CHEAP CRAP: ABC Daytime's Replacement Shows to Cost Under $575,000 a Week
File this one under you get what you pay for. TV Guide is reporting The Chew and The Revolution, the two shows set to replace All My Children and One Life to Live respectively, will each cost "$575,000 a week or less" to produce, whereas AMC and OLTL cost between $750,000 to $1 million a week.
The article by Stephen Battaglio goes on to point out that CBS is reportedly making more money on The Talk, despite that show's ratings being lower than As The World Turns. Well of course they are! CBS owns The Talk, just like ABC owns their soaps. ABC will also own the two bargain basement replacement shows, however unlike The Talk, which actually boasts popular, ex-sitcom stars and recognizable faces. Most of us had to Google half the names of the hosts of The Chew and The Revolution.
Comparing the situation at ABC to CBS is apples to licensing fees, which Battaglio pointed out by citing that CBS renewed the Bell soaps at much lesser fees. Well isn't that the whole point of why ABC should have been better prepared for viewer erosion during the daytime? ABC doesn't have to pay licensing fees for AMC and OLTL, and hasn't for many decades. ABC Daytime Chief Brian Frons bragged about this factor when CBS gutted Guiding Light a few years back, so what gives?
Wouldn't it make more sense to transition AMC and OLTL to a more cost effective business model, as opposed to betting ABC's daytime lineups on two shows that are nowhere near ready for air, and will never inspire even a fraction of the loyalty and viewer engagement of soaps?
I'm sure ABC's response would be "We tried", but I am sorry, choosing to move AMC—which Julie Hanan Caruthers has had way over budget for years, according to sources, while a string of terrible writers creatively bankrupted it—to Los Angeles over OLTL, a soap which Frank Valentini reportedly keeps as much as $1 million under budget and has enjoyed more critical acclaim than any other daytime soap in recent years, was insane.
Can someone explain to my why Hanan Caruthers still has a job? After one so-so season, CBS is firing the showrunner of Blue Bloods, yet JHC has been cashing check after check while tanking a TV icon. No one in the mainstream press is talking about this factor though. Instead we're getting articles about how FarmVille killed soaps. Beats all I've seen and heard.
I sincerely doubt The Chew, a View-clone that will focuse on "all aspects of food" (Really, from the rooter to the tooter, or what?) is going to be even a fraction as entertaining as the template chatfest featuring pissed off women screeching across a table at one another. The View didn't get hot until it got political. What will Mario Batali do to spike ratings, start a heated discussion about gay rights or Libya while he waits for his canapes to cool?
As for The Revolution, that show is having to be completely retooled, because it sucked donkey balls, according to my sources. Instead of telling Frank Valentini, "Look man, I need you get the budget under $600,000 a week. I know it will be tough, but it is what it is," ABC is going to tear apart a show that is turning out stellar episodes and is Number 3 among women 18-49, for a show that wasn't good enough for the fall? I'm sad about AMC's fate, but what's being done to One Life to Live is flat out criminal.
Let's reflect again on the many, many failed reality/talk projects Brian Frons and Co.attempted to get off the ground at SOAPnet. There was Greg Behrendt's Wake-Up Call, originally developed for ABC's flagship channel, which smartly passed. Southern Belles: Louisville, Holidate, Bank of Mom and Date...need I go on? If the proof is in the pudding, Jell-O oughta boycott ABC next, because they're fresh out.
I don't care how many ways they try to spin it, I'll never be convinced it makes good business sense to allow Brian Frons to oversee the transition of ABC Daytime away from soaps to programming women are allegedly clamoring for more of. This is the man who was surprised by Kathy Brier's success on One Life to Live because she doesn't look like a Playboy Bunny. Guess what, neither do most American women. Now Frons wants to micromanage a weight loss reality show? Really?
We're talking about the guy who put amazing talents like Jackie Zeman, Leslie Charleson, Catherine Hickland and countless other veteran actresses out to pasture fo no other reason than they got older. I have a question for Frons: If actresses' freshness expires at the age of 50, what about executives? What's good for the goose oughta be good for the micromanager. I'd say Frons is well past his sell by date.
This is after all the same bozo who, when asked why he thought All My Children's lesbian storyline was doing better than Grey's Anatomy's a few years back, said to Broadcasting & Cable: "Our lesbians are cuter!" How can Anne Sweeney, in good conscience, allow a man who ok'd a stripper pole in an OFFICE setting for women executives on All My Children, to decide what women should watch on daytime, whether it's cheaper or not? Someone please tell me we're all being punked.