News - Soap Buzz

35 April 16th, 2011 L.A. Times looks at decision to end OLTL & AMC & the reasons behind it!

Courtesy/ABC

The Los Angeles Times has an analysis on Thursday’s earthquake through the soap industry which sent ABC Daytime’s One Life to Live and All My Children packing!

Times reporter, Meg Jones weighed in on the subject as well as interviewing ABC Daytime’s head honcho, Brian Frons, and a host of others on: soaps diminishing audience, interest from advertisers from losing their target young demographic, and the cost of putting on the soaps five days a week, and more.  Here are some key excerpts below!

L.A. Times, “Once a dominant source of escapism for tens of millions of women, the genre is losing ground to scores of cable TV networks, the Internet and social media. The move also comes just as two icons of the daytime screen, Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin, are getting ready to exit the stage after decades on the air, underscoring the biggest shakeup in daytime in a generation.  All the networks are grappling with what to do with a swath of the TV day that used to be a reliable and lucrative profit center but in recent years has faced increased financial pressure. A little more than a year ago, Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC moved production of  All My Children to Los Angeles from New York to take advantage of lower production costs. But ratings for All My Children plummeted this season, more than 25%, forcing ABC’s hand.

“You can’t cut costs enough to make up for those losses,” said Brian Frons, president of daytime programming for the Disney ABC Television Group. “There comes a point when you can no longer justify the expense. Soap operas are an expensive way to program a network and unless you have General Hospital- or Young and the Restless-sized ratings, it’s really not a business,”

As problematic as attracting fewer viewers, the audience for soap operas has become increasingly gray, which does not portend well for growth. “ABC feels that the soap operas weren’t bringing in as many younger viewers as they have been in the past,” said Jackie Kulesza, a senior vice president at advertising buying agency Starcom. “And for their ratings to grow they are going to need younger viewers coming to the channel. Advertisers like soap operas — they have a very loyal audience. But there are more ways for advertisers to get involved with a show like The Chew than All My Children. ABC is able to monetize those advertiser integrations; that way they can get more revenue than just from the 30-second commercial spots in the show.”

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  1. Casie says:

    GH Sized ratings?? WTH—OLTL beat them last week. They are at 1.9 a lot of weeks. Not that GH shouldn’t be saved, but to blame “ratings” when they are keeping a show that has the SAME ratings as the others? ;rolleyes:

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  2. Tammy H. says:

    Younger viewers? How many “younger” viewers are going to want to watch cooking and self-help shows? They can color it anyway they want to, but the truth is they just don’t care about good, creative writing. They have no respect for loyal fans! Their “show me the money now” attitudes and people’s desire for mindless, trashy reality shows is killing scripted television!

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    Selina McGrath Varich replied

    BESIDES, THE YOUNGER VIEWERS MENTIONED, ARE IN SCHOOL WHEN THESE TWO SHOWS ARE ON!! HAS ANYONE CONSIDERED THAT THAT MAY BE THE REASON FOR THE DROP IN YOUNGER VIEWER DEMOGRAPHICS?
    MY GRANDCHILDREN GET OUT OF SCHOOL @ 2:45 PM AND BY THEN WE ARE INTO GH. THEY LOVE TO WATCH THAT DAY’S SHOW OF AMC AND OLTL ON SOAPNET OR HAVE THIER MOM RECORD IT FOR THEM.
    I HAVE WATCHED THESE 2 SOAPS FOR 40+ YEARS SINCE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. BELIEVE ME, THIS IS THE WORST BUNCH OF CRAP I HAVE EXPERIENCED IN A LONG TIME IN RELATION TO TV. I WILL PROTEST THE LOSS OF AMC AND OLTL BY NEVER WATCHING THE NEW SHOWS.

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    Tammy H replied

    Exactly, Selina! The younger viewers are not even home during those hours! I watched when I was in school too, and always had to program the VCR ( VCR- just aged myself lol) I agree with you, these excuses are all bull!

  3. Jen says:

    OLTL is almost the freakin same when it comes to the ratings. That is such B.S.

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  4. DaisyADay says:

    I am an avid GH fan. The GH fans that I know that watch regularly are much younger than those that watch AMC and OLTL. Their demographics are most likely younger, therefore, making it more desirable for sponsors.
    I VCR AMC, DOOL, BB and YR which I stockpile for weeks sometimes. But, GH I watch within 24 hours. GH is my only “must watch the same day soap” -

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    lisa d wadford replied

    REALLY??? OLTO has been kickin Ass!! Word is GH is NEXT!

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    Tammy H replied

    I’m sorry it is still bull! Sure, I like GH too, but here GH comes on at 3. The High School kids might make it home in time to catch some of it and Middle School kids might catch the tail end, depending on where they live. My point is that most younger viewers still have to DVR GH. As far as ratings go, OLTL just beat out GH. It’s all lies! GH fans shouldn’t diss the other soaps because they could be next.

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    sharon replied

    I watch GH and in fact for many years GH was my favorite soap. With the exception of Robin, Patrick, Matt, Maxie and Matt…I don’t have much use for the show anymore. It has changed too much. It’s mob central and no longer deserves to have the show title, “General HOSPITAL” nor the association to the amazing show it used to be. I will be incredibly sad to see GH go even though I think it’s one of the worst written soaps on daytime right now. It will truly be the end of era when ABC cancels it. And let’s face it…that is not far off. The plan is to murder the soap genre…otherwise, why would they allow Bob Guza to write GH into the ground by attempting to write a very bad ripoff of the Sopranos for the past decade??

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  5. MEG says:

    JUST SHAKEN MY HEAD T,HE YOUNG ARE NOT GOING TO BE WATCHING THE CHEW!

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    sharon replied

    exactly! sounds like a bunch of BS to me…they don’t care what the younger audience is watching any more than the older audience. all they care about is the bottom line…and making as much money as they can to line their pockets. and plus, they say younger people aren’t watching TV anyway. so why are they killing soaps because they claim younger people want to watch reality TV? LOL their arguments don’t even make sense!

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  6. sondra says:

    The Chew & Puke. We are boycotting ABC and sponsors ineffort to save Soaps. Let’s see if DWTS ratings fall Monday. We have all said we won’t watch, let’s see what happens.

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    el rizzo replied

    i will only watch my soaps bye bye the view!!!

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  7. Kristin says:

    Umm…. A GH sized rating…. seriously? SERIOUSLY???? The more that man keeps talking the more he keeps digging himself into an even deeper hole. Wow! These people just refuse to admit the truth. They refuse to even give any kind of acknowlegement to OLTL at all! I’m SO mad… no I’m beyond mad. OLTL pulls the same kind of ratings GH does. In fact OL beat GH last week, & they beat them again in Feb. I remember that cause it was after the wedding reveal of the twins & I was HOPING they’d beat GH. So, that’s twice this year OLTL has beat GH in the ratings!!! I’m just going to say it… I could almost bet that IF OLTL had half the promotion & half the favor (cause yes it is favortism that Frons gives to GH) then they’d probably best GH in the ratings a LOT more than they have over the years. It’s this kind of disgusting PR pimping out of GH from Frons, even on the heels of 2 iconic soaps cancellations, that make me NOT want to ever watch GH again. So this is me rolling my eyes at Frons & ABC daytime’s “new” lineup! Frons seriously needs to hire good PR people cause he’s just disgusting.

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  8. Elizabeth says:

    I am so sick and tired of hearing and reading the BS these corrupt jerks keep spewing. It’s got nothing to do with ratings and younger viewers. They’ve made it crystal clear that they don’t give a damn about their viewers. They obviously want out of the soap business and continue to hide behind their excuses. They don’t want to hear from the fans (their own audience). They just want to push their own agenda. They make me sick, they said they will not change their minds no matter what, and I don’t want to hear another word from their lying mouths. They will pay for this in the end. Unfortunately, it will be too late for the rest of us. The “screw you” they’ve sent to the soap community will come back on them. I’m just angry that our shows will be gone before that happens. So wrong on every level.

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    lisa replied

    Very well put Elizabeth ..WELL DONE ,WELL DONE !!!

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  9. sharon says:

    ABC can say whatever they want, but it’s all spin. If they were really worried about ratings, they would have made changes to improve the quality of the shows. They would have listened to soap fans when they practically begged for changes. Instead, they ignored soap fans and did whatever they wanted. In fact, it seemed as if ABC did the exact opposite most often of what fans were looking for. We wanted more love in the afternoon and character-driven stories that we can invest in emotionally and more focus on the core characters and veterans. Yet we got plot point writing that damaged character integrity. We got more and more newbies that we didn’t care to watch who just bloated the casts. We saw countless numbers of soap couples breaking up or cheating on each other. They failed to listen to very vocal soap fans and wondered why the ratings went down. There is no excuse for that. Now they claim that the audience preferred reality talk shows over daytime drama? And they expect younger viewers to tune in for this? I doubt that very much. Everyone knows the TV has always skewed older. There may be more options out there on TV and via other channels like the internet, but there are still millions and millions of viewers who are watching TV and who love soaps. These same people wanted the quality of soaps to improve, not for them to be canceled. They won’t be watching the new ABC daytime line up and neither will the younger viewers they hope to capture.

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    lisa replied

    Brava !! Sharon I couldn’t agree more !!

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  10. Marji says:

    What a line of crap. Younger people get hooked on the soaps through their parents and grandparents. They learn about the characters in the same way they always have. These comments are nothing more than spin. To say advertisers like the soap viewers and then remove soaps makes no sense. To say they can gain advertising dollars differently with these garbage shows is also a line. No one will be watching. Plus, product placement can be used on soaps as well. Let’s see all that coffee that they drink be in Starbuck’s cups. Well it will not matter, we soap viewers are the ones home during the day…………..guess who won’t be watching…………all of us.

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  11. Dawn says:

    They did not do a particularly good job making this asinine decision in the first place, and they have done an even worse job of trying to spin it. It is blatantly obvious that they did not care about the cast, crew, or viewers of their soaps. They cost money to make, and they just don’t want to deal with it. This decision lacks planning and foresight. They needed to focus on improving the product and improving the marketing. The backlash of this is going to cost them far more then continuing to air the shows ever could. No way are sponsors going to want to touch a show that is going to have this type of controversy. They have already lost.

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  12. CINDY says:

    BS THE RATING S WERE HIGHER AND THEY HAVE ALWAYS JUMPED AROUND ACCORDING TO THE SEASON.YOU ARE JUST HURTING ABC WE ARE NOT GOING TO STAND FOR THIS NOR WATCH ANYTHING YOU HAVE ON

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  13. liasonbff says:

    The following is long, and I apologize for that. In my opinion, the excuses Frons and Kulesza gave are complete BS, and it’s obvious ABC just wanted out of soaps. **FIRST** soaps can EASILY integrate products IN the shows. The problem is when the soaps try to turn the product placement into an actual ad during the show like GH did with Alexis/Diane and Cambell’s. No one wants an ad DURING the show, but you can still easily have product placement. For example, GH’s Sonny LIKES to cook. SHOW him IN the kitchen with the products visible. He doesn’t need to mention the names/brands or how awesome they are because they do such and such and have such and such in them. He just needs to USE them while he’s having a conversation. DOOL’s Brady took up drinking again. SHOW the brand, a REAL bottle of Jack Daniels or something just w/o the real alcohol in it. What type of computer does GH’s Spinellie have? A Dell? Compaq? What about the computers at the hospital itself? Need a character to be doing something while talking? GH’s Elizabeth has been known to fold laundry and iron ONSCREEN. GH could have shown specific products. What commercial airlines did Jason use when he and Elizabeth were planning on flying to Italy? How hard is it to show a character ordering an actual soda in the midst of conversing at a restaurant on ANY of the soaps? “Excuse me, waiter, can I get another Diet Coke, please?” Or maybe my favorite character prefers Nestle’s hot chocolate = Product placement w/o bashing the viewers over the head with an ad. What about pulling out a box of Cheerios while in the kitchen like DOOL’s Melanie minus the mini ad? GH’s Alexis was a huge fan of popcorn back in the day, so we should SEE the brand. GH’s Kate, Maxie, or Lulu could name a real magazine as a competitor magazine of Crimson or even having their magazine merge with a real one. Hospital supplies come from somewhere too. Not to mention hotel supplies and restaurant supplies. Costco? Sam’s? The Restaurant Supply Store? Lots of characters have been seen eating Chinese take out. Why not have Panda Express or any other Chinese place named on the side of the box? Perhaps a Smoothie King smoothie in the park for one character while another has a Klondike bar and one of the kids has a Flinstone’s push up pop? There are SO MANY options for NATURAL product placement; soaps are only limited by the creativity (or lack thereof) of the people in charge. **SECOND** soaps wouldn’t cost nearly as much to make if they stopped trying to compete with primetime. It’s a soap. Be a soap. Focus on the relationships, family, LONG TERM history (that only soaps have), and keep the characters IN character. Soaps are NOT known for their special effects; primetime and movies will always do it better because they have the money and the time. Focus on the strengths, which includes: legacy characters that have become like family since viewers welcomed them into their homes for YEARS nearly every day and EMOTIONAL stories that tug at viewers’ heartstrings. Treat soaps like real life, and by that I mean cover CURRENT issues. We don’t need the bells and whistles. Give us the emotion, the STORY. There’s a reason Soaps have often been referred to as STORIES. Leave the plot points to the 30 minute sitcoms that have to wrap it up by the end of an episode. **THIRD** how young are we talking here? 12-17? They’re mostly IN school, and what money do they have? 18-34? Many of whom have college debt? Most younger viewers don’t have money to buy the products being advertised, but if the idiots in charge insist on capturing a younger audience…soaps are perfect. If only the idiots weren’t idiots. What they NEED to do is make soaps for the “older” audiences, who actually have money to spend, and the “older” audience (if they actually enjoy the show) will pass the soaps onto their children, nieces/nephews, etc. I say this as a 25 year old who became a GH fan more than a decade ago only after years (since birth) of my mother making me and my sibs sit quietly while she watched her show (GH). TRUST ME, after awhile, it catches on.

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  14. wicca_lovely says:

    My ENTIRE FAMILY will boycott anything and everything to do with The Chew (Gordon Elliot, Mario Batali, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, and Daphne Oz), The Revolution (Tim Gunn, Kimberley Locke, and Harley Pasternak), their sponsors and ABC in general! The only ABC shows I will watch are All My Children, One Life To Life, and General Hospital!

    I have watched these shows for 20 out of the 24 years of my life! The earliest storyline I remember aired when I was 4 years old! The characters on the soaps are like my family and I feel like Brian Frons MURDERED them! Brian Frons has NO CLUE what he is talking about! I am 24 and many of my high school/college age friends watch the soaps and almost all of the adult women in my life watch. The ABC soaps have been passed down three generations in my family and when I am older I want to be able to watch the shows with my children!

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  15. Joann says:

    Well, The only other show I watch on ABC is Modern Family. NOW..I don’t watch ABC at all. Well make that my Whole Family. ABC, you you need to correct your errors. I guess it won’t be long before ABC is phased out too. It has been on the air for too long. And obviously having money issues. AMC will be picked up else where.

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  16. david says:

    Reality television lowers production costs and maximizes profits. The number of viewers or their ages becomes irrelevant. Honesty is incompatible with public relations. If Disney/ABC can increase revenue by changing programming, shareholders are satisfied. If profits increase, alienating a large proportion of viewers is irrelevant. Money and the bottom line are all that matter. This is business. This is the reality of capitalism in the United States of America. The only recourse is for enough consumers to boycott any and all business operations associated with Disney/ABC that revenue declines and the responsible executives are fired. Go to the corporate Disney website to learn the extent of their operations: http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/index.html

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  17. nan says:

    I think its funny how everything that man touches fails.How does he keep his job is beyond me.GH is and has been just awful! The same story for weeks on end no use of vets,the same 4 or 6 people over and over and over.Frons just loves the mob and bombs and killing children.OLTL use s the whole staff has at least 2 or 3 story s going at one time and IS UNDER BUDGET without block taping like GH.Another fashion and food show OMG!!This was a very poor decision on the part of disney and ABC.Older viewers are the ones who have money to spend not the teens.You really have pissed off thousands of viewers who they have lost.Twitter has been burning up with people who will NOT be watching these stupid shows.

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  18. Darcy says:

    HUH?

    Does this idiot even know how a new generation begins to watch soap opera? Audience is not responding to this medium the way they use to “across the board not just daytime dramas prime time as well”

    OMG for decades an older audience is instrumental and the old people he disdains and mocks..and refuses to give story to on General Hospital (unless its a man….They have killed off all the core families and/or backburnered the vets and he chooses brands the show who gets air and diminishes their popularity with bad storytelling. Don’t drink his kool-aid.

    He’s on record re: his opinion about what old people are good for..He kills everything he touches he has systematically and meticouslly”designed these shows to fail”

    For years audience begged campaigned pleaded for changes yet he hires and “KEEPS” re-hiring burnt out hack writers and Executive Producers the killed other shows…he always has an excuse for “his failures.”

    GH is the most misogynistic show I’ve ever watched in my life and for him to sit there and say that GH is even near the “quality of storytelling of Y/R where women drive story grates my last nerve..its so many holes in his spin I can’t begin…Frons is a liar he has lied on many occasions and he’s lying now…he wanted soaps gone . I read rumors as far back as 2003 from insiders who said he wanted them gone for cheaper programming because his job is to “develop” new program as well so where in the mas hell was new programming to be placed on daytime?

    At one time the rumore was they were to shifted to soapnet. with a smaller cast and cheaper production costs.but he failed on that one too because of his unrealistic dogmatic vision

    This man has lost the pulse of his audience he’s alienated it and hasn’t a clue what they want to see. Maybe if he wouldn’t have micromanaged shoving his pets down many viewers throats and listened to what we wanted to see because we told him and he steadfastly refused. We wanted Genie back the powers refused saying there is no audience for her instead on his other show he shove Ryan and Greenlee down my throat until I couldn’t take it a tuned out all that and paid his pet a million bucks please don’t get me started when he “bragged” about killing a soap on two networks NBC/CBS. I believe it was Search for Tomorrow…he disrespects actors and viewers at every turn…I don’t deny the economics of soaps but “he his army of hacks are also highly to blame as well. And I for one have absolutely “no intention of letting him off the hook. Yes economics played a role but how come this genre flourishes everywhere but the country that created it…and soaps are everywhere in other counties, Germany, England, heck even Nigeria are loaded with soaps…He’s full of bull in the worse way. Watch he’ll bring his cancelled out pets to
    brand GH and the characters we care about who get written like crap will either be let go or minimized out of story. This is an audience of women yet GH continue to write “male-centric stories where women are just an appendage of the males. They don’t get their story no man no story..e.g. Alexis for one…This is the Fronsonian way they should have fired him instead!

    This is nothing but a good ole boys network and …he can kiss my grits! Why is CW and all these cable channels popular …women with men are kicking bum and taking names he had the opportunity to do that he refused…soaps died on his watch end of story. I feel bad because Carlivati (and Valentini) is an excellent storyteller they love soaps and its reiterated via their writing not only that they respect women and vets (which is the audience of daytime). GH is usually dead last in the male demo even men don’t like their misogynistic crap..its rumored GH will be gone somewhere around September 2012..this man lies. The editing and storytelling is horrible its the Jason and Sonny show featuring Carly starring Dante who is on everyday. And Lucky who keeps getting written the Emmy reels.. I’ll be watching Genie on Y/R screw Frons! He said CBS is the old people’s network anyway. And his youth oriented soapnet was Epic Fail….a big flop.

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  19. lynn malone says:

    I will NOT watch ABC’s replacement shows.Infact,when these soaps are gone,I too, will bw done with ABC.I think it’s terrible to put more reality shows on the air. T hey are horrible and people are getting sick of them. I have watched these two soaps for years and will miss them. It’s nice to have love in the afternoon—not a stupid reality show.

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  20. Tricia says:

    I have been a HUGE fan of ABC over the years, I have been watching GH since I was a teenager (Hint: Heather was GOING crazy when I first started watching) remember running home from school to watch Luke and Laura get married, even though I wanted Scotty to win the girl. What GH consists of today and the last 10+ years is NOTHING compared to what it was. Guza couldn’t shine ANY of his predecessors shoes. His constant plagerism of “The Godfather” is sickening. The pairing of Jill Farren Phelps and Brian Frons who have a history of killing soaps, and the complete decline on these once great shows, under their watch, have a lot of fans believing this was done on purpose. When MTV is paying Snookie and crew $100,000. an episode, and ABC which has shows like “who wants to be a millionaire” nevermind the production costs of a show like “Extreme Home Makeover”. (don’t get me wrong most of the families on these shows are very deserving of their gift, but for Brian Frons to be screaming poverty while the fans are constantly telling you what they want on your message boards, and fan favorite websites, proves, no one in ABC care’s about their daytime audience, since a lot of these shows, just stayed the course. GH’s extremely sloppy writing of Jake’s death is just one example, especially after the DRAGGING out of the “Balkin” garbage, and the fact that Lisa’s is still going strong. I was excited about the return of Roger Howarth to OLTL, but now don’t see the point, or the point of letting Susan Lucci do the talk show rounds saying how she was “enthusiastically” reassured that AMC wasn’t going anywhere only to be made a fool of the very next week. Way to go ABC, great way to treat a 40+ year employee.

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  21. Carol says:

    Why do networks value 18-49 when it is the baby boomers that have all the money? It doesn’t matter if networks can find different ways for advertisers to be involved in the new shows if two million loyal soap viewers stop watching altogether. I love Tim Gunn, but I won’t watch any show that replaces OLTL or AMC, just as I have never watched the shows that replaced Guiding Light or As The World Turns. Advertise away – I won’t see it.

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  22. Lisa says:

    Brian Frons is a liar. OLTL has been beating their competition The Talk in the ratings department and has been the only soap showing growth and he wants to cancel it. It also beat the show he is keeping GH. The problem with daytime has been Brian Frons who needs to lose his job not the hard working cast and crew. The more he tries to justify the worse he looks.

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  23. Suzette says:

    This is BS I have been watching One Life to Live for twenty plus years. Mind you I am in the 20 to 25 age range. My mother use to record this shows for me; so I could watch after school. I still request my Great Aunt who looks forward to One Life to Live everyday to record because I am in college now. The people at ABC are just making up every reason in the world for this dumb decision. Just because you put a few people in a room and ask if it appeals to teens or young adults does not mean it applies to everyone. These shows have been around for forty plus years and they should stay on ABC. In many cases they are the only reasons why ABC is even watch. The soaps are daytime television and should not be compare to primetime. First of all primetime everyone is at home able to watch television. Many people during daytime are at work and cannot say I can’t come in because I will miss my soap; bosses may not like that. Second there is more of a budget because the shows have bigger stars. Granted it does cost a lot to keep a show going five days a week. What do think it will cost with these two new shows for five days? How much did that dumb show Survivor cost; to keep people on a desert island for a season. Or how much does it cost to watch some dumb person try to find love on the television or watch stars dance in short skirts? I think they need someone with common sense working on this decision because clearly Brian Frons has none; he is making up reasons. Daytime and Primetime are different that is the reason why they have different shows; shouldn’t it be different ratings. Does ABC compare Castle ratings to The View? If not then why do they compare One Life to Live to these shows?

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  24. ethel says:

    when amc & oltl goes the only other abc show i will watch is gh – i will never watch anything else on abc……………

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  25. Jim says:

    How they can claim they tried everything when they kept force-feeding an unpopular couple like Ryan/Greenlee on AMC is beyond me.

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  26. Doe says:

    Well, after reading every one’s comments, I can agree with you100%. However, there was always a core audience with college kids who would go to the Rathskellar in the union or whatever on breaks to see the soap. Some would even schedule their classes specifically for their shows. But with all the new electronics and IPads, phones, etc, they can now find anything to amuse them. They want everything to be quick because their attention span is limited. Nevertheless, ABC should have made their shows half hour ones , just like Bold and Beautiful. They are sucsessful. And Young and Restless has many of their stars pitching products every day, this is brought to you by so and so,etc. I know this for a fact because I watch that show as well as OLTL. I wonder if ABC even considered that a half hour show would certainly cut their costs. The upshot is that they didn’t even bother to find a solution. So, there is no redemtion for those idiots…….

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