Cliffhanger! ABC Soaps' Salvation Hits a Snag

Previously, on “As ABC Daytime Turns”: Dr. Brian Frons declared that All My Children and One Life to Live, each presenting with declining vitals, only had months to live. What’s more, he not-so-secretly planned to replace the two with imposters known as The Chew and The Revolution. But unknown to anyone, somewhere in a hi-tech compound, an organization known as Prospect Park was hatching a daring plan to help AMC and OLTL cheat death, by way of something called “online streaming.” Can the two faves actually survive their proverbial tumble down Miller’s Falls? Our story continues….

This latest plot twist surely can surprise no one. After all, no sooner had Prospect Park announced their pact with ABC to let AMC and OLTL live on, as cornerstones of a new Hulu-like video hub they have in the works, then those who know how TV works questioned the financial model. Namely, how can a web series afford to uphold the production values and fulfill the actors’ contracts of two series that had been broadcast for some 40 years each?

The answer: They can’t. And that is why Prospect Park is now in talks with all of the relevant unions, as well as the cast members, about finding a way to make this crossover work.

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A statement released by the media venture acknowledges the AMC and OLTL fans’ enthusiasm for what they have planned, but notes “we also respect the organizations and processes that are in place so that all can apply their craft within the infrastructure that the entertainment industry has set, specifically in this case with the appropriate guilds and unions. We are in the process of working out the essential terms of our proposed collective bargaining agreements with the appropriate guilds and unions, which we must do prior to firming up deals with above- and below-the-line talent. We will provide updates as needed.”

As such, though there was pie-in-the-sky talk that All My Children, which is due to air its last ABC hour on Sept. 23, would not have to pause production, it’s now all but guaranteed that the show will go on hiatus -– possibly until 1Q of 2012, the New York Times reports.

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And what if Prospect Park cannot reach deals with all of the primary cast members from each soap? Daytime Confidential is hearing that the media venture has, for example, asked AMC‘s headwriter to end the show’s broadcast run with a “Will they live or die?” cliffhanger that sets the table for any unavoidable exits.

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All of this to-and-fro is a bit of a shame, actually. Because as nice as it may be to keep the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview in our lives, AMC, for one, had a very nifty, thrilling and satisfying series finale in place. This “limbo” state, alas, threatens to rob those who like their TV on TV a healthy bit of closure.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Winnie says:

    Matt, I can only imagine that after you wrote each paragraph, you paused and looked intensely into your computer screen. Kudos on citing Daytime Confidential and I will definitely check both sites for updates on this story. *dramatic music*

  2. Adrienne says:

    I think they should just let it die a graceful death in Sept. The quality of the show has steadily gone downhill for the last twenty years, and I had already pretty much written it off in my life. I have been excited to see how they’ll end it. I think all the people who have worked so hard on the show for the past forty years deserve a good ending, not what will happen in Internet Limbo.

    • Sam says:

      “The quality of the show has steadily gone downhill for the last twenty years…”

      Which means that you KEPT WATCHING for the last 20 years… which means that you’ll keep watching when it goes onto the web.

  3. Lisa says:

    Let them die with dignity. I am looking forward to seeing how each will wrap up.

    • Carrie says:

      I agree. It’s a terrible idea to try to continue the soaps online. There’s no way they’ll be able to afford all of the main actors and writers, or hold on to the small audience the shows currently have. It would be unfair to the viewers to end the shows with cliffhangers. We deserve a proper TV finale.

  4. Annie says:

    I love the last line.

  5. CarolH says:

    I also want them to die with dignity…I want to see the wrap up and not continue on a computer channel that people like me cannot afford…I sincerely hope this online thing does not happen!!!!!

  6. malikia roane says:

    These stories been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I can not see it end for stupid reality shows that wont last anyway online is better than nothing as long as I can still watch

  7. raelee514 says:

    Ugh, they should let them END on the TV and just start with clean slates online.

    So there will be changes with the online of it all….. it’s important to allow the television runs to end on their own terms and in the right ways.

  8. letting it go says:

    I have watched this show forever and It’s gone downhill considerably in the last few years. When they announced that it was ending I was sad but figured it was time to let it go anyway. It seems like the stories have gotten better lately or maybe it’s just I’m getting in my last fix of the show. When they announced it was going to be on the internet I made the decision not to continue to watch. In the past few years it’s become a show of convenience (it’s on while I’m getting ready for work) rather than must see TV. I agree with others to let it die with dignity in the manner of which the show’s creator wishes.

  9. Robert says:

    I dont want AMC to end its run on TV with a mass killing. Im hoping that when it begins on the wed, that several months or years have passed and they use that to explain some of the cast departures, like Angie and Tad.

  10. Mimi says:

    I see nothing wrong if the cliffhanger ending that Prospeck Park wants. it happens in primetime all the time. People waited for month for Desperate Housewives, Private Practice and are waiting for the Good Wife as we speak. There’s nothing wrong with it. I look forward to see the show continue and if that means I has to wait to see how continues on, it’s a small price to pay to see Erica Kane and Viki Lord live on.

  11. Mindy says:

    Is there anyone we can write to in order to BEG them not to do some sort of mass killing/cliffhanging natural disaster ending? Please, there has to be some way we can let PP, Agnes Nixon, Lorraine Broderick, etc that the fans DO NOT WANT THIS. This would be awful. I don’t even care about the soaps going to the internet. I’m still banking on that not happening. But, please, just let AMC have a real finale with real closure on ABC in September. Please, please, please.

  12. Michael says:

    Great analysis. Great article.

  13. Tiff says:

    Why couldn`t they shoot both endings and show both? Air Prospect Points cliffhanger on the network and then show the alternative ( what would have been the original series finale)on or or even air it on soapnet.I can see why Prospect would want to air a cliffhanger so to speak. I think they`re goal is to get most of the cast back, but if they can`t, how would they explain the absences if they go with the original ending? If they do the who will live, who will die ending, it doesn`t necessarily mean alot will end up dying. They are just covering all their bases when it comes to the cast.


  14. Amber says:

    Loved the intro. Loved it, loved it.

  15. Jessica says:

    They need to end the show on actual TV the way it deserves to end for the show, for the actors and for the fans. If it picks up online too, then they can get creative to make the plot interesting right away. But many of the fans will not migrate to the internet, especially however many months later. They need to end it on tv the way it deserves to end…with closure.

  16. Fabian says:

    I would love a cliffhanger ending to the show. Before I had heard that the show had been picked up for the web, I was telling my mom that there should just be an earthquake that kills everyone or something haha, or that Crazy Annie should just go on a killing spree lol. I would be satisfied with either of those endings haha.

  17. Crystal says:

    I know I’m going to get a lot of backlash, but I think the show is great. People complain too much about storylines etc. It’s a freakin soap, it’s supposed to be silly, over the top and unrealistic at times. I have loved the show through all the craziness and will continue to watch online. The problem is people love nothing more then to whine and cry about anything. People are not happy unless they have something to complain about. I work in retail, so that especially holds true in that area. Prospect Park is currently working with unions and guilds trying to get all the details sorted out. Cameron matheson has quoted having interest in continuing with the show. We will all have to just play the waiting game and see how things play out. For people who claim they will no longer watch the show or let it die, I can’t see how you are true fans. I worked with a group for months called Save AMC & OLTL and we fought to have these shows saved. This is what we wanted, although having them continue on TV as well as online would certainly be better.

    • long time fan says:

      I applaud your passion for this show and determination to keep it on the air. However I have to take issue with your idea of a “true fan”. I consider myself a true fan since I’m been watching since the inception of the show. I don’t even want to calculate the volume of commercials I have seen. The last couple of years not invested as much in the show or the characters as have been in the past and felt myself drifting away emotionally. This was well before any rumors of cancellation. You can be a fan and still criticize the show. It’s what TV critics do for a living. Without playing the blame game I think every show has a certain shelf live and AMC had a great run. While I occasionally watch TV online, I won’t with this show. Why? Life is too short to watch mediocre television and, for me, that is what AMC has become.

  18. Judy says:

    I hope the deal with Prospect Park doesn’t end up falling thru and ruining the satisfying ending for AMC we were promised! Too many of us (me included) won’t be able to watch it once it goes online. After all the years so many of us have invested in the show … we deserve closure on our beloved characters! Not some life & death cliff-hanger that we’ll never be able to see what happens. That’s just wrong! I can’t help thinking ABC knew PP wouldn’t be able to pull it off … and did this to spite fans for being so vocal and putting up such a big protest to the cancelations.

  19. Steven says:

    I am surprised at how many people are wanting the shows to end. Just a month or so ago people were outraged that the shows were getting canceled… and now that there is a possible way they can live on people don’t like that either. Make up your mind people!

  20. Kristoffer says:

    @Steven – I think the problem is that most people thought another network would pick the shows up – not that they would move online. For some people watching something online is no different than catching it on tv – but for others it’s a huge difference. My grandmother for example lives in a rural area where dial up is her only option. So for her watching tv/video online isn’t an option.

    Personally I think online only shows will become much more common years down the road. I just don’t think it’s mainstream enough right now to take a 40 year old soap and expect your core audience to move along with you. It’s a catch 22 really because as much as you want your show to stay on the air you also want it to get a proper send off.