One Life to Live's decision to bring to an end its gay storyline has been met with strong reactions from fans. Now, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is also weighing in on the end of Kish. [For the full story on OLTL's decision, please read Scott Evans, Brett Claywell out as OLTL's "groundbreaking" Kish
"Last summer, One Life to Live brought a ground-breaking relationship into the homes of millions with Kyle and Fish's story, one that built acceptance and understanding of gay people," said GLAAD's president, Jarrett Barrios. "While we understand that the close of storylines is a frequent occurrence on daytime dramas, canceling this story just as it gains momentum is a step backward in ABC Daytime's representation of the lives of gay Americans."
In a somewhat ironic twist, over the weekend, One Life to Live was named Outstanding Daily Drama at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
Shortly after One Life to Live's executive producer, Frank Valentini, announced last week that the show was "concluding" the storyline involving Oliver Fish and Kyle Lewis' relationship, online rumors began to surface questioning the real reason for the decision to scrap the storyline.
TV Guide Magazine's Michael Logan reported that "sources at the network [said] the duo failed to resonate with the mainstream audience. Ratings for the ABC soap were particularly dismal in late 2009 during the weeks that Fish came out of the closet and he and Kyle officially became a couple."
On this past week's Soap Central Live, guest Michael Fairman expressed his disappointment over the decision to scrap a storyline that resonated with the gay community.
"I am heartbroken," Fairman told host Dan J Kroll. "I am upset. I think my initial thoughts are, when you read between the lines about what's been said and presented in TVGuide, it seems to me that One Life to Live is struggling in the ratings and that there was pressure from above because the show wasn't tracking well in some parts of the country. I cannot believe that the ratings are down solely because of the gay storyline."
To hear all of Fairman's thoughts on the end of the Kish storyline, click here to listen to Soap Central Live. The discussion of the scrapping begins at the 30-minute mark.
Meanwhile, TVGuide's Canadian edition states that the storyline was dropped because of personnel issues.
In a statement, a One Life to Live spokesperson thanked fans for embracing the show, Kish, and the "groundbreaking" storyline.
"The groundbreaking Kyle/Fish relationship on One Life to Live was embraced by fans both as a great story and a fair and honest reflection of the LGBT community. We're glad their story resonated with the audience, and understand the fans' disappointment now that it has concluded," a One Life to Live spokesperson told Soap Central in a statement. "The show has a history of bringing LGBT stories to the screen -- earning two GLAAD awards in the process -- as well as returning popular characters when they serve the ongoing story. These great characters remain in Llanview, and while there are no immediate plans to advance their story, the door is always open for their return."
"We remain disappointed that ABC Daytime has chosen to stop sharing this powerful story with viewers of One Life to Live," Barrios added. "GLAAD will continue to advocate that in the near future producers and writers at ABC Daytime incorporate gay and transgender characters in their programming."
Fans remain committed to the Kish story. Some are planning letter-writing campaigns and others are drafting petitions to get the network to reconsider its decision.
COMMENTAY Are soap opera fans really ready for gay and lesbian storylines?