Oprah Winfrey on why OWN can't pick up canceled ABC soaps -- VIDEO


Image Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC/Getty Images

Warning, Erica Kane fans: This isn’t good news. In the midst of shooting the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, launching a cable network, publishing a magazine, and taping an addictive little reality show called Season 25: Behind the Scenes, the Queen of Daytime took the time to address desperate fans of All My Children and One Life to Life about why she can’t air the canceled soaps on OWN. She doesn’t say anything that we don’t already know — there’s no money in programming daytime sudsers anymore, kids! — but it’s pretty dang cool of La Winfrey to give it some attention. If only she had better news for you lovers of Llanview.

AMC will end in September, followed by OLTL in January 2012, to make way for the unscripted shows The Chew and The Revolution.

You can check out Winfrey’s video below:

Read more:
Will a cable net rescue the canceled ABC soaps?
Agnes Nixon on cancelled ABC soaps
ABC daytime chief: `I never thought I’d be the guy to take two of the shows off’

Comments (109 total) Add your comment
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  • Kendis

    Not one for soaps, but glad she made a statement because fans of both shows were looking for Oprah to save the day. Women seem to be working in this economy and ABC is basically cutting cost.

    • The Man

      House fraus love CRAP!

      • Victoria

        Orpah is a goddess. I love her and india-brides was amazing

      • Nathan

        Orpah, more like Orca!

      • macor

        @ The Man – I am most definitely not a hausfrau (correct spelling here by the way) but I love this crap. So grow a set, get an education and do not comment on things you have no clue about.

      • Ms. Dipesto

        Shut up douche.

      • carol

        I am no house fruas and neither is anyone else that watches soaps so do a little research before you spout off about things you know nothing about.

    • Josh

      That’s right, Nathan. If you don’t like someone, make a comment about their weight. No wonder children bully other children all the time. They learn it from adults!

    • Ariel

      Oprah is a big, stupid pig with an oversized head to match her waaaaay oversized ego. Why these silly women suck up to her, I’ll never know. She has no regard for anyone else but her gay friend Gale. She’s pulled the wool over people’s eyes for years; anyone who likes her is a stupid fool.




      HEY BOO

    • tina

      Why is she wrong? Because she is telling the truth, that your beloved soaps are too expensive to produce.

      • Astrid

        She’s wrong in the way she is eating the world out of house and home. Leave some for us, fatso. She’s so self-satisfied, putting down addicts all the time, yet she is so obviously addicted to food, it’s not even funny–or fun. Can’t wait until her horrible network crashes and burns and that ovine creep has to go back to her barn. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

      • Josh

        Wow, you’re right. She acts like she has everything together but she can’t keep her fat self from stuffing down mac and cheese and pecan pies. What a huge, disgusting glutton! She has no right to tell anyone what to do as it’s clear she can’t even keep her gigantic appetite in check. What a waste of space. Die, Oprah, die.

    • Christina Aguilar

      Oprah does make some valid points, but she is missing the larger picture here:
      1) EW reported that soaps get around 2.3 to 3 million viewers every day. Those are good numbers for daytime television, and they surpass most talk shows (Oprah and Regis and Kelly are the only exceptions).
      2) Soaps have one of the most loyal fanbases in television. Oprah is missing a big opportunity to increase viewership at OWN.
      3) Most of OWN’s programming consists of re-runs of Dr. Phil and TLC reality shows, and soaps will add some new programming to the mix. There is a lot of space on her network to put these shows in primetime. I guarantee you they will get double the viewership.

      She said that soaps aren’t getting the same numbers like they used to, and she’s right. However, she forgot to mention that her show and all other talk shows aren’t getting the numbers they used to, either. That has not stopped her from producing an extra four talk shows. The bottom line is that there is an audience for soap operas. Soaps are expensive to produce, but they are not losing money – the networks are just too cheap to spend the money to produce scripted programming. To say that “soaps aren’t producing a dime” is misleading. I love Oprah, but she does not know what she is talking about. This is the same woman who had to get schooled at her own magazine when she complained that there were too many ads. Her magazine staff checked her and told her “umm, ads pay for the magazine; without ads there is no magazine.” She is a great communicator, but doesn’t know sh!t about business.

      • charles

        _She is a great communicator, but doesn’t know sh!t about business._

        Suuuuure. That’s why she is one of the richest self-made women and owns her own network. I don’t even like Oprah, but she knows her business very well.

      • Megan

        LOL! I concur with Charles. Oprah doesn’t know about business like Trump doesn’t know about business, like Madonna doesn’t know about business, like Bill Gates doesn’t know about business, like James Cameron doesn’t know about business. Say what you want about any of these people, but the reality is that they know how to market a product and they know their business.

      • Sergio

        The cost of producing those talk shows is a tiny fraction of the cost of producing the soaps so it doesn’t matter if ratings for the talk shows are lower or the same. They still make a ton more money. That’s business right there, and she knows what she’s talking about.

      • KD

        I agree. And I think that ABC will live to regret cancelling these shows. No one is going to watch their new reality shows. And CERTAINLY no one is going to record it every day to come home and watch it after work (like we do with soaps). Silly, short-sighted move if you ask me.

      • Bhim

        Okay let’s break some numbers down.

        A soap can get up to 2-3 million viewers a day, but the ratings system that is in place makes those 2-3M look like 1-2M. Y&R gets 4-5 million viewers but they rate 3.4.

        They also tend to gear to women 18-49 demographic. Only AW in its last days started gearing towards the male demographic (ads for Budweiser, Bud Light, Mennen Speed Stick, etc. started appearing). ABC started this demographic mess when ABC Daytime was number one.

        Plus the broadcasters and Neilsen never had anything in place for new technology like DVRs and Internet streaming, therefore when people gravitated to these new mediums, they were never counted.

        Finally, soaps are expensive to produce, but they should take a cue from our neighbors south of the border and PORT CHARLES. Do the telenovela format, don’t only gear it towards women, and don’t do dumb plots. Over-the-top, yes, but no dumb ones.

      • Mick

        She is not creating the Soaps Network. She is not obliged to pick them up or to explain why she’s not.

        If you don’t like it, don’t watch her network. Chances are you aren’t a Nielsen viewer anyway so you don’t really count to the industry (who only pays attention to the ratings)

    • stu

      yah…like oprah has no business sense. she’s only worth 10 bil!

      • carol

        if they think reality TV shows will bring in more money then they are really stupid, as for Oprah I agree she is addicted to food and has no place commenting on people with addictions or health matters for that matter, she is a heart attack waiting to happen with all that blubber.

      • Bhim

        You guys are saying mean stuff about Oprah when you can’t deal with the reality that the genre we love is dying. Remember PASSIONS? NBC pulled it from its lineup and then DirecTV added it on an abbreviated schedule, then canceled it. USA did the same thing with THE EDGE OF NIGHT and SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, albeit reruns. If these shows can’t produce the viewers that the networks need then they are going to die. I do miss the ones I grew up with, but they had their time.

  • tina

    Finally a person they will hopefully listen to. This whole save the soaps will finally go away.

    • honeysucklejazz

      Thanks Oprah!

    • Max

      Boy tina I wonder which soap opera pis*ed you off.

    • Liz Lemon

      I wonder why SoapNet doesn’t “save them?” Without Soaps that channel isn’t going to exist anymore.

      • Ms. Dipesto

        SoapNet is going off the air itself next year. This totally blows. It’s all about the money, screw tradition and screw the loyal fans who watch these shows every day. Oprah has more money in her purse than I’ll ever see in my lifetime. I’m sure she can afford to put these shows on her channel. She’d have viewers flocking to see them.

    • carol

      It isn’t over until the fat Lady sings.I suppose you prefer to watch reality shows and game shows, intilectual shows like that

  • Anna

    Key words, “in the daytime”—not enough people home during the day, so move them to primetime.

    • Peg Bundy

      Or the internet.

      • Bhim

        Anna-this works in the Latino market which is dominated by soaps -day and night-. I’m currently watch LA REINA DEL SUR on Telemundo. They have a caption 3 option which translates the CC from Spanish to English.

  • JC

    The audience for soaps is very loyal and passionate, unfortunately it’s also very small. That is why these shows are coming to an end. Unless you can come up with a way to create 1 million new viewers out of thin air, you’re wasting your time complaining about the cancellations.

  • Barry

    Not enough blacks on those shows to warrent that racist from picking them up for her network.

    • jury’s out

      Have you seen her staff? They look like the population of Maine. If anyone should call Oprah a racist, it’s black people.

      • Barry

        She needs white people on her staff to run her empire. How do you think she makes so much money?

    • Nona

      @Barry. Your comments are ludicrous. You sound like an absurd, maladjusted, individual looking for attention…sad. Oprah is an overwhelmingly successful business woman due primarily to her own drive and ambition. The success of OWN has yet to be determined
      but I am sure your toxic opinions will effect nothing.

      • Maisie

        Oprah is a fat dumb cow who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Why anyone admires her, I’ll never understand. She hates white people, and she looks down on black people unless they’re successful and rich like she is. She’s really a horrible excuse for a human being. Hate her, and hope her idiotic new network FAILS.

      • @Nona

        You’re WRONG! Oprah and her misguided, idiotic network are going DOWN! And I for one can’t wait to dance on that grave. She’s a pathetic human being and there has to be something wrong with her pitiful, adoring fans. UGH.

      • Bhim

        @Maisie – call her all the names you want. She didn’t pull the plug on ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Brian Frons did.

    • Carlos

      Barry have you been smoking ‘crack’ again? Please put the pipe don’t and stop talk racist foolishness. Everything is about race or racism with you. Go ask Donald Trump or Bill Windgate to pick up these shows that most people doesn’t watch anymore.

    • jury’s out

      Barry, there are a lot of successful people like Tyler Perry, Jay Z and Russell Simmons who have the brains and drive to make money and hire black people to help them. Part of being a racist is believing that other races are inferior. Sounds more like you than Oprah. Oprah probably hires 95% white women because she feels threatened if another black woman is successful.

      • Huh

        She doesn’t sound as if she would feel “threatened” by another black woman’s success. Look what she’s done for her BFF Gayle King. And let’s face it; her core audience is white women; so why wouldn’t she hire white women to help her reach the majority of her audience? That’s just business savvy; not some “crabs-in-the-barrel”-inspired decision-making. If you want to criticize her for not promoting more people of color; then level the same charge against her peers, who have had such power long before she did.
        Besides, she spent 2 shows explaining why her deal with Ilyania VanZant, a black woman, went south instead of serving as the kind of launching pad given the likes of Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, etc.

      • jury’s out

        Look at all the whites who’s careers she has given a launching pad and compare that to how many blacks she has helped. Besides Iyanla there’s been no one in all these years! Oprah has a devoted multicultural audience. She is probably the richest black woman in America and has incredible power and influence. There is no excuse for her barely having any minorities on her staff, and only a handful of men. How can minorities expect whites to promote diversity in the workplace if they won’t? If that was a famous white person with a virtually all white workplace, she’d probably have her nose out of joint. As for Gayle, Oprah knows she’ll always have the upper hand in their relationship. Gayle will never be a threat to her because she has proven herself to be loyal and content to let Oprah be the alpha female. Oprah has had a history of difficult relationships with black women, and maybe that’s why she avoids dealing with them. Also, she probably figures her white audience will call her a racist if there’s too much brown around. She can’t afford to offend them.

      • Erudite

        Some have stated that Oprah is racist against her own people…foolish, unfounded stupidity. How many Blacks do you know have opened up a school in Africa (Will I AM is opening up an art school for inner-city kids in NY), but what Oprah is doing for ALL people or ALL races (her programming material transcends color) is unparalleled. It is sad that this conversation was reduced to racism, can we please stay on topic, devoid of the name calling and racial epithets. If anything, we need to ask why everybody supports reality TV, that’s whats killing TV programming.

      • jury’s out

        Stupidity? Unfounded? The facts speak for themselves. As for staying on topic, I was making a point to Barry that Oprah couldn’t possibly be a racist against white people. It was a point I had a right to make. I don’t think for a minute that Oprah believes her race is inferior, but why is about 95% of her staff white women? How can you possibly justify that? Why hasn’t she given one black person a television show like Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz? Why are there only two shows on her network that have minority hosts- Lisa Ling’s and of course her friend Gail’s? This is something she will never address because she could never come up with a satisfactory answer. I admire her for what’s she has accomplished,and I think she is a very generous and intelligent dynamic person, however that doesn’t mean I will ignore the facts.

  • Ashley

    There is money in making soaps, but ABC just gave up. They let AMC continuously go over budget, never promote their own shows, and then pretended they weren’t canceling any shows to prevent fan unrest. The problem isn’t with the soaps when it comes to making money, but with the people running ABC Daytime.

    • sam

      the ratings unfortunately says it all. it’s too expensive with no ratings return.

      • jennifer

        The ratings suck because the rating system sucks. It is outdated and needs to be revised. There are so many shows in daytime and primetime that don’t get enough ratings. She says people don’t watch because they are not home but many, many people dvr their favorite shows and they are not even counted in the ratings. Theses shows are a part of our history and should not be messed with.

      • ger

        And if you watch them on your DVR you’re skipping the commercials. There goes the ad revenue, which is all that matters,

    • Carlos

      When AMC moved from New York City to Los Angeles, I knew the show was in trouble. I am telling you, most people don’t watch Soap Operas anymore. People now have lives, computers, Ipods, careers, and talk shows.

      • Huh

        Why put down soap fans as not having “lives”/ You’d be surprised at the number of writers, professional athletes, and self-employed persons who have confessed to following the soaps because their schedules allowed them to do so. And what are reality shows but cheap, sensational, semi-scripted soap operas? Reality show “characters” engage in outrageous behavior that soap writers would see as too ludicrous for even soap viewers to swallow.

  • Beauty

    Everybody talks about Oprah like a dog then begs her to save their soap. Funny.

  • Rosie Ibarra


    • connor

      um. you know nothing about anything so you should shut up.

    • Grant

      Hmm…if your post is any indication perhaps you shouldn’.thave skipped school to watch a soap opera.

  • Gilda905

    I understand but will miss my Pine Valley Friends. My biggest criticism is that they are being replaced by ‘Reality TV’ which is really low quality TV and only on the air because there is an audience. Stop watching it if you want it to go away.

  • carol

    Watch w/ my mom many years ago.Its kind of like losing a peice of the past.I hope during these trying times they replace them with something to make us laugh.But I doubt it.

  • wtf

    The ratings for her network suck. The soaps maybe could save OPRAH’s OWN.

    • bringbackrocky

      Well said. OWN is showing re-runs of Dr. Phil, romantic comedy movies well past their expiration date and the Gayle King show. How could those be garnering any better ratings than what AMC and OLTL are getting? If she can give Gayle a show, she can throw her support behind the soaps.

      • Megan

        True, but she does not have sex with the soaps. With Gayle, on the other hand…

    • tommy ted

      Oprah knows what she is doing. The soaps would not make a good fit for her cable network. They lose money. Oprah’s new network is already having serious ratings problems, and can not afford to support shows that are sure to lose money.

  • tae

    As much as I used to love these shows and saddened about the cancellation without the viewership no one will pick them up so knowing how oprah runs her business can you blame her for not taking them on

    • Jake

      I blame Oprah just for being alive and sucking up way too much air with her big fat lungs. She is a blight on society and a horrible example of a black person.

    • @tae

      How she runs her business? You mean, like the way she ran that ridiculous African school into the ground? She must really have been on top of things, letting those poor kids get abused by the creeps she hand-picked to run that dump! Wake up and realize that Oprah is wearing the Emperor’s new clothes.

  • mari

    Perhaps American soaps should follow the format of the ‘telenovelas’. ‘Telenovelas’ don’t go on forever so actors don’t have to be paid a lot since they won’t have long contracts. It will be good for writers as well since it will flex their creativity muscle. They could show it before they air the 6:30PM news broadcast OR at 7PM. The show could be shortened to just 30 minutes instead of an hour.

    • Nona

      Changing the format sounds like an idea that should be tried before pulling the plug all together…

    • Juan Lopez

      It would be the same thing in the long run. Telenovelas, like any other form of entertainment, turns some actors into popular favorites, and eventually, those actors become high-paying stars that the studio feels should be paid more in order to have a “draw” for their next soap. Telenovelas only last three or four months, but they are still marketed as “starring so and so, from such and such”.

    • Huh

      ABC execs said its research showed that soaps would probably perform better in late-afternoon/early evening time slots–but those time slots belong to the local affiliate stations and the newscasts in those time slots earn those stations a lot of money. So the affiliates are not giving up those time slots and who can blame them?

    • Bhim

      ABC did do the telenovela format with PORT CHARLES. It saved the network money, but weeks after the show got a lot of Emmy noms during the telecast, Frons pulled the plug on that one. He wouldn’t let them do a goodbye episode, now how cold is that.

  • Dan

    Her ALL reality network isn’t exactly blowing away the advertisers (or viewers) away. She’s said in a tweet a few months ago that they won’t look at developing scripted shows because of the cost. Well how about meeting us half way? Take ONE of the soaps… One Life to Live. Make it your ‘One Night to Live’ each night… but only 4 nights a week or something (to cut costs). The show has a MUCH higher rating than ANYTHING else on your network. If you bring IT (singular), the viewers will come. I’ll bother to actually turn on your channel and see what OWN has to offer. If OLTL didn’t come up to your numbers, then let it go. It’s sad that Oprah won’t even give it a try with one of the soaps. NO ONE wants to watch a network of all reality… Dr. Phil, weird Medical show reruns. Go out of the box. Otherwise, OWN will fold….. just like the soaps apparently are.

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