The Daytime TV community was set to unite on Friday, June 16, 2023, in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the 50th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Instead, in light of the Kudo-fest being postponed, soap opera actors joined daytime drama writers on the picket line outside of TV City in Hollywood where The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful tape.
Soap Opera Actors: Why They Came Together
“This was supposed to be the day of the Daytime Emmys,” Brent Boyd, a former Y&R writer, who is now the show’s script editor, told Soap Hub. Boyd quips: “We would have all rather been dressed and be complaining about whoever won for Best Writing…but it seems better if we gather here in a show of unity and solidarity.”
Soap opera writers walking the picket line included Sally Susman Morina, former head writer of The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, and creator of canceled soap Generations, Sara A. Bibel, a former Y&R writer, Dave Rupel, a writer for General Hospital, Mellinda Hensley, a former Y&R writer, and primetime serial/daytime writer Lisa Seidman, most recently of GH.
Shortly after Friday’s soap opera-themed strike, news broke that the actors on daytime dramas will not go on strike if and when other members of the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA do.
What Writers Want
“You must have heard that three of the [soap operas] have eliminated their breakdown writers,” Seidman said. The veteran scribe of such shows as Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Guiding Light, Sunset Beach, and other programs says that shows may think that they’re saving money by not having breakdown writers, but they “are adding more [work] to script writers and head writers. When are head writers [who now are writing outlines] going to have time to come up with long-term stories? We’re upset about that.”
Seidman shared that she asked a Writers Guild of America (WGA) representative to put on the renegotiation table that those breakdown writers’ positions be re-instated. “She said that is on the table,” Seidman happily says.
Boyd says he’s looking to the future in terms of soap opera writers being protected and valued. “When all the shows move to streaming, like DAYS has done, we want to be sure that we have the same protections that the guild has fought [for us to have on broadcast],” Boyd explains. “We want [those protections] to apply to streaming. Right now…they don’t.”
Rupel, who has a background in reality TV as the former executive producer of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, says it’s important for writers to be active on shows beyond coming up with scripts. “One of the key [strike] issues is the length of employment,” Rupel says. “Writers need to be there for casting, be on set for shooting, and editing. [Producers] just want to pay writers to write — not be there [for other aspects]. But that’s how you create the future generations of showrunners and producers.”
Writers & Soap Opera Actors Support WGA
Writers who aren’t working in the soap genre but are fans of it came to the picket line to support the serials. “I’ve been watching soaps since I was four years old,” says Des Moran, a writer most recently at the Hulu series Tiny Beautiful Things, says, “I’m a huge fan of the writers, how hard they work, and what they do. They’re the hardest working writers out there.”
The picketing scribes also received support from Y&R actors Kate Linder (Esther), Jason Thompson (Billy), Michelle Stafford (Phyllis), and Eileen Davidson (Ashley). “I support our writers, and I am so supportive of our show,” Linder says. “We’re all in this together. I’m looking forward to a resolution very, very soon.”