Will a cable net rescue the canceled ABC soaps? (Sound: crickets)
There’s nothing more satisfying than when another network comes to the rescue of a show that gets the ax (Southland fans can never thank you enough, TNT. Same to you, BET, for giving the love to The Game). So it’s no wonder that heartsick fans of All My Children and One Life to Life are holding out hope that some network — any network — will give their beloved soaps a second lease on life now that ABC has dropped them.
Sadly, the economics are far different for the daytime sudsers. Though an insider acknowledged that ABC-Disney would certainly field offers for the 41-year-old AMC and/or the 43-year-old One Life to Live, it’s unlikely that any cable network would have the cash to make it work. The Oprah Winfrey Network is out (no matter how much it could use a headline-grabbing stunt like this to boost its ratings). And its doubtful any other female-friendly web could pony up the cash to keep Susan Lucci on the payroll. After all, Guiding Light and As the World Turns weren’t able to find new homes despite the fervent hopes of Telenext, which produced both soaps. Perhaps fans should redirect their efforts to finding a new destination for Erica Kane. (Are you reading this, 30 Rock?)
Ironically, AMC and OLTL creator Agnes Nixon thought the CBS shows could have been saved when she was out in Los Angeles last year to promote the 40th anniversary of her ABC sudser in 2010. “I just thought it wasn’t necessary,.” she told EW at the time. “If someone had a little more intelligence or understanding of the craft and the medium, it could have been saved.” When asked if she thought AMC and OLTL would stay off the chopping block, Nixon was predictably upbeat. “It’s a great vote of confidence that the network moved All My Children out here. They’ve moved One Life into a studio [in NY] and that’s much bigger for them than the one they had. They are really some great people there. …As long as people work hard and don’t take it for granted… If they keep telling a good story, I think they’ll be alright.”
That said, Nixon also predicted that there will be fewer soaps within a year — not realizing that two of the soon-to-be-cancelled shows would be her own.