Years ago, daytime soaps raked in so many viewers that the advertising revenue from daytime funded most network’s full primetime schedules. In 1963, most Americans learned of President Kennedy’s assisination when Walter Cronkite interruped As the World Turns with a special bulletin. In 1981, General Hospital aired the highest rated episode in daytime television history when Luke and Laura married while guest star Elizabeth Taylor looked on.
But times changed, viewing habits altered, and soap ratings declined. Within the last few years, the axe fell on newer soaps such as Port Charles and Passions, neither of which ever found an audience. Even long running soaps like As the World Turns and Guiding Light, both which were firmly planted at the top of the ratings for decades, were canceled.
Last week ABC announced it would be canceling two of the three soaps airing on the network. All My Children and One Life to Live will both exit the airwaves. All My Children will be gone by September, followed by One Life to Live in January.
Ten years ago, there were ten soaps on the air. By January there will be four left. Experts suggest in five years only only one will be left. Do you think the soap genre can be revived?