ABC Daytime will take some bold steps in an attempt to boost Port Charles' stagnant ratings including, according to a published report, airing a special hour-long episode in a new timeslot later this year.
Variety reports that Port Charles will air a special one hour episode on Monday, December 30th in the 2pm timeslot usually held by One Life To Live. The episode will be a kick off for the show's tenth - and currently unnamed - story arc. ABC will also air the conclusion to the show's ninth book, "Naked Eyes," during Port Charles' regular timeslot. Naked Eyes kicks off on October 1st. (Click for the full story)
The special airing of Port Charles is said to be a one-time deal; One Life to Live fans do not have to worry about their favorite soap disappearing from its regular timeslot on a permanent basis. In addition to an expanded broadcast, insiders say that the episode will feature added special effects.
In 2000, Port Charles adopted the "telenovela" format from Latin American soaps. Every thirteen weeks the show unveils a new book, or story arc. With a defined beginning and ending date, these shortened storylines defy the widely held belief that soap storylines have to drag on for months and months.
In addition to the new format, Port Charles has also altered its production schedule. Instead of filming one episode a day, the show now pulls double duty by taping two episodes a day over the course of six months. The move allows the actors to have six months off to pursue other ventures, but the schedule shift has also resulted in ABC being able to cut costs.
Nevertheless, low ratings have dogged Port Charles since its debut in 1997. It is the hope of Brian Frons, ABC Daytime's new president, that moving Port Charles to the post-All My Children slot will open the show up to a new audience. In most parts of the country, Port Charles airs at 12:30 directly following local news broadcasts. In other areas of the country, however, Port Charles has been scheduled in the wee hours of the morning - or it isn't being shown at all.
Some industry insiders are speculating that Frons may be attempting to decide whether or not the fledgling soap should remain on the network's daytime canvas. A spokesperson for the network declined to comment for this article.