This week, I must write the column I hoped I would never have to write. After enduring years of cancellation rumors, it was announced that One Life to Live will end in January, 2012, and I am still reeling from the news. I am also upset that All My Children has been cancelled. These are two legendary shows that have captivated viewers for over four decades, and now, they will be replaced with other shows that I refuse to name. It's a sad time for daytime television, and even sadder for the fans, whose loyalty doesn't seem to matter to the network.
I can't pinpoint the exact year I started watching One Life to Live. I began watching it when I stayed with my grandmother during breaks from school. Every day, from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., all activity in her household stopped because it was time for All My Children and One Life to Live. I remember being captivated as Nora threw Todd's rape trial, and that scene made me a fan for life because it was so intense and so well acted. Hillary B. Smith deserves a lot of credit for making me a soap opera fan because of that performance. After that, I watched One Life to Live whenever I could, and when I got to college, I started watching daily. I can't imagine not being able to do that anymore.
Having two soap operas cancelled at the same time was bad, but the horrible spin that Brian Frons used to explain the decision was even worse. According to the statement, people don't want to watch soap operas anymore. Instead, they want to see more talk shows and reality shows, and they just happen to be cheaper. I don't believe that for a minute. While One Life to Live has given me numerous good memories over the years, I simply can't say the same thing about a talk show. There are too many talk shows on television as it is, and replacing my soap opera with one is insulting.
Unfortunately, I think this trend will only continue if we don't voice our opinions. We've lost two soap operas in the last two years, and who can forget when NBC decided to replace an hour of scripted, primetime drama with The Jay Leno Show, which was also cheaper to produce. That turned out really well, didn't it? I think it's sad that network executives have turned a deaf ear to what viewers really want and have decided to tell us what we want because it saves them money. Network executives can brag about "evolving" television all they want, but when good actors are being put out of work for low-budget programs, we know what the main goal really is: making more money.
To make matters worse, last week was actually a pretty good week for the show. There were some powerful scenes between Rex, Jack, and Blair; Langston got a great exit story with Markko; Erika Slezak gave another outstanding performance as Viki told Charlie they were getting a divorce; Bo and Nora continued to struggle with what to do about Matthew murdering Eddie; Clint finally took an in interest in his son and grandson; and the mystery surrounding Todd continued to unfold. The show has been hitting its stride lately, and there is something for everyone to be interested in and enjoy. That is what makes a good soap opera. One Life to Live has had its ups and downs over the years. There have been obvious misfires and amazing triumphs as well. I've stuck with the show through it all because I've always cared about what was happening in Llanview. Agnes Nixon knew what she was doing when she created this show. I wish I could say the same about ABC and their programming decisions!
One Life to Live will always have a special place in my heart. I've been watching it for most of my life, and I've made some good, lifelong friends because of it. I've had the opportunity to attend numerous fan events, and I've even had the chance to write this column over the course of a decade. I am forever grateful to One Life to Live for all of these things. I've met most of the cast and have always had a great experience each time. The actors on this show are talented, hard-working people who genuinely care about their fans, as they have proven with their statements from the last few days. I am also grateful for all of the people behind the scenes who have given us this wonderful show for so many years. I am glad we have nine more months to enjoy the show, and I intend to make the most of it. I don't know what I'll do in February, but I have time to figure that out. It's just a shame that I have to do that at all.
As we continue to react to the news of the two show cancellations, I hope everyone who is upset about these cancellations is taking the time to contact local ABC affiliates to let them know all about it. Even if ABC vows to stick with their decision, they should know that the fans of these shows are outraged. I also hope that everyone will be relentless and continue to contact ABC, straight through January. I am sure ABC is counting on people initially being angry, and then accepting it and moving on with their lives. We shouldn't give them that satisfaction.
Until next time,