For 2 years u posted, tweeted, Facebooked me..I heard you. Starting 7/15, we’re having a summer fling w/ the soaps! http://t.co/UCxklWRlcT …
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) June 26, 2013
On June 26, Oprah Winfrey announced that her network OWN would be “hosting a summer fling for soap fans” by airing the first 40 episodes of The OnLine Network’s reprisal of All My Children and One Life to Live for 10 weeks starting Monday, July 15. Half-hour episodes of each show will air Monday through Thursday; AMC at 1 p.m. ET and OLTL at 3 p.m. ET.
First of all, YAY!!!
Second of all, kudos to Oprah for recognizing she made a mistake two years ago by uploading a video to YouTube saying, “The time has come for [soaps] to be over. There just are not enough people at home in the daytime to watch them.” She also said, “If there was a dime left to be made from them on broadcast television it would still be happening. Thank you for believing that I could save them, but I really can’t.” (Here’s a link to Oprah’s video.)
Setting aside the fact that “broadcast television” – specifically ABC – pulled the plug prematurely and has suffered for it with fan backlash, canceled soap replacements (The Revolution, anyone?), and Katie Couric’s $80 million flameout, Oprah has clearly realized that there is much more than “a dime” to still be made from soap operas.
Now we have to do our part: watch! If you’ve already seen the episodes online, watch them again. Record them. Tell your friends. I’m quite sure OWN has a proper PR machine to preview each day’s episode along with a highlight like, “Dorian insists David make her the new star of his reality show” so it will be easy to say, “Don’t miss Tuesday at 3 pm on Channel 115!”
Prospect Park has done their part by 1) cutting this deal with OWN and 2) cutting out the cursing. Contrary to popular belief, bleeping out the swear words came about more because of customer complaints to Hulu and iTunes than a fear of Pine Valley’s potty mouths offending Ms. Winfrey.
Between us (!), there was much more cursing on-air than was written in the scripts. As one AMC-er told me, “The actors said, ‘We have the freedom, so let’s curse!’ It had never been allowed before so everyone wanted to try it.” From a production standpoint that made it hard, because actors were adding the F word willy nilly. Eventually, the honchos decreed that if a swear word wasn’t in the script the actor couldn’t say it. One exception: When Jesse was trying to tell Angie that Cassandra had been kidnapped, Debbi Morgan adlibbed, “Tell me what the F— happened!” AMC left it in because, as one producer explained to me, “A mother would say that.”
So now we have cleaned-up versions of AMC and OLTL airing on Hulu, iTunes, etc., and full, watchable versions of the first 40 episodes of each show coming to our TV sets on July 15.
Soaps are back – and that’s the “bone marrow truth.”