Remember when US soap operas were must see TV?


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Tony Geary (Luke), Genie Francis (Laura) -- Luke and Laura tie the knot (c) ABCRemember when tuning in to General Hospital or Days of our Lives was absoposotutely must see TV? Like the day Luke and Laura got married on General Hospital (reportedly 30 million viewers tuned in), or the day Tad returned from the dead on All My Children.

As US daytime soap operas dwindle (only The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives, General Hospital and The Young and the Restless currently air in the daytime day part after cancellations of As the World Turns, Guiding Light, All My Children and One Life to Live by CBS and ABC respectively over the last few years), soap operas in other countries proudly continue to engage and enthrall audiences of all ages.

But they are not necessarily of the daytime variety. In England, soaps like EastEnders air in the evening. In Brazil, the extremely popular Avenida Brasil is also a nighttime soap, much in the vein of Revenge in the US.

Speaking of Revenge, we now have quite a crop of primetime soap operas including shows like The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Nashville, The Vampire Diaries, Boardwalk Empire, Suits, White Collar, Copper and others that are attracting quite a following.

But not quite the way Avenida Brasil is viewed in Brazil. The finale of the 200-episode telenovela just about wiped out Brazil's electricity grid.

According to the Associated Press, "Brazil's national electricity grid braced for possible power outages Friday night during the television broadcast of the final chapter of a smash soap opera that enthralled Latin America's biggest country for months.

"Brazil's national electricity grid braced for possible power outages Friday night during the television broadcast of the final chapter of a smash soap opera that enthralled Latin America's biggest country for months.

"The Electric Energy System Operator said that unless energy generating and distributing companies prepared themselves, the country could suffer power outages at the end of ''Avenida Brasil'' — the story of a young woman's vengeance on her nouveau-riche stepmother who abandoned her in a landfill.

"A spokesman said officials feared sudden surges in electricity consumption from millions of viewers switching on living room lights, raiding refrigerators and turning on microwave ovens after the end of the 100-minute episode. The spokesman spoke anonymously in accordance with the agency's policies.

''Telenovelas,'' prime-time soap operas with average runs of 200 episodes, are hugely popular in Brazil, where the plot lines often become front page news and where discussions of the heroes and villains are a major topic of conversation."

Read more on this story at Boston.com

UPDATE:  Saturday, October 20th

Well, the soap ended in Brazil, and the power stayed on!  Phew.  But imagine how popular this telenovela is for the country to worry that their power might crash because everyone would be watching.

US TV execs!  Go get the rights to this show!  It could be the next hit in primetime in America.

You heard it here first!