It’s hard to top the onscreen drama on daytime soap operas, but offscreen the actors of Days of Our Lives, All My Children and The Young and the Restless have all been dealing with a fair share of business drama. The shows used to get most of their advertising revenue from local car dealers, but declining auto sales have forced soap actors to take a pay cut to make up for the decreasing ad dollars. Among those whose pay was docked is the legendary Susan Lucci.
Oh, Susan Lucci: denied a daytime Emmy for more than 20 years, voted off Dancing With The Stars and now your salary has been cut. With your long career and fame (read: paid speaking opportunities), we think you’ll be ok.
Furthermore, according to both the NY and LA Times, Lucci was the highest paid actor in daytime television, making more than $1 million an episode, so she can probably handle a pay cut that brings her salary down to normal levels. If not, she can always hock the Emmy she finally won. However, as Stephen Colbert discovered, there’s not that much gold there.
AdAge: As advertising dries up for soap operas — particularly from the genre’s traditional mainstay, local automotive dealers — Ms. Lucci, a megastar of the daytime world who has played Erica Kane on “All My Children” since its inception in 1970, is being handed a pay cut, Ad Age has learned. And she’s not the only iconic player on the stalwart soap being forced to do with less. “All the actors on ‘All My Children’ have been reduced [in salary],” said creator Agnes Nixon, who also created the ABC soap “One Life to Live” and is now a paid consultant to the network’s daytime division. “Susan Lucci, Michael Knight and Ray McDonald have all been reduced — substantially. And so have I, as a consultant. The ratings are not the same.”…
Of course, the phenomenon is not tied solely to “All My Children.” News broke last week that NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” had released longtime stars Deirdre Hall and Drake Hogestyn from their contracts due to severe budget constraints. That made headlines because Ms. Hall’s character was practically an institution: She had been with the show for 32 of its 43 years on air. Mr. Hogestyn had been around for 22 years…
TV stations — whether affiliates or owned and operated by a network — are worried an automotive-industry crash, combined with most soaps’ eroding daytime ratings, might wreck their bottom lines.
“We’re scared to death,” said Kevin Lovell, general manager of KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, and a member of the ABC affiliate board’s executive panel. Mr. Lovell added that at least 25% of his station’s ad revenue came from local auto dealers, and that such ad revenue is down 25% for the year. “We just don’t know how much of it is coming back. We’re probably just going to have to live with less.”
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