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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!


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.


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.


He is so full of shit, the whites of his eyes must be brown.

And yeah, "the chew"? Ugh, that name turns my stomach.


Just UGH!

This is just awful-who needs another talk show/reality show on diet and exercise PLEASE-WHAT MORONS.

The CHEW. Rhymes with The View. I think it's kinda catchy. Too bad Susan Lucci can't guest on it. She is so busy:

Susan on GMA last week: "I’ve just been given my schedule into next year, and there’s a really hot story line.”

Yeah, I think we now know what it is.....

You're so right. Why is this man still employed? The problem with soaps (I only watch GH) is the horrific writing and producing. No one (and I assume this is Mr. Frons' job) figured out that due to first VCRs and now DVRs viewing habits have changed. The pacing of the stories should have changed. It shouldn't take 4 days to move 12 hours so you can make sure the people who only watch 2 days a week can keep up.

There's been little attempt to capture younger viewers. Michael begging to become a gangster is not exactly the kind of stuff people relate to or dream about.

It's just a matter of time until GH goes as well.

When I first read The Chew I thought it had something to do with Chewbacca. It's a terrible name, just terrible.

I don't watch either show, but I am sad for what it means for the future of soap operas. What's that, four soaps cancelled in the last few years? That's not good at all.

Of course on TLC s enough. But we also have OWN, Food Network, Cooking Chanel, Travel Channel, Bravo, E, Style, Wow, DIY, HGTV, Learning Channel, Discovery, HLN, GSN, Science Chanel, Animal Plnet, Martha Stewart etc.... Etc.... Etc.....

It just further proves Frons is a giant fraud with no talent! Instead of reinventing and reinvigorating daytime drama which would have been the real innovation and possible fiscal success!!!!! He helped smother it to death and then covered his ass and kept his job.

Anne Sweeney and ABC are simply looking for cheap trashy quick fixes. Fuck them and Fuck Disney. The only thing i'll be CHEWING is more NOVELS!!!!! Scripted TV drama is gonna die off in prime time too. It has already suffered huge cuts for all this "reality" programming.

As occasionally amusing as catty juvenile housewives can be, I'd watch Viki or Erica or Alan Q 100times over that shlock.

I'm sad. I am truly going to miss the Pine Valley and Llanview we all shared.

He comes in to guide the soaps and instead, oversees a long term and continuous decline in ratings, a drop off in quality (which, if he paid the least bit of attention to fans would have noted), turns off the network dedicated to them, and then cancels two of the three in his care BECAUSE HE HELPED GUIDE THEM INTO THE GROUND.

And now he's so proud of himself for these new programs that - let's face it - we all know won't last 1/3 of the run of these shows he's actively shuffled off to the pasture.

He was hired to do a job and FAILED miserably. And the result of his failure - countless cast and crew are without a job and 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. He failed. They lose their jobs. He keeps his.


Bittersweet, Frons? I get the bitter. Where does the sweet come in? Y & R still has respectable ratings--not as much as in the past, but respectable, and CBS does not own the licensing as ABC does. Apparently Y & R is still able to make a profit. This tells me there is still a market for soaps--but the product needs to be better. But you will never be able to make a soap for the money you make a reality show, so even with the same or lesser ratings, the reality show will be more profitable. So we are screwed. Disney overall makes money hand over fist--money that they get from us--at their movies, theme parks, merchandise, etc. Well, they have gotten their last dollar from me. I am boycotting all ABC and Disney from now on. They have no respect for their customers and no I no longer have any respect for them. Frons is the lowest of the low--and Sweeney along with him.

To quote the feck awesome Cathleen Hickland on Twitter today (Honestly her furror over this is just win...go read her feed if you all haven't) "Since Brian Frons has killed every show he's touched, can we now call him a serial killer?"

What a lying, conceited, ignorant piece of poop that guy, Brian Frons, is!! He engineered this by pulling the rug out from under the ABC soaps...No Super Soaps weekend, no Broadway Cares, not carrying the Emmys, canceling Soapnet. He forced people to move to California, upset their lives and families knowing that this was in the works. How about making Susan Lucci look like a real idiot in the press denying the "rumor" of the show's cancellation.

I can't imagine that Frons contacted any reasonable group of people about what they wanted to see on daytime. Maybe he spoke to one person. That is the kind of thorough research this jerk does. I hope that his whole schedule flops. "The Chew". I can just imagine this show...NOT!!! I won't be tuning into any of it. ABC has lost me with their duplicity.

Please show your support for our shows and join my Facebook page dedicated to saving them: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-All-My-Children-and-One-Life-to-Live/193328697378628

The only person Frons spoke to is his own image in the mirror, as he models the used thongs he steals from Cam Mat's wardrobe. All while he's putting on the make up he's stolen from Rebecca Budig's dressing room.

Or perhaps he speaks to his mother, who lives in the basement at the Bates Motel. Probably not, though. I assume she's pissed at him too.

Frons isn't qualified to be a fast food clerk, much less the head of daytime. I don't know of a better example of someone who has been elevated past his level of expertise, unless it's HIS boss, Sweeney.

The shows didn't die, they were killed. And OLTL was currently as good as it gets.

I despise this moron, and all his minions.

Did you hear that the network didn't even have the DECENCY to alert the actors before the media was informed? How low can you go?

I wish that this meant the writers of AMC and OLTL would go over and help out GH. I've long believed that part of what caused the horrible quality in all of daytime was budget cuts that among other things meant overworking the writing staff. Bigger staff means less for each to do, which I think would allow for more creativity and continuity. I wish that these two senseless soap opera deaths meant that there was a line in the sand and that ABCD would be able to reinforce what's left and grow from there. But it's not. BF is just killing shows to go the cheaper, easier route. And now all we have to look forward to in this once great genre... is to see which will be the last show standing.

I feel for the actors, specially the legendary ones. this is really sad and a true sad ending 2 legendary soaps.

OMG its horrible, these shows have been on 40 years and i know had a huge following. Its really scary the break down of America and pop culture all scripted comedies and shows are slowly dying i cant stand all these cooking shows and life style changing shows its sickening

Brian Frons got what he wanted and for the life of me I don't understand how this man still has a job as head of ABC Daytime. It was his interference in the writing, hiring soap killer hack head writers, moving the show to California and losing two beloved leading actors, David Canary and Thorsten Kaye, that contributed to losing viewers on a daily basis.

Yes, Mallory we are guilty of criticizing the writing and shouting how bad the shows have become, especially AMC, but we did it because we CARED. We cared about the genre and we cared about the cast and the characters we grew to love. Our criticism had a purpose.....to improve the ratings and get back a lost audience. However, our voices fell on deaf ears and no one at ABC Daytime listened.

Now they will have their "Chew" ( what a horrible name), but they will not have me and I'm sure I will not be alone. I hate reality shows with a passion and Rachel Raye and The View are enough for me. I will enjoy two free hours to leave the house and go shopping. I hope that Frons and ABCD choke on their Chew!!!!

Here's hoping TK will grace our screens one more time to reunite Team Slater. That's #1 on my wish list. As for Fronsie, he's not fooling us- everyone knows he's been pushing this for yrs - trying to get AMC canceled & he's prob rubbing his hands together tonite in glee.
I won't be watching his new crap & I also plan to boycott ABC as much as possible, as well as Disney & I hope Frons can sleep at nite.

I remember when the last four soaps were canceled. The only one I watched was Guiding Light. I remember being sad, but I don't remember being this angry, and I think a lot of that has to do with my perception of how it was handled.

I don't remember a lot of the details surrounding other cancellations, but I don't think that the casts were made to move cross country when their boss clearly knew they would be fired. Pretty sure the they weren't advised by a producer that the "the cancellation rumors are just that -- rumors" just three weeks before finding out after the press that they were fired.

How is Frons sleeping tonight?

Word is that if the higher ups had their way GH would have been canceled as well, but it won't be around much longer.

Unbelievable. Lisa LoCicerogh tweeted that she was having lunch with her husband at ABC when the cast of AMC started filing in. She thought it was a fan event. Yeah, it was an event all right. A big stick up the asses of the cast and crew of two daytime talk shows. A big swinging axe to their heads just MINUTES before it was announced to the press.

I refuse to say the names of those two RIDICULOUS "lifestyle" shows (who's fucking lifestyle?) Just what we need. More food and self help. Why not have one about cake since we only have 437 shows dedicated to cake or cupcakes?

I call those shows "The Spew" and "The Revulsion." You can also substitute:

The Poo
The Loo
The Snooze

The Revolting
The Disillusioned

Frons isn't qualified to run a friggin' lemonade stand. He'd probably piss in the cups and add ice because it's cheaper than buying real lemons. What a complete and utter douchebag.

Really, start thinking about the jobs that are going, and NOT just at the shows (which is sickening, gut wrenching and sad). ABC Soaps in Depth? Guess it's just GH in Depth now, and let's face it, how deep has GH been in the past 10 years? I have a soap column, and two of the three shows I really watched to write for it are now gone. I guess it's just the GH column now, or I'll have to start watching the other three that are left - at least until they are axed, too.

You know GH is next. They'll see how The Gnaw and The Ridiculous goes, and if they succeed in ANY measure, they'll add The Joy or The Sublime or some other RIDONKULOUS nonsense.

Why bring in a new head writer at AMC just seven days ago?? Did he know he was coming in to write the last five months of the show??

It's just infuriating on 100 different levels.

Fuck you, Frons. Fuck you.

I've been curious about "Eastenders" and the like for years, but never had time to invest in foreign shows (I've watched AMC, OLTL, Days, GH, and Y&R pretty heavily) until now. I suspect I'll be finding time in my schedule very soon. One thing's for certain: I don't watch "The View" and I sure as hell don't want to watch "The Chew."

Frons is a ass

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...

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