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I am so irked right now. I was watching Good Morning America, and amidst the Dancing With The Stars and Kate and William regurgitation, they announced that All My Children and One Life To Live will be no more come September of this year and January of next year, respectively. (But they’re keeping General Hospital. What’s up with that? Does someone important have a close relative on the GH staff?) I’m just as disappointed about what this indicates for the future of American television. OLTL is one of the few shows I watch that doesn’t make me feel like I’m being programmed or talked down to. I enjoy the clever puns and references, and the intelligent vocabulary. But forget about me. What is to become of the writers, actors and staff members associated with these two shows once their time is up? I’m hoping another network will pick them up. Susan Lucci, who is in her early sixties, looks too good to retire just yet.
I’ve been watching One Life To Live since I was 11 years old. I’m 33, so that’s exactly 2/3 of my life. ABC is dropping these time-honored serials in favor of what? You’ve surely guessed it. “Reality” and talk about weight loss and makeovers – or, if we’re being honest, crappy programming on the cheap. All they’ll have to do is pay a quasi-celebrity host, a small staff and open the chute to America’s hungry, overweight, poorly dressed po’dunks, who will do the rest of the work in exchange for services provided. ABC apparently doesn’t realize that it would be far more cost effective to air a strobe light and a hypnosis spiral during these time slots once they’re freed up. Anyone who would actually want to watch Tim Gunn isn’t likely to be discriminating enough to tell the difference. But the optimist in me (yes, there is a teeny tiny little one in there somewhere) can’t fully accept that America has been dumbed down so much that talk and reality TV is what the majority wants to watch during the day – it’s just that it’s quickly becoming the only thing on the menu. And going by the comments in the articles I’ve read today, many viewers would stop watching ABC (or television) altogether rather than eat the cheap fluff.
As I work on my glass every night, I enjoy my pre-recorded daily gawk at fictional characters who live wacky, whirlwind lives. Sure, soaps are silly, but that’s the point. They’re highly entertaining to those of us who have been watching for years, and the soap genre is so unique, it’s unmistakable. You know when you’re watching a soap – the music, the film quality, the look on the actor’s face – even if you land for only a second when channel surfing. And hey, soaps are about the only shows remaining on daytime TV that don’t provide America’s lowest common denominator a place to show its skidmarks. (Think Maury Povich – who even watches that!?) Brian Frons, ABC’s daytime department president, makes a reference to the long term success of MTV’s Real World in this article. Um, yeah, so… thanks, Real World, for giving way to today’s standard fare, and giving America’s lazy, desperate, narcissistic youth something to strive for. I’m sure it helps that anyone pathetic enough to want to be on reality TV isn’t above being hauled away in a hired ambulance when the ratings begin to slump.
Frons also commented that the viewers will be angry, possibly angry enough to want to do him physical harm. Well, duh, dude, what did you expect? That anyone would be jumping up and down at the prospect of yet another weight loss or makeover show? You don’t have to worry about ME getting up off of my flabby, soap opera watching, bon-bon eating haunches and coming after you. One, that’s not my style, and two, it won’t be these wonderful new shows that get me into ass kicking order (of some piddly corporate puppet, no less), because, surprise, I won’t be watching them. ABC is killing successful shows that have been on television for 40+ years, and their refusal to admit that this is pure and simple greed is an insult to my intelligence. ABC can be reasonably sure that most viewers of these soaps will watch every week day, and you can’t say that about too much of anything on free OR paid TV anymore. However, ABC can be absolutely sure that their soap viewers will NOT watch the thinly veiled indoctrination that these two soaps will be replaced with.
If you have any interest in keeping these shows on the air, please sign this petition – who knows, it may actually make a difference:
Off to mope some more, thanks for reading.
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