Over the last year or so there’s been some buzz that ABC could be toying around with the idea of rebooting two beloved, legendary soap operas, “One Life To Live” and “All My Children.”
The daytime dramas were created in 1968 (“One Life To Love”) and 1970 (“All My Children”). Both shows ended in 2011 when ABC revealed it would not renew either show after 43 and 41 years respectively.
The move sent shockwaves through the industry, with people debating whether the growing world of reality TV or large production budgets were the death of the iconic series. Time has revealed that a particular executive at ABC really just wanted to ditch the shows to create new daytime talk shows that he could create from scratch.
Regardless, vacuum cleaner manufacturer Hoover withdrew all of its advertising from ABC programs in protest of the shows’ cancelation and even ran a campaign to get ABC to reverse its decision. It didn’t work!
Ultimately, it was announced that ABC would launch two lifestyle talk shows, “The Chew” and “The Revolution”—the latter show was far from a revolution, as it was so bad that it only lasted six months.
A production company Prospect Park then licensed both “One Life To Live” and “All My Children” and launched a digital reboot of the series. In fall of 2011, both shows resumed as online series. But by November of 2013, after some union disputes and funding issues, Prospect Park canceled the digital revivals of both shows.
But now, its 2020 and ABC now owns the rights to both series again, getting ownership back in December 2016 after a legal dispute with Prospect Park. And Susan Lucci of “All My Children” fame has indicated in several interviews that there is new buzz that the shows could resume.
ABC’s entertainment president, Karey Burke, was asked about the possibility of reviving these soaps during ABC’s press tour last winter. “There have been more discussions,” she offered, without disclosing more.
Whether ABC reboots “One Life To Live” and “All My Children” for traditional TV viewing is one thing, but I believe both shows could perform exceptionally well on streaming platforms as well.
Since ABC owns the shows they both could be a great attraction for their Disney+ streaming app; but ABC could also consider a licensing deal with other stream platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or one of the others.
Could you imagine the spike in unique subscribers these soap operas could have on a streaming platform, especially with older viewers who may have been slow to adapt to a streaming service but would be willing to try it out to catch up on their favorite classic storylines.
Times have changed and I know the budgets for those types of shows aren’t conducive for daytime network TV any longer; but if a savvy TV executive can find a way to revamp the series, make the budget manageable and do some brand partnerships to underwrite the costs (paging Hoover)—this could most definitely work.
In addition to brand new episodes, there could also be the benefit of offering the catalog of classic shows on the streaming platforms as well, so that hardcore fans can revisit favorite episodes.
I’m not TV executive, but I think ABC should be giving serious consideration to breathing new life into “One Life To Life” and “All My Children.”