ABC announced today that it is canceling two of its soap operas, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," because of declining ratings. Apparently daytime drama isn't the draw that it once was because programming tastes have changed and "many of the women who made up the target audience [are] now in the work force."
The passing of these two former broadcasting heavyweights is somewhat sad for me because it represents the demise of a communication research subject that was once so very rich. A quick search for soap operas in the library catalog yields a plethora of books from the 1970s, 80s, and into the 90s. You also find soap opera articles in our databases such as "Soap opera viewing motivations and the cultivation process" which was in a 1985 issue of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. I guess what I am trying to say is that in their heyday, soap operas like "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" helped us better understand communication so it is somewhat tragic to watch something that was once so vital fade into oblivion.
But time marches on and so does research. So if you want to study soap opera's younger, hipper sibling (reality TV) we have resources for that too :-)
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