“All My Children,” which began its run in 1970, and “One Life to Live” which started in 1968, have been cancelled by ABC. They will be replaced by “lifestyle” shows according to EW. Both of these soap operas are currently watched by 2.5 Million people and will end their runs in 2012, while “General Hospital” (on the air since 1963) will keep going. But if ABC is cancelling these shows, it means something.
What it means is that a cultural revolution has happened in America. Where in the 1950′s and on there were more housewives, in the the last three decades more and more women have entered the workforce. There’s two reasons for this: feminism and the economy. I would favor the latter over the former to understand this paradigm shift. Outside of the upper-middle class (and upper-class) there aren’t a lot of single income families in America anymore. As that is the case, there are less people who are sitting around in the daytime watching soap operas, or – at the very least – people who were trained to do so.
Though the numbers on these shows look good, the demographic invariably skews older, which means the advertising revenue is less than it might be for a show that appealed to the 18-34 set with the exact same numbers. It is easy to laugh at the passing of the Soap Opera, which this seems to suggest is rapidly approaching. The truth is that fundamental changes in American culture have led to their extinction.
Do you watch Soap Operas?