For those of you who haven’t been following along, here’s the background. Last spring ABC abruptly canceled two long-running soap operas – All My Children and One Life to Live. When the move was first announced I recommended that the brains behind the move be fired and the shows brought back. Here’s that blog:
Should ABC axe Brian Frons and keep One Life to Live?
Subsequently Brain Frons was fired and it was announced that the shows were headed to the internet. Here’s what I had to say about that development:
One Life to Live…will live again!
In early 2012, after the internet deal fell apart, I took a look at the replacement shows and suggested that The Revolution was not long for this world – it has since been canceled.
Can ABC Even Call This A Pyrrhic Victory?
So where do we stand now? Well first of all, General Hospital has been terrific the past few months. They’ve moved away from the serial killer plots and brought back many fan faves, and even a few of the best faces from One Life to Live. As a result, ratings have hit a two-year high and GH is now the number two soap for Women 18-49. (Bibel, 2013) And with Genie Francis’s return in February confirmed and the revival of the ever entertaining Nurse’s Ball coming up, it seems very likely that by the time the show’s 50th anniversary rolls around in April ABC might reconsider becoming a soap free network. (Kroll, 2013)
But the big news this week is that Prospect Park has revived its plans to bring AMC and OLTL to the internet. No doubt the decision was due in part to the recent performance of GH. But it’s also due to the evolution of online tv, which now makes the proposition that much more viable.
Early word is that the shows will shrink to ½ hour, run 4x a week, and will have limited advertising with heavy product placement. That approach certainly makes sense based on the extreme loyalty of viewers. But mostly it made me smile because I had de ja vu – the first soaps, which moved from radio to tv in 1956 were actually produced by Proctor & Gamble. How interesting it is to see things come full circle.
But the true significance of this development is what it portends for the future. If the soaps are a success financially using online distribution they will undoubtedly usher in a new era in content development for the internet. I like the symmetry of that.
Bibel, S. (2013, January 8) Soap Opera Ratings: ‘General Hospital’ Hits a Two Year High in Total Viewers. tvbythenumbers.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013, from
Kroll, D. (2013, January 8) Genie Francis to return as GH’s Laura Spencer. soapcentral.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013, from http://soapcentral.com/gh/news/2013/0108-francis.php
(2012, December 25) ‘All My Children’ and “one Life to Live’ Will Return With New Format, Hire Fi-Core Writers. aceshowbiz.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013, from http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00056621.html