(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” gets a last minute reprieve and will continue to air new episodes online. But will it mean that the show’s second life will be as good as its first?
First of all, it was 43 years ago today that “One Life to Live” made its television debut so Happy Anniversary!
Nearly three months of protesting, boycotting, and keeping “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” in the forefront of everyone’s minds came to an abrupt end just over a week ago when fans received the shocking news that ABC had agreed to license both show to upstart production company Prospect Park. The deal means that both shows will continue to live on past their final airdates on the network, and relocate exclusively to the Internet.
In what has been largely been the only piece of official information released by either party thus far, a joint press release from ABC and Prospect Park assured fans that both shows would pick up right where they left off on television, and will continue to be produced in the same quality, format, and length in which they currently air. However, despite the promise, most soap fans have remained skeptical of the promise, believing that their is no way that production company only a few years old would have the money and capability to continue the status quo.
And with good reason, since producing a soap opera is a multi-million dollar investment, including cast and crew member salaries, technical equipment, sets, and more. Not to mention the fact that Prospect Park will be producing not one, but two soap operas (and, according to some rumors three, if and when ABC cancels “General Hospital” as well). So where will that money come from? According to Soap Opera Network‘s Editor in Chief Errol Lewis, the necessary funding will come from newly implemented government grants for Internet Broadcasting. Even so, would such monies still be enough to cover the cost of producing to hour long drama series five days a week for a much smaller audience?
Unlike the established television broadcast and cable/satellite networks, the Internet largely remains uncharted territory when it comes to broadcasting. A handful of web soaps such as “Venice” have found moderate success online, however, they receive only a fraction the audience that television shows receive. And that is not even taking into account the huge drop in ratings the soaps have experienced in the past several years.
For most Americans, the Internet remains simply a place to search for information, connect with friends via e-mail and social networking sites, and watch/look at adult oriented material. And when they do watch television shows online, it is usually episodes missed when they aired on television, behind-the-scenes bonus clips and special features, and Youtube videos of old sitcoms and drama series. For most people, setting down in front of a computer on a regular basis to watch first run episodes of soaps (or any shows for that matter) is just not something we feel very comfortable with doing. I know I don’t. And yes, I realize that there are web-enabled televisions to watch them on, however, that doesn’t make it even more normal to me.
Furthermore, what about those individuals who either don’t own computers, or aren’t very computer-savvy? What will they do? How will they continue to watch “AMC” and “OLTL?” And do they even realize that both shows have been “uncanceled?” The situation reminds me of my great aunt, who was 94 at the time, and completely unaware last year that her beloved ‘story’ “As the World Turns” was going off the air only a few months later until I broke the news to her. I wonder how many “AMC” and “OLTL” soap fans fit into the same category, either not knowing that ABC canceled both shows or that they will now continue to air online? Those of us who read the soap opera magazines and frequent Internet message boards and chat rooms may be privy to all off screen drama involving these two shows in recent months, but there are many others who do not know or understand what is happening. And I am anxious to see just how Prospect Park tries to attract these “old school” soap fans to tune in and watch.
There are more questions than answers involving this deal at the moment. Will the online-only episodes feature commercials? Will people have to pay to watch them? Exactly how many cast members from “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” make the move with the shows? Will both “AMC” and “OLTL” continue to tape episodes at their current studios? How will the storylines be impacted? Will the writers, producers, and directors continue with their respective shows, or will they move on to other projects? Will Prospect Park be able to successfully negotiate with the crew members and other behind-the-scenes personnel? When will new episodes of both shows begin to air online? What time of day or night will they air? And how will they be promoted? These are only a few of the many questions that have been running through my mind since the official announcement was made last week.
Despite all of my reservations about “OLTL” continuing online, however, I remain surprisingly optimistic. Like many of my fellow “One Life” fans I was devastated by ABC’s decision back in April to cancel the show that I had watched for more than twenty years. After going through the various stages of grief, I was finally starting to come to terms with the decision even, strangely enough, getting the point where I was looking forward to getting that hour of my life back each weekday to do other things and no longer having to set at the computer for hours at a time typing up various articles for Soap Opera Network. But don’t misunderstand…that doesn’t mean that I was ready to turn my back on the show or that my loyalties has changed, I just meant that I was ready to move on with my life. What’s done is done, after all…or so I thought anyway.
That being said, I was still holding out a glimmer of hope that the show may somehow still be able to continue in some shape or form. To that extent, I was truly shocked and surprised by last week’s announcement. The news also gave me renewed energy and sense of excitement, along with curiosity for what this new incarnation of “OLTL” might look like. After all, what have we got to loose if this “grand experiment” fails? It’s not like ABC was going to change their minds about canceling the show, or let any of their competitors buy it from them or anything. And I don’t buy into the argument by some that if the online episodes are a disaster that it will ruin the legacy and identity of the show. Anyone how has watched “One Life to Live” any at all for the past years can attest that the damage has already been done thanks to endless waves of unnecessary teen characters, very embarrassing plot lines (such as the current porn storyline involving Rick, Nate, and Deanna), and unpopular newbies (eg., the Ford brothers) constantly being shoved down our throats. So no, in my opinion the move won’t seriously harm the show’s legacy and identity, even it turns out to be a disaster, because you can’t break something that has already been broken. As noted above, the damage has already occurred, so what is there left to lose? At the very least, we would back exactly where we were before ABC reached a deal with Prospect Park, “OLTL’s” final episode was scheduled to air on January 20, 2012, and the show was about to become a piece of television history. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
However, as bad as I feel for “All My Children” fans, I must admit that I am relieved that they will be the “guinea pigs” in all of this, and begin airing online-only episodes before “One Life to Live.” Hopefully, all the bugs will worked out and any issues worked out by the time “One Life” makes the move early next year.
Moving on, congratulations to “Kelly Towry,” who correctly identified last time’s mystery “OLTL” celebrity guest star, which was socialite Ivana Trump, ex-wife of media mogul Donald Trump. In 1991, she appeared as the owner of an Atlantic City casino, where she encountered, among others, Luna Moody and Max Holden, who was suffering from a serious gambling addiction at the time.
In case you missed the clues, here they are:
This famous millionaire’s ex-wife played an Atlantic City casino owner in 1991, where she shared scenes with a handful of Llanview residents, including one with a gambling problem.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do a little trivia. See if you know the answers to these questions about some of the current and former cast members of “One Life to Live.”
1. What is Robin Strasser‘s (Dorian) middle name? 2. For what Disney show did Brittany Underwood (ex-Langston) audition for before joining “OLTL?” 3. What was Sean Ringgold‘s (Shaun) occupation before becoming an actor? I’ll have the answers in the July 30th 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. These are for the week of August 1st. Someone holds the final piece to a puzzle. One grieving young man receives a very special visitor. A challenge is issued by a loved one. And a sister gets the shock of her life.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a safe and wonderful weekend. Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…