AS VENERABLE SOAP OPERAS DIE OFF, FANS FIGHT FOR ONE MORE LIFE TO LIVE
'All My Children' and More Fall Victim to Cheap Reality Shows; Erica Held Captive(The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2011) (PDF of original; link)
By SAM SCHECHNER
Fans of daytime soap operas are accustomed to plot twists that bring beloved characters back from the dead. Now some hope the same thing can happen to the ailing genre itself.
Thousands of soap opera diehards are mobilizing to save "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," two of the once-fecund genre's six remaining examples. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC said in April it will replace the decades-old programs with less-costly reality shows, as daytime-soap viewing continues to decline.
The movement has included an original song titled "We Won't Let Our Soaps Die" and an effort to collect data from TV set-top boxes to prove soaps are more popular than Nielsen Co.'s ratings suggest. Some fans say they have consulted a lawyer about suing Disney for causing "mental distress."The soaps' remaining fans—some of whom call themselves "soapers"—have responded with a barrage of websites, picket lines and an ad in a Hollywood trade magazine urging Disney to reconsider, or sell the soaps to another company willing to keep them going.
On Monday, a group called Fans United Against ABC plans...