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'Ryan' is out of hope as ABC cancels series
By Gary Deeb
(Originally Published on November 3, 1988)

It has been a race for the booby price between ABC's Ryan's Hope and NBC's Another World, but Ryan's Hope has emerged as the winner of an expense-free trip to Cancellation City. After 13 1/2 years as a mid-day fixture, that ABC daytime soap opera is getting knocked off the air, the victim of a lingering case of very low viewership.

Ryan's Hope will disappear from the air in mid-January, although ABC won't announce a replacement program until later this month.

In the last few years, the serial about an Irish-American family in New York was one of daytime TV's least-watched programs, and only about 75% of ABC's affiliated stations have been carrying it.

"It isn't that Ryan's Hope has been rejected by the audience," said Jo Ann Emmerich, vice president of ABC daytime programming. "The program simply has been unavailable to viewers in many cities around the country. On the East Coast, Ryan runs at noon - and many stations decline to carry it because they want to televise their local newscast at that hour. So without a sufficient number of stations picking it up, the show suffered irreversible audience erosion."

The producers of Ryan's Hope have known for the last year-and-a-half that they've been skating on thin ice. In order to ingratiate themselves with the network brass (and perhaps stave off cancellation for a while), they occasionally created bit-parts for such powerhouse ABC officials as board chairman Tom Murphy and corporate president Dan Burke.

But when the final chapter in the Ryan's Hope saga is written it'll be noted that the beginning of the end for the soap took place in 1982. That's when Ryan's Hope got switched from its longtime schedule placement just before the popular All My Children each weekday. The move of Ryan to an earlier time slot removed all proximity to the blockbuster AMC. Viewership plummeted almost immediately.

Ryan's Hope was moved as an appeasement to All My Children creator Agnes Nixon, who wanted AMC preceded each weekday by her own then-new soap opera Loving.

1988 North American Syndicate, Inc.

Courtesy of Wanda

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