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Posted at 03:59 PM ET, 04/14/2011

ABC cancels ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’


Snoop Dogg, center,(a fan of the daytime series) appears with actor Robert S. Woods, right, who plays Bo Buchanan, on the set of "One Life to Live.” (Steve Fenn - AP)
Two more daytime soaps bite the dust: ABC announced Thursday it’s finally driving a stake into both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” in order to launch two new “The View”-esque shows. One is about all things food, stars a bunch of foodies, and is called “The Chew.” The other is about weight loss, stars the inimitable Tim Gunn, among others, and is called “The Revolution.”

Yes, ABC will not only help you put on, but also take off the weight!

“‘General Hospital,’ the second-most popular show in daytime, is not impacted by this announcement and will remain on the air,” ABC stated emphatically in Thursday’s announcement -- in case you were working up a good head of steam on that front.

And, the network was quick to add, it will “honor” the “core, passionate audience and their rich history with our soaps, ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live” by plowing them under “in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Plus, Disney ABC/Television Group president Brian Frons put on his wistful face, and noted “While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can’t help but recognize how bittersweet the change is.”

Still sensing a coming outrage – those soap fanatics, they may be dwindling in numbers, but they’re crazy passionate! -- ABC in its announcement wasted no time blaming the changes on “extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want and the changing viewing patterns of the audience.”

Bottom line: Susan Lucci will be looking for work after September and “One Life to Live” will be snuffed in January of ’12.

The new foodie show will be called “The Chew” – like “The View,” only chewing, as in food -- get it?

“As food has become the center of everyone’s life,” ABC said, “ ‘The Chew’ will focus on food from EVERY angle -- as a source of joy, health, family ritual, friendship, breaking news, dating, fitness, weight loss, travel adventures and life’s moments.”

The show’s all-star foodie roundtable will include Mario Batali (Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”); entertaining expert Clinton Kelly (TLC’s “What Not to Wear”); Carla Hall (Bravo’s “Top Chef”); Michael Symon (Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”), and nutrition expert Daphne Oz. It’s produced by Gordon Elliot, the executive producer of “Paula Deen’s Home Cooking” and “Down Home with the Neelys.”

I don’t know why we just thought of it, but ABC’s we’re-killing-ourselves-with-food reality series, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” came back for its second season on Tuesday. More than 5 million people watched.

“The Chew” will be partnered with new “The Revolution.” It’s from J.D. Roth, the guy who does NBC’s weight-loss reality series “The Biggest Loser,” and ABC’s upcoming primetime series “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.”

Each week on “The Revolution,” one woman’s five-month “weight loss journey” will unfold in just five days, with daily results and “a final transformational reveal” every feel-good Friday.

The woman will get lots of help in her transformation, from a celebrity team that includes fashion expert “Project Runways’s” Tim Gunn, “celebrity trainer” (ABC says) Harley Pasternak, and “American Idol” alum Kimberley Locke who will contribute we’re not sure what.

“All My Children” has revolved around the lives of the frisky residents of fictional Pine Valley, a a town which (ABC says), “closely resembles the Philadelphia Main Line.” It premiered on January 5, 1970, as a half-hour show; seven years later it expanded to an hour.

“One Live to Live” is set in the equally frisky fictional town of Llanview, which (ABC says) is “modeled on a Philadelphia suburb.” “One Life to Live” debuted on July 15, 1968 as a half-hour show and grew to an hour 10 years later.

Both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” have fallen victim to the fickleness of Woman.

In 1998, for instance, about 4 million people were regularly glued to “One Life to Live” and about 5 million to “All My Children” each weekday.

In each case, around 2 million of those viewers were women between the ages of 25 and 54 years. They bought a lot of soap.

Now, both shows are struggling to hang on to half those crowds.

Meanwhile, “The View, which in 1998 was averaging around 2 million viewers – about 800,000 of them being women 25-54, is now clocking closer to 4 million viewers and more than 1 million of that audience falls into that female 25-54 crowd.

“All My Children" and “One Life to Live” are not the first long-running soaps to bite the dust in recent years. In December of 2009, for instance, CBS announced it had canceled “As the World Turns” – the soap that, over its 54 years, had introduced America to fresh-faced Meg Ryan, James Earl Jones, Julianne Moore, and Marisa Tomei.

And that was the second soap scrubbed by CBS in a year; “World” followed the career trajectory of “Guiding Light,” for which the fat lady had sung three months earlier, ending its 72-year reign. (Both of those shows had been produced by Proctor & Gamble, which coined the phrase “soap opera” because the company used the shows to advertise the product.)

Both soaps “have had long and distinguished runs and their day is over,” CBS chief executive Les Moonves had observed on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” show at the time his network pink-slipped “As the World Turns”; Les never was one to beat around the bush.

“All My Children” and “One Life to Live” — like CBS’s “As The World Turns” — churned out a good-ish number of actors who have gone on greater glory. “One Life” was a testing ground for Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Cross, Blair Underwood, Phylicia Rashad, Tommy Lee Jones, and Roma Downey, among many others. “AMC” once employed Christian Slater, Sarah Michelle Geller and Melissa Leo, to name a few.

“‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history,” Frons reflected in Thursday’s announcement. We’re still not sure how he got elected to break the news.

“Each of the shows has touched millions and millions of viewers and informed the social consciousness. It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary teams who brought the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview to life each day, and we thank the cast, crew, producers and most especially the fans for their commitment to the shows through their history.”

Nobody move! He’s not finished:

“None of this could have been possible without the extraordinary Agnes Nixon,” Frons continued -- still wistful.

“More than 40 years ago, Agnes Nixon created both the worlds of ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live,’ worlds that the rest of us have been privileged to live in. Her shows led the way forward, breaking a lot of rules along the way to defy expectations about what soaps can do and the issues they can cover.

“I am honored to have worked with her.”

By  |  03:59 PM ET, 04/14/2011

 
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