Guiding Light

Daytime Soap Fans in a Lather

April 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm , by

Jessica Leccia, star of One Life to Live and Venice. Photo: Michael Craft

It’s been a tough couple of years for soap operas. Guiding Light was extinguished in 2009, As the World Turns stopped production last year and just yesterday, ABC announced that it will pull the plug on both All My Children (in September) and One Life to Live (in January). Daytime actors, writers, crew and fans have been reeling from the news and Twitter has blown up with passionate posts about the fate of a much loved genre of television.

Soap fans are some of the most devoted fans in the world and it’s always amazed me just how much daytime TV has linked people and intertwined their lives. Meeting someone who watches your soap, to me, feels like you’re reconnecting with a long lost cousin at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving. And now it just kind of feels like Thanksgiving dinner has been cancelled, which is wrong. Right?

My oldest friend in the world, for example, sadly was just diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. The night I got the news, in my teary reminiscing of our 30 year friendship, I was somewhat surprised that some of the first things that flashed through my mind were our teenage phone calls about the latest Fletcher, Reva, Kyle, Lujack and India (!) shenanigans on Guiding Light. (She got me hooked on the show in junior high and we were both addicts.) As a former AMC devotee, my mom still keeps me up to date on the latest Susan Lucci news. When la Lucci landed on Dancing With the Stars a few seasons ago, it was like we had a family member on the show. (I have an aunt who is very Erica Kane-ish.)

And another one of my closest friends has virtually formed a whole new family over the past few years, having being drawn in to the Otalia storyline on Guiding Light in the year or so before it went off the air. That’s led to a feverish support of online webseries Venice— created by Crystal Chappell, half of the Otalia love story and current cast member on Days of Our Lives—and me having the pleasure of meeting this extended family at fan luncheons for Jessica Leccia (GL’s Natalia, Venice’s Ani and OLTL’s Inez). “I am heartbroken once again for the hardworking casts and crews of these wonderful shows,” Leccia tells me about yesterday’s announcement, having suffered through the GL cancellation two years ago and now reliving it as a cast member of OLTL. “I’m also terribly sad for the fans who have invested so much time and love into them,” she adds. “I can’t help but feel that daytime has been robbed.”

Let us know your thoughts on the fate of daytime TV. Has daytime TV been robbed, as Leccia suggests? Who are you going to miss most? Will you watch the talk shows replacing these soaps on ABC? Don’t make us have to wait to tune in tomorrow to find out …