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Plan B-ET: How Black Entertainment Television could save the soaps.

14 Apr

I haven’t watched BET as much in my life as I do right now.  Although I admittedly don’t watch most of the new shows, I do watch “The Game” and I appreciate how it has slid into more of a dramatic serial than a situation comedy.

I also happen to watch Degrassi on TeenNick.  What can I say?  Not only am I loyal to the Degrassi brand, I love my over-the-top-yet-somehow-realistic serialized programs.

Which is what “The Game” on BET is to me.

I recently read on Shadow and Act or some similar site that BET’s original programs average in the low millions of viewers.  That’s a lot of people watching the same thing.  We’ve seen how social media helped bring “The Game” back and create a loyal audience for Reed Between the Lines and the other new BET shows.

I know that network daytime dramas are expensive to produce.  I am sure Eric Braeden earns more in a week of work than I earn for six months at my nonprofit. But maybe, just maybe, with some tooling around, a daytime soap could work on BET.

I think the day will come that Y&R will get cancelled from CBS.  I think that will happen in the next five years.  I hope not, but I am looking at the genre die slowly before my eyes.  Days of Our Lives will probably go sooner, but I doubt Days could transition to an “ethnic” network – it has never had the loyal African American viewership that Y&R does.

So here is how I would transition Y&R:

First, before you leave CBS, you begin trimming down the cast.  Many of them are lovely actors who would be great anywhere, but let’s be honest here.  The Fisher-Baldwins don’t resonate with black folks like the core families do.  I wish they did.  But they don’t.  We talk about the Newmans, the Abbotts, and the Chancellors.

So trim down the cast.

Next, rethink the 52-week season.  Why on earth do we have an expectation that we will get a new episode of a soap opera every single workday?  That is CRAZY.  And that is expensive.  So stop it.

When you transition to BET, aim for a 30-36 week season – either two 15 week blocks (like semesters) or four sets of nine-week blocks throughout the year.  Wanna know why?  Because we are fine with repeats.  Let the actors do other projects.

And you know what?  I don’t need an hour.  I can live with half an hour.

Air the show twice – once in the day and once at night.  Seems to me that would save some money somehow.  Sure, you’re paying for a scripted show, but you’re airing it twice a day.

The major part of a move to BET, not just the built-in black audience, but the opportunity to bring on another black family just to even up the score a bit.

How come I still don’t know Neil’s parents?  How come Sofia doesn’t have aunts or uncles?  Where the hell is Mamie?  And how about Leslie Michaelson?  Let’s not forget that she earned a third of that 1.5 billion dollar lawsuit that Victor lost.  That’s right, your girl Leslie is a freakin millionaire.  And the DA.  And Sarge and Harmony.

Come on.  This is a good fit for BET if they play their cards right and if Y&R doesn’t get it together.

What do you think?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Rashid's Take

 

One response to “Plan B-ET: How Black Entertainment Television could save the soaps.

  1. mali c.

    October 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    i really miss your commentary…are you still NOT WATCHING this kind of thing? was curious what you thought about what has been going on with the Winters tribe for the past year…

     

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