UPDATED: Will a Disastrous Replacement Pilot Save One ABC Soap For Now?

UPDATE: According to sources both the Tori Spelling vehicle and the proposed male version of The View are dead in the water and have been for some time. It is reportedly down to the Danny Boome cooking show and a reality weight loss competition, described as a "Biggest Loser" rip off. Keep checking back to Daytime Confidential as the story develops!

We seem to be heading for the finish line in terms of an announcement being made about the future of the ABC Daytime lineup. According to a reliable source, one of the pilots reportedly in contention to replace All My Children or One Life to Live has allegedly turned out to be a televised disaster.

"One of the pilots isn't any good," says the insider, "one soap, however might still be in jeopardy. There could be something official as early as Monday. "

As previously reported, ABC Media Productions—which is also overseen by ABC Daytime Chief Brian Frons—has been developing a talk vehicle for teen soap star-turned-reality staple Tori Spelling and Bravo standout Jeff Lewis, as well as cooking show for Food Network favorite Danny Boome. Also in contention has been a male version of The View from Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie.  

Recently, TV Guide's veteran daytime reporter Michael Logan reported he was hearing Frons had both a talk show and reality series lined up for fall to replace both All My Children and One Life to Live, and that the executive was rumored to be "extremely cavalier" and "showing no signs of sorrow or regret" about possibly gutting Agnes Nixon's sudsers. 

"Brian had a lot of success with reality shows overseas," one mole poined out. "He's fairly confident he could make a reality series work on daytime."

The source was referring to the time Frons spent working for SBS Broadcasting, S.A., a U.K. media giant where the TV exec served as senior vice-president of programming. During his tenure with the firm, Frons reportedly helped launch hit international versions of Big Brother, Survivor, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and other reality shows. A quick look at his attempts at reality series on this side of the pond, however reveals a string of failures for the soon-to-be defunct SOAPnet, including Southern Belles: Louisville, Bank of Mom and Dad and Greg Behrendt's Wake-Up Call.

Some in the industry feel a reality show would be a tough sell for daytime.


"Many NBC affiliates are already trying strips of the Real Housewives franchise in daytime, but the scripted soaps are beating them in the Nielsens," points out one daytime expert. 

Unfortunately, the ratings aren't the only factor affecting the future of the soaps. Despite reports elsewhere, production costs of the ABC soaps are still very much an issue, confirms several in the know.

The last major attempt to try to make a go of the cheap-to-produce docusoap format for daytime was Starting Over from Real World co-creator Jonathan Murray. That critically-acclaimed, syndicated self-help soap ran for just three season (2003-06).

A quick look at the most recent Nielsens shows All My Children to be the ABC soap struggling the most in the ratings. AMC was dead last in both the coveted women 18-49 and women 18-34 demos the week of March 28—April 1, while One Life to Live was Number 3 in women 18-49, only two-tenths of a point below General Hospital in the demo Madison Avenue cares most about. OLTL was also Number 3 among women 18-34. and continues to best AMC in total viewers and households.

Both soap operas have received some positive news in recent weeks, with the announcement that Lorraine Broderick had been tapped to once again head write AMC, and the return of mega popular star Roger Howarth to OLTL, respectively, but no one is clear as to what impact either development will have on the future of the sudsers, if any.

"They literally go back and forth between [canceling] All My Children and One Life to Live from day to day, " sighs one source. "It's insane."

 One thing that could help keep AMC and OLTL stay in production for awhile longer is the vocal fan campaign to see ABC opt to keep both soaps on their lineup.

"ABC is definitely fearing backlash," says an insider. "They know this has been a PR disaster, what with poor Susan [Lucci] out on her book tour in the midst of all this."

ABC will have to make some sort of announcement soon in order to start generating buzz for their Fall 2011 lineup. The network's Upront presentation is scheduled for May 17. As always, keep checking back with Daytime Confidential—which told you first something game-changing was going down with the ABC soaps—as this story develops.

Let ABC know you want them to stay in the soap business by contacting them via the methods below:

Anne Sweeney
President, ABC Television
ABC Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank CA 91521

CALL: Anne Sweeney direct office line: 818 460-7700
E-Mail: Anne.x.Sweeney@email.Disney.com


59 Responses

  1. Profile photo of keanna


    So one of the pilots is a disaster and ABC is fearing a backlash huh?!!!

    Let’s keep the the pressure on them, guys!!!

    As always, thanks Jamey!!!!

  2. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Well, I won’t watch ANYTHING that they put on to replace AMC or OLTL. I have already let Anne Sweeney know that in NO uncertain terms many times. I don’t care what it is or who is on it, I won’t watch. Just like I have, for the most part, refrained from watching “The Talk” and “Let’s Make a Deal.” (Of course, the fact that both shows royally SUCK has made my decision far easier!)

    I know that I am only ONE drop in the bucket and the bigwigs at ABC Daytime don’t really give a good KITTY what I think, but that’s my answer and I’m sticking to it.

    I really pray that these shows will survive!!! I still miss my ATWT and GL to this day, and a part of me always will!!!!

  3. Profile photo of eiwcakeff

    I really would hate to see OLTL cancelled and while I don’t actually watch AMC I have lots of friends that do and are terribly upset at the prospect of it being cancelled. I’ve made calls, sent comment cards and written letters to higher ups than Brian Frons. He is just the kiss of death to soaps in general–he needs to leave ABCD.

    Thanks for keeping us updated Jamey!!

  4. Profile photo of GHfan-4now

    He’s a buffoon. No dedicated soap fan is going to watch yet ANOTHER reality show in place of one of their beloved soaps on network Television. I am not home during the day due to my hours at work, but if I were, I dare wouldn’t watch The Talk, nor would I kick my feet up and drink an ice tea along with Wayne Brady. And even on my day’s off, I do all I can to avoid those shows. I mean, who the hell was watching Southern Belles: Louisville when Frons was trying to pimp that shyte on SoapNet??? Or that Bank of Mom and Dad??? I only knew those shows from their commercials when I was watching DOOL or Y&R at night. Were those shows a trial, or something, for what he was wanting to put on ABC in place of AMC or OLTL??? Because if so, he should get ready for more BOMBS! in his face. And they already TRIED a male version of the view with Mario Lopez, Danny Bonaduce, and that butcher of a Doctor who worked on Kanye West’s mother. It didn’t work then, how they hell do they expect it to work now??? And I’m sorry, but Tori Spelling has already taken over the Oxygen Network. Now she’s doing weddings with the wuv of her wife, Dean, so why do they think people want to see MORE of her on daytime??? And as a Talk show host to boot???

    [quote] “ABC is definitely fearing backlash,” says an insider. [/quote]

    GOOD. They should be so scared they shit themselves on a daily basis. SAVE OUR SOAPS! I’ve sent letters and emails and have friends who have called to Anne as well!

  5. Profile photo of TennesseeLady

    Hi, I have never posted on here before, but I thought this would be a good time to start. I sent Ann Sweeney an email and and told her this:

    There is NO WAY I am ever going to watch any reality show during the day. I enjoy AMC and have watched it since Day One. They might as well just take ABC off the air now, because I know a stupid reality show is not going to do well on ABC daytime. If you will listen to the fans, you will know that this is not going to work, but, ABC does not seem to listen to its fans. Guess you will have to learn!! Good thing we have satellite. Guess I will just another soap on another network or something on satellite.
    ABC is taking a good thing and ruining it.
    How stupid!!!!

    Don’t think it will do any good, but at least they know my feelings about a stupid Reality show!!!


  6. Profile photo of ddkattar

    I just emailed Anne Sweeney, and basically implored her to continue airing OLTL and AMC, stating that serial drama was timeless and cherished, and if they’re replaced with yet more tedious talk shows and/or trashy, trite reality programs, the multitude of loyal fans of ABC with buying power on whom the sponsors depend will leave ABC daytime in droves.

    I really hope the pilot of the second program they’ve recently developed also tanks. Hopefully it will keep OLTL and AMC on the air.

  7. Profile photo of TomZulawski

    He looks so creepy, like one of those dudes from Predator Raw On MSNBC. I could just see him walking into one of those houses with the kid yelling downstairs, Im doing the Laundry help yourself to some Lemonade. This freak has got to go and quick!

  8. Profile photo of elbugten

    I sent an email last week, and just called today. I’ve NEVER contacted the TPTB before during all my 25+ years of watching, but too many jobs are on the line to sit on my butt and do nothing. I LOVE both shows, especially OLTL and I really fear for it’s future particularly, since it’s always been the red-headed step-child of the ABC lineup. I hope this continued outcry from the fans helps. We will NOT let these shows go w/o a fight!

  9. Profile photo of east.west

    Until I read something in the lines of “Brian Frons Out!” or the writers going back to the basics w/storytelling about real life, family, and love, I just don’t care.

    They can have all the bought time and “safe for now” all they want, but if there is not some real change and effort to modernize these soaps while drawing from the rich history, then again all the calling and writing in means nothing, unless you prefer the mediocrity on air. 

    I get the examples of people doing this for primerime shows, but the difference is that those shows are usually good. If we look at the 6 soaps w/a critical eye, none of them are good and that what makes all of this a lost cause.  

  10. Profile photo of east.west

    I can see the appeal of the two contenders and both working, depending on quality, on network television during the daytime. Especially the cooking show. 

  11. Profile photo of

    [quote=liason4real]Anne needs to clean house starting with Frons.[/quote]

    ‘From your mouth to Sweeney’s ears’

  12. Profile photo of samanthadelayed

    I have been sending out a ton of postcards this week. I have told them that I will not watch anything they replace my soaps with. I will stop watching ABC shows for the unforeseeable future. It will hurt me to do so, but why should I give my “business” to a network that cares so little for it’s viewers.
    This includes giving up watching all the Harry Potter marathons on ABC family ;-)

    Keep letting them know that there will be a MAJOR backlash! Possibly of biblical proportions! :D

  13. Profile photo of marknsprmo

    I can not concieve that a one topic tv show could run five days a week and be successful. Now if one had a general home improvement/cooking/craft/gardening/gossip show, then you might be able to keep an hour going five days a week. Danny Boone is small potatoes even at Food network. He is no Paula Dean or Bobby Flay. He isn’t even the most popular brit on the network. Why not if they are gonna cancel anyway, not use some soap stars as the hosts of whatever show they put on next. Just Sign up Susan Lucci and say Deidre Hall and ya got a show that people will watch. Or sign Tori Spelling and have a show that people will tune in one time to see then find something else to watch…. like a test screen pattern…..

  14. Profile photo of Llanview76

    Regarding “Let’s Make a Deal”, it’s so odd because our CBS affiliate puts that show on opposite “Regis and Hayley”. I know this because I can never tell the two studio audiences apart. Anyways, I wonder fills the 2 pm to 3 pm CST here.

  15. Profile photo of Cyberologist

    So let me get this straight this man rips off other’s creations and play them out overseas and he’s lauded a success? OK. Frons has “never been a champion of the soap opera genre IMO.” He wants them gone and I read rumors years ago his plan was to move them to soapnet cable since that network is kaput in 2012 because of his piss poor vision that wouldn’t happen anyway.

    I loathe him and want him gone.

    I don’t even watch ABC because of him..any network that would allow this man employment is something I don’t need to see….however I don’t want another soap to die so I have written, emailed and campaigned for OLTL and AMC even though I don’t watch them I do record and/or run them through for ratings since that’s all they care about.

  16. Profile photo of Llanview76

    Also…thanks for the contact information. I did my part and called Ms. Sweeney and left her a polite message. I really hope everybody else is doing the same thing…and not leaving a bunch of ravings…just sayin’.

  17. Profile photo of linjcon

    As a former viewer it’s sad that things have to come to this. I stated 5 years ago that TPTB treatment, of soaps (and it’s viewers) was going to bite them in the ass. In the past I sent a number of letters to Anne Sweeney, Frons, etc… to no avail and never again. It was easy to walk away, there are so many viewing options.

    For me, RC is a terrible writer and is more interested in padding his pocket than writing quality stories. When RC’s newbies go on contract it’s reflected in his pay.

    How many so far: Gigi, Shane, Brody, Mo, Noelle, Jared, Charlie, Stacy, Kim, Destiny, James, Robert, Nate, Dena, Inez, Dani, Aubrey, Cutter, Vimal, Rama, Liam, Ryder, Tomas, Eddie. Some are gone, leaving, dead, recurring, etc… My point, stories and time that was wasted on RC creations, could have been focus on other characters. But, RC’s biggest coup will involve Roger Howarth. Rumor has it that RC is creating a twin for Todd, thus money in RC’s pocket.

    I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s hope, if the shows can be saved great. I won’t return as a viewer, but wish the shows supporters good luck.

  18. Profile photo of NLGFan

    This just goes to show how truly talentless Frons is. Rachael Ray and Nate Berkus aren’t doing that well in daytime and that’s with the power of Oprah Winfrey behind them. Why would Danny Boome (who I like) do any better? And if he’s gonna just steal a Food Network star, why one of the lesser known ones? I guess Paula Deen, Ina Garten and Bobby Flay wouldn’t take his calls.

  19. Profile photo of samIShot

    Why was it necessary for Tori Spelling to get her own talk show when she already has a reality show with her husband for the Oxygen cable network?

    Who cares about Tori Spelling? God how are these bumbling morons in positions of power?

  20. Profile photo of jay428

    I just sent off my e-mail to Ms. Sweeney. Thank you so much, Jamey, for keeping us all in the loop about this situation. You’re the best!

    To everyone: Please, please, please remain professional, but call, write, and/or e-mail TPTB as soon as possible. If we lose AMC or OLTL, it won’t be due to a lack of trying.

  21. Profile photo of appleridge

    [quote=curacaoman][quote=appleridge]IMHO Boycotts Dont work Just Gives ABC The Power To Do what Frons wants[/quote]

    Not if we boycott a popular nightime show![/quote]

    Frons Has Nada To Do with ABC Primetime. How would this prove anything?

  22. Profile photo of dang90210

    i justsent a email to frons and anne i hope it helps all we can do is just pray one of them will change there minds please write in call in do everything you can

  23. Profile photo of harlee490

    WOW, I will have drop another phone call. I’m saying my prayers tonight for all the AMC & OLTL fans. Because I know how it feels. I was DIE HARD fan of CBS’s soaps, and they put a f**king boring GAME show on in place of my GL. Never seen The Talk either, will not support CBS during the time periods why I went to ABC, and truth be known, big reason I came because of Kim Zimmer. CBS has had a backlash, because neither new shows are burning up the ratings.
    But some fans of ATWT & GL did start viewing Y&R again or started, because since the cancellation of both soaps Y&R’s ratings have improved so CBS kinda
    did retain some of their viewers, but I don’t see that happening for GH. GH immediately ratings took a dip after a week, so not sure but maybe GH fans are pissed off. :((

  24. Profile photo of alstonboy4315


    Please don’t come on here trying to tell OTHER posters what we should or shouldn’t be talking about!! Only Jamey, Luke, Jillian or one of the other administrators have that power!!! If we want to veer off topic a little bit and discuss the talented Tom Pelphrey, I see NOTHING wrong with that. Thanks in advance!! Have a great evening!!!!

  25. Profile photo of ldylkng

    AMEN ALSTONBOY! I too want to save my OLTL & AMC, and will call and write, but when someone as talented as Tom is on primetime, he deserves the props!

  26. Profile photo of alstonboy4315

    Yes, Idylkng–

    I have sent Anne NUMEROUS e-mails, all diplomatic and professional, of course!! I ain’t rolling over without a fight. I couldn’t ACTIVELY fight to save ATWT and GL (because Proctor and Gamble just didn’t give a damn and wanted out of the soap business!), but there’s no way I am going to stand by willy-nilly while TWO more soaps get the hatchet job!! Not on MY watch!!!

  27. Profile photo of beans4metoo

    My letter to Anne Sweeney..Emailed today!

    Dear Ms. Sweeney,

    I am writing this letter to you in regards to the latest rumors going around that ABC Daytime may be canceling 1 or 2 of their soap operas in favor of airing talk shows or reality shows in their place. The rumors currently circulating are that one or both of All My Children or One Life To Live are in danger of cancellation. I cannot stress enough to you how much of a mistake this would be on the part of ABC. I, like many others, have grown up watching with eager anticipation the trials and tribulations of Erica Kane, Greg & Jenny, Tad “The Cad” Martin, The Buchanans, and The Kramers. I have laughed as Erica flips her hair and tells the world how fabulous she is. I have shouted at my television as Liza Colby pulled another one of her dirty tricks. I have cried as the citizens of Pine Valley have said goodbye to their loved ones including Palmer, Stuart and Leo. I have waited with HOT anticipation for Bo and Nora to reunite and for THE REAL TODD MANNING (Roger Howarth) to FINALLY return to Llanview. We have let these shows, stories and characters not only into our homes but into our HEARTS as well and now we are expected just to say goodbye to them in return for another boring talk show or trashy reality show? Take a day out of your normal routine and just turn on the television for a while. I’m sure you are an extremely busy woman and I don’t know how much television you actually watch, but if you are not a regular viewer, please take a day and just WATCH. Watch a couple of the reality shows that are currently airing and tell me that you aren’t disgusted with the behavior of the people within 15 minutes of viewing. Watch a talk show geared towards current topics and tell me that you aren’t depressed or frustrated in watching the hosts argue with and disrespect each other on national television. Then TURN THE CHANNEL. Turn it to YOUR ABC soaps and tell me what you see. You see LOVE, ADVENTURE, HUMOR, and HEART. I watch almost every soap that is currently on television right now, with the exception of Days of Our Lives. I have said before and I will say it again, ABC soaps have the most HEART of any other soaps on television. The residents of Pine Valley are a family. Regardless of their disagreements or whether they like each other or not, they are always there to help one another when needed. I cannot imagine not knowing what is going on with Tad Martin or JR Chandler. I cannot imagine not being able to see MY TODD and Blair reunite, or Vikki help Clint see the error of his ways. Their stories must continue. Soap operas are our ESCAPE. They are our guilty pleasure, we need them to make us laugh, and yes, even to make us cry when we need a good cry. I dare you to watch Tad and Jake rib each other and not laugh out loud at their comedic genius. I dare you to watch Colby confront Liza about sleeping with her boyfriend and not want to smack Liza silly and hug her at the same time. I dare you to watch Gigi racing to save Shane and begging him to survive and not cry your eyes out. With everything going on in the world today, we NEED that escape. We need those 3 hours a day of just pure enjoyment at watching the stories of the characters that we love and that we can relate to. Please don’t take that away from us.

    If you haven’t realized from the recent backlash received when Rebecca Herbst was fired, soap opera fans are a DEDICATED and VOCAL bunch. We are serious about our shows and we aren’t afraid to show it. Please don’t treat us as if our opinions don’t matter because OUR opinions are what can MAKE or BREAK ABC. If big budgets are the issue, then find creative ways to cut back. Make AMC and OLTL each a 30 minute show. Stop giving contracts to newbies that can’t act and are portraying characters that we haven’t invested in and don’t care about. Cut back on production costs NOT by firing vets but by having less lavish sets. I don’t care if Erica’s house doubles for the Chandler mansion if I’m getting GOOD stories and GOOD acting. If ratings are the issue, then by all means DON’T cancel our soaps. Remember that we FANS are the ones that are YOUR viewers and we SURELY aren’t going to watch a talk show or reality show that has replaced a legacy soap opera that we love. And if I can’t trust ABC to be loyal to ME as a fan, and to the cast and crew members that have worked so hard to produce these shows, and to the actors that BRING IT HOME everyday by making us laugh and cry, then WHY should I be loyal to ABC? Why should I continue to watch anything that you put on air to replace the soaps? For that matter, why should I continue to watch any of ABC’s primetime shows either? Why not just turn the channel off alltogether? If you expect us to watch, and expect loyalty from us, then you have to show us some loyalty in return. So, please Ms. Sweeney, be loyal to your soap fans, be loyal to the actors and casts and crew, be loyal to the GENRE.


    Stacy (last name included)

  28. Profile photo of Dariclone

    What a bunch of worthless programs! I honestly can’t see why they expect even non-soap fans to watch these shows. They’re certinaly not what I would call good reality.
    If insiders are saying that the execs are going bac and forth on which soap to cancel, that should say something. I think the only good choice for Anne Sweeny to make would be to fire Brian Frons.

  29. Profile photo of ldylkng

    [quote=ldylkng]TOM Pelphrey on Body of Proof Tues April 12. For all of his fans, couldn’t really find anyplace else to post this Sorry![/quote]
    For the fans!

  30. Profile photo of Miry

    @ beans/Stacey: That letter was beautiful!
    I loved it soo much I want to steal it & put Miry at the end! ;) It really is nice & I hope that you snail mail that to her as well. Try to get the most impact as you possibly can (maybe even send it from a work & school email if you can, something official-like, heh).

  31. Profile photo of ldylkng

    Just talked to Jerri on the comment line, if you can’t leave a msg, just ask her to take one, she was really nice. I expressed my feelings without rancor and with great love of both soaps, also let her know my spending power was considerably more than most 30 yr olds. Told her I would not watch anymore reality, talk, or game shows. I asked if they were keeping track of calls and she said they were. I hope so!!!!!

  32. Profile photo of GHfan-4now

    I agree w/Miry, beans, I loved reading your letter, very heartfelt and to the point about how MANY of us are feeling right now!

    And ldylkng, thank you for the Tom Pelphrey news! Love me some Pelphrey! LOL

  33. Profile photo of basilnsybil

    This Canadian did call Anne’s office thanks for the direct line! I let ABC know that should they cancel a program entertainment choice soaps that I and many value and watch regardless what those outdated useless Neilsen boxes say that this would impact the spending and participation of ABC/Disney other entertainment services and programs for example resorts, merchandise or dvd etc… Stupid business decisions on their part to cancel any of these shows eventually there will be nothing to talk about no daytime guest star celebrity to bring onto to your talk show if the soaps have been cancelled. Again much thanks for posting the info!!!

  34. Profile photo of Jardo

    Backlash? Are you kidding??? The backlash started back when Frons and Valentini decided to dump Kish losing almost 400,000 viewers, then trashing Kish publicly and trying to blame Kish for everything that was wrong with OLTL!! (Sorry Fronsie and Valentini, but viewers aren’t as stupid as you think we are)! That decision created a MAJOR backlash from viewers …….. and OLTL is STILL paying for it!!!

    I was a 40+ viewer of OLTL, and I quit watching when they “dumped” all over Kish and threw them under the bus! If Kish doesn’t come back, then I couldn’t care less what happens to OLTL! My 40+ years of faithful viewership and loyalty obviously meant nothing to TPTB at ABC, so I don’t give a rat’s patootie what happens to them. I no longer watch ANY ABC shows (daytime or primetime) because of the horrible way Kish was treated and then thrown under the bus and blamed for everything wrong with OLTL!! I won’t even watch any ABC network shows any longer (daytime or primetime), because of the way they treated these two wonderful young, talented actors, especially after they did so much for the show bringing in new viewers, free publicity, and doing a phenominal job with the storyline! As far as I am concerned, ABC and OLTL can KISH my as**!

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