Soap operas feeling economic pinch

December 16, 2008 7:30:07 AM PST
These days in soap opera land there is plenty of drama not just on the set, but also behind the scenes, too. Long-running soaps like ABC's All My Children and NBC's Days of Our Lives are being hit with a double whammy - a decline in ratings and a cutback in advertising because of the economy.

"It's been very difficult because much of the advertising is car dealers and that advertising has dried up right now," Soap Opera Digest's editorial director Lynn Leahey said.

She says tough times are have forcing networks to slash salaries even for seasoned soap stars like Susan Lucci.

Some actors, like Deidre Hall, have not had their contracts renewed.

Leahey says local car dealers, the meat and potatoes of daytime t-v advertising, are spending significantly less money on ad time. Some are not spending a dime.

"You've got everybody in a little bit of a panic mode right now. The audience has decreased. The ratings have changed. We have to weigh what we can afford to spend verses what we're gonna get out of it," car dealer Steven Mclintock said.

So, with viewership down for the daytime dramas, car dealers are looking for less expensive ways to reach consumers.

Mclintock said last year his dealership spent 350-thousand dollars on tv advertising, but only about a hundred thousand this year.

Television networks say the loss of revenue means finding new ways to control costs and maintain production.

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