ABC announced today that it will cancel All My Children and One Life to Live. (via Tuned In)
The news came as a shock to many fans who will soon have only General Hospital to satisfy their daytime soap cravings. All My Children will bow out in September whereas One Life to Live will last slightly longer, ending in January 2012.
The Chew, a food show, will replace All My Children, while a self-improvement show called The Revolution will take over for One Life to Live. Tuned In offers speculation as to why the soaps, part of a dying breed in the TV industry, were canceled.
Their replacements—talk and lifestyle shows—are more easily produced and replaceable, and have had far more success launching in recent years. Why the reversal for a genre that has been so reliable for TV and defined serial television as a genre? Besides economic reasons, one explanation may be reality TV, and beyond that, the larger tabloid culture.
A soap opera, after all, is about becoming immersed in the details and drama of a set of people’s lives…they compete for the same mindspace. They offer a similar kind of serial storytelling, personal intrigue and schadenfreude—as do, say, the off-screen tabloid narratives of the likes of Kate Gosselin or the Kardashians.