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A Missed Opportunity: Soapnet's Cancellation of Port Charles

Before Twilight or True Blood, there was Port Charles, a spin-off of General Hospital which featured vampire themes throughout much of its existence. Perhaps being ahead of its time Port Charles never garnered a strong following and remained on the air for only six years. Having never been a fan of this particular subject matter I became a fan of Port Charles near the end of its run on ABC. I found it to be more than what it seemed to be on the surface. Instead of Port Charles being a dark, far-fetched, mythical soap, I felt that the writing attempted to go deeper than that to portray the classic battle of good versus evil and the internal struggle that everyone faces to choose right from wrong. However, by the time that Port Charles peaked my interest the show had already switched time slots from daytime to only airing during the wee hours of the morning, at least in my viewing area. And I suspect that when that switch occurred fewer people watched than before.

It is a shame that this show was never able to reach its full potential because I believe that if it came out today it would be a phenomenal success given the recent trendiness of vampire novels, shows, and movies. That is why I do not understand Soapnet's decision to suddenly stop airing classic episodes of Port Charles. Soapnet began airing this series following ABC's decision to drop it from their line up. Then just prior to the huge success of Twilight, Soapnet stopped airing Port Charles and it has not returned to their schedule since. This decision continues to baffle me considering what airing this show now could mean for the future of soaps.

Vampire themed entertainment continues to invade pop culture and there seems to be no particular age group that has taken an interest in this topic. This recent trend also shows no signs of slowing down given the fact that Kevin Williamson, famed creator of Scream and Dawson's Creek, has created a new show dubbed The Vampire Diaries from the novel series of the same name. This show stars not one, not two, but three former soap stars including Zach Roerig (ex-Casey ATWT), Paul Wesley (ex-Max GL), and Kayla Ewell (ex-Caitlin, B&B). This will undoubtedly draw the attention of soap opera fans who have seen these actors in their favorite soaps. These fans will also be more likely to want to watch more of their favorite soap stars in other shows with the same theme. This is where Port Charles comes in. If Port Charles is airing in syndication on Soapnet, fans of soaps will likely tune in even if they never watched it when it first aired. And since many of the actors that were on Port Charles are now working on other soaps there will likely be an increased interest in those soaps as well. Moreover people who are already fans of Twilight, True Blood, or The Vampire Diaries will likely seek out any show that contains similar material, including Port Charles. Taking that into account it is not such a stretch to imagine that these fans would be more likely to view other shows in which former Port Charles cast members are currently starring. This would cover General Hospital, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and All My Children, all shows that could use a ratings boost. Given the fact that soap operas are in danger of extinction I would think that a network that is supposedly in the business of promoting soaps would take advantage of any opportunity to expose them to a whole new audience and renew the interest of their current one.

Comments

  1. I think you have a valid point with the link between Twilight and Port Charles.

    One show I fail to understand why they continue to show is "Ryan's Hope."

    Talk about dated ...

    Spa Jeweler

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm surprised that they are still airing "Ryan's Hope" too. I know that there is still a fan base for that show, but considering that they got rid of "Port Charles" and "Another World", it makes no sense to just hold on to "Ryan's Hope." It has a bad time slot too. It comes on at like 4AM.

    ReplyDelete

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