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« Check In With Me Later, Weeping In A Corner | Main | Oh, For Jason's Sake! »

April 14, 2011

All My...Sadness. And Anger.

I've lost count of how many times I've received a comment with some variation of the phrase "If you hate the show so much, why don't you just stop watching?" (not that I was actually keeping count, although such a bizarre tally is up my alley) and it always baffled me and Becca during our days as fledgling soap bloggers.

"They think we HATE soaps."
"We don't hate them at all! Where on earth would they get that impression?"
"I don't know. Maybe because we post obsessively detailed screeds about what we don't like."
"Yeah, on a daily basis."
"And we've actually said 'I hate this effing show'."
"I guess, but still...people are really reading into things!"

Because I don't hate soaps. Obviously, I hate some (many) (most?) (I'm not helping my own case here, am I?) soap storylines, and characters, and decisions writers and producers have made over the years; I'm only human. And yes, I mock...and rant...and get angry (again with digging myself deeper. Remind me not to take the witness stand, should I ever find myself on trial!) but it's less out of hate and more out of...disappointment. You know? I feel like a stern teacher watching a bright student fail because they didn't do the homework. Or Tyra Banks, when she sees that her favorite wannabe model can't take a decent picture to save her life. "You're better than this [failing grade] [dead-eyed photo] [ridiculous and implausible plot twist]!"

And the thought of not watching never crossed my mind. Not just because it's my job, but because I can't imagine not knowing what's happening with Robin Scorpio, or Sami Brady, or Erica Kane!

Unfortunately, what's happening with Erica Kane is cancellation: in one fell swoop, ABC Daytime axed All My Children and One Life to Live to make room for two new lifestyle shows. I'm not usually at a loss for words, but I don't really even know what to say. I've been trying to write for a while, about when I first started watching and loving AMC. Or make a list of a handful of my favorite AMC moments and couples, either that I got to watch as they happened or discovered years after the fact and still love. But the words are just not coming. I can't imagine that, in just a few months, we won't have Erica and Kendall, and Tad and Angie, and other characters that I've grown to love over the years and characters that I've...never liked, but have still gotten used to seeing five times a week! I like my routine, okay? And part of my daily routine is creating new turns of phrase to describe the horror that is Ryan Lavery.

It's truly the end of an era and I am just...so sad.  

And it's doubly sad and also fucking enraging that Brian Frons still has a job.

First of all, the shows replacing AMC and OLTL? The Revolution and The Chew. SAY THAT OUT LOUD: THE CHEW. Did you just turn bright red and look over your shoulder to make sure nobody heard you say that? Because OMFG, that is just epically lame. The Chew! I ask you.

Here's what two iconic programs were canned for:

The Chew will be produced by Gordon Elliot (Paula Deen’s Home Cooking) and is a one-hour series that enables viewers to “get the dish” on anything and everything related to the world of food and beyond.  Hosts will include Mario Batali (Iron Chef America), entertaining expert Clinton Kelly (What Not to Wear), Carla Hall (Top Chef), Michael Symon (Iron Chef America), and nutrition expert Daphne Oz.

The Revolution, from Executive Producer JD Roth and 3 Ball Productions (The Biggest Loser), will be a daily show about health and lifestyle transformations. The show is hosted by a team of experts and rotating guest contributors and will feature a “unique concept.” ABC says: “Each week one woman’s five-month weight loss journey will unfold in just five days, with daily results and a final transformational reveal on Friday.”

Riveting stuff. I love Carla Hall and Tim Gunn, who will be on The Revolution, to no end (they both make me giddy and flail-y) but seriously. Isn't one TLC enough?

Says the Frons:

“We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days. They are telling us there is room for informative, authentic and fun shows that are relatable, offer a wide variety of opinions and focus on ‘real life’ takeaways. A perfect example of this is The View, and that factored into our decision. The Chew and The Revolution are in the same vein and will be great additions to the lineup, with The View serving as an ideal foundation from which to launch these programs. They will also provide enormous opportunity for the creation of ancillary businesses and growth.”

Okay, first of all, REALLY: how do grown, adult people keep saying The Chew and not realize how ridiculous it sounds?!

Secondly: no viewers are telling you that.

Thirdly: The View has been on for, like, fifteen years. How is trying to copy its success a "bold" step? That's like making the "brave" choice to see Titanic. So innovative!

Hate.

He also tried to pretend that he hasn't actively been trying to end these shows for years.

“While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can’t help but recognize how bittersweet the change is...All My Children and One Life to Live are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history,” Frons continued. “Each of the shows has touched millions and millions of viewers and informed the social consciousness. It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary teams who brought the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview to life each day, and we thank the cast, crew, producers and most especially the fans for their commitment to the shows through their history.”

Yeah, I don't see any acting awards in your future, dude, seeing as I could sense your insincerity in a written statement. How smarmy must a person be if I can be repulsed by their words displayed on a computer monitor?

Oh, but he's still talking, again, some more!

"I wanted to do shows that were unusual for daytime," Frons said. "What’s happening now is people are looking for information to make their lives better, they're obsessed about what they eat and they're obsessed with weight," Frons said about going with The Chew and The Revolution, whose titles were chosen to complement ABC's daytime talk show The View, with which they are designed to run in a "block of talk and information that you can build your day around," Frons said.

Yeah, spoiler alert: nobody is going to build their day around that. His simultaneous smugness and cluelessness are off-putting.

And then even more!

Some fans will almost definitely lobby to get these shows back on the air. Is there any way that will happen?
No. We really spent a lot of time learning from our success with "The View," talking to viewers about what they're looking for and we have tremendous respect for the passion of our serial fans. But we're at a point with these two shows, as much as they've done for the network, and as much as we appreciate them -- their time here has come to an end. And we're going to spend our efforts trying to make a success out of the two new shows, "The Chew" and "The Revolution," which are in genres that, as we talk to viewers, they want more of.

STOP SAYING "THE CHEW". SERIOUS SECONDHAND EMBARRASSMENT RIGHT NOW. ALSO, YOU ARE THE WORST.

I feel like I will have more to say, and hopefully will be able to say it more eloquently, once I've processed it a little more, but one thing that I will go on the record as saying right now? All My Children better see the returns of all sorts of iconic cast members or else I will lose it. Okay, ABC? Get David Canary on a plane, like, now, and start bringing people back from the dead so we can get some happy endings. Because if you don't, I...will be really livid on the internet. So you will have two soap deaths and my anger on your conscience.

Comments

I am going to be the voice of discontent here but what did Brian Frons(who I don't like) or Anne Sweeney do that was so wrong. The TV landscape is changing. Primetime has reflected those changes and has evolved over years. And there is more than reality shows on primetime so don't go there.

But I want to ask the soap media something. And I am talking about the you guys too because you write for SOD. Where was the soap media for years calling these shows out, calling out the showrunners and people who are running these shows versus propping and pimping certain characters and actors you like. God love Becky Herbst I adore her but tell me why the call to and celebration for her getting her job back while theses shows continue to get gutted and have for years.

Primetime JOURNALISTS don't sit back, coddling favorite characters and actors to the detriment of shows broadcast. They challenge showrunners to improve or change things and that doesn't mean write for my fave that means well produced and written television.

I read SOD, SOW, Daytime COnfidential, and Nelson Branco, Logan, and not one entity has ever been willing to back off of kissing the arses of the showrunners to challenge them to improve and be better. ALl of these so called journalists act like fangurls not objective jounalists.

I am not so much pointing to this blog because this was starts by fans and your commentary is amusing. I am talkoing about those whe market themselves as legitimate soap journalists but don't have the guts to challenge things in fears they might not get a spoiler or their fave couple or their fave character on screen.

IMO this is not only a failure of the showrunners but the soap media who has continued to coddle these shows when we all KNEW they were on their way down. Perhaps had one journalist out there had the guts to be unbiased it might have started a trend towards pushing these shows to be better and change.

What astonishes me--and this has been alluded to in other posts--is how Frons can speak of this in a sort of "I am an innocent bystander" kind of way, as though this all just happened and he's only the messenger and had nothing to do with it. (As Viki said to Charlie the other day--and I'm paraphrasing from memory but have the essence of it right--"This didn't just happen. People make choices, and you made choices, and you chose to throw our marriage away," and by the way, how great was that, that she finally whooped his self-pitying a**? I'm just sorry that it looks as though Clint is going to let Icko off the hook and allow her lying, trampy a** to leave and have a happy ending after breaking up Viki's marriage. But back to the subject at hand.) AMC and OLTL didn't just die a natural death, Frons: you murdered them. (Love the Catherine Hickland serial killer line, though I've generally reserved that term for Jill Farren Phelps, and isn't it ironic that she's the only EP left standing on Frons's network now?)And it only compounds people's fury and outrage when you act as though you played no part in their death. (And furthermore, for you to talk about how sad it makes you is sort of like murderers attending their victims' funerals and weeping--there just are no words to express the level of revulsion it inspires.)

If Brian Frons had a shred of honor and decency (yes, I know, he doesn't), he'd acknowledge his own responsibility for the "failure" of these two shows and resign. Instead, his incompetence will continue and he will be rewarded with ongoing employment, despite having failed miserably in his job. It's incomprehensible (or should be).

Kelsie, your point is a valid one.While on-line soap bloggers feel free to criticize and praise as needed, print mags devoted to soaps have - outside of their occasional show reviews and end of year roundups - traditionally been supporters of shows. Interviews with head honchos (writers, producers) rarely, if ever, called them out for some really stupid moves. Probably, a lot of that has to do with the need to continue having access to the shows - more than one show has boycotted soap press when they weren't treated with kid gloves.

Personally, I think the soap mags did more harm than good in the long run. The hook of weekday soaps was tuning in to find out what was going on - soap mags telegraphed what was coming up, down to the day.

Soap mags, however, were just part of the issue. The larger issue was the lack of fresh blood and talent in the writing and producing department. The same talent was used over and over again, and much like soil that gets overworked and never fertilized or refreshed, shows dried up and had nothing more to offer. How many times did we watch as writing and producing talent that would lower ratings on a show, get hired at one, two, three or four more shows, repeating the pattern again and again? The soap industry refused to open the doors to let new talent in that might have been able to save the genre. Instead, GH gets the same writer for years who year by year has driven off more and more viewers - not raising ratings, lowering them - and keeps getting his contract renewed.

And let's not overlook the need to only focus on one key demographic, not taking into consideration that it's the OTHER OLDER demographics that actually introduce the coveted younger demos to the shows. You can almost track the steady declines of soaps from the strong advent of this pattern, where older legacy characters where shunted to the background to focus on new, young characters. While young blood is always needed, the shows made the mistake of basically not writing for anyone else. And in turn, you lose your older viewers, you lose the true pathway in which soaps were 'passed on' to younger generations, and shows have declined in overall viewership ever since.

We could go on and on about what brought about the decline in soaps, but it comes down to an industry that became so insular, that it kind of killed itself. And when you have men like Brian Frons who actively helped that process by on the one hand, claiming to be there to help, but on the other, doing nothing to stop the progression towards the edge of the cliff - well, soaps never really had a chance.

I don't know about the soap mags or their websites, and how they covered soaps. I never cared about them and never bothered with them.

But any criticism that is directed at Serial Drama or Eye on Soaps of any site like them is misguided and WRONG.

The reason I LOVE Serial Drama is because they have been fierce advocates of the soaps improving. Their love for the shows, and their unwillingness to compromise with the crap that Frons has made them into makes SD - and EOS - heros in my book.

This site is not an SOC, which never allowed any serious criticism. This site is an example of serious fans using the webe as a forum to demand improvement. The fact that the columnists here are smart and wittier than hell made them more effective.

And this will be another thing we lose because of stunted no-nothings like Frons and Sweeney.

I've been going to all the sites to see the comments; at Abc.go.com, by the time I got there, there were over 2,000 comments, mostly slamming the decision. Here's what I added:

Having watched All My Children from the beginning when I was 5 years old with my mother and grandmother, this news is hard to digest. What saddens me the most is the inane comments from ABC; how their market research shows that viewers want to watch something ridiculous like "The Chew" and "The Revolution" in place of their beloved soaps. I know I will never watch these shows; what does the Food Network and the Cooking Channel exist for? Plus, where is this market research published? That would be quite telling. I can tell you that I am a poster on many soap blogs, and not one person who loves AMC or OLTL has said they would rather watch either of these stupid shows, which I can guarantee will tank in the ratings. If the internet is so big now, why aren't the networks taking into consideration the people who watch online? Also, they never used the numbers from Soap Net, the other network they are tanking in favor of Children's programming (like there's not enough of that out there already). This is a (to quote from Vivien in "Pretty Woman"), "BIG Mistake, HUGE!". I'm not sure I can boycott ABC, but I can tell you that if I watch any of their shows now, it will be online ONLY. I wouldn't waste my time giving them ratings (I'm too huge a fan of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice). At least I have five months to take in that Erica, Jack, Kendall, sometimes Greenlee, Scott, Madison, JR and most of all Tad (the incomparable Michael E. Knight) will be off my screen in September. Oh, and ABC, what happens to all the crew you have working for you - have a forced retirement package in place for them? They are the ones that help the actors bring these beloved characters to life - put that in your annoying hat and smoke it!

Obiviously, this saddens me beyond belief and I'm glad we have some time to get used to it (honestly, I may never). Please, please, please bring back the icons (David Canary, Julia Barr, Cady McClain). I'm really hoping that Lorraine Broderick will be able to do the end of our soap justice - I don't really believe in happily ever after, however, it would be nice to know that she has good plans for them all...

My perfect ending? Greenlee and Leo (or David), Jack and Erica, Bianca happy with someone other than Marissa (hoo boy - that one is dumb), Kendall finding out Zach is alive, Ryan just hanging, JR with not Marissa - oy, I can't even think...

There is nothing "inevitable" about the extinction of soap operas. Can they survive in the totally traditional format of the past? No. But they can (and will, in some form or another, somewhere) still be profitable and relevant. Just some fresh blood, as Mike points out, would help, but really what it needs is some smarts and creativity and willingness to experiment from the execs, who obviously have neither. And, frankly, they're not interested. That's abundantly clear. If Frons really had wanted to save soaps, he would not have acted the way he has. But someone, somewhere is going to figure it out, and Brian Frons will look like even more of a loser than he already does.

Oh, and I love how he gets to do a press tour congratulating himself on the genius of a food show (THE CHEW? Really?), and cracking jokes about putting himself in witness protection. That Brian Frons! Such a witty card! Jackass.

Oh i was just reading the new york post that the soap mags are on the way out they have been bought out by the enquirer and will combine all three SID SOD and SOW also some tween mag called PIxie. The vacant spots on the newstands will be for new Reality show Mags heavily featuring the KArdashians. I am sick

Frons, if you're going to break my heart, the least you could do is not dance on it immediately afterwards.

"Susan Lucci? No thanks. Erika Slezak? Pass. Decades of history, drama and devoted fans? Bo-ring. The Chew? BRILLIANT!!" Asshat.

So, so sad. Both my shows at once. *sob*

I've never even really watched AMC (GH most of my life, a little OLTL in college) but Kelly Ripa talked about the cancellations on LIVE! this morning and showed some clips from her time on the show and I found myself tearing up. Just such a sad thing - 80-some years of history, gone, just like that. So very sad.

Poster Mike said "Brian Frons is beaming like a new father who's just dumped off the two older kids he's tired of dealing with, and picked up his shiny new baby." and I can't think of a better way to describe it. I'm too pissed to be articulate.

I have tried never to wish another person ill because I think it's bad karma, so it hurts me how much I want to wish Brian Frons ill. He ran both AMC and OLTL into the ground by hamstringing the writers from giving the viewers what they really want (decent storylines, no Greenlee/Ryan reunion), instead he forced these 2 shows to cut their budget to the bone, and yet OLTL still managed to be entertaining the past few years (AMC not so much). I now believe hiring Pratt was part of his grand design to kill AMC. Why not move these shows to ABC Family Channel? No one wants to see The Chew or The Revolution, they want quality soaps. Calling GH, the strongest show of the 3 is ludicrous. I still have no idea why his head is so far up Guza's ass. It boggles my mind. I'm heartsick, I've watched AMC since the first grade, and I can't believe that come September, I'll never be able turn on my TV to see what age and weather inappropriate outfit Susan Lucci is wearing or how pretty Alicia Minshew's hair is. Brian Frons can suck it.

I think the question we haven't asked ourselves yet is how this will affect Sonny and Jason. Doesn't it all come down to how everything ever in the world affects them? And isn't that the most important question of all time?

Did anyone catch the Frons interview over on Deadline.com where he says he considered having his own talk show a la Andy Cohen's WATCH WHAT HAPPENS?

How this guy got hired in the first place is beyond me...

http://www.deadline.com/2011/04/abc-daytime-chief-on-why-amc-oltl-were-axed-general-hospital-katie-couric/

ABC and Frons were inspired by those creeps at CBS and Les Moonves, who replaced GL with a game show, and instead of ATWT, we got "The Talk", or as I like to call it, "The Crap" or "The Squawk". Must sign off now to make a voodoo doll of Frons.

I will never watch The Chew or The Regurgitate (my title for Revolution). This was all very dirty and Frons has spread nothing but lies. I believe it was Sarah who mentioned about prime time and I posted it on the other thread...it's just a matter of time before ABC is totally reality shows...it's almost there now on prime time. The scripted shows need to get away from them and move to the cable networks, where they're viewer and show friendly.

Oh! And did everyone see the article where Frons said GH is great in creativity. I nearly choked, would have had I been eating. It's only as good as it is because of the actors.

Alex Trebek | "Answer: The Revolution & The Chew"

brothasoap | "What are two shows I will never watch, Alex"

Here's to hoping both shows pull distaterous ratings thus sending Brian Frons the way of OLTL's Kyle, Fish, Schuyler, Rachel & Carmen LoPorto's Jack Manning; and that fans will flock to the final four thus securing their longevity

I *might* return to Y&R but then , with the loss of Soapnet next year, I'd have no way to keep up with any of the four remaining.

Setting aside soaps and reality TV for a moment, one thing (okay two) things that I see destroying network television are:

1. Lack of diversity and variety. They haven't dumbed Americans down to the point that we all want to watch the same crap. And on every message board, Twitter, Facebook and people I talk to in real life, most of the people are NOT watching the reality shows and are either watching the cable channels (USA, TNT, FX) or reading a book because "There is nothing good on television to watch."

2. For some reason, the entertainment industry only cares about entertaining one segment of the audience. That's why there's so much crap for the teens/young adults. Once you've hit...I think it's 49 now, you're basically redundant in the eyes of the television industry. And I have news for them...when I was in my 20's and this crap started, my favorite shows were Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. A lot of my friends too. So don't give me that crap that that the target audience doesn't want to watch people over that age group.

and 3. (I know, I said 2)

And I said this when they cancelled soap net for toddler programming. We don't need all of this TV programmed for children. Teach them to read! Have them play outside! Stop using the TV as the babysitter and interact! And leave room for programming for the non-MTV age.

I'm sad, engraged, and want to hit Brian Frons in the nuts with a pointy stick. But I doubt any of that will change anything.

I am cautiously optimistic that Lorraine Broderick's return may mean a decent farewell for AMC - if she's, you know, actually allowed to do her job and not feature 7200 hours of Colby and Asher in the interim. We will hopefully see Brooke and Adam, at the very least, and I'd hope for some older characters as well.

I'm somewhat less optimistic about OLTL, but in its defense, it also has given SOME respect and airplay to its vets. Even amid the omnipresent Ford torsos.

This has been coming for a long time. It's been apparent that both Anne Sweeney and Brian Frons wanted to get rid of the ABC soaps as they did nothing to try and improve them. I think I'm beyond sad now. It's such a waste as these shows still had so much potential. RIP, ABC Daytime. You were once THE daytime line-up to watch!

I’m listening to the podcast from Daytime Confidential, and they are eviscerating Frons and Carruthers, and they are calling him out on his lies and his favoritism. They also are holding his feet to the fire for lieing to the cast, basically making fools out of Susan Lucci and RJB who blasted the “rumors” that turned out to be true.

These folks seem to know quite a bit of background about how Frons has stuck his nose into all of the ABC soaps pushing his own agenda, his ageist behavior towards the female vets, and his downright LIES about the “studies” that have been done – they haven’t – and the LIES about the ratings.

It’s very interesting. And the most interesting thing of all is their fury that no-one in the mainstream media will hold Frons or Sweeney accountable for the misstatements, not holding them to their contradictions, and the very visible mismanagement. They pointed out – very vociferiously – how prime time execs have been fired for less.

It’s actually depressing to hear the doublespeak from Frons and Co. that hasn’t been challenged by anyone who could have made a difference.

They talk about that in the podcast, and say that the advertisers made it clear that they PREFER to advertise on soaps, not reality shows, not talk shows, not game shows, because they feel they hit viewers more consistently, because the viewers of soaps are more consistent viewers than the ones who watch the other stuff. According to what they said – and they made good sense – the advertisers have been stiffed as well.

And on another site,it has been said by what seems to be a credible source that because the advertisers aren’t thrilled, they will be paying LESS to run commercials with the new stuff than they do right now. That’s what happened with the GL and ATWT time slots. But the networks feel that is offset by the money they save with cheaper shows.

So, short time gain by Frons and Co. means long-term loss financially. Do the stockholders realize this, or are they lied to as the viewers are? Why do I ask? OF COURSE they are.

I hope that Sweeney and Frons’ next gig is running a potato stand on the Santa Monica pier.

Wat REALLY chapps me about this is that not only does Frons still have a job I'm willing to bet there are CERTAIN actors who will have a job also somewhere he will see to it while all the rest are left to flounder around in this horrible economy and hope for the best!!! These other actors and crew like us deserve better well ABC can get screwed I quit watching the VIEW not long after they killed Zach Slater off I couldn't take anymore of JOY and LIZBETH not even for WHOOPI and I already don't watch ABC nighttime this just makes me so sick and angry....what an ASS!!

I'd be more than happy to show him my Facebook page, the forums I'm on etc. where everyone is saying they are tired of reality shows and they want scripted fare. There's just been a mini explosion on FB because AMC is going to replace some of the classic movies with reality. Really? The name of the channel is AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS. Ugh. And going beyond the actors, crew and soap magazines, if the networks don't soon start listening to what people want, cable and satellite are going to start paying too. After all, no one's going to PAY for programming they don't want. This isn't like the 70's when TV was free...we're paying for this stuff. We should have MORE say not less.

Soap Operas were unique to broadcast networks. I can watch food and informational shows on any cable network I want. Truth is it is cheaper to produce talk shows than soaps. Frons is an ass. Don't talk down to me and tell me that focus groups want more of The View which is horrible. More room on the DVR now.

I feel so sorry for the cast/crew of the shows. No more soaps from NYC-- sad day for actors everywhere. They are being replaced by talk shows and "reality" shows.

Sad day for all of us -- I will miss OLTL and AMC for many reasons

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