The 2014 Daytime Emmy Awards (DEA's) online-only stature should trouble hardcore soap opera fans deeply. Rationalizing the migration of this ceremony from a broadcast, or cable, network source to an internet feed as somehow positive would be naive. This location of this year's reality show appears to further confirm the narrowing interest in a formerly beloved genre.
The DEA's were a major TV event in days gone by. Then, due to television's ever-evolving demographic shifts and a fragmenting of daytime's overall audience, this show moved to cable.
HLN generated uneven productions in 2012 and 2013. While cable access kept the show visible, the DEA's overall look paled in comparison to the glory days when all daytime stars were rightfully honored in style.
Of course, this specific ceremony doesn't honor soap operas alone, which could account for decisions numerous television executives made when they passed on accepting the production this time around. Top bosses must believe that daytime's collective audience wasn't going to turn out in large enough numbers to justify the existence of this special event anywhere on their schedules.
One would think that CBS, ABC or NBC would find a place in its nighttime summer lineup to basically promote a major player on its afternoon schedule, or in CBS' case, two players. Borrowing from sports' world practices, the 'Big 3' could have agreed to rotate the DEA's in a three-year cycle. Wouldn't that cross-promotion help each member of the trio?
Soap fans know what happened when 'One Life to Live' and 'All My Children' were canceled by ABC. Rebirth through Prospect Park (The Online Network), initially offered hope within a new platform. When those test subjects prematurely passed into history last year soap fans naturally wondered if the backup plan for their remaining favorite steamers had evaporated as well.
It seems like hardcore soap opera fans are increasingly referencing the good old days. That's a major problem because advertising dollars are generally bet on the future.
Daytime programming appears highly-likely to exist in some form indefinitely. However, a splintered TV market, an aging audience and the younger generation's overwhelming preference for any computer-connected device have already combined to create the ultimate cliffhanger question: How long will the major TV networks allow traditional soap operas to remain available?