Soap Opera Digest Confronts the End of TV Soaps

soap opera digest canceled abc Soap Opera Digest Confronts the End of TV Soaps“I think that they were created during a time with a lot of women at home,” said Stephanie Sloane, editorial director of American Media publication Soap Opera Digest, of the television shows her magazine covers. “They served a very specific purpose then–a stay-at-home mom has other activities during the day, and it became a very big commitment. But you can grow out of the habit.”

Indeed, viewers are getting close to a television landscape in which the habit will become, forcibly, less entrenched. The final episode of All My Children is to air on September 23 on ABC, and of One Life to Live (the final soap still produced in New York) in January 2012. (The shows’ future, given the possible involvement of production company Prospect Park to air them online, remains under discussion.)

“I started watching soaps in 1980, and I got the job [at American Media] in 1990,” said Ms. Sloane, who recently was promoted to editorial director in place of the departed Lynn Leahey. “I started watching when I was 12 years old. I started watching in the Luke and Laura days, the days of summer storylines, when soaps became this big part in the 1980s of entertainment consciousness.”

What, then, is Soap Opera Digest to cover in an era when many shows are leaving or have left the air, and none are so culturally all-encompassing? “We’ll cover the shows on the air [including the not-cancelled General Hospital] heavily. And since The Guiding Light and As the World Turns went off the air, they still have a special place in viewers’ hearts and readers’ hearts, so we’ll do historical spreads.”

As that content indicates, these days, the greatest splash soaps have made in some time is with their cancellation. Ms. Sloane said, “It’s harder to get a new audience, now, but there is the potential to get the last viewer back. When they have a baby and were at home they would watch the shows on [cable channel] SoapNet. Since the characters stay the same, that audience is likely to come back.”

But SoapNet, part of the Walt Disney Company’s TV holdings alongside ABC, is going off the air in 2012. Is there a future for the soap? “I feel confident,” said Ms. Sloane, “that the people who read this magazine are just as confident as the people who watch these shows.” And is there a future for Soap Opera Digest?

A heretofore silent publicist jumped into the phone call. “We’re going to have to hang up now.”

ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_

Comments

  1. nick price says:

    good article for Soap Opera Digest

  2. Abby Vanduivendyk says:

    PLEASE DON’T CANCELLED GENERAL HOSPITAL

  3. Abby Vanduivendyk says:

    PLEASE DON’T CANCELLED GENERAL HOSPITAL

  4. Summit66H says:

    If they think I’m going to watch another girls’ bull session show or another cooking show, BOY ARE THEY MISTAKEN!  Letting AMC and OLTL go is the same kind of mistake as NEW COCA COLA.  Every former stay at home mom gets a lunch break and we still love to escape into the soap opera world in the middle of the day.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

  5. Paw938 says:

    I think it is a mistake to cancel the soaps like this shows. My tv will certainly be off more will watch computer for any of the soaps new ones or repeats of of any of the present soaps on now on you tube  days of our lives my favorite.  

  6. ECi says:

    What do you think that the series tv shows are, just a different type of soap opera.  It is sad that they took AMC off and will take OLTL off.  I watched them in highschool years ago and still like to watch them on my day off.  Now that you can watch them on the internet I like to watch them every day.  These food and reality shows are boring.  The language on some of these shows is  awful.  We do not need more food shows.  This country is over weight already.  The people who took these shows off should be fired.  All the old shows are coming back because the new ones are not worth watching.  I will not watch ABC anymore and hope that othere follow.

  7. Dot says:

    I have watched soap operas since I was in Jr. High School. I would go home for lunch and watch Love  of Life and Search for Tomorrow. I am 69 years old, still work and watch my soaps on Soapnet at night every day. I cannot believe ABC would do this after all these years. I don’t like food shows, comedies or reality shows. You need to put these soaps back on the air. I will not watch the ABC network for anything any longer. If you are not going to put them back on the air then at least place the cast into the remaining soaps as the people they were. For instance put Robert Woods (Bo Buchanan ) as the police commisioner on the Young and Restless etc. I cannot believe you did this after all these years to your many, many fans-both men and women!!!

  8. Mhrw1214 says:

    I will not watch ABC any more do to they took off the best shows out i have watched them my whole life ABC shows will not be no my Tvs