Madeline David of NBC told Associated Press in 1977, "Essentially daytime is a habit medium, unlike prime time where you’re likely to experiment. In daytime if you become a viewer of a program, you're a pretty loyal viewer of that program. And no one wants to shake up those habit patterns once they're formed." Mike Ogiens of CBS observed, "The whole key whether it be a serial or a game show, is simply involvement for the viewer at home. If you look at the most successful game shows, for instance, all of them offer a very high degree of involvement to the person watching. You can participate, you can play along, you can participate in the decision-making process of the contestants."

Jackie Smith of ABC remembered, "Most of the serials repeat the same kind of stories with slightly different veneers. And obviously the women (viewers) have a passion for what is … That doesn't mean you don't change it (daytime line up) or offer something different, but I think I would want to be careful about tampering with material that is giving people enormous emotional rewards. The second week I was here (in March 1977), I said, 'Everything is dull. Change the schedule, throw it all out.' But by the sixth week I said, 'Hey, I've got to find out, why do people love this so much. They really do love it. And far be it for me to say, 'Hey, you're not supposed to watch this.'" 

At the time, some 26 million households watched a soap opera each day. About 71% of soaps audience comprised women in the 18-24 and 50-plus age brackets and roughly 20% men of all ages. Victoria Wyndham played Rachel on 'Another World' told 'The New York Times' in 1975, "The majority of letters I get are from women whose lives are simple to the point of dreariness. They are lonely. They want to see beautiful clothes and houses, the story of a girl who has nothing and gets everything, not a bunch of Archies Bunkers." 

In 1977, Dr. Judith Waters and Sherry D. Finz at the Brooklyn College watched 'The Guiding Light', 'The Doctors' and 'General Hospital' for 2 months on a once-a-week basis to study the effect soaps had on the average woman. To analyze, the professor and her psychology student broke down the dialog. Speaking to 'Newsday', they stated, "Men on the soaps are more directive and are usually found in office settings while female characters are mainly homemakers, interested chiefly in domestic affairs ... She is fond of babies and devoted to her children's success. 

"The study focused on the personalities exhibited on the soaps. The intention was to observe how the roles of men and women are depicted in an era in which some members of society are making an effort to achieve egalitarian treatment of the sexes. As to whether or not soap operas can change attitudes and norms, no concrete evidence is available to answer such a question. 

"Logic will tell us that those same characters who hold audiences captive for any length of time are indeed capable of suggesting modes of action or behavior. Soaps are a long way from accepting or even seeking a new morality. There are never situations which illustrate how the housework gets done, who cares for the children and what the financial arrangement is between the professional wife and her husband. 

"In many instances, when you find a successful business woman on a soap opera she is usually single, generally extremely attractive, a prude in the business world, who is just waiting to entice susceptible, unsuspecting husbands. Soapland for its viewers generally satisfies the desire for art, culture and gives alternative solutions to everyday problems in the real world. Many viewers' mysterious fascination for soaps results from the desire to get involved with the lives and emotions of people close to their own age and outlook … without having responsibility for them." 

Suzanne Pingree taught Soap Operas and Social Change at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980 believed, "There's potential for soap operas to say relevant things to women about changing society. And men, too. There's an analogy between soaps and the women's or lifestyle pages of newspapers. They both provide a forum for presentation of women's issues rarely treated elsewhere in the media. There are many strong role models on soaps, strong competent women who don't need to rely on men. I really don't think people should watch TV. But if they watch, they should watch soap operas rather than prime time. Soaps are a refreshing island in the wasteland of television."

Eric Braedan was one of the premiere stars of daytime television. Speaking to 'The Beacon Journal' in 1987, Eric preferred to talk about international politics than about playing Victor Newman on 'The Young and the Restless', "As far as I’m concerned, the stigma (of doing soap operas) is based on not looking at it realistically. As an actor, you can have no greater fun than doing daytime."

Eric Braedan came to the US in 1959. Of the bad-guy roles he played, Eric said by 1980, "I was totally fed up with it because I'd reached the point of being totally empty creatively. I had played everything from, obviously, German bad guys to Russian bad guys, French, American, English, Italian ... No, no black bad guys, although I used to work out at the Hoover Street Gym in downtown L.A., which is a black section, and I used to love to listen to the old fighters meet and reminisce. It was absolutely wonderful." 

Eric argued, "There is an absolutely extraordinary prejudice against and total caricature of anything German. That infamous 12-year period – the 'Thousand Year Reich' that lasted 12 years (1933-1945) – is almost exclusively what Germany has become synonymous with. And it's tragic, it's criminal and, historically, vastly inaccurate. I don't think any German should make excuses or pretend it didn't happen. It did happen. However, I was born in 1941. I had nothing to do with any of it. To constantly and repeatedly and perennially point to that era and say, 'That is synonymous with anything German,' quite frankly is becoming a consummate pain in the ass." 

By 1986, American teen life story lines had become commonplace on daytime dramas. Bill Bell told the 'Los Angeles Daily News', "I knew we had a younger audience during the summer for 15 or more years now. I've always done a very powerful storyline aimed at young people from which they could learn, where they are exposed to things they might very well be exposed to in their personal lives."

By 1994, many college students became hooked on the Aaron Spelling's soap on Fox, 'Melrose Place'. For some, it was the place to hang out. One student told 'The Times', "You can relate to what's happening." Another added, "Except for Michael and his wife, I have friends pretty much like the rest of them." Confessed one, "I like the evil characters. I'm not too fond of the innocent ones." Admitted another, "I like Amanda. She's got everything under control – she's in control." 

It was understood some of the issues on the show also appealed to baby boomers. Declared one homemaker, "It's an escape. It makes me feel young. I think the twentysomething crowd (also known as Generation X'ers) has a whole different set of rules than we did. Some seem overeducated and some have a hard time getting careers going. I just like it because it's a realistic picture, like the unwed mother, the child abuse thing coming up, climbing the corporate ladder." 

Thomas Skill had studied the effects of soap operas since 1978. 'In Sick and In Health' with Mary Cassata, his faculty adviser at State University of New York College, Buffalo, was published in the 1979 edition of the 'Journal of Communication' and later cited in the 'New England Journal of Medicine'. In 1985 he was assistant professor of communication arts, at the University of Dayton as well as a consultant working for Proctor & Gamble Productions Inc. 

Thomas Skill spoke to 'United Press International' about why he conducted the research and how informative were soaps in portraying health issues, presentation of family life as well as other subjects, "We're also interested in what the audience thinks and does with the programs and why they're so loyal, because they must be getting some kind of reward from participating. We think it's because it's good drama, and we like good stories. That's a part of human nature." 

It was mentioned the majority of college students watched soaps as a social activity but 8% watched seeking relationships answers. However "you can't really say soaps present real answers." At the same time, "it's much more sophisticated drama than people are willing to give it credit for being. It's a popular art form, so it has a lot of the common problems that people identify with popular arts. It tends to repeat itself occasionally, it tends not to offer a lot of wisdom and subtlety and a great understanding of beauty all the time." 

In 1986, 'The Young and the Restless' explored the issues of premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. 'Soap Opera Digest' reported at the time, "The birth rate for teens 15 to 19 stands at 96 per 1000 in the United States, which leads the industrialized nations in teenage births and abortions. According to a study commissioned by the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, the United States can expect one million teens will have unwanted pregnancies in the foreseeable future. Four hundred thousand will have abortions and five hundred thousand will give birth."

Marcy Kelly told 'Soap Opera Digest', "Society and young people in particular are asking for some guidelines. In the '50s, there were rules in dating and having a relationship. They were very defined, strict, social rules. But when we cut out those rules in the '60s and '70s we created problems for our young people, because, let's face it, today (in 1987) there are no rules. Young people have been pushed to behave as adults, and it's become evident that they cannot handle that."

Al Rabin stressed, "Television is not a miracle woker and 'Days of our Lives' is not a documentary or a public service show. We're entertainment. But if we can do a story that can be responsible without tarnishing the dramatic impact of the subject then we'll do it … I like the term 'responsible intimacy.' The friction for most romantic story lines is 'Will they or won't they.'"

The story on 'The Young and the Restless' showed viewers the dilemma of "two young girls who found themselves alone, desperate and pregnant and the subsequent selling of one girl's baby on the black market. The storyline culminated in a rock concert whose theme was 'It's okay to say no to sex.'"

Bill Bell told 'Soap Opera Digest', "I think the concert has to be one of my proudest moments in daytime. We've had so many people write in for copies of it. I didn't know, frankly, if the young audience would buy into the cold hard reality of this kind of story or whether they'd go for escapism. They went for what we offered and they went for it in a big way."

Ellen Wheeler told Associated Press in 2009, "What we call soap operas is actually serial storytelling and it existed way before the term 'soap opera'. Serial storytelling will go on. And I consider that to be what soap operas are. I don't think they'll ever die."

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