On the Monday chat with WIMA Ohio morning man Mike Miller, the topic was the demise of TV soaps. It was announced by ABC last week that long-running daytime dramas One Life to Live and All My Children would end in September and January. They enjoyed runs dating back to the late ’60s and early ’70s. They had to either cancel them or change their names to Two Lives to Live and All My Grandchildren.
Forty-odd years ago when these shows were new, there was a big audience for a little daytime lust. There were still plenty of housewives around to sell soap too, and companies like Proctor & Gamble crammed these daytime dramas with ads for Tide, Cheer and Camay.
Soaps also enjoyed a big college following. Fans who discovered Victor Newman while in university are retiring with him today.
|All My Children diva Susan Lucci|
And that’s the problem. Eric Braeden is still arguably the biggest star in soaps and even he had to take a pay cut two years ago to keep The Young and the Restless in production. Susan Lucci is probably better known now as a punch line on Hot in Cleveland than from All My Children.
Soaps served a function beyond entertaining fans on a daily basis. They were also farm teams for actors and writers bound for prime time dramas, with people like Kelly Ripa, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel and Christian Slater all began their careers on One Life to Live. Tom Selleck and David Hasselhoff also got their starts on soaps.
That was before DVRs/PVRs, TV on-demand and other home entertainment options shoved soaps aside. Celebrity reality shows also changed everything. There were more real life nuttiness happening with the Kardashians or the Osbournes or in the Big Brother house than writers could concoct on daytime dramas.
General Hospital, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful remain for now but the clock is ticking. Mike and I kick it around. You can listen in here.