Debbi Morgan, back in Pine Valley with Darnell Williams, says, “It was great to be offered a job again.” | THE ONLINE NETWORK
Updated: May 29, 2013 6:42AM
Will fans flock back to Pine Valley and Llanview?
Those fictional Philadelphia suburbs, home base for former ABC soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” hope to draw return visitors as the shows migrate online.
Both will be available starting Monday in a shortened half-hour weekday format at Hulu and iTunes, from the Prospect Park studio’s Online Network, which licensed the rights to both in 2011 as part of a push into original programming.
Many returning cast members, including “OLTL’s” Erika Slezak and Robin Strasser, and “AMC’s” Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan, will be joined by younger newcomers including “AMC’s” Corbin Bleu (“High School Musical”).
But “AMC’s” biggest star, Susan Lucci, won’t be part of the initial series. And three of seven “OLTL” characters that were “loaned” to ABC’s “General Hospital” will be back, though the untimely demise of others led Prospect Park to file a lawsuit, which ABC dismissed as “baseless.”
“Soaps have gone from radio to TV and now online,” says Williams. “What an honor to be at the forefront of this brand new day.”
More pointedly, says Morgan, “it was great to be offered a job again.”
Their characters, introduced in the late 1970s as the first black couple on a daytime soap, were dreamed up by Northwestern grad Agnes Nixon, 85, the creator of both series, who got her start on radio serials and remains a consultant as they move to a third medium online.
“It makes me feel like the planet’s oldest person,” Nixon says.
But she’s grateful that both series were “rescued” after ABC dumped “AMC” in September 2011 and “OLTL” four months later, after more than 40 years, due to low ratings.
Prospect Park partner Rich Frank is confident that even older, less tech-savvy viewers “are going to be able to type in hulu.com and find it.” (Or, says Nixon, “they’ll have to ask their grandchildren how to use a computer.”)
Episodes will be available there free for 10 days; they can also be viewed anytime with a Hulu Plus subscription for $7.99 a month or downloaded on iTunes for 99 cents apiece.
Gannett News Service