ABC Axes All My Children and One Life to Live

And then there were four.

ABC is confirming what has been rumored for weeks: All My Children and One Life to Live will end their storied runs in September 2011 and January 2012, respectively.

The twin cancellations will leave just four soaps on the air — Days of Our Lives on NBC, General Hospital on ABC, and The Young & The Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful on CBS.

AMC and OLTL — which have been around for a combined 83 years — will be replaced by a pair of generic-sounding (and cheaper to produce) talk/lifestyle shows, the food-themed The Chew and the makeover-centric The Revolution.

Contain your excitement.

“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,” said ABC Daytime president Brian Frons. “We are taking this bold step to expand our business because viewers are looking for different types of programming these days. They are telling us there is room for informative, authentic and fun shows that are relatable, offer a wide variety of opinions and focus on ‘real life’ takeaways.

All My Children and One Life to Live are iconic pieces of television that have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history,” Frons continued. “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.”

Ratings for daytime soaps have been on a steady decline for the past two decades as viewing patterns shifted and audiences migrated to talk shows. In the past 10 years alone, the industry saw the cancellation of As the World Turns, Guiding Light, Port Charles and Passions.

In a statement, suds queen Susan Lucci — who has played the iconic Erica Kane since AMC‘s inception in 1970 — said, “It’s been a fantastic journey. I’ve loved playing Erica and working with [AMC creator] Agnes Nixon and all the incredible people involved with All My Children. I’m looking forward to all kinds of new and exciting opportunities.”

Okay soap fans, post those eulogies in the comments section.