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Could Cancelled ABC Soaps Be Coming BACK to TV?
Could A Move To Cable TV Be Coming?
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.