Brother, Can You Spare A Hug… for a Soap Fan?

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?

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  • colin

    I wasn’t a AMC fan myself, I have always watched Y&R and the departed As The World Turns (for 28years)- but I feel the pain for the AMC fans. I was explaining it to someone the other day – I started watching with my grandma when I spent my summers at her house. I still watch cause I love the people, the stories and it reminds me of spending time with my grandma. But I also respect the history of soaps – Guiding Light (which I watched as a kid, but switch to GH as a teen, then dropped GH a few years ago cause the constant mob stories, then came back to GL) was once a radio show that moved to TV. ATWT was on the air 54 years. These  are shows generations have experienced — that’s rare Sure people give them a hard time for wild stories, but that’s part of the fun. These actors are amazing for the amount of work they do, they know how to get it done.
    I know they may jump to the internet, and I wish them luck. Sorry to all the fans who have spent their noon hour with the families of AMC.

  • Blondiesmes

    I cried enough,now i am angry.The Chew will fail miserably,and so will ABC eventually.They want to replace scripted television with cheap reality shows,and think people will actually watch?Soap fans will have the last laugh.

  • Matthew Keller

    believe the look on Agnes Nixon said it all today on The View today.
    All My Children is been a fixture in our lives as Agnes Nixon’s as well
    as all as the actors involved in the shows 41 year history. Anyone
    involved in the demise of the Soap Opera Industry American Broadcasting
    Company/Brian Frons. American Broadcasting Company i am disabled i have
    Cerebral Palsy. I have watched Daytime Soaps for many years. Being
    disabled there are many things in life i cannot do because of the fact
    that i have Cerebral Palsy. So Daytime Soaps help fill the void that
    disabled people are missing in there lives. I also would like to say
    that soaps have help us all over the world we may get hooked on a
    certain CHARACTER that starts the ball rolling but Daytime Soaps are a
    teaching tool how the Social issues such us Abuse Abortion Age of
    consent Ageism, Affirmative action, Assimilation, Bullying, Body image,
    Censorship Civil rights, Corruption, Crime Dating, Depression,
    Disability rights, Discrimination, Divorce, Drug laws ,Education and
    school leaving age, Eating disorders, Family values, Gay rights, Gun
    control, HIV/AIDS, Pornography, Privacy, Problem gambling, Racism, Rape,
    Safety, Sexism, Social exclusion , Suicide, Violence, War. But yet
    American Broadcasting Company/Brian Frons thinks we as fans we to watch
    FoodNetwork Stars than rather then a show WE grew up with 41 years ago
    think again American Broadcasting Company. Yours Sincerely, Matthew

  • Katy

    So sorry to see AMC off the air. This show has been an extended family member since 1975 for me. It is glamour, mystery, intrigue and yes “camp” all in one. It allows viewers across generational lines to connect and AMC in particular has tackled so many social issues in depth and with class. Way before Bill Cosby was the black superstar couple, Angie and Jesse, who are still a superstar couple, but thankfully just that. There was interracial couple, again superstar..Noah and Julie, Erica’s abortion, Erica’s lesbian daughter, again triumphant. Years before “gay” was cool, there was Ellens’ daughter Devon. They have given us all the classic wrong side of the tracks stories, Greg and Jenny et al. Overall it has reflected our lives, and will be sorely missed.