'All My Children,' 'One Life to Live' Return as Online Soaps: Six Things You Need to Know
"All My Children" stars Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams, who have starred on the daytime drama off and on for more than 30 years, were soapdom's first African American supercouple (and there's nothing daytime soaps love more than bringing characters back from the dead, aging kiddie characters a decade or more overnight, and creating supercouples).
So, it's fitting that the co-stars will now help lead the soap known affectionately to its fans as "All My Kids" through a new trailblazing move, as "AMC" and "One Life to Live," another series canceled by ABC, make their debuts as online series on April 29.
"Debbi and I were talking last night about the fact that soaps have gone from radio to TV, [and] now to online, and what an honor to be at the forefront of this brand-new day," Williams said in a conference call.
Added Morgan, "Yes, I think it's huge, because I really think, in about four or five years or so, television is just going to be a monitor and everything's going to be done through the Internet. So to be [a part of] something that's so groundbreaking ... like Darnell said, to be a part of that is just fantastic on so many different levels.
"When all of this stuff came together the way it was ... and I knew Darnell was coming onboard, it didn't take long to make a decision that I wanted to be a part of it."
ABC canceled the soaps in April 2011, citing low ratings, high production costs, and waning viewer interest. In July 2011, Prospect Park -- the production company behind FX's "Wilfred" and USA's "Royal Pains" -- announced plans to continue the shows as online series.
Behind-the-scenes drama, including negotiations with labor unions and difficulty getting investors to get behind a genre that has only lost steam in the last couple of decades, nearly felled Prospect Park's plans, but with an innovative production plan and many of the TV series' stars returning, both shows will debut 30-minute episodes every Monday through Thursday, with weekly recap episodes every Friday.
Here, a guide to everything you need to know about the soaps' new incarnations, via the Online Network from Prospect Park:
Where can I watch the shows?
The daytime dramas are now 24/7 dramas -- Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes will premiere new episodes at 5 AM every Monday through Thursday, with recap episodes on Friday, and the shows can be watched any time of day. The most recent 10 episodes of the ad-supported shows (about five minutes of commercials will pepper each 30-minute installment) will be available to watch for free on Hulu, while Hulu Plus subscribers can watch episodes in HD and on mobile devices, and iTunes users can buy (ad-free) episodes for 99 cents each, or $10 for a month of shows.
Are stars from the TV shows also in the online series?
Yes. Both online soaps will include many major cast members from the TV series, including the aforementioned Morgan and Williams on "AMC," as well as David Canary, Jill Larson, Cady McClain, Lindsay Hartley, Vincent Irizarry, Julia Barr, Thorsten Kaye, Jordi Vilasuso, and Ray MacDonnell. And additional TV vets may join the show soon, as soap queen Susan Lucci and fan favorites Michael E. Knight and Cameron Mathison are reportedly in negotiations to return to "AMC" in the near future.
Returning "One Life to Live" stars include Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, Robert S. Woods, Jerry verDorn, Hillary B. Smith, Kassie DePaiva, Tuc Watkins, Melissa Archer, Roger Howarth, and Josh Kelly, while "AMC" and "OLTL" Emmy-winning series creator Agnes Nixon is acting as a story consultant for both online series.
Any major new stars on the soaps?
There are some familiar faces that viewers will know from other TV shows. "High School Musical" star Corbin Bleu will play Jeffrey King, a new reporter at Viki Lord's (Slezak) newspaper the Banner on "OLTL," while "Jersey Shore" and "Snooki & JWoww" star Jenni "JWoww" Farley has a recurring role as Nikki, a bartender at Blair Cramer's (DePaiva) hipster club Shelter, on "OLTL."