Associated Television International’s, Jim Romanovich took to posting his latest thought-provoking blog at Baseline Intelligence. In it, Romanovich brings to light and for discussion, why One Life to Live was also canceled along with All My Children when clearly the show was higher in the ratings, creatively successful, and under budget. Was it perhaps that ABC was set to cancel it all along and not AMC, and then OLTL out performed AMC at every level thus causing the network a conundrum? Did ABC make OLTL a sacrificial lamb? Here are just a few excerpts from Jim, but we encourage you to read his entire post.
Romanovich: “So what’s with the urgency that both of these shows have to go… like yesterday? ABC spent millions of dollars on bringing All My Children to Los Angeles in what appeared to be the biggest show of support for the soaps since we took over the Daytime Emmys. At the time, I truly believed ABC felt that way too. I believed that this was the only way to save both this show and One Life To Live. Maybe on the surface that’s what they had hoped. But it seems apparent to me that deep down they knew then that One Life was down to its last life. This was just borrowed time until they could find the show to replace it. Essentially ABC was telling Frank Valentini to make bricks without straw. He made the Taj Mahal instead much to ABC’s shock. By being the lone soap in NY without any real support system the network felt that if they left it alone, it would die on its own. But it didn’t. It rose in the ratings! Creatively, it was by far the best storytelling soap around that utilized its whole canvas of talent equally. The whole cast and crew brought their A game every single time and the viewers…noticed! When I grow up, I want to be Frank Valentini because the man is simply amazing to me.”
“The following is my opinion of what I think must have occurred with the cancellation of both soaps as I can think of nothing else that makes sense. What the network was not prepared for was the diminishing ratings of All My Children. When ABC chose this show to be relocated to Los Angeles, they seemed to put great faith into its longevity while knowing that one of their soaps, the New York one, was going to be sacrificed eventually. When One Life started pulling ahead of All My Children, ABC had a little bit of a conundrum. How could they now seriously cancel One Life, which they were planning to do all along at some point, and spare All My Children? They felt the backlash would have been so monumental that it would have been a PR disaster. So they did something that they felt that would get some serious backlash, but one that was easier to explain. Cancel them both and place two other shows quickly in those slots and say that this new direction adheres to the current daytime audience that prefers shows with some take away value. This way, it doesn’t sound personal. If they tanked One Life which is doing well and kept AMC which is not doing quite so well, then that comes across as personal to the fans in the network’s thinking.”
“With regards to the cancellations of One Life To Live and All My Children, the network acted too hastily and was nowhere near prepared for the onslaught of criticism that was to follow. I had always believed that soaps on daytime television were living on borrowed time, but that didn’t mean the end of their time. It meant that these shows were ready to be placed elsewhere. I still think SoapNet could have been a success if Disney had planned on making it a success. I’d say forget Disney Jr., which is redundant anyway, and keep SoapNet or at least re-brand it and make it the place to find your daytime soaps twice a day and other shows that have that same flavor and style that appeal to that demo. Everybody loves soaps. Hell, the NBA finals are nothing more than soap opera! Build upon what Night Shift started and create other soaps. The new re-branded SoapNet could continue on in new ways. I like what they did for the web with the What If… series and could see that kind of forward thinking evolve into television or maybe even break the fourth wall more often like One Life did with their Glee episodes or The Bold and Beautiful did with their homeless story. But this is all just wishful thinking as the audience is there and those with the power don’t see it.”