In one fell swoop today, ABC changed the direction of daytime TV. The network announced the cancellation of iconic soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live, and in the process, scorched the blogosphere with anger viewers.
All My Children, which remains on the air until September 2011, was taped in New York for 39 of its first 41 years.
Children originally was recorded at ABC’s Studio 18 at 101 West 67th St from 1970 to 1990. The soap that made Susan Lucci a household name headed south one block to ABC Studio 23 at 320 West 66th Street. It stayed there until 2009 when production bolted for Los Angeles.
However, One Life to Live, which will leave the air in January 2012, never gave up its New York roots. Thus, there are many staffers that will likely be out of work. OLTL took over Studio 23 when All My Children relocated to California. Prior to that, One Life to Live was at Studio 17 at 56 West 66th Street.
Filling the void will be a pair of reality shows: The Chew, focusing on food from various angles, and The Revolution, a program exploring health and lifestyle transformations.
“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,” said Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney ABC/Television Group. “…All My Children and One Life to Live are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history,” reflected Frons. “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.
“None of this could have been possible without the extraordinary Agnes Nixon. “More than 40 years ago, Agnes Nixon created both the worlds of All My Children and One Life to Live, worlds that the rest of us have been privileged to live in,” said Frons. “Her shows led the way forward, breaking a lot of rules along the way to defy expectations about what soaps can do and the issues they can cover. I am honored to have worked with her.”
General Hospital is left unscathed by today’s developments.
Update: In a statement from the Writers Guild East: “The WGAE is deeply disappointed by ABC’s announcement that both All My Children and One Life to Live will cease production. These groundbreaking shows have provided entertainment and enlightenment to millions of viewers, and have provided good employment to dozens of talented, dedicated writers. We urge the company to reconsider.”