There is yet another plot twist in the never ending drama surrounding the soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” ABC canceled the soaps in April, with AMC scheduled to air its final episode in September and OLTL departing ABC in January. Production company Prospect Park purchased the rights to the soaps in July, stating that it planned to continue the shows on a new internet television channel. There have been few details released, with casting and internet launch dates on hold until the company negotiates deals with all the entertainment unions, most of which do not have established minimum pay scales for hour long web series.
Now Deadline reports that Prospect Park is also shopping the soaps to cable channels, “both big-tent, general entertainment networks and female-centered nets.” Presumably, ABC Family is not going to be interested, but there are numerous other channels that fit that description including the no longer ABC owned Lifetime, which has been struggling to launch new programming, USA, home of Prospect Park’s hit “Royal Pains,” Oxygen, WE, TNT, and A&E. Deadline claims that Prospect Park’s deal gives it “the right to carve out a traditional TV window” for the soaps. For the moment, Prospect Park plans to premiere the episodes on-line before they would air on cable.
If a channel agrees to pick up AMC and OLTL, it would alleviate concerns that the shows’ older viewers would not be able to watch the soaps online. Actors would certainly be more willing to stay with the shows if they were going to continue airing on television. It would also allow for traditional, full length commercial breaks. It might even make negotiations with the unions easier since payment scales already exist for cable programming. The shows are already proven performers on cable, currently airing on SoapNET, which is scheduled to turn into children’s network Disney Jr. in early 2012.