Online Soaps ‘All My Children,’ ‘One Life to Live’ Downshift to Two Weekly Episodes

Online Soaps 'All My Children,' 'One

Studio Prospect Park says it is slowing down pace for shows because fans were getting overwhelmed

Prospect Park, the studio that revived “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” as online-only serials, announced it will move to a twice-per-week schedule for new episodes of the sudsers starting May 30 instead of four.

In a letter sent to fans Thursday, studio topper Jeff Kwatinetz and partner Rich Frank explained that they are making the change because “we are posting too many episodes and making it far too challenging for viewers to keep up.”

“When it comes to online viewing, most of us are just trying to find time to watch series comprised of 13 to 22 episodes a season — so asking viewers to assign time for over 100 episodes per show is a daunting task,” the execs wrote.

The duo did not disclose viewing numbers except to say “many millions of views” have been logged since the skeins’ April 29 bow. “AMC” (cast pictured above) and “OLTL” are available free to watch on Hulu as well as Prospect Park’s TheOnlineNetwork website, and episodes are available ad-free on iTunes for 99 cents each.

In an interview, Kwatinetz said the traditional broadcast model of five new episodes of a soap per week didn’t work online. “Honestly, when we decided to do the shows we just based it on how ABC did the shows before, instead of thinking about how shows are watched online,” he said.

Kwatinetz said he feared viewers would abandon the shows at the four-per-week level, adding that Prospect Park received complaints from fans that they couldn’t keep up. The soaps’ online viewers are watching them the way they watch primetime dramas, he said — that is, they watch every episode, whereas traditional daytime soaps viewers are accustomed to skipping a couple of segments in a given week.

Prospect Park acquired the rights to the shows from ABC in 2011, after the Alphabet net axed the long-running daytime staples. After hitting stumbling blocks with union negotiations and lining up financing, studio began shooting in February at a soundstage in Stamford, Conn.

Last month, Prospect Park sued ABC, alleging breach of contract after three characters from “OLTL” — which were loaned for a time to Alphabet’s “General Hospital” — were killed off in storylines on “GH.”

Under the previous sked, fresh half-hour episodes of “AMC” and “OLTL” appeared Monday through Thursday, with a weekly recap show on Friday. As of Monday, May 20, “AMC” will now run on Mondays and Wednesdays, and “OLTL” will post Tuesdays and Thursdays with a single behind-the-scenes show called “More” on Fridays.

“We know our most dedicated viewers will be upset as they would probably prefer more shows to less (we personally wish there were more episodes of our favorite shows; we would love 50 episodes a year of ‘Homeland,’ ‘Mad Men’ or ‘The Simpsons’),” Kwatinetz and Frank said. However, they added, “We need to devise a model that works for all viewers and follows how they want, and are actually watching, online.”

The revised online release cycle also will let Prospect Park try to catch its breath on the production end, although execs said the pace will still be “frenetic.” Studio is shooting new episodes through mid-June, then taking an eight-week hiatus (while writing and editing continue) before the shows go back into production in August.

According to the Prospect Park execs, when the shows aired on ABC they shared a large percentage of their viewers — but that’s not happening with the online versions. In addition, while traditional TV viewers watched only two to three episodes per week and picked up storylines with the current episode, “our viewers seem to primarily start with the first episode and then continue forward episode by episode,” Kwatinetz and Frank wrote.

“Like with primetime serialized dramas as opposed to the traditional slower pacing of daytime, people feel lost if they miss an episode,” the execs said.

Advertisers currently running in the online sudsers include Nissan, Neutrogena, Virginia Tourism Corp. and Zyrtec. Under Prospect Park’s deal with Hulu, the Hulu ad sales force sells inventory for the shows.

SEE ALSO: Inside the Online Revival of ‘All My Children,’ ‘One Life to Live

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  1. Diane says:

    Looks like the reduction in episodes is an economic decision. Offering two 30 minute episodes per week is simply not enough to keep viewers coming back. Certainly the Friday recap was unnecessary.
    Does anyone else find the new theme song nauseating?

  2. OLTLowe says:

    I applaud this decision as I was having trouble keeping up. I will freely admit that when OLTL was on ABC I had to skip episodes, recording them on the most basic setting of my DVR, since I knew there would be no way to keep up – thankfully in that model, I didn’t always have to as storylines moved very slowly. The new model of 4/30min episodes worked heighten at first by their return, but once I settled in I was having trouble keeping up. I am a Hulu+ subscriber (along with Amazon Prime & Netflix) and think this new 2/30min model is the best to not only keep the new average viewer engaged but also keep the shows on. If there would be one thing I’d ask them to stop, at least on OLTL, is dump this “Chapter” thing. Besides that I look forward to new episodes and am thankful that I won’t get lost in viewership (and more importantly the metrics show executives rely on.).

  3. CTwildheart says:

    Okay, I’ll say this once again…it is not the long time viewers this change was made for. They know we have no problem keeping up. This decision was made for two specific reasons: 1. For those who want to start watching the show – having a huge backlog of shows to watch in order to be caught up to the present is a hindrance. Most network shows are lucky if they get to 100 episodes (avg 20 episodes for 5 years) and AMC/OLTL already have at least 15 episodes each, not counting the MORE episodes. If they didn’t cut back to two shows per week they would be up to 20 each and growing fast. The change will help NEW viewers, not us long time viewers. And they are not blaming viewers…. 2. The fast pace was not conducive to the quality they want to give us. PP knows that quality is better than quantity when it comes to our soaps. This change will allow them to slow down production just a bit and give us better story, better quality. It used to be that one could miss a show or two and not miss anything, but the way these are produced is much quicker and missing one or two shows will make the viewer miss important happenings.

    For both of these reasons I am able to accept this decision, knowing they are tweaking things to make and keep them successful so we can watch our shows for years to come.

  4. First time in my life I’ve ever been blamed for a reduction in episodes . . .because I did what I was told — watched it when I wanted to. And this is my fault how?????

  5. James Sparlin says:

    Looks DOA to me. weak story lines, absent characters. no compelling reason to keep huluplus.
    most of us had plenty of time to watch five hours a wk, now down to <45 minutes pr wk.

  6. lise says:

    why dont we have it on fxcanada we use to have it now we dont im really dissapointed ive been watching all my children for a long time when it came back i was happy now they take it off fx

  7. Jane Polley says:

    This is a poor excuse for cutting our shows??????

  8. Martina says:

    Sorry to see they cut back to 2 days for AMC. I was enjoying watching it and since you can watch it when you want online, not sure why people couldn’t keep up. You wouldn’t have to watch them daily if you didn’t want to, just like when you would record them from tv. Would love to see more!

  9. Mima says:

    That is the biggest BS I heard in a very long time
    I also subscribe to Hulu plus ( which by the way have NOTHING that I wanted) just to watch my favorite soaps. And now you made a decision that four lousy shows was overwhelming the fans. Who are u kitting? You play us, this is just to cut cost.
    I will give it another month, if there is no increase of episodes, I will cancel Hulu plus for sure.

  10. R Crossley says:

    As an avid soap fan for many many years, I can attest that soap fans don’t skip episodes if they can help it. Two episodes per week is pretty skimpy. I’m really trying to like these makeovers, but I’m already getting bored. Adding uncensored language and a little more sex does not improve the quality of these storylines…seems a little desperate. It looks like this online soap revision is beginning to sink.

  11. Suzanne says:

    Sadly, i believe this bodes the beginning of the end of AMC for the second time. For those of us who have watched and loved the people and the families of Pine Valley, four days was not a problem. Two IS problematic as it doesn’t allow for true involvement which is what Daytime TV was all about.

  12. Vincent says:

    I watch All My Children and have watched it for over 30 years and this is just wrong to put us through this kind of change first with taking it off tv then putting it online for only half hour four days and now still keeping it a half hour but 2 days well I can tell you that many people are going to be very upset and will not watch your shows just not worth it an more.

  13. Frankie Quinones says:

    What is funny is that they are saying that SOAPNETWORK is useless according to these execs standards. These two guys probably go home and tell their children that there is no Santa Claus. I now watch General Hospital, sometimes there is a problem and it does not record, i cannot wait until the next day to watch ONDEMAND, so i am happy that SOAPNETWORK is around. A good cable network should buy the rights to these soaps and do the viewers some justice. I am more angry that I have to pay HULU for this annoyance. Is it really worth it? I believe that we should tell PROSPECT PARK and HULU PLUS, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Suzanne says:

    The writing is on the wall I signed up for Hulu Plus in order to watch my longtime favorite AMC even though I was disappointed with half an hour four times a week. This change signals the second demise of AMC So sad.

  15. L says:

    It is NOT an issue of viewers unable to keep up. It’s a really bad buffering problem with hulu (non paid) that makes it impossible to watch online. I try and try and it becomes an 90 minute project for a single episode and I miss most of the continuity of the shows. I get disgusted and give up! I dumped Netflix when they tripled their price and subscribed to Amazon Prime which gives me the added benefit of Prime shipping from Amazon. Hulu is not offered on Amazon Prime, Hulu plus does not offer the variety of programs and movies and it is not in the financial cards for me, and I am sorely disappointed that it’s being perceived that viewers can’t keep up (no we can’t since it’s glitched with buffering!) and I’d like to see others chime in with their similar issues so the Execs don’t think the viewers are overwhelmed or incapable of keeping up for some other reason! We are in the target demo, we have funds to buy products but don’t throw our dollars out for more and more TV/internet content (I am already paying well over $180/mo for DTV and Roku online content as noted above) and we ARE internet/computer savvy. Dear Prospect Park, it’s the providers like Hulu non paid who are holding us back. Please investigate and see how we can make it work for everyone! Thanks!

  16. Janet says:

    I was hoping that they would bring the old one life to live team THAT was moved to gh back. General Hospital is ruining them, by turning them into new roles…..BRING THEM BACK TO ONE LIFE TO LIVE…JOHN, STARR, AND TODD PLEASE KEEP HIM ON OLTL..ALSO LIKE 4 EPISODES A WEEK…..DON’T RUIN A GOOD THING. I LIKE THE FLEXIBILITY TO WATCH THEM WHEN I HAVE TIME…NOT AT A CERTAIN HOUR…..PLEASE. ALSO BRING BACK ERICA ON ALL MY CHILDREN.

  17. I had no problem keeping up with 4 episodes a wk! I don’t like 2 episodes a wk.! I love this show and will continue to watch though! Great job Prospect Park! Really wish you would go back to 4 episodes a wk. though!

  18. Robin McGuinn says:

    I would watch AMC any way,any time. As a long time fan I’m happy Prospect Park had the guts to try. Give it time to get the kinks out…Pine Valley was’t built in a day! just hang in there y’all and give it a chance.

  19. Boontoot says:

    Now I understand why I was not able to find my episodes on a daily basis. I missed this show so much and still find it hard to believe that the dedicated long time fans were not able to keep up. I just think that is a bunch of BS. However, I am so happy to see this back where I can get back into Pine Valley and Llannview on a regular basis. Thank you for bringing them back!

  20. Suzan Bruce says:

    Please at least give us hour long episodes! This is so disappointing to those of us die hard fans. Viewing the shows like this seems like just a taste of something we truly love, and we want total satisfaction! Isn’t that why they brought it back in the first place?

  21. I hope this isn’t the end of the AMC and OLTL again. A true fan would find the time to watch these shows. I don’t know of any fan that finds it hard to keep up. Please don’t disappoint us again. With 24 hours in a day, I find it a little upsetting that one can’t “keep up”. I watched 4 soaps on a daily basis for years and worked 2 jobs.

  22. I am very upset with this decision. Who are these so called fans “who can’t keep”? Can’t be true fans since you have 24 hours day to watch a total of 1 hour for both AMC and OLTL. The way you have it set up OLTL gets a raw deal while AMC is seen 3 days compared to 2 for OLTL. If you are going to do this just alternate both shows the same every other day. One week you will see 2 days of OLTL and 3 of AMC and the next week you see 3 days of OLTL and 2 AMC. I hope this isn’t the start of the end. YOU did a wonderful thing bringing the shows to internet and hope they continue.

  23. jewels mason says:

    i hate the update episode could u do 3 eoisodes and get rid of the stupid more episode

  24. Georgina Minto says:

    This business of the fans can’t keep up is a bunch of crap. Prospect Park is the ones that is cutting production not Hula. Grip at them if you can find them.

  25. ctwildheart says:

    For all of you saying you’re going to cancel your Hulu Plus subscriptions….you do realize you can watch these shows on regular Hulu for free – don’t you? You don’t have to pay to see it and you don’t need to give up anything.
    And I also don’t understand why you say you won’t remember to watch it or two episodes aren’t worth it. Do you watch any prime-time shows? They are once a week, some 30 minutes some 60. Sounds like the same thing to me – only easier, because you can watch these shows whenever it’s convenient for you.
    I am happy to have ANY new shows at all. Thank you Prospect Park, I will continue to watch.

  26. Delia Deya says:

    You don’t need to subscribe to Hulu Plus to watch. If it’s only 2 1/2 hour shows, you can certainly watch them on regular Hulu for free.

  27. We’ve watched All My Children for over 20 years and never missed an episode. This sucks! Not so sure 2 episodes a week is worth keeping Hulu for. AMC was the only reason we subscribed to Hulu. We liked Netflix.

  28. connie says:

    I do not like watching all my children only twice a week! I didn’t even know that had happened until I found out today on line! Makes me really mad!!! I will not be watching anymore! I will not remember to watch it every Monday and Wednesday! This whole thing is ridiculous! abc axed the show which was stupid and now your are blaming the viewers for your problems! I have had it! I am ddone with this entire garbage of crap!!

  29. Ann says:

    I am very disappointed about cutting the shows to two shows a week. This is a bad sign that they are not getting the audience they want. Seems like another cancellation is in the horizon. It’s a shame. Loyal viewers waited a long time for the shows to return.. These are two excellent soaps and going with a much younger crowd although they are good is not working. They need to bring back more of the original cast members that we know and love. And then they should go back to four days or at least two hour long shows. Please wake up before we lose our soaps again

  30. Mark Molina says:

    Was totally on board and watched every episode! I don’t like the new cast and they kinda ruined the old cast. Just saying Cuss words is not good writing. I miss Rex, and the crazy mix of some crazy soap opera stuff that this show use to have.. When you do a soap, you expect to have a new show everyday! Its why they are soaps. Great job and trying to redo somethings but you made some very bad decisions. More time for real soaps, GH, Y&R..

  31. Midwest Marge says:

    I am extremely disappointed. I was so happy when they were bringing back AMC, the show I watched since I was 17, when it first came on the air. And now it is being scaled back. I don’t see people complaining about 4 episodes a week if they are avid watchers, but I do see people complaining about two episodes if they are avid watchers!! If PP listened to the complaints about 4 episodes, they will surely see there are more complaints about just two a week! I am very disappointed and fear for the future of AMC online and am also very afraid of losing it AGAIN. At least be honest, complaints about too many episodes is lame. I am afraid this may cause a loss in viewership. This disappointment will turn some people off to the online experience and cause a lot of mistrust.

  32. robby says:

    The only reason i subscribed to Hulu was to watch AMC. My wife and i have both watched it since the mid 70’s. I don’t mind the half hour episodes, but do mind only 2 days a week. Not sure it’s worth them money now. Oh…when we saw Biilly Clyde…we both shouted “Billy Clyde”!!!!!! Sure is good to have some AMC excitement again. Please don’t screw up a good thing Prospect Park. Keep it at 4 days, at least.

  33. Nancy Burley says:

    ARE YOU NUTS?!? Please leave it at 4 1/2 hour shows

  34. well that is dissapointing makes me mad . i look forward to watching it everyday liking the new story lines . like the A.J. and Miranda story line is really good . but wish more of the old cast members like greenlee n ryan would come back n colby..

  35. Dr. Cody says:

    Write to prospect park like I did!!! All of us need to do that!!!

  36. jean says:

    I am Pissed!!! I am a loyal soap watcher for over 40 years ,to lose AMC and OLTL AGAIN is unacceptable what can be done.

  37. Tina Lauricella says:

    what is the difference if your watching online or on tv. I was dissapointed that there was only 4 episodes a week when it started and now its only two !! Its only a half hour show how did these people ever manage to watch a whole hour show on abc. It sounds like a load of crap to me , If they can’t keep up maybe they should watch something else instead of ruining it for the real fans. why bother watching it at all now.

  38. Tom says:

    This is a very bad decision. I don;t believe for a minute that someone can’t watch 4 half hour segments a week. IT IS EASY. With only two per week people will find something else to watch and forget about AMC and OLTL. The reasoning is a cover up for something else. Bye Bye AMC and OLTL again.

  39. Phyllis says:

    I miss not having more weekly episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live. I watch each episode in the evening. I like the new format of each show.

  40. Linda Stavropoulos says:

    As a very long time viewer of AMC, I was diasppointed to read that the number of episodeswill be cut in half. As far as I’m concerned, the 4 half hour shows are just barely enough. I think Prospect Park will lose viewers and we will be back where we began. With no AMCor OLTL. Big disappointment after waiting so long. What…………. are you guys out of funds or something or do you just want to kill these 2 fantastic shows beforethey get started good.

  41. ctwildheart says:

    Dan…they are talking about Cole, Hope, Victor III and Tomas. Cole, Hope and Victor III were killed off and Tomas was turned into Alcazar.

  42. Dr. Cody says:

    I totally believe this is a blame the stupid fans (like Dorian did with the constituency on OLTL) for the stupid producers’ inability to predict the start up costs on reproducing the shows because of ABC destroying sets and dismantling inventories of props. Well, I own a start up and I get where they are coming from moneywise, which was why I wrote Prospect Park directly, but they didn’t make the right move at all–they did not do the diligent research about the first 2 weeks. Ain’t no way. How do I believe that? I happens to be a doctoral level researcher. People should blast Prospect Park–think about it: just as it is bad parenting to get a child’s hopes up and fail them miserably (what does it teach them, right?), it is bad business to get millions of fans hopes up and crush them. The “I’m done” posts have begun, and I just wanna have a march of the millions style protest over it! Seriously: I can keep up–hell,I am about to watch today’s OLTL right now (7:49 am, Tuesday, May 21), ha!

  43. I am very upset , who can’t keep up with 4 episodes per show per week! They must be on something! Or it is a money as problem as usual. Please don/t blame this on the fans and if someone can’t keep up then they are not a true fan.

    Karen
    Cincinnati oh

  44. asta says:

    I think the wise thing would have been to downgrade to two ONE HOUR shows a week. With just one hour a week the episodes will move at a snails pace. I’m done, over it.

  45. Dan says:

    The three characters from OLTL to GH were not killed off. What are they talking about? John, Todd, and Starr all left town for one reason or another. Get your facts straight please.

  46. May says:

    I am very concerned about this and fear that it doesn’t bode well for the future of our soaps. I truly believe that regular TV watching is a dinosaur and on it’s way out. I rarely sit down and watch a program on television and I can’t tell you the last time that I actually watched a show during it’s regular broadcast.
    I firmly believe that we will be watching all of our entertainment online at some point in the not too distant future. I as well as most viewers, according to the comments, would prefer that it were at least 2 one hour segments per week. We definitely don’t need less. I really hope that this isn’t PP way of easing us into another cancellation.

  47. danny says:

    Oh Please downgrade to 2 episodes a week??? Bogus man…Bogus!!!! Just say it as it is, dont mince words you are gonna cancel again…good lord…and while im at it Bring back Rex and Gigi, the originals….i know this means you are gonna cancel… so please dont blow smoke up our butts…

  48. mary says:

    This is very upsetting. We long time fans want more of AMC, not less. Of course, I will continue to watch, but others may not bother with two half hour episodes.

    Please, please, please increase back to 4 days. We missed it when it was cancelled, and are so happy to have it back.

  49. Thomas K says:

    what utter bullcrap.

    I sit down, or lay down at the end of my day, queue up the PVR to playback the recordered episodes 2 or 3 times a week. Go to be, watch 2 hours of AMC, next night, go to bed, watch 2 hours OLTL. Far from being overwhelmed, I was craving more… but the idiots want to misrepresent that? Doesnt matter if its 30 minutes, or 60 minutes, I’d be watching the same. (And yes, I watch on FXCanada, not online.. stupid geoblocking rules..)

    Downshifting I think is gonna ruin the show. Already AMC and OLTL seem to fallen from the FXCanada schedule… I cant find it at all for this next week.

  50. susan says:

    These shows are fantastic. I wake up every morning at 5 am with my son, to watch both of them. I was hoping to get an hour long eventually. Now they are being cut in half. I think its a huge mistake. Most people will stop watching them all together and our soaps will fail. I dont want this to happen again. Please prospect park, rethink your decision, and put them back to four days a week. Or at least give us an hour 2 days a week. With a half an hour 2 days a week, our stories are going to be too slow. However, I will keep watching them, because if their not watched, they are going to fail

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