ABC pulls the plug All My Children and One Life To Live, two long-running soaps with Philadelphia roots.
After weeks of rumors, the network today announced it is cancelling the tentpoles of its daytime schedule, All My Children and One Life to Live. Episodes of AMC will air until September 2011; OLTL until January 2012.
Both serials were set in the Philadelphia suburbs, All My Children in Pine Valley (a stand-in for Bryn Mawr) and One Life to Live in Llanview (Ardmore). Both were created by soap opera doyenne and Main Line resident Agnes Nixon.
Declining ratings and rising costs spelled the end for AMC which has been on the air since 1971, and OLTL which debuted in 1968. Industry analysts point to the long televised trial of O.J. Simpson (1994-5) as the (downward) turning point for the traditional soap opera genre.
In a statement released this afternoon, ABC’s president of daytime Brian Frons said, “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…All My Children and One Life to Live are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history.”
The two hour long programs will be replaced by two new lifestyle shows. the food-focused The Chew and the health-oriented The Revolution.
The overhaul will leave ABC with a single afternoon soap, General Hospital, on its schedule.
[Full disclosure: Agnes Nixon is my mother-in-law and I briefly wrote for All My Children.]