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24 May 17th, 2011 Soap Fans Protest at ABC’s Upfront Presentation to Advertisers in NYC today!

Courtesy/EW.com

UPDATE: On-Air On-Soaps has now confirmed that 50 plus fans were mobilized and attended the scheduled soap protest at ABC’s Upfront Presentation of their fall new line-up to elite advertisers this afternoon at Lincoln Center in New York City.  Mainstream coverage of their efforts appeared today at The Wrap, EW.com and the Hollywood Reporter. Daytime Emmy nominee and the former star of As the World Turns, Colleen Zenk joined the soap opera protesters.  In addition, so did One Life to Live’s, Ilene Kristen and renowned soap journalist, Mimi Torchin.

According to EW.com, “Armed with signs (“Screw The Chew” and “Save our soaps,” among them), a bullhorn, and an arsenal of quippy chants, the hardcore soap fans stood outside for the length of the two-hour presentation, hoping to bring attention to their cause. “We’re trying to make a point to the advertisers that we’re not going to be watching the new shows, and we want our soaps to stay on the air,” protestor Susan Hoffman of New York. “No one wants to watch The Chew. That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. What we’re trying to say is that us, as soap viewers, are not going to watch a cooking show or a weight loss show in the afternoon. That’s not something we’re going to DVR and watch in the evening.”

Shawn Brady, a former CBS News producer who just moved from Los Angeles to New York, helped organize the protest by forming the group Soap Fans United with people he met on Twitter.  Brady spoke with The Wrap. “If we don’t save these two, General Hospital may be next. An art form is being killed.”

Hollywood Reporter noted, “The demonstration was organized by SoapFansUnited.com. In a leaflet, the organization urged advertisers to “consider carefully whether ABC/Disney’s strategy will increase your company’s revenue or create consumer loyalty toward your products. Your consumers see ABC/Disney’s move to new daytime programming for what it is — glorified infomercials appropriate for late-night basic cable channels, not for a major broadcast network.”  An organizer with a bullhorn led the faithful in chants: “We want soaps. We want soaps. No more reality. No more talk” and “Don’t flush our soaps away.”

So, what are your thoughts on today’s turn out and this groups dedication to their fight to keep soaps alive?

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  1. Susan Hoffman says:

    There were actually closer to 50 total. And like someone just tweeted… Soap Rallies r like Nielson Ratings…every 1 person present represents a few 100,000 HHs. U believe them; believe us! ;o)

    Reply

    moneek replied

    Perfect!….Save the soaps! We don’t want the cheap Substitutes offered

    Reply

  2. Jason says:

    Frons and ABC need to see that we are ot going to back down. I love that people are doing this.

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  3. Marsha says:

    I wish I could have traveled from Ohio to NY for the protest. Not because I wanted to be seen in the press, but rather, because I want ABC to see we are serious. ABC execs seem to think, our DVR’s are responsible for the decline in ratings. What they don’t understand is we will not DVR a cooking or make over show. But we DO DVR/VHS/DVD our soaps…because that’s what we want to see. Take our soaps off the air, the advertisers will be throwing money away because no one will be watching or recording those shows, nor will we be buying their products.

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  4. Brooke says:

    My understanding from those who participated was that there were a total of 50 + protesters who attended and that came and went, but there were at least 30 protesters present at any given time.

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  5. Karen McHugh says:

    Like Susan said above, each one of the protestors present represents 100,000 viewers…we hate The Chew and we hate Revolution and will not watch, DVR or support ABC Disney or their sponsors. Sick of being disrespected by ABC!

    Reply

    sadie soaper replied

    And don’t forget the thousands of fans (like me) working behind the scenes making phone calls, writing emails, snail mail, tweeting and facebooking.

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  6. Cole says:

    It is such a great thing to see us all standing United! ABC has truly opened Pandora’s Box with this round of cancellations. From soaps to sitcoms to prime time soaps, they have a whole lot of angry fans on their hands!

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  7. Mary Lou DeVriendt says:

    “glorified infomercials appropriate for late-night basic cable channels, not for a major broadcast network.” That really says it. ABC and the sponsors need to wise up. No one is going to watch the shows replacing our beloved soaps, and sponsors will be throwing their money away.

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  8. Karen McClain says:

    ABC has become cheap! Cancelled soaps, cancelled night-time dramas, and then 2 hours of nothingness on Dancing with the Stars tonight. I am SO disgusted by the decision makers at the ABC network. Thank goodness there are so many OTHER networks to watch.

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  9. realist says:

    While I have been a soap opera fan, and believe GH should have been canceled before OLTL, at the end of the day its just business. If the network and sponsors and advetisers are losing money, that’s what’s going todrive their decisions. Because of the low ratings. Shows like DWTS because the ratings and publicity it gains is one of the best of all of ABC. 50 people is not going to convince people, deals have been made already but due to cheaper production costs of reality TV… If you are not bringing in the ratings, it is a waste of money. Pure business. One has to see it as that and not a fan to understand it.

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    Xanna Don't replied

    I sent a proposal to ABC Family asking them to acquire the shows as ABC’s sister network. The ratings–as they exist now–are more than viable for cable and ABC Family could use the original programming. But until Neilsen changes the way they tabulate viewers (they only take into account if you DVR’d and watched it THAT DAY, not two or more days later) the numbers will be off. ABC is actually selling advertising based on these untrue, lower numbers. That’s a poor business decision.

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  10. Andrea Dawson says:

    I do not want to see the soaps go. I will not watch abc at all after this. sos

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  11. leah says:

    i heard that some of the advertiser where taking pictures of the protesters with their cell phones… i wonder what that means

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  12. Paul Desiderio says:

    Please keep me posted on any upcoming protests. I was planning on going yesterday but i was I’n the hospital for 2 days. I will get involved and do whatever it takes.

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  13. Max says:

    Everyone, please contact the advertisers to pull their ads, local stations, and owners of Disney stock to until ABC changes this. ABC is destroying an art form and industry. While ABC may be saving a few $ on an hour or two of tv, there are other costs. Soaps are a place that talent is developed. Look at how many money making shows ABC has with AMC/OLTL talent: DWTS, D Housewives, Castle are just a few. Advertisers will loose over 5 million fans + their families, friends, & coworkers who will economically punish anything associated with the new shows. Its very short sighted.

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  14. todd says:

    I, like so many here, have been devastated by the cancellation of OLTL. It has been my favorite show since 1987. I hardly miss an episode. I am a 42 year old gay male in NYC. I no longer can watch during the day, except on the rare occasion that I am off, so I watch on ABC.com, or any other way I can view it. When it was announced, my friends all got in contact with and were supportive of my loss. They knew how important it was to me. I have been able to get many people (men, women, gay, and straight) addicted to OLTL. These are people that would never consider watching a soap. They had hardly heard of OLTL, and were vaguely familiar with General Hospital. After seeing how good it could be, they would ask…”why does no one know about how good this show is”?. The stigma of being a soap opera still exists, but as many people tell me “to get over it…it’s just a show”, many more are understanding or feel the way I do. OLTL was NYC theater, brilliantly written, created, and acted every day for millions across the country. That can never be replaced. It is art. You can’t really put a $ value on it. The replacement shows are not art. They are commercials. I still can’t answer that question. If they re-broadcast the show at 1am millions more would see it. College students would be able to see it. It seems so much more advertising was put into GH, and what people saw was a dark humorless hour of sub-par Sopranos. What people who were in the know saw when we watched OLTL were… brilliant nods to Grey Gardens…self-referencial humor…inspired cameos and guest visits…and Drama. Tears from Shane’s almost suicide, or from Viki realizing her husband was cheating….were carefully balanced with tears of laughter from any of Roxy’s or David’s one liners, to Tess’ insults to Ford. I laughed more from watching OLTL that 100 episodes of any of the top rated sitcoms on ABC. The best part of the show was that it laughed with itself. IT has always been the show that was The Little Engine that Could. Never appreciated from the network or the Academy….it still managed to win Outstanding Lead Actress for the show 11 times. It only won for best show 1 time. It is because the actors and actresses, whom I consider to be amongst the best on tv, give 100% to their stories every day and sell it. I am so sad that I had to work the day of the protests. If there is another I will certainly be there. I don’t really think the protests will amount to anything because our culture has quickly become about rewarding the lowest common denominator, and shunning art. While millions watch American Idol, DWTS, Jersey Shore and other shows that require little thought, executive rub their hands together in greed waiting for an imitation to take it’s place to avoid paying writers….or other creatives. While I am happy 50 people were at the protest….I fear it would take a million woman march to be noticeable.

    Reply

  15. Peggy says:

    Many fans, not in NYC able to hit the streets, still supported the protest with phone calls.
    It’s more than just saving iconic shows that are beloved by millions of fans for over 40 years. It’s about having a voice in the programming that we watch.
    The media is becoming more and more Orwellian, they are dumbing down America with all this reality crap. Anyone over the age of 49 does not have a voice in programing, even though that age group is the largest percent of the population and has the most disposable income. It’s discriminatory! I urge anyone over the age of 49 to join the battle on principal, even if you’re not into the soaps, they represent our voice.
    Many, many famous stars started in the soaps, it’s like a training ground or internship. The reasons for canceling are not because they are failing in the ratings, it’s because they can throw a reality show in there and not have to pay the actors. Thousands of jobs will be lost over this. So, I’ll be in the battle all the way. I record the soaps because of course I’m working during that time, but the recording viewers aren’t counted either.
    I’m boycotting ABC (except during the soap times) and Disney (who owns ABC) and I’m participating in writing sponsors and calling them expressing my outrage.

    Reply

  16. PaulaKate Prince-Meserole says:

    “As We fight to keep One Life To Live and All my Children on the air, We are fighting with all our hearts to keep a unique American Tradition alive: The Drama, The Dance, The Music, The Art, of the American Soap Opera.”

    Reply

  17. PaulaKate Prince-Meserole says:

    I urge you one and all to contact your local ABC Affiliates and tell them ” without our soaps there would be no reason at all to tune to ABC Daytime.”

    And in case you are wondering how this could work think back to the “Tonight Show” debacle…it was the Affiliates that got Jay Leno back on the Tonight Show because fans just tuned out. (No offense to Conan.)
    In the end it’s all about the bottom line….so lets hit them where it will make the only “impression” they will understand…..their pocketbook.

    Eschew “The Chew”… Ignore “The Revolution and Avoid any other show that ABC would try to put in place of our soaps.

    Reply

  18. Barbara says:

    If I want to watch a cooking show then i will watch the cooking channel. I have not watched my soaps replacement nor do I ever intend to. What is ABC thinking? The only time I ever watched ABC was when my soaps were on and now I have no reason to watch ABC at all and I’m sure I am not the only one not watching. Stupid decision to cancel our soaps. A decision that ABC will regret!

    Reply

  19. Cathleen Bircher says:

    I totally agree we have tOo many reality shows all day long, too many cooking shows, too many talk shoes, its enough. Why can’t we have a sliver of entertainment in our lives during the afternoons. I love the way I can get cought up into the romance, danger, stupidity at times lol, drama, fantasy, action, and the comedy. It’s an escape from our own problems or bordom in our ordinary lives. I have been distracted by my own pain in my life at times by watching something so funny I find myself laughing instead of crying and I feel much better just to laugh. I feel the pain when favorite actors/actresses die on the soap. The thrill and excitment when two people finally stop being stupid and get together. The happiness of marriage and childbirth. These soaps are not just a tv for the die hard soaper, they are our family and friends. I will definatly pay a fee to watch soaps and bring back One Life to Live and All My Children and keep the others on. You can keep them on the soap network during the afternoons and followups in the evenings. Just give us homemakers the happiness of taking us a way to another place where the problems are actually worse than our own and we can recognize our lives aren’t as bad as we thought. Give us the happiness to forget about our saddness so we can laugh. Give us the romance we don’t get in our own lives. Give us the excitement of a story line we can get sucked into for months. Please don’t just take this away from us, give us the choice to watch and the option. DONT TAKE AWAY OUR SOAPS.

    Reply

  20. Cathleen Bircher says:

    I stoped watching ABC at noon because they took off All My Children and today I stoped watching ABC at 1pm because they took off One Life to Live. The only time I watch ABC during the day now is at 2pm when General Hospital is one and at 3pm when Dr. Oz is on. If they ever take off General Hosptial I will not be watching it in the afternoon at all. ABC is making a big mistake. I think if I want to watching a cooking show I will watch the cooking chanel and if I want to watch a talk show I know where to find them later in the afternoon. My afternoon is mine when my daughter is at school I have a couple hours to escape away with the entertainment of soaps that I have watched all my 42 years on this earth. People have their favorite shows they watch, well my favorite shows include my soaps. Give us our soaps Back!

    Reply

  21. robin says:

    I have not watched ABC since they removed All My Children. I will not watch any of their programing any longer. I tell everyone I know to boycott ABC. I was a loyal fan of the soaps for 35 years. I know my one little vote doesnt matter but I know that there are many people out there with the same opinion and maybe all our opinions combined can make a difference. I urge everyone to email and blog about it. ABC will not be watched at my home until the soaps are returned.

    Reply

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