One Life to Live heavily focuses on the members and relationships of the Lord family. Actress Erika Slezak began portraying original and central heroine Victoria Lord on March 1971 and played the character continuously for the rest of the show's run on ABC Daytime, winning a record six Daytime Emmy Awards for the role. In 2002, the series won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. Taped in New York City, One Life to Live was the last American daytime soap opera based outside the Los Angeles area.
On April 14, 2011, ABC announced the cancellation of One Life to Live, citing low ratings, high production costs and viewers' changing tastes. On July 7, 2011, production company Prospect Park announced that it would continue the show as a web series after its run on ABC, but later suspended the project. The final scenes of One Life to Live were taped on November 18, 2011 and the last episode aired on January 13, 2012. Since then, several characters have been brought over to General Hospital.
On January 7, 2013, Prospect Park resumed its plan to continue One Life to Live as a daily 30 minute web series on Hulu and iTunes via The Online Network with episodes slated to air beginning on April 29, 2013.
The show was originally a half-hour serial until it was expanded to 45 minutes in 1976 and to one hour in 1978. One Life to Live was created by Agnes Nixon, who was also responsible for the creation of All My Children (in 1970) 1984, and who served as the head writer of Another World and Guiding Light.
The title of the show was originally going to be Between Heaven and Hell. However, the sponsors wished that the name be changed to something less controversial. Even though the name change was made, the first opening titles were of a symbolic hellfire (in reality, the taped footage was of a burning fireplace, with the emphasis on the flames emitted).
The first sponsors of the show were the Colgate-Palmolive company, who also sponsored The Doctors. ABC bought the show from Agnes Nixon in December 1974 1984 when they purchased all stock to her Creative Horizons Inc.
One Life to Live is set in the fictional city of Llanview, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show continually centers on the wealthy, WASP Lord family, with the working-class Polish American Wolek Family , the less wealthy Irish Catholic Rileys, and the African-American Grays present at the series inception. One Life to Live has been called "the most peculiarly American of soap operas: the first serial to present a vast array of ethnic types, broad comic situations, a constant emphasis on social issues, and strong male characters."
From the debut episode, One Life to Live centered on fictional character Victoria Lord (originated by Gillian Spencer), portrayed by six-time Emmy winner Erika Slezak for longer than any other One Life to Live series actor, from March 1971 through the series finale January 13, 2012. Long-suffering heroine Viki weathered love and loss, widowhood, rape, divorce, stroke, and breast cancer, and was plagued by dissociative identity disorder (or DID, once known as multiple personality disorder) on and off for decades. Viki also had heart problems and received a transplant from her dying husband.
The apparent murder of Marco Dane by Viki Lord and the ensuing Karen Wolek prostitution storyline in 1979 garnered widespread critical acclaim and several Daytime Emmy Awards. The 1980s brought great ratings success and rose to prominence Viki's sister, Tina, and the Buchanan family. In the 1990s, the show introduced one of the first married interracial couple in soap operas, attorneys Hank Gannon and Nora Gannon, and the story of the involvement of Viki's estranged brother, Todd, with the rape of Marty Saybrooke, called "one of the show's most remembered and impactful."
One Life to Live celebrated its 40th anniversary in July 2008 with the return of several former cast members and by revisiting notable plot lines from its past. "Deceased" characters and even creator Agnes Nixon appeared in a storyline in which Slezak's Viki dies and visits Heaven, an homage to Viki's 1987 heavenly trip. Daytime Emmy-nominee Andrea Evans and others returned for a tribute to Tina Lord's famous 1987 plunge over the Iguazu Falls and the 1990 royal wedding in fictional Mendorra. And like the 1988 Old West storyline in which the character Clint Buchanan steps back 100 years in the past, on July 21, 2008, Robert S. Woods began an extended storyline in which his character Bo Buchanan finds himself transplanted back into his own past—specifically 1968, the year of the series' inception—witnessing his family's back-story unfold. Soap Opera Digest subsequently named One Life to Live their "Best Show" of 2008, calling it "the year's most compelling" series and citing a myriad of story lines the magazine found "heartbreaking," "stunning," and "gripping," as well as complimenting its risk-taking and "diverse and talented" cast.
On August 4, 2009, it was announced that One Life to Live, which taped in New York City, would move from ABC Studio 17 at 56 West 66th Street to Studio 23 at 320 West 66th Street, Manhattan in early 2010. This studio was made available by the move of sister serial All My Children to a production facility in Los Angeles, where that series began taping on January 4, 2010. The new studio was 30% larger than One Life to Live's previous one, and both One Life to Live and All My Children were to be taped and broadcast in high-definition (HD) after their moves.
On October 8, 2009, ABC announced that it had postponed the transition to HD for One Live to Live, citing the economic climate at the time, though an ABC spokesperson stated that they "...will re-examine it next year." On December 6, 2010, One Life to Live became the fifth daytime serial to broadcast in the 16:9 widescreen picture format but still not in true HD, after Days of our Lives, The Young and the Restless, and fellow ABC soap operas All My Children and General Hospital, though those series are produced in high-definition. ABC's picture disclaimers at the start of the program list it as being aired in "digital widescreen" rather than HD. The September 17, 2010, series ending of As the World Turns left One Life to Live as the last remaining American daytime serial being produced in the New York City area as well as the only one produced outside the Greater Los Angeles area.
Rumors about a potential cancellation of One Life to Live arose from TV Guide Canada in late 2009, after ABC announced that it was moving All My Children from New York City to Los Angeles. One Life to Live's lone presence in New York among the ABC soap operas, along its non-transition to HD and its struggling ratings, made it a program at risk of cancellation. The article from TV Guide Canada also pointed that once One Life to Live is cancelled, some of the actors could be offered to join the cast of All My Children in Los Angeles. In May 2010, rumors of possible cancellation of not only One Life To Live, but this time of also All My Children and General Hospital, resurfaced when Disney–ABC Television Group officially announced that it was shutting down SOAPnet, effective in 2012. After a failed attempt to give Aisha Tyler a talk show in 2009, ABC restarted auditioning a few pilot shows as candidates for its daytime lineup. At this point, All My Children had the lowest ratings so rumors began heating up in March 2011 about the show's demise, with hints that One Life To Live was safe for a while longer. However, early in April 2011, rumors suggested that both All My Children and One Life To Live were in danger of cancellation.
After years months of cancellation rumors, ABC announced on April 14, 2011 that All My Children and One Life To Live would end their runs. ABC cited "extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want and the changing viewing patterns of the audience." The network stated it was replacing One Life to Live with a new production entitled The Revolution, which would focus on health and lifestyles. While the cancellations of both soap operas were announced on the same day, One Life To Live was to remain on the air 4 months longer because its replacement would not be ready until later. In response to the cancellations, vacuum cleaner manufacturer Hoover withdrew its advertising from all ABC programs out of protest.
The final episode aired on January 13, 2012, with villainess Allison Perkins narrating her views about the people of Llanview. During the last minutes of the episode, Todd Manning is put under arrest for the murder of Victor Lord, Jr. The show ends with the discovery that Victor Lord, Jr. is still alive and has been kidnapped by Perkins. Perkins closes the 43 years old soap opera by throwing the script of One Life to Live at Victor saying to him: "But why spoil what happens next. You of all people should know things are rarely what they appear". The decision to conclude One Life to live with an open-ended story is because the serial was supposed to continue on another network at the time the last scenes were taped
On the day of the final episode, The View hosted a tribute to One Life to Live where several actors were invited including Erika Slezak, Robert S. Woods, Robin Strasser, Hillary B. Smith, Kassie DePaiva, James DePaiva, Andrea Evans, Judith Light and the show's creator Agnes Nixon.
The departure of One Life to Live ended a 62 year history of daytime television soap operas taped in New York which started in 1950 with the CBS's daytime drama The First Hundred Years.
First revival attempt
On July 7, 2011, ABC announced that it had licensed the rights to One Life to Live and All My Children to television, film and music production company Prospect Park, allowing both series to continue producing new first-run episodes beyond the conclusion of their television runs on ABC, with the series moving to a new Hulu-style online channel currently in development by Prospect Park; as a result of the company's acquisition of the two soap operas, One Life to Live and All My Children, would become the first soap operas to transition their first-run broadcasts from traditional television to internet television.
On September 16, 2011, executive producer Frank Valentini was retained by Prospect Park for that serial as well as All My Children when both shows would move to The Online Network. On September 28, 2011, Prospect Park confirmed that One Life to Live would start on its The Online Network internet channel in January 2012, but without specifying the exact date. On September 30, 2011, it was announced that head writer Ron Carlivati would be also heading to the internet version of the show.
Since the agreement made between ABC and Prospect Park was not limited to internet television and did allowed One Life to Live to be broadcast on traditional television, there was an announcement on August 3, 2011 about a possibility of One Life to Live airing on a cable channel. On October 5, 2011, the project to bring One Life to Live to cable was reiterated in a New York Times article, where it was revealed that Prospect Park planned to first air episodes on The Online Network, then make them available on television on demand and, then weeks later, on cable television.
On November 23, 2011, Prospect Park officially suspended its plans to continue the show after its run on ABC. Reasons given by Prospect Park included funding problems and poor negotiations with the unions representing the cast of One Life to Live. WGA and AFTRA, which respectively represent the writer and the actors, have expressed disappointment over Prospect Park's decision. Though not one of the reasons given by Prospect Park, Deadline.com suggested that the company's lack of success in finding a cable network to carry the show may have been instrumental in the company's decision to not pursue the project.
Despite its fruitless attempt to save the series, Prospect Park had succeeded in retaining 13 actors to sign for the online venture, compared to currently only two actors for All My Children. Matriarch actress Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord) was among the 13. The 12 other actors were Melissa Archer (Nathalie Buchanan), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer), Michael Easton (John McBain), Shenell Edmonds (Destiny Evans), Josh Kelly (Cutter Wentworth), Ted King (Tomás Delgado), Florencia Lozano (Tea Delgado), Kelley Missal (Danielle Manning), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning), Jerry Ver Dorn (Clint Buchanan) and Tuc Watkins (David Vickers).
Second revival attemptOn January 7, 2013, Prospect Park made an official statement about its plans to restart production of One Life to Live and All My Children as web series. The two soap operas will serve as anchor shows for The Online Network (Prospect Park's new online channel that was supposed to be launched during the original attempt in 2011). Prospect Park inked deals with SAG-AFTRA and DGA. Prospect Park confirmed that former coordinating producer, Jennifer Pepperman has signed on as the new executive producer for the web reboot of One Life to Live. Creator Agnes Nixon will work as consultant for the new web series. On January 13, 2013 it was confirmed that soap opera writers Thom Racina and Susan Bedsow Horgan were named as the new Head Writers of One Life to Live. On January 22, 2013, Prospect Park released a full cast of the reboot of One Life to Live who signed on.
Production of One Life to Live will begin on February 25, 2013 with taping of new episodes to begin on Monday, March 18, 2013. The series is slated to air in April 29, 2013 at 12PM Eastern One Life to Live will be 30 minute web series taped in Stamford Connecticut. It will be available on Hulu and Hulu Plus as well as various Itunes applications including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
|Snoop Lion||as himself||2013|
|Isaac Haise Whismecur||2013|
|Bethany Watson||TV reporter||2013|
|Sean Russell Herman||bartender||2013|
|Felicia Greenfield||Cougar #1||2013|
|Shorey Walker||Cougar #2||2013|
Before they were stars
Among the many who appeared on One Life To Live before rising to higher fame:
- Tom Berenger (Tim Siegel #2; 1975-1976)
- Yasmine Bleeth (Lee Ann Demerest Buchanan; 1991-1993)
- Jonathan Brandis (Kevin Buchanan #2; 1982)
- Dixie Carter (Dorian Cramer Lord [temp]; 1974)
- Marcia Cross (Kate Sanders; 1986-1987)
- John Cullum (Artie Duncan; 1969)
- Roma Downey (Johanna Leighton; 1988)
- Julia Duffy (Karen Wolek Wolek #2; 1977)
- Nathan Fillion (Joey Buchanan #4; 1994-1997)
- Laurence Fishburne (Dr. Josh Hall #1; 1973-1976)
- Faith Ford (Muffy Critchlow; 1983)
- Richard Grieco (Rick Gardner; 1986-1987)
- Tommy Lee Jones (Dr. Mark Toland; 1971-1975)
- Joe Lando (Jake Harrison; 1990-1992)
- Eriq La Salle (sports reporter for the Banner; 1985)
- Judith Light (Karen Wolek Wolek #3; 1977-1983)
- Jameson Parker (Brad Vernon #1; 1976-1978)
- Ryan Phillippe (Billy Douglas; 1992-1993)
- Phylicia Rashad (Courtney Wright; 1981-1983)
- Brandon Routh (Seth Anderson: 2001-2002)
- Blair Underwood (Bobby Blue; 1985-1986)
- Casper Van Dien (Ty Moody; 1993-1994)
As with many other television series, One Life to Live has had a number of crossovers with other programs, both daytime and primetime.
- John Beradino from General Hospital appeared on One Life to Live in 1968 whenever Dr. Steve Hardy made the trip from Port Charles to Llanview to consult on Meredith Lord Wolek's blood disease.
- Michael Storm appeared as Dr. Larry Wolek on All My Children, shortly after its premiere in 1970, in an attempt to get fans of One Life to Live to watch ABC's new show.
- Lillian Hayman appeared as Sadie Gray on All My Children in the late 1970s. She sang at the wedding of Dr. Frank Grant and Caroline Dixon, R.N.
- William Mooney, All My Children’s lawyer Paul Martin, appeared on One Life to Live in 1979 to defend Victoria Lord, who was on trial for the murder of Marco Dane.
- Shelley Burch appeared on All My Children as Delilah Ralston when Erica Kane had ordered a dress from her company.
- Gerald Anthony reprised his One Life to Live character Marco Dane on General Hospital in 1993.
- Clint Ritchie, Robert S. Woods, and John Loprieno appeared as Clint, Bo, and Cord in a dream sequence on primetime sitcom Roseanne in 1994.
- Michael E. Knight, Teresa Blake, and Shane McDermott appeared on One Life to Live in his All My Children characters, (Tad Martin, Gloria Marsh, R. N., and Scott Chandler) in 1996, when Hank, Nora, and Rachel were paneled guests on his talk show, The Cutting Edge. Tad appeared again in 2003 for the Fan February show.
- Elaine Princi and Robin Strasser both made appearances on All My Children as Dorian Cramer Lord, in 1991 and 2003 respectively.
- Randolph Mantooth appeared in One Life to Live in 1997, as detective Alex Masters from The City, to help Bo track down a suspect in New York City.
- Linda Dano's Rae Cummings made sporadic appearances on ABC's four soaps: All My Children in 2000 and 2001, Port Charles in 2000, and General Hospital in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
- Michael Easton appeared as John McBain on All My Children in 2003.
- Robin Christopher took the character of Skye Chandler from All My Children to One Life to Live in 1999, and then to General Hospital in 2001.
- David Canary appeared on One Life to Live in 2001 as Adam Chandler, during the storyline revealing Rae Cummings to be Skye ChandlerSkye Chandler's mother.
- Jill Larson appeared on One Life to Live on December 19, 2003 as Opal, as she was seen shopping at Logan's Department store, located in between Pine Valley and Llanview.
- All My Children and One Life to Live had a complicated "baby swap" storyline from 2004 - 2005, which involved several characters from both soaps. In the year to follow, a handful of actors/characters from each soap made sporadic appearances on the other. These included:
Julia Barr (Brooke English/AMC), Justin Bruening (Jamie Martin/AMC), David Canary (Adam Chandler/AMC), Phil Carey (Asa Buchanan/OLTL), Brock Cuchna (Paul Cramer #1/OLTL), Bobbie Eakes (Krystal Carey/AMC), Melissa Fumero (Adriana Cramer/OLTL) Dan Gauthier (Kevin Buchanan/OLTL), Alexa Havins (Babe Carey Chandler/AMC), Vincent Irizarry (David Hayward/AMC), Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin/AMC), Michael McKenzie (Mr. Emerson/OLTL), Shane McRae (Temporary Paul Cramer/OLTL) Matthew Metzger (Duke Buchanan/OLTL), Alicia Minshew (Kendall Hart/AMC) Eden Riegel (Bianca Montgomery/AMC), Robin Strasser (Dorian Cramer Lord/OLTL), Heather Tom (Kelly Cramer/OLTL), David Tom (Paul Cramer #2/OLTL), Tuc Watkins (David Vickers/OLTL), Robert S. Woods (Bo Buchanan/OLTL), and Jacob Young (JR Chandler/AMC).
- Since the premiere of All My Children in 1970, Llanview has often been mentioned on AMC, and Pine Valley has often been mentioned on OLTL, underscoring the notion that the two towns are located in the same general region of Pennsylvania.
On December 1, 2011, two weeks after OLLT finished taping its final scenes, ABC confirmed that former executive producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati would assume the same roles on General Hospital effective January 9, 2012.
Several former One Life to Live actors (Kassie DePaiva, Roger Howarth, Michael Easton, and Kristen Alderson) moved with Valentini and Carlivati and reprised their characters on GH. With the exception of DePaiva, all of these actors (expect DePaiva) were eventually put on contract and stayed permanently with the show. On May 9, 2012, Florencia Lozano joined the cast, reprising her OLTL role of Tea Delgado in a recurring capacity, much like DePaiva's role was.
In February 2013, it was revealed that the three major transplants were going to vacate their roles and take a required break from GH. Roger Howarth will return as Todd Manning for 2.5 months of on-screen time to One Life to Live. It has been reported that Kristen Alderson will also return as Starr Manning briefly as well. It is unknown whether Michael Easton will return briefly as John McBain. These three characters are presumably going to be recast on OLTL while the three original actors will get new roles on GH to protray.
Brief summary of GH experiences...
Start of CrossoverAfter the show's end on January 13, 2012, Starr Manning, Cole Thornhart, Hope Manning Thornhart, Blair Cramer, Todd Manning, John McBain and Tea Delgado have all shown up in Port Charles, New York, home of General Hospital, respectively. Cole and Hope died after their car fell from a cliff, Blair showed up to help Starr grieve, Starr has moved to Port Charles to pursue her singing career, Todd has moved to Port Charles to get away from everyone hating him in Llanview for "killing" Victor Lord, Jr., John showed up originally to take Todd back to Llanview for violating his parole, came back to watch Starr for Blair, and stayed to get revenge on Sonny Corinthos for killing his sister, Theresa (who had never been mentioned before on One Life to Live), but it was revealed that Sonny was actually trying to protect Theresa from Joe, Jr, and Tea appeared to defend Starr after she was charged for attempted murder when she took Sonny to the mountains to make him pay for killing Cole and Hope (however, it was revealed that Johnny Zacharra had actually accidentally killed them), and while she was stuck in a rental car with Todd, went into labor and had her and Victor's baby at a bus stop; Todd didn't want Tea to have no husband and no baby, so he (after Heather Webber had convinced him that Sam Morgan would be a horrible mother) switched her baby with Samantha McCall Morgan's and Tea returned to Llanview.
Wrap-up of Crossover
- Tea would end up releasing Sam's baby (now called Daniel Edward Morgan) after the truth came out. Blair and Tea left the GH show by going to find Tomas Delgado. All three major OLTL transplants (Todd, Starr, and John) were involved with budding romances. Todd and Carly Corinthos-Jacks slept together in December 2012. Starr Manning got involved with Carly's son Michael Corinthos, which they slept together couple times. John McBain made out with Samantha (Sam) McCall-Morgan, while she was still married to Jason Morgan in the summer of 2012 (Jason would be presumed dead in October 2012). In the departure episode of March 20, 2013, Sam Morgan agrees with John McBain that their relationship is complicated because of its start as an potential affair, Carly Corinthos-Jacks dumps Todd Manning for lying to her about knowing about Johnny's guilt about killing Cole and Hope, and Michael Corinthos being left in Port Charles by Starr Manning because Starr needs to go to LA to help Langston Wilde. Anna Devane, the police commissioner on GH, delievers news that John McBain is being forcefully recalled back into duty for the FBI. Todd Manning is going back to Llanview to help his daughter Danielle Manning and is also flying Starr Manning to LA.