Are Daytime’s Soaps Headed For Another Shutdown?
Jill Johnson/JPI; ABC screenshot; CBS screenshot (2)
How a looming strike could cause chaos across the television landscape.
Unlike any other genre, soaps are known for being able to pump out new episodes five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Time and again, we’ve heard actors like Julianne Moore (formerly As the World Turns’ Frannie and Sabrina) and Shemar Moore (ex-Malcolm, The Young and the Restless) talk about how daytime’s quick pace proved the ultimate training ground and made them the actors they are today.
What we hear quite a bit less about is all the work that goes on behind the scenes and the unsung heroes who bring our shows to life. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a similar number of folks to create a television show or movie. Now, the people who make up that tribe are preparing to strike and while they have good reason to do so, the impact could wind up shuttering a wide range of productions… including soaps.
IATSE is the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, and this past weekend over 95 percent of the union’s members authorized a strike. This would only come to pass if they are unable to reach a new contract agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (or AMPTP). Should the strike actually come to pass, Business Insider reports that the first shows to be impacted would be those with the shortest turn-around time… including soaps.
At issue are various aspects of the work environment. “It is incomprehensible that the AMPTP, an ensemble that includes media mega-corporations collectively worth trillions of dollars, claims they cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews with reasonable rest, safe hours, living wages and sustainable benefits,” reads a statement on the union’s website.
The Instagram account IA_stories gives union members a place to share their grievances, many of which include tales of 16-hour days and horrifying on-set incidents such as the one below.
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Negotiations between the two sides continued Tuesday, but as of yet there’s been no word of a deal being struck. Of course, soap production was last shutdown at the height of the pandemic, with only Days of Our Lives able to continue airing continuously thanks to its advanced taping schedule. Bold & Beautiful, Young & Restless and General Hospital, however, found themselves having to air “classic” episodes until health and safety protocols could be put in place which allowed them to safety resume taping again.
While we sit with fingers crossed, hoping that the two sides can reach an agreement before a strike comes to pass, why not pass the time by reflecting on what soaps do best… love triangles! Below, we’ve got some of the messiest, longest-running, most delicious trios to ever rock daytime television. Better still, because everything’s more fun when you’re ranking, we’ve done the list in countdown form. Can you guess which threesome claimed the top spot?