International Sale Gives New Life to Canceled Soaps

P&G Soap Reruns Return to Television — Internationally

If you miss “Guiding Light,” “As the World Turns,” and “Another World,” you might want to consider taking a vacation outside the United States. Broadway Video Digital Distribution has bought the international distribution rights to the canceled soaps from Procter & Gamble, WorldScreen reports. The company is currently selling the shows at the international television convention, MIPCOM, in Cannes.  According to the article, the company purchased the 7700 episodes of ATWT that aired from 1979 to 2010,  the 5400 episodes of GL that aired from 1988 to 2009 as well as unspecified episodes of AW, which concluded its run in 1999, and “Edge of Night” and “Texas,” which both ended during the 1980s.

Here’s what I consider to be the key quote from BVDD’s president Mark Yates: “We feel that there’s a tremendous pent up demand [for these titles] because they have not been marketed, they have not been aggressively sold, and there actually are some markets that weren’t even aware that this content was available.”

In other words, P&G did not make much of an attempt to sell the shows worldwide when then were on the air, thereby depriving themselves of millions of dollars in profits that might have saved at least one of the canceled soaps. I doubt GL would have had to spend its final year looking like it was shot on a Flipcam if there had been an additional revenue stream to supplement the show’s production budget after CBS cut the licensing fees.  I have never understood why neither P&G nor ABC attempted to aggressively sell their soaps internationally after the Bell family, who owns, “The Bold & the Beautiful” turned the soap into one of the most widely syndicated shows in the world. (For what it’s worth, Disney’s international distribution division, not ABC Daytime President Brian Frons is responsible for the ABC soaps foreign syndication. This is one management decision that cannot be blamed on him.)   Sony has had tremendous success with “The Young & the Restless” and “Days of Our Lives” internationally. It’s not as though the rest of the world has declared, “We love the Forresters and the Newmans, but we have no interest in the Spauldings or the Quartermaines.”

Watch “Days of Our Lives:”

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I do not think it’s a coincidence that three of the four surviving soaps are the ones that have a significant international following. Sony and the Bells are making money on the shows, and are therefore willing to fight to keep them on the air. ABC and P&G were not, and so they had little motivation to try to save their soaps.

Hillary B. Smith on Her Future With One Life To Live

After Friday’s announcement that that five more actors  and headwriter Ron Carlivati were joining the online version of “One Life to Live,” it seemed like the whole cast might move online. That may not be the case. In an interview with TheaterMania, Hillary B. Smith implies that she and  Robert S. Woods (Bo) might not continue with the show. Said Smith, “I can say that Nora and Bo will be leaving together when we stop taping on ABC, and that makes me very happy. As for the online venture. I am very excited that the show’s fans will have another venue, and I am sorry for ABC that they made this decision. But I don’t know what’s in store for me after Thanksgiving, when I stop shooting One Life.”

Since Prospect Park is still negotiating with actors, and it’s impossible to know when Smith gave this interview, I am not jumping to any conclusions based on a vaguely worded statement. However, a Llanview without Nora and Bo would not feel right. The town needs its District Attorney and Police Commissioner. Bo is a father figure to both Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) and John (Michael Easton), as well as the good Buchanan brother who contrasts with the villainous Clint (Jerry Ver Dorn).  Destiny ( Shanelle Edmonds) is pregnant with their grandchild, a storyline that seems likely to continue on-line. Come on Prospect Park, sign them to a deal.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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