Sunday, June 16, 2024

ABC Daytime: Now the Audience Replaces the Actors


In the end, Agnes Nixon lives to see her work extinguished by ABC. She’s like the last victim of daytime TV. ABC announced today they’d take the low road and knock off both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” ABC Daytime’s Brian Frons took the cue from CBS and Procter & Gamble, which snuffed “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light” in the last two years.

The era of the soap opera is just about over. Only four shows will remain–“Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” on CBS, “Days of our Lives,” and “General Hospital” on ABC. It’s all being replaced by talk and scripted “reality,” cheap to produce, more inane to watch than a soap, with no redeeming qualities.

The day will come pretty soon when the entire audience will have replaced the actors who were on TV–it’s like breaking the fourth wall entirely. Why watch the show when you can be the show? Fifty years of brand loyalties are being thrown out, too, because the shows that are coming–about cooking and lifestyle–are interchangeable. They’ll be canceled quickly, new ones will take their places, over and over.

The writing was on the wall when ABC announced the end of SoapNet, their cable rerun operation. The network knew then that daytime was about to be scrapped. Moving “All My Children” to Los Angeles and destabilizing the show was the way to erode the audience–just the way CBS hollowed out “Guiding Light” by moving it outdoors into the snow, ice, rain and no studios. Whoever gives these people management advice deserves a gold star.

The silver lining? People will watch less TV in the afternoon. They’ll work, and if they don’t have work they’ll find other things to do. No one watches “The Talk” on CBS, and no one will watch any of this stuff, too. It’s just blather to fill time.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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