Why Sheryl Underwood Gushing About Victor Newman on The Talk Proves CBS Isn't as Itchy to Ditch Soaps as ABC
Although the whole "black talk show host who loves her stories" schtick is a bit been there, done that (Oprah with All My Children, Star Jones and Sherri Shepherd with AMC and other ABC soaps), I can't help but believe comedienne Sheryl Underwood's affection for The Young and the Restless and its lead bastard, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden)—as displayed often on CBS Daytime's The Talk— are genuine. It looks like the feeling might be mutual, as Braeden recently joked about Underwood's Y&R character becoming the next Mrs. Victor Newman, while visiting the talker!
While I'll never quite be able to accept The Talk's existence, since it helped rob us of As The World Turns, at least CBS has taken great steps to fully integrate their two remaining soaps, Y&R and The Bold and the Beautiful, with their other daytime shows. Y&R and B&B stars are constantly turning up on The Talk, Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right — sometimes in character.
The Tiffany Network's daytime talk and game shows are smartly being used as promotional tools for their soaps, and vice versa. ABC, by contrast, didn't even promote its sole daytime soap, General Hospital, during its recent, heavily-pimped Go Red campaign.
Several commercials touted what The View, and much lower-rated knock-off programs The Chew andThe Revolution, were doing for their heart smart events, but a scripted drama featuring a hospital in the title wasn't utilized at all during a health promotion campaign.
This was quite the change of course from a few year's back when The View, GH, All My Children and One Life to Live all had story arcs centered on Campbell Soup's heart health campaign during the same week. Of course, why would ABC mention General Hospital during a major advertising/PR campaign, when lack of promotion will likely lead to even more viewer erosion (though not nearly as much as The Revolution is experiencing), thus making Anne Sweeney's plan to get rid of all three daytime soaps complete?
If we're to believe that it's really a "may the best programming choice win" situation at ABC Daytime right now, why isn't GH receivng the same promotional push that The Revolution is getting, despite the latter program continuing to lose ground dramatically in the Nielsens? Sure, GH's ratings aren't the best right now either, but this is a show that has decades of brand loyalty associated with it, and once had over 20 million people tune in to watch a make believe couple get married (Take that, Kim Kardashian!). Shouldn't that count for something when deciding which daytime programs get grade A, primetime promotion during these challenging days for all of the ABC Daytime lineup?
I'm sure this is a surprising place to be in for the cast and crew of GH, considering when Brian Frons ran ABC Daytime, GH received much more promotion than her sister soaps—often times without the ratings to justify such favoritism—but now, with Frons gone and Katie coming, GH is in the old redheaded, step-soap position occupied by OLTL for most of its run.
As painful as it was to lose Guiding Light and ATWT, I don't hold CBS nearly as responsible for those cancellations as I do ABC in regards to the systematic, calculated and highly-intentional destruction of All My Children, One Life to Live and now General Hospital.
It was Procter and Gamble, a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, that stopped supporting their soaps, long before CBS made the decision to cancel them. And at the end of the day, no matter who was culpable for killing the last of the P&G sudsers, at the very least CBS isn't leaving the daytime dramas currently on their lineup alone to fend for themselves in terms of promotion and network synergy. Not that I believe CBS is being altruistic. Heck, having popular soap stars on The Talk and the CBS daytime game shows likely boost those shows ratings!
My decision to cut CBS some slack is something akin to the scene in Gone With The Wind when Melanie Wilkes was shocked that Scarlett O'Hara was doing business with the Yankees. If CBS continues to use The Talk and Let's Make a Deal to cross-promote Y&R and B&B, then we're happy to give them kudos for doing so. Yep, Melly, the war is over.