In June, General Hospital fans were left reeling when ABC announced that it had given General Hospital's timeslot to a yet-to-be-developed talk show hosted television personality Katie Couric. The move was part of a sweeping deal that brought the former Today host and CBS news anchor to the network.
With ABC already having canceled two soaps -- All My Children and One Life to Live -- just two months earlier in favor of cheaper "lifestyle" programming, it appeared that network was looking to move out of the scripted daytime drama business completely.
ABC has had mixed results with its two replacement shows. The cooking-themed The Chew has been equalling the ratings of All My Children's year-ago ratings. One Life to Live's replacement, the lifestyle makeover program, The Revolution, hasn't done as well. In the most recent ratings, The Revolution has pulled in just 40% of One Life to Live's audience.
Citing sources close to Couric's camp, TVGuide is reporting that Couric and her executive producer, Jeff Zucker, have "expressed concern about the disappointing ratings of ABC's The Revolution which, if GH gets the ax, would be the lead-in to Katie when the talker debuts this fall. Couric and Zucker want to see GH get that slot because it's a stronger show, Nielsen-wise, plus Couric does not want to face the wrath of GH fans and risk the chance they'll organize a boycott."
Skeptics have questioned if Couric is trying to play both sides of the field. By voicing support for General Hospital, if ABC ultimately does cancel the long-running soap, Couric might avoid the wrath of soap fans.
In announcing the creation of Couric's self-titled talk show, an ABC spokesperson explained that it did "not mean the inevitable cancellation of General Hospital."
"Rather it means that in September 2012, we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows," the spokesperson added. "We'll have options for the daytime daypart just like we do each year with primetime. We believe in all of our shows and the ones that our viewers want will be the ones that continue. There are many options that could happen... only time will tell."
In January, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee told reporters, "We have not made a decision and we do not have a timeframe for that."
Insiders speculate that a decision will be made by the of April.