On Monday, August 13, Soap Opera Network first brought you the story of WKDH, an ABC affiliate that will cease operations effective Friday, August 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM CT after citing poor financial conditions in recent years as its reasoning. Now Soap Opera Network has learned that the ABC Television Network, which was left scrambling to replace the 11-year-old affiliate, has signed a long-term agreement with WTVA, an NBC affiliate that had actually provided WKDH with ABC programming through a local marketing agreement (LMA) with Southern Broadcasting, Inc. (WKDH’s parent company). The new deal, by utilizing WTVA digital channel 9.2, will enable ABC programming to remain in the Columbus/Tupelo/West Point television market and is effective Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 12:35 AM, Central Time.
“We are delighted to reach a long-term affiliation agreement with ABC and be able to provide a solid lineup of programming such as ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘Revenge’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ critically-acclaimed news and information series including ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘World News with Diane Sawyer’ and high profile sports programming like ‘Saturday Night Football,’” said Phil Sullivan, Station Manager, WTVA, in a statement.
John Rouse, senior vice president of Affiliate Relations for ABC, echoed Sullivan’s comments. “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with WTVA coverage in the Columbus/Tupelo market, and that local viewers will continue to be able to see all their favorite ABC and ESPN on ABC programs, including this Saturday’s 2012 Cowboys Classic featuring Michigan vs. Alabama.”
As part of the deal between WTVA and ABC, WTVA 9.2 will now service viewers with local news coverage. WKDH did not air any local programming as its primary service was in providing viewers with ABC’s content. Outside of ABC’s programming, WKDH aired the syndicated programs “Rachael Ray,” “The Nate Berkus Show,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” “Access Hollywood,” “The Insider” and “Entertainment Tonight.” WKDH also aired re-runs of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Frasier” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
It is unclear at this time as to whether those syndicated programs will continue airing on WTVA digital channel 9.2.
Friday, September 23, 2011 may be the final airdate for “All My Children” on ABC, but Wednesday, August 31, 2011 marked the last date an actor was under contract with the drama series since the filming of the soaps pilot episode in late 1969.
Although “One Life to Live” debuted nearly two years before it, “All My Children” was actually the first soap opera created by Agnes Nixon that was geared towards the ABC Television Network’s daytime audience. Initially, ABC thought the idea of “AMC” was too much for daytime television, especially with an untested series creator (Nixon), so the network asked the scribe to conceive a totally different soap opera (“OLTL”). With the success of “One Life,” Nixon was given the go ahead to move forward with “All My Children,” which takes place in the fictional town of Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. The series debuted as a half-hour program and was owned by Nixon’s Creative Horizons, Inc. before being sold to ABC outright in 1975. “AMC” was expanded to an hour long serial beginning in 1977.
After more than 10,700 episodes and 41-years on television, “All My Children” will end its broadcast run on ABC on Friday, September 23, 2011. In its final week and leading to its final moments, “All My Children” will celebrate the rich history and legacy of Pine Valley’s favorite families including the Kane family, the Hubbard family, the Martin family and the Chandlers. Nixon has promised a cliffhanger ending that will have the audience excited for the next chapter of her 41-year old sudser. Susan Lucci, who portrays matriarch Erica Kane, will have been the only original cast member from the first season of “AMC” that has remained with the show without interruption since its debut on January 5, 1970.
At this time it is unclear as to who will be returning to the soap when “All My Children” resumes production later this fall/early winter in order to make its grand return when it moves to an online format beginning in January 2012 when Prospect Park takes over production from the Disney/ABC Television Group.