Inside move: Double dose of ‘Charles’

1-hour seg marks the start of a new 12-week story arc

Newly tapped ABC Daytime topper Brian Frons is stealing a page out of the primetime playbook in a bid to boost the fortunes of “Port Charles,” the net’s youngest sudser.

In a one-time-only move set for Monday, Dec. 30, the half-hour “PC” will expand to an hour and air in the 2 p.m. ET timeslot normally occupied by “One Life to Live.” Hourlong seg will actually mark the start of a new 12-week arc of episodes of “PC,” which two years ago switched to a close-ended storytelling style patterned on Latin American telenovelas.

In addition to doubling the show’s length, producers also plan to beef up the Dec. 30 “PC” with added special effects and other production elements.

Another episode of “PC” will air earlier that day in the show’s usual 12:30 p.m. slot. That seg will be the finale of another arc — dubbed “Naked Eyes” — that begins later this month.

Frons, who ankled Euro TV conglom SBS last month to come to ABC, said it’s common for Latin American and European broadcasters to use stunts whenever launching a new telenovela. He figured such a strategy could also work for “PC.”

Indeed, with “All My Children” airing right before the special “PC,” latter sudser will be exposed to a whole new audience.

“This gives them (a lead-in rating about) 250% higher than normal,” Frons said.

While the switch to a telenovela format and a new production schedule have made “PC” more cost effective for ABC, sudser still lags the net’s other daytime dramas.

“This show has great writing, a gorgeous cast and the best (audience) research it’s ever had,” Frons said. “The trick is getting ABC viewers to find ‘Port Charles’ and start their soap-opera viewing a half-hour earlier.”

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