Changes at ABC, New Tasks to Get Our Soaps Back
Hello, from your Editor-in-Chief here at LTAS, Akbi Khan! We wanted to make sure as many soap fans as possible saw and had a chance to do the tasks in the beautiful Facebook post by our friends over at “Save AMC & OLTL.” If you need any, you will find cogent, well-conveyed arguments about why All My Children (AMC) and One Life to Live (OLTL) need to be back on the airwaves. And you will also find email addresses to send your thoughts based on these arguments to in order to get this accomplished. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.
How much do you want to be heard regarding how much you miss AMC and OLTL, how your ABC Daytime viewing habits have changed, and what it would take for you to be a viewer of ABC Daytime again? Let your hands speak for you and send Rebecca Campbell an email. Below are some key points that you can include in your email (please put in your own words).
ABC recently announced that Rebecca Campbell, who is the President of ABC Owned Television Stations Group is now adding oversight of the ABC Daytime lineup to her list of duties. Rebecca has been with ABC for quite a while, as she was the President and General Manager of WABC-TV (ABC’s flagship station in New York). This station had incredible ratings for AMC, OLTL, and General Hospital (GH). Even after AMC and OLTL went off the air, this is what the station had to say about GH in 2014: “More than a quarter million people in the Tri-State Area watch ‘General Hospital’ on ABC 7, and many more on the “Watch ABC” app. Nationwide, the audience is past 2.7 million, so ‘General Hospital’ isn’t going to close down anytime soon.” We love hearing those words, don’t we?!?!
So, Rebecca is receptive, to say the least, to keeping GH around and possibly fighting for AMC and OLTL to return once the lawsuit is over. We need to let her know the fans are still here and educate her on a few things to help make her new role successful for her.
Here are some important points that we will want to communicate to her:
- Talk shows are not want ABC’s daytime viewers want to see. Oprah was successful BECAUSE she came after a full afternoon of soap operas and Oprah herself was a big fan of AMC herself. When Oprah quit her show, ABC threw the baby out with the bath water. Cancelling soap operas and plugging in their place cheap talk shows is not what viewers want. The role of a network should be to find out what is wanted and provide that type of programming. Right now we don’t feel wanted/needed.
- The current ABC Daytime lineup is not designed to keep a viewer tuned in all day. In the past viewers would get their news and then watch three-four soap operas, followed by Oprah and then transition into news and then the prime time shows. Now the shows offered in the daytime are so mismatched, which makes you try to get so many different kinds of viewers that you are spinning your wheels. The person who wants The Chew is not the person who wants GH, which is not the person who wanted The Fab Life. And because you don’t have a soap playing during the 1:00 p.m hour you lose viewers to other networks who do have soap operas running during that time.
- ABC looked too narrowly at cost per viewer. Yes, soap operas cost more than talk shows, but what about the cost of constantly creating new talk shows and having them tank? The Revolution, Good Afternoon America, Katie, The Fab Life…they all sucked. And your loss of daytime viewers is tied to the decrease in your primetime viewership. AMC and OLTL fans threatened to boycott ABC’s primetime and so many have held true to that plan up to today. Maybe if you looked at it this way, the cost per viewer isn’t so bad.
- There’s so much talk about how the OJ Simpson trial killed soap operas because it showed how people would watch reality TV which was super cheap to make. It showed that after a bit of time viewing habits changed. Well this concept is one that ABC should have evaluated a tad more before cancelling AMC and OLTL. By removing these shows you forced viewers to change their viewing habits. You made it impossible to keep ABC running all day long as fans did not want to see the “replacement shows.” This caused viewers to not see promos for the current primetime lineup, plus it enraged viewers. Those viewers decided to actively boycott ABC’s primetime lineup. The result: viewing habits changed. These viewers found other soaps on other networks and other primetime shows on your competition. That change by viewers, surely, is not something you wanted.
- You constantly create obstacles to keep GH from being more successful. First, if you happen to miss an episode of GH the ability to find that episode is a challenge. You either have to have one of the few cable providers that allows you to watch on abc.com or you have to pay via Hulu Plus/iTunes/YouTube. Other networks make this process a lot easier and more fan-friendly (see the CBS and NBC models). Second, you barely court viewers outside the United States. Other soap operas have found huge success by airing in other countries. With how transient the world is today it’d be smart to make GH a global sensation.
- The drama behind the scenes is enough to make any fan sad for their beloved actors. It doesn’t look good when you hear how—love her or hate her (and we at LTAS are not fans of hers, as regular readers may know)—Jill Pharen Phelps was given a phone call to let her know that in 30 minutes a press release saying she was no longer the EP of GH was going public. What a way to be let go. You can see that actors didn’t like that too much either—how many have flocked over to The Young and the Restless since then? Recently Jason Thompson said that things behind the scenes had been bad for months, and once he made it known he was leaving, he had several honest conversations with Frank Valentini of GH. You have a legend named Tony Geary who basically goes into retirement from the show because of head writer Ron Carlivati. And then an actor’s contract negotiations are discussed with a fan (by someone, who, it should be said, is generally a good friend to daytime and whom we don’t want in any more hot water than he recently found himself). What?!?! How is it so messed up behind the scenes? That needs to be fixed so actors stay and fans aren’t driven away.
- AMC and OLTL fans need to feel like their viewership matters. Right now the shows are stuck in a lawsuit but there are years and years worth of vintage episodes just collecting dust. Make those available somewhere—com, Hulu, at 3:00 a.m. on ABC, etc. Take a moment and come up with a way to show you care and you haven’t forgotten about the shows and the fans who want them back.
Now that we have reminded you of these points lets email Rebecca. You can pick one or multiple points to address in your email, and send more than one message, if you’d like. Make it personal and be NICE. Rebecca hasn’t shown any negativity towards soap operas thus far and we can get way farther with niceness. We need to approach this as “we want you to be successful.”
Email Rebecca at: email@example.com
Also from “Save AMC & OLTL” :
Come on guys, where are all of our members who are always posting, “I miss my shows- bring them back?” If you want them back so bad you need to help make it happen! We despised what Brian Frons did to the ABC Daytime lineup and we didn’t get any further with Vicki Dummer as she just kept moving along in the direction Frons had started.
For those of you who don’t use Twitter and those who don’t follow Jim Romanovich may not be aware of some interesting comments made recently about Channing Dungey, newly-named President of ABC Entertainment Group.
Remember that Jim Romanovich is the EP that does “Who Shot the Daytime Soap?” on POP TV and previously produced the Daytime Emmy’s. He is very good friends with Tristan Rogers. Read this snippet of Twitter conversation below:
@JimRomanovich: This is very good for ABC. With her touch for making hits at ABC in drama, I’d love to see her take on daytime https://t.co/hSahUivfZP
@JimRomanovich: Now this question is, WILL Channing feel the same towards a daytime drama as she does her nighttime dramas?
@JimRomanovich: @BarbaraDarlin Let’s just say her serialized drama background should be a plus.
@Shawas001: @JimRomanovich She’ll need to damage some egos in Daytime to make this work. And I’m not talking actors/actresses.
@JimRomanovich: @Shawas001 break a few eggs, make an omelette
As you can see there are other people feeling optimistic about this changing of the guard. Let us use this as fuel to reach out to Channing Dungey once again. This time let us remind her that what was is old is now new again. Take Fuller House—it was such an immediate success that season 2 has been ordered. The day it premiered, ABC took a hit that night in the primetime ratings. There’s rumor that Charmed will be coming back. Other shows in the past few years have come back including Girl Meets World (Boy Meets World revival). [Editor’s Note: see LTAS’ in-depth, debate-style blog on this topic here]. Right now viewers are looking for comfort shows. There are so many depressing stories in the news and the political game is so crazy right now that people just want a little escape. It’s the perfect time to give people AMC and OLTL back. Right now we could have vintage episodes to curl up and watch while we wait for new ones to be created at the end of the lawsuit.
Please email Channing Dungey at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There you have it, readers. A plainly, but elegantly, spelled out plan of action. Let’s get to it. Our soaps will be back before we know it (although that would still be not soon enough!). Also don’t forget to like “Save AMC & OLTL” on Facebook!