Thursday, May 5, 2011

Should ABC axe Brian Frons and keep One Life to Live?


On April 14th, ABC announced that after 40 and 43 years respectively they were canceling All My Children and One Life to Live due to declining ratings. According to the story Brian Frons (or was it really Anne Sweeney? ) decided that replacing the venerable shows with another talk show and cooking show makes financial sense. But does it really? (Wiser, 2011)

As a late end Baby Boomer, I have watched both shows since college. For me they are appointment viewing. By that I mean that I tape them and watch them at night when I come home from work. (Are you listening local ABC affiliate who insists on interrupting them for so called “breaking news?”)

I have zero interest in another copycat talk show and if I want to watch a cooking show I will watch either the Food Network or the Cooking Channel. In short I have no intention of watching ABC’s replacement shows. (Although I may check out CBS’s soaps; especially if they keep hiring my favorite actors from ABC.)

So the real question is, will ratings for the new shows drop by over 40% and negate the production savings that Brian was salivating over? Since female Baby Boomers appear to represent over 50% of the current audience, it is entirely possible.

We’ve been told that the new shows “tested well”, but I smell a New Coke fiasco in the making. Did they test the shows against Baby Boomers who currently watch AMC and OLTL? And was it made clear that these shows would replace their old favorites? Why do I think that they did neither? Oh, it must be because of their foolish assumption that an 18-49 viewer is worth more than a 50+ viewer.

Clearly neither Frons nor Sweeney has been reading the abundance of press about the fact that Baby Boomers are still an economic force to be reckoned with. Here are a few articles they may want to check out while they remember that there is a reason why parental health care benefits are being extended to cover children up to age 26!

(2011, March 7) The 6.2 Million Consumers Working Past Retirement Age Have Big Investment Portfolios, Represent Opportunity for Financial Marketers. Scarborough Research. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from

Bulik, B. (2010, October 11). Boomers – Yes, Boomers – Spend the Most on Tech. Retrieved October 11, 2010, from

Leydon, T. (2010, July 30) Why your travel and leisure marketing should target Baby Boomers and not Gen X or Y. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from

Unfortunately, as much as I adore Susan Lucci and Michael Knight, I have found AMC to be unwatchable since its move to California, so I can’t advocate for its continuance. (But if you want to give those two a talk show, I wouldn’t miss it.)

OLTL on the other hand has been on a roll lately. So here is my suggestion. TNT, which has shown its high regard for Boomer women by bringing us The Closer should pick up OLTL and run it in late night so we can all watch it after work. They should reach out to advertisers and incorporate heavy product placements to ease concerns about DVR’s. And, they should air the shows (with placements and commercials) on the internet and mobile devices to maximize the size of the audience.

All in favor say aye!

Wiser, P. (2011, April 15). ‘All My Children,’ ‘One Life to Live’ cancelled by ABC. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from

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