Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Were 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' Canceled?

Why Were 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' Canceled?

by Michael Maloney

Combined, 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' cover more than 80 years of television and boast legions of fans, but that didn't stop ABC from announcing yesterday that the two Agnes Nixon–created soap operas will be leaving the airwaves. 'AMC' will exit in September, and 'OLTL' will air its final episode next January.

It's impossible to imagine daytime TV without Erica, Tad, Viki, Dorian and Bo, but that's exactly what we're going to have to get used to.

Why are these beloved programs leaving us? AOL TV spoke to daytime talent manager Michael Bruno, known for his Simon Cowell–esque comments as a judge on the defunct SOAPnet reality series 'I Wanna Be a Soap Star,' for some insight.

Bruno, who put stars Rebecca Budig and Bobbie Eakes on 'AMC' and currently represents Ricky Paull Goldin ('AMC') and Austin Peck ('OLTL), speaks candidly about what this loss is going to mean to the fans and to the people who work on these programs.

Why were 'AMC' and 'OLTL' canceled?
The bottom line is if they were making money and if more people were watching you wouldn't be doing this story. These shows have been on for over 40 years each. (Beat.) Things come to an end. The problem is that these shows were the only place in show business where it was like working at Prudential. It's really throwing people. I have had so many calls and emails. People are like, "I can't believe it." Even if you never watched a soap opera you knew that 'All My Children' is a soap opera. People know the names "Susan Lucci" and "Erica Kane."

Can you describe the impact of the simultaneous cancellation?
This isn't like when a few nighttime shows are canceled or not renewed. Nighttime shows come on once a week for four or five years. These shows have been on five days a week, 52 weeks a year for over 40 years. These shows are part of people's families. It's like a death in the family. People are really upset. People are emailing, Tweeting and calling. They need to connect over this. Hundreds of people who work on these shows are being affected in terms of their livelihoods. This also greatly affects all of the people who feel that these shows and these characters are part of their families.

In some ways, looking back, we knew that [canceled soaps] 'As the World Turns' and 'Guiding Light' might go because they were "older." But ABC owns their shows and their soaps are considered "younger." This is a big shock. People have been saying that daytime is dying for ten years and yet for a long time nothing [like this] happened and now it is.

Why is 'General Hospital' the surviving soap opera on 'ABC?'
They must think it's more solid. It's already Los Angeles-based [where studio space can be cheaper to rent.] They think there's still mileage in it.

What will the Daytime Emmys (set to air on CBS on June 19) be like?
Bittersweet. We should all have one hell of a party because it may be the last time we see people. The only positive thing that could possibly come from this is that the four remaining soaps ['The Young and the Restless,' 'The Bold and the Beautiful,' 'GH' and 'Days of our Lives'] now know more than ever that they may not be here forever so they have to bring their A-game in terms of acting, writing and producing every single day.

Any theories on how the stories on each show will conclude?
I think we'll see more favorites come back to give the viewers closure. It says something that ['AMC'] has brought back [revered head writer] Lorraine Broderick to write the show.

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