R277, I do get passionate about these shows because yes, they were handed down.
We probably more agree than disagree.
I'm not asking actors to work for free but EPs setting out to kill these shows or not isn't the point; for example, Goutman could have been the bigger man, taken Noelle Beck up on her offer to step down as Lily, picked up the phone, called Byrne and said, 'please come back for the fans.' I think she would have if Goutman had met her halfway.
Even the 'bible of the industry' wrote that watching Hensley and Beck was like watching Holden and TRISHA FROM LOVING.
And yes, it would have been nice to give Lisa a happy ending; that is my point. I'm not saying giving Lisa more story would have saved the show. We've all seen soaps go off the air. Some have more satisfying endings. But it would have taken ONE scene to give Lisa that ending and nobody there thought to do it, but instead Janet Spaghetti got tons of airtime that sucked up the show.
The EDGE gang was left in the middle of a mystery, Beth and Miles happily married, Mike springing into action with Nancy by his side and Sky and Raven sharing a passionate kiss. It sucked watching that show leave but viewers were left satisfied.
The Ryan clan gathered to wish Jack and Leigh a happy life -- and Kate Mulgrew (I'm sure she didn't need the AFTRA minimum they paid her) literally got on the phone to do a call from heaven. Sure, heaven sounded like a phone call but it gave us Jack and Mary one last time.
AW, I suppose, satisfied some viewers by getting Carl back; as for taking the time to explain things to newer viewers by telling us who Russ was, well, that's also kind of my point. If they hadn't let the Matthews clan dissolve, then maybe the show might have lasted into the 2000s.
Bob ending ATWT with 'good night' was a nod to the show's opening...they didn't have to explain that; it just stood on its own. Those who knew that's how it all began knew.
GL -- God Bless Jill Hurst -- gave us the four Muskateers (sp?) together, Ed and Holly reunited (fitting; Roger and Maureen were gone...) Bud and Reva riding off into the sunset...always.... they even took time to give us happy endings for Blake and Frank and Alex and Fletcher.
I think you have to start with good storytelling; this genre died, in a way, when Doug died. Bill and Aggie dying nailed the lid shut. Soaps do very well on streaming platforms and network dot coms so there IS still an audience out there.
One thing ATWT did towards the end that I loved was having Bryggman bring John Dixon back; Kathy Hays' Kim BLASTED Katie, telling her to stand by Chris or get out...brilliant. THIS was my ATWT; what had become of the show in recent years? ATWT had been infected by the cast of Port Charles and the show was unrecognizable. There was Pinson, Lindstrom, Shriner, Wilson, even Herring and Stuart Damon, briefly. Was it nice to see these folks? Sure. I guess. But I'd rather have seen some of Doug's classic characters instead.
I don't believe the EPs out to kill shows but they sure do a good job of making people think that; firing Bryce as Craig? Grant as Phillip? It's like they were asking people not to watch. You love these guys? They're gone. And then, they're shocked when the numbers fall. It's not rocket science.
What those shows needed were strong network execs/execs in charge of production who would step in and make sure show runners didn't run them into the ground. In the original Ryan's Hope long term Frank was supposed to be killed; a network exec sent Labine a note: "what if Frank lives?" that was it. not an order. Just asked her to consider it. She did.
I could go on. Someday someone will write a detailed book about this and every ego-driven exec will say it was socio-economic downward spirals, blah blah, women in the workforce, blah, blah, kids and phones and computers blah blah; not one of them will say: we fucked with the audience and they walked out on us.
End of rant. (For now.)