After news broke today that ABC would be bumping “General Hospital” from its long time 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT timeslot beginning in September 2012 in favor of a new Katie Couric talk show, the network was forced to calm the nerves of fans who are still reeling from the cancellations of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Unfortunately, the network is just delaying the inevitable to placate fans from believing that their favorite soap could be next.
“As you’ll note, we went out of our way to state that we continue to support the show,” Disney-ABC Television spokesman Kevin Brockman told CNN. “We have a long time between now and fall of 2012, so fans should be encouraged to continue watching and supporting.”
Brockman’s statement was echoed by Jori Petersen, Vice President, Publicity, ABC Daytime/SOAPnet. “The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of ‘General Hospital,’” said Petersen. “Rather it means that in September 2012, we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows. We’ll have options for the daytime daypart just like with do each year with prime-time. We believe in all of our shows and the ones that our viewers want will be the ones that continue. There are many options that could happen … only time will tell. We are simply giving ourselves options for the future, which is a smart way to do business. The best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it.”
If you read the statements clearly, no where does it state that “General Hospital” is indeed safe. Petersen’s “we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows” means that if “The Revolution” and “The Chew” are successful and “General Hospital” is canceled, they will join “The View” as the “three strongest shows” on ABC Daytime. Let’s reminds ourselves that ABC is giving back the fourth hour of its daytime schedule to affiliates beginning in September 2012 with the understanding that while Couric’s show will air in syndication (ie. not just ABC affiliated stations), it will air solely in the 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM PT timeslot as Oprah Winfrey did in the 4:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT over the course of her 25-years hosting “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” This will be the deal breaker the Disney/ABC Television Group will make with affiliates looking for programming to air beginning in fall 2012.
Will “General Hospital” indeed be canceled? No one is saying that either, but unless “The Chew” or “The Revolution” flat out bomb and the network loses money, odds are “GH” will end in September 2012 to make room for Katie Couric.
Side Note: While we understand that Oprah’s show did not air at 4:00 PM ET/3:00 PM PT in all parts of the country, the majority of stations airing her show were contracted to air the program during those hours.