My eyes brim over with tears when I think about it.  I feel as if I was standing on a rug that really tied the room together, when someone yanked it out from under me.  Leaving me to fall hard on my rear end, knocking the wind out of me, and causing me to foam at the mouth with disbelief and anger.

I cannot believe that in about 7 weeks, my favorite daytime drama, One Life to Live (OLTL) will be gone forever.  Replaced by yet another “reality” talk show.  I have loved soaps as far back as I can remember.  I did a piece recently called, “A Case for Soaps” where I spoke of the virtues of the daytime drama, but now I come with a heavy heart to share my sadness at its imminent demise.

I’m not quite sure how I will go on without my show.  Perhaps I will revert to reading romances. (Could it be that bad?) I’m certain I will dearly miss the friends I have come to know.  The idea that I will not be able to see Roger Howarth again is more than I can take. (Roger is my favorite soap star and an amazing actor to watch!)  I can only pray that he lands in one of the few remaining soaps.  Or joins the ranks of the film business.  (But when I’m used to seeing him every few days, how will I react to having to wait between movies?) This man has star power and it would be such a crime to watch it snuffed into obscurity.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little overly dramatic about this.  But that’s the nature of soaps.  And who can blame me for thinking I might miss people I’m used to seeing several times a week?

I will get by. I’m a positive person. I can think about how I will benefit from regaining 30 or 40 minutes of my day. I’ll find ways to adjust my life. I’ve said goodbye to people before (though not quite so many at once.)  My biggest concern now is for the people who are out of work because of this.

People like Erika Slezak who has played Vicki forever. Hillary Smith, Robert Woods, Kassie DePaiva, Jerry ver Dorn?  People who have invested years in developing their characters. What’s to become of them now?  There are so many fine actors in this medium.  Honing their craft day after day, line by line.  How hard it must be to do this every day, learn all those lines and deliver them with such powerful emotions!  What’s going to happen to all these actors and actresses as the field of daytime dramas dwindles?

Soap operas employ plenty of other people, too.  What of the crew? Everyone and everything that goes into producing these daily delights. What will they do now?  I thought we were supposed to be putting people back to work, not shutting down livelihoods. This just pours more people into the ranks of the unemployed.

I’m deeply disturbed by the blaming that’s going on.  Some say it’s the ratings.  But OLTL has been higher in the ratings than previously.  It’s not the unions, who say they are willing to negotiate. (Though it is fashionable to blame them.) The production company, who got all our hopes up about continuing the soaps on the Internet, said it wasn’t their fault.  Cady McClain had some wonderful things to say about the situation on her facebook page.  Thanks to The Real Todd Manning Blog for this link.

I believe she’s right when she says it’s a bottom line issue.  If it doesn’t serve the shareholders or upper management, if it’s not making them richer, it’s not worth keeping around.  Cady’s on the money when she says profits have become our gods. Nothing else.  Certainly not quality or people matter as much as how much we’re going to make.

That fact that it costs a lot to put on soap operas is a ludicrous statement.  That somehow the figure is written in stone or that the cheaper it is, the better it is.  I don’t care if my house is built of shoddy material, just build it.  It’s like saying you want to put on a dance performance, but can’t be bothered hiring good dancers or getting them costumes or sets.  Why bother in the first place?  People are reasonable, costs can be cut, adjustments can be made.  But to say that a show that costs only 3 million is better than a show that costs 7, is insane.

These cheap, short-lived, same-old-thing reality shows could never gain the audience share of a 40 year old institution.  And they will never capture the imagination and loyalty these soap characters have.

And what about the writers?  I can’t even think about that without choking up.  What kind of world will it be when the only entertainment is something that resembles the talk over the water cooler? (What will we talk about without the scripted shows as fodder?) (I suppose one might say the goings on in Washington make for interesting talk, but that can hurt feelings and take you into dangerous territory.)  We are taught in writing fiction that reality can be pretty boring. I shudder to think the precedent which is set and the dumming down which will ensue from a plethora of cheap shows with the same set, a handful of regulars and no writers!

I’m nervous about my life without soaps.  I ache for the many displaced by these cancellations and I feel such deep sadness for the future of television.

Not very positive, I know.  But I needed to get it off my chest.  I can only pray that the power of all of us who love soaps so much will not let the light go out forever.