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. Antoinette says:

    Thanks for bringing back both of the shows…I for one, do not think the pace is too fast. I love it! One bothersome thing about daytime soaps would be the story lines that dragged on too long. If I don’t see an episode online the same day it airs, I just double up and watch two to get caught up. With the twenty something minute format, it is easy to catch up. And well worth my time!

  2. Martha santos says:

    Love both shows!!!! So excited they are back on. Please give us more not less!

  3. Susan Goodrich says:

    The show is really good! We are enjoying it very much and I think most of us want more, not less.

  4. N Klokowski says:

    I am so disappointed in your decision to reduce episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live. I am a viewer who has watched both shows for over 25 years. However, I know that many of my friends watch only one show or the other. You have been doing a great job with the show, which almost makes up for the episodes being only 1/2 hour each, but now you are offering up as a solution, two shows per week of each soap. Are we the audience/supporters so ignorant that we don’t realize that you have turned the soap opera into a mere one hour show, once per week?? The fans watched 5 hour shows, five days a week and now we’re to get an hour. I am dropping my Hulu account. So sad. This is a bait and switch and I don’t want to get involved with the show, as the demise of the program is apparent. Nope, won’t do it. Once scorned, twice shy….I’m not getting my heart broken again!!! One show a week is not a “soap opera”.

  5. Nancy Wilson says:

    i am truly crushed to read this, I never miss an episode of either show and I am actually sad on Friday when there is not a new episode of either one. If they are going to cut back it should be to 3 episode a week for each. They can alternate Monday thru Thursday and both shows can have a Friday cliff-hanger!

    The shows have been on less than a month, I think they are being too hasty!

  6. ctwildheart says:

    Yes, that is their problem. They went into this using data from abc/d as to how it was produced and delivered. The fans had been trying to tell abc/d for years that their ratings were not accurate as we were not watching the way they assumed and Nielsen was outdated and did not reflect true numbers.
    Although disappointed at the decrease, I will still watch both shows as long as possible. In any shape or form as long as the story is good! I prefer some tweaking now in order to make sure these reboots are as successful as possible.

  7. Dr. Cody says:

    I sure hope the Prospect Park people bothered to use analytics AND to see how the shows are top downloads AND to engage focus groups on a national basis! They don’t have to conduct such research in person; skype, webex, gotomeetings, etc. all provide venues to get a true NATIONAL picture. I am keeping up just fine! I love that I can watch the shows on my cell phone while I wait at a dentist or a class for my kids, and I truly love that I get to have my morning coffee when I want to and to watch OLTL WHEN I WANT TO WATCH IT. In fact, I forgot to about today being Friday and ended up watching the More OLTL show because Snoop was going to be featured, and I have always loved that a big time rapper is a big fan of my beloved show. Prospect Park if you need a reseacher call me, geesh, Dr. C

  8. I’m just not believeing you are treating us fans like this!!! Give it to us and then take it away. I’m actually shocked. And I’m paying 7.99 a month to watch my show and now less than 1 hour of viewing time a week? REALLY!!!! I was expecting yall to give us an hour a day. You could at least play the four episodes in the two day formate. Honestly what is wrong with you people? I’ve been watching this show since May of 1981 and now this. Hulu absolutely SUCKS! Get my money and then say people can’t keep up!REALLY? Are you kidding me??? We’ve been keeping for a lot of years so yall are absolutely full of crap!.

  9. Bonnie says:

    I watched them as I would watch any other daytime soap, everyday. Usually AMC then OLTL, but it OLTL popped up first I would watch that. I like that they are short, and I do not want to sit for two hours in a room on my computer. I have no problem at all catching up..If I was working during the day, I would just watch them at night. As far as skipping episodes I have never done that, I watch GH everyday and do not miss it. Sometime I plan around it, but if I really can not be home at that time, I just DVR it. They say the beauty of the internet is you can watch it anytime..I do not like change so I watch it in the morning everyday. I am glad that the shows are back. but they are not really the same show. So that could be the reason, if it is “the real reason” why people can not catch up, is that it is confusing to some.

    I think that they were pretty ambitious to go to four times a week. If I were them I would have done two shows a week. Try that out for a month or two, then expand if the audience was there. For me the internet is not the way to watch programs, it is just an alternative. There are other online soaps The Bay, Pretty, The Inn, Venice, which I have never seen because I can not find them. But those shows are only like 10 minutes long. Hard to get into a short show like that!!

  10. vicki says:

    Many people subscribed to hulu based on getting four shows a week for both shows…and are understandably upset…imagine you are at a store buying a carton of eggs…you check to see if all the eggs are there and when you come home somehow there are only six…you would be angry and feel ripped off…bad move…pissing off the fan base is not the brightest of moves.

    • Well said! I subscribed to Hulu+ so i could watch amc and oltl on my tablet…not sure it is worth the 8 bucks a month is worth 1/2 of the shows

    • Carly5 says:

      Very well said. I subscribed to Hulu plus a month ahead to be sure to be ready for my soaps. If the soaps go , so will my Hulu Plus. This is a real shame.

  11. Deb says:

    I purchased Apple TV and subscribed to Hulu+, only to have 3 weeks of OLTL before TOLN decides fans aren’t “hip” enough to watch 4 days per week. If the episodes only air twice a week I sure hope they will be an hour long!

  12. Michele Carroll says:

    Further more, i do not appreciate you intimating we are overwhelmed and can’t keep up with 2 25 minute shows! Really? How stupid do you think we are? That is a downright insult!

  13. Michele Carroll says:

    I was really upset when I got that email from PP. I have been wishing the shows were on 5 days a week, never watch the recap either. I think the stories are hard to keep up with because they don’t last long enough to become envolved in each show. Fans of soaps dive into their daily routines and wonder what will happen next, having so short a time to get your teeth into the part of the day you most enjoy is a letdown. That is why they went to an hour for the soaps. Deeper involvement more dedicated! I have fought just like everyone else to get these soaps back and it was a slap in the face to make us see less rather than more. I am sure everyone will agree with me about this. We have recorded, taped and rerun these shows since the 60’s so your logic is way off base. If we watch them, we watch whenever our time allows. When we watch is our decision, not yours. What we love is our love, not yours. So if you want us to hang in there and make this a success, think twice before changing things after only a couple of weeks. Gee whiz!

  14. Debbie Zacek says:

    I for one was THRILLED to learn that AMC was returning. I didn’t even care if they had different crew members..I was hoping for MORE than 4 days..with aprox 20 minute shows..AND I was watching the ads! Please be honest with the fans..we would rather the truth than a lie any day..we need to brace if an end is nearing.

  15. David says:

    Really, just admit it and not treat us like morons. You aren’t making the revenue you expected and you need to meet your numbers. This crap about not being able to keep up? Really, binge watching has been around since the invention of the VCR! Tape all week, watch on the weekends. How many times has a company sent out these stupid memo’s when they should say, we are going under! Well, with this decision you have alienated so many fans, I doubt you will make it to 220 episodes.

  16. I am very disappointed in the cut down of episodes. The,storylines,will move too slowly thus you could lose viewership.

  17. Tina GambinoEvans says:

    I have been taping my shows since the 80’s and always taped every day until I DVR then taped them that way. But I have always watched them every day or even 2-4 episodes at a time and I don’t mind doing it that way. The online version also makes it easy for me to watch multiple episodes at a time. I usually stay up late a watch a few at a time. I am sorry to hear that they will be cutting this down to 2 days a week as I have missed watching AMC since off the air. My 5 kids all watched with me alot of times also. Whether we tape off of live TV or watch multiple shows off the internet, we are still watching. For the people who can’t keep up, there must be something wrong with them. Because if you are watching even if in double episodes you should be able to keep up. I just hope they continue to have the shows on. I would love them to be bummed up to 1 hour at a time as this is how they always have been done. But I don’t mind the 25 minutes 4 times a week. If I watch all 4 at once it was like watching 2 shows a week. I am just so glad that they are back on the air. Hopefully they will bring more then 2 episodes a week again.

  18. Jacinda M. says:

    Prospect Park is screwing the pooch on this one. Millions of us watched an hour or more a day of our favorite soaps when they were on ABC. Many of us DVR’d our shows and watched on the weekends because we loved our stories. The new line up of 24 minute shows four times a week with many new characters and old characters with new faces is difficult enough to get engrossed in the story lines, but dropping it to two episodes (24 minutes each) a week is straight stupid. I won’t watch anymore. Sorry to my favorite actors but AMC will have to live on only as a sweet memory for me. My heart is broken. Prospect Park sucks. So does Hulu btw. Horrible streaming quality. Just sayin.

  19. Krissy says:

    You are killing me! I was disappointed on that friday recap show and only seeing 4 episodes a week, now you are talking two??? I love the new show and am so glad that AMC is back but now you are going to just ruin it. Is it money? i would be willing to pay a small fee monthly to watch if that will get it back to 5 days a week.

  20. cynthia says:

    I agree they should just go back to the one hour shows there alot easier to keep up with

  21. Delia Deya says:

    So disappointed to hear this. I honestly can’t get enough of the shows. I never missed an episode, since I taped them since the 80’s. Hell, I’ve even been watching commercials, which I haven’t done since the 80’s since I skip them. I LOVE the new shows and like I said, I can’t get enough!

  22. Proxy says:

    As for All My Children, I’m one who would like 1 hour episodes 5 days a week…same as it had been for all those decades. Sounds LAME to say fans are overwhelmed…feel left out if they miss an episode…said episode which can easily be seen for a “catchup”. Wasn’t that the whole idea…viewing anytime and any day. Please don’t play us.

  23. Ricky says:

    Be honest, the revenue coming in for the show is not what they expected it to be. At thirty minutes a show, we’re really talking about one (hour long) episode a week. Instead of keeping the show the way it was on TV and pleasing longtime fans, they aimed at the twenty-something crowd. Many of the old fans, like myself, couldn’t identify with the new edgier OLTL and quit watching after a few episodes. Sounds like the beginning of the end.

  24. I understand what you’ve done but I hope at some point you’ll be willing to change it back, or maybe make the two episodes an hour long (including commercials).

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