ABC announced in April that it was driving a stake into “Children” and “One Life” 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.”
ABC will carry on with its plans to broadcast its final episode of “All My Children” on Sept. 23 and will air the final episode of “One Life to Live” next January. After that, the 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 of daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, said in Thursday’s announcement. “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 [production company] Prospect Park has assumed the mantle for these shows and that they will continue for the fans.”
Important factoid: One founder of Prospect Park is Rich Frank, who used to run TV operations at Disney, which owns ABC. He is partnered with Jeff Kwatinetz in Prospect Park, which produces the USA network series “Royal Pains” and FX’s new comedy series “Wilfred.”
The audience still commanded by those two soaps might 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. That includes those rabid fans who have been e-mailing, letter-writing and phone-calling to ABC suits, Disney suits and The Reporters Who Cover Television in an effort to save their soaps.
Agnes Nixon, the creator of both soaps, said in a statement Thursday that she is “so happy for our loyal fans, whom we love so much, and who have been so supportive over the last 40 plus years.” “One Life to Live” was born in 1968 and “All My Children” in 1970.
When it announced plans to kill both shows, 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, 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 — although they may be dwindling in numbers, soap fanatics are crazy passionate — ABC in its announcement wasted no time in blaming the changes on “extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want and the changing viewing patterns of the audience.”