Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Not Quite Dead Yet

Last year, two long-running soap operas were cancelled by ABC, in favor of lower-cost lifestyle shows. (One of which turned out to be a complete disaster.) All My Children and One Life To Live weren't the first of the genre to be axed - a once-thriving daytime drama schedule has been slowly pruned down to four measly soaps. But they were victims of the prevailing wisdom that the genre is dying, and there's no point in keeping shows around past their sell-by date. Too big, too expensive, too many characters. Time to jettison them for leaner, cheaper, shiny new lifestyle shows. (One of which turned out to be a complete disaster, to the grim satisfaction of bitter soap fans.)

Viewers tried desperately to save their shows with protests and write in campaigns, but it was to no avail. The powers that be wanted them gone, so they were gone.

But come on, we're talking about soaps, here. If Victor Kiriakis can come back from the grave multiple times, perhaps the shows still had life in them, too!

And over the past month, that premonition appears to have come true.

Prospect Park has inked deals with the DGA and AFTRA/SAG to bring both shows back to life, initially via the Internet. Production is scheduled to start on the East Coast as early as next month.

My thoughts?
  • I'm thrilled for the fans. Sometimes good things come to those who wait.
  • I hope they work things out with the Writer's Guild soon. Story is central to the success of a soap.
  • Woo-hoo, filming on the East Coast! I know the industry could use some consistent production work going on there.
  • Way to utilize new media to re-invent the shows, PP. It'll be exciting to see how Internet-first distribution works out.
  • Once these two are up and running, I hope they consider As The World Turns for their next project.
The "experts" keep pronouncing the soap opera genre dead, but I think that may be a premature judgment. I guess this year we'll see if the Prospect Park model is effective at bringing back some of the shows that are only mostly dead - or even creating new ones down the road.

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