After ABC’s ended long running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live, thousands of viewers pleaded with Oprah Winfrey to step in. Citing changing patterns in TV viewing, the queen of daytime talk politely declined. It seemed that even Oprah couldn’t save the soaps. As it turns out, the soaps may save the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Tyler Perry’s first scripted TV drama, The Haves and Have Nots, bowed to record numbers for OWN. It was the familiar story of Perry’s work: Critics hated it, audiences loved it. OWN has doubled its series order, adding 16 more episodes. The first 16 episodes will air through Sept. 3, with the new ones coming in 2014. Haves deals with the wealthy but dysfunctional Cryer family, and the hired help in their palatial mansion. There’s no word yet on the fate of Perry’s sitcom, Love Thy Neighbor.
Suddenly soaps look like a smart bet for OWN. Not only is Winfrey doubling up on Perry’s drama, OWN will begin airing Prospect Park-produced reruns of All My Children and One Life to Live. Prospect Park bought the rights to the soaps after ABC canceled them and began airing them online this spring.
“For two years, you posted, tweeted and Facebooked me,” Winfrey tweeted. “I heard you.”
OWN will air the first 40 episodes of the rebooted AMC and OLTL for a 10-week run starting July 15. They will air at noon, Mondays through Thursdays. This is a limited run now, but the network will surely acquire more episodes if it gets good ratings.
It’s a smart move for the still young network. When Oprah said no initially, she was saying no to the cost of paying actors, buying sets and producing the shows herself. Now that someone else has taken on those expenses, all Oprah has to do is air the shows.