‘One Life to Live’: Remembering the Daytime TV Soap Opera

One Life to Live
One Life to Live (OLTL) is a Daytime TV soap opera to remember that premiered in 1968 and centered around the lives of the residents of the fictional town of Llanview, PA. When OLTL originally debuted in 1968, it was a half-hour drama and remained so until 1976. Then, it was extended to 45 minutes from 1976-1978. In 1978, the show was extended to a full hour serial drama and aired five days a week (Monday-Friday) on ABC until Jan. 13, 2012, which was its TV cancellation date after 43 years on the air.

One Life to LiveThe serial drama initially focused on three main families–the wealthy Lords and middle-class Wolek and Riley clans. It would later grow to include other central families such as the Buchanans, Cramers, and Manning clans. The show was one of the first daytime dramas to depict people from various backgrounds and socioeconomic standings. Moreover, OLTL was also the first daytime soap to depict an interracial relationship, and among the first to explore homosexuality and drug addiction. Over the years, One Life to Live tackled many hot topics and social issues, as well as depicted its share of over-the-top and surreal storylines. Some of the show’s most successful and sensational storylines included rape, dissociative identity disorder/multiple personalities, out-of-body experiences, teen pregnancy, international espionage, cults, time travel, and even underground cities.

When remembering the Daytime TV soap opera One Life to Live, many fans recall how the show experienced a renaissance during the 1990s, in terms of romance and created some of the greatest super couples in daytime history. One of OLTL‘s most iconic and enduring super couples was Todd and Blair Manning, who were portrayed by Roger Howarth and Kassie Wesley DePaiva. Their pairing was known collectively and among the fandoms as TnB. This super couple and their brood would remain a fixture of OLTL until its cancellation in 2012. Moreover, the Manning clan would become the central family the soap focused on when One Life to Live finally won its one and only Best Drama Emmy in 2002.

Following its cancellation announcement, production company Prospect Park announced that it would continue OLTL as a web series after its run on ABC. The show taped its final scenes for ABC in November 2011, and its final episode aired on Jan. 13, 2012, with an intense cliffhanger. When the show moved to its new online home, OLTL found success in the new platform, but ultimately, the series was suspended due to behind-the-scenes conflicts.

One Life to Live

In early 2013, Prospect Park followed through with its plan to continue One Life to Live as a daily half-hour web series on Hulu and iTunes via The Online Network. The relaunched online series premiered on Apr. 29, 2013 and focused in large part on the continuing story of Todd & Blair and their Manning Family. While the online audience proved significant for the continuation series, the project was plagued with many behind-the-scene issues, namely a lawsuit between Prospect Park and ABC regarding the misuse of several prominent OLTL characters on ABC sister soap, General Hospital. On Sept. 3, 2013, Prospect Park announced it would suspend production of the online series until the lawsuit with ABC was resolved. Whether or not OLTL will resume production in the future remains to be seen. If One Life to Live does not resume production, maybe a movie or miniseries event will be produced in order to bring a satisfying conclusion to its multiple lingering storylines and cliffhangers.

In remembering the Daytime TV soap opera One Life to Live, viewers recall its timely attention to social issues, socioeconomic standing, diversity, and societal hot topics. The show premiered in 1968 and centered around the lives of the residents of the fictional town of Llanview, PA. OLTL originally debuted in 1968, as a half-hour drama and it was extended to a full hour serial drama in 1978. The serial aired five days a week (Monday-Friday) on ABC until Jan. 13, 2012, which was its TV cancellation date after 43 years on the air.

By Leigh Haugh

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5 Responses to "‘One Life to Live’: Remembering the Daytime TV Soap Opera"

  1. Granpa Ron   June 15, 2015 at 3:04 am

    The Jewish-controlled media flushes their toilets and the waste pipe leads directly to your TV set. Enjoying the new downgraded culture?

  2. Mindy S   June 13, 2015 at 2:38 am

    OLTL will always be my favorite soap. ABC/D made the greatest mistake canceling OLTL & its sister soap AMC!! Not only did ABC loose a view in me, but millions of other fans of these two soaps. I refuse to watch anything on ABC, boycotting it since OLTL went off the air. I miss the show, the stories and all the fantastic characters. Hopefully ABC can get its crap together and get the rights back to both shows and give us back our soaps!!

  3. Anita Constantine-Gay   June 12, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for this article. OLTL was a fantastic show. The cancellation a bitter pill for ABC/D daytime viewers after decades of loyalty. I still want my beloved show back on the air !!!

  4. MarcAnthony Ouckama   June 12, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    The cancellation of this show was one of the worst moves EVER made by a network. The slap in the face to both the cast & crew as well as the loyal and long-time viewers was the most disloyal and callous actions and caused the network to hemorrhage former devotees at an alarming rate that still affects the time-slots in question to this very day.

  5. Rachel Bremilst   June 12, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    It is ridiculous that OLTL and, All My Children, are no longer on the air. I STILL miss them! Prospect Park and ABC/D are missing out on MILLIONS of viewers- and their ad generated revenue. STUPID. Give the people what they want! And WE WANT OUR SOAPS BACK!!!!


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