TVLine Items: Oprah Reveals Why She Can't Save Axed Soaps, and Other TV News to Know

Oprah Winfrey is a woman of many miracles. Unfortunately, the ability to resuscitate canceled soap operas is not in her bag of tricks.

The exiting Queen of Daytime posted a video to YouTube (and shown below) saying that while she hears soap fans’ pleas for her OWN cable channel to offer refuge for ABC’s recently axed All My Children and One Life to Live, it’s just not gonna happen.

“I understand the loyalty, the sense of disappointment” says the self-proclaimed AMC and The Young and The Restless fan. “But here is the [deep] bone-marrow truth: There just are not enough people who are at home in the daytime to watch them, and because of that they’re going off the air.”

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Citing the steep slope that soap ratings have slid down over the years, Winfrey adds, “I will not be taking on the responsibility of trying to revive an institution that for all intents and purposes indicates the time has come for it to be over.”

Ever the gracious host, she concludes, “Thank you for thinking I could save them, but I really can’t.”

Ready for more of today’s TV dish? Well…

• Hold the phone, Real Housewives fans: Bravo EVP Andy Cohen has denied reports of another two editions being in the works. “Bravo is not shooting or casting for Vegas or Arizona Housewives,” Cohen tweeted. “It is not true and we have no association to either project.”

• Battlestar Galactica is setting course for BBC America. The cabler has acquired the rights to 80 hours of the cult fave sci-fi series, including a two-part miniseries and four complete seasons, to premiere Saturday, June 18, 7/6c.

Heroes‘ Masi Oka has landed a script deal with Syfy, says The Hollywood Reporter. Oka will team up with writer Alex Sabeti on The Correctors, which is described as an Inception-meets-Adjustment Bureau project.

Which TVLine Items have you talking today? Hit the comments and let us know!

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  1. The Cat says:

    If there’s not enough folks watching tv during daytime, will the air be dead? NO. They’ll screen *something.* Why not something with a loyal fan base, soaps, instead of something with lil (re-runs) or no fan base (another god-awful chat or game show) at all? That can’t be cheaper.

    • truthone says:

      Oprah is fat.

      • Michelle says:

        Truthone – If she wants she can lose weight. You are and always will be a sad, little person!

      • Cookie says:

        I would love to be Oprah and have people like you hate me….I would have a talkshow just to converse with the haters (dreamers)…I want to be a fat billionaire also..I would roll around town fat and styling just for all you stupid haters….and Ms.Oprah Winfrey you are one of the most beautiful women on TV…Thank You!!!!!

      • stephanie says:

        oprah needs the soaps her network has the worst shows i have ever seen all the girls i work with love oprah and hate the network. the soaps would have brought some needed life to the station.

      • danni says:

        So what if Oprah is over weight. She is such a beautiful person inside and out that you can over look it.

      • BONNIE says:


        • liz says:

          You’re an IDIOT!

        • OWN Supporter says:

          You dumb ass! For all that Oprah has done for humanity. Building schools in Africa, feeding homeless children in America, creating scholarships for impoverished children. And that’s what you came up with??? She promoted Dr. Phil and Dr. |
          Oz you village idiot! they aren’t Black.

    • Lux says:

      If it involves not having to pay Susan Lucci’s salary, I’m certain it could be cheaper.

    • DotDotDot says:

      It must be cheaper or they wouldn’t do it. Soaps are dead. Huge casts and year around production cost $ and a loyal, but shrinking, fan base can’t support them anymore.

    • Paris55 says:

      People are not at home during the day to watch?? What about the DVR and the every growing number of baby boomers who are now retiring. With the economy tanking and not too many places to go, many stay at home, working on projects and watch soaps for escapism. What about those seniors, eldely, homebound and hospitalized. The demographics I just pointed out are the ones with the $$. This is funny coming from a woman whose show gained momentum after following General Hospital as her lead in. I for one, will cancel my subscription to O Magazine, and will not watch the remaining Oprah Winfrey shows on ABC. The movement is now approaching the Reelz channel. They saved the Kennedys miniseries.

      • ali says:

        Reelz is airing the Kennedys- the series was finished, they just paid to broadcast it. They didn’t agree to produce a new mini-series. Different kind of commitment.

      • Kelly says:

        DVR is relatively pointless when it comes to advertising concerns, because DVRs allow people to fast-forward through the commercials. Networks include the +7 for total number of people watching a show, but what’s still the important thing (for advertising dollars) is the live ratings.

        So in a lot of ways, while DVRs might make it easier for someone who works to continue watching soaps, it’s also contributed to their decline.

      • Olive says:

        Since when have seniors/elderly, many of whom now live on a fixed income, been the demographic with the most spending power? Hospitalized? Well, they don’t have medical bills or anything limiting their spending power. Homebound- well than as long as you aren’t advertising cars, wireless networks, or anything that requires leaving your house, I’m sure there’s a huge wave of products suitable. None of those are demographics so desirable by advertisers that networks could jack up the price of advertising to pay for the ridiculous production costs on soaps. It was a business model that worked great in the past, when more households had women staying at home- because those women watching were also the same people who made most of the purchases for that household. Advertising gold. That is not the case anymore. There aren’t enough people at home, or the ones that are at home and watching simply don’t support the sponsors enough to make the soap a viable commodity. You should have bought more of whatever they were trying to sell you. That’s how they got Chuck to stay on the air.

      • AJ says:

        Paris55 – You amaze me. Now you punish Oprah because she won’t save the soaps? Why don’t you punish CNN – they won’t save your soap. How about ESPN – they won’t. HBO, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, etc. Get a grip. As a former viewer of Santa Barbara, Generations, and Port Charles – I know all about soaps being canceled. I got over it and moved on. No one will pick up AMC or OLTL. Just like no one picked up GL or ATWT. These shows lose money. Ratings continually shrink. Even with a down economy, ratings shrink. Enjoy your shows while they’re on, mourn it, and then move on.

      • Cookie says:

        Why are you people blaming Oprah for not buying AMC & OLTL???? What’s wrong with this picture…What smart business person would invest in a show that was losing ratings because of bad writing and the fans stop watching because of that….The network refused to read the ratings accurately or in there contract with the head writer they gave them control of writing, instead they just continue to look the other way as the writers continue with bad storylines..and you want Oprah to revive the soaps…They already have a soapnet station which we all agreed to purchase just to watch our soaps in the evening…Why can’t the networks keep there commitment with the Fan & Soapnet channel and keep AMC & OLTL live on the Soap Channel??? That is why I purchased the channel to watch the soaps!!!

    • Kris says:

      Chat/Reality shows are much cheaper. They don’t have to pay script writers, an extensive prop/wardrobe budget and the salaries of 40 series regulars. Soaps are dying because not enough people are watching to offset the cost. Putting re-runs or talk shows in their place is a much more cost-effective alternative whether you like it or not.

    • Kelly says:

      Because there is a huge (huge) cost difference in production. Soaps cost approximately $50 million to produce, annually, whereas talk shows – even the ones starring “names” – only cost about $35 million to produce.

      When you consider the savings there, plus the ratings – shows like The View on ABC have a 1.3 share, whereas AMC and OLTL are lucky to hit a .9 – it’s easy to see that ABC can charge more for advertising on talk shows while simultaneously saving money on the production.

    • Andie says:

      Why are reruns not cheaper? They’re free once you’ve acquired rights, and lots of people watch.

    • terry lee says:

      young n restless is what you’ll now adapt to you’ll luv victor. signed, under the ironingboard with as the world turns in ’55. thnx ms. winfrey

    • Deborah Solis says:


  2. amb says:

    “There just are not enough people who are at home in the daytime to watch them”

    Really? Then her ratings must be down too. Since people aren’t at home during the day. Which I mentioned on another sight yesterday after her comments. The lack of people not home during the day must be why she is pulling out of daytime. I know that her show is now one less to worry about having on my DVR.

    Maybe if Brian Frons bothered to take DVR recordings, soapnet ratings, and internet viewing, the ratings would dramatically increase.

    • Dax says:

      Brian Frons doesn’t bother with DVR recordings or internet viewing for the same reason that EVERY SINGLE OTHER TV EXECUTIVE doen’t bother with those things. Because advertisers don’t care about them. It is the fact of television, they make money from the advertisers and therefor must deliver what the advertisers want…Live viewing. The sooner people get that through their thick heads the better.

    • TheReasonsY says:

      You are correct but the thing is EVEN if Brian Frons took those into account, and all of sudden AMC had a real rating of 8.7 it isn’t going to get advertisers to buy during that time frame. At the end of the day SoapNet helped put soaps out of business even though it was trying to help them by airing “reruns” which meant the soaps earned more revenue. There is also a huge difference between the

      cost of producing the Oprah show and a full hour soap. IT SUCKS. A show that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars an EPISODE cannot pull a 2.1 and expect to stay on the air because the network cannot sell that ad time at a rate that counterbalances the costs of production. They need to get their budgets down, way down, which leads to unpopular moves like Day’s firing of Marlena and John. Which means for Oprah to save AMC she would have to fire over half the cast/crew because OWN doesn’t have that budget. Only a major network or online venue would be able to pull it off successfully if not well, – look at how Passions did. Best bet to save the show is to get the Nielsens up which means watching the shows live ON ABC, or DVRing the ABC airing and watching same day. So in the end, Oprah is right there aren’t enough eyeballs. We just have to get the eyeballs there before August or else AMC is dead. And by numbers I mean they need to pull in Y&R numbers – consistently. OLTL needs to do the same before November.

      • Daytime Fan says:

        That is true. But if they did take into account the actual ratings (i.e. DVR, online), then advertisers would see how many actual viewers there are really are and they would then be willing to pay to advertise.

        And if it did make a difference in cost, a smaller cast would not be that bad. I am sure there are some characters can be dropped to save money.

        • Nellie says:

          Daytime Fan, the advertisers do not care about you call “actual ratings” — how many people DVR a show or watch it online.

          Why should they? Those viewers are not watching their commercials. That’s why live viewing is so important — this is a business, not a popularity contest. Why on earth would a company buy ad time to reach people who are fast-forwarding through commercials? Not to mention, when counting online viewers, the on-air commercials aren’t even shown online.

          Oprah is right. There are just not enough people who stay home during the day to support soaps. It’s a dying business model, as even prime time is discovering.

  3. M says:

    Perhaps Oprah should have clarified that there are not enough people around in the day to watch soaps which are usually very expensive to produce, not enough viewers to make soaps profitable.

  4. Terry says:

    Well, OWN ratings are no better so I guess nobody’s home to watch her lame network. Such a bull statement. People do watch the soaps. I’ve always hated Oprah anyway.

    • Michael says:

      Precisely. If the Soaps aren’t getting good numbers on broadcast TV, then what makes ANYONE think they’ll do well on OWN — which has a much smaller audience base.

      • Amanda says:

        Soaps might not be getting the right ratings for NETWORK tv, but they would be a boom to any basic cable channel.

        • Michelle my Bell says:

          Really? Have you checked out the ratings on many of the basic cable channels? Some of them are doing quite well and those that aren’t don’t exactly have the kind of audience that are into soaps. Not to mention that there are still many, many households in this country that don’t get cable. It is a mistake to assume that all of the viewers will be able to follow it to a cable network.

        • TheReasonsY says:

          Except that they cost too much to make. You are talking about spending millions of dollars a week for new content that won’t get any ROI. Best example I can give you is soaps run like airlines. There are X number of seats on the plane that make that flight worth running. You can get by every now and then with X-7 or X-8 but you can’t do it forever without having to do cuts (aka there went your peanuts or in this case our beloved Julia Barr). But you keep losing passengers, eventually there comes a point where you can’t afford to do it anymore so you cut the flight or get smaller planes. The only thing that is going to get you back to that flight on the large jet is to consistently have ticket sales.

          Where we are standing at is that Soaps are too expensive to take off regardless of the airline. You would have to do a massive cast cut just to make them currently viable on a network and to be honest with a 1.7 (AMC) or a 1.9 (OLTL) you aren’t going to convince advertisers to spend millions to offset the cost. The best thing they could do is cut the shows to 30 mins and dramatically cut the cast to a point where a Susan Lucci would have to be fired and who wants AMC without Erika Kane?

  5. I agree with Oprah, which is really weird says:

    I don’t get the violent anger from soap fans. You got to watch that show every day, for decades. Most prime time fans get one episode a week for a few years at the most. Be grateful for that instead of acting like crack addicts suddenly cut off from their “fix”.

    • Kassie says:

      If you were a soap fan you would understand. Soap fans are the most loyal fans ever! Nobody can do anything to a soap and the fans not respond. And when it comes to soaps those fans have power. On primetime if a actor was fired you have to deal with it. On a soap if the fans love the actor he/she more than likely gets their job back. Its really sad that we fans don’t have the same power to keep our shows on the air or get Brian Frons fired. Unfortunately Oprah saving the soaps was a long shot. But she could of said no in a different way. I do know I wont be watching her network.

      • Huh? says:

        Maybe if fans hadn’t been so used to forcing studios to make unprofitable decisions in the past, they’d be better prepared. You can’t force a studio to lose money. They are never going to fire a man who saved the studio money. Oprah was as clear and honest as she could be; I don’t particularly like her show, but she is a pretty good business woman. She told it like it is and I don’t know how else you would have wanted her to say it.

  6. Amanda says:

    The soaps don’t have to air in the daytime!!!!

  7. Ralph says:

    Of course, NONE of this counts unless you are a NIELSEN family….stupid outdated ratings system. IF MILLIONS on top of MILLIONS of people watched ANYTHING and weren’t the select Nielsen people it wouldn’t matter anyway.

    I will mourn OLTL deeply when it is gone….and NEVER miss it. Would GLADLY watch every commercial to save it…but since I am not one of the blessed people with the Nielsen box I just don’t count. Ridiculous but true. No one will EVER make me believe you get a true reflection of viewership with just those people.

  8. Terry says:

    The idea of BBC America continuing to buy American shows is disappointing. The whole concept of this channel is to show BBC shows, not to show reruns of American shows, even though they may be good. I love Star Trek TNG and BSG, X Files was ok; but these are not shows that should be shown on BBC America. What I want and expect from this channel is shows from the UK.

    • AJ Miller says:

      Agreed. I was so mad when they started showing The Tudors, for crying out loud. I want the Doctor Whos, the Torchwoods, the Survivors, all the good stuff they have over there that we can’t get here without buying DVDs or torrenting it.

    • Bob says:

      I agree, too. However, BBC America is discovering that, just like the soaps, there aren’t enough fans of British TV to get the ratings. So they’re trying to lure in as many sci-fi fans as possible with old, American shows. I’d rather have that than no BBC America at all.

  9. Mick says:

    The reason why soaps in other countries, England, Australia, South America are popular is because they have an entirely different approach to television for example the British cannot afford produce 22 quality episodes of shows so primetime shows go from 7 to 13 episodes meaning soaps are the only truly serialized dramas on television. The worst thing to happen to soaps was the rise of scripted dramas from cable networks and the rise of good quality night time dramas from networks. They can’t compete. I say this as a loyal OLTL fan.

  10. soapfan says:

    I let’s start boycotting Oprah and he network. Let show her how many soap fans are left !

  11. Juju says:

    Actually, what she’s saying is that she WON’T try to save them, not that she CAN’T. She won’t for the same reason the shows’ networks are dumping them: not profitable.

  12. shutup says:

    Oprah is narcissistic, fat toad.. She cares for no one but herself and is trying to take over the world.

  13. Kelly says:

    So I guess OWN won’t air shows during the day. And that her daytime show has been failing. Soaps are good. They shouldn’t die out. And they can air at night, there is dvr. Well, I guess I won’t be watching OWN network at all.

  14. Carm says:

    So Oprah won’t waste money on soaps that she knows won’t do any better on OWN. And now people want to boycott OWN, O Mag(all things Oprah) because she won’t pay for them to see their soaps. Wow. It is amazing that some are so angry, over soaps.

  15. exsoapwatcher says:

    As an ex-diehard fan of Days of Our Lives and the long ago cancelled Another World, I understand the disappointment. I say ex because I haven’t watched a daytime soap in years. Instead, I get/got hooked on the nighttime soaps and years ago was so sad to see Dallas & Knot’s Landing end. I can’t even describe the sadness I felt when Friends ended–and that was a sitcom! (I still watch the re-runs over & over!)

    As Oprah said, all things have their time & come to an end, BUT, what I think is saddest about the soaps being cancelled, is that they offered a platform for many a future “movie star” from which to launch their careers. That’s a huge chunk of opportunity gone .

  16. TouchHistory says:

    The Almighty has spoken. So OVER Oprah!

  17. Lilia says:

    Judging by the comments here soap fans are as stupid as the shows they watch. This is ridiculous. You are acting more childish than CW fans. Oprah doesn’t owe you anything, no one owes you anything. A couple television that have been on for a very long time have been cancelled. It’s not the end of the world.

  18. Bob says:

    Oh, leave poor Oprah alone. She’s trying to get her fledgling network off the ground. She doesn’t need to saddle it with high production costs for soaps that no longer have an audience. She’s a businesswoman, not a miracle worker.

    • gadget says:

      Finally a voice of reason. Why the heck is everybody hatin’ on Oprah all the sudden. She did’t cancel your soaps ABC did. You asked her to take over a dying franchise that will not be successful and cost her money and when she (wisely and rightfully) said no you act like she ran over your dog. Get a life people! Oh, and one more thing…obviously your TV viewing isn’t counted if you couldn’t save your soaps so weather you watch OWN or not is obviously not going to effect it one way or another.

    • p says:

      Best of luck to her. The few shows I tuned in one were not worth watching. I am really surprised at the offerings they came up with. The only thing worthwhile was Lisa Ling’s shows and that season has already ended. Sorry I won’t be helping her keep that afloat. but if one of these soaps came over to her network I might be persuaded…

  19. HomerJay says:

    First of all, Oprah is slightly wrong in her phrasing–it’s not there’s been a dramatic shift in the number of people home in the daytime over the last (roughly) two decades, nor has there been a dramatic change in the TV viewership levels in daytime. What’s changed is the explosion in the number of channels, thus diluting the audience that is there. It happened to Oprah’s show. Sure, there will be some viewership drop off as the “hot” thing gives way to the “next hot” thing, but you need to look big picture to understand why soaps are coming to an end. You can’t take half the viwewers away (or more than half) and think you can make the economics work like they did 20 or 30 years ago. ABC simply faced up to the economic realities that CBS faced a couple of years ago, and NBC a few years before that.

    Second, the notion of any cable network being able to make the economics work better is flawed. Yes, IF every viewer came with AMC or OLTL over to OWN or some other cable network, they would suddenly be propelled to the top of the ratings heap. But that doesn’t reduce the cost…and it simply won’t happen. Shows that jump from one platform to another rarely–very rarely–surpass what they did elsewhere. The exceptions are easy to point to because they’re just that–exceptions.

    Third, ratings are based on sound principles of scientific sampling and are far more sophisticated than the oversimplifications tossed about in anger would lead one to believe.

    It’s frustrating to see a favorite show go away, especially one you’ve watched faithfully for decades. But ABC is a business, and business dictates they deal with the realities of 2011, not 1981.

  20. j says:

    The problem is that ratings systems have not adjusted to real life. The daytime viewers had to find work to keep families afloat. VCR’s and now DVR’s take that place. So it really is not that the soaps are dead. That viewing has shifted but ratings vehicles have pretty much not. Oprah should know and acknowledge that.

    • Carl says:

      As others have posted, DVRs don’t matter. People use them to skip commercials, so there useless as far as advertising rates are concerned. That’s where networks make there money, so only people watching live matter.

  21. Jeff says:

    I think ABC should keep the soaps whether they earn money or not. ABC makes a profit on lots of other shows. Soap operas are an American institution. Most of us grew up with our moms watching the soaps. They are part of Americana. They have gotten a bit risque'(sp?) but so have most the other shows. I can’t imagine day time TV without them. Of course I miss the old days of game shows,too. Wow, how things change. I do believe they will revive after more of the baby boomers retire. Too bad ABC won’t wait. It is just a nostalgia thing I guess. Once they are gone we will forget them. They will just be a memory of days gone by.

    • Carl says:

      I’d highly advise you watch Danny Devito’s “buggy whips” speech from “Other People’s Money”.

  22. kris says:

    I see now…Some of y’all crazy as HELL. It’s seriously time to get a life!!!!!

  23. Louise says:

    Dear oprah . I listened to the video you sent about soap operas. How about during the day while people work, we the fans RECORD ALL OUR SOAPS. We can’t wait to come home to listened all our dearest soaps. I would love if one day they would INVENT a way to rate the recordings of those soaps. We can’t stop working but we absolutely see them.PLEASE INVENTORS OUT THERE , PROVE THE NETWORKS THAT SOAP OPERAS ARE IN FACT BEING RECORDED. And about the STUPID , BORING , REALITY SHOWS of course people listens to them , they are in every networks available . People who loves television , don’t have any choice. So , OPRAH , why don’t you put them at night & everyone will see the ratings go up ,and put those reality shows , cook shows & so on….. during the day & then you’ll see them GO DOWN … wHAT A GREAT IDEA ! THANK YOU , OPRAH for your interest & I hope you can put them at night but don’t forget , not too late so we fans have to work the next day. OPRAH, I love you & please reconsider my opinion.

  24. michelle says:

    i love oprah winfrey but seriously she should put soaps on her boring network afterall she is supposedly a fan of amc gh and yr,,

  25. Lilly says:

    Then I say screw her and her network !! I may have actually watched a few of her shows IF the soaps were on but now I wouldn’t do it if you paid me. Both shows have been on the air for over 40 years each because of all their loyal fans.