SPECIAL REPORT: ABC to Make "Major Decisions" About Daytime Lineup in Coming Weeks




Don’t shoot the blogger. Remember all those talk shows ABC started developing last year? There were the two from ABC Media Productions (one a Will & Grace-esque talker with Tori Spelling and Jeff Lewis, the other a cooking show with Danny Boome) and one, a “male Viewfrom Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie. I’m hearing, in the coming weeks, ABC will be deciding if one or more of these projects will land on The Mouse House’s daytime lineup come fall of 2011.

“They have to make a decision by the end of the First Quarter of 2011 in order to get one or more of the shows on the air by fall,” says a source. “Affiliates are getting antsy with Oprah leaving the airwaves with no clear cut successor. The decisions ABC will be making will have ripple effects throughout the ABC Daytime lineup and yes, the soaps will be affected."

As to what exactly all this means for ABC Daytime’s three soap operas, that isn’t so easy to decipher.

“It’s no secret the soaps aren’t as profitable as they once were,” says one industry insider, “and two of the ABC soaps have been over budget in recent years.”

In the fall of 2009, ABC Daytime decided to uproot All My Children and move them to Los Angeles in a cost-cutting effort, however sources tell me the 41-year-old sudser has continued to run over budget since relocating in January of 2010.

“Julie [Hanan Caruthers, All My Children’s executive producer] just can’t seem to bring it in under budget,” says a source.
 
Reportedly, whereas most of the soaps left on the air have gone to a production model of getting scenes in one take, AMC allegedly still does several takes for each scene and boasts other financial risk factors that concern the powers that be. Meanwhile, ABC’s most popular soap opera, General Hospital has also run into budget woes of late.

GH, which premiered in 1963, reportedly saw its budget slashed significantly recently, resulting in the firing of actress Rebecca Herbst, a move that has since been rescinded. However, sources say more cast cuts are forth coming.

General Hospital isn’t in any immediate danger,” says a setsider. “It has the strongest brand by far.”

That leaves All My Children and One Life to Live—the latter being the only ABC soap to reportedly come in under budget consistently— for ABC to determine the futures of, and while reps have maintained the shows produced by ABC Media Productions won’t necessarily end up on the ABC channel, numerous sources have confirmed to me that the programs were in fact specifically developed for The Mouse House’s daypart. 

Keep checking back with Daytime Confidential as this story develops.


Comments

alstonboy4315's picture
Member since:
12 February 2010
Last activity:
6 weeks 1 day

d_andre--

I respect your opinion, but I simply can't co-sign on the notion of another soap being canceled. We have already lost FAR too many!!! I have even mourned the loss of soaps that I have not liked or watched. Soaps are like family to many people. Like a warm blanket and a cup of cocoa!!! They give you a certain feeling that few other genres of entertainment can give you, and I can't rationalize the loss of another soap, even if there could be positive repercussions to it.

GHfan-4now's picture
Member since:
29 August 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 2 days

Oh, holy hell. Thanks for the info, Jamey.

Member since:
1 November 2010
Last activity:
30 weeks 6 days

I don't care if one of the soaps is being written by a badger, through good and through bad writing I don't want a another soap to be cancelled.

GHfan-4now's picture
Member since:
29 August 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 2 days

Gotta agree with alston and jockteen. I can't take it if another beloved show is canceled. It was bad enough with GL, followed by ATWT the very next year. I may hate what they are doing to these shows, as far as writing and characters, but soaps are my heart and I've honestly made some of my best friends from watching soaps, because we all discovered we watched the same ones. It'd be a damn shame to see any one of them go at this time.

jlafferty23's picture
Member since:
21 June 2010
Last activity:
2 years 26 weeks

I must agree with alston and jockteen too.

Sounds corny and stupid, but I'm with these soaps through better and worse (sounds like I am married to them LOL), I don't want them getting canceled.

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
Last activity:
21 min 1 sec

You can all agree all you want that no soaps should go, but it's a BUSINESS to the people who make the decisions. There is no emotion involved. To not recognize that is to bury your head in the sand.

Having made that comment, this is still very sad--if expected--news.

I can't believe AMC is STILL over-budget, considering the tax breaks of the move (as joss pointed out), the pay cuts taken by everyone including Susan Lucci, and eliminating David Canary's and Ray MacDonnell's salary altogether. Considering the (lack of) quality of the show these days, if any soap has to go, it should be this one. As I've been saying since Susan Lucci's memoir was announced, I think she's on the verge of retiring from the show, and that would be an ideal time to close Agnes' big burgandy scrapbook.

Member since:
22 February 2011
Last activity:
3 years 8 weeks

I've watched all three ABC soaps on and off for the last 20+ years and would be sad to see any of them cancelled, though that day is likely coming in the not too distant future for all of them. Television in general isn't as profitable as it used to be for a lot of reasons including: production costs, shifts in how and when audiences watch, and a lot more competition from more channels, more channels airing original programming, and aspects of life like the internet as well as the traditional competitors like live shows and sporting events, family time, etc. Perhaps it's time for Hollywood in general to take a good hard look at salaries, expense accounts, and executive perks rather than just slashing show budgets every year?

As for DATV specifically, AMC consistently pulls in the lowest numbers, but as has already been pointed out, it also faces off against the number one daytime soap in many markets, though not all. Where AMC isn't on opposite Y&R it's opposite B&B, which is usually number 2 in the ratings, or DAYS/DOOL. OLTL and GH do not have daytime soap competitors, but they do have other competition, obviously. OLTL, imo, is the best of the 3 DATV daytime soaps right now and the ratings have been going up the past several weeks. Hopefully, that's a reflection of fans returning to the show in general and not just about big story reveals for sweeps, but time will tell. OLTL is an example of a show that is doing so many things right, and tapes in an expensive locale too, yet is not getting the ratings it deserves. OLTL is still not as good as it has been in the past, but it's so much more watchable on a consistent basis than either GH or AMC.

AMC has its good weeks and bad weeks and perhaps a new show runner/s and/or executive producer would make a positive difference, but that's going to take time and patience on behalf of viewers and DATV.

GH has the cast and the script writing talent, they both just need better material with which to work, and a new head writer and executive producer would go a long way towards rebuilding good will with fans as well as the quality of the show. Even the best of the stories currently on GH are full of more holes than a block of swiss cheese, and story problems are not limited to just plot holes either. Plus the same core of characters remain front burnered from story-to-story, year-in and year-out, and the returns of fan favorite characters and actors are all but completely and totally blown in the opinions of a lot of viewers. GH has very little entertainment value to it now and why it gets the ratings it does, is a mystery.

As for marketing, ratings are down for daytime and have been steadily going down since at least the early 90's, with some short-lived rebounds here and there yet marketing and promotions of the shows has not really increased. Where are the marketing efforts to promote the shows outside of the traditional daytime press and viewing block? How many times does ABC plug its primetime line-up during its daytime block, and why aren't there at least some plugs for its daytime shows during primetime? With the internet, there are so many more cost effective ways to promote television programs and increase brand awareness and good will with fans than in times past, yet DATV is not taking full advantage of those either for its daytime block. DATV is really good at exploiting and using some of the newer technologies, but they totally under utilize others.

Most fans don't know all of what goes into producing a television show, but that doesn't mean that fans don't recognize good tv when they see it. Networks, studios, and show runners and writers can't and shouldn't give fans everything they want to see all the time, but listening to fan feedback and responding when it works and is possible can go along way towards building and maintaining good will with fans and keeping them tuned in. There are legal and creative pitfalls here to be sure, but that's what legal clearance is all about too. Why not let fans vote on one summer story idea when ratings traditionally go up anyway or something like that? Things like that not only pull fans into the show and interacting with the network, but it can give them incentive and a reason to watch. Have contests amongst fans regarding creating show merchandise or for the best fan sites and interns can run and maintain a lot of this or hire third-parties like ABC did with the go network initially for all its websites and like it does for the DATV Insiders club/forum.

Ultimately show quality has be present for fans to watch on a consistent basis, and the budget cuts at ABC are and have been affecting production quality in many different ways, but the more committed fans are to their shows and characters, the more they tend to put up with and over look too.

Member since:
2 April 2009
Last activity:
1 week 2 days

why can't they just cut one of the soaps down to half and hour? It's not like B&B is suffering from being 30 minutes. That would let them fill a 30 minute slot with another talk show...that probably won't last, its not like "The Talk" is causing waves.

Also were I live OLTL goes up against DOOL. GH goes up against that talk show that took over GL's spot and AMC is repeat at 11, new episode at noon.

SoapArmageddon's picture
Member since:
22 January 2011
Last activity:
1 hour 2 min

How in the name of Agnes Nixon can AMC be over budget?

What is all that money being spent on? The talent is not better than that of any other soap. Many of its veterans are gone. Its production values aren't superior to any other show's, except Days. I don't think they have a bigger advertising budget than GH's. They're supposedly getting tax breaks from the state of California to film there.

Seriously, how is this possible??????

Marezi's picture
Member since:
24 November 2009
Last activity:
1 year 24 weeks

But But But what about all the stories we all don't like.

I have seen over and over and over that people aren't watching because of the stories or they don't like how so and so is being written or this one is with that person and until they are gone I am not watching. This is what makes me PO'ed. Everyone knew what was coming unless you have been in that lair that Theo has on GH. Now it is like shutting the gate after the horses got out.

I have been saying close to a year now we , the viewers, are going to get the soaps canceled becasue we think we can dictate the stories. Instead of watching or a least have the TV on and leave the room when the story stinks, everyone just walks away.

I at least have the TV on in the bedroom on ABC and turn it on in the main room for OLTL and GH. I dont' know if my one or two little TV's does any good but I know I am trying to save our soaps. If I dont' like the show or what is written I put it on mute or just leave it on in the bedroom and I go find something to do. I don't have to watch but it is on.

Seriously ticks me off. Now everyone is worried they won't have their shows. So mad. All the ones with thier little boxes that they are so proud of, they need to turn their damn TV sets to ABC. Seriously ticked and I am not pleased. I am just a swearing unbder my breath right now and it is all for the " I want, I deserve, I,I,I,I, me, me, me ,me," generation.

I am going to go work this anger off outside and try to calm down. because I will say it again >>.I am disgusted

Cyberologist's picture
Member since:
27 December 2007
Last activity:
12 hours 5 min

When are they going to fire the high salaries behind the camera? I've never been convinced that Frons is a champion of soaps I think he's done a lot to dismantle them in his own special way I've always held the notion he wants to replace this line up with cheaper productions and that is the end game when all is said and done.

JAQ's picture
Member since:
9 January 2011
Last activity:
2 years 42 weeks

Amen! Beer Guza as well. Can't leave him out!

Member since:
22 February 2011
Last activity:
3 years 8 weeks

That's a good point Marezi if you're a Nielsen family. Watching live only affects ratings if you're watching and reporting what you watch to the Nielsen company for ratings research. Nielsen's are making changes that are being rolled out this spring and many networks do other research to gather ratings data because until the changes to the Nielsen's are made, they don't reflect online viwership or DVR/TIVO numbers yet. Cable companies can report DVR numbers, but they take a few weeks and the rating only counts if you watch the recorded show within 7 days in most markets, but sometimes only within 48 hours of recording the show. Some networks, ABC included, do pay attention to the number of views their episodes get on their own official sites and on Hulu so that's another way for fans to let the networks know they're watching their programming. But as long as the Nielsen's are the industry standard, only those the Nielsen company select for ratings research can have an impact on official ratings. The Nielsen company does select new households all the time as I don't believe that they stick with any household for more than a week at a time.

I agree with you that walking away from a show isn't likely to have the desired effect fans want, but there have been rewrites made to GH scripts post Jan 1. While an official reason has not been given, nor have the rewrites been officially confirmed even though we know they have been done, ratings since VMG's return steadily declined and were plain awful during Nov sweeps. Sometimes tuning out and stating why can have a desired effect, or so it seems as Hart Hansen, the show runner for Bones, has said that he will not get the two main leads together until ratings drop. GH has certainly gotten better since the bus crash, but the show still has a long ways to go to become a good show again, at least in my opinion. If the Nov sweeps ratings, which were deserved I think, played any role in forcing rewrites now, it certainly wasn't a bad thing.

lfad's picture
Member since:
17 March 2010
Last activity:
2 days 3 hours

Marezi wrote:
Instead of watching or a least have the TV on and leave the room when the story stinks, everyone just walks away.

It doesn't matter whether you leave the tv on while the soaps or on or not unless you're a Nielsen family. I'm not one, and haven't been sent one of those journals for years. The only thing that will be accomplished if I leave the tv on during AMC is wasting energy.

JAQ's picture
Member since:
9 January 2011
Last activity:
2 years 42 weeks

GAgal28 wrote:
Stevie Wonder in a dark basement could see that OLTL is the least promoted ABC soap. I mean ABC freaking promotes GH on Lifetime & ABC Family!! OLTL's major issue has always been the ratings & the ratings just DO NOT tell the accurate story of the soap (cause it's packed full of win & 3 amazing Divas that bring it each time they're on screen).

Beer Beer Beer

baycity's picture
Member since:
24 May 2010
Last activity:
3 years 3 weeks

I have been a soap fan for 25 years, since my early teens. Two or three years ago I wouldn't have said this, but after seeing Guiding Light and ATWT go off the air (deservedly so in the case of GL), I don't have a problem with soaps getting cancelled. Primetime shows get cancelled all the time. It's only in daytime that we have this thing about "fixing" shows that hardly anybody watches anymore.

If there are less than 3 million viewers watching a show, that's not even 1% of the American population. That's OK for cable where JerseyShore gets 6 million viewers every episode. It's not a viable model for a network.

Will I miss the soaps? Yes, but none of them is as good as it used to be. And again, you can't expect any business to keep offering a product that hardly anyone buys.

Member since:
1 July 2009
Last activity:
6 weeks 2 days

As usual Alstonboy, you are on the money, my friend.. You're right as well, Jockteen.

We've lost two soaps in the last two years, I think it would be better served to just make AMC and/or OLTL a half hour, only use cancellation as a last resort.

I know in other cities, Oprah comes on after the soaps. But here in Chicago, Oprah comes on at 9am, then the View, then our local ABC news, and then AMC, OLTL, and GH.Last week two local reporters ( a sportscaster and a traffic reporter) have been tapped to co-host local talk show that will air on Oprah's time slot. I've always liked Tori Spelling, but a talk show no thanks. I wouldn't mind a male version of the View, if they got the right mix of guys.

I just can't fathom why AMC is still over budget, to me Carruthers needs to go, she seems to be the one constant in all of this. I say if they want to save a whole lot of money, fire her, Phelps, Guza, and especially Frons, and start over. This genre can be saved if they can just get the right people.

alstonboy4315's picture
Member since:
12 February 2010
Last activity:
6 weeks 1 day

Keanna--

Beer Beer Beer Beer Beer

Love Love Love Love Love

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
2 years 1 week

I agree, Baycity. It's sad that soaps' days are dwindling, but it is a reality. It's sad because people have been watching these shows for twenty, thirty, forty, and almost fifty years. The characters are like parts of their family. The only other show that I can think of that has been on for so long is 60 Minutes. Nobody really has an emotional attachment to that show. Smile

What bothers me is that the soaps are not taking the cost-cutting seriously. If they DO want to save these shows, they need to STOP bringing on more characters when they get rid of some. Days of our Lives, for example, is hiring two (possibly three) actors to basically replace Phillip, Stephanie, and Nathan. To me, bringing on Abby, Dario (another out of thin air Hernandez), and bringing on "Fletcher." Then they're going to hire Tamara Braun as a replacement for Natalia. Kind of defeating the purpose if you ask me. The ABC soaps apparently have the same problem. They could get rid of a handful of contract actors on OLTL, GH, and AMC easily, but the producers and writers are too dumb and/or stubborn to do something.

Member since:
17 February 2011
Last activity:
3 years 4 weeks

dblakes5--any idea just how the Nielsons are going to reach more viewers, and why the holdup? We hear everyday that advertisers don't want to spend their money in traditional television markets-least of all on us. It seems counter-productive for me, a TV viewer, to give in to online markets.

GHfan-4now's picture
Member since:
29 August 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 2 days

You can all agree all you want that no soaps should go, but it's a BUSINESS to the people who make the decisions. There is no emotion involved. To not recognize that is to bury your head in the sand.

*****************

There’s no doubt that it’s a business and there is no emotion for the bigwigs in regards to cancellation. There’s no doubt they want to both save and make money and soaps are not as viable anymore. I can’t blame them for that. They have to do what they have to do. There’s no doubt soaps won’t be around much longer for that very reason. I think we pretty much see the writing on the wall where that’s concerned: No one’s watching. They’re going downhill. They’re not as good as they once were. Soaps still exist??? Pay cuts! Firings! Rehirings! Recurring status! BUDGET CUTS! Guza! Phelps! Bull S*** Fronz! Carruthers! Dreck Hackley! Etcetera. Etcetera.

Believe me, I get it. I know it’s a business, but unlike the bigwigs and maybe a few others, I can’t take my emotions out of something I’ve invested 20 years into. Will I get over it? Sure. I live my life day to day. Soaps happen to be part of that, but I won’t die crying over the cancellation of a show I love, I’ve survived a many wuthering storm. I'll shed tears and force myself to kick rocks once they dry. Will I accept it if it comes to pass? Of course, I have no choice. Shows get cancelled, it happens, daytime, primetime, online, whatever, and won’t stop happening because we know at the end of the day, TPTB have to make money. If they don’t, pull the plug. I will move on and live my life no different. There is, after all YouTube which provides old episodes galore of so many soaps, I‘ve discovered new faves. However, it doesn’t mean those of us who don’t want the shows to go, say, tomorrow, have to like it; that was the point of the earlier comments. So, I agree with what you say, but I'm also looking at it from a different perspective.

Member since:
17 February 2011
Last activity:
3 years 4 weeks

dblakes5--any idea just how the Nielsons are going to reach more viewers, and why the holdup? We hear everyday that advertisers don't want to spend their money in traditional television markets-least of all on us. It seems counter-productive for me, a TV viewer, to give in to online markets.

thecourt99's picture
Member since:
30 April 2009
Last activity:
3 hours 54 min

random question...how is CBS impacted? Aren't there areas where Oprah was on CBS or NBC? What is going to happen with their affiliates.

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
2 years 1 week

I agree, GHFan. I'm really just frustrated with the lack of common sense in daytime television production. If they really want to save soaps, then they should start by getting rid of the excess fat. It's endlessly frustrating watching them add useless character after useless character every other month (literally). What's all this talk about talk shows just because they're cheaper? It's because they DON'T know how to run a business when it comes to daytime television. I guess, in a way, it's like unwanted pest for them. They live with them because they have to.

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
2 years 1 week

Whoops. Bolded the whole comment. Big smile

Saher M's picture
Member since:
4 December 2010
Last activity:
3 years 6 weeks

lmao @ don't shoot the blogger. I think RH's firing was more agenda, though. I mean if it was budget, then they should just quit hiring newbies, like Nathang1983 said.

harlee490's picture
Member since:
6 December 2009
Last activity:
6 hours 39 min

WOW I read all of the comments, because this is serious time for soaps. NBC was the first to truly want out of daytime dramas in the 90s, everything had failed big, anytime they tried to do a new soap. Once the grand dame of daytime CBS finally said ok if P&G wants out and we can save the money on the licease's to broadcast and did it, the other networks saw and waited to see the back lash, it was time to change their daytime viewing habits with much less soaps. I do feel ABC will try to save their soaps by making them 30 minutes before axing their last trio of soaps.

The shake down from the scatter viewers of GL & ATWT went in many directions. It has actually helped OLTL in ratings and the casting of former actors of both soaps and OLTL doesn't have another soap for competing at that time slot. Most of viewers of the P&G's soaps stayed w\CBS's soaps, Y&R has gotten a very nice boost in rating since the latter two were cancelled. The Talk is not proving a ratings grabber, they are leveling off and OLTL has the last 3 weeks had beat them in the demos 18-49 and by better levels each week but if any show opposite of OLTL surpasses in the 18-49 demo then worry. Oh, ABC will be cancelling one in the next 2 yrs people to need to be ready and maybe ABC might like the model of NBC with 1 soap and Real Housewives from Hell. So if GH has the best brand out of all of the soaps I guess GH would be the one ABC would want to keep. Personally, not in my opinion I'm not a big fan of GH, they need to start syndicate soaps for more revenue in the evenings.

babyc's picture
Member since:
22 January 2009
Last activity:
2 years 35 weeks

Well, AMC is dead. If GH or OLTL die I will be surprised. GH has better ratings and OLTL is always under budget, so if there is gonna be a big change, the change is killing AMC. I don't want to think about this right now...

THEBEST's picture
Member since:
12 February 2008
Last activity:
21 hours 47 min

My AMC may be gone soon...I wonder if Oprah would consider taking it to OWN.

jlafferty23's picture
Member since:
21 June 2010
Last activity:
2 years 26 weeks

I get that its a business. But if they actually had people that gave a rats ass about these shows, running things, than maybe these soaps would still be making the network money!

Brian Frons is a fool, he doesn't care about any of the ABC soaps.

I grew up on soaps, they bring me entertainment that alot of the genres can't do. Primetime may have better quality and better stories, but there is something about sitting down and watching a soap everyday that brings me comfort.