In a report by BroadcastEngineering.com, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will both begin production on Monday, February 25 for their online incarnations, which are set to premiere sometime in April exclusively on Hulu. NEP Broadcasting, LLC is currently constructing studio space for both series in an old factory in Connecticut, the website says. This would indicate that despite reports stating otherwise, neither show will be filming at the Stamford Media Center, where “Maury” is filmed.
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.
Although her name was among fifteen “One Life” cast members listed in a press release last week from Prospect Park as joining the online version of “OLTL,” Erika Slezak (Viki) confirmed the news today with a statement on her official website. Telling fans that she is “pleased” to join the upcoming online version of the show when production begins “near the middle of March,” the six-time Daytime Emmy winner says the new show will be “an exciting and groundbreaking adventure” and that she hopes fans will tune in.
In a short video message on his Facebook page, “One Life’s” new co-head writer Thom Racina vows to fans that he and his fellow scribe Susan Bedsow Horgan will deliver on Prospect Park’s promise to breath “new themes, fresh stars and youthful energy” into the 43-year-old soap, saying “we’re gonna do it!”
Prospect Park’s plan to blend “new themes, fresh stars and youthful energy” along with the familiar actors and writers of yesteryear for its version of Agnes Nixon‘s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” is beginning to settle in. According to a newly released audition script, the company is looking for a brand new “face” for the “One Life” canvas as the show’s original title “Between Heaven and Hell” becomes all the more real.
What a difference a year makes, huh “One Life to Live” fans? Looking back through the Soap Opera Network archives, I happened upon the last column that I had written. It was November 30, 2011, nearly two weeks after Prospect Park made the now infamous decision to scrap their plans to revive “OLTL” online, just five days after the soap wrapped production on its ABC run. And now here we are just over a year later, with that plan seemingly resurrected and “One Life,” along with sister soap “All My Children,” a month away from resuming production for new episodes on the internet.
Earlier today we reported on word that Prospect Park would not be airing online episodes of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” on TOLN/The OnLine Network, as had originally been expected, following today’s announcement by the company that Hulu, the green internet hub owned by The Walt Disney Company, Comcast and News Corp., had acquired digital distribution rights to both series via Hulu’s subscription and free-to-view platforms. In a posting on its Tumblr page, Hulu clarified that news report.
Per recent comments made by TV Line‘s Matt Webb Mitovich, it looks like Prospect Park’s plans to air new episodes of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” via its pending TOLN.com and TheOnLineNetwork.com web portal may not be happening after all. This is apparently as a result of today’s announcement that Hulu and its Hulu Plus subdivision, along with Apple’s iTunes, will be the digital places to be plugged (or unplugged if you have wireless capabilities) into for fans of the soap operas. It was initially expected that with the Hulu and Apple deals in place, TOLN.com and TheOnLineNetwork.com would be used for additional viewing opportunities as was done with the shows when they aired on ABC.com and Hulu.com.
For those who utilize Hulu for their online television viewing habits, or its equivalent Hulu Plus for addtional viewing opportunities on your Xbox 360, PS3, iPhone, iPad, Roku or Android capable devises, you’ll be pleased to know that Prospect Park has announced that “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will premiere on the digital platforms along with Apple’s iTunes digital store. If you own an Apple product such as an Apple TV, you’ll be able to view the shows on your large screen TV’s as well without being limited to your small sized computer screens.
The company issued a press release outlining its plans just a short time ago. Of note, word that “AMC” and “OLTL” will premiere in the spring, as we previously noted. The shows will be 30-minutes in length each weekday. Additionally, the sentence most interesting is the one that says, “Prospect Park and TOLN plan to blend new themes, fresh stars and youthful energy with the familiar actors and writers who made these shows must-watch afternoon viewing for legions of loyal fans.”
Hulu will manage advertising for both shows as it promotes the soaps across its subscription and free-to-view platforms. The addition of Hulu and iTunes broadens the reach of the shows to millions of internet equipped viewers.
Reporting by Errol Lewis and Scotty Gore
As recently noted, Prospect Park’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” are currently in the casting phase of their reboots as we get closer to their expected first film date, which Soap Opera Network has learned will be in Mid February for both series in Stamford, CT.
Sadly, some of the roles being cast appear to be recasts of characters from the ABC eras of the shows. In addition to the expected recasting of “One Life to Live’s” Matthew Buchanan and Destiny Evans (last played by Eddie Alderson and Shenell Edmonds), “All My Children” is also said to be recasting the roles of JR Chandler (last played by Jacob Young) and Cassandra Foster (last portrayed by Yaya DaCosta). For those that may not recall, Cassandra is the adopted daughter of Angela Hubbard (Debbi Morgan), who the good doctor found abandoned in a dumpster during her run on ABC’s “The City” back in the mid-1990′s. The character returned as an 18 year-old seeking comfort from mommy dearest in 2008.