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Why were these soap operas cancelled?

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  • Ardejah Cat Harbin
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    I have heard plenty of rumors on why certain shows were cancelled.

    GL got cancelled because of bad ratings. Truth is I think the newer format destroyed the show. GL lost thousands of viewers when they debut the new format.

    ATWT got cancelled because of bad ratings. I heard constantly that P&G wanted out of the soap business.If P&G wanted out CBS should have found another company to produce the show. Chris Goutman and Jean Passanatte should have been fired and replaced after 2007.

    AMC got cancelled because of bad ratings. Personally I blame ABC and Julie Hanen Carruthers for hiring David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski (who helped usher GL off to the grave along with Ellen Wheeler who should have just stuck to acting and directing),and James Harmon Brown and Barbara Esensten. AMC only worked if Lorraine Broderick,Agnes Nixon, or Megan McTavish was writing the show.

    OLTL didn’t need to be cancelled. The show was up in the ratings right behind Y&R and B&B. Carvilati and Valentini were doing good with OLTL.

    RH got cancelled because of low ratings and the fact that after Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer were fired by ABC in 1983, the show suffered. Pat Falken Smith (who worked better on GH and Days),James E Riley(who worked better on GL and Days),and Millie Taggert and Tom King(who both did a better job at ATWT) were brought in between 83 and 87. By the time Labine had come back the show was a shadow of it’s former self. The writing was better but the writing was also on the walls and they got the boot in 88 and the last show aired in January of 89.

    EON first got cancelled by CBS in 1975 by having bad ratings (they were at #10). They were picked up by ABC and first aired on December 1 of 75. In the 75-76 season they were #12. They rose up to a 5.8 in 78-79 and they continued to slip in the ratings from there. It didn’t make it any better when beloved head writer Henry Slesar was fired. They show was horrible afterwards (a 2.8 in 84-85) and the show got the axe and it was gone three days after Christmas in 84.The 4/3 times lot didn’t make it any better either.

    SFT was doing good on CBS (they were the #8 soap with a 6.8). Brian Frons cancelled it to make room for Capitol. They didn’t tell the fans where they were going in their last episode that aired on March 26 of 82. The next three days they were in NBC where they suffered horribly. They were from #8 to #14 with a 3.4 The following season they slipped to a 2.7 then rose to a 3.3 the next year then a 3.2. Brian Frons was hired at NBC Daytime and he killed SFT for the second time and they aired their last episode the day after Christmas in 86. I think he had a bone to pick with this show.

    Capitol was cancelled and they didn’t even have bad ratings. I will never understand why CBS gave it the boot. Capitol and B&B could have both aired at 12/11. They were both 30 minutes long. CBS had at least 7 soaps on it’s roaster at one point. I’ll never get it. They got canned and on March 20,1987 and B&B was here three days after wards.

    AW was a show that was above PC,Passions,and Sunset Beach. I blame NBC for this one. It all started when Jill Phelps was hired as Executive producer. Carolyn Culliton,Tom King and Craig Carlson were good writers. Jill cut the budget by killing Ryan and Bridget and John and Felecia had an affair. Margaret Depriest was hired as HW in 96. Jill Phelps was cutting the budget again. She was gonna kill Donna or Paulina but decided to kill Frankie instead. She changed her mind about killing Frankie but Depriest wouldn’t rewrite the script so Frankie was killed by Faux Newman in a gruesome death scene. Then Phelps got fired and was replaced by her friend Charlotte Savitz and she and Chris Goutman along with Jean Passanatte And Michael Malone helped bring the ratings down by trying to turn AW into Days with that whole Lumina storyline. I truly think someone at P&G hired them to kill AW.

    PC was ok during it’s first 2 years but by 2000 the whole vampire effect took over and destroyed the show and it was gone three years after that.

    The City and Loving both aired the same time as Y&R. They had very low ratings. 11:30 is Y&Rs spot. It was only a matter of time before the City was shown the door.

    Sunset Beach had low ratings from the get go. They never rise above a 1.8.

    Texas/Texas The Next Generation aired the same time as GH and GL. They had a 4.7 ratings share the first year. Beverlee McKinsey left and the AW connection was gone. Pam Long who played Ashley Linden was hired to write the show and Gail Kobe was EP. The show was better but the ratings weren’t. They slipped down to a 2.7 (they had a 3.6 the previous season). The final demise was when Texas was moved to 11/10. Then the show debut as an hour show when it should have been a 30 minute show. Brian Frons did this as well.

    The Doctors had a good thing going up until 1979 when NBC added 30 minutes to AW while TD moved back 30 minutes. Then in 80 the show was moved to 11:30 so Texas could try to build an audience. The Doctors were up against powerhouse Y&R. In 82 they moved again to 12/11 to make room for SFT. By their final months the show had dropped to a 1.8. Another Brian Frons move.

    I want to hear everyone else’s opinions.

    What do you think could have happened to help save these shows?

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    robbalto
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    I think your analysis regarding the cancellation of the various soaps is pretty accurate.

    Note: I am on the east coast, and based my analysis on east coast time slots.

    GL was indeed cancelled due to low ratings. The show aired in the morning in many markets, which did not help. The format of the show may have been a factor as well. The ratings for ATWT were not as bad as GL, but with GL out of the picture, ATWT became CBS’s lowest-rated soap. ATWT and GL probably would have fared better if they had aired directly after Y&R, but unfortunately B&B was given that cushy time slot. It would have been nice to try 30-minute versions of ATWT and GL prior to cancellation, but I think the network just viewed them as old-school and wanted to end them.

    Once CBS dared to cancel its two venerable soaps, it seemed to open the floodgates for ABC to cancel two of its long-running shows. Again, it would have been great if they had simply reduced all three of their soaps to 30 minutes, but moving backward is complicated. Also, it seems like none of the networks wanted to support soaps based in New York, where real estate is especially costly.

    Ryan’s Hope was really given a raw deal. When Loving debuted, RH was moved to noon. This time slot is often used for local news. Thus, in some markets, RH was moved to another time away from the soap block or removed from the schedule altogether. The Doctors suffered a similar fate when they moved it to noon. If they had left it at 2 or 2:30, it probably would have lasted longer.

    The Edge of Night aired at 4 pm, a time when many channels opted for talk shows or other syndicated fare. In Baltimore, where I lived the show actually aired at 4; but in nearby Washington DC, for example, it aired in the morning. If it had aired at 3:30 after GH, it probably would have fared better.

    I don’t know that anything could have saved Search for Tomorrow. Like Love of Life before it, CBS cancelled SFT seemingly to move toward a more modern style in its daytime lineup. Unfortunately, Capitol never lived up to expectations, essentially becoming akin to the shows in NBC’s problematic 8:30 time slot on Must-See Thursday. Thus, they abandoned Capitol in favor of B&B, a new show from Bill Bell, at a time when Y&R was climbing to the top of the ratings.

    I think AW was cancelled for a combination of reasons. The network may have considered it old-school, as they replaced it with the more contemporary Passions. AW also had to compete with both ATWT and OLTL at a time when soap audiences in general were dwindling.

    Santa Barbara was never strong in the ratings. Over the years, it built a cult following and industry respect. After winning numerous Emmy awards, it seemed poised to gain viewers. Unfortunately, SB did not sustain its high quality, and was thus cancelled.

    Other shows, like Texas and Sunset Beach, never really caught on. The odds were stacked against them in markets where they competed with GH and GL. Loving, The City, Generations, and Port Charles had a similar issue, airing against Y&R.

    From my perspective, it really boils down to too much of a good thing. NBC expanded AW to an hour, a move that was great in the short-term, but not in the long run. The other networks greedily followed NBC’s lead. As the core soap audience diminished, daytime became saturated with serials as there was more supply than demand. If soaps had remained at 30 minutes, they still would have lost viewers, but perhaps a few more of them might still be on the air.

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    Sean Phillips
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    You have to remember also that a lot of the half hour ABC soaps weren’t covered by the full network when they aired because the affiliates wouldn’t cut back on local programming/news.  In the case of The City and Port Charles, the only way you could see it where I was growing up was if you videotaped it at whatever godawful time it aired (like 3am I think?) and watched it later. No show is going to stand a chance if that’s how it’s treated from the jump.

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    Boidiva02
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    OLTL and AMC got cancelled because of network interference. Simply put Brian Frons, then the head of ABC Daytime spent nearly a decade trying to dismantle ABC’s daytime line-up and doing everything in his power to drive fans away from the soaps. In part he succeeded; he managed to strip AMC of all the elements that fans liked about the show and turned a once-thriving series into a nightmare of boring characters, endless storylines revolving around the same three characters (Ryan, Greenlee, Kendall) and totally disregarded the long-time veterans like Julia Barr and Susan Lucci who were the reason fans watch AMC in the first place.

    He kept insisting fans wanted only to see certain characters; specifically younger characters and that we weren’t interested in the older characters. It is also well known that when Frons learned he was going to fired and his contract not renewed that he cancelled AMC And OLTL out of spite against the network; knowing it would cause fans to revolt.

    OLTL should NEVER have been cancelled; it’s ratings were up; it was garnering critical acclaim and it was out-ranking “GH” in demos. Frankly speaking, he cancelled OLTL simply as punishment towards the people who were firing him. It’s also no secret that OLTL was always the ugly step-sister of ABC daytime; rarely given the promotion that AMC and GH were, even in their heyday and routinely ignored by the Emmy’s.

    Brian Frons inherited a thriving, profitable line-up of soaps when he joined ABC Daytime and he managed to slowly but surely sink each and every one of them. He turned AMC into a bore; he spent years trying to turn OLTL into a GH clone with mob storylines and violent serial killer storylines; and he managed to allow GH to descend into a violent, repetitive mess; solely focused on Sonny and his mobster friends.

    As for GL and ATWT; I think it is fair to say that a decent amount of network interference and poor decisions on the part of P&G caused their ratings declines. In the case of GL; it was a myriad of factors, from its terrible timeslot in many markets; to the horrible creative decisions made by Ellen Wheeler. The format change drove viewers away and they never came back. I think that once they did that, CBS and P&G had an excuse to cancel “GL” and once that show went, it was only a matter of time before “ATWT” was also cancelled.

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    Scoopster
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    I think key to Y&R, B&B and DAYS survival has been that they are run and owned by the families that started them…there has always been a protective nurture behind these shows, they are the Bell and Corday family legacies and are HUGE reason why they remain.

    GH remains because it was lucky enough to be the only network owned soap with the highest ratings.

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