Saturday, April 16, 2011

ABC Announces Soap Cancellations

Thursday was a sad day for soap fans, as ABC confirmed that long-running soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live are to leave the airwaves. All My Children will end in September, with One Life to Live winding down in January.

Naturally, over the years, both soaps have shared personnel connected with Dark Shadows. All My Children's writing staff included Art Wallace, Dark Shadows' original story developer, and Clarice Blackburn (Mrs Johnson); Clarice even won an Emmy for her work on the show. Meanwhile, Louis Edmonds (Roger Collins) enjoyed a long-running role on the show as flamboyant con artist Langley Wallingford.

Not to be beaten, One Life to Live's cast included stints by Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard) and Anthony George (Burke Devlin). The show's writing staff was also headed by Sam Hall and Gordon Russell during the 1980s, with Grayson Hall (Julia Hoffman) featuring as the brilliantly-named Emphemia Ralston, a role Sam wrote especially for her.

With General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives left as US television's last remaining daytime dramas, the outlook for the format looks increasingly grim. It would take a brave broadcaster to launch a new series, and the culture that allowed a gothic soap to creep on the air as an offbeat experiment seems well and truly gone. Sad days indeed.

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