Two Years Ago Oprah Personally and Unequivocally Said She Would Not Try to Save the Daytime Soaps From Disappearing From the Airwaves. She Now Decides OWN Can Air theTwo Soap Operas

Jun 27, 2013  •  Post A Comment

In April 2011, when ABC announced that it was canceling the daytime soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," Oprah Winfrey, a well-known fan of the genre, was deluged by requests to save the shows by airing them on her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

In response, Oprah made a video and put it on YouTube in which she addressed the issue. Sitting at her desk and speaking directly to the camera, Oprah said she understood the devastation soap fans felt about the soaps being canceled. Then Oprah said:

Here is the bone-marrow truth. The soaps have been an institution in broadcast history and television because they had the support of the audience. When I first started doing my show, All My Children, General Hospital, were getting double-digit ratings. As those years have passed those double digits have moved to single digits and single digits and single digits, until now, many soaps are not even getting a full single-digit number. Because there are just not enough people who are at home in the daytime to watch them. Because of that, they are going off the air.

Believe me, if there was a dime left to be made from them on broadcast television, it would still be happening.

And so, because all good things come to an end, all things have their time, as do the soaps, as does ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ I will not be taking on the responsibility of trying to revive an institution that for all intent and for all purpose, indicates that that time has come for it to be over. So thank you for believing that I could save them, but I really can’t.

Now, after a rocky two years for OWN, it appears that OWN and Oprah believe there still are a few dimes to be made from the soaps after all.

The channel  announced: "OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is hosting a summer fling for soap fans as the network has acquired the first 40 episodes of The OnLine Network’s reprisal [SIC] of the popular daytime dramas ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ for a special exclusive 10-week limited engagement. Half-hour episodes of each show will air Monday through Thursday beginning Monday, July 15, with ‘All My Children’ at 1 p.m. ET/PT and ‘One Life to Live’ at 3 p.m. ET/PT only on OWN."

OWN President Erik Logan says in the statement: "These shows have proven to be very popular with a significant, loyal fan base, not to mention Oprah herself is a big fan. Many of our viewers across numerous platforms have expressed their passion for the soaps so we are especially excited to air this limited engagement on OWN."

The announcement made no reference to Oprah’s 2011 remarks, nor did OWN say why Oprah changed her mind about OWN airing the soaps.

OWN has removed from YouTube the original video we posted in 2011 that had Oprah’s remarks about the soaps, but we were able to find another posting of it on YouTube. Here it is:

3 Comments

  1. Reprisals? Is there THAT much violence, retribution and punishment in the television business? Gosh.

  2. Hi Biff. Good catch. As you can see in the body of the story, OWN uses the word “reprisal” in its press release. They are using it as form of the word “reprise,” meaning, in this context, repeat. We then took that usage of the word reprisal that they had and put in in our headline. As you correctly point out, however, one cannot use the word “reprisal” as a form of reprise. The meaning of “reprisal” is the one you mention in your comment. So we have corrected our headline and have included the word (SIC) when OWN uses it, indicating a wrong usage but that we are quoting its usage verbatim.

    Chuck Ross
  3. Just like Paula Deen, anyone can make a mistake.

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