For years, Patti Werynski has kept the flame alive for soap opera fans from her Largo, Fla., home, organizing meet-ups with stars, even as TV networks canceled several of the daytime programs and critics proclaimed the genre all but dead.
After years of wrangling, the classic soaps “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” are online, saved from cancellation in a bold experiment with new technology.
Werynski, 60, is wary. She has heard how the new shows are just 30 minutes long, a little spicier and available for download on iTunes or streaming at Hulu.com. She worries the older fans might feel left out.
Such talk might surprise the folks at Prospect Park, a production company that has spent millions of dollars and years in negotiations to reach this moment. When ABC canceled “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” in 2011, the company reportedly paid more than $4 million for the rights.
Plans to bring the shows back in 2011 fizzled. But every good soap always has a return-from-the-dead twist.
Prospect Park resurrected its plans this year. (It couldn’t hurt that Netflix and Amazon on Demand both have high-profile deals this year for streaming original TV online.)
Each new episode bows at 5 a.m. Monday to Thursday, with Friday reserved for a recap episode.
Barbara Irwin, a professor of communication studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., said she expects soaps to transition to online in the same way they moved from radio to television 60 years earlier.
“It might be a way to build a new audience, which is something the soaps have struggled with,” Irwin said. “What we’ve lost over the years is the generational passing down of soap operas; daughters watching shows with their mothers and grandmothers. Perhaps this can bring it back.”
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less