Canceled: four earth-shattering words to a soap opera buff. And if one of your favorite soap operas being canceled (AMC) wasn’t enough, let’s take away another one. Brian Frons, who runs ABC Daytime, gave One Life to Live (OLTL) the axe also.
It didn’t really come as a shock to me that soaps were (and are) in danger. I mean, there’s no denying that times are changing with social networking sites, reality television and other dramatic entities. In addition, women aren’t necessarily sitting at home in front of the TV as much as they used to when soap operas first came into the picture. What did shock me was that ABC would make such a bold move as to cancel two long-running programs. Actually, a bold move is a bit of an understatement; let’s go with a great big slap in the face.
I’m sure lifelong fans are outraged that after all of their support and dedication to ABC, the network would go and do something so selfish. Apparently AMC is being replaced by a cooking show. Really? Don’t we have enough of those already? We certainly don’t need another one!
The company says that viewers want more shows about self-help and dieting. Well, I think that’s a load of crap. As a regular soap opera viewer, I do not want yet another mindless talk show. I want drama, something dynamic. And, yes, soap operas can be completely ridiculous sometimes with their storylines, but you can’t overlook the fact that if done right, soap operas have the power to make a huge impact on its viewers.
Take AMC for example. AMC’s biggest gay storyline involved Bianca Montgomery (played by actress Eden Riegel), daughter of the incomparable Erica Kane. AMC premiered the first-ever gay wedding in soap opera history with Bianca and Reese (played by Tamara Braun, ex-Carly on General Hospital). The storyline won high praise from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for portraying a healthy lesbian couple.
I personally could relate to the storyline because I grew up in that era. Whether it was Bianca and Lena, Bianca and Maggie, or Bianca and Reese, getting to know the characters and their stories made me more knowledgeable on the topic of gay rights, gay marriage, gay relationships, and more. The storylines without a doubt made a positive impact on my perception of soap operas. It’s a travesty to have such beloved characters ripped from the fans grasp and thrown out like last week’s trash.
Viewers are not only losing their shows, but they are losing coverage in the LGBT community; pivotal coverage of people just like them, whether gay, lesbian, straight, black, white, and everything in between. With the loss of two major soaps, the viewers will be left to question, what about me?
Let’s take a moment of silence for the impending loss of AMC and OLTL. Now that we’ve done that, let’s stand up for what we believe in. Write, call, or email the higher ups at ABC and let them know how you’re feeling. Save the soaps and save your media coverage!