Insider: How ABC Justified Canceling Soaps and Why Hoover Pull Out Won’t Change their Mind
After news broke earlier this evening that Hoover was pulling all of its advertising from the ABC Television Network on the heels of the networks decision to cancel "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," Soap Opera Network got word from a high ranking Disney official, speaking on condition of anonymity, that Hoover's decision would not only not change the networks mind about the cancellations, but that it would only hurt, not help, the soaps in their final months on the air from a financial perspective. According to the insider, ABC Daytime has been producing both soaps at a financial loss and the decision to bring on "The Chew" and "The Revolution" will allow ABC to bring in approximately 80% more revenue from the demise of each soap as it cost ABC between 30-40% less to produce a talk show than it would a soap opera.
As we all know, Women 18-49 is the demographic of choice that advertisers use to pay daytime programmers in order to better promote their products. According to our insider, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" fell too much in that core demographic in season-to-date or year-over-year comparisons for the network to justify keeping the shows on the air any longer than it has already committed to. "General Hospital," meanwhile, remains a central focus at the network as the soap brings in significantly more revenue for the network, which is why the soap was not included in the press release issued by ABC on Thursday touting the networks new brand of programming.
"All My Children," which was rumored to be the soap Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, referred to in his Deadline.com interview, where he stated, "the way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and the pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift," was not expected to be canceled according to our insider. In fact, while ABC had been developing new programs to replace "One Life to Live" for more than a year now, they secretly kept giving positive news to the soaps head writer and executive producer while spending the little money the show brought in on programs set to replace it. Thanks to "All My Children's" huge decline in ratings in such a short period of time, the network was forced to include it in their decision to cancel "One Life to Live. " In hindsight, "One Life" has maintained a higher percentage of key women in ABC's core demographics (that being Women 18-49 and Women 18-34) than "All My Children," therefore clearly showing favoritism within the network on which soap was worth more to their bottom line.
Season to Date (2009-2010 vs 2010-2011), "All My Children" is down a whopping 41% in Women 18-34 and another 22% in Women 18-49. "One Life to Live" is down 32% in Women 18-34 and a mere 13% in Women 18-49. Meanwhile, "All My Children" is down another 41% in Women 18-49 versus how it performed during the 2006-2007 television season or five year trend. "One Life to Live" was down 35% during the same five year period.
So what have we learned? ABC is financially justified in canceling your soaps as "not enough viewers were tuning in," and Hoover pulling its advertising from ABC (with many more expected to follow) won't get ABC to change their minds on "All My Children" or "One Life to Live," as each bow out in September 2011 and January 2012, respectively. Our insider maintains that a decision on "General Hospital's" future remains off the table as it continues to perform above financial levels. As for "The Chew?" We hear that there was much debate over the name, but ultimately more positives came out of the focus group than the negatives. Of course, someone in the room had to think ABC should "Chew" on…
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- All My Children
- One Life to Live
- General Hospital
- Brian Frons