By Michele Dargan

Good News for All My Children and One Life To Live fans!

It appears that “ALL My Children” and “One Life To Live” will continue on after the shows air their final television episodes.

Read the official press release from ABC/Disney below:

ABC LICENSES ITS ICONIC SOAPS “ALL MY CHILDREN” AND “ONE LIFE TO LIVE
TO PROSPECT PARK

EXCLUSIVE MULTI-YEAR, MULTI-PLATFORM DEAL ALLOW THE SOAPS’ STORIES TO CONTINUE BEYOND THEIR FINAL AIRDATES ON ABC

BURBANK, CA – July 7, 2011 – ABC has licensed its iconic soaps, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to Prospect Park, it was announced today by Brian Frons, President, Daytime Disney ABC Television Group & Janice Marinelli, President, Disney/ABC Domestic Television and Rich Frank & Jeff Kwatinetz of Prospect Park. The exclusive multi-year, multi-platform deal enables the soaps’ stories to continue beyond their finale dates on ABC. ABC will broadcast its final episode of “All My Children” on Friday, September 23rd and will air the final episode of “One Life to Live” in January, 2012.

The licensing agreement, brokered by Disney/ABC Domestic Television Group, enables Prospect Park to continue production of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” beyond their life on ABC. Prospect Park will produce and deliver the two long-running programs to consumers via online formats and additional emerging platforms including internet enabled television sets. Under the terms of the arrangement, the programs will continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length. Additional details of the new productions and tune-in will be forthcoming from Prospect Park.

“We are privileged to continue the legacy of two of the greatest programs to air on daytime television, and are committed to delivering the storylines, characters and quality that audiences have come to love for over 40 years. ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ are television icons, and we are looking forward to providing anytime, anywhere viewing to their loyal community of millions,” said Frank and Kwatinetz. “Technology changes the way the public can and will view television shows. Now that there are so many devices available in addition to television sets, viewers are taking advantage of watching shows where ever they are and on any number of devices. The driving force in making the switch and attracting new audiences is to have outstanding programs that people want to watch. We believe that by continuing to produce the shows in their current hour format and with the same quality, viewers will follow the show to our new, online network.”

“’All My Children’ and “One Life to Live’ are iconic pieces of television history that captivated millions of fans since their beginning over 40 years ago,” said Frons. “Each of the shows have made an indelible mark on our culture’s history and informed our consciousness in their own way. We are so glad Prospect Park has assumed the mantel for these shows and that they will continue for the fans.

Marinelli continued, “From the time the shift in the daytime strategy was announced, our hope was to find a new home for these treasured shows. We are thrilled to license them to Prospect Park so the stories of life in Pine Valley and Llanview can continue to be told for the passionate and loyal fans that enjoy watching each day.”

“I’m just so happy that ABC found a home where the legacies of ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ can continue. I’m excited for their future with Prospect Park,” added Agnes Nixon, creator of both ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’. “It takes a lot of living to make a soap opera a serial, and the wonderful teams on both shows have done just that. Together, we are a big family that keeps going, and I’m looking forward to working alongside these wonderful people as we ensure that the shows will continue with all the love and excitement we’ve always had. I also am so happy for our loyal fans, whom we love so much, and who have been so supportive over the last 40 plus years.”

Prospect Park is a media and production company founded in 2009 by entertainment industry veterans Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank. Along with successful film and music divisions, the company’s television group has numerous shows in development and breakout network hits airing including Royal Pains and Wilfred.

In April, ABC announced that it was expanding the focus of its daytime lineup to include more programming that is informative and authentic and centers on transformation, food and lifestyle. “The Chew,” an innovative and groundbreaking daily talk show that celebrates and explores life through food, will premiere on September 26th. “The Revolution,” a daily show about health and lifestyle transformations will replace “One Life to Live” in January 2012.

“All My Children” has revolved around the lives of the residents of fictional Pine Valley, a town which closely resembles the Philadelphia Main Line. “All My Children” took home the 1998 Emmy-award for Outstanding Drama Series, the third time the show received this top honor, having also garnered the award in 1994 and 1992. “All My Children” has received more than 30 Emmy Awards and consistently distinguishes itself in the field of daytime drama. The show has historically been committed to and is often the first to tackle social issues, focusing on such topics as AIDS, abortion, cochlear implants, teenage alcoholism, racial bias, acquaintance rape, spousal abuse, homosexuality, Reyes syndrome, Vietnam MIAs, drug abuse, the risks of motherhood over 40, safe sex, pet therapy and organ donations, among others. The show made television history airing daytime television’s first same-sex kiss between two lesbian characters as well as daytime television’s first same sex wedding between two women. The show was the first to chronicle the coming out story of a transgender woman and to cast a real life Iraq war vet who’s story reflected his real life experiences and injuries incurred in combat.

“All My Children” premiered on the ABC Television Network on January 5, 1970, as a half-hour show; seven years later it expanded to an hour. Julie Hanan Carruthers is executive producer.

Also created by Agnes Nixon, the Emmy Award-Winning “One Live to Live” is set in the fictional town of Llanview, which is modeled on a Philadelphia suburb. “One Life to Live” debuted on The ABC Television Network July 15, 1968 as a half hour show. Ten years later, it grew to a full hour in 1978.

“One Life to Live” has been lauded for its groundbreaking exploration of social issues, diverse canvas, award-winning performances and innovative storylines. Along with the history-making week of live shows in May 2002, “One Life to Live” is responsible for many “firsts” in Daytime television, including stories of interracial romance, illiteracy, medical misdiagnosis, racial prejudice, gang violence and teen pregnancy. The show received mass critical acclaim for its 1992 homophobia storyline, which captured national headlines when it introduced the character of a gay teen (played by then unknown Ryan Phillippe) and culminated with the emotional display of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. “One Life to Live” was honored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) with the Outstanding Daytime Drama Award in 1993, and again in 2005 and 2010.

In 2002, the show won its first-ever Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Drama Series category, and was nominated again in 2007 and 2008. Created by Agnes Nixon, “One Life to Live” debuted on July 15, 1968 and marked its 10,000th episode on August 17, 2007. Frank Valentini executive produces.

Ken Ziffren of Ziffren Brittenham advised Prospect Park on the deal and the company is represented by Skip Paul at Centerview Partners LLC.

By Michele Dargan

Hey Gang!

Last night, Silas Kain of Delibernation BlogTalkRadio Show – and a Soapbox1 contributor – launched his Surge on Soaps week.

We all know that soaps are being cancelled right and left….As The World Turns will air its final show on CBS this Friday…

Silas refuses to acknowledge that this will actually be the FINAL show for ATWT. He insists a new home for the show will be found….and I gotta tell ya, with his drive, it can be done!

But it cannot be done by a few…..there is strength in numbers.

Sooooo Silas and his gang needs YOUR help….He will be broadcasting every day this week on his Delibernation BlogTalkRadio show.

The cancellation of soaps affects EVERYONE connected to the genre, whether it be fan, actor, crew….even nearby businesses.

The Day One podcast is located at the bottom of this entry. It includes information about a huge rally that will take place outside the CBS studios in New York City on Monday and other such rallies around the country in protest of the ATWT cancellation.

Listen to it – and listen to it carefully.

And please join Silas tonight at 10 p.m.

Silas has some pretty innovative ideas….apparently the most provacative will be released on his Wednesday podcast.

But, tonight, at 10 p.m. he will be discussing the OwnupOprah.com movement, which aims to get Oprah Winfrey involved in saving the soap genre.

This is BIGGER than just the cancellation of Guiding Light or ATWT….Rumors are rampant for the past year that One Life To Live is next up on the chopping block (and you know where there’s smoke, there’s fire)!

So….listen to last night’s podcast below – and join Silas for tonight’s podcast.

To quote Silas – “We’re all in this together!”

Listen to internet radio with Silas Kain on Blog Talk Radio

By Silas Kain

Normally my column this week would be about something I like or dislike about one of the many controversial story lines we are experiencing across all three of ABC’s “stories”.

But today I want to appeal to you about the genre of soaps in general.

Let’s face it, you and I both know that in the past 10 to 15 years the soaps really have become a shell of what they once used to be.

Imagine, for a moment, if Irna Philips or any of the Daytime serial greats were alive today! Imagine the compelling stories we’d be enjoying based on what is happening in the world around us.

I can see it now.

The Banner and The Sun doing battle in Llanview over opposing political candidates…with some investigative reporting thrown into the mix.

Or maybe have Erica Kane go off on a tangent on her talk show, which propels her to national fame for a controversial position she took.

Or how about if General Hospital kicked up a commotion over the building of a mosque next to the hospital.

The bottom line is that studio executives (Mr. Frons, are you reading?) just don’t get the missed opportunities.

Had they the vision and integrity of Irna Philips, Agnes Nixon and all the greats – they WOULD be pulling stories from the news and finding a way to weave those magic threads through the tapestries of our serials.

American soap opera is about imitating real life….a metaphor. What we have today is a cheap imitation of Reality TV which is neither real nor television.

Anyway, back to my point…

This week I am going to be on air every night on BlogTalkRadio as we head in to the final week of As the World Turns on CBS.

That’s right. Just because CBS has pulled the plug does not mean the battle is over. It has just begun.

And here’s why ABC fans should care.

First of all, I’ve been through this before with Another World. And, believe it or not, 10 years later there are at least a million AW fans out there who would love to see their show back. I’m certain Guiding Light fans feel the same way.

And over here in the ABC side of things, I’ll bet there are a slew of you who would give anything to see Loving or Ryan’s Hope.

The bottom line is the studios want us to believe that Daytime serials are dying and that it is OUR fault! They want you to buy into their argument that viewership has changed…that there’s more to pick from on television these days and that the double income family has made the homemaker obsolete.

News flash: Were it not for our great Grannies, our Grandma’s, our Moms and ourselves – there would be no worldwide giant known as Procter & Gamble or Colgate-Palmolive.

Our families bought all their detergents, hair sprays, shampoos and depilatories. We fed into the commercials we watched. And when we were hooked and needed that second income just to buy the products – POOF – no more “stories”!

It’s time for Daytime fans to prove their worth in today’s market.

We have a unique opportunity to show that woven into all those silly little stories we’ve watched all these years was a message – We are empowered!

We get the cost of producing a daily show.

We understand that viewership has dropped.

So why not find other ways of creating an environment which would make this genre viable? Why just walk away from a socially valuable commodity?

These soap companies got as big as some of those “too big to fail” outfits on Wall Street. They’re so busy investing money into markets overseas that they’ve lost touch with the people who put them there in the first place!

How many of us who are on union pensions even know that P&G may be in our union’s investment portfolio? How many of us are aware that a great deal of these “American” products aren’t even manufactured here any longer?

The bottom line is a dedicated soap fan knows that he/she has the ability to figure this entire thing out.

Remember, we’re the ones that micromanage our shows. We complain when a director is changed. We’re convulsive when a new Executive Producer takes over. And, well, when a new Head Writer is announced – we are as rabid as bats in a belfry.

For ABC fans, the red flag should be the move of All My Children to LA. Brian Frons has his office on the West Coast. The only ABC property he seems to care about is The View. Were he as committed to One Life to Live as he proclaims, why are they not in Hollywood as well?

ABC can deny rumors and claim loyalty to OLTL. The bottom line is the show is on shaky ground even if Roger Howarth and Kim Zimmer return.

The soap press won’t report it.

They live in constant fear the studios will pull the plug and deny access of soap media.

It’s sad.

The majority of printed soap media is nothing but a glorified fan club.

Where are the rabble rousing fans with opinions that matter?

Well, they’re right here on the Internet.

Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly are hereby served notice. We’re picking up where you dropped the ball.

We don’t need access to the studios and the gossip. This isn’t about the private lives of celebrities. And this most certainly is NOT about spoilers.

Thanks to your magazines, you’ve destroyed the allure of Daytime. And we’re here to take it back.

As I said, this week I am on air every night.

Drop by my BlogTalkRadio page and see the lineup.

It’s the Surge on Soaps campaign.

We want to find a home for ATWT. And we want to make certain that the shows which remain on Daytime today are given the support they need.

We’re being bold in our approach. We’re not threatening to turn off the TV. We’re not sending box tops to P&G.

This is business. And when I say business, I mean serious business.

This is about finding a way to cultivate a creative mechanism to keep soaps alive. It begins with Oprah Winfrey, who is herself a direct beneficiary of daytime. We’ll continue with farming the cable networks. We’ll even go to Sony and see if there’s any was to breathe new life into Soap City.

Remember Soap City?

That was going to be a cable soap channel until ABC launched SoapNet. And now SoapNet is leaving cable in favor of a childrens network which will hawk more crap to kids — which parents will have to buy to keep up with the Joneses — who can’t afford to keep up because the jobs they once had have been shipped overseas.

That’s right. It’s about the economy, stupid.

And this time Daytime fans are armed with ammunition.

This week fans are coming together every night to discuss the progress of the ATWT campaign.

But we’re going to discuss more than that.

We’re going to get into the business side of things and explain how the cancellation of a soap puts more than cast and crew out of work.

We’re going to talk about the lack of vision from today’s network executives in capitalizing on the tremendous social value of soap opera.

And, when all else fails, we’re going to discuss how soap actors, writers and crew are a valuable asset in teaching our children about the craft of theater.

Sound provocative? Tune in and hear more.

We’ve got some CRAZY ideas that Oprah may just have no choice but consider. You see, we tuned into Oprah after watching our shows. They were her lead in.

That’s right, Oprah, soap fans know the definition of “lead in”.

Ms. Winfrey has taught us about empowerment, taking control and making a difference. Well, we’re going to ask her to put her money where her mouth is. No, we’re not talking about giving away 5,000 cars or building a house. We’re not talking about Oprah’s favorite things or HARPO studios.

We’re talking about an ambitious plan to prop up a genre in a unique way. Join the conversation. We want to hear what you have to say.

And, I promise next week I’ll write my David Hayward column, which may just send you over the edge.