As the world of TV and electronic media grows and expands, programming is changing in a number of ways. To begin with, advanced TV packages now offer a wider variety of different channels and benefits, allowing people to expose themselves to more shows and movies than ever before. Additionally, however, ratings indicate that the general TV-watching public is gradually shifting its interest in favor of different genres and ways in which to view their favorites...
This means that some older shows are slowly coming to their ends to make way for new and exciting dramas. Recently, along these lines, the popular cable television network ABC has come under some fire for cancelling (somewhat abruptly) the soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" not the first cancellations of a popular soap opera in recent years.
There was, of course, a sort of era of television during which the soap opera was TV's most popular form of drama. In fact, during the 1970's and 1980's, daytime soap operas sometimes outperformed nighttime television in terms of ratings. Generally, fans of the most popular soaps identified with some of the family and social situations commonly portrayed in the shows, and were also drawn to the heavy drama and glamor often associated with soaps. However, the soap drama audience from the genre's most popular era is aging, and younger audiences are often more interested in other types of entertainment outlets, like reality television, online gaming, and other internet-related offerings, like visiting Soapdom.com.
The good news for the soap opera genre is that this shift in public interest does not, however, represent any sort of loss of fans for popular soap operas such as the recently cancelled "All My Children" and "One Life To Live." In fact, the cancellations of such shows seem to have only emphasized the breadth and loyalty of the shows' fan bases and rallied them for the cause of keeping these shows around.
Proof of this was seen, interestingly enough, on Twitter, where "All My Children" was, upon announcement that it aired its final broadcast television episode, the most popularly trending topic. Also making the list of top trending topics were "One Life" and "Erica Kane," a main character on "All My Children" since the show's inception. Fan reactions ranged from angry to sentimental, with most agreeing that it was a sad day for themselves and for soap operas when these two popular shows were discontinued.
Fortunately for big fans of soap operas, there are motions in progress designed to continue to provide quality soap drama even as the genre shifts away from broadcast television. For example, while nothing seems to be set in stone just yet, the final television episode of "All My Children" was not conclusive, and certain members of the cast and crew have indicated that they want to continue in some capacity. So, while the show may be off of the broadcast airwaves for good, there seems to be reliable promise that it will endure online and then to cable for at least some time to come. Soap operas generally have very loyal fan bases, meaning that even if younger audiences sway television toward excluding some soaps, many of these shows will make efforts to continue satisfying fans via online streaming.
So, it's not that soap operas are dying, they are being reborn online.