One Life to Live will come to an end on Friday.  After 43 years, the ABC daytime soap that chronicled the lives of the fictional Buchanan, Lord and Cramer families in Llanview, Pa., will air its final episode.

One Life to Live premiered on July 15, 1968.  The series finale will take a look back at the moments that have defined the soap through the years.

Longtime One Life to Live star Erika Slezak, who plays the heir to the Lord publishing fortune, Viki Lord Banks, says it will be sad for both her and the show's fans to say goodbye.

She says, "I think that the core audience is still very strong, and they're going to miss us terribly because they looked forward to that hour or that two-hour or that three-hour stretch every day."

Slezak will reflect on the soap's run as a guest co-host on ABC's The View Friday morning.

The final episode of One Life to Live airs at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.  The new lifestyle program The Revolution will fill the One Life to Live time slot beginning Monday.

One Life to Live is the second ABC soap in five months to leave the air.  All My Children signed off in September after 41 years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stars Sign On for Online Version of ‘All My Children’

ABC, Inc.(NEW YORK ) -- Diehard soap fans will be able to get their daily dose of heartbreak, homicide, marriages, and medical mysteries from the town of Pine Valley when All My Children moves online.  

A number of cast members have signed on for the online version of the groundbreaking soap opera.

After 41 years, the classic ABC soap opera is set to go off the air on Sept. 23.  All My Children was one of daytime TV’s top-rated soaps, and the first to address social issues like birth control and abortion. Low ratings and high costs resulted in its cancellation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'All My Children' Bringing Back Original Stars

ABC, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- All My Children fans will get to see some of the long-running soap's original stars back in action in September.

David Canary, who played devious Adam Chandler beginning in 1983; Julia Barr, who played Brooke English starting in 1976;  Ray MacDonnell who played Dr. Joe Martin since the soap's debut in 1970; and Lee Meriwether, who played MacDonnell's on-screen wife Ruth back in 1996 will all reprise their roles on ABC's daytime drama.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


ABC Announces 'All My Children' Finale Date

George Doyle/Stockbyte(NEW YORK) -- The final episode of All My Children will air Friday, Sept. 23, ABC announced Thursday.

The soap is ending its run after 41 years.

The following Monday, ABC will unveil its new lifestyle series, The Chew, at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'General Hospital' Actor: 'I Dare Them' to Cancel Us

ABC/Yolanda Perez(NEW YORK) -- Maurice Benard, who has played General Hospital's brooding, dangerous-yet-lovable Sonny Corinthos for 18 years says that if ABC gets rid of his soap, there's going to be a problem.

"If they cancel General Hospital, there are going to be riots because these people are loyal,” Benard told ABC News Radio this week. "They love this show,” he said. “So I dare them to try."

And while that may be nice for the show's fans to hear, it doesn't sound as if its staff and actors have been guaranteed anything. Benard said the last time he worked he was told, "'If the audience continues to watch, and our ratings are good, we will continue to be on. That's the bottom line...If we all do our jobs correctly and the audience continues -- because we have a very big following -- then we're going to be all right.”

ABC announced in April that it was canceling long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live.

Benard is currently touring comedy clubs while on break from General Hospital. "I'm not Richard Pryor,” he said, “but people laugh. I think people shed tears."

If you get to see his show, you may wind up on stage. "I have somebody come up and do a scene with me,” he said.

And those who attend Benard’s show will also get a chance to see the actor’s six-year-old son perform a Justin Bieber song.

He “steals the show,” Benard said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio