Tuesday, February 9, 2010 4:00 AM ET | By Scotty Gore
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After 32 years and roughly 8,000 episodes, “One Life to Live” tapes at their current Manhattan studios for the last time.
ABC Television’s Studio 17, located in the Big Apple, is empty for the first time since the ABC soap moved in more than three decades ago. During “One Life’s” time at the studio, nearly three-fourths of the show’s 10,617 episodes (which have aired as of February 8th, 2010) were filmed.
From the show’s debut in 1968 until it expanded from 45 to 60 minutes a decade later, “One Life to Live” was taped at the old TV18 at 101 West 67th Street in New York City. For much of that time (1970-78), “OLTL” taped alongside their sister soap, and fellow Agnes Nixon creation, “All My Children” (which would continue to call the studio home until 1990). TV18 has since been torn down and replaced with a 50-story apartment building.
Since moving in to TV17 (56 West 66th Street), a renovated National Guard Armory building constructed in 1901, “One Life to Live” has produced countless memorable storylines, including the now infamous Spring Fling gang rape, Victoria Lord’s ultimate battle with DID, Llanview’s mass gay nuptials, the underground city of Eterna, Buchanan City and the Old West, Viki goes to heaven, Karen Wolek admitting she was a hooker while on the witness stand, and the Llanview High School Musical, just to name a few. In addition, the soap also produced the special “Trading Places” (2002), “Babes Behind Bars” (2003), and fantasy (2007) episodes, along with airing a week of live episodes in 2002. And, during “OLTL’s” time in the converted Armory building, the show celebrated two important milestones, broadcasting their 10,000th episode in 2007 and recognizing their 40th anniversary in 2008.
Former “One Life” cast members during this time that have gone on to greater fame include Judith Light, Roma Downey, Blair Underwood, Joe Lando, Audrey Landers, Richard Grieco, Phylicia Rashad, Jameson Parker, Marcia Cross, Yasmine Bleeth, and Nathan Fillion.
Major guest stars who visited Llanview during “OLTL’s” time at TV17 include Sammy Davis, Jr., Ivana Trump, Kurtis Blow, Dr. Ruth, Reba McEntire, Bill Anderson, Arlene Dahl, Bill Medley, Darlene Love,The Beach Boys, Marsha Mason, Little Richard, Erykah Badu, Frank McCourt, Lionel Richie, Simply Red, Mary J. Blige, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, Timbaland, Nelly Furtado, The Pussycat Dolls, and Snoop Dogg.
Pictured: ABC Television Studio 17, the now former home of “One Life to Live” courtesy Google Earth
Since the final scenes at TV17 were taped last week, several “One Life to Live” cast and crew members have Tweeted their thoughts on the end of an era. Kristen Alderson (Starr) posted a picture of the current studio with a sign that read “That’s a good night to Studio17.” Scott Clifton (Schuyler) commented that “Today [January 29th] was my last day of work before ‘OLTL’ makes it’s move. It’s been a pleasure, Studio 17! Wish I knew you longer.” And Music Director Paul Glass writes that “ Saying goodbye to TV-17 today [February 4th]….thousands of shows and unbelievable memories! Looking forward to big things in the new studio… I’m gonna miss the studio also. Lots of great years and amazing people!”
This week the show begins the process of moving sets, equipment, props, and accessories several blocks to the studio recently vacated by “All My Children,” which moved to Los Angeles back in December. That studio is approximately 30% larger, has been refurbished, has upgraded cameras and technical equipment, and contains separate dressing rooms for each member of the cast. “One Life” will tape their first episode in their home on February 16th, which is expected to air sometime in late March or early April, given the soap’s fast paced production schedule.
Pictured: ABC Television Studio 23, the former home of “All My Children,” and current home to “One Life to Live” and “The View” courtesy NewYorkShow.com
“The View,” which films in the same building as “One Life to Live” at TV23 (320 West 66th Street), has already extended the hand of friendship to their new neighbors. According to Brittany Underwood (Langston), “Whoopi [Goldberg] got us ‘welcome cookies’ how sweet! But I still miss our old studio it was home away from home!”
As for Susan Lucci’s old dressing room, despite speculation that it would go to “OLTL” matriarch Erika Slezak), the show apparently had other ideas. “Went through our orientation at the new studio today. They put me in Susan Lucci’s old dressing room. Moving up in the world!,” tweets Scott Clifton (Schuyler).
“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Anytime on ABC.com and SOAPnet.com. Check local listings.