ABC's upcoming daytime series The Chew is a topical, View-style talk show all about food, and already it's embroiled in controversy. Why? Because it will replace All My Children, which goes off the air next month, and soap opera fans aren't exactly excited about the trade-off.
But Gordon Elliot, executive producer of The Chew, reasons that since there are plans for both All My Children and also-ending soap One Life to Live to continue online, why can't viewers watch it all, guilt-free? "We were asked to join the daytime lineup because daytime tastes have changed," Elliott told reporters Sunday during ABC's fall TV previews. Soap audiences have been in steady decline for several years, and in April, ABC announced it was ending both All My Children and One Life to Live. (They go off the air in September and January, respectively.) In July, production company Prospect Park said it was attempting to resurrect both series online, as well as on other platforms. Viewers "can have their cake and eat it too," Elliot said.
Scoop on the new Web version of All My Children
Clinton Kelly, one of The Chew hosts, added: "We can't be soap stars, but we can be friends you want to hang out with." Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Daphne Oz and Top Chef's Carla Hall also host.
Asked if producers were aware that some very vocal soap fans had launched a campaign to boycott The Chew (as well as ABC's other soap replacement, a reality show called Revolution), Elliot said he understands their anger. "I totally understand how those people feel," he said, noting that he too used to be a regular soap opera viewer. "I don't control the process that made that change, and while I'm sympathetic... I hope [soap fans] give us a break. And if they don't like it, I can't control that. I can only control what goes in this television show."
The Chew premieres Monday, Sept. 26 at 1/12c.