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    Fan Petitions: Do They Make A Difference?

    Thursday, November 22 2007

    Amongst television viewers out there, daytime soap lovers rank very high as being some of the most faithful and passionate fans around. It’s no big surprise when one of their beloved actors or soap characters leave a show that it devastates some beyond belief and tends to change their view of the storylines – and sometimes even the show – altogether!

    In light of all the petitions and polls we see from fans regarding those characters they want to return to the shows, wants their readers to know that we sympathize with their disappointments and even share in them from time to time. It seems there’s not a week that goes by that we don’t see a petition of some sort posted on our boards, pleading with others to join in and show their support, in an attempt to make a difference with hope of ultimately returning those stars to their roles or in the case of NBC’s Passions bring the show back to cable television.

    However, the big question that looms in the minds of many is, “Do fan petitions really make a difference or are they just a way for fans to hold on to those characters, storylines or shows they’ve grown to hold close?”

    Through our research we had the pleasure of speaking with a few network representatives who were able to give us a little glimpse into what role fan reaction plays and to what extent some go to in order to keep the fans happy.

    While our first network source asked to remain anonymous, for corporate reasons, they did tell that when they want to see how fans are accepting a certain storyline or recast they place internet polls on their websites. Once the results are in, they do take the outcome into consideration when elaborating further.

    A little more outspoken about fan reactions, a representative from DirecTV, along with input from producers at NBC, told…

    “Fan participation definitely plays a roll in Passions - and is the primary reason why we resurrected it from the dead and brought it, with all new episodes, to DIRECTV. Since it’s been airing on The 101, we’ve also done a lot of things to keep the fans happy, including the world record setting event that we held on October 20th. NBC has a weekly internet poll where they post specific questions pertaining to the storylines and characters from both Passions and Days of Our Lives. The outcome of these polls is closely monitored and helps the writers and producers figure out if a storyline is working or needs to be changed. The writers and producers of Passions are also always dialed into Passions fan sites and message boards. They find that this helps them keep in touch with their core audience. One specific example of a fan-driven storyline is the marriage between Theresa & Ethan. They are the show’s most popular couple and as a thank you to the fans after being so faithful for 8 years, the writers decided to reward them with a marriage between the two.”

    During a conversation with The Young and the Restless actor Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin), Christian gave us some insight into how important fan reaction is...

    "Believe it or not, the fans are the most motivational, powerful factor around. The shows have a whole team of people who scour fan sites looking for fan reactions to certain characters and storylines. Although technology is scary to some, it’s great to have places like, a venue to find fan response! It’s a two way street… While the shows aim to bring the fans great entertainment, and hope they’ll give a certain character or storyline a chance, ultimately, the show wants their fans happy."

    Although we assume these methods can surely make or break a decision regarding a storyline, when it comes to character recasts, we need to realize that it’s not always the fault of the show. For whatever reason an actor may feel it’s time to spread their wings and decide to leave a soap. This doesn't mean they don't sympathize with their fans. In fact, this is a job for them and they need to do what's best - despite the storyline. On the other hand, in defense of the soaps, for the sake of a certain storyline, as sad as it may be, we need to take into account that it’s not always a good thing for that old beloved soap character to come back to a place where they no longer fit in. hopes we’ve helped clear up the mystery behind one of the most popular questions on our messages boards these days, “Fan Petitions: Do they make a difference?” and hope you’ll take to heart what our sources have explained! Because, in the end, you, the fans, may very well be their final voice of reason!

    Christine Fix, Editor-in-Chief, with Amy Mistretta, Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief

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    Posted by barbsc at Tuesday, December 18 2007 04:59 AM

    I am in hopes that Passions will return back on NBC so that even if a person does not have cable or dish she can watch it like myself. I was a very faithful watcher from day one with its first airing and cried the last day it was on NBC I live in a condo where they do not want dishes every where and currently cannot afford cable either but it would make my day to be able to watch PASSIONs again reading the daily views is ok but its not the real thing. PLEASE bring PASSIONS BACK TO NBC


    Posted by angel1973 at Tuesday, December 18 2007 12:34 PM

    i am also in hopes that there will be a way found to save passions from being cut off the air there are so many great story lines and so many of us that just adore the show....please try and help us save passions it would be a heartbreaker to see it end

    Posted by Mike and Eric Martsolf at Sunday, December 30 2007 12:14 AM

    I really do hope that passions returns to nbc as well because i have not seen it since it last aired on the channel,and it was sad for me to see the last scene when Gwen presented Ethan with his "son"(the E/T/G triangle scene). I was so upset when i found out i couldnt watch it anymore. But then i found out that there's a way for canadians to watch it...there's supposed to be a channel called allarco enttainmnet coming to cable/aka digital cable in the new year. But until it does i have been watching the show online. But I would love if it got saved agian PLEASE :'( and give the fans back what they want).

    Posted by Mike and Eric Martsolf at Sunday, December 30 2007 12:24 AM

    According to, "I think they knew that they were going to cancel Passions all along," said one poster on's Passions forum. "They just wanted to increase their subscriber base."

    However, a DirecTV spokesperson refutes that Passions future is so cut and dry. Passions is not going off the air, the spokesperson insists. Well, at least not right now.

    "Passions just received [an order for] an additional 52-episode pick up," states Caley Cronin, the manager of public relations for DirecTV. "We'll see what happens after that."
    It appears unlikely that Passions will move to another network, but there is scant hope that the show could end up on a cable channel such as Oxygen or as an Internet-only soap.

    Posted by kwasson25 at Tuesday, January 08 2008 01:10 PM


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