Saturday, May 28, 2011
A couple of articles now from the summer of 1988 after "Dallas" producer David Paulsen came on board to try to salvage "Dynasty" in its upcoming 9th season, which proved to be the fading soap last.
Paulsen talks about the changes he was implementing including casting 3 new supporting characters (2 of which ended up quickly written out), toning down the show's trademark glitz and giving screen time to people "from all walks of life."
Paulsen did have his work cut out for him - ABC moved the show to the ultra-competitive timeslot Thursday nights at 9:00pm that year and the summer hiatus was 7 instead of 4 months (because of the writer's strike).
As much as I loved seeing "The Colbys" star Stephanie Beacham on "Dynasty" and the idea of tapping into the show's back-story was exciting, I really didn't care much for most of the stories that year (Adam's sudden shift to being evil, mishandled exits of Leslie and Dana, a tedious Virginia ("Grace Kelly-like relative" in early outlines) and her contrived connection to Dex, a de-fanged Sammy Jo and her snoozefest romance with the priest, the hokey revelation that Miles and Monica are not Colbys and Jason's out-of-character turning his back on them , etc., etc.)
Yes, the writing in the years leading up to season 9 was bad and needed significant improvement, but the tone and the look of the show in season 9 was wrong for "Dynasty" and it could not have translated into higher ratings - on the contrary, the show lost a third of its audience in the course of the season.
Messing with the show's core formula that turned it into a massive hit in seasons 2-5 (female-centric soap opera built around the troika of Blake-Krystle-Alexis) and losing/reducing several principal (and popular) cast members exacerbated the decline (along with the bad timeslot and lack of promotion, of course).