Could Cancelled ABC Soaps Be Coming BACK to TV?

Could A Move To Cable TV Be Coming?


I recently wrote about the distinct possibilities of cancelled ABC soap operas All My Children (AMC) and One Life to Live (OLTL) coming back on the internet.

The rights to both shows have been acquired by Prospect Park, an entertainment company whose credits include Royal Pains for USA Network and Wilfred for FX. Prospect Park mentioned in a joint press release with ABC in early July that they plan to continue both soaps for the internet and exuded confidence that they will succeed in the world of web streaming entertainment.

Part of Prospect Park’s multi-year agreement with ABC is that they will pursue “additional emerging platform” opportunities to broadcast the shows.

The rest of the details were, to be honest, scant, and are likely buried in the herculean tasks involving negotiating with various talent agents and entertainment unions to craft a remaining cast and crew to continue production. Not easy when you consider that everyone involved have known of the show’s impending doom for some time and have made plans to get on with their lives.

Now there is new speculation afoot that both shows might possibly wind up on cable TV after their premiere online next year, thanks to entertainment news columnist, Nellie Andreeva. In her recent report on Deadline Hollywood, Andreeva mentions that Prospect Park is flexing their TV muscles and shopping the shows around to cable TV networks both quote: “big-tent, general entertainment networks and female-centered nets with interest.”

All of this is good news for the shows and the US soap opera industry in general. For more than ten years, network TV has pared the shows down from thirteen to four (when AMC and OLTL leave the network airwaves in the very near future).

The general consensus amongst network balance sheet gurus is that the industry is dying with their all-coveted female demographic out of the home now more than ever and show ratings falling dramatically. The shows have been criticized for their high costs as well.

In turn, syndicated talk shows and other less expensive fare has been the focus of the networks and their affiliates.

Actually, the soap opera industry needs to change with the times. Viewing habits have changed significantly, particularly with younger viewers who get their entertainment from the internet on the go via laptops and smart phones. To be fair, the network shows are available on the internet via streaming but that is not calculated in the ratings. Also the use of time shifting shows via digital video recorders make the shows available to those who can't watch them in their traditional afternoon time slots but-again-it doesn't count in the ratings.

Programming wise, Cable networks have proven themselves to be more out of the box than the traditional TV networks when it comes to putting shows on the air.

Perhaps the move to cable could revitalize the industry.

As for Nellie Andreeva’s report, clearly more details are needed but it could be that AMC and OLTL, in moving to the web, and then back to TV, could prove that soap operas are just as viable as talk shows and reality shows and food shows.

If so, (to paraphrase Mark Twain) reports of their death will have been greatly exaggerated.


Will They or Won't They

Will Cancelled ABC Soap Operas Move To Cable TV?

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Comments 12 comments

nickp 5 years ago

Many soap fans are campaigning to get a new cable soap channel


cwhyel profile image

cwhyel 5 years ago from Charleroi, Pennsylvania Author

Interesting, NickP. How is the campaign going?


trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

What's also interesting is that two of the AMC stars wanted to make a documentary of the last days of the soap. They needed ABC's permission, which they got, but ABC wants to own the rights to the documentary.


SUSIE42 profile image

SUSIE42 5 years ago

So will the story lines continue with the same actors?


cwhyel profile image

cwhyel 5 years ago from Charleroi, Pennsylvania Author

Susie42, I believe the intent is continue as is however not all the actors will be available.


Robin 4 years ago

I have been saying this since the news came out that they were getting cancelled. I never understood why some other network could pick this up....one of the networks that attracts a lot of women viewers. Or, since SoapNet already exists, why couldn't they switch gears and start showing the newly produced shows and not ONLY the reruns. This network is already largely popular and has time slots at night that allows women who are out of the home when the original episodes air, to watch the shows at nights and on weekends when they are home. To me, the perfect scenario is also bringing back even the older soaps that were cancelled which are my mom's favorites, i.e. Another World and Guiding Light.


cwhyel profile image

cwhyel 4 years ago from Charleroi, Pennsylvania Author

I agree completely, Robin, however, since I wrote this it seems Prospect Park has backed off their plans.

I think soaps are far better than baby daddy chat shows and so-called reality shows but it seems such shows have infatuated TV execs who think it is the way to go for profits. I also think Soapnet is done at the end of the year.

It's a sad, sad situation that frustrates me to no end.


julie gray 4 years ago

i would watch amc and ontl on cable


marta 4 years ago

please bring back AMC and OLTL, I just hope that SoapNet can bring these two soap opera's they where the best and I miss all of these great actor's, I just started watching GH again only because Todd, Star, Tea, etc. are in this soap opera but I really would like to see the whole cast again I honestly miss them, I'm so sick and tired of these stupid reality shows and talk shows that I turn off my TV after I'm done watching Kelly,The View, and The Wendy show, and also the news, in the morning I only watch two things on ABC then I turn off of ABC, I honestly hate what ABC did to these two soap's, and if there is anyway that all the soap's can come back I wish they bring back Ryans Hope, Loving, I remember when guiding light was on ABC at 4pm., all I wish for is for these soap opera's to come back and get stop these reality show's and cooking show's, it's not doing anyone good, cause I still hear women's saying they don't know how to cook so these show's are a waste of time keep them in the cooking channel's and food network!!!


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 3 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

I doubt they will be back. I used to watch Another World years and years ago. Then I got watching One Life to Live and All My Children over time. Now they are gone. I watch General Hospital sometimes but I don't really want to get into another soap now. It doesn't seem a good idea when they can pull the plug so easily.


Jackie 3 years ago

It would be great to put oltl and Amc. Back on the air being that I'm a housewife I really miss watching my soaps , there's to many talk shows and reality shows on .


cwhyel profile image

cwhyel 3 years ago from Charleroi, Pennsylvania Author

I can understand where you're coming from, Jackie. I work nights and my afternoons are free and I absolutely refuse to watch all the "baby daddy" trash that pose as entertainment. They're done on the cheap but are probably alienating millions.

By comparison, soap operas are much better. They also served, over the years, as a great training ground for quite a few of the more successful performers in TV and film.

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