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Cancellation Most Devastating to Genre: GL, ATWT, AMC, or OLTL?


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Out of the four long-running soaps that were canceled in recent years--GL, ATWT, AMC, & OLTL--which of these soap's demise hurt the genre the most? My answer to this question would have to be ATWT, which is somewhat ironic, given that its cancellation attracted (by far) the least amount of press and uproar.

I expect many people to say that GL's cancellation was the most devastating. To support their position, these folks will say that the axing of GL set in motion a domino effect. However, GL (like AW before it) had been teetering on the edge of cancellation for over a decade, so its demise surprised nobody. On the other hand, ATWT was the first long-running soap to be cancelled after only a few years of dismal ratings. It's cancellation was a watershed moment in the industry because it sent out the following message, loud and clear: networks were no longer going to wait for a soap to have miserable ratings for many years before axing it; rather, all soaps that are currently garnering bad ratings are in grave danger (and are out of "second chances" for them to try and boost their ratings).

Thus, I maintain that it was the cancellation of ATWT (rather than of GL) that set in motion the domino effect of these other soap axings. After all, every single long-running soap (aside from GL) all had one thing in common: they had decent ratings prior to circa 2007-08, and their cancellations (back then) would have been unthinkable. The fact that CBS didn't hesitate yanking ATWT convinced those at ABC to go ahead and cancel the Nixon soaps. This, in turn, has put all remaining soaps (apart from Y&R) in grave danger.

Before I conclude, I'd like to add that AMC's cancellation was the second-most devastating cancellation for the genre. Aside from those who follow the soap ratings, the general perception among the public is that AMC (like GH and DOOL) is still "extremely popular." (Of course, the reality couldn't be further from the truth, given that AMC, GH, & DOOL all have terrible ratings.) Once an "extremely popular" soap like AMC gets canceled, it's obvious to most people that the genre's days are numbered. (However, I still believe that ATWT's cancellation was more significant than AMC's. Remember, ATWT was the first soap to be canceled that didn't teeter on the edge of cancellation for many years. Had the domino effect that ATWT's cancellation caused not taken place, I highly doubt that ABC would have been so eager to pull the plug on a soap that they made a huge effort to save a mere two years ago.)

Additionally, I would have to state that the least devastating cancellation was that of OLTL. While the cancellation of two soaps on one day sent major shockwaves through the soap industry, one needs to look at what would have happened if OLTL alone had been axed (when analyzing how devastating its cancellation was). First of all, aside from the die-hard OLTL fans, it's apparent that OLTL's demise surprised no one: it was obvious the writing was on the wall the moment ABC moved AMC to L.A. (and made other huge investments in that show) while choosing to leave OLTL in NYC. Given that (1) this cancellation came as no surprise (to all but the shows most die-hard fans) and (2) OLTL has extremely low name recognition among non-soap viewers, there likely would have been a "ho-hum" reaction (similar to the GL/ATWT cancellations) had OLTL alone been canceled back in April. In fact, I'd doubt there'd even be much panic in the industry if OLTL alone was axed: rather, the consenus would be that survival of the fittest had occurred, and that the five most "powerful" brands--AMC, B&B, DOOL, GH, and Y&R--would continue to remain on the air (all being based in Los Angeles) until at least 2015.

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This entire thing is subjective. You can't seriously gauge which soap's cancellation was the most devastating blow to the genre when FOUR soaps were canceled within 2 years. However, if any soap's cancellation can be credited for getting the wrecking ball swinging to the genre, that would be Another World. It set the ball rolling to the point where NBC only has one lonely daytime drama on the air... and 5 hours of the Today show.

Let's face it. It set the precedent. ABC is now planning on hours upon hours of talk/information... with one lone soap.

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No doubt if OLTL has been cancelled alone, it wouldn't have been a big deal. However, I don't think it can be said enough that the only reason AMC's cancellation made news and had legs in the media is the Susan Lucci factor. Without her, AMC is no more important to the mainstream media than OLTL is. As for which was most devastating, for me it was ATWT, and it was my least favorite of the four shows! It was the first megasoap, just the first enormously successful show, and from what I read, it still had some energy left to it. GL was on life support for years before it was mercifully cancelled. AMC and OLTL are just hollow shells of their former selves, with their cores gutted to the point of unrecognizability, especially AMC.

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Surprised AW wasn't listed as an option here

bc it was so long ago and really didnt trigger a downward spiral. Daytime sustained years beyond that. I think ATWT was really the beginning of the end. GL felt like it was on borrowed time anyway for a long while, but I didnt feel as if ATWT, AMC or OLTL needed to be cancelled. None seemed beyond repair

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bc it was so long ago and really didnt trigger a downward spiral. Daytime sustained years beyond that. I think ATWT was really the beginning of the end. GL felt like it was on borrowed time anyway for a long while, but I didnt feel as if ATWT, AMC or OLTL needed to be cancelled. None seemed beyond repair

+1 So true!

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This entire thing is subjective. You can't seriously gauge which soap's cancellation was the most devastating blow to the genre when FOUR soaps were canceled within 2 years. However, if any soap's cancellation can be credited for getting the wrecking ball swinging to the genre, that would be Another World. It set the ball rolling to the point where NBC only has one lonely daytime drama on the air... and 5 hours of the Today show.

You have an excellent point regarding AW's cancellation. While few if anybody thought back in 1999 that AW's cancellation would endanger the entire soap genre, the scenario that you mentioned above would have never happened had AW not been canceled (and repalced with such a crappy "soap").

Surprised AW wasn't listed as an option here

In hindsight, I definately should had listed AW as an option. (The reason why I chose not to was because I wanted to focus on the recent cancellations of long-running soaps.) Could one of the moderators please change this thread's subject/topic heading so that AW appears as another choice? (I myself cannot go back and change the heading of this thread.)

Here are my own thoughts on how AW's cancellation would rank (alongside the others): For the reasons R. Sinclair mentioned above, AW's cancellation had a devastating impact on the genre; its demise hurt the genre much more than if OLTL alone had been canceled (earlier this year). However, the cancellations of ATWT and AMC were more devastating because AW (1) teetered on the edge of extinction for over a decade prior to getting the axe (unlike ATWT or AMC), and (2) was certainly not considered to be "extremely popular" in recent times (the way AMC was/is).

I personally feel that AW's demise was far sadder than GL's because the quality of the former soap was so much better (in 1999) than the latter (in 2009). (AW was on a creative upswing, while GL looked like a high-school production.) However, GL's cancellation was probably more devastating for the genre because (1) that show was the longest-running program in broadcast history, and (2) GL would usually have over a million more viewers than AW did (during AW's final two decades on the air).

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bc it was so long ago and really didnt trigger a downward spiral. Daytime sustained years beyond that. I think ATWT was really the beginning of the end. GL felt like it was on borrowed time anyway for a long while, but I didnt feel as if ATWT, AMC or OLTL needed to be cancelled. None seemed beyond repair

That's a myth.

Another World ended in June 1999

Sunset Beach ended December 1999

Port Charles ended October 2003

Three soaps canceled within four years? Everyone is kidding themselves into believing that network television didn't start trying to find "other options" for their daytime lineups until 2009's cancellation of Guiding Light. Especially when ABC gave back the 30 minutes that was for Port Charles (in already limited markets) back to its affiliates. Here in the NYC/CT/NJ tristate area, it's been syndicated Who Wants to be a Millionaire for the last 8 years!

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That's a myth.

Another World ended in June 1999

Sunset Beach ended December 1999

Port Charles ended October 2003

Three soaps canceled within four years? Everyone is kidding themselves into believing that network television didn't start trying to find "other options" for their daytime lineups until 2009's cancellation of Guiding Light. Especially when ABC gave back the 30 minutes that was for Port Charles (in already limited markets) back to its affiliates. Here in the NYC/CT/NJ tristate area, it's been syndicated Who Wants to be a Millionaire for the last 8 years!

Its not a myth; its an opinion. After AW, 2 relatively new soaps got canned. I dont think losing neither SuBe or PC had as much impact as longtime soaps like GL, ATWT, AMC and OLTL have. None was touched for about a decade, so no I dont think AW triggered a downward spiral.

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I think the cancellations of SuBe and PC were about the networks realizing, once and for all, that the big soap phenomenon was over and some downsizing had to be done. NBC and ABC, at least. The core four (AMC, OLTL, GH, and DAYS) were saved because they still had ratings potential, while I'm guessing PSNS was kept around because it was still new and NBC (gasp!) might have wanted to give them time to build up an audience. SuBe and PC were simply fat that had to be trimmed.

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