True or False?: TV Guide Reports ABC Soaps Will Be Canceled

'All My Children' Star Susan Lucci (Photo: ABC)

'All My Children' Star Susan Lucci (Photo: ABC)

Update: The TV Guide article quotes ABC head of daytime Jori Petersen as saying, “”I have no announcement, and these are just rumors that you are hearing. I am sorry to hear that they’re escalating but I cannot confirm anything.” Petersen’s office confirms that the article was not an April Fool’s Day prank but had no further statement.

Soap fans, you might want to sit down for this one. For weeks, ABC has been denying rumors that it is going to cancel its long-running soap “All My Children.” Now TV Guide’ s Michael Logan is reporting that the network is on the verge of canceling not only “AMC,” but also “One Life To Live.”

Logan writes, “Word is, ABC Daytime chief Brian Frons has a talk show and reality show lined up for fall — both of them much cheaper to produce than soaps… . More disturbing, insiders say Frons has been extremely cavalier about all this, showing no signs of sorrow or regret.”

Whoa. Would ABC really get rid of two thirds of its soap line-up in one fell swoop just to save money? Especially given that “OLTL” regularly beats CBS’s new talk show “The Talk” among all key demographics? It’s possible, unfortunately.

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With SoapNet disappearing in 2012, the network has less of a financial incentive to keep its shows on the air. Soap ratings are down across the board, and the network could be ready to give up on the genre. If “AMC” and “OLTL” are canceled, “General Hospital” would be ABC’s only soap, seemingly dooming “GH” as well. However, the continued success of “Days of Our Lives” on NBC shows that a one-soap daytime schedule can work.

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On the other hand, this is April Fools’ Day. This article could be an extremely well executed prank. “Guiding Light” was notoriously canceled on April 1, 2009, a detail that Logan surely remembers. Though many fans disagree with the decisions Frons has made about the ABC soaps, he has invested many years of his life in the shows. It seems unlikely that he would be “extremely cavalier” about the decision, particularly since, if the new shows fail to perform, his job could be in jeopardy. Former CBS Daytime chief Barbara Bloom was let go shortly after “The Talk” launched.

Let’s hope that someone is pulling everyone’s leg about this one.

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