Over the past two weeks, One Life to Live fans have been unnerved by a report that the long-running daytime drama series is facing imminent cancellation next year. Now, a new development in the show's relocation to a larger studio threatens to exacerbate fans' already jittery nerves: Soap Central has learned ABC's plans to broadcast One Life to Live in high-definition have been shelved. Fans, however, should not make the mistake of jumping to any conclusions. An ABC spokesperson reassures Soap Central that the decision to postpone One Life to Live's high-definition debut has nothing to do with the show's future on the network.
"In this economic environment, it was decided to postpone the capital investment to take One Life to Live HD, but we will re-examine it next year," a network spokesperson tells Soap Central, adding that it would be "inaccurate" for fans to link the postponement to rumors that the show will soon end.
This is not the first time that ABC Daytime's plans to convert one of its soaps to high-definition have been altered. Last year, the network put forward a request for capital investment to begin broadcasting All My Children in high-definition. The request was summarily denied because of the tough economic climate.
The plans to upgrade the visual production value of One Life to Live were announced earlier this year when, in August, ABC announced that it was moving production of All My Children to Los Angeles in an effort to cut the show's operating costs. Upon AMC's westward move, One Life to Live will move into All My Children's former studio. While the studio may have been too small for All My Children, the space is nearly 40% larger than One Life to Live's current home.
"The move to Los Angeles enables both All My Children and One Life to Live to dramatically improve the series production models and achieve significant efficiencies while enhancing each show," Brian Frons, president of the Daytime division of the Disney/ABC Television Group, said in a statement at the time. "We had to examine every option on the table to combat the current economic realities, and rising costs of production, and we are doing it in a way that makes each of our shows stronger."
As part of the move, Frons also announced that both soaps would begin broadcasting in high-definition in early 2010. ABC's other soap, General Hospital, has been available in HD since April. Due to the rising costs and current economic climate, plans to make the soon-to-be-vacated AMC studio HD-ready have been put on hold. According to trade publication, Broadcasting & Cable, ABC paid approximately $3,000,000 to make the necessary changes for General Hospital to begin broadcasting in high-definition.
Plans to broadcast All My Children in high-definition are still on track. The show's new studio near Los Angeles is already outfitted for HD production, so there was no need for ABC to invest any additional money. The first high-def episode of All My Children will air just in time for February Sweeps.