I grew up in the 60’s, watching soaps with my mother. . When my grandmother came to live with us in the late 60’s, her favorite soap was, “As the World Turns”. My mom eventually quit watching soaps so I would sit with my beloved grandmother and watch our favorite soap. I moved away for a year and in that time I lost my grandmother. I came back home, met my future husband, got married, and began watching my “stories”. At that time, I watched “Days of Our Lives”, and then switched it over to ATWT. They were both 30 minute shows, so I could watch both of them. “Days”, moved to an hour long show. Ah-oh… What to do? Well, I watched half an hour of “Days”, then I could watch ATWT… Ah-oh, ATWT went to an hour. To make a long story short, In memory of my grandmother I stuck with ATWT. Oh, how I loved my soap family. I went through everything with them. I cried with them and laughed with them. I hated with them, and loved with them. In 2010, my show, ATWT was cancelled. I was crushed. Oh, how I prayed they could save it, but no such luck. I knew then they were either going to put in a talk show, a doctor show, a game show, or a reality show. Talk show won out. I watched “The Talk” once, hated it. Nothing can replace my ATWT. To this day I watch only one CBS television show, “Person of Interest.” That’s because I am a big Jim Cavizel fan. That’s all CBS will ever get from me.
Soap operas started in 1937, on the radio with “The Guiding Light”. In 1954, “As the World Turns” made its debut on television.
Time magazine described American daytime television as “TV’s richest market”. Prime time shows lost money where as daytime serials earned profits several times more than their production costs.
This was at a time where more women stayed in the home to raise their family. They became a part of their story characters family and became emotionally involved in their lives.
In 1984, “The Edge of Night” became the first soap to be cancelled. Several followed in their foot steps, some never lasted a year. In 2010, ATWT was cancelled after 52 years on the air. “All my Children” and “One Life to Live” followed in 2011 and 2012. Both series had 40 years under their belts. Between the years of 1990 and 1991, there were 12 soaps on the air. Today, for the first time in soap history, there are only 4 remaining. Soap opera magazines have decreased their circulations or have gone out of business. More women are in the work fields and not at home. I don’t see why this would matter. A lot of women I know, who worked, would still record their stories.
Here’s what I figured out. Are soap operas on their way out? Is your soap safe? I say, no soap is safe today. You could hear at any given time of the last four soaps to be cancelled. Why? Because talk shows and game shows cost 50% less to produce than scripted dramas. More people are working and more people like reality shows.
There may be hope. Prospect Park announced it is reviving “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” on a web site known as, “The Online Network”. BUT…..Unless they add “As The World” to that….. They can count me out….