ABC Daytime announced today that it would move production of "All My Children" from New York to Los Angeles and that "One Life to Live" would move into "All My Children's" former New York space, giving both shows facility upgrades and streamlined production models.
"All My Children's" new facility is twice as large as its current one. It includes two stages, which will allow it to keep more standing sets. It will also allow the series to switch immediately from standard-definition to high-definition TV.
"One Life to Live" will enjoy similar upgrades when the show moves into "All My Children's" old home, which is 30 percent larger than "One Life to Live's" current space.
After the show relocates in December, "All My Children" will begin taping episodes in Los Angeles the week of Jan. 4, 2010, and will begin airing in HD in February. The move of "One Life To Live" to its new home takes place soon after "All My Children" relocates.
"All My Children is one of the most recognizable brands in television, and we are committed to continue telling and enhancing the stories of the residents of Pine Valley," said Brian Frons, president of the Daytime division of the Disney/ABC Television Group. "The move to Los Angeles enables both 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' to dramatically improve the series production models and achieve significant efficiencies while enhancing each show. We had to examine every option on the table to combat the current economic realities, and rising costs of production, and we are doing it in a way that makes each of our shows stronger."
"I am so grateful for the wonderful commitment from ABC to 'All My Children,'" said Agnes Nixon, creator of both shows. "While I will miss being able to run over to the show ... it feels a little like I am sending one of my children off to be married. ... I am glad the network is making moves that will enable the team to continue telling stories about Pine Valley. ... There are many more secrets to be revealed."
"All My Children" has been on the air for 39 years,"One Life to Life" for 41, and both have enjoyed critical acclaim since their inception. "One Life to Live" was the most honored show at the 2008 Daytime Emmy Awards, with a total of 13 nominations that garnered six wins. "All My Children" earned 19 Daytime Emmy nominations.
Despite the changes in production location, "All My Children" will still air from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET every weekday on ABC, with "One Life to Live" following from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET.
Recession Realities Rock Soap Operas
While soap operas are known for keeping their characters in dire straits, the fictional troubles of the hit shows can't compare to the ones daytime TV dramas have confronted since the start of the global financial recession.
"It is hitting Pine Valley, we are not unique," "All My Children" executive producer Julie Hanan Carruthers told ABC News' "Nightline" in April.
Behind the scenes, daytime shows face tighter budgets, shrunken ad revenues and competition for viewer attention from new media. Susan Lucci, who has played Erica Kane on "All My Children" since its 1970 inception, talked to "Nightline" about the challenges facing the industry.
"Everyone has pitched in, and everyone has stepped up to the plate, and we've tightened where we can," Lucci said. "I've felt it in a couple of ways, there's some missing faces on the studio floor, and that's sad because we really are an ensemble here, from top to bottom, not just the company of actors but the crew, very much so."
Other soap cities have also changed because of audience tastes and the economy. Earlier this year, CBS announced it would pull "Guiding Light" off the air in September after 72 years of daily episodes. NBC laid off Deidre Hall, a mainstay of "Days of Our Lives" for more than three decades.
"The recession has affected everything and obviously, you know, my big challenge is, how do you tighten a budget and not see it on the air?" said Hanan Carruthers.
But ultimately, the soaps that brought us stars like Lucci, Kelly Ripa, Demi Moore, John Stamos and Rick Springfield have a secret weapon, something that transcends downturns and dollars: fans -- deeply devoted, committed fans.
"We are in their living room every single day, they see us every day, it's an ongoing story," Cameron Mathison, who plays heartthrob Ryan Lavery, told "Nightline." "It's not something you have to tune in every week to find out, it's right there for an hour every day in your living room, and if you're home that's a lot of your life, that's a lot of consistency."
Additional reporting contributed by John Berman and Steven Baker.