The premiere of ABC’s nine-week run of Good Afternoon America drew 1.923 million total viewers and 359,000 women 18-49 on Monday, according to fast national data released today. The one-hour extension of Good Morning America hosted by Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott improved on the season average of its predecessor, the canceled The Revolution, by 40% in viewers and 21% in the demo.
Meanwhile, on TNT, the final season opener of The Closer drew 6.1 million viewers and 1.2 million adults 18-49, followed by the series premiere of the drama Perception, which drew 5.6 million total viewers to rank behind the network’s Dallas as cable’s best series bow numbers year-to-date.
ABC Daytime president Brian Frons, a primary target of soap fans angry over the cancellation of the network’s veteran daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live, will depart ABC after the end of his contract in January, which coincides with the end of OLTL. The Disney/ABC Television Group will consolidate the development and current programming for daytime and syndication with the formation of Times Square Studios, a new division that will be added to the portfolio of ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee. It will be run by Vicki Dummer, SVP Current Series & Specials at ABC Entertainment Group, who will be promoted to EVP Times Square Studios, Current Series & Specials. She will also keep her existing responsibilities of head of current for ABC and will continue to report to Lee. (Frons used to report to Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney.) With her background as a long-time ABC reality executive and co-head of the unscripted department, Dummer is a suitable choice to lead Times Square Studios as the division will focus its development in the areas of non-scripted lifestyle and health (no more soaps!). The current series that will be folded in the new division going forward include ABC Daytime fare The View, General Hospital, The Chew and the upcoming The Revolution … Read More »
Ty Penningtom had been looking to do a daytime talk show and developed a daytime format last year. Now the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host has joined ABC’s upcoming daytime show The Revolution, which will replace soap One Life To Live in January. On the show, which explores health and lifestyle transformations, Pennington will serve as co-host alongside Tim Gunn and Harley Pasternak. 3 Ball Prods. is producing.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
The not-altogether-surprising intense protest sparked by ABC’s announced axing of its long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live demonstrated to ABC Daytime president Brian Frons that “we actually did a good job (promoting and nurturing them) for all of these last 40 years,” he told Deadline privately during a TCA lunch designed to promote one of the soaps’ daytime successors, the food show The Chew. “I think we’ve spent 40-plus years trying to keep the soap-opera audience happy. So in an odd way, (the outcry) is actually good. It’s just sad that we don’t have a solution.” However, a deal with producer Prospect Park has been cemented to relaunch both soaps during first-quarter 2012, and there’s been talk of enlisting a second production partner in cable television as well. But that remains uncertain.
Frons said that after the Prospect Park deal fell into place, All My Children‘s producers were forced to scramble to make the series ending more open-ended rather than final, since the series would now be continuing on after all. (All My Children is scheduled to leave ABC on Sept. 23; One Life to Live in January.) He added that the cancellations became necessary due to diminishing returns at the network. “We were at that point where we had to sit and look at what we were doing, and see if there were different opportunities for us in terms of serving a bigger audience. We looked at what was happening on cable — in the food space, the lifestyle space, the talk space, the reality space — and we just saw a very large audience and an opportunity.” Read More »
ABC said today that it has set the final broadcast of All My Children for Friday, Sept. 23, officially ending a run that began more than 41 years ago. The multiple-Emmy-winning soap opera first appeared on the network in 1970. “Out of love and respect for the show, many beloved actors will be returning to Pine Valley, including Josh Duhamel (Leo Du Pres), Eva La Rue (Maria Santos), Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater), Carol Burnett (Verla Grubbs), Kate Collins (Janet Green), Jennifer Bassey (Marion Chandler), Melissa Claire Egan (Annie Chandler) and Leven Rambin (Lily Montgomery), among others yet to be announced,” the network said in its release announcing the end date. ABC will launch one of its replacements, lifestyle series The Chew, on Sept. 26 at 1 PM ET.
FRONS SPEAKS: ABC Daytime Chief Explains Why ‘AMC’ & ‘OLTL’ Were Axed; Says ‘GH’ Is “Safe For Time Being”
ABC DAYTIME SHAKEUP: Network Cancels BOTH ‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life To Live,’ Replaces Them With Lifestyle Series
Is Big Media rewarding those writers who went back to work during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild strike? I know that several have since been promoted or received deals. Today, Disney’s ABC Daytime replaced Bob Guza Jr with Garin Wolf as head writer of General Hospital effective immediately. Not that Guza didn’t have an army of detractors among the soap’s fans. But while Wolf is certainly uber-qualified as the recipient of two Daytime Emmys and part of the GH staff for nearly 15 years, he also is infamous among daytime writers for opting to go Fi-Core during the WGA strike when he stepped in as GH head writer while his guild brethren were walking the picket lines. (Only a handful of WGA members went financial core, i.e. resigning from the union yet continuing to receive the benefits of the union contract.) Interesting how the ABC Daytime news release made specal mention of Wolf winning a Writer’s Guild Award for his past work on General Hospital – while not mentioning that the post-strike WGA excoriated Wolf as one of the “puny few who consciously and selfishly decided to place their own narrow interests over the greater good.”
Less than a week after the cancellations of ABC’s daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live emotions are still raw, with the frustration of soap fans and people who worked on the two shows often focused on ABC Daytime president Brian Frons and his business strategy lieutenant Kate Nelson. The demise of the sudsers is part of a larger strategy by Disney to get out of the soap business that also claimed cable channel SOAPNet, set to be rebranded as Disney Jr. early next year. But before the Disney Channel team’s concept was chosen by Disney/ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney, there were several other ideas for the channel that came out of the ABC Daytime division. Here is an insider’s perspective on the events that led to the cancellation of AMC and OLTL, as well as on some of the consequences, by a person who has worked at the company:
I have worked at ABC Daytime for several years and have experienced a lot of the ups and downs especially since Brian Frons and Kate Nelson took over. With the announcement of the cancellation of All My Children and One Life to Life, I feel that they completely failed all of the people that worked for them.
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Here is yet another big test of whether a Hollywood guild will push back against the insurmountable power of Big Media. The website Daytime Confidential.com has learned from multiple sources (and asked me to get the word out) that ABC Daytime has approached the Writers Guild of America requesting a special waiver — or else. It would allow the broadcast network to cut up to 20 scripted episodes a year from each of their three soap operas — All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital — and replace them with classic episodes. This waiver also would allow ABC Daytime to disregard guarantees already promised writers in their current contracts. “ABC is basically saying, if you don’t give us the waiver, we’ll have no choice but to start firing writers on each show,” a source told the website.
The website says ABC gave the WGA a deadline of August to make a decision – or else the network will play hardball and start firing at least one writer on each show. It just so happens, that month, ABC starts airing its first round of “classic episodes” in order to promote the return of fan favorite Vanessa Marcil (Brenda Barrett) to General Hospital.
ABC Daytime is claiming it needs to shave production costs to “help to keep the soaps on the air,” a source told DaytimeConfidential. “People are really split. Some feel like, ‘Do what you need to do to keep all three soaps on the air’, while others … Read More »