Karey Burke is the president of ABC Entertainment. Nearly two years into the job, she’s been asked multiple times by media outlets about whether or not the network might have plans to reboot “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” which last aired on the network in 2011 and 2012, respectively — there was a short online revival in 2013 by an outside production. In response to the questions, Burke has been consistent, saying there “might be some conversation” about the prospect, and, more recently, saying “There have been more discussions, but I can’t tell you more than that.”
With renewed interest in soaps via reunion specials on YouTube by actors from “AMC,” “OLTL,” “As The World Turns,” “Guiding Light” and even long canceled soaps “Loving” and “Passions,” among many others planned, is this the time for soaps to return to prominence? “The Story of Soaps” might be the ultimate test.
Set to air on Tuesday, May 19 at 9:00 p.m. EDT/PDT on ABC, “The Story of Soaps” is a long-planned two-hour primetime special produced by PEOPLE magazine as it traces how female creators migrated from radio to television to become the dominant force in daytime for more than three decades and how their legacy is alive and well all over prime time and reality, and much of what propels modern television. It features interviews with daytime legends, including Susan Lucci (ex-Erica Kane, “AMC”), Erika Slezak (ex-Victoria Lord Buchanan, “OLTL), Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos, “General Hospital”), Genie Francis (Laura Spencer, “GH”), Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman, “The Young and the Restless”), Deidre Hall (Marlena Evans, “Days of our Lives”), Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady, “DAYS”), John McCook (Eric Forrester, “The Bold and the Beautiful”) and countless other iconic performers, writers, producers, primetime stars and reality TV personalities (full list).
To support the special, ABC recently announced that it would slide it back one hour (originally slated for 8:00 p.m.) in order to air “After the Dance with Stephen A. Smith: A SportsCenter Special,” which delves into the stories told from the highly-rated 10-part sports documentary “The Last Dance” which chronicled the life and career of legendary basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and the celebrated Chicago Bulls’ teams of the 1990s. The ESPN series concluded on Sunday with an average of 5.6 million same-day viewers over its 10-episode run, making it the most-watched documentary ever aired on the cable giant.
With big ratings expected for the sports special, it’s hoped that viewers will stick around for the soap opera special airing right after it. After all, sports fans and soap opera fans are considered to be the most loyal fans out there. It’s a perfect marriage if you ask us. And we’re not alone in thinking that.
“Show your support for soaps by tuning in this Tuesday night,” said current series executive Nathan Varni, who previously oversaw the day-to-day management of “General Hospital” for ABC. He added, “Big ratings would definitely send a message to all networks that fans want more and cherish their daytime soaps! Make your voice be heard and tune in for this two-hour event!” He ended his tweet using the official hashtags for the four remaining soaps.
While it’s not possible to gauge whether “The Story of Soaps” will be the actual precursor to soaps returning to broadcast television in its current form, or at all, there’s definitely a sign of support from the network for soaps in general. “‘GH’ is doing great!” said Burke earlier this year. “It’s one of our great performers. It’s a successful business for us. The fact that they have perfected that model is, frankly, an example to other producers in our midst.”
So, make sure to watch “The Story of Soaps” on Tuesday, May 19 at 9:00 p.m. EDT/PDT on ABC and use the hashtag #StoryofSoaps or #TheStoryofSoaps if you plan to live-tweet, share your memes or react to what you see and hear from those behind the daytime soaps and more.
To get things started, Soap Opera Network has your first look at the first minute of “The Story of Soaps.” We hope it catches your attention as much as it did ours.
You can also watch some new promos for the special below.