In April, popular soap operas One Life to Live and All My Children, got new life as Internet-only shows after ABC (s DIS) canceled them. The shows have been available on Hulu and iTunes (s AAPL), but many fans wish they were still available on TV. Now they’re at least temporarily getting their wish: Oprah’s OWN Network will air episodes of the shows for a 10-week “limited engagement,” starting July 15.
The episodes airing on OWN won’t be new: They’ll be the 40 half-hour episodes that have already aired online. On OWN, the episodes will air Monday through Thursday, with All My Children at 1 PM ET/PT and One Life to Live at 3 PM ET/PT.
For 2 years u posted, tweeted, Facebooked me..I heard you. Starting 7/15, we're having a summer fling w/ the soaps! http://t.co/UCxklWRlcT …
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) June 26, 2013
“We are really excited to bring OWN viewers and our audience at large an opportunity to catch up on All My Children and One Life to Live on traditional television,” Prospect Park Networks CEO Jeff Kwatinetz said in a statement. “We look forward to our millions of fans enjoying the first 40 episodes of the shows.”
Since Prospect Park brought the soaps back to life online, it has tweaked its model several times. In May, the company cut back on the number of new episodes it aired each week after studying the way that viewers were watching the shows. “Fans have been binge viewing or watching on demand, and as a result, we feel we have been expecting our audience to dedicate what has turned out to be an excessive amount of time to viewing these shows,” Kwatinetz and cofounder Rich Frank said in explaining their decision to reduce the number of new episodes to two of each show per week.
Then, earlier this week, Prospect Park announced that starting on July 1, it will release all of the week’s episode online at once, on Mondays. “Now viewers will be able to choose to watch one episode each day or binge view some or all of that week’s shows at once starting each Monday,” the company explained.
Now fans will have another viewing option, on cable — though, judging by the passionate responses we’ve gotten to the soaps moving online, I’m guessing we’ll see some complaints that not everybody has cable and that the shows should return to network TV instead.