After having suffered more blows than a professional boxer, soap fans finally had a reason to celebrate yesterday when ABC announced that its only remaining daytime drama — GENERAL HOSPITAL — would live to see another day while THE REVOLUTION would be getting the axe. While this means that the sudser will live to see its 50th anniversary next April, it doesn’t mean that the fight is over.

“The last thing viewers should do is take this as a sign that they can relax,” says Soaps In Depth executive editor Richard M. Simms. “Yes, GH is safe… but for how long? It’s sad that a genre which has been around longer than most of the people in the audience has to take things one year at a time. It wasn’t all that long ago that people assumed soaps would be around forever. Now, we can’t take anything for granted.”

Did ABC learn its lesson with THE REVOLUTION — a lifestyle show which was soundly rejected by viewers ticked off that it had replaced ONE LIFE TO LIVE? “Wouldn’t it be nice to think that they did?” says Simms. “But it’s impossible to deny the economics of television. The simply fact of the matter is that reality is cheaper to produce than scripted dramas. But what that equation fails to take into account is that viewers are overloaded with reality. They can get it from just about any channel on the dial. You know what’s hard to find? Soaps. At least in daytime.”

Primetime, he points out, is another matter entirely. “Look around the dial! It’s ironic that even as ABC is killing its daytime soaps, they’re finding great success with the same genre in primetime. REVENGE is one of their biggest hits. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES isn’t being canceled, it’s leaving the airwaves because the producers think it’s run out of steam… and it’s being replaced by another soap, DEVIOUS MAIDS. Even most comedies now have continuing storylines.”

Now that GENERAL HOSPITAL has been given a reprieve, what’s the best thing fans can do to keep it on the air? “Watch!” says Simms enthusiastically. “And get other people to watch. The show is in great shape right now, better than it’s been in years. It’s funny and exciting and manages to surprise the audience, which isn’t easy to do in this day and age.”

For those who’ve gotten out of the GH habit or never picked it up, the exec is even on hand to help. “Whenever possible, I’ve been live-tweeting the show’s East Coast feed at 3 p.m.,” he says. “So if people are on Twitter — and really, who isn’t? — they can follow me at @soapsindepthabc. I’ll answer questions about characters and plots, or they can just enjoy having out with me and other soap fans as we dish the show.”

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  • Did ABC learn their lesson? The only lesson is that THE REVOLUTION didnt work. THE CHEW is also a lifestyle show that replaced a soap and is doing as well as AMC at a fraction of the cost. I get fans are dismayed when their favorite shows get cancelled, but its a business. If youre a fan of TV you know this. The fact is this generation of viewers are not fans of daytime soaps like before. Im also confusede. ABC cancelled 2 daytime soaps but so did NBC and CBS in the last few years and there’s all this vitriol to ABC as if they did something novel. Soaps arent bringing in the audience and if something cheaper does as well or better they would be bad business men if they didnt explore. Its their job to deliver numbers to their advertisers. I guess i get why fans cant see beyond “they cancelled my favroite show” but I honestly don’t  get how media people that write about ratings and the economics of the TV biz say similar things when they know better. The cynical person in me think they do it to pitch for site hits from disgrunteled soap fans.

  • Actually, there’s a much larger lesson here: The Revolution was the subject of a boycott by daytime fans furious at the loss of their show. If The Chew is getting decent ratings, imagine how much better they might be if not for the fans of ALL MY CHILDREN who refused to watch because it replaced their show? Of course, there is an economic factor to consider. But there is also a longevity factor. No reality show will EVER have the loyalty or longevity of a soap. Ever. And you’re right… they would be fools not to explore it. But ABC did NOT “explore” the possibility wisely. Rather than yanking one soap and seeing what the fallout was, they yanked TWO, replacing both with shows that were lesser versions of shows readily available on a million other channels. As for the CBS/NBC decisions, trust me: There are boatloads of fans who have never forgiven those losses either. I know of people who have rejected the major networks entirely except for the remaining soaps. As for it being their job to deliver numbers to advertisers, you’re completely right: And The Revolution has failed to deliver even half the numbers that OLTL — which was actually ABC’s highest rated, most under-budget soap — was delivering. So no matter how you slice this, ABC failed on an epic level.

  •  It’s good news in the most part. But who knows what happens in a year or so. It’s been one year since they canceled AMC and OLTL. I hope ABC learned their lesson: no more reality.

  • Susanmontez12

    Thrilled and relieved, but as a soap viewer, we’ve only won the battle, not the war. So back to the war to get back OLTL and AMC and keep GH past its 50th aniversary.

  • I have been watching
    general Hosptial for over 30 years. I will continue to watch it. I am glad that (for now) abc has decided to keep
    GH. My days are just not the same without AMC and OLTL. Reality, cooking, talk show, home lifestyle shows are just something I have no interest in and will not watch.Since the cancellation o these 2 shows GH is the only show on ABC I will watch.

  •  Dave-we don’t have time for this.  You have every right not to like storylines.  Hold your nose, if you must-but continue to watch.  It’s for your own good

  •  TV-I’m sick and tired of people claiming that the Chew is “pulling the same numbers” of AMC, when in fact it’s coming in at 10-15 percent below.  As for the CBS situation, there are fans that are just as angry-in fact, there are many fans that refuse to help us out, even now-because we ABC Daytimers weren’t around for them.  In retrospect, I’m just as guilty-as I cut my soap teeth on ATWT/GL