Cancelled Soap Operas Killed by Reality Programming: Thanks, 'Jersey Shore'

Linda Sharps
38

As a teenager I once spent an entire summer glued to One Life to Live, calling my friend every day after the show was over to discuss what had happened. That was the only time I ever watched a soap opera, and when I stumbled on the show over a decade later, revisiting the characters was oddly comforting: Viki Lord with her multiple personalities, Bo Buchanan and his romantic entanglements.

One Life to Live debuted on ABC in 1968, and two years later came the premiere of All My Children. Despite their iconic status and numerous Daytime Emmy nominations and wins over the last four decades, ABC has announced that at the end of this season, both soaps will be cancelled.

Why are the shows getting the axe after all these years? Blame high production costs, waning viewer interest ... or, more specifically, blame Snooki.

In ABC's official announcement about the cancelled soaps, the network claims to be focused on changing daytime television to better match what viewers want. They plan to include more programming focused on transformation, food, and lifestyle—shows that are patterned after "authentic" shows like The View.

In other words, no one wants fiction anymore. Reality programming has seeped into every aspect of entertainment, and it's putting television workers out of a job.

Hundreds of salaried workers and thousands of freelancers will be out of work when ABC's soaps go off the air, and their career possibilities don't look good. Reality shows are cheaper to produce, and people love them—not only that, but with the dwindling amount of non-reality programming, movie stars are starting to take over the roles once left to television actors.

I wouldn't say I'm personally affected by the cancellation of One Life to Live and All My Children, but I wonder what we'll all be watching 10 years from now. Will there be any scripted, acted, produced, non-documentarian-style television left to watch? I have a dark vision of a lineup that includes 50 showings per day of Teen Jersey Mom: Guido Babies.

Are you bummed about these soaps going off the air?


Image via ABC

Read More