Internet Tries to Rescue Your Canceled Soaps

Linda Sharps
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Back in April, loyal fans were shocked by the announcement that All My Children and One Life to Live would be canceled. The ABC soap operas had essentially been dumped after four decades in favor of "informational" programming (in other words, shows like The View which are both cheaper to produce and [inexplicably] insanely popular), but three months after ABC dropped the axe, it sounds like the soaps may be saved.

ABC today said that both soap operas will be taken over by media and production company Prospect Park. In a licensing arrangement which gives Prospect Park the rights to produce and distribute, while ABC retains intellectual property, fans can now count on seeing new episodes for All My Children and One Life to Live.

The only catch is that the shows won't be on network television. Instead, they're be available online.

Both shows will continue to be shown via their hour-long format, and Prospect promises to deliver the episodes in "just as high quality online as they were on television." It hasn't been announced where they'll be housed online, but the soaps will be available on the web and via Internet-enabled television sets.

This seems like a really fascinating move. On one hand, it makes perfect sense for new media companies to dream up innovative solutions for providing the content people want to see while bypassing everything that's involved with network television. On the other hand, we're talking about soap operas here—this doesn't exactly seem like a bleeding-edge viewer demographic. Will soap fans, as a rule, be willing to watch hour-long shows on the web? What sort of advertising model will we see? Will existing soap stars like Susan Lucci follow the show to its new format?


And what does this mean for the future of television? It brings up all sorts of interesting ideas about where media could go in the next several years, don't you think? I definitely never expected that soap operas would be among the first to test the waters of this mostly unchartered medium for video programming.


For the fans' sake, I hope the online experiment is a massive success. No word on when the new shows will be available, but it should be soon: All My Children is set to end on ABC on Sept. 23, and One Life to Live will end in January.


Are you excited to hear that the soaps may be saved? Will you keep watching, wherever they air?


Image via ABC

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