In the May 27th issue of Soap Opera Digest on newstands now, SOD's Jennifer Lenhart asks As the World Turns executive producer, Chris Goutman, if fan campaigns or letters have any effect on "how you tell the story?"
"I think the number of fans who write letters and who are online are a very, very, very, very -- may I repeat, very -- small percentage of the actual fan base. What I go on more than anything else is instinct and what I see on the air," repsonded Goutman. "I would hope that my instincts match our constituency. And I think, by and large, it has."
He goes on to reveal that he never goes online, he vaguely looks at the mail reports submitted to him by the show, and that he would recommend that people not bother sending in their comments. When Lenhart states, "it's not going to make a difference?," Goutman replies "not to me."
What's not discussed is if he puts any credence in focus group findings. Regardless, it's clear that Mr. Goutman may be operating in a void. Perhaps not the most wise place to be in this day and age of soap opera production which includes less viewers, lower ratings and mega budget cuts. Perhaps, if he did listen to the fans, more fans would tune in, meaning increased viewership, higher ratings and dare we say it, budget increases? Kinda makes sense to me. With the recent exits of fan favorites Martha Bryne (ex Lily), Scott Bryce (ex Craig) and Grayson McCouch (ex Dusty), and the bruhaha these exits caused, it might behoove Goutman to take off the blinders, wake up and smell the coffee, and start paying attention to the fans.
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