Like the phoenix rising from the ashes – or cockroaches you cannot kill no matter how hard you try, depending on your perspective – ABC’s long-running, destined-for-cancellation soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” turn out not to be terminal after all.
ABC announced Thursday it had sold online rights to the two soaps to a Hollywood production company that wants to keep them going, as Web series.
ABC announced in April it was driving a stake into “Children” and “One Life” in order to launch two new “The View”- esque daytime shows. One is about all things food, stars a bunch of foodies, and is called “The Chew.” The other is about people trying to lose weight and stars the inimitable fashion guru Tim Gunn, among others. It’s called “The Revolution.”
The two decades-old soaps will use the same cast, crew and talent in making the move to the Web.
“‘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,” Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group said in Thursday's annnouncement. “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 mantel for these shows and that they will continue for the fans.”
Important factoid: one of the founders of Prospect Park is Rich Frank, who used to run TV operations at Disney, which owns ABC.
The audience still commanded by these two soaps may be too small for ABC’s ambitions these days, but would go a long way to help launch a new it’s-TV-only-on-the-Web venture. Including those rabid fans who have been emailing, letter-writing, and phone-calling to ABC suits, Disney suits, and The Reporters Who Cover Television in an effort to save their soaps.
“One Life to Live” was born in 1968 and “All My Children” in ‘70.
When it announced plans to kill them both, back in April, ABC promised to “honor” the “core, passionate audience and their rich history” by plowing them under “in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”
Plus, Disney ABC/Television Group president Brian Frons put on his wistful face, and noted “While we are excited about our new shows and the shift in our business, I can’t help but recognize how bittersweet the change is.”
Still sensing a coming outrage – those soap fanatics, they may be dwindling in numbers, but they’re crazy passionate! -- ABC in its announcement wasted no time blaming the changes on “extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want and the changing viewing patterns of the audience.”