Are we seeing the end of an era?

By Molly Reuter - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - CBS announced earlier this month Guiding Light will fade out in September. Many believe, this is just one example of soap operas' being thrown out with the dishwater, and many East Texans agree.

All my Children, General Hospital, Days of our Lives... Their storylines of love, jealousy and betrayal have been filling our lives with drama for generations.

"I grew up watching All my Children [and] One Life to Live," said Linda Johnston of Bullard.

"General Hospital at once - at one time, and now Guiding Light," said Earlena English of Tyler.

Guiding Light, however, is no longer shining. CBS says ten years ago, the show had 5-million viewers an episode. Today, its down to just more than 2-million. At one time, soap operas were the television industry's most reliable and profitable genres. Daytime dramas, however, are now being pushed out. One big reason, the target audience, stay at home moms, is simply getting smaller. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, 60 percent of woman age 20 and older these days have jobs. 50 years ago, 63 percent stayed at home. What's another reason? East Texans say the audience is just getting older, but the soap opera's are only getting more risque.

"They are not into this young mushy stuff that is going on," said Ruby Curry of Tyler. "I know I would not be."

"Some people are getting married, and not getting married, and I want them all to stay married," laughed English.

She said she is done with all the drama and has swapped her soap opera's for some line dancing.

Some television analysts say the economic crisis is also hurting daytime dramas. The average soap opera viewer's age is 56-years-old. It is a group that is not as popular for advertisers.