End of soap operas could be a bad sign

By Editorial

Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011

Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011

ABC has announced it would end two of its long-running daily serial dramas, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live."

The decision will leave ABC with just one soap opera on its schedule, "General Hospital." Likewise, CBS has eliminated two of its soap operas "Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns."

CBS, with "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful," will become the last network with more than one soap opera on its schedule. NBC has only one soap opera left, "Days of Our Lives."

ABC said it would replace the two soaps with much less expensive, unscripted programs. One show, "Chew," will be devoted to cooking and nutrition, featuring the chef Mario Batali, among other hosts. The other program, "The Revolution," will focus on issues relating to health, weight loss and "lifestyle transformations."

The hosts include Tim Gunn of "Project Runway" and Kimberley Locke, former "American Idol" contestant who has become a plus-size fashion model.

ABC emphasized this is the type of programming daytime viewers had come to expect, citing its hit talk show "The View." The new shows are less expensive to produce than daily dramas, which employ costly actors, directors and writers. The dramas also require editing, set design, costuming and other costs.

Not that soap operas are ground breaking and might somewhat twist reality, but you could call soap operas an American pastime of daytime television — one consisting of writers who are talented enough to create gripping story lines and actors and actresses talented enough to win several prestigious awards.

Times have definitely changed; however, what once used to be watching television as a form of entertainment has now changed to observing how much weight people are losing each week or watching two drunk adults "hook up." Has society really changed this drastically and become this dumbed down?

"All My Children" will conclude in September and "One Life to Live" wraps up in January. "Chew" will premiere in September and "The Revolution" is set to begin in January. It should be interesting to see if soap operas will be completely erased from daytime television or if they're just being downsized to an extent.

The direction television is heading towards might not be easily determined, but because we compose the studios' viewership, the final outcome rests with us — and that's something to be comforted by.

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