By: Richard M. Simms, executive editor, Soaps In Depth magazine
Don’t be surprised if later this afternoon, some of the people in your life become unexpectedly (or extra) surly. And if you hear sobbing coming from the break room in which your office has a TV, just respectfully walk by and try to understand that for soap fans, today is going to be a tough one. Because this afternoon, another one bites the dust.
After 40 years, ALL MY CHILDREN ends its legendary run on ABC. This is only the latest blow to a medium that has, in the past decade, seen one show after another fall. When we launched Soaps In Depth magazine, there were 11 serials airing. As of Monday, we’ll be down to five. And in January, ONE LIFE TO LIVE will conclude its network run after 43 years and more than 11,000 episodes. There are plans to bring both AMC and OLTL to the Internet, but for many longtime viewers, that simply won’t be the same. Others won’t make the leap, and some question whether the transition will really even occur.
But no matter how you look at it, these are dark times for fans of a genre that has been around since the days of radio.
So, for those of you who are thinking, “Geez, people, it’s just a television show!” let me put this in terms you can understand: Imagine losing something that has been a part of your life for four decades. MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, perhaps. Or a restaurant that your family has gone to so often that everyone working there knows not only your name but how you like your steak cooked and that if there’s anything green on Aunt Hildy’s plate, she’ll send it back.
With that in mind, I humbly request that you try and cut the soap lover in your life a little slack. In fact, how about if we declare this the first annual “Hug A Soap Fan” day? And when the tears start flowing during this afternoon’s final network broadcast of AMC — and trust me, they will — instead of rolling your eyes, why not just hand them a tissue with which to dry theirs and give them a hug?