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budget slashed significantly recently, resulting in the firing of actress Rebecca Herbst, a move that has since been rescinded.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

GHfan-4now's picture
Member since:
29 August 2010
Last activity:
3 weeks 17 hours

It's because they DON'T know how to run a business when it comes to daytime television.

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

Put that in a pipe and smoke it, put it on a T-Shirt and sell it, Nathang! I think you just hit the nail on the head. And we hear newbie’s cost less, but the problem is at the end of the day, newbie’s are costing the shows their longtime audience when they are featured in front burner stories ad nauseam. Too many of them and we start to wonder if we’re watching one of the six soaps still on the air or a new and improved season of Sweet Valley High.

Look right down any crowded hall… you see there’s a newbie standing!

Member since:
21 May 2008
Last activity:
28 weeks 10 hours

A first grader could have figured out to fire Phelps and Guza a long time ago. But for some reason, Frons likes them and they continue to suck GH down the toilet with them. Someone needs to fire Frons! He clearly has no idea what brings in daytime viewers.

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

Tamela, all I know re the new and upcoming Nielsen's system is that it's supposed to come out sometime this spring and it's supposed to account for online and recorded shows somehow. Nielsen ratings, which are the industry standard, have always been based upon a sampling of households that are supposed to be representative of the US viewing audience as a whole and statistical formulas. Over the past few years more and more networks began doing their own ratings research as it became clearer and clearer that the Nielsen's were becoming more and more inaccurate as they stood. It's not that the ratings were/are way off base, but they weren't/aren't accounting for many of the ways in which audiences were/are viewing shows now. More will be known about the changes to Nielsen's as the new format rolls out, but even my industry contacts don't yet have all the information on how and exactly what measurement changes are being made. From what I understand, the Nielsen at least felt enough pressure from networks who felt pressure from advertisers and executives to get more accurate ratings numbers and that they include online viewings and DVR/TIVO. Again, some of the networks were already conducting their own ratings reserach anyway.

Someone else commented on online viewing and advertising revenue. At this point networks cannot charge advertisers the same rates for online viewing as they can for broadcast spots for several reasons: online viewers are still a smaller audience than the number of people who watch the "live" broadcast; shows remain online for several weeks, usually, which is not as appealing to some advertisers, mostly local companies with upcoming events/sales; there are fewer commercial spots available in the current online model; etc. So far networks and channels are offering their shows online for free, but that could change as it is expensive to make so many shows available and they cannot yet charge anywhere near as much for online advertisements as they can for those that air during broadcast. This may change if the Nielsen's do in fact find an effective method of counting online views and reflecting that into ratings, but in the meantime we'll just have to wait and see. It's not just daytime that is hurting financially, it's primetime too. Whereas in the 80's and 90's daytime soaps used to generate enough revenue to pay for several successful primetime shows, now they're all suffering, even the hit shows.

JasamForever's picture
Member since:
29 December 2009
Last activity:
31 min 23 sec

What else will be revealed in the next coming weeks. I have a feeling the show that will be reduced in the time slot or axed is AMC. Once Melissa Claire Egan last airdate is shown, I think the rating will go down as her character was a fan favorite. Susan Lucci should be close to retiring. I am not a OLTL watcher and never will be. As long as GH is still on the air with the actors I fav, then I am okay. But I personally would not watch a new talk show, and definately not one with Tori Spelling. The View is enough for me. At the end of the day the two remaining soaps in my opinion, will be GH and YR.

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
2 years 2 weeks

Funny thing is, they don't NEED Fronsie! NBC hasn't had a daytime head for years. I don't know that they will even replace Barbara Bloom at CBS. I hope they don't. That would certainly cut costs without that salary.

I can identify with you, JLafferty. I don't mean to insult people, but we all know that soaps are pretty stupid and melodramatic, but what keeps us watching and watching and watching for decades is the traditionalism of it, the familiarity, and the core families. I love the tradition of families on soaps. Family is valuable, at least to me, and I love watching the Newmans, Abbotts, Bradys, Hortons, Quartermaines, etc. do what they do. These core families are what sets them apart from the primetime shows (minus Dynasty and Dallas). Sure, you'll find those random characters that catch on, like Phyllis on Y&R or Nicole on Days, but mostly families are what keeps these shows together.

Member since:
19 November 2007
Last activity:
15 hours 17 min

I think if they cancel OLTL, I'll be done with daytime. I started my soap watching about 18 years ago (I'm 30 now) with Days and AW, then GH, then AMC. Over time I dropped Days and move onto OLTL because I was already watching the other two ABC shows. Through out the years, I watched all the soaps canceled and currently on air, but now the only one I consistently watch is OLTL. I'm not being dramatic, but the day it's over, I'll be through with daytime drama.

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
2 years 2 weeks

I can't watch OLTL lately either, JaSamForever. I find it tolerable when the veterans are shown, but the bully storyline is god-awful. The acting is awful from most of the teens and they annoy me anyway. I have just never cared for teens on any show. I didn't like them on Days when I was sixteen years old either! Smile

BetseyD's picture
Member since:
19 December 2008
Last activity:
14 weeks 1 day

Well, I just have read all of your comments, and it is apparent that everyone here has a well-informed, well thought-out, and mature opinion on this subject. ABC would be doing well to take the time and actually read forum comments such as these, but alas, we all know that will never happen.

I often times wonder how these people (The Network Executives)ever landed in the jobs that they have; was it personal connections, dumb luck, blackmail, etc...? One really has to wonder. Regardless, it is all truly sickening, and we, along with anyone who works for a Soap, are the ones who ultimately must suffer for their ineptitude!

Oh - and by the way - I will never, I REPEAT NEVER, watch anything featuring the likes of Tori Spelling in it! Talk about insulting the viewers! The thought that ANY Soap would be canceled and replaced with a show of hers is enough to turn me off to that network altogether!!

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

Nathang1983 wrote:
I have just never cared for teens on any show.

Love this.... This is why, as much as I say I do, I never really mind when characters are SORASed from 12 one day to 19 the next!

When you think about it the soaps ARE really "stupid", but it takes an intelligent person to really appreciate them. Smile

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

I will be sad to see AMC go if it is the one. I've never been a huge fan of OLTL. I just hope GH is the last one standing.

Evangeline Vega's picture
Member since:
4 January 2011
Last activity:
6 weeks 8 hours

I've heard this saying a lot and I have found it to be true: When you are close to something (and I don't mean in the emotional sense) it is hard to see the solution when it is right in front of your face.

Now with these execs they don't see the solutions that many of you guys have listed. They see the money they could be making and the money they're losing sticking to soaps. Now I don't watch AMC but I do feel for you guys that might lose it b/c I have recently taken on B&B and OLTL so I want OLTL to stick around as long as possible.

Let's all just hope for the best!

Member since:
19 October 2008
Last activity:
2 years 17 weeks

The fact is that when AMC was in dire financial trouble in NYC, they moved it to LA based on the financial model of General Hospital: Night Shift 2...a show that was wildly under budget by all ABC standards. It went to the same studio and the idea was it would benefit from the cost-saving measures put in place by the Night Shift team. The only catch was that they didn't actually take the architect of that model, Lisa DeCazotte, to LA to make it happen and Julie Carruthers hasn't CLUE 1 how to bring a show in under budget. It's extremely sad that TPTB at ABC have entrusted the jewel in the crown of ABC Daytime to a woman who has run it into the ground so badly that it cannot recover. They are getting what they deserve for their idiotic management.

Mrpink1992's picture
Member since:
16 August 2010
Last activity:
2 years 13 weeks

PLEASE LET THEM NOT EFF WITH OLTL!!!!!

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
Last activity:
6 hours 43 min

I actually don't mind the teens on soaps. (It's the ones in real life who piss me off!) ;-D

Member since:
17 February 2011
Last activity:
3 years 6 weeks

These are tough times for the daytime soaps. I don't think budget cuts ever work because the overall quality of a show suffers. With the lack of sets, for example, several characters end up not having "homes", or you will have 10 or more living under one roof ( on ATWT, I swear there were at least 15 to 20 people shacking up at Emma's farmhouse at one point!)or most of them end up living in a hotel room for 5 years! The last couple of years on the once great ATWT were painful to watch.

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
2 years 2 weeks

They've already got several living under one roof on Days of our Lives (the Kiriakis and DiMera mansions)! Smile

Member since:
25 February 2009
Last activity:
1 week 6 days

David "Killer" Kreizman strikes again?

Llanview76's picture
Member since:
3 April 2009
Last activity:
6 days 11 hours

I just wanted to take a moment...recently I acquired episodes of ALL MY CHILDREN from 1980. Three of them were Palmer Cortlandt's masquerade ball held in honor of his daughter Nina; and one involved Erica's return after a brief hiatus from Pine Valley. While I watched these episodes I took into account the quality of the entertainment at the same time realizing these episodes were painstakingly written back in the day on a word processor not as sophisticated as the Microsoft Word program we have today. Agnes Nixon, Winser Washam led a team of writers who seemed to care about the characters they were writing for, writing them in such a way that an audience in turn cared about them, taking time to understand them. We could relate them to ourselves or to the people in our own lives. Pine Valley used to be so nuanced and a hot bed of romance and social intrigue. It had the courage to tell a story involving the Vietnam War....and then I started thinking, thinking about the AMC of today...the one I left behind in December. When has it told a story that involved today’s world that allowed our lives to be touched? It hasn’t. When have the characters engaged us in such a way that we want to see ourselves in them? It hasn’t. They keep telling stories that undermine the show’s heart. It’s all about whose sleeping with whom, and who’s so mad at David that they want to kill him now, and who will Ryan choose Greenlee or Kendall…when the character doesn’t seem all that smart or likeable to begin with that I could care about him or the women in his life. It’s a shame to think this way, but really I think there aren’t that many pages left to turn in the signature family album.

Member since:
1 April 2009
Last activity:
3 weeks 6 days

Well. I'm so thankful, as it now turns out, for the Rylee Bullshit and Crystal Hunt. Those 2 characters (and actors if I'm being honest) and the Non- Actress single handedly prompted turn off ABC for good 3 years ago (I stopped watching GH after the Metro Court)

So, while I feel sad for any ABC Diehard out there, I will only offer up CBS to you, and ask you to give Y&R a chance.

And c'mon. You know it's coming. Soapnot LITERALLY going Soapnot should've been your first clue.

We all know OLTL is a goner. If Cameron Matheson and Mama Theresa Budig resided in Llanview, I wouldn't be saying that. ABC will have all their soaps aired by 3:00 and then morph into whatever.

Member since:
5 August 2009
Last activity:
3 years 8 weeks

As a viewer who has grown up watching AMC this article really does scare me. AMC has always been the favorite soap growing up and for a long time...the only soap watched in this house. Liked it so much I tried giving a few others a try a few years back and now OLTL is in the line up. GH is too, but honestly...it puts me to sleep. There's maybe one scene the entire episode I may actually pay attention to. Just have it on for background noise. It really would be devestating to see another soap canceled, as soaps are a very important part of the lives of so many. They bring families closer together, and you meet so many friends through them. Plus...they employ so many people on screen and behind the scenes. I know AMC is something that has brought my mother and I closer together as she got me hooked (been a loyal viewer since the first episode) and we talk about each episode. I have also met some of my best friends through being a viewer. While I do watch all 3, I know if one had to go, GH would be the one Id be hoping for, but it seems to be ABC's baby so no chance on that happening. Picking between OLTL and AMC...Id love for AMC to be the one to stay and hope it does whether its cut down to a half hour or some format...any format. Against most opinions here, would definitely prefer OLTL to get the axe. Wouldn't miss it. AMC...the thought of it even potentially being on the chopping block is absolutely devastating.

6-soaps's picture
Member since:
29 September 2010
Last activity:
3 years 4 weeks

I've always felt that those predictions that each of the six remaining soaps has about five to ten years left were far too optimistic.... My feeling is that within the next couple of years each network will be down to just ONE show (or one and a half in the case of CBS). And I don't think Days will survive past its current contract cycle.

It's all really sad because each of these shows still has a lot of stories that can be told but they Do seem committed to the same old baby stories, damsel in distress, doppelganger, back-from-the-grave, and non-mysterious mystery who-dunnits crap, don't they?

capwell's picture
Member since:
26 July 2010
Last activity:
3 years 4 weeks

It just seems so wrong to have Tori Spelling’s picture up there alongside Susan Lucci’s and Erika Slezak’s.

There are some really interesting ideas and comments in this thread. The network executives should really read DC.

My thoughts on what has been said about AMC: If ABC cuts it back to half an hour, that would mean, I assume, cutting the cast down to a minimum. From the looks of it, they’re intent on telling the Ryan and Greenlee story, so I think it’s a safe bet that those two actors aren’t going anywhere. That half hour show would then basically be the Rylee show. Most fans are not into them as a couple, so the ratings are not going to go up. This could only end in AMC getting completely cancelled sooner rather than later. Tragic!

Then there’s the idea of bringing some AMC people to OLTL. For one thing, one films in NY and the other in LA. So how would that work? Susan Lucci, a New Yorker, could possibly make the move, but where would she fit on a show that already has Echo, Dorian, and Victoria Lord? That’s a little too much estrogen, I think. Smile

Just my thoughts….

Member since:
13 September 2010
Last activity:
18 weeks 3 days

Oh my gosh...I'm starting to be very nervous/anxious when logging onto DC because I'm afraid of what I'll read next. I think the headline says it all and I'm afraid its telling us that ABC will be saying goodbye to one of its soaps. I do NOT want to see any more soaps get canceled but if its got to happen heres my two cents. GH is now and always has been and will be my favorite soap. No, I'm not always happy with the stories and sometimes it bores me but it will always be my favorite and I think it has the best acting and dialogue of any soaps.
RIGHT NOW, storyline wise, I'm really into OLTL and I think its better than AMC right now. That said, IF one has to go, I would rather it NOT be AMC. Even though OLTL might be better right now, AMC just is more home to me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters on AMC. They are families, friends and characters that I have grown to love and I would hate to no longer know what is going on with Tad Martin or Jessie Hubbard. I have said it before and I will say it again, of all the soaps on air, AMC has the most feeling of a family and a community. Pine Valley residents CARE about each other, they have substance, love, friendship, a sense of community and THAT all makes ME care about the characters and their stories. That said, I would hate to see AMC get canceled. As much as I'm enjoying OLTL right now, I don't think I'd be as upset to see it go as I would AMC.

As far as cutting budgets on the soaps, I think many of the posters have voiced some good ideas. I would not mind ALL the soaps being 1/2 hour because I watch so much television it would save me time and allow us to still have them on-air. I'm not understanding why TPTB don't consider moves like that before automatically going to cancellation. I have said it before, I know newbies are cheaper but tons of newbies=viewers tuning out. I would rather see my vets in stories with newbies SUPPORTING then have the newbies running the show and headlining the stories. How about this? Take vets that are not used as much but that receive HUGE salaries and instead of keeping them on contract put THEM on recurring or put a new type of contract like GUEST STARRING and pay them PER EPPY only when they are on-air. Examples: Tony Geary, David Canary, Susan Lucci. Tony is barely on air and has 2 lengthy vacations per year. Instead of keeping him on a high salary contract, bring him on in a guest starring capacity only when needed. Or if you are going to keep him on contract then USE HIM. I have no problem with high salaries to vets b/c we know they have earned it but if you are going to pay them then put them ON SCREEN. Same with David Canary.. if he was ready to retire then don't take Adam away from us completely. Bring him on as a guest star. Fly him in a few times a year and tape several scenes while he's there. Same with Susan Lucci. As WONDERFUL as I think she is and as much as she IS PINEVALLEY, I mean really how much does AMC invest in writing for her? She gets silly stories every year JUST to give her a story and our screen is bombarded instead 3-4 days a week with Kendall and Greenlee. If you are going to pay the vets the high salaries then SHOW US THE VETS.

That said, it really baffles me how AMC is over budget and OLTL is not. I mean with David Canary gone there shouldn't be THAT many high paid vets at AMC as compared to OLTL who has Kim Zimmer, Erika Sleazak, Robin Strasser, Kassie DePaiva. The SAME sets are used on AMC in all scenes (Windemere, Cortland Mansion, PV Hospital, Fusion/Confusion and the police station).
They don't really do any big budget stunts/shootout/blowing up things like GH. I don't see new or updated sets hardly ever so where is AMC's money going?

It is all very frustrating to this soap fan.

Member since:
17 December 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 5 days

It seems to me that if the problem with AMC (aside from writing of course) is that it cannot stay under budget, should they not fire the person responsible for the budget (I'm looking at you, Julie Hanan Carruthers) and hire someone who will stay on budget?

Get on budget, fix the storylines, stop the character assassinations and make AMC an ensemble again and not the Ryan/Greenlee hour.

soapfan09's picture
Member since:
29 April 2010
Last activity:
2 years 33 weeks

Since when has SOAP viewers replaced their SOAPS with a TALK SHOW! In the past 3 years, I've seen comments on here when GL and ATWT were getting kicked to the curb, when CBS was announcing they would air "Let's Make a Deal" and "The Talk" over their slots! And I haven't a comment on DC so far that said:

"Oh yeah, I can't wait until The Talk comes on, you know after they can my favorite soap As the World Turns!"

Do these networks REALLY think that us, soap viewers, WHO WATCH SOAPS, are going to watch The View as a replacement? If they do, they must have the mind of a guinea pig!
Sorry CBS and ABC, but if you want to cancel something, cancel those friggin shows that NEED to be cancelled (The Talk, The View, LMAD, etc.).
All I can say about this, despite the madness, at least we've got people on YouTube who take the time to upload numerous episodes of soaps from 10+ years! Without them, I would go insane!

Member since:
14 December 2008
Last activity:
20 weeks 3 days

Hpw ,uch do you wanna bet that AMC gets cancelled? And what's worse, is that I don't really care. That's pathetic. AMC was my only soap for eleven years and Brian Frons and company have reduced me to not caring about it.

TV Gord's picture
Member since:
18 February 2009
Last activity:
6 hours 43 min

Me, too, Dariclone. I watched it from 1979 until David Canary left, and I have zero interest in tuning back in when I see such awful spoilers.

Member since:
17 February 2011
Last activity:
3 years 6 weeks

Just what the world is waiting for- A Tori Spelling talk show! NOT!!!

marknsprmo's picture
Member since:
14 June 2009
Last activity:
1 week 8 hours

I have the feeling when Soapnet is gone, all ABC soaps will be in danger. I think the reason they are all still on is that they make some extra money for Disney on its cable channel. When that becomes the baby disney channel, I look for the soaps on ABC to disapear. Maybe all at the same time. It is a shame but networks are being squeezed out by the competition.
Cable is where we need to be looking to find homes for soaps. As well as the internet. The unfortunate part of this is that daily soap episodes are just not financially viable. Maybe on radio..... If daytime returned to the original model for soaps when the sets where a little bit of walls with a door and a sofa in the middle of the room, and maybe six actors a day who provided their own make up and wardrobe, then a daily soap could reasonably make some money with a minimal audience. But it doesn't seem like anyone is interested in doing this type of show. Days of our Lives almost started doing this when they cut the budget but the writers didn't know how to make that interesting again. They didn't get that the dialog was the key. Soaps have become so plot driven that noone can even have a conversation on a soap anymore unless three plot points are made. Where is the love and the romance? Why can't someone have a fight with her boyfriend and then go talk about it with her best friend or mom? Why does everyone find out about bad stuff off screen? Howcome noone ever has a date anymore? Why not have some knock down drag out cat fights? These things used to drive a daily episode. A plot was just mearly the thing that gave us an excuse for the two witches on a show to sharpen their nails or gave us a great homily from the shows wise person. A pregnancy or a death could create story for decades. Now days we bury someone one week and maybe mention their death on the anniversary if it helps the current story out.

It's time that mob stories and heart removals and putting them back in two days later, and all the over the top stuff goes away and simple heart felt stories with alot of meaningful dialog becomes the staple for soaps.

craigcp's picture
Member since:
6 May 2009
Last activity:
1 year 38 weeks

Well if they start filming in peoples back yards and real towns RIP. It would be funny to see La Lucci dressing in a trailer. Think they are slowly being put to death like ATWT & GL.