RUMOR REPORT: Will ABC Daytime CUT 20 Scripted Episodes Per Year, Per Soap?!

The daytime community is reeling this weekend after news began to circulate that ABC Daytime is seriously toying with the idea of cutting their order of scripted, new episodes by 20 shows per year, per soap.

"In a cost-cutting measure, ABC wants to replace as many as 20 episodes a year  with ‘classic episodes’ of the three ABC soap operas," says a source. "These new, classic episodes would highlight current couples the network wants to promote."

In addition to the six holiday episodes a year where classic episodes are already aired, this would bring the total of annual re-airings of ABC Daytime soaps to 26. If it happens, this move would alter the guarantees ABC has to pay its actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. Keep checking back with Daytime as this potentially game-changing story develops…



62 Responses

  1. Profile photo of watchingallday

    That sounds bad, but if it is a legitimate way for them to save money and to do so without affecting show quality and ultimately helps them keep the shows(OLTL) on the air, then it is a solution that I would be willing to live with.

  2. Profile photo of bb123

    I’d be totally okay with this as long as it keeps all 3 shows on the air, even for a little longer.

    I also think if they are going to air classic examples, they should air some hallmark episodes…not just episodes that promote key couples.

    But this is totally okay by me. It might even force the writers to streamline some of the stories and jam more into the episodes they actually air.

  3. Profile photo of Silver44

    I don’t know what to think about this. On one hand it could help keep ABC soaps on longer than predicted, but on the other hand they would have to get rid of some of the cast to make it work and that would piss off a majority of the audience.

  4. Profile photo of BFluellen1

    I am for anything that saves soaps as bad as it is. I wish that CBS & P&G would’ve given this deal to ATWT and GL. This isn’t common as Australian soaps take a hiatus in December and come back in January. Some soaps in the UK come on 3 days a week, which I would support our soaps of doing if it meant them remaining on air, saving money, and keeping that nice “soap” look to them (cannot do the “shaky cams” no more). The showing of old episodes could also be good for newer fans can watch older episode to learn the history. But that is my take on it…

  5. Profile photo of tws1978

    That´s not bad decision at all. There is a lot of daytime soaps around the world which don´t air on summer vacation and christmas and it doesn´t hurt them. And judging from the ratings the summer is already dead for soaps. It used to be time when young viewers could be attracted but nobody from that group watches TV during day nowadays. They DVR or download even primetime shows, let alone daytime. So business way it makes a lot of sense.

    I wonder if DAYS will follow the trend. They already put most of stories on hold during summer knowing very few still watches. And it certainly would help them, as they are now taping 50 weeks of shows just in 35 or so weeks which is crazy. It would also helped the writers, as they could have some calm preparation time for longterm planning and the shows could work more around the seasons, making storylines more compact and introducing something resembling a season finale.

    It could work quite well for the shows.

  6. Profile photo of Simple C
    Simple C

    Hmm. Well I hope all the workers have other side projects going on or they will be severely screwed financially.

    Other than that, I welcome this idea. I always thought soaps running 365 (minus a few holidays and preemption’s) days a year was too much.

  7. Profile photo of keanna

    I agree if this means keeping all 3 soaps on air I would be all for it, but the casts would have to get a lot of side projects. My only thing is that would this mean cutting the cast on these shows.

  8. Profile photo of samanthadelayed

    If it keeps all three shows on the air I have no problem with it.. Mind you the actors might have a problem if they have to take a pay cut… I hope if they do show classic episodes they are much older and show some the history of each show!

  9. Profile photo of Marland Fan
    Marland Fan

    It’s only 6 or 7 episodes per show, or once every other month. If it keeps the shows on the air, I’m OK with that. And the actors, directors, etc. better be, too… or else they could be out of jobs COMPLETELY.

  10. Profile photo of henry007

    Look at what they’ve done to CBS soaps, they have downsized and dumbzied them so much. Is this what’s in store for ABC? Haven’t they’ve already cut cost? Moving AMC to LA.

  11. Profile photo of BellaDonna

    20 episodes a year essentially means cutting four weeks of new programming. It’s not an entirely bad idea, especially if some of the cuts come at times when ratings are already expected to be lower, like the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holidays. The problem that I have with it is that the network’s idea of the couples they want to showcase/promote aren’t necessarily going to be the couples that I want to see. AMC is currently clearly pushing towards Greenlee/Ryan, Part 10,596, which is the last thing that I want to see. Same for Rex/Gigi on OLTL. Same for any coupling at all on GH that involves Carly, Sonny, or Jason in any way, shape, or form. If I’m going to watch repeat episodes, I’d rather watch classic episodes like the marathons that Soapnet used to show back in the days when it was actually about soaps.

  12. Profile photo of craigcp

    What about cutting them down to an half hour, would that cut cost, but would people be up for that? B&B been an half hour soap, but sometimes feel like watching it an hour. They were once wanting to make it an hour but not with all the cost slashing they are doing now.

  13. Profile photo of

    I think it could work, but I hope they don’t have all three soaps air classic episodes at the same time. AMC should air classic eps while OLTL and GH air new eps, GH should air classic eps while OLTL and AMC air new episodes, and OLTL should air classic episodes while GH and AMC air new eps. A week with three hours of repeats would do more damage than good.

  14. Profile photo of Katiebug9624

    As much as I wish this was done in the best interest of soaps. I think its ABC’s way of getting us used to non soap programming. Think about it 20 days of each soap is going to be filled with basically a rerun, they will see how well the ratings do on those reruns if they do just as well as the current soaps that have new episodes they have a clear reason to cancel the soaps that are on now. They can say look its cheaper to run soap reruns and get the same ratings than to pay all of these people to put new episodes on and get the same result.

    Call me a conspiracy theorist if you want.

  15. Profile photo of tylerbo20

    to help Save DAys of our lives i hope they go this route cutting 20 episodes a year. everyone needs a break so im all for this…id even be willing to let the shows go to 1/2 hour to be able to save most shows 60 mins they seem to drag things out the entire hour.

  16. Profile photo of

    The ratings could increase if they show truly classic, memorable episodes from the 80s and 90s. But if they’re simply showing repeats of episodes that aired a few months ago (like they currently do on the holidays), the ratings will probably suffer.

  17. Profile photo of east.west

    This is ABCD version of P&G canceling ATWT & GL. It’s all about stalling the inevitable. I bet these “classic” reairings (possibly except for GH given the HBIC’s return) will unfortunately be from last decade. Sigh. I do have hope that the holiday episodes are truly classics reruns.

  18. Profile photo of engradypind

    We are being manipulated, trained as it were a la Frons. There have to be other means of saving money than reshowing some of the worst examples of GH storytelling some 20 days a year. I don’t see or hear about the suits at ABC daytime taking a salary hit to help the network. An across the board 5% pay cut would save millions and millions. Teachers and state employees are asked to do it, why can’t the execs give up some of their salaries too?

    I think I would almost prefer that the show not be on for a month, a hiatus, that I can prepare myself for well in advance. Of course, the local affiliates will then fill those hours with those gawd-awful, cheap reality garbage shows.

    Does anyone know if viewers who DVR the show to watch later, or watch online, or on SoapNet are counted in the viewer numbers?

  19. Profile photo of laduke19

    This doesn’t surprise me, especially in light of the announcement we got a little while back about Soapnet’s demise. ABC (and most people) see soaps as a dying industry. As someone who grew up watching soaps and is in that coveted 18-34 demo, this makes me sad, but I’ve also come to accept it. But I do think ABC has made some poor decisions over the past decade that have sped up the demise of their soaps (like doing expensive stunt casting when they don’t even use half their expensive bloated casts).

    Also, note to ABC. Classic episodes are not episodes from 6 months ago. If you’re going to show classic episodes, I want to see a good mix of stuff from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. I don’t want to see Sonny shooting Dante over and over again.

  20. Profile photo of sassysdreams

    Did anyone watch the “classic episodes” played on July 5th? I most definitely did not and I don’t think many other people did either! The same three episodes were already rerun once or twice before and I felt no desire to watch Sonny shoot Dante for the fourth or fifth time! Maybe soaps should be on Mondays-Thursdays including holidays? That would save them 52 episodes a year. Whatever they decide either ABC wants all three soaps and should act like it or it doesn’t so this is ridiculous! I wish they would make up their minds already!!! |(

  21. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    I can live with this, as long as I don’t have to lose AMC or GH anytime soon. There has been enough bloodshed over the past few years where soaps are concerned.

    RIP, GL and ATWT!!!!!

    (Sniffle, sniffle!) :(( :(( :(( :(( Sorry, nostalgia kicking in!!!

  22. Profile photo of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    Cutting shows to half an hour wouldn’t make sense, because they would have half the commercials and therefore would have half the revenue coming in…which means they’d have to cut the budget dramatically, if not in half. Isn’t that right?

    I wonder if the writers will be encouraged to write 20 “stand-alone” episodes per yer (with minimal continuing story elements), so they can be used as the rerun episodes. For instance, recently AMC did an episode that was almost exclusively about Angie Hubbard coming to the realization that she is starting to lose her vision. That’s the sort of standalone episode that would rerun well.

  23. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    I TOTALLY agree that ALL the soaps need fresh, innovative new writers/writing, but TPIC seem too complacent and distracted to really care about these soaps, like neglectful parents who are too busy playing on their Blackberrys while their children are playing in traffic about to get hit!!!! The current crop of writers are gonna completely alienate the few million loyal soap fans that are left within the next few years, driving most of them away permanently—–and then it’ll be doomsday for the genre, and daytime will then be comprised of a bunch of cheesy game shows, and I will be forced to relive the good old days on YouTube!!! Not looking forward to it, but unless something changes NOW, that’s exactly what’ll happen!!!

  24. Profile photo of OldGHFan

    I would love this if they were going to air classic episodes of when ABC Daytime was great – the 80s. I would love to see old GH episodes of Luke & Laura, Robert & Holly, Frisco & Felicia, Duke & Anna, Robert & Anna, etc. But you know Frons will only allow classic episodes from the Sonny Era. No thanks. I see enough of that on CurrentGH.

  25. Profile photo of SoapyBitch

    Can one of the DC staff pull the metrics for the repeats of the last year and compare them to new episode ratings?

    It would be interesting to see how they hold up.

    Great idea ABC. At this point, anything that keeps the shows on longer than not is good for me as a fan.

  26. Profile photo of GHfan76

    I won’t mind seeing Classic episodes- if they really ARE classic episodes. Reshow the great stories of the past- and you’ll have me hooked.

    reshow an episode that aired in the last 10 years- i turn you OFF.

  27. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I think this is a good idea, can’t believe I saying this, LOL. But the writers are getting restless coming up with s/l ideas and this way they can get a break and not repeat the same thing over and over again. Then the shows can be in budget and dont’ not have to be canceled. I hope not!!! But the ABC shows needs new leadership like getting rid of Frons and new writers for GH and new stories instead of the try and true.

  28. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    [quote=GHvetfan]So, we will have to watch Sonny shoot Dante again and again and again……………………..[/quote]

    LOL, that will be a classic episode, watch and see, LOL. :Sp

  29. Profile photo of Soap_Stud

    A letter I just sent to Brian Frons:

    Dear Mr. Frons,

    As a fan of soap operas, I have to say that ABC Daytime needs to show soap opera fans how much it believes in the genre by making an eleventh hour deal with Procter & Gamble to bring “As The World Turns” over to the ABC network as a thirty minute soap opera to be paired with “One Life To Live”, which would also be shortened to thirty minutes.
    As a fan of both OLTL and ATWT, I believe this change would not only work for the network, but would attract more fans and further help ABC’s daytime lineup secure itself as the “go to” network for soap operas. Soap operas have been a staple in the world of television since the 1950’s and despite cancellations, budget cuts, and a death sentence from numerous reporters and magazines, millions of fans still find the time on a daily basis to tune into their stories.
    Obviously, some tough choices would need to be made as far as what Oakdale characters would appear on the soap. In my opinion, based on the characters I enjoy watching the most on the soap and the characters and stories that seem to get the most coverage from various media outlets, including soap opera fan message boards. I think it would be best for the show to focus on Holden (Jon Hensley), Lily (Martha Byrne, only), Luke (Van Hansis), Faith (cast new), Carly (Maura West), Jack (Michael Park), Parker (Mick Hazen), Emily (Kelley Menighan Hensley), Paul (Roger Howarth), Barbara (Colleen Zenk Pinter), Henry (Trent Coleman), Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens), Emma (Kathleen Widdoes), Lucinda (Elizabeth Hubbard), Molly (Lesli Kay) and Dusty (Grayson McCouch). Other characters could easily appear on a recurring basis. I’d change the behind the scenes executive producer to either Ed Scott or Wendy Riche and I’d beg Claire Labine to write the soap.
    The thirty minute version of OLTL would also mean a reduction in characters. Based on the same reasons mentioned earlier, I would focus the show on Viki (Erika Slezak), Charlie (Brian Kerwin), Jessica (Bree Williamson), Brody (Mark Lawson), Dorian (Robin Strasser), Kelly (Gina Tognoni), Todd (Trevor St. John), Blair (Kassie DePaiva), Starr (Kristen Alderson), Bo (Robert Woods), Nora (Hilary B. Smith), Matthew (Eddie Alderson), Marty (Susan Haskell), Cole (Brandon Buddy), Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) and Gigi (Farah Fath). Other characters could easily appear on a recurring status with the show. I would keep the current producing and writing team in place.
    If this letter actually reaches you and you have the time to read it, digest it, and ABC daytime does choose to save ATWT, I thank you for doing this for the millions of soap opera fans everywhere.


  30. Profile photo of soapsudzer

    What a ridiculous idea. I have never watched a soap opera rerun and I never will. It really irk’s me now when they put on a rerun as they did July 5th. IF they must rerun something drag out a real old show like Luke raping Laura or something big with Brenda. These rerun’s of a show they aired 2 week’s earlier is beyond cheap and ridiculous.

  31. Profile photo of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    Soap_Stud, what you are suggesting means two huge production crews, two writing staffs, two casts (even if they are reduced), but only that one hour’s worth of commercials paying the bills!!! I know this is a variation on what I wrote earlier, but where are the savings in having to employ two sets of workers where right now there is only one set? From a business point of view, it just makes no sense.

  32. Profile photo of sinemaguru

    totally fine with it. it’s on like 300 days a year anyway. what’s 20? if it keeps the shows on the air, i’m good. it’s a huge commitment to donate 15 hours per week to watch the shows. i usually just end up letting one fall behind for a while and cycle through. maybe this would help people actually be able to keep up, thus keeping more viewers?

  33. Profile photo of met

    I actually think its a great idea ABC has come up with. Prime-time show actors gets their summers off to do movies and make extra cash. Soap actors could probably do some extra work during their down time while earning extra cash. I say Kudos to ABC.
    Some viewers are probably thinking they will go through soap withdrawal when their favourite soap isn’t on TV. But hey some of these soaps stories run at snails-pace and therefore if you dont watch for an entire month, you can pick up where you left off in two seconds.

  34. Profile photo of miamibeachguy

    I think this is a really bad sign. The ratings for soap operas started their steep decline during the OJ Simpson trial when soaps were not shown and soap viewers started changing their viewing habits to watch other shows or to just not watch the soaps at all. The fewer fresh episodes there are, I think the easier it will be for viewers to gradually tune to other channels or tune out altogether. I hope this isn’t true but I really think this is the beginning of the end. Oh, and unfortunately I think OLTL is living on borrowed time based on its recent ratings. Very sad.

  35. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin

    Devils in the details I guess. If they took a few epis of say Brenda Sonny and condensed them to only BreSon and then did the same with Brenda/Jax that is something I would so watch. If the mixed some old school Robin/Stone and Robin/Jason with some narration to explain what happened in between with some current Scrubs stuff that would be so interesting. If Genie decided to come back and then showed snippets of the rape, being on the run, the wedding and then her losing her mind and then him getting with Tracy, again I would love to revisit some of that. I have always thought one of the biggest hurdles to soap viewing is not knowing the history. This COULD be a way to make current stories more user friendly to current audiences if its done right. The problem is I think instead we are going to get a ton of recent epis just reaired.

  36. Profile photo of Joan76

    GL tried product placement It was kind of shameless though. P&G makes Pringels, and they would often be sitting on a counter they even said their phase no one can just eat one. But if it makes some extra money. Way back in the day when TV first started they would intergrade the commercial into the program.

  37. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    DAYS did the most SHAMELESSLY ridiculous form of product placement I’ve seen in a LONG time last week during those park scenes with EJ and Sami, complete with a weird close up of the Chex Mix bag, MIDSCENE!!! I was like, what the (bleep!)???? I even had to hear EJ ask Sami what “Chex Mix” is, and have her tell him that it’s like having an explosion of different flavors in your mouth at the same time. Groan!! :Sp :Sp

    Whatever gets the soaps more money and more positive attention, I guess…….

  38. Profile photo of Jamie

    If it keeps OLTL on the air, I’m all for it. Of all the ABC soaps, OLTL is the only one I enjoy, whereas the others continue to provide only minimal entertainment. Good for ABC for developing an alternative solution to cancelation. If this proves to be true, I might start to actually believe the claims that ABC is committed to its line-up. We’ve seen three soaps go off the air in as many years. Here’s to hoping innovative measures taken by ABC will keep 2011 from being another chapter in the heartbreaking story that is the end of the daytime drama.

  39. Profile photo of Nathang1983

    Alstonboy, I nearly hurl every time I see one of those stupid product placements. They make it so obvious, so it’s REALLY annoying. You may have missed them showing some kind of almond mix at the Brady Pub last month. It’s really getting old. Here’s an idea for them: Cut some actors and that might actually save money! Duh!!
    They could get rid of Chloe and put Roman and Lexie and Abe on recurring after this sleeping pill storyline. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we need actual people of color on this show, but they never have a storyline. They could also put Caroline on recurring. I love a lot of these people, especially the older characters who actually made this show popular, but still, they need to make cuts to pay. It makes sense. Heck, even John Aniston isn’t on contract, and he has a storyline most of the time.
    Anyways, I think all the soaps could make cast cuts. It’s survival of the fittest these days for soaps, and the producers need to start making smart choices (heh, look at who I’m talking about!)

  40. Profile photo of BigGangster321

    its a good thing or a AWFUL!!!!!!!! thing. im sure my stance has been made clear. 20 new episodes, damn, oh i know this has been said a lot “Classic Episodes” are not from 6, 7, or even 8 months ago.

  41. Profile photo of thecourt99

    While I understand the need for this, I will wait for readers to realize that the statement didn’t just say “classic episodes”. The statement said “new, classic episodes to highlight the current couples that that network wants to promote”. For OLTL that means episodes of Rex and Gigi. For AMC it means episodes of Ryan and Greenlee. For GH, it may mean Sonny and whomever.

    My point? I don’t expect to see real classic stuff…we’ll see. It’s only a few episodes, but I hope the impact on contracts is minimal.

  42. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott

    I say these should be real classic episodes…do we remember “A Daytime To Remember” kids – the little bridge of classic episodes that aired between “The City” going off the air and “Port Charles” coming on.
    That was the shit!

    Oh to see Greg and Jenny again….and not on Youtube…

  43. Profile photo of craigcp

    I don’t like the product placement ideal either, it was the way GL did it. They had a convenience store where they all went too fans called it the P&G convenience store, they also promoted the cars they drove in. But there has been product placement in movies and TV since the early ’80s ET The Extra-Terrestrial had Reeses Peaces was the first product placement. and the famous fight scene in Superman II. For any one here that is old enough to remember them. And Seinfeld insisted on using real products started on TV. I guess it just depends on the way its done.

    Superman II no CGI crap just good old fashion movie making.

  44. Profile photo of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    I agree, Ryan-Scott. I have most of those on tape still! Unfortunately, those days are gone, because Frons will only put stuff on the air that promotes the agenda he’s got currently underway on the three soaps. I’m sure the last thing he wants is for viewers to be reminded that things ain’t what they used to be!

  45. Profile photo of henry007

    I think it would be a good ideal, perhaps a recap, for people who are looking for other soaps to watch after ATWT end. Some can’t start watching another soap not knowing their history or there background. I hope the actors can go on other soaps, but I’m not sure I can just start watching another soap. My mom has watched ATWT since the beginning, these people are in are lives every day it’s like loosing a family member, network pinheads don’t realize that.

  46. Profile photo of Belinda

    Wow. I don’t know. If they let the fans pick the classic episodes might work, or if they replayed GH from day one in consecutive order. I’d never miss a weeks episode of that!

  47. Profile photo of engradypind

    Now that would be cool to replay vintage GH episodes from the days of Dr. Steve Hardy and Jessie Brewer. Those would be worth tuning in to watch. As it is I WILL NOT watch reruns of Sonny Corinthos doing anything.

  48. Profile photo of shirls429

    I hate the idea of reruns but,our hands are tied and their is nothing we can do! Daytime soaps are so much better then the night soaps,people just need to TVO and be loyal to daytime by letting these networks now how much we care! :)

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