At the end of the day, television networks are beholden to their viewers. There simply cannot be an ongoing production of television programs without people to watch them, because those people (and their money) attract advertisers, and it is those advertisers who provide the network’s revenue stream. Thus, with there entire business model relying upon the viewing audience, it behooves networks to listen with a careful ear to the needs and wants of that audience and to comport themselves accordingly.
Somehow, all of this got lost in the translation to whatever language is being spoken at ABC/Disney, who are – or were – responsible for the production of the beloved soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live. Despite the fact that these shows were well liked, with legions of loyal fans behind them, the network took the decision to cancel both productions. The backlash was as swift as it was terrible, with millions of outraged fans flooding ABC/Disney with angry letters, as well as organizaing boycotts of Disney commercial products in wholesale retaliation. Advertisers, as ever they do, took notice, and the danger of remaining, unrelated ABC/Disney productions suffering a loss of revenue become very real. In what could be called a panic, the network put on their best politicians’ faces and took to damage control, assuring fans that the soap operas were not dead, but had merely been leased to Prospect Park Production, who were now charged with taking over stewardship of All My Children and One Life To Live. And, not to worry, the network said: In the event Prospect Park doesn’t continue production within a certain time frame, the rights to the shows will revert back to ABC/Disney and the shows will go on anyway.
But ABC/Disney’s smiles were as fake as the plastic constituting Mickey Mouse’s ears. Trusting perhaps a little too much, the fans were mollified and backed off of their outrage and boycotts, calming advertisers, but after the promised time period had elapsed there was still no sign of the soaps. When fans demanded answers, they were told that Prospect Park was now conducting a lawsuit against ABC/Disney, and neither party was legally able to produce the shows until after the litigation was resolved.
This explanation is nothing more than a slap in the face to millions of soap opera fans. It was ABC/Disney themselves who promised that full rights to All My Children and One Life To Live would revert back to them if Prospect Park did not continue production, so now that production remains stopped, why is it that the work cannot make good on its promises to pick up the shows again? It is all too obvious what has happened. Soap opera fans everywhere had the wool pulled over their eyes, listening to the sweet poison whispers that told them what they wanted to hear so that they would stop hurting the network’s bottom line. Well, it’s time to stop trusting the network, and it’s time to stop getting fooled. They panicked enough to resort to these despicable tactics because they feared viewer boycotts and subsequent advertiser withdrawal. Now it’s time to renew those threats, and this time not back down until our soaps are back on the air!
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