“All My Children” & “One Life To Live” Cancelled

The end of an era is upon us. On Thursday, ABC formally pulled the plug on All My Children (AMC) and One Life to Live (OLTL), ending weeks of speculation and innuendo about the futures of two of television’s longest-running daytime dramas. One Life to Live, which helped launch the career of a young Ryan Phillippe, premiered on July 15, 1968. All My Children debuted on Jan. 5, 1970. Today’s cancellations leaves General Hospital as ABC’s lone enduring soap opera.

A world without the oversexed antics of Erica Kane, Pine Valley’s resident sex kitten, seems almost unthinkable, but sudsters as we know them will look very different this fall. It was just a few weeks ago that series matriarch Susan Lucci dropped into The Rachael Ray Show to pooh-pooh a Deadline Hollywood scoop claiming that AMC was on its last leg. A confident Lucci tried to put the kibosh on recent whispers that the show that introduced the world to star such as Kelly Ripa and Sarah Michelle Gellar would soon join other recently-canned soaps Guiding Light and As the World Turns in the Graveyard of Retired Television Shows in the Sky.

“That is a rumor,” the often Emmy-snubbed Lucci told the celebrity chef when quizzed on the cancellation reports. “It is a rumor that is not coming from ABC. I have just been given my schedule for next year. So, that’s what I know!”

A food-themed talkie, titled The Chew, and a makeover show, The Revolution, will replace the soaps on the network’s daily daytime schedule. The Chew?!

Brian Frons, President of Daytime for Disney ABC/Television Group, called the schedule change “bittersweet.”

“While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can’t help but recognize how bittersweet the change is. We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days,” Frons said.

“All My Children and One Life to Live are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history. Each of the shows has touched millions and millions of viewers and informed the social consciousness. It has been a privilege to work with the extraordinary teams who brought the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview to life each day, and we thank the cast, crew, producers and most especially the fans for their commitment to the shows through their history.”

Frons, however, added that the network is looking forward to adding “informative, authentic and fun shows that are relatable, offer a wide variety of opinions and focus on ‘real life’ takeaways” to its lineup.

“A perfect example of this is The View, and that factored into our decision. The Chew and The Revolution are in the same vein and will be great additions to the lineup, with The View serving as an ideal foundation from which to launch these programs. They will also provide enormous opportunity for the creation of ancillary businesses and growth,” he explained.

All My Children and One Life to Live will broadcast their final episodes in Sept 2011 and Jan 2012, respectively.

Are you disappointed to hear that AMC and OLTL are signing off? Which characters will you miss the most?