The clock is ticking on ABC soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” and organizations representing the people who make them happen, both in front of the camera, as well as the ones who provide the scripts, are not at all happy.
Artists and writers on both coasts are affected – “All My Children” is based in Los Angeles, and “One Life to Live” in New York.
The Writers Guild of America issued a terse statement when it learned the news. “The WGAE is deeply disappointed by ABC’s announcement that both ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ will cease production. These groundbreaking shows have provided entertainment and enlightenment to millions of viewers, and have provided good employment to dozens of talented, dedicated writers. We urge the company to reconsider.”
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists had considerably more to say on the topic. It issued the following statement:
“Today’s announcement that two long-running AFTRA programs have been cancelled and will cease production in September (‘All My Children’) and January 2012 (‘One Life to Live’) represents a devastating loss for thousands of AFTRA members, union crew members and production staff in Los Angeles and New York. The AFTRA actors – past and present – of these two ground-breaking serial dramas have entertained generations of viewers around the globe for more than 40 years with stellar performances and dedication to their craft.
“AFTRA representatives are communicating with affected members in both cities to ensure they are fully informed of their rights and benefits under the AFTRA Network Television Code. Additionally, AFTRA is in contact with ABC representatives to oversee as smooth a transition as possible for these performers.
“It is no secret that serial dramas, once a prolific source of employment and benefits for television actors, have been challenged by the new economics of television. It is, therefore, critically important that AFTRA members stand united to strengthen existing contracts and to organize new increased work opportunities in new and evolving media industries.”
Daytime, Disney ABC/Television Group President Brian Frons stated, “‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history. Each of the shows has touched millions and millions of viewers and informed the social consciousness. It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary teams who brought the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview to life each day, and we thank the cast, crew, producers and most especially the fans for their commitment to the shows through their history.” A full report is available here.
RBR-TVBR observation: Many artists have made a name for themselves in the soap universe, and the list of those who moved on to fame and fortune elsewhere after honing their craft working in soaps is long. It is indeed sad to see another bite taken out of such a fertile training ground. But if it is no longer self-sustaining, what choice do the networks have?