Michael Muhney’s removal from ‘The Young and the Restless’ stunned the entertainment world. But, through that still-unexplained scenario something undeniable emerged. Fans of that charismatic actor became part of the story, using social media power to take their place in an evolving real-life script.
Elvis, Jimmy Buffet, the Grateful Dead, among many other old-school musical inspirations, influenced followers who were sometimes referred to as groupies. Branding separate legions with a dismissive moniker was a mistake then, as it would be now. Ignoring that collective power, well, that’s not something any sharp manager would do in any show business era.
Soap operas, like sports teams, were followed with pointed fervor in the past. A team, instead of an individual, ruled. The author of these words will never know what lies within the hearts and minds of modern soap opera fans. However, he’s sure that their collectively loyal story deserves to be told by those who reside in cyberspace.
In today’s world, the power of the internet makes it easy to select single stars. Digital connections with fellow fans are instantly made, the gathered group grows and new icons trend above the fold. But, make no mistake, whoever is lauded needs to be great, not just good enough. That undefinable ‘it’ element establishes, maintains and sustains approved admiration.
While the point is subjective, it can easily be argued that Muhney’s YR run (2009-2014) ranks among the best of any single actor on daytime’s currently shrinking stage. His presence helped to reverse a declining ratings’ trend line within the genre itself. And then, one day, he was gone?
Demographics are often used to calculate who’s watching what. Yet, those numbers often underestimate emotional investments devoted fans make in the medium.
Whether Muhney somehow reprises his indelible ‘Adam Newman’ role, signs a contract with another soap or is enticed to act again outside the daytime world, one overriding point remains. This actor electrified a large segment of the audience and he’s sustained, or has even grown, that group since being let go from CBS’ top daytime show.
Considering the state of the genre, any soap opera that’s able to secure his services seems likely to rule daytime for awhile. It’s also possible that specific show could eventually be left standing as the final dramatic act on any traditional network’s stage.