Monday, April 18, 2011

Changing of the Guard

ABC announced Thursday that it's cancelling two daytime sops-- One Life to Live and All my Children.  Replacements?  A food show, and a self help show.

The business is changing again.  Soaps are expensive and ratings are sliding.  Talk is cheap.  It really is.

Please pardon my "geezer" moment.  When I was a kid, TV was sitcom reruns, like Andy Griffith and Lucy, in the morning, and soaps in the afternoon.  There was a small scattering of game shows, but nothing major.   The stink of the 50's quiz show scandals was still fresh in the air.

CBS got back in the game show game in 1972, when it launched three on the same day, including The Price is Right.  It triggered a game show explosion, with the soaps still ruling a big section of afternoon real estate.

You can't forget about Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin in syndication.  Mike in the morning, and Merv in the afternoon.  They fell under the talk show umbrella, but they were almost variety shows.  Mike and Merv had comedians and singers-- not paternity tests, weeping overweight people and assorted other personal dramas.

Most of the game shows eventually went away.  Soaps expanded to an hour.  A few more talk shows entered the scene.

There will soon be only four network daytime soaps and two game shows.  The rest is talk, and the networks have given some time back to affiliates.  At one time, the networks programmed all the way to 4:30 PM.

TV is cyclical.  Talk is the thing now because it can draw a crowd and it's inexpensive to produce.  Soaps might return one of these days.  The same goes for game shows.

Stay tuned.