CBS said today that The Young And The Restless will air a tribute to the top-rated soap‘s longtime star Jeanne Cooper, who died this week at 84. Family, friends and castmates will gather on the Y&R set to film a celebration of the Emmy-winning actress who played Katherine Chancellor for nearly four decades. The hour will feature people on-set and personal memories of Cooper — the mother of actor Corbin Bernsen — along with Y&R clips and interviews from the series’ recent 40th anniversary special. The tribute airs May 28 at 12:30 PM ET/11 AM PT.
‘Carrie’ & ‘Disney Moms’ Among Rejected Ideas For SOAPNet: An Insider’s Perspective On Net’s Evolution & ABC Soaps’ Demise
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.
FRONS SPEAKS: ABC Daytime Chief Explains Why ‘AMC’ & ‘OLTL’ Were Axed; Says ‘GH’ Is “Safe For Time Being”
EXCLUSIVE: ABC’s daytime president Brian Frons is the most hated man among soap fans today after the announcement that the network is canceling both All My Children and One Life To Live. He even quipped that he “pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.” The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making, Frons tells me. “A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go,” he said. When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them. Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew, The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama, Frons said. But “the way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”
The call to go ahead with canceling a daytime soap was made a couple of weeks ago, while the final decision to axe both AMC and OLTL was made within the past week, Frons said. He confirmed that there was a brief discussion about a year ago to combine the two soaps into one, bringing together some of the best characters from each series. “It was one of my craziest ideas,” Frons said. Other crazy ideas he had for the soaps’ slots? “I looked at (Bravo executive/talk show host) Andy Cohen and thought maybe I should have talk show.”
While ABC also developed more traditional daytime fare like talk and game shows, genres CBS recently used to replace its soaps The Guiding Light and As the World Turns, the network ultimately opted for more non-traditional fare with The Chew and The Revolution, both hybrid unscripted/talk shows. That was by design, said Frons, noting that he was following advice by his former boss at NBC Brandon Tartikoff not to go for shows others already have on.
“I wanted to do shows that were unusual for daytime,” Frons said. “What’s happening now is people are looking for information to make their lives better, they’re obsessed about what they eat and they’re obsessed with weight,” Frons said about going with The Chew and The Revolution, whose titles were chosen to complement ABC’s daytime talk show The View, with which they are designed to run in a “block of talk and information that you can build your day around,” Frons said. It probably doesn’t hurt that the new shows are also much cheaper to produce than the two soaps they are replacing, even after AMC was moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2009 to cut costs. Frons declined to discuss the size of the orders to The Chew and The Revolution but noted that “daytime shows take awhile” to take hold, indicating that ABC will give both series time to establish themselves.
As for the only remaining ABC daytime drama, General Hospital, it is safe “for the time being,” Frons said, adding, “We feel very positive about its place on the schedule.”
“This is a very sad and frustrating day for daytime dramatic television and our members who work on these productions. DGA members are employed on daytime serials as directors, associate directors, stage managers and production associates. The cancellation of these two long-running shows will affect dozens of our members,
“The WGAE is deeply disappointed by ABC’s announcement that both All My Children and One Life to Live will cease production. These groundbreaking shows have provided entertainment and enlightenment to millions of viewers, and have provided good employment to dozens of talented, dedicated writers. We urge the company to
Today’s announcement that two long-running AFTRA programs have been cancelled and will cease production in September (‘All My Children’) and January 2012 (‘One Life to Live’) represents a devastating loss for thousands of AFTRA members, union crew members and production staff in Los Angeles and New York. The AFTRA