The day All My Children died... again

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AMC Two Scoops: The day All My Children died... again
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The week of November 14, 2011
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All My Children will not be returning in January 2012 as previously announced, and now some fans are wondering if the show will ever return. There are plenty of places to lay blame, and also reasons to remain optimistic.

There often seems to be a prescient quality to the Two Scoops column. I have no misplaced ego that leads me to believe that this column in any way guides the forces of the universe. However, you have to admit that often what is written in this column comes to fruition.

Perhaps I should have stuck to saying that I would win the lottery.

In last week's column, I took a brief detour from our special November Sweeps flashback to look at the uncertainty regarding All My Children's return. We knew the show would never again find a place on ABC's daytime lineup, but there was always the promise that the show would land elsewhere on the dial in addition to its spot on Prospect Park's The Online Network.

Now, it appears that promise is slipping away, like sands through the hourglass. Though Prospect Park hasn't issued any sort of statement, insiders are revealing that the production company has shelved its plans to reboot All My Children. In short, things were not working out, and Prospect Park has decided to focus its attention on One Life to Live.

Before anyone out there starts to take shots at One Life to Live, I want it to be clear that I have no animosity towards One Life to Live -- and neither should you. Whether you watch One Life to Live or not, you need to remember that One Life to Live fans have been with us through the cancellation process. They've echoed our voices when we protested ABC's decision to cancel these two long-running soaps. So there is no reason to be upset with One Life to Live, its fans, its performers, or anyone else involved in bringing Llanview to life.

There are, however, plenty of places to lay blame. I've already been disinvited from the Frons family Thanksgiving dinner. After this column, there will probably be a few more homes that will not be rolling out the welcome mat.

Let's be clear about one other thing before moving forward: No one has said that it's a done deal that All My Children is a permanent goner. Okay, so maybe that was the insinuation in the Soaps In Depth article, but Variety is saying that the return has just been delayed. Think of All My Children as a piece of unclaimed luggage circling the baggage carousel at the airport. A beautiful lei is wrapped around its handle as a final vestige of its "vacation," but there's no one stepping up to want to take it home.

Putting a soap together is no small piece of change. If it weren't an expensive process, there would be a lot more soaps on the air. Has Prospect Park bitten off more than it can, um, chew? Probably -- but that's not necessarily their fault. They reportedly are looking to raise about $80 million to get both One Life to Live and AMC off the ground.

ABC reportedly knew that it was going to ditch some soaps before All My Children was relocated from New York to Los Angeles. So that's about two years ago -- possibly more. If ABC had been upfront about its plans to end All My Children and/or One Life to Live sooner, it might have made the transition to the Internet much more seamless. Prospect Park could have had time to really get its ducks in a row (or at least they should've been able to do so within the course of two years). Contract talks wouldn't have had to be done in a hurried fashion, and storylines could have been drafted long-term so that there wasn't a sense of urgency to wrap things up in a pretty little bow. More than that, perhaps other companies might have stepped up with their own plans and offers to take over one or both soaps.

Instead, everything has been mired in secrecy. I certainly don't think that soap fans would have been any less ticked if ABC had announced two years ago that AMC and OLTL would be going off the air in 2011 or 2012, but being more transparent might have lessened the anger. ABC announced that this would be the last season for Desperate Housewives sometime during the summer... and they are promoting the heck out of the fact that this is viewers' chance to "kiss them goodbye."

The dilemma for Prospect Park has always been their need to get One Life to Live and All My Children back on the "air" before viewers move on. The die-hard soap fans will wait forever for them to return. The sad fact is, however, that life goes on, and viewers will find other things to watch or other things to do if given the opportunity. Things worked out better for One Life to Live because that show still had several months of taping left when it was announced that Prospect Park had licensed the show. Not so for All My Children, which was just about at the end of its run when the licensing deal was announced.

Actors had already started making post-AMC plans by the time Prospect Park entered the conversation. And that's nothing to be angry about either. Actors need to take the steps necessary to take care of their families just the way that we would in a similar situation. Again, timing is everything.

The most annoying factor surrounding the Prospect Park transition is the silence. Soap fans are not used to not knowing what's going on. Do I take some blame in that for being one of the first Internet sites to offer previews and "spoilers" for a television show? I suppose there is some finger-pointing that could be done. Since this column isn't about me -- it's just written by me -- I don't want to take too much time talking about myself. However, I will say that the purpose of has always been to celebrate the soap opera. I want people to watch the soaps, not just because it's my business, but because I love the genre and I have such a special place in my heart for the talent that puts these shows on our television sets five times each week.

Is it just me or has this entire process been a lot like the infamous back-from-the-dead stories that we both love and hate? We were devastated when All My Children was killed off. Inconsolable! Then we were stunned when the supposedly dead All My Children showed up at its own funeral, having been kept alive in a secret room by Dr. Prospect Park. Then, sadly, we learned that All My Children wasn't alive forever, but rather only for a short time, and we'd have to say goodbye all over again.

But wait! We have to remember that All My Children hasn't been declared dead and buried. You know, the body was never found after it went over the waterfall. Could the show return (just a lot more delayed than originally expected)? That's what some industry insiders are saying.

So what do you think? I've heard from a lot of readers who say they have always believed that AMC would not return, and that the Internet talk was never something that they believed would happen. Do you agree? Do you think that AMC was slated to return, but that it won't happen now? Or do you think that AMC is still going to return at a later date. I'd love to hear from you, so click the Feedback option at the top of the page or just click here to send me a message.

I prefer to remain optimistic, and hope that some extra time will allow the folks at Prospect Park to get contracts hammered out with all the people that they need to, and then get the show up and running. But just in case, I will also resume working on my All My Children finger puppets. I have two of them finished... ironic considering that's that number of stars who've signed on for the Internet-based AMC.


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