Fear not, All My Children fans. Reports of the 39-year-old soap's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Earlier this week, soapcentral.com reported on a story that had many soap fans frozen in front of their computer screens, unable to move or raise their jaws from the floor. All My Children had narrowly escaped cancellation.
A spokesperson for ABC Daytime tells soapcentral.com that the cancellation rumors are "absolutely not true." All My Children, the rep continues, "was never in danger of [...] being cancelled."
So how did something apparently so outrageous find its way to the pages of the soapcentral.com web site? It's time to dissect to anatomy of an Internet rumor.
Earlier this month, TVGuide Canada reported that ABC came "thisclose to canceling AMC. Real close. Scary close." The report swept across the Internet, leaving many fans fearful that their favorite soap would soon be a thing of the past.
What perhaps is more scary is that the state of daytime is so tenuous that news of All My Children's cancellation could actually be taken as true. Ratings have eroded steadily over the past few years, and even the top-rated The Young and the Restless has recently been forced to trim its operating budget.
Even before the TVGuide report, there was talk about All My Children ailing financial situation. Advertising Age, a trade publication for the advertising industry, published a report on how the tanking economy has impacted daytime television. In the article, it was reported that All My Children's contract players had all been asked to take pay cuts in an effort to keep the show afloat. Yes, that even included daytime's best-known diva, Susan Lucci (Erica Kane). Brian Frons, president of daytime for Disney-ABC Television Group, confirmed that the network is having to "negotiate salaries down."
Additionally, Frons also has issued a statement regarding speculation that All My Children is preparing to install a new executive producer. For more on that story, please click here.
As any good conspiracy theorist knows, if you examine something long enough you can always find a way to twist something to make it suit your needs. For a period of several months, All My Children was ABC's lowest-rated daytime drama series. Another sign of trouble came last year, when SOAPnet abruptly stopped airing its weekend "catch me up" marathons of All My Children.
Still unresolved are the rumors that All My Children might be forced to give up its posh Manhattan studio as a way to further cut the show's costs. As anyone who's ever thought of living in the Big Apple knows, New York real estate is not exactly cheap. Moving AMC to a new studio could potentially cut the show's operating costs significantly. Moving to a new studio is not unheard of. In 2005, CBS moved Guiding Light from its studio on the East Side of Manhattan to a new location on the city's West Side that had been mothballed for some time. There is belief that ABC could easily relocate production of All My Children to New Jersey, a move that would not force any of the show's stars to relocate.
More important than where All My Children will be filmed in the future is that All My Children will be filmed in the future.