Talk about your ironic twists of fate: It looks as if soap operas — a genre Oprah Winfrey all but declared dead a while back — could be the key to saving her network.
Hot on the heels of OWN (aka the Oprah Winfrey Network) doubling its order for the sexy sudser THE HAVES AND HAVE NOTS thanks to it getting what are, for the struggling outlet, boffo ratings comes news that this summer, they’ll be running episodes of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE.
Not surprisingly, this news was met with both cheers and jeers from soap fans. Cheers because the soaps, axed by ABC and rebooted by Prospect Park for airing on Hulu, will now be available for those who can’t (or won’t) watch TV on-line. And the jeers? Well, daytime devotees aren’t going to just forget that when ABC axed the beloved serials, Oprah refused to pick them up, even going so far as to tape a rather condescending message to fans [See below].
“Here is the bone-marrow truth,” she said in April of 2011. . “The soaps have been an institution… because they had the support of the audience.” Going on to address the genre’s diminishing audience, she added, “Believe me, if there was a dime left to be made from them on broadcast television, it would still be happening.”
She wrapped up the video by declaring, “I will not be taking on the responsibility of trying to revive an institution that for all intent and all purpose indicates that [the] time has come for them to be over.”
Until, of course, the only show to get ratings for her network was a primetime soap. And until, of course, someone else came along and took the risk on soaps, giving her the opportunity to swoop in and grab the rights to rebroadcast them.
As of Monday, July 15th, OWN will be airing the first 40 episodes of the reboots, with AMC airing at 1 p.m. EST and OLTL airing at 3 p.m. EST. Simultaneously, fresh episodes of the dramas will continue to be rolled out each week. (As of Monday, July 1st, two AMC and two OLTL episodes will hit Hulu, meaning viewers can binge-watch the shows as opposed to waiting for them to roll out on their previous schedule.) The general assumption is that if the rebroadcasts prove successful for OWN, the arrangement will continue after this initial 10-week period.
So while soap fans are thrilled to have the shows back — both on Hulu and OWN — they’re also taking a great deal of joy in dissing Oprah for her flip-flop where the genre’s concerned. After all, even the Queen Of All Media isn’t able to escape the ire of notoriously-loyal soap fans whom she previously dismissed!