Nearly two years after being canceled by the ABC network, soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" have been brought back to life on the Web.
The two daytime dramas made their online debut Monday on the video site Hulu and Apple's iTunes store. In a sign of the shows' persistent appeal among fans, the soaps quickly bubbled up in the rankings of most popular TV shows offered by the two services.
ABC canceled the programs in 2011 because they were becoming too expensive to produce, particularly as the median age of the audience marched past the 55-year mark, and advertisers became less interested in the format. The increasing use of digital video recorders also hurt. The devices allowed legions of loyal fans to watch their favorite stories, even if they worked during the daytime, but enabled the viewers to fast-forward through the commercials.
Enter Prospect Park, a Los Angeles-based production company headed by Rich Frank, a former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and ex-talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz. The company secured rights to make Web versions of the show in a bet that the passion of the audience for such legacy programs continues to have financial value.