The soap opera All My Children is the most-watched show on Hulu, and retooled Web versions of that show and One Life to Live are among the most popular content on both Hulu and iTunes.
Starting Monday at 5 a.m., they were both made available for free on Hulu and iTunes. New episodes will be released every weekday, with a recap show on Friday featuring bonus material. The successful premiere of the shows comes in the wake of its producers' unusual marketing and online culture-centric publicity stunts, ranging from bizarre out-of-home ads to casting Riff Raff to sending the show's stars to a mommy blogger convention.
Los Angeles-based production company Prospect Park acquired the rights to All My Children and One Life to Live in 2011, shortly after they were canceled by ABC. The net axed the soaps when they became too expensive to produce. As the median age of the audience audience climbed past 55, advertisers lost interest, and the advent of DVR allowed viewers to record daytime soaps and fast-forward through commercials. Headed by former Walt Disney chairman Rich Frank and former talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz, Prospect Park is attempting to inject some youth into the series in order to woo advertisers. The shows are shorter, faster-paced and racier, with a trendy aesthetic that approximates a lower-budget Gossip Girl.
Frank and Kwatinetz are also trying to attract young people with stunt casting. Rapper Snoop Lion wrote the new theme song for OLTL. The show also features cameos from Cover Girl models, earworm merchants Hot Chelle Rae and Jenni "Jwoww" Farley from MTV's Jersey Shore, who plays a bartender. Hip-hop performance artist Riff Raff plays a Floridian art dealer named Jamie Franko, in a multi-layered meta reference to James Franco, who played a Riff Raff knockoff in Spring Breakers as well as a self-referential character in ABC's daytime soap General Hospital.
"We are marketing to the television-watching audience, many of which already watch online as well," Kwatinetz told The Hollywood Reporter.
Prospect Park's marketing for the soaps included a blitzkrieg of print, radio and TV ads. The show's marketing team launched an exhaustive media campaign, with the soaps' stars appearing on entertainment shows like Access Hollywood as well as a red carpet screening on the NYU campus. Kwatinetz stressed the importance of social media in the campaign, telling The Hollywood Reporter he wanted to "go viral." The shows have also gained publicity from a $25 million breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against ABC by Prospect Park, which alleged the network sabotaged their revival attempts.