By Amy Helmes
Airing the day’s soaps at night may be SoapNet’s bread and butter, but the network’s programming stunts are what add real flavor to the mix.
For this year’s annual “Serial Bowl” (which ran opposite college bowl games on New Year’s Day), the network aired a slate of “Melrose Place” episodes featuring the show’s most outrageous slap-down, drag-out brawls. The episodes were tied together with pop-up-video-style “soap notes” that filled viewers in on each hour’s background and context.
These walks down Memory Lane have proven successful for the network, in both providing value to advertisers and appealing to viewers’ sense of nostalgia. “Except for the occasional flashback, the broadcast networks don’t have much of a chance to celebrate a show’s history,” said Sandy Wax, the network’s senior VP of program planning, scheduling and acquisitions.With a focus on entertaining interstitials and gimmicks such as “Soap Notes” (humorous on-screen pop-ups included throughout the episodes), SoapNet aims to bring its own lively spin to the subject matter at hand.
Some stunts are created on the fly, such as when the network learned last summer that its newly acquired show “Days of Our Lives” would be pre-empted during the Olympics, meaning there’d be no new episodes to air at night. “Here we were facing a two-week pre-empt,” said Ms. Wax. “So we created the “`Days” Decathlon,’ which featured 10 great episodes the stars chose as their favorites.