All My Children Farewell

“All My Children” Says Farewell to Daytime Television

The soap opera “All My Children” premiered on ABC over 40 years ago and its star, Susan Lucci, has played the venerable Erica Kane for nearly just as long.

However, on April 14 the network announced the show would be cancelled and last Friday the final episode was broadcasted, a day that will live on in daytime TV history.

Created by Agnes Nixon, “All My Children” followed the residents of Pine Valley, a fictional Pennsylvania town. Erica was the local bad girl you loved to hate then came to love.

She was the heart of the show, and over the years audiences saw her go through several careers, 11 marriages, raise her children, grandchildren, overcome drug addiction, disfigurement, prison terms, and heartbreak.

In Pine Valley’s last moments, Erica had just been dumped by occasional lover/ex-husband Jackson Montgomery after she put her career ahead of their relationship again. This took place at a party full of their friends, neighbors, and children. Just as Erica squared her shoulders with determination to get her man back, a gunshot rang out, and the screen went black.

Audience members will have to wait and see whether their favorite character(s) will return… if their show actually survives. In true soap fashion, both these cliffhangers left viewers anxious to know what comes next.

“All My Children” was not just about family and friends; it became like one’s family and friend. It was something that was always there for audiences and expected to never leave.

“It’ll be weird not having it on when you’re home from school,” John Dorsi of Keyport said. “I used to watch it when I was little.”

The show’s careless cancellation caused many to grieve.  In turn, fan outcry led to production company Prospect Park licensing the show and announcing it would continue the soap online.

Nevertheless, few details have been released about what this exactly means for the iconic soap. This has prompted speculation among viewers that they might lose their show all over again.

The finale’s cliffhanger ending was decided for the series after Prospect Park entered the picture. It appears Prospect Park has the best intentions of converting the prestigious daily drama to the web.

However, as nothing like this has ever been done before, it remains to be seen if they can pull it off.

Last July, Jamey Giddens, editorial director of website Daytime Confidential, reported Prospect Park had originally wanted to begin airing “All My Children” in its new, online format just three days after its broadcast run ended.

However, the production company could not sort out all the details, leading Giddens to speculate that “All My Children” might not hit the web until January 2012.

Prospect Park has said that “All My Children” will “continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length.” This promise to produce five episodes a week, equal to broadcast standards, has likely been factored.

Another question surrounding this transition is how many viewers would actually switch to watching their stories online. Recent graduate Elena Cirillo theorizes that the show’s older demographics would not. “I feel like a lot of the people that watched it are older, like my [grandmother], and I don’t think she will want to use a computer.”

This looks like a concern Prospect Park is also having. In August, exclusively reported that the production company was trying to find cable networks that might also air the soap opera. Female friendly and general entertainment channels were targeted, but no partnerships were ever announced.

Although it has been reported that Lucci turned down an offer to appear in the online version of “All My Children,” September 19 saw the announcement that actors Cameron Mathison (who played Ryan Lavery), and Lindsay Hartley (who starred as Cara Castillo) have signed on.

At the time of this printing, these are the only two cast members moving forward, even though Prospect Park is promising actors who have gotten roles on other productions as well, according to Giddens. These would include programs like USA Network’s “Royal Pains” and FX’s “Wilfred.”

While this might reassure some fans of Prospect Park’s commitment to “All My Children,” can the show survive without its matriarch Erica Kane?