As the major broadcast networks continue to shed the soaps from their day time schedule, soap opera fans continue hope that some of their favorites will continue in another venue, such as the Internet, or a cable network. The fans of the canceled All My Children and One Life To Live are demanding that since their network, ABC no longer has any interest in airing the programs, that they release the programs to the control of their creator, soap opera legend, Agnes Nixon. The fans of Nixon's soaps have organized and call themselves SWANS, which stands for Standing With Agnes Nixon.
These fans are not only pressing for Nixon to be given control of the soap operas that she created, but are also advocating that Nixon be given a Kennedy Center honor for her contributions to the soap opera genre. A CNN iReport dedicated to the work of Agnes Nixon, not only cites her industry honors, such as Day Time Emmy Awards and her induction into the Soap Opera Hall of Fame, but also what the report says are socially relevant contributions to the soap opera form and television in general. The report, by Flo DiBona singles out Nixon because, she wrote groundbreaking storylines about Jewish, Polish, and African American families” … and introduced daytime to social issues such as anti-war sentiments and AIDs. She wrote the first storyline about abortion, ….”
Nixon’s roots in the soap opera genre go deep. She was a protégé and writer under Irna Phillips who helped create the soap opera genre on radio and then TV with such shows as Guiding Light, As The World Turns, and Search For Tomorrow, none of which are currently aired. The SWANS group is championing Nixon as someone whose work in popular culture should be remembered as more than someone who created cancelled TV shows.
Soap opera fan activist, Silas Kain was cited by Yahoo! Contributor Network member, Donna Nolan-Wilson that the formation of the SWAN group was a “Christmas gift” to Nixon and that she has not publicly commented on the matter yet.
The Agnes Nixon creations are controlled by ABC/Disney and an online content provider called Prospect Park. Soap Opera activists have accused Disney of colluding with Prospect Park to prevent the further dissemination of the Nixon-created shows. Kain told Nolan-Wilson, “Both shows are her legacies. We have got to send a clear signal to Disney and to Prospect Park that though they may have the rights, these are still her legacies and they are holding her hostage."
As of this moment there are only four soap operas left standing on the standard network broadcast schedule. NBC has Days Of Our Lives, ABC still has General Hospital, CBS is unusual in that it is carrying two soap operas, The Bold And The Beautiful, and The Young And The Restless. While the soap opera may be a disappearing genre, the enthusiasts are hoping that they may have a second life on either the web or on a cable station. Soapnet, which is owned by ABC/Disney is expected to convert to another cartoon-based network in 2012.
Soap opera enthusiasts are hoping for the continuation of the remaining daytime serials on broadcast television. They are also hoping for the continuation of their favorite genre in some form. They are also hoping for good things for a person who helped shape the modern soap opera. They are hoping that Agnes Nixon be allowed a chance to continue the legacy of the shows she created.T They are also hoping for wider recognition for someone who helped shape an American entertainment genre.