It used to be that watching One Life To Live brought me joy.
Lately I watch it with great sadness and trepidation.
The reason: I’m so afraid that OLTL is next on the chopping block – that it will be the next soap opera to be cancelled.
I know it sounds weird to say that I’m afraid of a soap being cancelled, but the truth is…I AM afraid.
It’s because, over the years, watching OLTL has been a source of comfort to me – a comfort in times of stress….in times of sadness.
No matter what else was going on in my life, that escape to Llanview helped me forget (or at least put in the back of mind) my problems.
I started watching in high school – a time of great angst in itself.
But, somehow, when I came home and was transported to Llanview, for that half-hour (at that time) my cares and troubles of the day were forgotten.
Instead, as I watched, I became involved in the lives of The Lords, The Siegels, The Woleks and The Grays.
I experienced their joys, their sorrows and, of course, their drama.
And, somehow along the way, I forgot about my own troubles.
Oh how I miss those days of sets that included the newsroom at The Banner and Wanda’s Diner. Remember those?
How about the time OLTL filmed in Odyssey House, an actual drug rehab located in New York City?
The 1970 storyline brought drug-addicted Cathy Craig to Odyssey House, where she interacted with real drug addicts in the rehab and the director, Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, appeared on camera running a group therapy session.
It truely was riveting.
There were other groundbreaking storylines back then too.
The storylines were fleshed out and the drama revolved around it’s core families day-in and day-out.
One of THE most memorable scenes in soap opera history occurred on OLTL when Judith Light as Karen Wolek breaks down on the witness stand as she admits to working as a prostitute.
Check it out below – circa 1979.
Although I’m not always happy with OLTL’s storylines these days, it is – and always has been – my favorite soap.
So why is it constantly coming in the bottom of the ratings? That’s what I don’t get.
There have been rumors swirling for quite some time that OLTL is next on the chopping block.
And with three soaps turning off the lights recently, Passions (2008), Guiding Light (2009) and As The World Turns (2010), could OLTL BE the next one to go?
You know things are bad when your non-soap watching colleague asks you if OLTL is going to be cancelled.
Last week’s Entertainment Weekly had a two-page spread with the headline “Soaps: How Long With They Last?”
The photo contained headstones of the recently departed soaps with the start and end dates. The OLTL headstone had 1968- with the words “Hang in there, Llanview!”
Now that’s serious when soaps get the attention of the main stream media.
According to the EW article, soap ratings have been in decline since the early 90’s, which makes sense on one hand because women have been an integral part of the work force for the past two decades. And, let’s face it, women historically make up the majority of soap watchers.
But with the advent of the VCR followed by TIVO, DVR and let’s not forget SOAPnet, one would think that would help people keep up their soap watching.
Budget cuts translated into firing the high-salaried vets on some soaps or forcing the vets who stayed to take pay cuts. Those reportedly taking pay cuts in December 2008 included the Diva of Daytime Susan Lucci, who plays the iconic Erica Kane on All My Children. Now THAT’s serious stuff!
As more cost-cutting measures, networks are axing the soap operas and replacing them with talk shows or game shows, which are must less expensive to produce.
I can’t really see those types of shows improving ratings, though. I, for one, will not be watching either talk shows or game shows – TIVO’d or otherwise – if my beloved soaps are canned.
What about you?