Over Thanksgiving it was announced that long-running ABC soaps One Life to Live and All My Children would not, in fact, be reincarnated as web series as was planned. One Life to Live will end in January while All My Children ended, what turns out for good, in September. As always, the problem turned out to be money. Hulu and Google wouldn't pony up much dough for the soaps, while unions representing various creative talent refused to allow pay cuts for their people. All of this fell through despite many of the actors signing deals to continue working on the show.
There's Just Too Much Grabbing Soap Fans' Attention These Days
After One Life to Live ends, there will be a grand total of 4 soaps on the networks left over. Apparently advertisers were afraid the over-50 set wouldn't watch these shows online. Of course, anyone pouring over the comments on my article about Live From Daryl's House will see that there are a lot of the over-50 set watching stuff online, more than you think, and adamant about it.
The other factor is that the audience that used to watch soaps are moving on to other things like social media, game shows, talk shows, and online games. Those who really wanted this to happen are lamenting the wasted opportunity, as it says in the LA Times article:
"They had an amazing vision for not only the soap opera genre but for television," said Linda Marshall-Smith, founder of the Santa Monica-based website Soapdom, which follows daytime dramas.
"This was going to be a new place to watch TV-quality entertainment, and you could do it on the go, watching on your iPad or laptop, whether you were in the grocery store, in a doctor's office or waiting to catch a plane," Marshall-Smith said. "Maybe they were just a little bit ahead of their time."
I think it's easy to say soaps online would have worked. They just couldn't get a financial deal in place that made everybody happy. I guess everyone thought a precedent would be set if the actors, writers, etc. would have taken a pay cut. As for Hulu and Google, I'm sure it's tough justifying spending a lot of money on a medium that is dying out on television. Who was to say that they would have gotten a good return on their investment? It would have been a huge risk, but in Google's case, kind of surprising. They have the money to make almost anything worth a shot. So that they said no to spending much money on soaps says something.
Anyway, bad news for those who want to continue watching new episodes of their favorite soaps online.