Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are former ABC soap reboots already in trouble?

I didn’t have a lot of faith that the ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘All My Children’ reboots would work in an online format – and it looks like that prognostication is getting bolstered already.

Prospect Park, the production company that bought the rights to the cancelled ABC sudsers, announced Thursday that both shows would be cut down to two airings a week instead of the originally planned four.

Prospect Park bigwigs say that the move is designed to avoid “overloading viewers” with content. They claim that soap fans were only used to watching two or three days of their shows a week.

First off, as a lifelong fan, I can tell you that’s not the case. I watched five days a week of both ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘General Hospital’ -- and I did it for years. There were times – especially towards the end – where I gave up on ‘All My Children’ because it was so bad. However, when it was good, I watched all three every day.

The online endeavors are already a half an hour long – equaling roughly two hours of programming a week (not counting ads). By the Prospect Park rationale, that should be what fans are used to watching – not too much for them.
The new format will air new episodes of ‘All My Children’ Mondays and Wednesday and new
episodes of ‘One Life to Live’ on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"In the past these shows had their vast majority of views within the first 24 hours," Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz said in a written statement. "Instead, our shows are primarily consumed on different days then when they originally air. Primarily, fans have been binge-viewing or watching on demand, and as a result, we feel we have been expecting our audience to dedicate what has turned out to be an excessive amount of time to viewing these shows. ... We are finding that asking most people to regularly watch more than a half hour per day online seems to be too much."

This sounds like a whole lot of spin to me.

Producers have also said that this won’t affect production – but cutting a show’s episode run in half on a weekly basis has to have some effect on production. I don’t see how it couldn’t.

You’re producing half as many episodes on a weekly basis – and on the whole.

The truth is, if Prospect Park was making a profit they would have kept the schedule they initially launched at the onset in early May. Since they’re pulling the trigger for cuts two weeks out – I have to think this signifies real trouble.

Also, when Prospect Park sued ABC for $25 million a few weeks ago, I theorized that it was for operating money. That looks to be true, after all (no matter what the naysayers may believe).

While I don’t want to see the two endeavors fail – I hate for anyone to lose a show they love – I am left wondering how Prospect Park thought this was going to succeed.
There is still a chance that these shows will survive – but I’m starting to doubt that they will ever resemble what we lost.

Things definitely aren't looking good, though.

What do you think? Do you take this Prospect Park announcement as good news or bad news?


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December 23, 2013 at 1:41 AM 

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