From re-runs of soap classics “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” “Another World,” “Port Charles,” and “Falcon Crest,” to the launches of original series “SoapCenter,” “Soap Talk” and “General Hospital: Night Shift,” SOAPnet was defined as the “new way to watch soaps” for much of its near 14-year run. With just 2 days left before SOAPnet is no more, we thought it would be a great opportunity to look back at the inaugural year of a network that gave diehard soap fans their own platform to shout with glee through the death of a network that outlived its purpose.
On Friday, November 8, Soap Opera Network reported that SOAPnet, now the old way to watch soaps, would cease operation on December 31, 2013 at 11:59:59 ET. In a piece by the Los Angeles Times, Ben Pyne, president of global distribution for Disney Media Networks, said, “SOAPnet had a great run.” He added, “It served an audience of super-soap fans. And when given the opportunity, all of our affiliates kept the channel up and running.” The affiliates Pyne refers are the cable and satellite operators including DirecTV and Cablevision, et al that have kept the cable network on their channel listings whether a new deal with Disney and the carriers was signed or not.
The ABC Cable Networks Group, a division of Disney/ABC Television Group, has informed cable and satellite operators across the United States that they will cease operating SOAPnet, the cable network devoted to airing same day episodes of “Days of our Lives” and “General Hospital” at night along with off-network airing rights to such shows as “Veronica Mars,” “Beverly Hills,90210,” “Gilmore Girls,” “One Tree Hill” and more. The network, which launched January 20, 2000, is expected to go dark effective on December 31, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM EST. Despite SOAPnet’s reported replacement, Disney Junior, already operating since 2012 on several providers across the country, the kids friendly network will officially replace the women’s network at 12:00:00 AM EST on January 1, 2014.
Just days before its upfront presentation to Madison Avenue on Tuesday, May 14, the Disney/ABC Television Group has announced that viewers of ABC programming in New York City and Philadelphia (via their WABC and WPVI affiliates) will be able to watch ABC’s Live 24/7 linear broadcast network programming online for the first time ever through the new WATCH ABC application. Viewers can access WATCH ABC online at ABC.com or by downloading the WATCH ABC app on their iOS or Kindle Fire devices. The WATCH ABC app will be available on Samsung Galaxy devices this summer.
“WATCH ABC is a game-changing innovation for the broadcast television industry. We’re extremely excited to offer this open access preview to our WABC and WPVI viewers in New York and Philadelphia. This announcement represents a defining moment in technology and distribution, as well as for our advertising and affiliate partners, as we ensure that our high-quality content is available to viewers on a variety of devices,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. “Our mission with this special preview is to gather key learnings about the service and the consumers who utilize it in order for our WATCH products to be the gold standard experience of authenticated multiplatform viewing.”
WATCH ABC allows viewers of such programs as “General Hospital” to view their shows in real-time, in sync with the WABC/WPVI broadcast airings of ABC programming.
While CBS has the most nominations amongst all television networks, the Disney/ABC Television Group is the most honored programming group with nominations for the ABC Television Network, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Syndicated programming, and more. The television arm of The Walt Disney Company highlights their nominations below:
May sweeps are a month away, but it looks like the upcoming onscreen drama won’t be able to hold a candle to the real-life drama brewing between Prospect Park’s “One Life to Live” and ABC’s “General Hospital.”
After Prospect Park’s plans to reboot both “OLTL” and “All My Children” for the web fell through in November 2011, the company was approached by ABC who was interested in transplanting the characters of Todd Manning, Starr Manning and John McBain to Port Charles as portrayed by their originators Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson and Michael Easton. The understanding at the time between ABC and Prospect Park was that the characters would be utilized on “GH” until plans to reboot “OLTL” came back into play as Prospect Park didn’t want to hold the Llanview 3 from working. Since their debuts in Port Charles in early 2012, the characters have tested very high with both viewers and focus groups and have played a large role in the overall audience growth for “GH” compared to its 2011 performance in the Nielsen ratings. Unfortunately, things behind the scenes weren’t looking as good.
Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.
“‘General Hospital’ is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing it’s decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.
UPDATE 8:09 AM ET: In an update to his original Facebook message, Easton says that he wasn’t trying to “upset anybody” with his previously mentioned words, which had sparked outrage across social media networks from fans of the actor and character, who were upset to hear of his pending exit from “General Hospital.” The actor also says that the matter between Prospect Park and ABC may “take some time and some very bright people to resolve.”
Michael Easton Facebook Message Update
THANK YOU (PART TWO)
Didn’t mean to upset anybody, was just trying to address the birthday stuff. Honestly not sure what the future holds but I think it’s going to take some time and some very bright people to resolve it. Thank you again for all your kindness and support…
PREVIOUS: 2:19 AM ET: As previously reported, Michael Easton along with Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth are currently at the center of a legal dispute between Prospect Park and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Telvision Group, over who has the right to use the characters of John McBain (Easton), Starr Manning (Alderson) and Todd Manning (Howarth)). In one corner you have Prospect Park and “One Life to Live” and in the other you have ABC and “General Hospital.” Unfortunately for the fans, no one is “winning.” According to one of the affected actors, after Friday, February 8, they “cannot be at ‘General Hospital’” any longer.
via Press Release
ABC FAMILY CONTINUES ITS ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING MOMENTUM
WITH NEW PILOT PRODUCTION
Greenlit Pilots Include “The Fosters,” to Be Executive-Produced by Jennifer Lopez,
And “Socio,” to Be Executive-Produced by Gavin Polone
BURBANK, CA (August 23, 2012) – ABC Family, the millennial-skewing network, has greenlit two new drama pilots, “The Fosters” (working title), from executive producer Jennifer Lopez, and “Socio,” from executive producer Gavin Polone. Summer to date, ABC Family’s current crop of original series have made ABC Family cable TV’s #1 network in Prime in Women 18-34, and the #2 cable TV network in Females 12-34 and Female Teens.
“ABC Family continues to find and develop original programming that adds new dimension and depth to the storytelling we offer,” said Kate Juergens, executive vice president, Original Programming and Development, ABC Family. “Both these shows are headed by wonderful executive producers who know the millennial space well and know how to connect with audiences.”
From executive producer Jennifer Lopez (“American Idol,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “The Back-Up Plan”) and created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige, who will also serve as writers and executive producers, “The Fosters” is a one-hour drama about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms. Simon Fields and Greg Gugliotta will also serve as executive producers. The series is produced by Nuyorican Productions, Inc., and Prodco, Inc.
“Socio” is a one-hour drama centered on a charismatic 16-year-old alleged sociopath who recently reconnected with his two female best friends from childhood, and who becomes the prime suspect when a fellow student is murdered. The series will be executive-produced by Gavin Polone (“Gilmore Girls,” “Zombieland,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “My Boys,” “Jane by Design). Adam Milch (Greek), who wrote the pilot, will also serve as co-executive producer. The series is produced by Prodco, Inc.
Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network-defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. Emmy® Award-winning ABCFamily.com provides a variety of interactive entertainment and community features, from rich, fan-centric programming – including blogs, viewing parties, webisodes, full episodes of the network’s hit programming, along with sneak peek exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes clips. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.
via Press Release
ABC MAKES STRATEGIC SHIFT IN LATE-NIGHT STRATEGY
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” Moves to 11:35 p.m. on January 8 to Capitalize on
Ratings Momentum, Higher Ad Demand and Greater Revenue Upside
Audiences Can Begin and End Their Day with ABC News as “Nightline” Shifts to 12:35 a.m. on
January 9 and Adds a Primetime Hour Every Friday Night at 9:00 p.m., Beginning March 1
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 . . . Capitalizing on ratings momentum, advertising demand and increased revenue potential for entertainment programming in the 11:35 p.m. time slot, ABC today announced a strategic shift in its late-night strategy to better position the network for increased ratings and financial performance over the long term. On Tuesday, January 8, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the only late-night broadcast talk show to increase in Total Viewers this past season, will move to 11:35 p.m., putting the show in head-to-head competition with “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Late Show with David Letterman.” Proven late-night performer “Nightline” will shift to 12:35 a.m., allowing viewers to begin and end their broadcast day with news. The moves are timed to take advantage of the built-in promotional platforms provided by ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and ESPN’s Bowl Championship Series, which culminates with the National Championship Game on Monday, January 7. In addition, “Nightline” will expand its programming commitments with a move into primetime, Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. beginning March 1. Given its success and growth, the ABC News series “What Would You Do?” will also find a new home on the schedule.
In making the announcement, Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, said: “Given the passionate fan base ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ has built over the past decade and the show’s ratings and creative momentum this season, the time is right to make this move. There is the potential for far greater upside over the long term with this shift, given increased advertiser demand for competitive entertainment programming in the time slot.” She continued: “This shift also allows us to bookend our programming day with compelling news content. And the addition of a new primetime hour of ‘Nightline’ on Friday nights will ensure that the program has even more opportunities to continue its incredible, award-winning reporting.”
For the complete 2011-12 Broadcast TV Season, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” grew its overall audience over the prior season by 3% in Total Viewers to generate its most-watched season in 5 years. In addition, “JKL” was the only late-night broadcast talk show to grow year over year in Total Viewers.
And the show’s ratings momentum has continued. During the recent July sweep, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” surged year to year by 15% in Total Viewers to deliver its most-watched July sweep ever. Notably, “JKL” grew its overall audience year over year in all 4 sweeps of the 2011-12 Season. The program was also up over the year-ago sweep by 5% in Adults 18-49 to score its best July in 4 years – since 2008. In addition, “JKL” stood as the only broadcast talk show in late-night to achieve yearly growth in either Total Viewers or Adults 18-49. And on Sunday, September 23, Jimmy Kimmel will take another turn in the spotlight when he hosts the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
The shift for “Nightline” in late-night and the addition of a new “Nightline” broadcast hour in primetime, timed to utilize the Academy Awards as a promotional platform, continues the momentum of ABC News, which has enjoyed a banner year of success and growth. From a resurgent “Good Morning America,” to the groundbreaking, innovative digital deal with Yahoo that immediately catapulted ABC News to the top of digital news delivery, to the recently completed joint venture with Univision for a 24-hour culturally relevant lifestyle and news channel for U.S. Hispanics — the fastest growing demographic in the nation — ABC News has gone from strength to strength and success to success.
In commenting on the announcement, Ben Sherwood, president, ABC News, said: “‘Nightline’ has proven its ability to grow over three decades on the air, with the show currently enjoying some of its highest ratings and best editorial work ever. The ‘Nightline’ team will now bring its excellent journalism to new time periods, and we especially welcome the chance to produce an hour every Friday in primetime, where new audiences will be introduced to the program’s signature storytelling, interviewing and investigations. I’m confident ‘Nightline’ and its dynamic anchors, correspondents and staff will enjoy many successes for years to come.”
Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group, added: “The time is right for Kimmel to make this move…he’s ready, and so is his audience. For the past 10 years we’ve built the foundation for this shift, and we’ll be celebrating the New Year as only Jimmy Kimmel can… with that unique brand of humor and universal wit that has endeared him to fans of all ages.”
The Disney/ABC Television Group is composed of The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE: DIS) global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations, and radio and publishing businesses. This includes ABC Entertainment Group, ABC News, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, Disney Channels Worldwide, Radio Disney, ABC Family and SOAPnet, as well as Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Disney Media Distribution. Hyperion Publishing and the Company’s equity interest in A&E Networks round out the Group’s portfolio of media businesses.