Old Hollywood stars could be seen on network television prime time soap operas in the 1980s in new twists to keep the audiences guessing like a TV crossword puzzle. One TV programmer told 'Modern Maturity' magazine in 1987, "Older people are watching an incredible amount of television; they watch more hours of television than any other age groups. So we are not dummies; we know we have to go where the audience is." On television the advertising favorite audience were women 18 to 49 years old. Paul Harvey of the Los Angeles Times reported, "Suddenly, TV producers were reminded that this year (in 1987), for the first year ever, there are more Americans over 65 than under 25...As TV programmers have begun to recognize the appeal of older performers, so have TV advertisers."

John Forsythe had said, "It's so much different than writing individual sustained episodes. You have to weave together the strings of all the continuing characters...Sometimes characters grow, sometimes certain situations interest the audience more than others. I think some characters disappeared because the oil rig situation interested the audience less than what was going on in the Carrington house." Esther Shapiro expressed, "Older actors have back stories. They're older, they've lived, so they can have an exciting past that we can explore. What back story can you have with an 18-year-old wearing blue jeans?" David Jacobs made known, "I approach my shows like novels. I start with the characters. I want to know their history and see why they are like they are."

Listening to Frankie played the piano on 'The Colbys', Jason remarked, "'Schubert. Fantasie en femme II.' I remember this house used to be full of music when you were here." Sable added, "From wallpaper to show pan. It took me right back."

On 'Falcon Crest', Angela told Jacqueline, "Falcon Crest belongs to those who can control it and makes it live. It belongs to me because I'm strong enough to make it produces. The future here belongs to anyone who has the skill and the raw guts to take it away from me."

On 'Dynasty', Alexis told Krystle, "I never ask questions when I already know the answers...Look for the person behind the camera. One click of the shutter and the course of history could often be changed."

Soap operas attracted both the older generation as well as the younger generation. Arts commentator George Hatza noted in 1983, "The region – its climate and inherent culture – plays as important a role as the human characters. The land, the corporation, the family estate – these are powers to be reckoned with. They become personifications with which the characters relate on a human level, entities to be either embraced or manipulated." One TV programmer stressed, "Television is not a one for one for real life. It's not intended to be. TV is entertainment. Many people watch it as an escape and diversion from their problems."

Prime time TV series had been described as "an inexact and error-prone science." Mike Boone told readers in 1985, "In the course of a typical year, a major American television network will receive 700 ideas for series. The network will commission 150 scripts, from which 20 program pilots will be filmed. Of 20 pilots, the network might add 6 shows to its schedule. If 3 of these become hits, business is (booming)."

Alexis Smith remembered, "There's a lot of mystery working on 'Dallas'. They don't tell you in advance what your character is up to or what plans they have for her. Sometimes they take a page or two out of the script so you won't give away any secrets." It was explained, "How would you like it if you'd prepared some brilliant, dramatic twist in the story, only to see it appear in the newspapers before it happened on screen?"

Dack Rambo revealed, "The producers are so nervous about anyone finding out what's going to happen that they often film 2 or 3 endings. So not even the actors know what's going to happen." Bob Crutchfield of Lorimar Productions insisted, "We’ve filmed various ways so that the editor can put the solution together at the direction of the producers." Ali MacGraw recounted, "It's quite amazing. You never knew what was going to happen. I kept meeting handsome young guys on the set and asking: 'Hi, are you my Mr Right?' But they didn't know any more than I did." Leigh McCloskey observed, "You get one script at a time simply because they feel the characters are constantly changing. If you were playing, in a sense, the result – where you were going – it would not be as convincing. It's nice because you really don't know where you're heading, and you work on what's going to happen in the future. It's like life. You don't know what's going to happen, you don't know what you're going to say next, and you just continue on."

Early on in television, Diahann Carroll disclosed, "There was no middle ground before. You were either a hooker or you were the most wonderful black citizen, the best mother the world has ever been. It became nauseating. We were never made villains. Producers were afraid they'd be accused of racism. But now, the Black Minnie Mouse can be the biggest bitch on the block, demanding, powerful and pivotal to the plot."

It was understood the cost of each episode of the average prime time soap opera was around $1 million to film. The network normally ordered 22 episodes but in the 1980s, it was not unusual to see a network ordered as many as 30 episodes a season.  Steve Kanaly pointed out, "With few exceptions, all actors are expendable." John Forsythe concurred, "I don't think anyone is totally indispensable, but in our show, the 3 principal actors – Linda (Evans), Joan (Collins) and myself – would obviously be very hard to replace...I was taught a long time ago that a deal is not a good deal unless it is good for both sides, and no one is forced to sign a contract if they don't like it."

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