BY TRACY PFEIFFER
ANCHOR ALEX HOLLEY
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Is it really the end? Soap operas are famous for resurrecting characters over and over again -- but after an official announcement from ABC, it seems two daytime stories are nearing their permanent demise.
“After 41 seasons, ABC is killing off ‘All My Children.’ The last episode will air in September. Also nearing the end of its life is ‘One Life to Live.’ It’ll stay on the air until January of 2012.” (CBS)
Entertainment analysts are calling it the end of the soap opera genre --and an ABC report on Pennsylvania’s WHTM explains why the network pulled the plug.
REPORTER, VOICE OVER: “The network blamed low ratings. Women, who made up much of the audience, returned to the workforce. And daytime viewer ratings have changed.”
ABC says it’ll replace the soaps with two reality shows called “The Chew” and “The Revolution.” “The Chew” will feature celebrity chefs talking about cooking and nutrition, while “The Revolution” will focus on personal weight loss stories.(Video: ABC)
But The New York Times’ Media Decoder suspects there’s more going on than the network admits.
“ABC emphasized that this was the type of programming daytime viewers had come to expect, citing its hit talk show ‘The View.’ But the new shows are also far less expensive to produce than daily dramas, which employ costly actors, directors and writers. The dramas also require editing, set design, costuming and other costs.”
A writer for TIME gives the ‘programming change’ idea more credit, arguing, reality television shows are becoming more and more like soap operas anyway.
“The Real Housewives, for instance, may not be competing directly … but even if not, they compete for the same mindspace. They offer a similar kind of serial storytelling, personal intrigue and schadenfreude—as do, say, the off-screen tabloid narratives of the likes of Kate Gosselin or the Kardashians.”
A blogger for NPR acknowledges soap operas seem outdated in a television landscape where shows typically last only six or seven seasons -- but argues, there are still some who will be truly heartbroken by the news.
“There are people … who have watched the same thing every afternoon for 40 years. They've grown up, had kids, maybe had grandkids, and they've been watching these shows the whole time. That's viewer loyalty of a kind that's extremely rare in the zillion-outlet, zillion-show, watch-everything-whenever landscape we have now.”
The cancellation means ABC and NBC have only one daytime soap left. CBS currently has two.
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