The boards have been oddly quiet, so apparently I’m the only one who takes exception to CBS Sunday Morning’s upcoming feature on Susan Lucci. It was just a year ago that I noted how silently As the World Turns had slipped into the good night. None of the media hoopla that surrounded the end of sister show, Guiding Light the year before – not even a brief mention on Sunday Morning, although the show had time for a segment on NBC’s Bonanza.
Kind of ironic, considering that during its twenty-years at the top of the daytime ratings, ATWT generated who knows how many millions (billions?) of dollars in revenue for the network – money that subsidized the CBS news division that Edward R. Murrow built, and that produces Sunday Morning. Bonanza, on the other hand, never generated a penny for CBS.
And neither has Susan Lucci. So, why is CBS devoting a segment on one of their most prestigious shows to a daytime star from a competitor when just a year ago that same show couldn’t spare even a minute to acknowledge the departure of a show that had run on its network for fifty-four years? It appears to be part of a game of one-upmanship CBS has unleashed as All My Children closes out its forty-one year run on ABC. In a move that had Daytime Confidential’s Jamey Giddens suggesting that CBS’s Les Moonves and ABC Daytime’s Brian Fons, “just whip out their wee-diddles and measure 'em,” EW.com reported on Tuesday that AMC’s Michael E. Knight, Ricky Paull Goldin and Jacob Young will appear on The Talk the week of September 26 as part of an "All My Meals" segment. Of course, September 26 is when AMC’s replacement, the whimsically-named cooking show, The Chew, debuts.
I don’t disagree with Giddens that the move by CBS is “disingenuous and patronizing.” But I remember a few years back when ABC Daytime ran a campaign trying to entice CBS soap fans to watch ABC soaps while their shows were dark during March Madness. And earlier this year, ABC gleefully promoted a 20/20 interview with Charlie Sheen, late of CBS’s Two and a Half Men. Of course, by preempting Detroit 187 for the Sheen special, ABC hastened the demise of another excellent primetime drama, but that’s another story. So I’m inclined to chalk up the appearance of the AMC actors on The Talk as the usual network jousting.
But the Lucci interview is something else. This is a week of sad remembrance for fans of the Procter & Gamble soaps. And while CBS eventually acquitted itself well, saying goodbye to Guiding Light on both Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes, the silence for ATWT was deafening, and still rankles for many, me included. Intentionally or not, CBS’s decision to air the Lucci piece now is rubbing salt into slow-healing wounds. As I said a year ago, CBS should (still) be ashamed of itself.
© 2011 Lynn Liccardo
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