A Decade After All My Children and One Life to Live Were Cancelled, We Look Back at ‘That Fatal Combination of Ignorance and Arrogance’ That Did Them In
ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (2)
April 14, 2011, will always be regarded as one of the darkest days in soap history.
It was impossible not to see red when reading the press release with which ABC announced that it was cancelling All My Children and One Life to Live. After, respectively, 41 and 42 years on the air, the beloved daytime dramas were being jettisoned by the network to make room for The Chew (which was finally spat out after just under seven years) and The Revolution (which viewers agreed should never have been televised and was cancelled after only six months).
“We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days,” read a statement from ABC Daytime’s then-president, Brian Frons.
Except that no. No, they really weren’t. As if to underscore that fact, both of the series that the executive green-lit to replace our shows are occupants of the daytime graveyard. And unlike the soaps, ain’t nobody clamoring for them to be resurrected. (On the other hand, fans have wished aloud for so long that All My Children would add a chapter to its family album that alumni Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos have begun developing a primetime reboot of the serial called Pine Valley.)
What’s more, Frons departed ABC just a few months after swinging the axe on his second and third soaps. (He’d already prematurely buried Port Charles, which was on its way to becoming the daytime equivalent of True Blood or The Vampire Diaries.)
To this day, Frons remains arguably the most-hated suit in the history of soapdom. In Susan Lucci’s memoir All My Life, the All My Children leading lady marveled that he had “that fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance,” one that emboldened him to make decisions that would “destroy the production of our show and the lives of people on both sides of the country.
“I cannot fathom,” she went on, “any network executive choosing to alienate millions of loyal viewers in these economic times.”
Even all these years later, neither can we. On this sad occasion, return to happier times, why don’t you, by checking out our photo gallery of One Life to Live through the years or the one below, which revisits highlights of All My Children’s storied run.