Home Television New York Soaps: Fifty Years Comes to an End

ABC’s terrible decision to cancel both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” brings to an end fifty years of soaps in New York. “OLTL” was the last. “AMC” had been moved sixteen months ago to Los Angeles. At one time, they were here along with several Procter & Gamble shows like “Another World” and its spinoffs, as well as “As the World Turns,” “Guiding Light,” and “Edge of Night,” “Search for Tomorrow.” ABC also had “Ryan’s Hope,” “The City,” and “Loving.” There was also “The Doctors” on NBC, from Colgate Palmolive.

Now, like “Playhouse 90” and other relics of early television, they are all gone. It’s a massive blow to the city’s economy and to the casts and crews of all those shows. Daytime dramas were breeding grounds for hundreds of actors who went on to prime time and Broadway. At the same the shows also provided steady incomes to the veteran actors, directors, etc who kept the business going. Soap actors often turned up in Broadway shows, and vice versa: the best acting on soaps came from theater. That’s what made the New York soaps a cut above the ones from Los Angeles.

Even now, soap actors are planted all over Broadway. For example: Michael Park of “As the World Turns” is starring in “How to Succeed in Business.” Kerry Butler, from “One Life to Live,” is a lead in “Catch Me If You Can.” The loss of the soaps, as well as “Law & Order,” isn’t good for New York, and it sure ain’t good for the viewers. Shame on ABC.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is 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.
2 replies to this post
  1. I distinctly remember the way the “Frankie” character was killed off on “Another World.” It was violent and graphic. Can either of these soaps be reconstituted somewhere on cable as a weekly hour long show? How about an Internet version…even if it would be 30 minutes like “Bold and the Beautiful.” I mean, seeing “OLTL” once a week is better than not seeing it at all. Days Of Our Lives might be in the crosshairs next. It’s been on since about 1965. I hope Y & R stays around for a while. After all, it’s the top rated show. But, you never know with these network executives.

  2. I remember my mom watching the Doctors as a child. If I remember correctly, a young Alec Baldwin was on the show. And a young Ray Liotta was on Another World.

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