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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 gave up AMC and OLTL last year after more than 30 years of off again, on again viewing. So, for me, it doesn't change anything. But it is terribly sad.

Frons is an idiot. But I fear that even The Chew (REALLY?) will make more money for ABCD and will actually pull more viewers than the soaps have had recently. Mostly because I fear that many people are happy with this sort of show. They feel as though they are improving themselves or something. They have completely missed out on the unique structure of soaps that unites its viewers with the show into a family unit. Soaps are something that you actually CARE about, not just watch. But ABC, nor any network really, gives a damn if anyone cares. Just that they watch.

This has been coming for years and I wonder how long the few left will last. It is strange to think of witnessing the actual end of an era. It doesn't seem real.

I'm sad. I'm mad. I'm smad.

Find me one person who is intersted in watching The Chew and The Revolution instead of AMC and OLTL. Ever hear of the food network and Bravo for cooking and lifestyle shows. And then to announce the cancellation of both shows to the public before most of the actors on these shows were informed. Now all these actors, production people, and writers are out of a job yet somehow the man responsible for the downfall of abc daytime still has his. These soaps have been around for decades, how long do you think The Chew and The Revolution will be around. I just hope AMC and OLTL can end their show in a way that makes the fans happy.

This makes me want to do like some friends of mine have done and ditch my cable DVR and go to Netflix only. I don't need to sit on my fat butt and watch two more tv shows about food and weight loss when I should be outside working out instead. Maybe I'll save money and lose weight, making me the winner and ABC the loser.

To quote Peter Finch in Network: I'm sick and tired and I'm not going to take it anymore. I've lived thru the cancellations of GL and ATWT, which hurt like hell. I wrote letters and called to no avail. This time I'd like to stand outside of ABC's NY studio, with a picket sign in hand. Maybe on May 2nd? I'm trying to see how many fans would join me on Media Domain. It's been pointed out to me that unless you have a signifcant number of people, it just looks sad and pathetic. What do you think? It's easy for me since I live in NYC. I have grey hair, too, just the demographic they despise, but I'm going. I'm flexible about the day. I'd love suggestions of what my protest sign should say.

Disney is a corporate entity, and the day it took over ABC was the beginning of the end of art on that network. They are only interested in one thing only...MONEY! The shows that have the highest profit margin are the shows that they will carry.

Soaps were only really profitable years ago when there were 3 networks to choose from. Daytime was the realm of the stay-home Mom, and there were soaps on all 3 networks throughout the afternoon. Today, with so many channels to choose from, the available audience is divided into fragments, and no one is getting the numbers that they once had. Advertising revenue is down for the same reason, and that means that expensive shows, like soaps, are less profitable than the cheaper talk shows. Soaps are also partly to blame because the writing has become less relevant and not nearly as creative and engaging as it once was.

Why don't the networks tell it like it is? This has nothing to do with women working or a lack of interest in serialization. The most successful prime time shows are serials, and much viewing now takes place at times when the show is not airing in its time slot. This has to do with a lack of quality and corporate greed.

For years fans have been complaining about the lack of quality on soaps. The stories are depressing. The characters are often immoral. The diversion the audience wants, "Love in the Afternoon", has been replaced by violence, cheap sex and poor writing. There is no pay-off for devoted fans who see the show's history disregarded and characters trashed. It has been a long time since anything resembling a well-written story arc has appeared on GH.

Bob Guza should have been replaced years ago. Jill Phelps should also have been dumped. Fans tried in every way that they could to plead with network executives to make changes before the fans gave up and tuned out. All to no avail.

The truth is that the network didn't want to carry soaps any more. For years they have been pulling out the rug from under the soap industry. No Soapnet. No Super Soap weekend. No Broadway Cares. Not carrying the daytime Emmys. Reducing their budgets. Not making changes. Disrespecting the audience. Firing veteran talent. All these things hastened the day when they could wash their hands of this troublesome genre. How much easier it is to produce a simple talk/cooking show that costs nothing and sweeps in the profits to the corporation!

Instead of producing serial stories that were inspiring, meaningful and educational in a time slot to appeal to an aging audience who will soon be available to see it, this network has decided to direct its programming to the youth market that has clearly shown that it is NOT interested in daytime programming. Does that make any sense? Besides, the people who want to see food shows and reality shows already have ample opportunity to do that on cable networks set up to feed a steady stream of that to the audience.

I truly feel that ABC has made a huge error in judgment on this. The result will effect their entire schedule. There was a lead-in to the evening news that these shows accomplished. There was a network devotion that they simply killed with millions of viewers. I just hope that this is the end of Brian Frons and Anne Sweeney. I think it will be.

That's a very good point you made about network loyalty. I know I had it, and I know I had it because of the soaps.
Because of the soaps I saw the ads for ABC's nighttime shows. Because of the soaps I was far more inclined to tune into their other daytime offerings. Because of the soaps, I was aware of the sponsors. And it made me feel kindly to that particular network. I'm sure the same would have been true if I'd watched the soaps on the other two. But for me, it was ABC - AMC, Ryan's Hope, and finally, OLTL. I actually started watching OLTL because AMC had become so dreadful. And I went to OLTL rather than Y&R because it was on the same network, because I had some familiarity with it because of that.

That loyalty has been replaced with revulsion and now I will actively avoid the network, particularly it's daytime offerings.

I dumped cable a year ago and watch tv exclusively from the internet - YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc. I don't need them anymore than tney need me, and now the feelings are painfully obvious.

What a group of jerks - and short-sighted ones at that.

Frons doesn't give a shit what we think and that ass will sleep like a baby because he has won. He has now ultimately flushed everything good that once was ABC Daytime down the crapper. It's what he wanted all the time. Congrats Frons... you jackass.

I hate cooking shows, and I do not cook! My husband cooks. I detest all things cooking. I'm so pissed off. I just found out about all this.

The Chew? WTF kind of name is that? On another old daytime tv board I used to frequent, the women there referred to The View as "The Pew". So now we have the pew and the chew. Grrreat.

Frons is truly full of shit, and has been working to destroy soaps. He made a comment in an interview that things are changing, blah blah blah, soaps not doing as good.....bull!
I just saw a news blip the other day about how the soaps on Telemundo and other spanish soaps are doing really really well and that their ratings are way up.

I haven't really been this pissed off about the cancellation of a show since they took off Thirtysomething and the writers killed off Gary.

Lord knows why but ABC always always removes programs that fans really love. I hate this so much! I was JUST getting back into OLTL again. It won't be long before GH is gone too. Hate to say it.

Maybe Soapnet will reair all the old reruns from the 70's or 80's. They already run Ryan's Hope, which is kind of fun to watch sometimes.

I don't watch "The View" and I sure as hell don't want to watch "The Chew."

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