Should Traditional Daytime Soaps Be Afraid of The All My Children and One Life to Live Reboots?





Will the new digital versions of All My Children and One Life to Live have traditional network soaps running scared? Not according to Sony Pictures Television boss Steve Kent and Days of Our Lives executive producer Greg Meng.

The daytime television movers and shakers were interviewed for a new piece in Variety, along with Prospect Park's Rich Frank. While Kent and Meng seemed supportive of The Online Network's reboots of the classic ABC sudsers, I did detect a bit of healthy, competitive shade-throwing in the article, especially when discussing reports that the new AMC and OLTL will provide racier content. Here's what Frank had to say about the saucy scuttlebutt.

“We are going to be a little hotter and sexier,” Rich says. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be doing anything that’s offensive. We’re trying to be contemporary and have storylines that are relevant to people’s lives.”


Both Meng and Kent pooh-poohed the use of "bells and whistles", or overly scintillating content on soaps. Said Kent:

“If they turn ‘All My Children’ into porn — and I’m sure they won’t — then nobody is going to watch. Soap audiences are more traditional.”

Meng remained supportive of the new ventures, but apparently doesn't view the returning soaps as a threat to his sudser. Said the Salem, U.S.A. showrunner:

“We all have our fingers crossed that this is successful,” says Meng. “(But) these shows won’t be competitive with us.”

I'm sure many a radio executive thought the same thing about that new-fangled doohickey, the television set back in the 50's. 

Photo credit: TOLN

47 Responses

  1. Avatar of missmuffett41
    missmuffett41

    If AMC and OLTL 2.0 is not in competition with the remaining soaps then that must mean nbc,abc,and cbs are not in competition with each other. Not!!!! Steve Kent and Greg Meng done lost their damn minds!!!!! ;)

  2. Avatar of Sward81333
    Sward81333

    While I personally believe that the online versions of AMC and OLTL will fail, I hope I’m wrong. The remaining broadcast soaps will watch intensely to see what happens. They should embrace this new venture as they may find themselves transitioning to online as well someday. With success, maybe P&G will release their rights to ATWT & GL for possible resurrection too.

  3. Avatar of angrierblackerman
    angrierblackerman

    These show are most certainly their competition whether they succeed or not. Online TV is the direct competitor of Terrestrial TV for people’s attention.

    They shouldn’t ‘slouch’ as my grandmother would say. Greg Meng should especially be worried, as Days is probably the worst soap out of the four remaining. I’m already close to removing Days from my DVR…give me more reasons to start watching other shows with that time.

  4. Avatar of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    [quote=Jamey Giddens]I’m sure many a radio executive thought the same thing about that new-fangled doohickey, the television set back in the 50′s.[/quote]

    That’s an apples-and-oranges comparison, really, because back when television was first starting, there were only two options in home entertainment: radio and television. (I’m not counting checkers, playing cards, etc.) Today, there are all sorts of ways to be entertained, and they are all fragmenting the audience. That fragmentation is what led to the cancellations of many soaps in the first place.

    The big question mark surrounding this whole venture is whether they can sustain it. They have investors who are pouring money into launching the online AMC and OLTL, but no one knows what sort of revenues they can count on to carry on beyond their initial run. Investors aren’t going to be anxious to keep pouring money into something that isn’t bringing enough money in. THAT is what I’m waiting to see. I hope it will have the revenues, but from a business perspective, I still can’t see it.

  5. Avatar of myworld23
    myworld23

    I’m still hopping this is successful as I still hang on to small hope that last line could mean Gl and atwt as possible options if these work out. I know can’t happen I just still hope.

  6. Avatar of soapjunkie88
    soapjunkie88

    I think that expectations are high but they could really do fail miserably. They target a younger audience with the reboots of AMC and OLTL. Which of course is there only chance because I don’t see much of the older generation sitting in front of a computer or whatever to watch these shows on a daily basis. And speaking about the younger audience … you need to impress them so that they really are continue to watch. They need to attract new viewers; which won’t be easy.

    The people involved with AMC and OLTL have the more difficult job. For sure. I hope they succeed, but it won’t be easy.

    We haven’t seen anything of these two shows, which makes it hard to compare them to the remaining network soap operas. I don’t think you can really compare them though. Like I said, if they are going to be a success, I think they are going to have different audiences.

  7. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    TV GORD wrote

    The big question mark surrounding this whole venture is whether they can sustain it. They have investors who are pouring money into launching the online AMC and OLTL, but no one knows what sort of revenues they can count on to carry on beyond their initial run. Investors aren’t going to be anxious to keep pouring money into something that isn’t bringing enough money in. THAT is what I’m waiting to see. I hope it will have the revenues, but from a business perspective, I still can’t see it.

    Exactly! Regardless of the ultimate quality of the shows (and my own intrigue about how these are not continuations, but actually brand new series), the constant whine and moaning I see from some fans online outright rejecting paying to watch the shows in any shape, form or fashion makes me very nervous for their futures. They will be free on Hulu.com, but many fans haven’t seemed to have gotten that message (or through their heads yet), instead thinking that Hulu and HuluPlus are the same and outright rejecting purchasing episodes or season passes through iTunes. I can’t imagine Prospect Park not pitching a plan to investors that didn’t have a substantial direct user-generated revenue stream & subscription model based on all of those very passionate fans who lobbied for the return of these shows. Now I could be wrong and the mix of advertising revenue might be proportionately higher to subscription and pay-per-view revenue streams, but they are going to be looking at these numbers VERY closely.

    And one other thing: the metrics of actual viewer measurement and audience engagement are going to be so much more accurate than when these shows (or, to be more precise, their old counterpart, parallel versions) were on tv. Instead of relying on Neilsen, they will know exactly how many people watched on Hulu & HuluPlus…exactly how many bought episodes & season passes on iTunes…and they sure as hell are going to be taking a much closer look at all the online uploads to YouTube and whatnot, bypassing their official streams.

    So, in addition, the networks are going to be looking at how Prospect Park does, not just as competition but from a variety of other metrics, as well.

  8. Avatar of
    tampon tammy

    I don’t think there is anything to fear of these shows. With a cast picture like that above, I certainly won’t be watching. I don’t want to watch “children”.

  9. Avatar of pferrando
    pferrando

    I think that the superfans will be following the shows online. But remember their are “a lot” of soap viewers out there who don’t interact with online sites, let alone know where to find or care to find Hulu.

    I doubt highly that while they somehow can be profitable, I don’t see them pulling in half of their previous audience.

    Good luck to them. I’d like nothing more than to see ATWT brought back.

  10. Avatar of cheesehead91182
    cheesehead91182

    I don’t think the 4 remaining soaps need to worry. First off AMC and OLTL will be on demand and won’t conflict with anyone who currently watches the remaining network soaps. Second I think Greg Meng is right soaps are about the writing and when shows do stuff for shock value it usually backfires. If you don’t have a solid character driven story no matter how shocking the plot is viewers will tune out.

    On another note has anyone here started watching the British soap Coronation Street on Hulu? I’ve been watching it since December and its really good, better than the four remaining current US soaps. It’s much more down to Earth than the US soaps, no one is rich, the women don’t look like models and the guys don’t have 6 pack abs, and the stories and characters are much more developed than what we see on daytime tv in the US.

  11. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    tampon tammy wrote

    With a cast picture like that above, I certainly won’t be watching. I don’t want to watch “children.”

    Not even on a show called All My Children…that has always had “children” in the title, has always featured “children”, was built around parents and their “children” which is why it is actually called All My Children?

  12. Avatar of mfarris70
    mfarris70

    While I don’t think that the networks have anything to fear from these shows, they may have a lot to learn from them. Assuming the new AMC and OLTL lives up to the hype that they themselves are perpetuating, we may see a sharp transition in the character of the network shows, much like when Y&R premiered and when Gloria Monty took over GH. A focus on younger characters and more socially relevant storylines. But from the snippets of storyline that we’re getting from AMC and OLTL it sadly seems like the same old same old. It’s all about the quality of the scripts and the quality of the performers and I have my doubts about both.

    Nevertheless, I am anxious to see the reanimated AMC and OLTL and wish them the best of luck.

  13. Avatar of mfarris70
    mfarris70

    [quote=cheesehead91182]On another note has anyone here started watching the British soap Coronation Street on Hulu? I’ve been watching it since December and its really good, better than the four remaining current US soaps. It’s much more down to Earth than the US soaps, no one is rich, the women don’t look like models and the guys don’t have 6 pack abs, and the stories and characters are much more developed than what we see on daytime tv in the US.[/quote]

    I love the British soaps and you’re absolutely right. But how can you change decades of pop culture that value beauty over brains and violence over character development?

  14. Avatar of cheesehead91182
    cheesehead91182

    I think if the networks actually took a look at the British Soaps and the fact that they are still very popular while our soaps are on their last breath would make them realize that something needs to change. The soaps have been doing the same terrible crap since the late 90s and you can’t expect different results when you keep doing the same old things. I think one of the networks should do an American version of Coronation Street.

  15. Avatar of Yoryla
    Yoryla

    I believe AMC and OLTL can prove to be quite successful. But I do not think the TV soaps have anything to be worried about in that respect.

    The biggest thing the TV soap has to worry about is whether they have their networks behind them, or not.

    I have to say, I agree with Meng and Kent about skepticism about them wanting to make the soaps “more racy”. Majority of the soap audiences aren’t interested in “racy” or “modern” – they want good, classic storytelling with legendary characters, families, sets, etc. The main recipe of, i.e. Y&R which has made it so successful over two decades. And if the point is not to attract the major soap audience, but to gain a newer, modern type of viewers, well then the end result may not be a “soap” anymore anyway. And the thing with modern, young audiences are, if they storm into something all excited, they may leave it just as quickly and move on to the next big thing. With that said, I do hope all the best for the online AMC and OLTL.

  16. Avatar of stoney07
    stoney07

    I’ve always enjoyed the British soaps for what they were….

    However, when it comes to AMC and OLTL…it’s all a big question. These are basically like two brand new soaps airing online. No one can really say whether it will succeed or fail…so being cocky about it is irrelevant at this point. I think we should all keep our fingers crossed and hope they succeed.

    The networks execs in my opinion should NOT keep their eye on the other soaps, because in reality, all the soaps are on an upswing. Do what works for THAT soap and don’t try to conform to what AMC and OLTL are doing online. They can actually do racier content…I don’t think the network shows should try that. I also don’t think I’d like soaps like Y&R and B&B going the British Soap format, simply because majority of their characters are rich and that plays a big hand in the stories. I just think the soaps should be different. Have soaps about rich people, have soaps about regular normal people…let there be some variety.

  17. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    I love British soaps, too, and a lot of British tv. But we are talking about very different cultures in terms of Brit entertainment. If one is attuned to the vagaries of the Brit model, one can easily accept major actors and characters coming and going at will and as story dictates. The stigma around soap operas does not exist in the same way there that it does here, and actors — in the UK — are generally not perceived along stratified categories; they are just an actor. Finally, British soaps largely come from the Dickensian storytelling tradition, as opposed to the unique American style pioneered by Irna Phillips.

    Ironically, the history of American soap operas is that they looked very much like their current British counterparts in some respects going back to the 60′s and 70′s, where class issues (especially on an emotional/aspirational level) dominated the storytelling landscape. Working and middle class families were prevalent, integral and in most cases central to all of the American soaps, just like their British counterparts. That all changed not in the 90′s, but in the 80′s when Gloria Monty took General Hospital into the realm of suspense, intrigued and larger than life, outrageous stories (and the other soaps followed) and the monster success of Dallas on CBS (which the other soaps as well as prime time tried to emulate). Poor, working and middle class characters & families fell out of favor and largely have been ever since, with few exceptions.

    The question here is whether current American audiences would accept a soap like Ryan’s Hope (revered, but little watched when it was on); would they welcome back the Brooks & Fosters to Y&R; the middle class Frames of Another World; the rural drenched Snyders of ATWT, the Tylers of AMC or Polish, hardworking Woleks of OLTL. I don’t know if they would or want to or would know what to do with them if they did.

    What’s been missing from American soaps for two decades or longer has less to do with the prevalence of beautiful people or violence and more to do with the disappearance of people of different classes, struggling both against and in concert with each other. That’s where the down to earth, “relatable” aspects of American soaps were always rooted and could get to again without having to necessarily emulate the British model.

  18. Avatar of kbirdusa
    kbirdusa

    There’s nothing wrong PP’s idea; just the content. It’s hard to see younger audiences (the demographic they hope to reach) flocking to an old soap opera called “One Life to Live”.

  19. Avatar of mfarris70
    mfarris70

    ‘Ryan’s Hope’ was so good when it was simple storytelling about the Ryans and their friends. But when Luke and Laura took off, every ABC show was ordered to follow suit and it killed what was good about RH.

  20. Avatar of Luke
    Luke

    It’s gonna come down to quality. And of course whether that translate into viewership and eventually profit. But the quality is gonna have to be high quality

  21. Avatar of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    I don’t buy into the idea that older people aren’t web-savvy. I know people well into their 70s who are on Facebook, showing off pictures of their children and their grandchildren to friends and family around the world. They watch shows online, too. I’m sure there are still some Grampa Simpsons out there, who only want to watch Matlock on their giant cube of a TV, but that doesn’t mean he’s the norm anymore.

    In reading this interesting discussion from all of you, I think content is going to be a tricky thing to work out. It has to be edgy enough to draw in younger viewers, but not so edgy/racy that it drives away longtime viewers who don’t want to see that sort of thing.

    I’m reminded of the first episode of the current 90210 series (which ends this season), when one of the main characters “went down” on her boyfriend in his car before classes started. That may work for the teens and 20-somethings, but may alienate viewers who don’t want to see that.

    It will be interesting to see which choices they make in this first season. Even though they aren’t on a network, they will still feel the pressures of trying to attract as broad an audience as possible.

  22. Avatar of
    tampon tammy

    I love, love love Coronation Street. It’s so refreshing to watch great developed storylines and characters and not picture perfect actors. So far the soaps trying to reel in the “young folk” has just back fired badly with us now down to 4 network soaps. Watch Youtube for old episodes of Edge of Night. If only we could return to that level of story telling. The AMC network motto of “Where story comes first” is certainly something that’s been successful for them.

  23. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    TV Gord wrote:

    I don’t buy into the idea that older people aren’t web-savvy. I know people well into their 70s who are on Facebook, showing off pictures of their children and their grandchildren to friends and family around the world. They watch shows online, too. I’m sure there are still some Grampa Simpsons out there, who only want to watch Matlock on their giant cube of a TV, but that doesn’t mean he’s the norm anymore.

    I don’t buy into that argument, either. In fact, I think there are far more older web users and people online that is generally accepted to be the case.

    MY furstrations have nothing to do with age or even demographic for that matter. What I’ve seen since the AMC/OLTL announcements have gone out have been wide range of people of all ages, races and genders going on and on about how they refuse to watch unless Prospect Park puts them on TV; how they don’t refuse to watch online but will if they are put on Youtube; refusing to watch because they are not an hour or they didn’t bring back XYZ actor or character and how these shows are nothing but shit without them. A lot of this comes across as pure whining and selfishness (“I want MY soap the way I want it or I’m not going to watch! so there!) in my opinion.

    There is another subset that seems completely confused about how to watch the shows. Whether this confusion is to be expected (because not everyone knew this information prior) or self-imposed (because they are reacting against the very notion of paying any kind of fee, even though they don’t have to) is unclear. But I have had and witnessed conversation after conversation, arguments actually spring up about this from people who are imparting the correct information with those who refuse to believe or accept it. This isn’t an age thing, but more of a “this is uncharted territory thing so I’m kinda lost” thing.

    (The whole “I won’t watch it online, but I will if you put it on YouTube” argument simply cracks me up every time.)

  24. Avatar of aveRex
    aveRex

    They should model after some of the Hispanic / Latino soaps. They are very hot and steamy and sexy. And, they are highly successful.

    I’m hoping they do well.

  25. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    Watch Youtube for old episodes of Edge of Night. If only we could return to that level of story telling.

    The Edge of Night was at the top of the pinnacle of daytime drama, but it was a crime drama/mystery/suspense series first and foremost, not the kind of earthy, “real” kind of drama that has been at the forefront of this conversation…although it was more “real” than much of daytime.

  26. Avatar of
    tampon tammy

    I agree with you. I’m almost 50 and have a TV tuner card in my 27 inch all in one computer, so whether I’m watching over the air TV or streaming doesn’t really matter to me. In my situation, I can’t tell the difference. With Roku boxes and Blue Ray streaming I think more people will turn to streaming and hopefully these two soaps will help pave the way for that. That being said, what I notice most of all in the comments is the feeling of fear of being left out. They’re not gonna have my character, my age group, can’t watch on computer blah blah blah. I started watching AMC and OLTL in 1977 and just hope the stories are good. I have witnessed the demise of soaps with the youth brigade. I just hope they can balance it well like General Hospital has done so very well.

  27. Avatar of
    tampon tammy

    Yeah but I said “level of storytelling”, not “kind” or “genre” of storytelling. EON had the most intense stories even though they were crime/mystery.

  28. Avatar of
    tampon tammy

    What we really need is a soap devoted to lesbians about women loving women and vacuuming the carpet. That’s what people want to see!

  29. Avatar of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    You’re absolutely right, J Bernard. Although we’re often seen as the Gloomy Guses for looking at things from a business view, I’ve read the same sorts of comments from fans who–as they always do–say they won’t watch if it isn’t exactly what they want. I’ve been guilty of that, too. I quit AMC after they killed Stuart, and I didn’t come back until the end was near (and got to see Stuart come back from the dead). I also considered the fact that Dixie will be part of the new show as a strike against returning. She ruins Pine Valley for me.

    This all seems to be moot for me, though, being in Canada. The closer the date comes, the likelier it seems we won’t get to see AMC or OLTL here. Hulu doesn’t stream outside the U.S., and I posted a question on iTunes Canada’s Facebook page about whether the shows would be offered, and they haven’t answered. So, until they say the shows will be on iTunes, I guess we Canadians (and others around the world) may be out of luck.

    Speaking of Canada, I’m glad to see so many people have found Coronation Street. It and Eastenders are two excellent British soaps that we’ve been watching here forever! If any of you new fans get a chance to see the big train (tram) crash into Coronation Street that marked the show’s 50th anniversary in 2010, try to find it. It was spectacular (even my non-soap watching TV-buddy said, “Whoa!” when I showed him the sequence), but the emotional impact of the crash was not about the spectacle, it was about how it affected the characters, who are so down-to-earth. It was as though we were watching family go through a tragedy, or friends who live on the next block. I’m not a regular Corrie viewer, but it affected me, as well. It was such a big deal here, there were news stories (even though the 50th anniversary shows were aired quite a while after they aired in the U.K.).

  30. Avatar of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    [quote=tampon tammy]What we really need is a soap devoted to lesbians about women loving women and vacuuming the carpet. That’s what people want to see![/quote]

    LOL! I’d watch. :-]

    By the way, The Edge of Night was my first soap dependency. I used to rush home after school to watch it every day (back when watching it live was the only option). I still curse my schooling that it made me miss Elly Jo Jameson’s death scene (the great Dorothy Lyman). She was my first TV crush (even though she was evil).

  31. Avatar of missmuffett41
    missmuffett41

    [quote=Jamey Giddens]Chris Goutman was going around Hollywood pitching a primetime version of Edge of Night a few years back, according to my sources.[/quote]

    I wish someone would remake the Edge of Night for daytime or anytime viewing. EON was ahead of its time. Law and Order can’t top EON.

  32. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    Jamey Giddens wrote:

    Chris Goutman was going around Hollywood pitching a primetime version of Edge of Night a few years back, according to my sources.

    MIND! BLOWN!

    He was really good as “Matt Sharkey” on Edge, before he moved on to “Texas.”

  33. Avatar of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    tampon tammy wrote:

    Yeah but I said “level of storytelling”, not “kind” or “genre” of storytelling. EON had the most intense stories even though they were crime/mystery.

    Point taken!

  34. Avatar of pumpkin
    pumpkin

    I have grown to liking clicking on what I want to watch. I do not record at this point and I don’t miss it. ABC/NBC have a lot on hulu plus. CBS shows not so much.

  35. Avatar of pumpkin
    pumpkin

    I have grown to like clicking on what I want to watch. I do not record at this point and I don’t miss it. ABC/NBC have a lot on hulu plus. CBS shows not so much.

  36. Avatar of appleridge
    appleridge

    what the hell is with some fans on the AMC/OLTL FB pages. They are taking shots at the looks of OLTL’s Rob Gorrie (Matthew, Laura Harrier (Destiny) & AMC’s Eric Nelsen (AJ) going as far to call him a DOG & Redneck. WTF the actors read those pages. SMDH at this foolishness.

  37. Avatar of harlee490
    harlee490

    Two different media types, maybe not in the beginning but mostly certain if successful could be a pain in the future. If this is successful we will see the networks especially CBS investing heavily in their website with new content as in shows as on network but separate…which could mean the future of Y&R & B&B.

  38. Avatar of gato1
    gato1

    Why isnt anyone discussing the fact that OLTL was a HOT MESS before RC started writing? I loved loved his version of Llanview, but really never was that excited about it before that. I do look forward to seeing the reboot and have my fingers crossed. I hope they do make it a bit sexier!
    2 words–CUTTER NAKED!! : )

  39. Avatar of david46208
    david46208

    @J Bernard Jones: We 100% on the same page about the reboots. But you know what? I believe that these people saying they are not gonna watch were never going to watch in the first place. It is the direct reason they find the slightest thing as the end game.

  40. Avatar of Y2Jin99
    Y2Jin99

    I think we should all buy the shows if we are truly fans. Hulu+ is like $8 a month? If thats too expensive to shell out like 40 cents per episode then don’t.

    I don’t have itunes or an ipod and never have. Thought it was just music.
    What do you buy tv shows now on itune and what it airs on your small ipod?

    Would it work on a kindle?

  41. Avatar of siomonstuart2003
    siomonstuart2003

    This, J, I am supporting this because they put their heart and soul into it and will support it regardless what people think. PP bought it back when I thought they was in soap heaven, that was a shock, even to me. I think that they did all of this for the power of the fans and they don’t want to watch because their favorites won’t be on? smdh. They did it for us and now we have to do this for the actors and people that made this happen.

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