Devastated fans inundated Oprah’s message board with pleas to save their favorite soap operas. Oprah denied their requests via YouTube video, saying that “the bone marrow truth” is that there are just not enough people who are home in the daytime to watch them.” Though Oprah’s theory is true, she’s still missing a gigantic point. Oprah’s new network, OWN, has a different ratings standard, and if her shows had the same ratings as All My Children at the time of cancellation, it would be considered a huge success. Let me break this down for fear that I’m being unclear. Major networks have a higher ratings standard for their shows. What’s considered good ratings in cable, is considered horrible ratings on a major network. For example, All My Children had 2.6 million viewers at the time of cancellation. Oprah’s viewership for her OWN shows averaged 310,000 an episode. Basically, Oprah would thank her lucky stars for those ratings. Not only would she look like a hero for saving those shows, but she’d also carry an existing audience to her network. Translation? — Save the soap operas!.
Though I’m not a soap opera fan, I have a special place in my heart for All My Children, because my mother watched it religiously while I was growing up. She’d tape it on VHS (remember those?) and sometimes sit for hours in front of the television to catch up on the episodes she missed. At one point, I became addicted too, and it was right around the time Tad returned from his death and went to find Dixie. It took weeks for them to finally reconnect, and I was dying for Dixie to find out that the love her life never really died after all. Can you believe Tad had amnesia and couldn’t remember her? I’ll never forget the great moments with Erika Kane, played by the unforgettable Susan Lucci. I also vividly remember a much curvier Kelly Ripa, who fell in love with her husband, Mark Consuelos on the show. I loved that show — and I’m sad to see it go. But television has changed, and soap operas were targeted to stay-at-home mothers. With the change in both tradition and the economy, those moms aren’t at home anymore — so the ratings suffered. Goodbye All My Children. I’ll love you forever.
David Hasselhoff will return to his roots for a “brief run” on ‘The Young and the Restless.’ The Hoff appeared on the soap from 1975 to1982, and ‘Knight Rider’ made him a household name shortly thereafter. Perhaps Julianne Moore inspired him when she returned to ‘As the World Turns,’ right before it went off the air. Soap operas could use this kind of star power to resurrect the struggling medium. More women are working now, which means less viewership. It’s a shame too, because soaps really are the best work for actors. It is a consistent high-paying gig, with reasonable hours.