In September, we bid adieu to “All My Children” to make room for the food-centric chat fest “The Chew.” It wasn’t hard to understand ABC’s thinking behind the switch. Like most network soaps, “AMC” was losing viewers, and even with drastic budget cuts a cast of many is always going to cost more than five people plopped around a kitchen table yakking about osso bucco. ABC has gotten to see if pissing off devoted soap viewers was worth it, as the another week of ratings are in.
So, who won? Technically, “The Chew.” During the week of Nov. 22, the show brought in 2.51 million viewers — slightly more than “AMC”‘s 2.44 million during the same window last year. But “The Chew” can’t proclaim victory quite yet. “AMC” still brought in more women 25-34 (1.3 vs. 1.1 rating) and 18-34 (0.5 vs. 0.4).
This must all be salt in the wound for “AMC” fans, who recently learned that the show, despite much ballyhoo, wouldn’t be making the transition to the Internet after all. Though I’m sure some hoped that, if “The Chew” had tanked, “AMC” might be brought back to the daytime line-up, that would have been a pipe dream (even once you factor in the newly announced exit of ABC Daytime President Brian Frons, the guy responsible for kicking “AMC” and “One Life to Live” to the curb). The very obstacles that blocked the show from making its online debut — immovable unions and big expenses — are the reasons prime time chose the cheaper option of a chat show anyway.
Still, it’s sad to note another nail hammered into the soap opera coffin. Though I’m more interested in getting a good recipe out of Mario Batali than having to follow a never-ending storyline on a soap, it seems the daily drama is, like the CD and MySpace, a dying dinosaur we once took for granted but is destined for the scrap heap. At least we’ll know how to make sweet potato chips at home.