But it could have been far worse. ABC said in its statement that it "continues to support 'General Hospital.'"
Couric's show is set to take the 'GH' 3PM ET time slot in Sept. 2012. The network has already announced that 'The Chew' will replace 'All My Children' this fall, and 'The Revolution' will fill 'One Life to Live''s timeslot next year, but this doesn't necessarily mean that 'GH' is going to that great soap opera in the sky.
Read on for analysis of what the future holds for Luke, Tracy, Sonny, Jason and the rest of Port Charles ...
"The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of 'GH,'" an ABC rep says in a statement. "Rather it means that in Sept. 2011 we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows. We'll have options for the Daytime daypart just like we do each year with our Primetime [schedule]. We believe in all our shows and the ones that our viewers want will be the ones that continue.
"There are MANY options that could happen ... only time will tell ... we are simply giving ourselves options for the future, which is a smart way to do business. The best way to ensure a favorite show stays on the air is to watch it."
Some of the options include shortening hour-long programs to 30 minutes in length, which could mean all the shows hoping to stay on the air would get a time slot.
"The best thing that could happen for 'GH' would be for either 'The Chew' or 'The Revolution' to fail," says a Daytime Emmy-winning producer, who requested anonymity for this story.
Cooking and lifestyle shows are much cheaper to produce than soap operas, so in order to stay competitive 'GH' may have to "renegotiate everything," suggests the producer.
Ratings for 'GH' may go up when SOAPnet (which currently airs rebroadcasts of the sudser) goes away, though there will need to be a campaign to drive viewers back to ABC. But 'GH' viewers have something denied fans of most canceled soaps: They have time to support their show and encourage lapsed viewers to return.
"The show has to go back to its roots and hope that the viewers come home," says the producer. "The fans will have to go back and start watching again. It's like Tinkerbell. You have to applaud if you want her to live."
So 'GH' fans: Are you ready to applaud, tune in and show your support to ensure the show stays on the air?