Marking 51 years since its television debut, and nearly a decade after ABC canceled the series citing rising production costs and low ratings, fans of “All My Children” have something to celebrate for the first time in nearly eight years: The soap is heading back to television, only this time as a primetime reboot filled with mystery, intrigue, family drama and so much more.
First announced just before the Christmas holiday break, ABC has put into development a primetime reboot of the daytime drama series tentatively titled “Pine Valley,” spearheaded by former “AMC” co-stars and real-life power couple Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley Vaughan Santos; “Live with Kelly and Ryan”) and Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo Santos), who will serve as executive producers alongside Andrew Stearn and Robert Nixon, son of the late Agnes Nixon, creator of “AMC” and “One Life to Live.”
Created by Stearn and based on a script by Leo Richardson (“EastEnders,” “Katy Keene,” “Star”), the potential series will follow a young journalist with a secret agenda who comes to Pine Valley to expose the dark and murderous history of the town only to become entangled in a feud between the Kane and Santos families. The series plans to explore all the secrets that come with the Kane and Santos family names. Richardson will also serve as an executive producer.
According to Deadline, a new generation of characters and some old favorites are planned to appear in the project should it get the green light from the network, although the publication notes there are no deals currently in place with original cast members but there are plans to include a number of them in future appearances. Ripa and Consuelos are especially eyed for cameos should “Pine Valley” get to the pilot stage and thereafter receive a series order.
Reportedly, “Pine Valley” will feature a heightened tone and will wink to the daytime soap genre similar to how “Jane the Virgin” paid homage to telenovelas. Likely one of the big gets for the series will be Susan Lucci, “AMC’s” only original cast member to have remained on the show starting with its first season in 1970 all the way through its final 41st season on ABC back in 2011. Lucci portrayed the iconic Erica Kane on the soap which gives credence to the possibility of her having some part in the project since the show’s outline emphasizes a rivalry involving the Kane family which Erica is the matriarch.
So how did the idea for a primetime reboot come to pasture? Turns out Stearn is a lifelong fan of “AMC,” and, when deciding whether to sign a production deal with ABC Signature (formerly ABC Studios) or another Hollywood studio, he chose the studio that would give him the opportunity of rebooting the classic soap. Things came together almost immediately after Stearn’s deal went into effect with the studio as he began working toward securing the rights to the show’s characters now that ABC regained the rights from Prospect Park Networks in 2016 — PPN launched an online reboot of the soap and “OLTL” in 2013 that failed almost exclusively due to a lack of funding and conflict between executives.
Early development of “Pine Valley” is said to have received strong support from ABC Signature’s Tracy Underwood and former head of ABC’s daytime unit, William Burton. It’s understood that Stearn pitched the primetime idea to Karey Burke, the then president of ABC Entertainment who now oversees 20th Television — Burke famously stated over her tenure as head of ABC that talks of a possible reboot of “AMC” and “OLTL” had been ongoing. Burke’s words of ongoing conversations of rebooting the soap had been echoed most recently by Lucci, who seemed interested in returning based on comments made during the American Heart Association’s Go Red gala in February 2020. Getting Burke’s approval of the concept, Stearn began piecing together a team of collaborators that would later include Richardson, Ripa, Consuelos and Nixon, among others.
RELATED | Vicki Dummer and William Burton Are Out at ABC, Both Veteran Executives Oversaw Daytime Programming
Advanced development on “Pine Valley” should ramp up over the next few months starting with news as to whether ABC will allow producers to film a pilot. If given the go-ahead, casting announcements should follow suit shortly thereafter. The earliest we might learn of whether ABC plans to hand out a series order to the show will be in May, traditionally the period when networks roll out their fall and midseason schedules to advertisers during what is called the “upfronts” — a special gathering of marketing/advertising agency executives and buyers that provides an exclusive look ahead at the programming offerings by the broadcast/cable networks for the next television season.
In its final week airing on ABC (September 19-23, 2011), “All My Children” averaged nearly three million viewers, its then most-watched week since August 2007. The show’s final episode on September 23, 2011 attracted an average audience of 3.475 million viewers, its then-largest since the show’s May 11, 2007 episode. Should “Pine Valley” move forward to series and eventually air and retain numbers in this range it would be in line with what most primetime shows currently average on the big three networks.
Keep checking Soap Opera Network for all development news on “Pine Valley,” and much, much more.