Do canceled soap stars have another life to live?

Susan-Lucci-Erika-Slezak

Image Credit: Everett Collection; Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic.com

Soap fans don’t go away just because their favorite stars do. But while the four remaining soaps are probably hoping to absorb the millions of bereft fans who watch All My Children and One Life to Live, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to take on some of the more beloved denizens of Pine Valley and Llanview.

That’s because Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless — which are produced by Sony for NBC and CBS, respectively — underwent serious cuts in the last few years to remain profitable. (Remember how Eric Braeden was all in a tizzy over his salary?). Days would have to cut an existing actor to make way for an out-of-work one from AMC or OLTL — assuming the sudser would even want to make such a move. “Not sure they’d want to,” admits one high-ranking NBC insider. “They’re really running on a shoestring budget.”

Y&R makes more sense; after all, it just hired Genie Francis as a series regular and made a home for former AMCers like Eden Riegel (Heather) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe). But TV’s most-watched soap has already inherited actors from its canceled soaps (hope you are liking Genoa City, Guiding Light’s Marcy Rylan and As the World Turns Maura West!). Plus, it has 30-some regular cast members. How does CBS make room for a Susan Lucci and a Erika Slezak when it already has some serious daytime doyens like Jeanne Cooper, Melody Thomas Scott and Jess Walton? CBS’ other soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, only runs 30 minutes, making it even harder to shoehorn in additional talent.

“You have to write for all those people!” says one Y&R insider. “You’ve got to give them storylines! You can’t keep hiring.”

It probably makes more sense for GH to take on additional actors. But GH — like AMC, Days and the CBS sudsers — tapes in the Los Angeles area while OLTL is based in New York. Though AMC moved to the west coast, Lucci worked out a sweet deal to leave her east coast home just for a week or so out of each month.

Where do you think the folks of Pine Valley and Llanview should go?

Soap fans, come mourn with me @EWLynette

Comments (171 total) Add your comment
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  • Stevie

    It makes the most sense for AMC and OLTL characters to move to GH. With all the crossovers that have been done over the years, it could work without much competition. Once the stupid GH writers get rid of awful characters like Lisa, they will have more room for a Kendall or Dorian to move to town.

    • stu

      they should all JUMP OFF A CLIFF!!

      • markus

        wow. clever.

      • candacetx

        stu… you first.

    • LOL

      Does anyone still watch soaps? Seriously. I don’t know anyone who still does.

      • lyrica

        then why are you reading this article?

      • mcgilh

        3 million people watch these shows. You are kind of an idiot, aren’t you

      • JR

        Yes, as the above poster said, there are millions who watch – most of whom watch on the DVR, Soap Net, or online (“One Life”‘s Viewers Channel on You Tube is one of the most watched of any series currently on the air). Several co-workers and students of mine this a.m. were stunned to hear this. Fans are still out there, trust me.

      • Judy

        yes, of course.

      • Becky Haynes

        Yes there are lots of people who still watch soaps. I think this is horrible to take our soaps off. They need to have a channel for soaps.

      • nancy

        I watch OLTL and AMC M-F during the days when I do not have appts and in the evening on cable what I’ve missed. I DON’T EVER PLAN to watch any talk show with Katy Couric! I’ll watch Ellen on NBC. As for any cooking show, forget it.
        I watch soaps to escape my boring life. How to shows don’t fill my needs! I will probably go back to doing research on my family history which I’ve been neglecting.

      • Angie

        I definitely watch them and I am sad that they are taking them off the air. Will not watch the talk shows or whatever, just not the same for me.

      • teresa

        I have watched them for 30 yrs. I very devoted soap fan. Who can live without watching John Mcbain,Sonny, everyday LOL

      • delisse carroll

        I will not watch abc anymore

      • kg

        Believe it or not there are still some people who do watch a soap.

    • Melissa

      Don’t care about AMC. I feel bad 4 the cast and crew. I LOVE OLTL. It’s rocking right now. I devastated. I don’t know why SOAPNET doesn’t stay on the air and move ALL Soaps there. What a travesty. Totally freakin’.

      • DAWalls

        SoapNet is owned by ABC Daytime and it was announced it was going off the air in January 2012. But I love OLTL too, and wished there was a way to keep it on.

      • Anna

        Dawalls did I understand you right that Soapnet is going off the air? I hadn’t heard that, that’s a shame I was hoping they would continue the soap genre.

      • carolyn

        soapnet is being taken off the air in jan thanks to Brain and disney they are putting a kids show in its place. when i heard that and read that i knew something was going on

      • Cindy

        I have thought the same thing why don’t they show the soaps on soapnet I don’t understand why soapnet is going off the air.

    • joan

      Can not stand Lisa also always skip over her really can not stand her story at all

    • Melissa

      I think they should leave the soaps the way they are.I have watched the soaps since I was a child with my family.I think ABC will regret taking the soaps.I hope they can be saved.

    • Pat

      If paying Eric is whats breaking AMC let her go. I like the other people better than her.

    • Teresa Jackson

      They need to leave our soaps alone they need to stay like they are. Please somebody save our soaps!! Its not over till its over!!

  • JC

    I don’t see a bunch of AMC/OLTL actors making their way to GH. GH is going through budget cuts as well. They tried to get rid of Rebecca Herbst and her fans were exremely vocal. They are dumping others and the high profile actors like Lucci cost a pretty penny that they don’t have the money or room for.

  • gypzyjedi

    Don’t we have a lot of people out of work and home during the day? Soaps should be booming.

    • Kat

      You’d think, wouldn’t you? I guess there are just too many alternatives and people’s attention span is shorter. Soaps take an investment in stories and character.
      I’m in deep mourning for AMC, which I’ve watched for almost 30 years.

    • Lisa

      Do they even count the viewers that TiVo. ABC will hopefully regret this. Is there anything we can do? We petition, we write comments but is there anything that we can actually do? Someone please tell us

    • Julie

      We should all boycott ABC and any of it’s affiliates except fro GH and turn our attention other soaps on opther netwoks. Drop their ratings in everything else. Tell their sponsors that we don’t like what they’re doing and we boycott their items until the soaps come back on! Hit them where it hurts, money, ratings and loss of sponsors due to boycotting!

      • Tee

        There is a online petiton going at petitiononline.com and you can call this number 818-460-7477 to save our soaps!!!

      • Tanner

        I think we should all go to ABC with black roses, dressed in black (like a funeral) the day after the last episode of oltl airs … With signs and photos of the actors …they are murdering my family and friends

  • Joboots

    TNT should grab a few of these for
    their Dallas reboot,perhaps!!

  • hmm…..

    How about getting Susan Lucci to replace Charlie Sheen?

  • ray

    Days of Our Lives should bring Farah Fath back as Mimi. She isnt a big enough star that her salery would be too much for them to handle.

    • Kris

      Yeah but Belle isn’t on Days anymore so what purpose would she have in returning?

    • sunsetsnow81

      Loved her on Days.

  • Ann S

    Those out of work people can’t afford to buy the products that are being advertised during soaps, and most people are likely recording them and skipping through commercials anyway.

  • tomm

    Welcome to the real world, nothing is free. When people download and pirate entertainment, there is a price. Cancelations, budget cuts, lost jobs. So, again, nothing is free.

    • Ang

      ABC’s site makes the episodes available online. It basically comes down to people not wanting to invest almost 4 hrs a week on 1 tv show, that usually is slower paced than primetime.

  • Beauty

    Don’t bring GH into this! You leave GH alone don’t need these people cluttering up the set. GH is doing just fine.

  • Love GH

    I have always loved General Hospital, even with some of the stranger storylines. I am only glad that is not the show who got the ax. I am curious, however, as to why the powers that be think two more lifestyle shows are going to perform better.

    • Em

      If they are cheaper to produce – the ratings may not matter so much.

    • carolyn

      its just a matter of time before there wont be any soaps left Look at all the soaps that have gone away because they were let go i have been watching for years iam 61 now and soo many have been cancelled just a matter of time I know i wont be watching the new shows on abc

  • poppy

    Susan Lucci should get her own show on OWN. Come on Oprah!

    • Joanne

      That is a good idea. Erica Kane should have her own show on OWN. Her show should be on Erica’s health, fitness, nutrition, and skin care. Also, make up and fashion.

      • bertram

        She already does this show. It’s called an infomercial.

  • annecasa

    GH doesn’t write for their own veteran actors, so they won’t be adding high salary people like Susan Lucci…. unless she plays Sonny’s new mob rival! And even then Guza will lose interest after a few weeks.

    • Patricia June Hamilton

      Susan as a mob rival sounds pretty good. Didn’t she play a mobsters daughter in a movie?

      • Tad

        Ah, she not only was Mafia Princess she was also Lady Mobster so she would be awesome in a mafia role. But really there has to be a place for Lucci – even in comedy.

  • Andy Bluebear

    While not all the actors on OLTL and AMC are that great, there are still loads of good talent on both shows. Why can’t they try prime time? Why is their only option to move to another soap? People need to get over their stereotyping of soap actors. Marcia Cross, Nathan Fillon, and Eva Longoria are doing well on TV now, and they started on soaps. And that’s just 3 examples, there are many more who got their start on soaps. Give some of the better actors a chance instead of writing them off as just being “soap actors”. Personally, I’d love to see Rebecca Budig on “Cougar Town”.

    • Elle

      Like Meg Ryan, Ryan Phillipe, Demi Moore, Judith Light, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brad Pitt, and many others. A whole lot of primetime and even many film actors began on soaps.

      • Andy Bluebear

        Add Juliane Moore, Marisa Tomei to that list as well…

      • bootsycolumbia

        Kevin Bacon, Ray Liotta, Anne Heche.

      • Pkz

        Add Lauren Hill , Ryan Phillipe, Eva Longoria and Jensen Eckles

      • Annie

        Josh Duhamel, Hayden Panatierre, Tommy Lee Jones…

      • Nick

        Michael Weatherly, Frances Fisher, Lindsay Lohan, Morgan Freeman, Kyra Sedgwick… and let’s not forget James Franco.

      • Kat

        Christopher Reeve

      • bertram

        Janine Turner

    • candacetx

      Law and Order SVU is always using soap actors. With these cancellations L&O LA could use these actors for their storylines and it would prolly jumpstart their flagging ratings. Could you imagine a “cut from the headlines” storyline featuring Lucci and Slezak? That would be awe…some!

      • Patricia June Hamilton

        That would be great!

      • Ang

        Many soap stars have made appearances in primetime. AMC’s “tad” has already appeared on one of the L& O shows. A recent epi of Castle included a ‘soap set’ that utilized stars from AMC.

  • caffeinejunkiee

    I’d love to see Erika Slezak and Susan Flannery work together on B&B.

  • MahStories

    I just got into OLTL when I started using a treadmill in the morning (thank you, SoapNet!). Sad. But has anyone ever considered changing the structure of a soap so it only airs once or twice a week? Soaps are mostly filler anyways, created at a time where the networks needed filler. Can’t they just readjust? The actors would take a pay cut, but they’re about to be laid off anyway.

    • Beauty

      That’s a good idea. You are right! It must be hard to write for new material 5 days a week.

    • Summer

      That’s actually brilliant. It works for primetime, why not daytime?

    • Joanne

      I haven’t watched soaps in ages, but OLTL and AMC were some of my favs back in the day. It would make better financial sense to make it a twice a week (or something similar) type show.

    • Helene

      Let’s take this idea to ABC. I’m really heartbroken over OLTL. It’s been “with me” through the years– like one woman who blogged after the news, It’s been her only constant from hs and college through marrying and having children. Same for so many of us!

      • Kat

        AMC has been with me through some tough times, cancer, deaths of friends and family. It’s that one hour in the day when you can put all the crap aside and get lost.

      • Erin

        I love that idea! I can’t take the thought of just not having my shows anymore! Been watching them since I was 6 with my parents and it’s one of the special things in my life that allow me to escape. The characters are friends and family to me. if they could find a way to keep them alive somehow I’d be so happy!!!

    • Anna

      I agree they should think about keeping the same show but not everyday, maybe even move it into a primetime arena. Turn them into primtime shows I say, or 30 min shows back to back maybe.

    • Tami

      That’s a really good idea. That would keep them at least employed, and we would still have our soaps. I have watched this show my whole life. I can not imagine them gone.

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