Meredith Brown started watching daytime soap operas when she was 12. "I liked them because they were intimate and entertaining, and very romantic – and erotic. They let you see into someone's private life in a very intimate way, and nothing else on TV does that." David Jacobs made the point, "You can catch viewer interest with sex but you can't hold them. Sex helps when you don't have power and wealth going for you. But the basis for any successful show is good story telling. I like to start things in the middle so you can ask yourself, 'How did this happen? Where did these people come from? How did they get here?' Then we answer those questions as we go along."

In 1979, Meredith went to work for 'Soap Opera Digest' magazine. At the time, Meredith remembered her "little book was a horrible magazine" until she turned it into a "news magazine". By March 1987, the circulation of 'Soap Opera Digest' with Meredith as its editor-in-chief topped 1 million. In 1987, 85% of 'Soap Opera Digest' magazine's subscribers were women. The average age of 'Soap Opera Digest' readers was 31. 50% of the readers were college educated and 50% were full-time workers.

During the North American summer months back then, daytime soap operas usually introduced youth-oriented storylines because "it's a tradition, that, in the summer time." Meredith told Gary Deeb of the 'Herald-Journal', "You have many more kids watching the soaps – and the networks want to cater to these kids. Those young viewers want to see storylines involving people their own age, and the soap producers are hopeful that when the kids go back to school in September, they'll still remain loyal to the soaps they got hooked on in the summer. I'm 31 years old (in 1987), and most people my age started watching the soaps during the summer when they were teens. We've built lifelong habits from those days of adolescence." 

Gary Warner added, "The networks are aware that if they can grab 'em when they're 16, 17 and 18, they're gonna have 'em still when they're 25, 26 and 27. They’ll continue watching as they grow older and they’ll become the backbone of a program's popularity. So it's pretty crucial for a soap to appeal to that young audience." Of 'Soap Opera Digest' magazine, Meredith mentioned, "The circulation department has found that it sells best in upper income areas, places like Scarsdale, New York, and the more affluent suburbs of Chicago and Greenwich, Connecticut." 

In much of the television-watching world in the 1980s, prime time soaps attracted many followers. Stephanie Beacham left England for Hollywood to co-star on 'The Colbys'. In her 2011 autobiography 'Many Lives', Stephanie told fans, "California came as an amazing gift. England felt arid. It was monochrome. It had become devoid of all color. It was time to move. I knew how the pioneers must have felt." Back in 1986, Pat Hilton of 'Tribune Service' remarked, "If Stephanie Beacham had been wearing the crown in England during the 1700s, the United States probably would still be a colony."

Esther Shapiro told 'People Weekly', "We loved her patrician quality. Despite Sable's seamy side, you understand why a major tycoon would stay married to her." Stephanie confessed at the time, "I couldn't - I mean, nobody could - turn this job down. It's too good a role. Just think: a billionaire’s wife who's never satisfied. Charlton Heston has this wonderful line: 'Sable's happiness is a family myth'. If you gave her the bracelet and the earrings and the necklace, she'd want to know where the ring was."

As Jason Colby, Charlton Heston made known, "I had a certain control over the kind of man he's going to be. There are very few permissible villains in prime time TV, but bankers, businessmen and military men over the rank of Major are popular categories. One of the things I want to do with this series is demonstrate that a rich businessman can be a good man. So many of my roles have put me in doublet and hose, togas, chain mail or a prophet's robes. This time I get to wear a shirt, a tie and pants. I seldom ever get to wear pants."

Although by the time 'The Colbys' went on air (in the 1985-86 season), TV's big 4 soaps were "declining". However advertiser John Sisk told the Associated Press, "They're still powerful TV entertainment, particularly for women 18-49, who are the principal target for many advertisers. For reaching that group, the 4 soaps have 35% higher ratings than the average TV program." John pointed out in a regular 4-week period only 8% of the viewers of a non soap opera would watch all 4 episodes.

However 25% of the viewers of a soap opera would follow their favorite soap faithfully. David Poltrack of CBS maintained, "These numbers are not indicative of any severe loss. There's no indication of any precipitous decline. What I think we'll see with these shows is a pattern similar to daytime serial dramas when exchanges in plot lines and key characters (for instance Patrick Duffy left 'Dallas') will cause fluctuations."

On 'Dallas', Leonard Katzman made the observation, "We've edged much closer to down-to-earth realism in the last season or two (between 1987 and 1989). Our recent series of episodes in Europe and the Soviet Union reflected how American businessmen now have to deal with the new openness of glasnost in Russia. Mind you, we still specialize in stories of wealth and power because people are naturally attracted to that sort of thing, but we're no longer trying to knock out our viewers with the net financial value of our characters."

David Jacobs reiterated, "Prime-time TV drama had been pretty homogenized until 'Dallas' and 'Knots Landing' and 'Hill Street (Blues)' came along. Those 3 programs showed the audience that television can come in a 31-flavor variety. That's especially important today (in 1989) because of the increased competition from cable and VCRs." In 1984, Lorimar Production produced 12 episodes of 'Berrenger's' for NBC as a mid-season replacement series. All episodes were filmed before mid January 1985.

Set in a family-owned, New York-based department store, 'Berrenger's' sought to "explore human depth" (America's lower middle class and that economic structure). Co-executive producer David Jacobs elaborated, "'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' are about the very rich. 'Knots Landing' is middle class, although they are getting richer (with Gary Ewing's inheritance and Empire Valley). 'Berrenger's' is diagonal. It goes all the way down to the shoe salesmen. The top level of 'Berrenger's', while wealthy is accessible to the rest of the characters. They're all under the same roof. It's a more intimate show. It's about a store, not a state like 'Dallas.'" Creator Diana Gould disclosed, "The show is very much fantasy fulfillment with beautiful merchadise, lots of glamor and attractive, upscale people."

The store scenes on 'Berrenger's' were filmed in Barney's New York. Story editors were Lynn Latham, Bernard Lechowick and Scott Hamner. Stars included Andrea Marcovicci, Yvette Mimieux, Cesar Romero as the underworld kingpin Rinaldi and Sam Wanamaker who was born in Chicago to Russian-emigrant parents. When 'Berrenger's' "open its door just in time for after Christmas and January (1985) white sales", the program attracted 20% of the audience and to its credit, sustained its share.  

David told Jon Anderson of the 'Chicago Tribune', "I didn't want to do more serials but when you've had the success I've had it's difficult to move on. Four of the Top 10 shows on TV (at the time) are serials and NBC kept returning to the idea because they didn't have one." 'Berrenger's'  was about "a store, a microcosm of society. You have rich people. But you also have clerks and the gang on the loading dock. It's an 'Upstairs, Downstairs' idea. There are men in power, women in power and important roles for blacks and Hispanics. It's ethnically varied and I like that."

David believed 'Berrenger's' "has a better soul than other shows I've done. Yes, its characters are flawed, but they fix themselves as they go along." Soaps writer Meg Bennett made the comment in 1988, "Normally the (daytime) soaps do a better job of examining contemporary topics than do nighttime programs because (daytime) soaps are episodic (or self-contained). We have the time to explore a socially relevant issue from all sides and to show its impact on personalities, business, family life and personal relationships. It's always been a trademark of daytime drama to deal realistically with contemporary problems by working them out through character relationships. In (daytime) soaps relationships are the foundation. If you stray very far from relationships, the plot line will ultimately fail."

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