The soap opera genre has been struggling for years, but ABC may have dealt it a fatal blow Thursday with the news that All My Children and One Life to Live have been cancelled. All My Children will leave the air in September, while One Life to Live won't die until January 2012.
The news about the 41-year-old AMC has been rumored for weeks, but having it joined on the cancellation list by the 43-year-old OLTL was a surprise. Soaps have been in decline for over a decade; whereas all networks once had multiple serials on in the daytime hours, only four will now remain: General Hospital on ABC, Days of Our Lives on NBC, and The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on CBS.
Network talk shows and various syndicated programs have been edging out soaps, and that appears to be what's happening at ABC. The announcement of the dual cancellations was accompanied by the news of the soap replacements: a food-oriented show to be called The Chew (and while that is meant to rhyme with The View, man what a lousy title), and a fitness-related program called The Revolution. Meanwhile, dozens of actors will lose excellent jobs -- in the cases of people like Erika Slezak, Susan Lucci, and Michael Knight, jobs that have been held for decades. To make matters worse, the cast and crew of AMC uprooted themselves barely over a year ago when production of the show shifted from New York to Hollywood.
Maybe they can all be retrained as reality show contestants?