After canceling longtime favorites “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” leaving “General Hospital” as their sole scripted daytime show, ABC doesn’t exactly have the best reputation with soap opera fans. When ABC President of Entertainment Paul Lee sat down to talk to the press at Friday’s Television Critics Association Press Tour, he addressed his feelings about soaps — and suggested that perhaps the daytime soaps are being eclipsed by their primetime counterparts.
After Lee referred to the new Sunday night horror show “666 Park Avenue” as a “delicious soap,” a reporter asked him about his tendency to use the term “soap” in a complimentary fashion, whereas other execs sometimes use it in a more derogatory fashion.
Lee says that soaps tend to rake in more money from advertisers. “We tend to be able to sell it more aggressively around the world because it’s appointment television,” he explains, noting that he began his career producing Brazilian and British soap operas.
He’s referring, specifically, to primetime dramas. “I feel like ‘Revenge,’ for instance, has really made soaps cool again, and there’s nothing wrong with serialized drama,” he says. “Are we proud of the soaps that we have? Are we proud of ‘Revenge’? Yeah. Are we proud that we have the number-one drama on television, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’? Yes, we are. So, yeah, I’m proud of it. It’s not a bad word for me.”
The daytime dramas were canceled in favor of shows like “The Revolution,” which failed to find an audience and was canceled this summer. Despite “The Revolution’s” demise, though, Lee says ABC is not looking to revive “All My Children” or “One Life to Live,” and they’re not looking at picking up new scripted daytime shows.
“I think those decisions were made,” he says. “No. Our focus is on ‘General Hospital,’ and I think Frank [Valentini] is doing a great job with that, and a lot of his crossovers. So we like that and are great supporters of it.”
He also urges viewers not to discount “The Chew.” “I think we are very pleased with ‘The Chew,'” he notes. “I don’t know if you are watching that, but it’s got such energy, that show, really well run by Gordon. And we saw a presentation the other day, and that’s just going to get better and better. It’s also a huge asset for us as you get into the holiday season and beyond.”