'All My Children and 'One Life to Live' are gone. Is 'General Hospital' next?

general_hospital

Image Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Buried in the announcement about Katie Couric’s talk show deal with ABC-Disney was the news that the Alphabet will be giving the last hour of daytime back to its affiliates in September 2012. That’s the hour currently occupied by General Hospital, which airs either at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. across the country. (Couric’s show, which will be syndicated, will air at 3 p.m. on the ABC owned-and-operated stations only). The entertainment conglomerate made a point to say that it still supports the sudser, but at this point it can’t say for certain whether the long-running soap will have a place on ABC’s daytime lineup 15 months from now.

Once it gives that fourth hour back to the stations, ABC will only have three to fill but four shows to do it with — The View, General Hospital, and the yet-to-debut lifestyle shows The Chew and The Revolution. There’s a chance that one — or both — of the latter programs will fail, which means GH could continue to have a spot on the lineup. But what if the two yakkers, which are ultimately cheaper to produce than a soap, thrive on ABC? The network just can’t say, though it’s possible the two talk shows can be cut back to half-hours so GH can continue its storied run. Or, worse for soap fans, GH could go the way of The Bold and the Beautiful and become a half hour, too. From ABC’s point of view, it’s nice to have options, but that’s not particularly reassuring for soap fans who are already reeling from all the cuts to their beloved genre.

Either way, ABC has made it clear that soaps will not play a big role in its future. Besides shuttering SOAPnet to make way for Disney Junior in January 2012, the net also canceled All My Children and One Life to Live to make way for The Chew and The Revolution. (AMC will end in September, followed by OLTL in January 2012.) The enormous costs of maintaining old (and many think outdated) soaps was the primary reason behind the network’s decision to yank the two, but ratings have been pretty dismal. For the 2010-11 season that ended May 22, AMC was down 18 percent in the key women 18-49 demo (0.9 rating versus last year’s 1.1 rating). That makes it the lowest-rated soap in daytime, not to mention the least-watched (2.4 million this season, down from last year’s 2.7 million). Remarkably, OLTL remained flat this season versus last (1.1), while its numbers went up slightly (from 2.5 million to 2.6 million). And it was the only soap not to dip in the key demo. Every show was down, including The Young and the Restless (1.6 versus last year’s 1.9), GH (1.4 versus 1.5), Bold and the Beautiful (1.0 versus 1.1), and Days of Our Lives (1.2 versus 1.4). Each women 18-49 ratings point equals 659,000 viewers.

Y&R remained the most watched soap at 5.1 million for the season, followed by Bold (3.1 million), General Hospital (2.8 million), and Days (2.7 million).

Keeping the daytime soap genre relevant and profitable remains job one at the three broadcast networks, and NBC and CBS have gone to great lengths to slash the budgets on shows like Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless to keep them on the air for rabid fans. GH faces the same challenges, but it is in a good position to keep fans entertained (at least through September 2012): The network just announced that Garin Wolf is the new head writer, replacing Robert Guza, Jr.


Read more:
ABC cancels AMC and OLTL, replaces them with lifestyle shows

SoapNet will go dark to make way for Disney Junior
ABC Daytime chief on cancelling the soaps


Comments (160 total) Add your comment
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  • Flip

    You’re damn right ABC is preparing to cancel GH. At least GH fans have just over another year with their show…hopefully the new head writer will make it worth watching and bring back some faves for the long-time fans.

    • Rasha

      I think they are too, and the sad thing is that as bad as GH is, I’d gladly watch it over Katie Couric and ANOTHER talk show, because there’s already a glaring shortage of decent scripted television. The last thing any network needs is another talk show.

      If they’re going to cancel it, they just need to announce it and stop acting like the public is stupid.

      I’m really waiting for a cable network like Bravo or USA to realize that there is a market for soaps and to scoop up all of those available, amazing actors and start their own soap opera.

      • Veronica Mars

        What a pantload.
        EW is sickening these days.
        They are just trying to stir people up for no reason.

      • Veronica Mars

        EVERYONE agrees that daytime soaps move at a SNAIL’s PACE.
        Most people these days Tivo them and use the fast-forward button liberally.
        THE BEST thing they could do is go to a 30 min format. Snappier writing would result and budgetting issues resolved.
        This writer would rather see the show cancelled and I find that shameful.

      • Loretta

        I don’t car what or who they are putting on.I WILL NOT watch TV during my two favorite soap opera times. ABC has lost me as a tv viewer.

      • pat

        I hate the thought of ABC cancelling GH. I WILL NOT WATCH ABC during the day if they do this. They may as well save money and put on paid programing.

    • cattyfan

      You’re correct. Those behind the scenes have been saying for months the word has gone out that GH is done in Seprtember of 2012. ABC is lying through its teeth when the suits say otherwise.

      • Veronica Mars

        No cattyfan. YOU are the only one lying though her teeth.
        YOU have NO IDEA what goes on behind the scenes, you LIAR.
        You are just parroting this EW writer as usual because you can’t think for yourself.

    • Jessica

      I think it is crazy to call soaps outdated. ABC thrives on prime time soaps like Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. The way ratings are calculated is outdated. I am 25 and watch AMC, OLTL and GH everyday but because I watch it on soapnet or on my DVR or on line I don’t count. Think of how many other people don’t count as well.

      • Veronica Mars

        DVR ratings DO COUNT.
        Stop perpetuating this idiotic rumor.
        You really think network execs are that dumb?
        If you’re really 25, grow up.

      • Retro

        VM, your a moron. They swore up until a week before that they were not going to cancel AMC or OLTL.

      • JLC7930

        I am a TV Media Buyer and I work with Nielsen all the time. They do measure DVR viewing, but most clients will not allow us to use those ratings because they know that the commercials are being fast-forwarded. So even though Nielsen measures them, the networks know the clients only care about those who watch it live because that’s who’s most likely to see their ads.

      • JLC7930

        Sorry, one more thing . . . watching it online doesn’t really help because they only run a couple of commercials during online viewing so they don’t make the kind of money they make from live TV. I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just telling it like it is. I take no pleasure in this info. GH is my favorite show and I watch it everyday on my DVR too.

    • deedeedragons

      Calling it now: Y&R, DOOL & B&B to be the only soaps left VERY soon.

    • TOM

      cough cough….maybe the soap network……should branch out

  • Brenda Barrett

    Yup. GH is as good as dead. Of course, it deserves to be, with its misogynistic, mob-centric plots. It’s an absolute crime that OLTL is going off the air. Have I mentioned today how much I hate Frons?

    • Katie

      It’s an absolute crime that OLTL lasted this long.

      • Lisa

        You are making a horrible situation even worse with your obnoxious comments.

      • helen

        It’s an absolute crime you’re a jackass.

      • Sara

        i think every other soap should still be on home except the bold and the beautiful. that one is horrible

      • Joe E.

        You must not be watching – it’s the most riveting hour of television on the air, and it has the ratings and fan-base to prove it.

      • TOM

        i cannot beleive ridge and his sideburns still have a job….not to mention that shot of him in a speedo…..bold and beautiful….is the worst…and yes i watch it!

    • Rasha

      Eh, the problem was Guza. They waited way too long to get rid of him. I just think it’s insane that people think that soaps are outdated. I really think they just need to modernize the way they measure how people watch them. I bet the live DVR numbers are insane.

      • Veronica Mars

        You are SO SO SO STUPID.

        They are WAY ahead of you. DVR numbers have been counted for YEARS.

        And do you watch the commercials when you DVR the show? NO???
        EXACTLY! Advertisers won’t pay the network as much when people skip the commercials.
        WAKE UP fool.

      • TOM

        honestly hun…..people keep pushing dvr….does not count!

      • Sam

        You are so rude and completely WRONG. And if you hate soaps, why are you replying to every single comment? Live plus 7 ratings don’t count for overall Nielson ratings.

    • Theresa

      I agree that GH is not what is used to be-but neither are the Y&R, B&B & Days. Brian Frons & his superiors do not know how much more the ratings are going to slip-I hope they see it before it is too late for GH. Ms. Couric is not Oprah & her show will be like all the other talk shows-boring.

  • Annie

    It was only a matter of time before “General Hospital” is gone. The soap can not stand on its own without AMC or OLTL. When all is said and done only the Young and Restless and Bold and the Beautiful will be left. They are very popular oversees and the Bell Family owns them, not CBS. I give Days of our Lives a few more years until it is gone also.

    • Lesley

      I cannot bleeive this! The way AMC ended on ABC is more than a cliff hanger and guess what? They are going to remain hanging!! Please, please find a way to bring AMC and of course OLTL back to TV I read about Oprah! Great Idea! Oprah if you are reading this think about it! Your channel will be more than well known!!!

  • GHFAN

    This is what happens when you dump Genie Francis and Y&R picks her up. Focus and expand on what made the show great in the first place when it ruled them all, not just stick with the same mob story, you want to stay current, take chances, push some boundaries, and not let people like GF, or Tristan Rogers go.

    • Katie

      Absolutely, re-hiring two relics from the 1980’s would save ABC daytime. Give me a break. Soaps are dead, move on please!

      • Lisa

        If you do not want to watch Soaps, don’t but don’t make a bad situation worse with your insensitive comments.

      • helen

        Being a troll is dead; move on, please! Or at least learn to punctuate correctly.

      • Captain

        As much as I love GH, Katie’s right. The notion that bringing some GH vets back, would save the show is ridiculous. Soaps are dying, the genre is going extinct. Over the next 5 or 6 years, all the soaps will be cancelled. It’s a fact.

      • Chris

        Whatever katie couric no one like you either

      • cattyfan

        the genre is dying only because the networks want them to. Towward that end, they have replaced decent writers with hacks who have no knowledge as to how to write for the medium.

      • LostinNYC

        GH can only be saved if fans, the likes of which are posting here, make a statement. Another talk show? Paleeze!

    • Alan

      Dump Genie Francis? She’s spent the last 20 years coming and going, never staying for more than a few months at a time, and from what I heard, quit because she was unhappy with her storylines.

      • Katie

        I say pay Genie whatever she wants to return as well as give her carte blanche on her storyline. The end result is 1980’s ratings and daytime television is saved. Maybe then someone will resurrect Love of Life.

      • L

        They never knew what to do with her. They ruined Luke & Laura’s storyline YEARS ago.

      • Annie

        I read that GH treated Genie very poorly, so I do not blame her for leaving the show. GH and Robert Guza have made it their mission to destroy Luke and Laura’s legacy. How many times has Luke complained about Laura trying to domesticate him and how he did not want to be tied down.

      • Joe E.

        Annie, you are exactly right. One EP fired her because she had “gained too much weight”. Oh PLEASE. Someone who can ACT who is a has more curves and a bigger size (a LOT of people have had our weight ups and downs… I know about this one!!) over skinny-minny bimbo and Himbo modeling rejects who can’t act their way out of a paper bag??? NO CONTEST!

      • Veronica Mars

        Okay, FAT Joe.
        Whatever helps your slobby @rse sleep at night.

      • Dee

        VM, I am not understanding why you are even posting here? You seem to hate soaps? It seems like you only want to start a fight. Why dont you go some where else where there are others like you. All of you can fight each other. Leave Us ALONE.

  • Jean Karpanty

    I have been a fan of GH since it first aired. All three of the afternoon shows just kept repeating themsemves but none of them has Tony Geary. Because GH has a hospital setting, there are so many story lines they could come up with so it won’t get boring. SO DON”T CANCEL GH. A person can only be talked at for just so long. There is just too much chatter on day-time Tv.

    • googie

      How bout turning it off sometimes! Put some music on!

    • cheryl

      WAY TOO MUCH TALK

  • wtm

    Oh, just announce it already, ABC.

  • Vivian

    This breaks my heart… even more than Jonathan Jackson does on a daily basis with his amazing portrayal of Lucky Spencer.

    • Angie

      JJ’s return is the only reason I am even still watching this show. Although I will be sad to see it go, I can’t argue that the quality of GH just isn’t what it used to be.

    • Jessica

      I love Vivian’s comment!

  • Alan

    The Chew? OMFG….Worst name for a show, EVER?

    • AuntieMM

      Agreed…bad enough ‘The Talk’ is garbage so why one more??

      • Anitra

        THANK YOU!!!!

        And YES YES YES “The Chew”… is the stupidest name they could have thought of for a cooking show.

        “The Talk” is just another wannabe “The View”… and I couldn’t care less for it.

        I totally agree..

  • JC Frank

    The talkers get just as bad ratings, this has nothing to do with rating and everything to do with $. And I doubt people are going to DVR Chew.

    • Jane

      Dr. Phil hovers in the 3s and 2s. Most talk shows hover in the 2s. GH is hovering in the 1s, so the ratings aren’t the same. Add to that the cost of a producing scripted daily show and the decision to lose the soaps becomes self-evident.

    • Katy

      I think Homer Jay works for ABC. And the viewers info is wrong to beacuse I know many teenagers and younger people who watch the soaps including a lot of men and college students and older people and where they get that 49yrs from i don’t know beacuse I am 50 getting ready be to 51 and all my older friends and fam watch them ABC is going to spin whatever lie they want to spin to make themselves look good. That is what they are losing a lot of Soap fans on their cruises and toys and movies.

  • Todd

    GH is toast.

  • L

    End of an era. Kind of sad, really, but GH hasn’t been really good in YEARS. Too bad they dumped the spy storylines for the mob ones.

  • Iakovos

    I shared on another train but will repeat it is sad to see the death of this programming genre which for many years was viable and entertaining and embraced. The endless chatter of daytime is deafening and empty.

  • Lila

    GH is a goner. I for one will not watch any of the shows ABC has planned for replacements.

    • Anne

      No matter one’s opinions on viewing quality, GH has always been my “comfort” show through college, careers, kids and now a peaceful life. I find watching new episodes, characters & storylines much more entertaining than the millionth repeat of L&O or listening to yet another talk shows. A lot of revered actors now cut their chops in daytime TV…it always provided a proving ground for new actors and I have loved seeing early careers launched this way. This news makes me incredibly sad. I too will not be watching any of ABC’s replacement shows.

      • Alissa

        It’s been my comfort show for years, too! Whatever change I was going through I knew GH would be there! So sad.

    • Shelly

      I Agee. But I’m mad @ soapnet cuz its going off the air & what happen to amc & one life to live going to online ?

  • Jane

    I used to be an AMC OLTL fan when I was a kid. I stopped watching decades ago. Now I work on a national talk show. I recently watched an episode of AMC and was stymied by what the cost might be vs. the returns. I looked at the set for a scene in a bar and started pricing the cost for extras, props, scenery, etc and it became really clear to me why the networks want to dump the genre. I am saddened that the soap genre is dying, especially because it’s history is intertwined with the beginning of TV, but I totally understand it from a business perspective. This might seem like a tragedy, but our sadness at this will seem quaint once the networks are beaming torture porn and executions straight into our heads someday in the future.

    • LostinNYC

      How do you have a job? You sound like an idiot.

  • bootsycolumbia

    I’m not surprised by the cancellation rumors regarding GH. The show is terrible now. It’s sad, because I’ve watched the show off and on for about thirty years, and I remember when it was a fun, entertaining hour. Great romances (Luke and Laura, of course, but also Robert and Anna, Frisco and Felicia, and Robin and her first true love, Stone), great writing and strong story lines. Now if a storyline doesn’t revolve around Sonny and the mob, the writers twist it so that it eventually does. It’s depressing.

    • LostinNYC

      Don’t know what yr watching but GH still rules. Better than most crap they put on in primetime.

      • tommy

        the writing on gh is horrible.lante,spilini and all the rest of the played out storylines can be gone for all i care as long as abc keeps my “modern family” i’m good.lostinnyc for you to say gh is better than most of the primetime shows just goes too show you know dip about well written storylines.i could put gh up against grey’s anatomy we all know who will win this.gh has ran it’s course.

    • TOM

      notice how they have all run to Y&R?

    • Kaycee

      Totally agree. I’v watched on & off for 30 years… Started again last summer to see Brenda’s return, and finally stopped again. It’s awful, she’s horrible, she and Sonny have no chemistry or anything interesting going on. I blame the writers but Vanessa Marcil’s acting has gone down the tubes. Love Jonathon Jackson and Anthony Geary.. but that’s it. too bad the writers destroyed an icon of soap opera-dom. (silly, but true!)

      • broadwayfan

        I agree with you about Vanessa Marcil. I was so looking forward to Brenda and Sonny getting together again. And they are just plain boring.
        I hate that Tyler Christopher was let go. I think Nicholas is an important element in the storylines involving Lucky and Lulu.
        Jonathan Jackson amazes me every time I see him. He is such a wonderful actor. I love him dearly. He’s always been ‘my boy’.
        And when he and Tony Geary are together you can feel the love between these two guys. The emotions they show in their scenes together are the best.
        Jonathan said he came back to the show to be with Tony again. He was so young when he started in that role, Tony was his teacher, his mentor. Jonathan credits him with so much of his own performance.

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