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Greetings friends, here is next week's column by Michael Logan. It is do

or die time for AW or Sunset Beach (unless we are lucky enough to have Days

hit the road and find another network). The URL for this article is:

A lot of speculation is swirling around AW's fragile condition, given the

way NBC favors the lower rated Sunset Beach. While this article cannot

definitively answer what is going to happen, it does make the future look

very tenuous. I am not going to tell you to write letters or make phone

calls (unless that is something you want to do). But from where I sit,

fandom is going to have to start talking up Another World pretty seriously

now if it is to come out on top. I realize that some fans will do nothing

after the firing of Charles Keating and other select actors. Many long

term viewers have said that the AW we see today deserves to die. Others

will fight like hell. Whatever you do, AW and SuBe's ratings and

demographics performance this summer will probably seal their fate for the

future. UNLESS.... Days departs from the network, and I would honestly be

surprised to see that happen.

I think we can glean a message from the KRON decision to pull Another

World, instead of Sunset Beach, given that SuBe is lower rated. Now KING

television in Seattle is wanting to pull AW too. As you will see in this

article, network ownership of a show is a near "must have" these days,

something I talked about briefly, but I am not at all sure that folks

picked up on. Logan addresses it.

As I close, I want to add one more thought: all the petty backbiting and

name-calling among fandom contributes nothing to the show's stability, but

it certainly contributes to it's isolation. The ridiculous back and forth

sniping is detrimental to building a united strategy to save Another World.

Let me tell you a story. There once was a very large community radio

station in Seattle. One of the best in the country. The activists who

were on the board were more interested in arguing philosophy than making

sure they had the resources to keep operating. Well, when the money ran

out, the station was closed down . To this day, these sanctimonious "holier

cause than thou" activists do not see the damage they did or the part they

played in killing radio station KRAB. They can't see beyond their own

"right" position. If fandom is going to fight for AW, it needs to put the

pettiness aside. And ganglike warfare on chat boards like SOD's AOL, or

media-domain, or on my list, which I finally shut down, site isn't going to

amount to a hill of beans when all is said and done. Here's hoping

maturity may yet prevail.

Tom Freeman





How likely is the cancellation of Another World? The bitter contract

dispute between NBC and its highest-rated soap, Days of Our Lives (reported

here June 20 and still unresolved at press time), has brought to light how

determined and excited the network is to launch a new hipster serial from

former Days writing sensation James Reilly. NBC, now holding nationwide

auditions for Reilly's show, has openly threatened to replace Days with it.

But if the two sides do indeed come to terms, the network's low-rated,

trouble-plagued AW -- recently dropped in San Francisco, the nation's

fifth-largest market -- is rumored to be the show that will get axed. After

weeks of silence on the issue, NBC Daytime senior vice president Susan Lee

is ready to talk.

"It's true that Jimmy's show will probably replace another soap," Lee says.

"This summer's ratings will in some sense be a deciding factor for AW, and

they know it. They need to show us some ratings growth; we need to see

they're on the right track storywise. But I do not think we're asking for

impossible things. I'd like nothing more than to see the show succeed."

That said, Lee and her boss, NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer,

reportedly favor the 19-month-old Sunset Beach -- which NBC co-owns with

Aaron Spelling -- over the 34-year-old Procter & Gamble-owned AW, even

though the former is lower rated. "We want control of our shows. Ownership

is important to us and to our affiliates, especially after what Days did,"

says Lee, referring to the biggest thorn in the current negotiations.

(Columbia TriStar, co-owner of Days with executive producer Ken Corday, is

also airing the soap on DirecTV, an arrangement the furious affiliates want

nixed.) But Lee insists keeping AW and canceling Sunset Beach "is also a

possibility. Ultimately, this is business. [SB] also has to prove itself

with Nielsen this summer."

The audacious, go-for-broke SB (to be reviewed here next week) is not

taking that challenge lying down: On July 24, it'll stage an earthquake

that subsequently triggers a tsunami that overturns a cruise ship carrying

several major characters. (As an added hoot, the captain will be played by

Bernie Kopell of The Love Boat.) AW plans no such theatrics. In fact, some

industry observers believe P&G's recent signing of Leah Laiman -- a

much-hired, much-fired head writer known for leaving soaps worse off than

they were when she was brought in to salvage them -- is the final nail in

the show's coffin. Lee is not among the naysayers. "We are very excited

about Leah's ideas," she says. "Her approach makes me feel we can get the

show back to what it used to be and create new lifeblood." Is she seeing AW

through rose-colored glasses because she might be forced to renew it if she

loses Days? "No way in hell," says the exec. "I truly believe we can

resurrect it."

Here's another email from Tom that I got on July 29th

I received an interesting bit of information from a soap press representative. I asked when was NBC going to take charge, admit the mistakes that were made in all these firings, rehire Charles Keating, and do SOMETHING about the incompetent Charlotte Savitz. The reporter told me that he had meetings at NBC the same day he got my email and he said that NBC is as fed up as we are (re: Charlotte Savitz). He said that it is odd because until just recently, NBC was still defending her. It sounds like NBC has decided... FINALLY... that Ms. Savitz is a major liability. It also seems that Savitz was the one who made the decision to fire Keating, but obviously NBC acquiesed on that. Of course Savitz works for P&G now, so NBC cannot out and out fire her. NBC's power is in license negotiation, and they can play major hardball then. I am left with the sense that something major is afoot here, and it may be premature to count AW out yet. It is still very plausible that NBC will sever ties with Days over the pay-for-view deal they set up. The network clearly favors Sunset Beach, but a 2.5 ratings in a declining broadcast audience is a lot better than to start over and hope to build a whole new audience. The network could decide that AW is indeed able to be resurrected, with new leadership at the helm. Regardless of whether AW survives or not, I am left with the feeling (and yes this is conjecture on my part) that Charlotte Savitz's days with the soap are numbered. Having said that, I am going to write Ohlmeyer and Lee and URGE them to replace Savitz and rehire Keating, and get AW back on track. The approach I am suggesting is one of fan reconciliation. Bring back Keating, give significant story to the show's veterans, build stability, and disgruntled fans will return. I think it is worth a try. Any thoughts? (And I know that TPTB seem to not listen, but our cards and letters, coupled with the ratings hemmoraging that happened after the Keating firing suggests that they are at least aware of how disgruntled the core audience has become). Tom

Another Email from Tom

The Ratings for July 20 -24th shows that both Another World and Days of Our Lives held steady in their ratings. Days was still in second place at 4.8 but is now tied at that position with The Bold and the Beautiful. Another World is at 2.4 and is in 9th place. However, last place Sunset Beach jumped .3 to 2.2 and now is in a virtual dead heat with AW. Also Port Charles jumped .3 to 2.3, so there is a tight 2.4, 2.3, an 2.2 for the bottom three daytime dramas (two on NBC and fighting for their future; one on ABC). A friend "in the know" sent me the following analysis in response to my question of whether the incompetent Charlotte Savitz was on her way out... "I'm also afraid that the show is on its way out too. The ominous sign is not only that last week's ratings for Sunset Beach soared to 2.2 but that for the week - the demographics for the show (which NBC keeps crowing about) show went up 66% for female teens, 25% for women l8-34, and l3% for all viewers. In NY, the show did an incredible 3.4 - up 60% from same week last year." Tom adds: [In other words folks, the demographics for Sunset Beach are spectacular for a network who can sell more advertising based more on the type of people who are watching than just the number of people who are watching. Sunset Beach is proving that is has the lucrative female 18-49 market, plus a key element in a program's future: demonstrated growth in numbers and continued growth potential.] "There is no way that NBC is going to pick AW over Sunset to save at this point ---- and the decision could very well be made within 4 to 6 weeks - at the very time Sunset may be on its greatest surge. It is very, very ominous indeed." On TV Guide's "Rant and Rave" section, (forwarded to me by Linda Cooper), Jonathan Reiner says: "Someone - anyone - needs to take responsibility for AW's steady decline in quality & ratings! " At this point, I wish I could offer some words of wisdom that would translate into a sign that AW is in a strong position for renewal. It is really hard to imagine how the show can turn itself around in a very short period of time and regain crucial audience. At this point, the only hope that I personally see is that the Days negotiation continues to falter, and Columbia Tristar decides to syndicate the show independently of NBC or to offer it to another network, perhaps FOX? If Days leaves NBC, AW would survive by default, and it would buy the show additional time to replace Charlotte Savitz and attempt to repair the damage she has done to the program. This would require TPTB to admit a mistake and move to re-hire Charles Keating (assuming he would even be willing to return), and other beloved cast members who have been dumped in the past years. Because of my loyalty to Linda Dano, Stephen Schnetzter, Anna Stuart and Victoria Wyndham, I want AW to survive and thrive (although I am sure these fine actors will be able to find work in other venues within the genre or other elements of the entertainment industry). For those who have totally given up on AW because of the Keating firing, I strongly urge you to write Susan Lee (Senior Vice-President NBC Daytime) and Don Ohlmeyer (President NBC West Coast) and let them know that you are willing to watch once again should Keating return. It is really all I can suggest at this point. The rest of you should continue to write letters urging that AW be spared. It may not be much; it may not be enough, but it is all we have. Additionally, I would continue to fill the nbc AW email account with messages of support: Since Savitz is now an employee of Procter and Gamble, only they have the ultimate hiring and firing authority. Good luck... Tom Freeman

Here, once again, are key addresses:
Susan Lee (NBC)
Senior Vice-President - Daytime Programming
3000 West Alameda
Burbank, CA 91523

Don Ohlmeyer (NBC)
NBC President - West Coast
3000 West Alameda
Burbank, CA 91523

Mary-Alice Dwyer Dobbin (Procter and Gamble)
Executive in Charge of Production
Another World
c/o DMB&B
79 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016