Credit: ABC

In a crushing blow to the daytime-soap genre, ABC announced today that it will yank All My Children and One Life to Life and replace them with two lifestyle shows. AMC will end in September, followed by OLTL in January 2012, to make way for shows dubbed The Chew and The Revolution. In an announcement, ABC says, “These new shows expand ABC Daytime’s focus to include more programming that is informative and authentic and centers on transformation, food, and lifestyle — cornerstones of programming that resonates with daytime viewers as evidenced by the success of The View.”

“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 ABC Daytime president Brian Frons in a statement. “We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days. They are telling us there is room for informative, authentic, and fun shows that are relatable, offer a wide variety of opinions, and focus on ‘real life’ takeaways. A perfect example of this is The View, and that factored into our decision. The Chew and The Revolution are in the same vein and will be great additions to the lineup, with The View serving as an ideal foundation from which to launch these programs. They will also provide enormous opportunity for the creation of ancillary businesses and growth.”

The actors on both soaps were told less than 20 minutes before the announcement went wide to the press this morning. (Frons addressed the AMC folks in person on the West Coast, while the New York-based OLTL was videolinked.) General Hospital, the third most-watched sudser in daytime, will not be affected by the changes.

The Chew will be produced by Gordon Elliot (Paula Deen’s Home Cooking) and is a one-hour series that enables viewers to “get the dish” on anything and everything related to the world of food and beyond. Hosts will include Mario Batali (Iron Chef America), entertaining expert Clinton Kelly (What Not to Wear), Carla Hall (Top Chef), Michael Symon (Iron Chef America), and nutrition expert Daphne Oz.

The Revolution, from executive producer J.D. Roth and 3 Ball Productions (The Biggest Loser), is a daily show about health and lifestyle transformations. It will be hosted by a team of experts and rotating guest contributors and will feature a “unique concept.” ABC says, “Each week one woman’s five-month weight-loss journey will unfold in just five days, with daily results and a final transformational reveal on Friday.”

The enormous cost of maintaining old (and many think outdated) soaps was the primary reason behind the network’s decision to yank AMC and OLTL. Keeping the genre relevant and profitable remains job one at the three broadcast networks, and NBC and CBS have gone to great lengths to slash the budgets on shows like Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless to keep them on the air for rabid fans. Other soaps haven’t been so lucky (RIP As the World Turns and Guiding Light). The cuts haven’t affected the remaining shows: Y&R is still the most-watched show in daytime and is No. 1 among women 18–49, and Days is tied for third (with The View) in women 18–49.

AMC averages 2.5 million and ranks No. 5 in women 18–49 among all soaps. OLTL averages 2.5 million and ranks No. 4.