After the recent media success of what Perez Hilton called a “riot” outside of ABC’s recent upfront meeting at Lincoln Center in New York City, soap fans and prime time fans have united to create an all out media blitz. The popular Facebook group Fans United Against ABC is organizing the fans of the canceled ABC shows into one unified army against affiliate stations, and is planning a cross-country “Save Our Shows” rally for June 20.
The rallies are being held with the hope that the affiliates will take the message to the network in order to save some of the shows. Much to the fans’ delight, soap stars like Ilene Kristen (Roxy Balsom, One Life to Live) showed up at the Lincoln Center Rally. With the stage set for another round of cross-country protesting, ABC and its parent company, Disney, are sure to get an earful from angry fans.
“We know the network and Disney won’t listen to the fans — they just don’t care,” said Michele Carlin in an interview May 27. “But we do know if the affiliates start groaning under fan pressure, we have a better chance of being heard.”
Carlin’s statements reflect sentiments echoed by fans as far away as Italy. Domenico Bruno, an Italian-based fan of the now canceled Brothers and Sisters,who spoke to me on Facebook about the subject, joined with the Fans United group because he felt that the “…soap fans were already working on this they knew…what not to try.” That much is definitely accurate. Soap fans have been “on fire,” according to a recent interview with Susan Lucci (Erica Kane-All My Children,) who also said that she was “…not 100% sure the show would be ending” on the CBS show The Talk. One thing is 100 percent for sure: These fans are not going down without a fight.
A source at ABC/Disney, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that “..the network thought this would die down in a few weeks…but these fans are just out of control. They are going after sponsors, affiliates…anyone they can think of…and they are organized much better than anyone here [at ABC] ever thought possible.”
That is probably not good news to Brian Frons; the besieged head of ABC Daytime has a lot of answering to do for his recent actions and statements, particularly when the network contradicted his statement that women did not need escapism, according to the Examiner. Lately, it seems as if Frons is pulling tricks out of his hat in a desperate attempt to save his job, which is rumored by page six to be in jeopardy. If the ABC fans have their way, not only will Brothers and Sisters and One Life to Live be airing again next season, they will be doing so without Frons at the helm.
Some soap fans, however, would prefer to see the network self-destruct, and have vowed not to stop until the programming they love has found a home on a competing network. There are groups dedicated to trying to persuade Sony and NBC/Univision to buy the canceled shows and continue them on that network. There is even a suggestion out there that the City of New York (the NY Mayor’s office did not respond to calls to comment on the suggestion) purchase OLTL and maintain it as a New York legacy (OLTL is the only daytime drama that remains based in New York City).
“Creativity and pressure, that’s the name of the game,” said Nathan Brookshire, leader of the Facebook group Boycott ABC Across America. His group of about 2,000 fans works closely with the aforementioned Fans United Against ABC,which currently represents about 2,500 members
For those who wish to join these fans, the information on the protests is available in the Fans United Against ABC Facebook group linked earlier in this article.