What would a soap opera be without some unanswered questions? One Life to Live fans have had many since the show was canceled by ABC in 2011, but the clock is now ticking towards the show's online rebirth.
On April 14, 2011, ABC devastated soap fans by announcing that All My Children and One Life to Live were cancelled. Did One Life to Live's one life come to an abrupt end, or will Prospect Park be a savior for our beloved soap?
My name is Teddi Giggy, and I am a past OLTL Friday recapper and a past three-time OLTL guest Two Scoops columnist for soap
. I have watched One Life to Live and have welcomed all of the fascinating characters into my home since the mid-70s. In fact, when I was in the hospital for the birth of my son, Austin, I watched Viki on OLTL, who was also in the hospital after she had just given birth to Kevin. The ties between Austin and Kevin have always remained with me, and Kevin will always be a reminder of the glorious experience of my first son's birth.
After ABC made their sad announcement of OLTL's cancellation in April of 2011, soap fans realized that the soap had perished in the same manner as prior soaps like Guiding Light, As The World Turns, and Passions. The fans grieved in the way that one would mourn a lost, beloved family member or friend. Because they have watched their favorite daytime dramas for years, soap fans are loyal, and they do actually feel as if they are members of a family such as the Buchanans or the Lords. Soap fans adopt the characters of their favorite shows, and they love and become close to these characters.
The reason that soap fans feel close to their favorite characters is that they spend 30 to 60 minutes (minus commercial time) a day, five days a week, for years and years watching them, as the characters go through the happy events and the tragic circumstances of their lives. These devoted fans know their favorite characters' many traits, both good and evil; their likes and dislikes; their passions; and their loves. When others in their lives reject, snub, or hurt them, the daily viewers know that they can always turn to their soap characters for warmth and comfort. One Life to Live and the Lords, the Buchanans, the Cramers, and even the Mannings have always been there to support them. When One Life to Live was cancelled, ABC essentially killed off the soap fans' loved ones.
However, all was not lost, because Prospect Park announced in the summer of 2011 that it would save the day and would rescue both soaps by continuing to show them online. Prospect Park came charging in like the cavalry, and the soap fans gratefully cheered. While AMC and OLTL prepared the endings of their shows on ABC with cliffhangers based on Prospect Park's promise of rescue, that promise appeared that it would be fulfilled when, on September 28, 2011, Prospect Park announced that the re-launch would take place in January 2012.
Then, the grief returned on November 23, 2011, when Prospect Park suspended their plans to show AMC and OLTL online, which left the futures of both soaps in doubt. The fans felt betrayed beyond belief. One Life to Live had just completed the filming of their final episodes for ABC, which were scheduled to be shown in January 2012, shortly before the relaunch was to have taken place.
It was too late for changes to be made, changes that would give the faithful, long-time OLTL fans closure for their most beloved soap and characters. Therefore, it then appeared that Victor Lord Jr. would forever be held hostage by Allison Perkins, without his family and friends even knowing that he was still alive. Prospect Park transformed from a gracious savior into the handlebar mustache-twirling villain, similar to one in a suspenseful melodrama, which ironically would have contributed material for a good soap opera storyline.
One Life to Live's executive producer, Frank Valentini, and head writer, Ron Carlivati, gave the grief-stricken fans the best resolution at the time by accepting GH's job offer to attempt to save the only remaining soap on ABC, General Hospital. OLTL fans rejoiced when Frank and Ron immediately transplanted three of OLTL's fan favorites, Todd Manning, Starr Manning, and John McBain, on loan from Prospect Park, to Port Charles. At least, the OLTL fans had not lost all of their loved ones!
OLTL and GH fans both watched as the three characters learned to adjust to life in Port Charles, and as they interacted with the existing GH characters, these transplants added new drama and suspense (not to mention humor) to the storylines. Visits from OLTL's Blair and Tťa to Port Charles also helped to ease the pain of suffering OLTL fans, who were missing their extended family members.
Once they were on General Hospital, Todd, Starr, and John found new love, as they made mistakes that would complicate their chances for happiness. (Especially Todd!) In true soap fashion, there were baby switches (again!), botched DNA results, and mental institution breakouts, and these just involved Todd Manning. As Todd pursued his love for Carly, he lied, which was typical Todd, as he covered for all of the wrongs he had done in an attempt to correct the wrongs that had been committed by others.
After Starr lost her love, Cole, and her precious child, Hope, in a tragic car accident, she was able, in time, to find love again with Michael, the adopted son of king mobster, Sonny Corinthos. And John discovered a mysteriously strange connection with Sam, which could have been from a past life. (Caleb and Livvie, anyone?) As Todd, Starr, and John moved on with their new lives, GH fans grew to know and love them. However, Prospect Park had one more surprise in store.
On January 7, 2013
, Prospect Park announced the revival of both AMC and OLTL online, which again showcased PP as the white knight in shining armor riding in to rescue the damsel in distress. This news, while it was exciting for the OLTL fans, caused quite a stir for the three characters of Todd, Starr, and John, and for their portrayers, Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson, and Michael Easton. Although Roger, Kristen, and Michael all had contracts with GH and with ABC, Prospect Park owned the rights to the characters of Todd, Starr, and John. Therefore, Prospect Park demanded that General Hospital quit showing the characters on-screen in mid-March, and as a result, the actors were not allowed to film any more scenes and were forced to leave the studio in mid-February.
But Roger Howarth learned that Prospect Park was all set to recast Todd Manning with a new actor (that was not Trevor St. John), so he wisely negotiated with Prospect Park. That negotiation resulted in Todd's return to Llanview for a month for the relaunch to finish out his storylines on OLTL, and then the character of Todd Manning would be able to return to General Hospital.
Sadly for GH fans, on March 20, 2013
, Todd, Starr, and John were all shown on-screen for the last day of their exit storylines: Todd left to return to Llanview in an attempt to reconcile with his daughter, Dani; Starr packed her suitcase to head to California in order to help her best friend, Langston; and John rejoined the FBI, once he and Sam had suddenly decided that they could not be a couple. I especially felt that John and Sam's decision was too rushed. However, I guess considering the circumstances, that could not be helped.
As of this writing, no decision has yet been made on Starr's and John's fates, or on Kristen's and Michael's careers as these characters. I do hope that if John returns anywhere, he heads to Llanview first to either resolve or end things with Natalie. John and Natalie have many fans, and although General Hospital tried to give closure to this popular couple, without Melissa Archer on-screen to end Natalie's relationship with John, it was less than successful. Phone calls from John to Natalie on General Hospital were not enough to give a satisfying ending for John and Natalie as a couple.
The celebration continues, though, for AMC and OLTL fans, with most anticipating a return of their favorite soaps and characters, yet, some are skeptical on whether soaps will work online. But this would be a win-win for all soap fans, cast members, and crew if Prospect Park's project is
Just recently, to OLTL fans' delight, Prospect Park announced the returning OLTL cast members: Erika Slezak as Victoria Lord Buchanan, Robin Strasser as Dorian Lord, Tuc Watkins as David Vickers Buchanan, Robert S. Woods as Bo Buchanan, Kassie DePaiva as Blair Cramer, Jerry verDorn as Clint Buchanan, Florencia Lozano as Tťa Delgado, Melissa Archer as Natalie Buchanan Banks, Hillary B. Smith as Nora Buchanan, Kelley Missal as Danielle Manning, Josh Kelly as Cutter Wentworth, and Andrew Trischitta as Jack Manning. Additionally, Sean Ringgold (as Shaun Evans), Shenaz Treasury (Rama Patel), and Nick Choksi (Vimal Patel) will recur.
I am thrilled that Viki, Clint, Bo, Nora, Dorian, and especially David will return. I love the character of David Vickers Buchanan, due to his absolutely brilliant humor. David enlightens any scene he is in, and it is no wonder that he was voted soap
's Dankies' "Best Recurring Character" for OLTL and for all soaps the last couple of years. I only hope that Ilene Kristen will one day get to return to Llanview, as Roxy is one of OLTL's most uniquely colorful characters. And boy, is Roxy a character!
So, soap fans everywhere rejoice! If Prospect Park's project is successful, an additional media would then exist for all remaining soaps, and added interest from soap fans, who watch online soaps, could even raise the ratings for the soaps still on network television. AMC and OLTL will be shown on hulu.com
beginning on April 29, 2013, which will give continued access to the fans of these beloved soaps. April 29 will be the day that my extended family from OLTL returns, and I cannot be more excited. Welcome back, Viki and company! I have missed you, and I still love you all. It is about time that you have finally returned home.
Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.