In the past couple of years, three daytime dramas bit the dust: CBS’ The Guiding Light and As the World Turns and NBC’s Passions. Despite constant rumors, ABC has been the only network not to pare down its daytime soap lineup, currently running 3 series, General Hospital, One Life to Live and All My Children, as many as CBS and NBC combined. It tested the waters a couple of times, including piloting a potential Aisha Tyler daytime talk show 2 years ago.
Now ABC seems ready to join CBS and NBC in cutting the number of its daytime dramas. All My Children appears to be the most vulnerable for cancellation, and there is speculation that it may be replaced by a a talk show in the fall. All My Children, which is in its 41st year on the air, recently posted two weeks of back-to-back all-time lows in the key Women 18-49 demographic, in which it is dead last among the 6 daytime dramas on the air, drawing paltry 463,000 for the week of March 7, down 34% vs. last year. For the same week, All My Children was also last in total viewers, averaging 2.32 million. (ABC’s One Life to Live did only marginally better with 2.36 million.) One reason for ABC to keep its 3 daytime dramas on the air was the fact that they were getting a second window on sibling cable channel SOAPnet. But with SOAPnet changing its format to the preschool-centered Disney Junior next year, Disney-ABC is clearly scaling back on its commitment to soaps, and the daytime lineup on the broadcast network will probably be next. All My Children‘s most recognizable star is Susan Lucci, who has been on the show since the very beginning, playing Erica Kane, dubbed the most famous daytime soap character of all time. After 18 nominations, Lucci finally won a Daytime Emmy for her role in 1999. Notable All My Children alums include Josh Duhamel, Amanda Seyfried, Melissa Leo, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christian Slater and Kelly Ripa.