"Soaps aren't designed for viewers to watch all five episodes a week. You can miss one or two and still know what's going on. Nor do you have to watch every minute. You can leave the room and come back and not lose much. People also like the continuing stories. They're not like shows that are complete stories. Soaps give viewers something to think about all day and allow them to second guess the next episode," Michael Young of 'Soap World' advised. 

By 1982, 'The Young and the Restless' attracted an average of 6.3 million viewers a week. Bill Bell revealed, "The secret is to involve viewers emotionally so that they're back day after day. We have a commitment to story, to characters and to our audience." At that time, there were 18 soap operas on television - including four on prime time - attracting a total of around 79 million viewers every week and syndicated in 85 markets. 

Ten of the daytime dramas were produced in New York: 'The Doctors' (12pm Eastern Time, NBC); 'Search For Tomorrow' (12.30, NBC); 'Ryan's Hope' (12.30, ABC); 'All My Children' (1pm, ABC); 'As The World Turns' (1.30pm, CBS); 'Another World (2pm, NBC); 'One Life To Live' (2pm, ABC); 'Texas' (3pm, NBC); 'Guiding Light' (3pm, CBS); 'Edge of Night' (4pm, ABC). The remaining four daytime soaps were produced in Hollywood: 'The Young and the Restless' (12.30pm, CBS); 'Days of our Lives' (1pm, NBC), 'Capitol' (2.30pm CBS) and 'General Hospital' (3pm ABC). 

It was noted soap operas were difficult to establish because viewers were reluctant to break their viewing habits. For example, fans watching 'The Young and the Restless' at 12.30pm would not watch the first halves of 'Days of our Lives' and 'All My Children' (1pm start). The three soaps were scheduled at similar time. Hence when 'The Bold And The Beautiful' replaced 'Capitol' in 1987, Bill Bell told 'New York Daily News', "We have a better time slot (1.30pm) and I believe whether a show is a half hour or not doesn't really matter. If people like it, they will find it." 

Bill Bell also told 'The Beacon Journal', "Historically, soaps don't become big hits right away. Everybody knows that. Now I've created a few soaps in my day, and I think we have the answer. I think you'll be hooked right away. If you watch the first episode, you'll be wrapped up with the stories and the characters. It's dangerous to make predictions. They can come back to haunt you, but I'll go out on a limb and say it's going to be the fastest-growing soap opera ever. (Eight years later, some 125 million viewers around the world watched.)

"I'd rather go head-to-head against other shows ('One Life To Live' and 'Another World' if shown at 2.30pm, 'Capitol' time slot). I feel more confident about that. But I have to be overjoyed about following 'The Young and the Restless'. It definitely has a strong youth appeal but it's a traditional soap opera story. Subconsciously, we're trying to do something different. The look and the style are different. It's a new approach using the glamor, mystique and sensuality of the fashion world."

Bradley Bell was 22 years old when he started writing for 'The Bold And The Beautiful' in 1987. Some years later on 'Days of our Lives', the story about Marlena being possessed by satan proved especially appealing to young viewers. Vanderbilt sociology professor Richard Peterson told 'Gannett News Service' in 1995, "So maybe it's a generational thing. It's like what happens in a form of music when a new generation of artists comes along with an aesthetic drawn from another musical form. Over the last 10 years or so (1985-1995), a lot of rock musicians have come into country music. They bring a whole new audience into country music. A lot of the traditionalists say it isn't country music, but the music moves forward because the youth drive it."

In April 1982, ABC commissioned local professors who were specialized in mass-communications to conduct the first national telephone survey ever of daytime soaps viewing by college students. Of the 1,836 students across 11 campuses surveyed, 1,023 admitted to watching daytime soaps. Of those college students watching daytime soaps, 71% were women; 69% watched in groups of two to five; 56% watched ABC soaps at least once a week; 73% of those 56% watched 'General Hospital' at least once a week and 58% watched 'All My Children'. Only 29% watched 'The Young and the Restless'.

'Newhouse News Service' reported, "The campuses were selected to give a representative cross-section of the nation's more than 7 million college students (in 1982), whose television preferences are not recorded by A.C. Nielsen Co." Barry Sherman at the University of Georgia conducted the social research study remarked, "We realized college students were watching when we tried to schedule afternoon classes."

Fifteen years later, 'The New York Times' reported, "Since 1985 soap ratings have averaged a 31% drop among the key demographic, women ages 18 to 49." In 1997, 'The Young and the Restless' averaged 6.7% households ratings down from 8.0% ten years earlier; 'Days of our Lives' averaged 5.4% down from 7.0% ten years earlier and 'General Hospital' averaged 4.2% down from 8.3% ten years earlier.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 1988, Bill Bell said of 'The Young and the Restless', "I think we brought a new approach to daytime programming (in 1973) because we featured young people. It's a very contemporary show and we make good use of music and close-ups in ways that hadn't been used before. Our stories are provocative. I won't say sensual because that would give the wrong impression, but sometimes they are. It took the show a year and a half to get established. When you have a long-running show the audience grows older with the show. 'The Young and the Restless' was the first show to turn that around and attract a young audience for CBS."

John Conboy, one time executive producer of 'The Young and the Restless' and 'Capitol', spoke to 'New York Daily News' in 1983, "Daytime television is a reality form and nighttime television is fantasy – superheroes. Take a series like 'Dallas'. It would never go in the daytime. The cast is too small and we don't know enough about what motivates J.R. Ewing.

"If we were doing that show in the afternoon, we'd have to let our audience know how J.R. became such a bad guy. What was J.R.'s childhood like? Also, in 'Dallas' you're dealing with rich, powerful people. Nobody is struggling to get it; they have it. But why are they out to get one another? That's important to a daytime audience. Rich people trying to take over one another's companies is not enough because the reality is that few viewers actually own a company.

"'Dynasty' is another case in point. Again, the cast is too small for daytime television, provided you surround the cast with other types, but you can never be rich and happy. That's out. You must give the rich people problems so the audience can say, 'See – money isn't everything.' I have a very rich woman in 'The Young and the Restless'. She's Kay Chancellor, the richest woman in Genoa City.

"But she has to drink to get through the day because she has so many problems. Then, on 'Capitol', I have a rich industrial family, the Cleggs, but they're into dirty tricks, manipulating politicians, and always into terrible trouble. That's when rich works. You can have that token rich family on daytime television that the audience looks forward to seeing. But don't make them happy. Rich and happy is threatening."

However John Conboy believed 'Knots Landing' fitted the daytime soap formula. He reasoned, "For one thing, it has a large cast so you can rely on daily participation. And there are at least five or six women you can hang a plot on. Abby is a great character. When she was introduced, the series really took off. She's the kind of character the audience loves to hate. They're rooting for her to get something she wants so badly. They can identify with this struggle." It was noted many episodes of 'Knots Landing' frequently used close-ups, similar to a daytime soap.

In short, "characters and their relationship to one another" would make a successful soap opera. John Conboy pointed out, "If characters tell the story rather than the story pulling the characters, you have a successful show. It takes six months to introduce characters to an audience so they can get to care about them. Only then can you begin telling a major story about them. When you bring someone on and begin pushing a story about him before that familiarity takes hold, the audience won't care about him and won't watch. Generally, it's best to have a fictional locale. You save yourself a lot of trouble."

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