Au Revoir, All My Children and One Life to Live

By Marlena De Lacroix

Last week I had a nightmare that All My Children and One Life to Live were canceled.  And then the bad dream came true.

But before we wallow in our own  grief, let’s take a moment to remember all the jobs that are being lost — and all the acting careers that are now ending.  So many people out of work!  They are the true victims of ABCamc logo Daytime, the reality shows, and our genre that is now collapsing.  The rest of us will just have to knit.

It’s hard to imagine a life without the daytime icons that have filled the histories of All My Children and One Life to Live.  I’ve lived my life with Erica and Viki, and now I’ll never know if they find forever husbands — or lasting happiness.  People like Tad and Blair and Dorian and Bo have been almost lifelong friends and it’s hard to think what life will be like without them.  

Somehow I can’t see myself making lifelong friends with Mario Batali or Tim Gunn.  Imagine, they’ve given us one show that’s about cooking and eating (The Chew) and another about losing weight  (The Revolution.)  Can’ they get it straight? How lovely to be a oltl logowoman – but one that only thinks in frivolous externals?  That’s what ABC thinks today’s women want.  I’m too intelligent for this kind of lite fare – and so, I know, are you.   

The worst part about losing OLTL and AMC is that it is almost like losing our homes.  No matter what I’ve done these last forty years, it was always good to know Pine Valley and Llanview were there for me to burrow into every afternoon.  So many of us plan our days around soap operas — what are we to do with our afternoons now?  What happens to our rocks, our secure and safe places we knew we could always go?

Well, there are some months left on both soap operas, so we can make believe that soaps are, as Agnes Nixon used to call them, worlds without ends.  But as in my nightmare, All My Children and One Life to Live do finally have ends.  What are we going to do without our homes to go to now?  There’s no place like it!

Comments

  1. Esther says:

    Thank you for summing up this incredibly sad news perfectly. It is a dark time for all of us who have loved soap operas.

  2. Norn says:

    The library at Llanfair has always been my Safe Place.

  3. David says:

    Hi Connie…..

    Here we go again…… It seems like only yesterday that the beloved town of Springfield and it’s wonderful residents were taken from us. Then Oakdale and now Pine Valley and Llanview. I just cannot believe that we will now the mourn the loss of two more iconic soaps. A very sad day for the daytime community. And what a blow for dear Agnes Nixon. So many wondrerful membories past and present. I’m still trying to get over the cancellation of GL. It was fantastic that former P&G actors migrated to OLTL. It just seems impossible that NYC will be without soaps!

    I’ve watched OLTL since the 1975 before Edge of Night switched over to ABC. I feel like the residents of Llanview are family to me. The Llanfair set is as familiar to me as any home of my friends or family. I was going to say what my favoite memories are but my mind just can’t seem to settle on a few. Anything with Erika or Robin…. Hillary… and the wonderful Marilyn Chris!

    Though I haven’t been a regular view of AMC for many years now I certainly know what goes on and who the players are. Susan Lucci is a class act. Daytime TV without Erica Kane???

    I hope that we will get a lovely wrap up for both shows. I know that will mean a lot to the fans and the people in front of and behind the cameras. Though not perfect, I was happier with the wrap up of GL than ATWT. I felt that there would be life in Springfield after the final episode and that there was a great sense of community there. With ATWT stories were tied up but I just didn’t get that sense that Oakdale would go on….. and Eileen Fulton was robbed of any scenes with family. In my opinion she was not give here due.

    Can it be that I will be “soapless”?? Can’t imagine picking up GH. There is nothing much left from the old days to go back for. B&B doesn’t seem like”home” to me. Maybe Y&R or Days?? Will I invest in another community to have it ripped away as well??

    I’m looking forward to the OLTL fan club luncheon in August. That will be a nice way to say goodbye…..

    David

  4. David C says:

    Dead on as always but in the last few days, I’ve had tme to think a little more rationally about this, in particular the senseless cancelling of One Life to Live.

    Of all the soaps still on the air,One Life is the only one that’s shown consistently, an upward trend in ratings.Y&R fluctuates but starts with a substantial viewership to begin with so that’s different. One Life is the only show on ABC Daytime that has shown a marked, steady-almost precise step-by-step inching up-since last fall with no reverse evident. By the way, I think it’s the only network daytime show that shows this same trajectory.
    Yes the emotional connections to the characters have made them all seem too real, like members of my own family, but I think there’s another issue at work here.The loss of hundreds of New York-based jobs has already been commented on by the glorious Erika Slezak and I think that decision in itself may be the basis for the wrongheaded Frons/Disney’s decision.
    Is this another step in killing union jobs whenever possible?
    The New York-based union employees of television and motion picture production companies (outside of the actors themselves)have seen the steady loss of the long running Law and Order and all of the other soaps taped there despite efforts to make concessions in order to hold onto their jobs. Now with One Life about to leave the scene, real union jobs will be much more scarce allowing production companies to abuse their power. If the history of labor-management relations remains true, the employer will try to pit union member against union member hoping to get one more ounce of blood from their employees.
    Frons’ consistent rumored bully-type tactics seem to fall well in line with his decision regarding the murder of One Life. Is this act just another message to organized labor that they are no longer wanted?

  5. BL says:

    When the cancellation notice came out you were one of the first people I thought of outside those who work at the shows who are going to be losing their jobs.

    Thinking about how there will be no NYC daytime anymore makes me sick. The community is small, within the unions it must really hurt. Of course, I am heartened reading that Hoover got enough protest messages that they have decided to cancel their advertising on ABC. Even if it doesn’t change anything the fact that enough noise was made for that to be possible amazes me.

  6. DF says:

    I can’t help but think most of Agnes Nixon, who had her two babies canceled on the same day, and how much better shape AMC and OLTL would be in if she had continued to have creative control over her shows. I understand the demographic changes and all the competition for soaps that exist, but heck… I haven’t watched any soaps regularly for many years, and I would be if I enjoyed them more.

    I’ve always felt that ABC soaps started a descent when ABC took over ownership of its shows. Just like the government, TV works best when there is a balance of power.

    When I think of all the wonderful people I’ve met in soap operas, it kills me that so many talented New York-based actors, creative staff and crew are now unemployed with unpromising prospects. They deserve better.

  7. Dee says:

    I really thought that AMC would have a lot more years on the air, given that Susan Lucci was the star and as long as she was on the show, the show would at least have a chance, but as for OLTL, my former favorite, the downward spiral began in around 1997-1998, when JFP, her poisonous regime, and her club of friends took over the show and made it into something it wasn’t. And it never recovered; plus, she’s doing the same kind of thing with GH that she did at OLTL- killing off great legacy characters, turning long-time favorites into characters we don’t know, cramming her favorites down our throats, and giving us stories that we don’t like.

    As for GH, the remaining soap in the ABC Daytime lineup, it needs to do the following things in order to survive: 1) NO MORE MOB!!!!! Period, point blank; 2) More emphasis on family, love, and romance; 3) More emphasis on the hospital- after all, isn’t this what the show is REALLY about?; 4) no more killing off kids; 5) Vanessa Marcil and James Franco cannot come and go as they please. Either make a decision to be a part of the show full-time or not be on at all, as it takes up enough airtime for the other characters; 6) Get rid of the non-necessary characters, like Spinelli, if you can’t find story for them; 7) Stop with the repetitive, misogynistic, and violent stories and come up with stuff that viewers enjoy; 8) Stop making the main female characters weak, soft, and mindless robots and making them into strong, independent people with a voice, with an emphasis on career and family, not on men, especially mob bosses; and this is the most important thing they need to do: 9) GET RID OF JFP AND GUZA AND HIRE PEOPLE THAT CARE ABOUT SOAP OPERAS, NOT ACTION-ADVENTURE MOVIES!!!! That’s what’s killing soaps- hacks that don’t care about soaps, but rather more about personal agendas than what viewers want. Bottom line, pure and simple.

  8. tess says:

    I’m sorry that ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE are leaving. ONE LIFE is highly watchable and deserves a bigger audience, but ALL MY . . . I think ABC should beg Felicia Menei Behr to produce the last few months of AMC. The show was always great when she was in charge.

  9. Stephanie says:

    I think that ABC is making a big mistake in cancelling these shows. A strong block of soaps is the thing that sets ABC daytime apart from all the other channels out there. (That and The Oprah Winfrey Show which they are about to lose…what do you want to bet that GH’s already shaky ratings drop like a stone once it is no longer Oprah’s opening act?)

    As cheap as they are to produce, reality and talk shows are a dime a dozen. And if I wanted to watch The Biggest Loser…I’d watch The Biggest Loser, not yet another cheap rip off. (TCM here I come.)

  10. Dee says:

    Good news from the corporate end of this: Hoover has decided to end sponsorship of the ABC shows because of all the uproar over this cancellation. It’s good to know that in this time of corporate incompetence and uncaring, at least one company still cares about people and the things they love.

  11. I am so upset by this news. These shows have been very important to me and the characters like family. I’ve literally grown up watching AMC and OLTL since i was a child. My mother watched them before me, and I had planned to introduce them to my children if I ever had kids. I cannot comprehend a life w/out characters such as Erica, Tad, Viki, Dorian, Blair, Todd, Starr, Marty, JR and Starr. It’s too much to bear.

    The saddest part is that this genre is coming apart in front of our eyes, I fear it’s going the way of the Variety Show, The Western and Vaudeville, to extinction. so sad.

  12. NF says:

    My thoughts are with all the AMC and OLTL fans. Another World was cancelled more than 10 years ago and I still miss it so much…I believe that when they cancelled it they opened the doors to the end of the genre. It is now clear that the AW, GL and ATWT long time fans were lost forever since the remaining shows did not gain in viewership. After watching the cancellation of my favorites: Texas, Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow, I was so fed up with the networks that, after AW’s cancellation I’ve never watched a single NBC program again certainly not their soaps. And I never will. N-E-V-E-R !!!! I hope fans of OLTL and AMC will remember that ABC does not deserve their support…We still have our wonderful memories and we were lucky to know the Golden Age of the Soap Operas. No one can take that away from us. But sadly the end of our friends from Monticello, Bay City, Springfield and Pine Valley is reality..

  13. Marilyn Henry says:

    Oh sad sad day.

    Cancelling two shows at once is no small thing. It is an entire industry that is being attacked here. It not only means putting actors and crews out of work–there are also the fan mags such as Soaps In Depth and Soap Opera Digest. I’m sure they’ll continue for a while, reporting on the 4 remaining shows, but they will lose SO many readers and subscribers–after all, who would subscribe to a soap mag if they can’t watch their shows? I can’t see the magazines lasting. (Remember when print was our meeting place, Marlena?)

    I LOVE and adore OLTL. I watched GH for over 30 years, but it is so depressing and turgid and repetitive and mob invested that I have lost interest in it. OLTL is such great fun with lively stories, humor, drama, romance, and great twists. I know many others love it and the ratings have gone up and up. Plus it comes in on budget which the others seldom do–so WHY cancel a show that has such good buzz and has made such improved strides in quality and ratings? It makes little sense. And I can’t see GH surviving long after this either.

    I love that fans are so livid they are protesting mightily and that Hoover pulled out–hope more sponsors do the same. Maybe all the hubbub and protesting will actually do some good! It can’t be good for ABC to have such angry fans, along with angry affiliates and angry advertisers.
    I’d feel sorry for those hired for the new shows–the backlash will be awesome–but I can’t spare any sympathy for them. All my sympathy goes to talented actors, hardworking crews and staff, and most of all to deprived soap viewers such as myself. This is such a low blow.

  14. Dee says:

    Let’s face it, even though AMC’s downward spiral was set in motion with ridiculous storylines like Erica’s unabortion and Dixie’s death, OLTL’s downward spiral was a long time coming, with the hiring of JFP and a rotating cavalcade of writers that never had the show’s best interest in mind in 1997-1998. Look what that produced: the hiring of Kale Browne, making his character the great savior of Llanview and getting him involved with one of the show’s most legendary supercouples, Bo and Nora, ultimately destroying them to the point of no recognition ( until the current TPTB decided that enough was enough and decided to put them back together, only to destroy them again briefly) and Todd, ultimately making the story about Sam, not Todd; cramming the Rappaports down our literal throats (much similar to the current PTB’s doing the same exact thing with the Fords and Robert) and eschewing the families that were already on the canvas; hiring of Tim Gibbs, who turned Kevin Buchanan from a sweet, caring, funny guy into an obsessive, self-righteous bully; the destruction of Todd Manning, which was done to make Sam look really good (and Todd has never recovered since from it); character assasination all the way around; getting rid of popular actors, the destruction of popular couples, and cramming characters that viewers never really cared for down our throats as well, plus disrespecting veterans on the show to the point where one walked out (Clint Ritchie) and one would get fired for speaking out (Robin Strasser).

    Then, we go from the post-JFP era to this current era: we got the special musical episodes that were especially pointless (even though I honestly enjoyed the one from the 4th of July in 2002), we had to deal with two more irrelevant families eating up the screen time in the Santis and the Fords, we had to deal with characters we absolutely hated, like Rex, Gigi, John,Natalie and Stacy Stinkin’ Morasco, ignorance of minority characters (Wait a minute, didn’t that happen in the JFP era, too? I believe so.), pointless and ignorant storylines that made characters look really bad, and the ultimate, the decision to get rid of KISH, because Disney was scared that people were going to be offended by a honest, accurate portrayal of GLBT people that they wouldn’t go to one of their theme parks? Oh, it’s OK to portray rapists, mobsters, and other people of questionable moral fiber as the moral, ethical centers of the ABC Daytime shows, but it’s not OK to show two guys making love and living a normal, happy life like everyone else should lead?

    With all I just listed, isn’t it obvious that OLTL got cancelled, and it’s pretty clear that the road to cancellation pretty much started with the JFP era. And she’s pretty much done the same thing with GH.

  15. Blake says:

    Very sad that OLTL and AMC have gotten cancelled. I assumed AMC would be the next soap, but had no idea that OLTL would be also! OLTL is always under budget and their ratings are pretty decent, sometimes they are around or above GH!!! And OLTL is the best soap on right now.
    Yeah I saw that Hoover is boycotting ABC and on a soap website I saw that Hershey and L’Oreal might be pulling ads for ABC also. I hope it’s true, and hopefully those in charge will be fired for this.

  16. James P. says:

    “With all I just listed, isn’t it obvious that OLTL got cancelled …”

    No. The show was under budget and growing in the ratings. OLTL has been the best soap on the air the past several years.

  17. N Hoffmann says:

    Marlena,
    Hope things are going well.
    Heard this and thought you would want to know about it.
    Are the daytime soaps all washed up?
    This is an interesting interview from WHYY-FM in Philly:
    http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2011/04/21/are-the-daytime-soaps-all-washed-up/

    “ABC announced last week that it was cancelling two of its mainstays of daytime television — the soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live — citing declining ratings and rising costs as the causes of their demise. Coincidentally, both shows were set in fictional Philadelphia suburbs and were created by Main Line resident Agnes Nixon. We’ll talk about the influence of “soaps” in American culture and what will fill their void in the daytime lineup. Our guests include Daniel Kroll, founder of Soapcentral.com, and Philadelphia Inquirer writer David Hiltbrand, who wrote soap opera scripts early in his career. ”
    The woman who does this program is great. An very wide range of topics.
    take care.
    N

  18. Dee says:

    James, the show may have grown in ratings and it was a good show though under budget, but what I was trying to say was that it was a lot of questionable decisions made by the PTB that made the show at times unwatchable to me,k and possibly has played a role in this cancellation.

  19. Dee says:

    In response to my earlier response to James’ response to my original posting about OLTL’s cancellation, maybe the show was gaining in ratings even though it had a meager budget, it was my personal belief that mismanagement of the show by people with different agendas (agendas that suited their own personal needs than the needs of the program) and questionable decisions made by the PTB, like I said, that made the show unwatchable at times (i.e., the firing of KISH and the whole baby mess regarding Brody, John, Ford, Natalie, and Jessica) for me and others that had set the wheels in motion for the cancellation.

    It’s my belief that even though it has gotten SOMEWHAT better in the last couple of years and has received critical praise and numerous accolades, ABC did want OLTL to fail, as they did AMC, by getting rid of popular actors, destroying beloved characters to the point of no recognition and cramming annoying, hatable characters like Stacy Morasco and Sam Rappaport down our throats in order to like them (we didn’t) and give them airtime over established characters, and crafting pointless, stupid stories that would ultimately alienate a large portion of viewers like myself ( I stopped watching full-time in 1998 during JFP’s reign as EP, and I’ve watched on and off ever since).

    Don’t get me wrong. There has been a lot to like about this show, i.e. the bullying story with Shane, Jack, Blair, Rex, and Gigi, but it’s always seemed to me that ABC stopped caring about programs like OLTL, which were programs that featured shows that features stories about love, romance, family (I mean, wasn’t the motto of ABC Daytime “Love in the Afternoon”?) and stories that educated people about important issues of the day like abortion and pre-marital sex, programs that provided an escape from the problems of the real world and put a smile on people’s faces (unlike the TV of today), and programs that entertained people of all ages and started caring about programs that suited their personal tastes and bottom line.

    As for Frons thinking that viewers want to see real-life issues on television like weight loss and stupid cooking shows, uh, no we don’t. If we want to watch that crap, we’ll watch the damn 6 o’clock news if we want to see real-life on TV. I’m so sick of reality television (even though I’m a huge fan of Survivor), I’m sick of talk shows, just please give me my scripted entertainment from 1pm-3pm.

  20. James P says:

    I don’t think the mistakes of the late ’90s played much of a factor, if any, in the cancellation of OLTL today. The show was rejuvenated under head writer Ron Carlivati and had brought the focus back to core families and multi-generational stories. It hasn’t been perfect, but I would compare this current run to Michael Malone’s mid-’90s stint. It is a crime to cancel this soap at this time.

  21. Dee says:

    Carlivati may have had hits more than misses, but there has been an equal share of mistakes as well, namely the whole baby Ryder/ Liam debacle and the KISH firing. As for what I said about the JFP era, I think it may have played a small role, and it kind’ve started a bad chain of events for OLTL, in my opinion. Your interpretation of things maybe a little different, James, but we can agree on one thing: OLTL should never have been cancelled. It’s a shame and a crime.

  22. James P says:

    Carlivati had nothing to do with the decision to fire KISH. That was imposed on him by higher-ups, which is why the way they were written off was so ham-handed.

    I’m enjoying the Ryder/Liam stuff. Custody battles and paternity tests are soap staples.

  23. horselover says:

    Sad to see both AMC and OLTL get canceled. But I think that’s been the plan at ABC for a very long time. GH will be next. I never thought it would happen, but GH just keeps getting worse and worse. Put that show out of it’s misery soon. OLTL deserves to be the last soap standing instead.

    R.I.P. ABC Daytime – you were once THE daytime network to watch.

  24. Patrick Erwin says:

    Eloquent words, Marlena – and leave it to you to summarize the stupidity of ABC perfectly.

    They are indeed replacing AMC and OLTL with a show about cooking and a show about losing weight. How much more schizophrenic can they be? How much clearer a middle finger to the viewing audience need they display? They may as well run advertising – these shows aren’t for people, only for demographics.

    I look forward to your words as AMC and OLTL close.

  25. DS0816 says:

    Dear Marlena/Connie,

    First sentence of your second paragraph is what penetrates most with me when I consider not only the cancellations — announced on the same date, no less! — of ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” but also the previous two years with CBS’ “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns.”

    We’re in a new era! And I feel many things. I am very sorry for the people who crafted these American serials and are not of age to retire. I feel very sorry for the devoted viewers who love the genre of the daytime serial, and all its intent purposes.

    I feel there’s little I can say (not already expressed). I wish well for everyone involved. And, naturally, I hope the four daytime dramas that apparently shall remain after January 2012 — ABC’s “General Hospital,” CBS’ “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless,” and NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” — somehow survive.

  26. Kevin says:

    Although not completely at fault here, I think the soap press helped kill “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

    Of the 26 ABC Soaps in Depth issues that came out in 2010, I have a pretty strong hunch that 22 of them were “General Hospital” covers while the other four were divided between “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

    Would it have killed ABC Soaps in Depth to have been a little more fair and balanced? (and Soap Opera Weekly and Soap Opera Digest, you’re not off the hook here either!).

    Poetic justic, however, since ABC Soaps in Depth will now be forced to close down and put their staff out of work.

    ~ Kevin in downtown Tulsa

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