Cancelled soap operas
All My Children and One Life to Live will have another life online, ABC announced today. The network has licensed the canceled sudsers to Prospect Park, a media and production company founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank. (The company’s best known for producing Royal Pains for USA and Wilfred for FX.) The exclusive, multi-year deal will allow the soaps to continue beyond their finale dates. All My Children ends it run on ABC on Sept. 23 while One Life to Live is set to sunset in January.
Prospect Park will produce and deliver the soaps via online formats and “additional emerging platforms” that include internet enabled television sets. Under the terms of the arrangement, ABC promises that the programs will “continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length.”
Frank and Kwatinetz released this statement: “We are privileged to continue the legacy of two of the greatest programs to air on daytime television, and are committed to delivering the storylines, characters and quality that audiences have come to love for over 40 years. All My Children and One Life to Live are television icons, and we are looking forward to providing anytime, anywhere viewing to their loyal community of millions. Technology changes the way the public can and will view television shows. Now that there are so many devices available in addition to television sets, viewers are taking advantage of watching shows where ever they are and on any number of devices.
“The driving force in making the switch and attracting new audiences is to have outstanding programs that people want to watch,” the statement continued. “We believe that by continuing to produce the shows in their current hour format and with the same quality, viewers will follow the show to our new, online network.”
No additional information was released, so it’s unclear for now where fans can eventually find the two soaps — and whether all of their beloved characters will make the transition from TV to online. Even though the promise was made that the soaps will maintain the same high-production standards, it seems cost prohibitive. It’s not cheap to bankroll such large ensembles while paying big salaries for popular stars like Susan Lucci and Erika Slezak. After all, the enormous cost of maintaining old (and many think outdated) soaps was the primary reason behind ABC’s decision to yank AMC and OLTL in the first place.
Staying on TV may be more attractive for some of the bigger stars on AMC and OLTL. In fact, Maria Arena Bell – the head writer for The Young and the Restless —told EW she’s looking to hire one or two actors from the canceled soaps in the coming months.
At least the deal helps ABC daytime Brian Frons to save face since he helped to broker it. When the announcement was made of the soaps’ cancellation back in April, fans held Frons personally accountable. The exec released this statement today: “All My Children and One Life to Live are iconic pieces of television history that captivated millions of fans since their beginning over 40 years ago. Each of the shows have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history and informed our consciousness in their own way. We are so glad Prospect Park has assumed the mantle for these shows and that they will continue for the fans.”
Even Agnes Nixon, who created both soaps, weighed in with a statement: “I’m just so happy that ABC found a home where the legacies of All My Children and One Life To Live can continue. I’m excited for their future with Prospect Park. It takes a lot of living to make a soap opera a serial, and the wonderful teams on both shows have done just that. Together, we are a big family that keeps going, and I’m looking forward to working alongside these wonderful people as we ensure that the shows will continue with all the love and excitement we’ve always had. I also am so happy for our loyal fans, whom we love so much, and who have been so supportive over the last 40 plus years.”