I don't want to sound like the coach in one of those inspirational sports movies that pop up in movie theaters every year, but dammit if I have to then so be it. At the time of my writing this column, it was just over a week since ABC announced that it was killing off All My Children and One Life to Live. The network will be replacing both shows with evil, twin talk shows.
Since the news broke, I've been flooded with messages from AMC fans and readers of this column asking what they can do to keep the show on the air. In fact, I received so many emails that I decided to put together a mini-site to put as much information as possible into one central location. I call it the "Support Our Soaps" page. You can access it directly by clicking here, or by visiting: https://www.soapcentral.com/sos
So what will you find there? You'll find a list of advertisers that spend money to air commercials during All My Children and One Life to Live. You'll find contact info for your local ABC affiliate. What you do with that information is entirely up to you. I can tell you that I have personally called my ABC affiliate here in Philadelphia to explain to them that I start my television viewing with their noon newscast -- and I don't usually flip the channel until after the national news broadcast at 6:30pm. If All My Children and One Life to Live are to go off the air, I don't have any reason to watch my ABC affiliate until General Hospital airs... and I probably will flip the channel when GH is done. For those of you who don't watch other soaps, you may have no reason to watch your ABC affiliate at all. I don't know your viewing habits, but if your local affiliate risks losing viewers -- that station might be inclined to contact ABC corporate to ask the network to reconsider.
As for advertisers, I've called advertisers whose products I use or have tried as a result of their ads airing during AMC. I asked that they invest more ad dollars in AMC and OLTL, and that they consider removing their ads from ABC's primetime lineup to voice their displeasure with two iconic television shows being unceremoniously yanked from the airwaves. It is important to be truthful and respectful when contacting anyone.
Will any of this matter? I don't know. What I can tell you is that All My Children won't be spared by someone sitting at their computer wondering "What if?" If you don't send an email to the network to let them know how unhappy you are, if you don't phone an advertiser or two to ask that they invest more money in your soaps and pull ad dollars from ABC primetime, if you don't contact your local affiliates to tell them that you'll have no reason to watch their local news telecasts if AMC and One Life to Live go off the air, if you don't do something, then you'll never know what could have been.
It's only if you go all-out and make these calls and send these emails and remain vigilant that you'll know if all of the fan uproar will change anything. This isn't just about All My Children. It's about all of the soaps. We can't let this amazing art form disappear forever. It also doesn't hurt to enlist friends, family, and fellow soap fans to get involved. I have several friends who have stopped watching ABC's primetime programs because they are outraged by the decision to cancel All My Children and One Life to Live. At the end of the day, if we are all doing the most we can to make a difference and nothing changes... then we'll know that ABC's mind was made up and that there was never a chance that it could be changed.
So with all that said, if ever there was a time to support All My Children, it's now. If you haven't watched the show -- tune in. If you have one of those little Nielsen boxes you definitely need to tune in to the show.
I find it somewhat ironic that I got hooked on All My Children by a kidnapping storyline -- and that as the show's cancellation was announced, it was a kidnapping storyline that had been glued to the screen. I know that I've said it more times that you probably have wanted to hear (or read), but it was the Natalie-in-a-well saga that kept me tuning in to AMC, long after my friend was booted off the show as the original An-Li Chen.
I read every email that passes through my In box, so I know that a lot of viewers want Erica to stop acting like a perpetual teenager. That isn't to say, though, that she needs to become matronly and take up crocheting toilet paper cozies. The hair tossing and the back-and-forth between men has gotten old. Yes, the woman has abandonment issues that go way, way back, but it's time for the excuses to come to an end. Maybe Erica needs to sit down and talk to someone. I'm sure Dr. Tolan still maintains a practice somewhere in Pine Valley. Therapy or not, I think I speak for a sizeable portion of All My Children viewers when I say, "Erica, you need to grow up!"
This is why I am so interested in Erica's kidnapping -- it doesn't involve her revolving door of men. Plus, it's creepy as I don't know what. The very idea that someone would go through the painstaking process of meticulously replicating Erica's bedroom is just downright spooky. The thing that pushed it over the edge for me was when Erica pulled back the curtains and found cinderblocks on the other side. I'm not sure what I expected to see outside the window, but that was the moment that I blurted out, "Oh, poop." Okay, so I used a different word -- but you get the idea.
I think the creep factor is also raised by the fact that the stalker/kidnapper chose to copy Erica's bedroom. The bedroom is our most private of rooms. No one would have batted an eye if it was Erica's kitchen that had been cloned. First of all, Erica doesn't cook. Second, how spooky can a skillet and Crockpot be? However, the thought of some outsider knowing what our bedroom looks like, what sheets we have on the bed, and what side of the bed we wake up on sets off all sorts of warning alarms and sirens.
But what if Erica's kidnapper isn't an outsider? Would that make it any less creepy? That isn't a rhetorical question. I'm actually asking that question to myself at the same time that I am asking it to you. I'll be honest: I don't know how to answer the question. At least if it's someone that Erica has bedded, that person would have a reason to know what her bedroom looks like. Since we have been led to believe that Erica has only had relations with Jack since she moved into her new home, that pretty much blows that fish out of the water. But that doesn't mean that Erica's captor is a stranger to her.
So who is it? I know "vagueities" about who kidnapped Erica. I won't share them with you because I don't want to ruin any sort of surprise. I've intentionally shielded myself from those particular spoilers because I'd like to be surprised. It's the type of good surprise that soap fans want to see -- not the "You're soap is being replaced by some talk show nonsense" surprise that we received earlier this month.