"All My Children" and "One Life To Live" are set to broadcast their final episodes after more than 40 years on the air.
"This morning at 11 a.m., Brian Frons, President Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, gathered with the cast, crew and production teams of "All My Children" and via satellite with those of "One Life to Live" to share the news that the long-running daytime series would air their final episodes in September 2011 and January 2012, respectively," the Disney/ABC Television group, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com, said in a statement on Thursday, April 14.
"These decisions were made as part of a larger strategic repositioning of ABC Daytime programming to meet the evolving needs and appetite of daytime viewers," the group said.
"Guided by the success of "The View," as well as research into the viewing needs of the daytime audience, Brian announced the launch of two new series later this year that will refocus the ABC Daytime business around similar programming that focus on transformation, food and lifestyle," it added.
The two new shows are "The Chew," a live program that will "focus on food from EVERY angle" and will be hosted by the likes of Mario Batali and Michael Symon from the Food Network, Clinton Kelly of "What Not To Wear," Carla Hall from Bravo's "Top Chef" and nutrition expert Daphne Oz. The series will premiere in September 2011.
Another show, tentatively called "The Revolution," will debut in January 2012. The series deals with health and lifestyle transformations and will feature "American Idol" alum Kimberley Locke and celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak.
"All My Children" celebrated its 40th anniversary in January 2010. Longtime cast member Susan Lucci, who plays Erica Kane, had last month expressed her optimism regarding the future of the show, which had recently been the target of cancellation rumors amid declining ratings.
Ratings for soap operas on many networks have decreased over the past 20 years, as has advertiser spending on the shows. An average of 6.5 million people tuned in to watch daytime dramas during the 1991-1992 TV season, while an average of 1.3 million watched during the 2009-2010 season, according to Ad Age.
Some people attribute the decline to a changing Western society. Nowadays, women aged 18 to 49, daytime television's target demographic, have full-time jobs, as opposed to their counterparts decades ago, and therefore may not have time to follow a daily scripted program, even with the help of a DVR.
Meanwhile, reality programming and talk shows have in recent years become more popular, especially among daytime television's key demographic, and are often cheaper to produce. In 2009, CBS canceled its long-running daytime drama series "As The World Turns." The network later announced a new daytime talk series - "The Talk."
"One Life To Life" debuted on July 15, 1968 and was the first daytime series to depict an interracial relationship and was among the first to explore drug addiction, homophobia and other major social issues. Reality television star Kourtney Kardashian appeared on the show in late March.
"All My Children" and "One Life To Live" have each earned more than 40 Emmy Awards. "All My Children" and took home an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series in 1992, 1994 and 1998. "One Life To Life" won the award in 2002.
Meanwhile, ABC also announced that Roger Howarth will return to "One Life to Live" to reprise his role of Todd Manning, which he originated in 1992. He last appeared on the show in 2003 will begin taping his upcoming scenes in May.