In 2011, the long-running
) soap operas
All My Children
(ran for 41 years) and
One Life to Live
(43 years) were canceled. Almost immediately, the Hollywood-based
production company Prospect Park swooped in and bought the shows.
After a difficult resuscitation and a move to online streaming
(primarily on Hulu), the soaps began their new lives in April of
this year. Now, just seven months later, the shows are being
Though Prospect Park has not officially announced any cancelations,
several actors from the show have shared the news via
star Debbi Morgan tweeted, "The show is not coming back...It's so
sad & just a real bummer..."
Another star of the show, Cady McClain, corroborated Morgan's
announcement on Facebook. She posted, "If you aren't hearing
anything about the ending of AMC as we know it, it's really out of
shock. I am also trying to allow [Prospect Park] to have the moment
to contact all the actors and explain what is and has been going on
, and then gather themselves to try and explain it all to you, the
The cast of
All My Children.
In September, news broke that the production company was shelving
One Life to Live
due to legal disputes with ABC over, among other things, certain
characters who appeared on both
, which still airs on ABC during the day, with reruns playing on
Soapnet at night. Meanwhile, the plan was for
to return. (Disclosure: As an actor, I played a small role in the
2013 season of
All My Children
.) Between then and now, apparently, the plan changed.
Many applauded the soaps' move to online distribution, given the
success of streaming services like Hulu, which streamed both shows,
), which is the definitive industry leader. While original
House of Card
Orange Is the New Black
have been highly successful for the company, the Prospect Park soap
operas, mired in legal battles, financial troubles, and decades of
daytime network precedence, just couldn't cut it in the new digital
But many soaps haven't been able to cut it in the old medium
either, even the most successful of them. In 2009,
called it quits after an astonishing 57 years on the air (which was
preceded by 15 years on the radio). The next year,
As the World Turns
, another CBS daytime staple, ended after 54 years. Perhaps even
more telling, no new daytime, network soap opera has been created
in 1999 (that show was canceled in 2007). Arguably, however, the
form does continue to thrive in prime time with more modern shows
that borrow elements from the soap opera genre, like
and The CW's
, which both had successful runs but are now retired, and
which is a continuation of the prime-time soap opera of the same
name that aired on CBS from 1978 to 1991 (the new Dallas will
return for a third season in early 2014).
So why exactly is the soap opera endangered? There are currently
eight American soap operas in production, with only four of those
being the classic-style daytime soap, namely
The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of
Our Lives, and General Hospital.
Abigail De Kosnik, editor of the book
The Survival of the Soap Opera
, proposes a sociological answer: "The old model of soap opera was
built around an ideal viewer who no longer exists: the bored
housewife. But since the 1950s, women have entered the workplace in
droves. There are stay-at-home moms, but they are wealthier, and
they regard their ability to dedicate themselves to their family's
domestic concerns to be a privilege, even a marker of status."
In short, times have changed and soap operas, and especially
daytime soaps, are less viable because of it.
The Prospect Park online project was not alone in seeking to bring
soaps to online streaming: Shows like
Venice: The Series
have found ongoing success online, and notedly, not through Hulu.
The former airs on its own website and the latter airs its new
season on its website, but airs old seasons on YouTube.
Spanish-language channels like Univision and Telemundo, the latter
of which is owned by
(CMCSA), have seen success with
, which are comparable to soap operas but are not exactly the same.
Telenovelas, for example, are generally designed as limited-run
With the help of daytime shows like
La Rosa de Guadalupe (The Rose of Gaudalupe)
Cachito de Cielo (A Little Bit of Heaven),
as well as prime-time offerings such as
CorazÃ³n Indomable (Wild at Heart)
, Univision won the networks ratings battle in July, besting NBC,
CBS, FOX, and ABC for the coveted 18-49 age demographic for the
first time ever. Since then, Univision has continued to be a strong
presence in the Network space, targeting the fastest growing
demographic in the US: Spanish speakers.
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