What a roller coaster ride of emotions for “OLTL” fans in the past month. First the show tapes its final episode for its television run on Friday, November 18 in preparation for its move online with Prospect Park, only to be told five days later via a press release that the upstart production company was scrapping plans to transition “One Life” and its sister soap “All My Children” to the Internet due to a lack of funding.
This was an especially hard pill for many “One Life to Live” viewers to swallow, given that the news came only four months after it was announced that Prospect Park had licensed the rights to “OLTL” and “AMC” from ABC after the network unceremoniously axed the soaps in April after 43 and 41 years on the air, respectively.
Further adding salt to the wounds of ticked off fans was that the announcement to dump “One Life to Live” came only weeks after it was revealed that the company had decided to focus solely on the soap while keeping “All My Children” on the back burner for the foreseeable future. Add to this the fact that Prospect Park had reached agreements in the past few months with 13 “OLTL” cast members, along with the show’s head writer and executive producer to continue the show after it left ABC.
Talk about a feeling of déjà vu. My first reaction to the news about Prospect Park dumping “OLTL” was “not again.” Only recently had I begun to work my way out of the five stages of grief over the loss of my favorite soap opera, which I have grown up watching since I was a little kid. I had nearly come to terms with the cancelation and was coping with the fact that although the soap wouldn’t continue that my “Life” (no pun intended) would go on. Then came the news that Prospect Park was swooping in to save the day. After being skeptical at first, I slowly became lulled into a false sense of security, excited about “OLTL” getting another chance. I was thrilled at the possibility of still being able to see characters like Viki and Blair, who have become like a part of my family over the years. I was intrigued that the thought of actually setting down in front of my computer on a regular basis to watch “OLTL” and other shows. And most of all I was optimistic that the show would thrive online and continue to enjoy its current level of success (so to speak).
Then the rugged was pulled out from me…again. Going through the emotions again, I still hold out a small glimmer of hope that another miracle will take place, saving my favorite soap once more. However, this time around I am also becoming more rational in my understanding that “One Life to Live,” like all other things in life, must eventually come to an end. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much we hope they will. Just like losing a beloved family member, pet, or possession, we have to learn when and how to let go of something that we have loved and cherished for so very long. And, while it may be painful, time will eventually heal those wounds.
“One Life to Live” may be “only a television show” but to myself and millions of other fans out there, it has and always will hold a special place in our hearts. The characters are like family, and Llanview is like our second hometown. Throughout the years, we have laughed, cried, hurt, and mourned alongside the residents of the fictional Philadelphia suburb. We rallied around Viki when she had breast cancer, encouraged the Cramer girls as they tried to stay sane in a family with a history of mental illness, sympathized with Shane when he was being bullied, and learned about intolerance as Llanview was torn apart over homosexuality. We cried when Megan died, became depressed when Asa passed on, and smiled when each baby was born. We became Llanview and Llanview became us. So, while to many it may be only a TV show, to us it is part of the family. That’s why the 2:00 pm ET hour (1:00 pm for me) will never be the same.
And, like family, “OLTL” fans need to come together to celebrate the show’s long history, and allow it to bow out gracefully and not needlessly suffer through frivolous lawsuits, ineffective boycotts, threats of violence, and harassing letters, phone calls, and e-mails to ABC, Prospect Park, and others. Let’s show everyone what soap fans are really like and give “One Life to Live” a proper sendoff like Viki and the rest of Llanview deserve. That is the least we can do for four decades of memories. Sure we’re angry, but those types of things will get you nowhere. And at the end of the day, it will all be for naught as “OLTL” will still be canceled.
Let’s make these last seven weeks that “One Life to Live” is on the air the highest rated the show has seen in years and show ABC that they were wrong in canceling it and Prospect Park wrong in thinking that there aren’t people out there willing to help fund its continuation online. That is the least we can do for “One Life” for all that it has given us. I know that’s what I’m going to do anyway. And I hope you will do the same.
As with the show itself, my “One Life to Live” reporting duties here at Soap Opera Network will also soon be coming to an end, which includes this column. Barring any last minute changes, look for the final edition of “My View of Llanview” on January 30, just over two weeks after “OLTL” airs its final ABC episode. Thank you to all my faithful readers over the years, who have endured all my incessant ramblings and opinions. It has been one hell of a ride to say the least.
Moving on, no one guessed (either correctly or incorrectly) the answers to the trivia questions from the previous column. So I’m going to give you a second chance. Here are the questions again: 1. What role on “OLTL” did Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan, “AMC”) once audition for? Before taking over the character of Cristian Vega, what small role did David Fumero play? 3. What did Jerry verDorn wear to his audition for the role of Clint Buchanan that disappeared before his first episode aired? I’ll have the answers in the December 15 edition of My View of Llanview.
Now, before I wrap up this column, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and give you a quick sneak peek at a few things coming up a few weeks down the road. One man is forced to make a tough choice. Someone sees things from a whole new prospective. More than one secret is revealed. And one Llanview family spends Christmas with someone unexpected.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Stay safe and warm.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…