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45 January 13th, 2017 One Life to Live Aired Its Last ABC Episode Five Years Ago Today!


It is hard to fathom that five years ago on this date in 2012, the beloved One Life to Live aired its final episode on ABC after being cancelled by the network along with All My Children in 2011.  One Life debuted on ABC in 1968, a creation of the late and iconic Agnes Nixon who passed away late in 2016.

After over 43 years, when the series was canned along with AMC, that sweeping move still today has shaken the soap genre to its core. Then after stalled attempts at an online rebirth, One Life was given a new life to live online on April 29, 2013 via one season on Hulu via Prospect Park. Now after a long litigation, the rights to the series are back with ABC.

The final episode of ABC’s One Life to Live ended with a rousing cliffhanger between Alison Perkins (Barbara Garrick) revealing she had tied up and kidnapped Victor Lord Jr. (Trevor St. John) who is very much alive, just as his brother Todd (Roger Howarth) is arrested for his “murder”.   The amazing final run and final episodes were brilliantly executed and written by then OLTL head writer Ron Carlivati and his stellar writing team.

After the jump, watch the final ABC episode of One Life to Live that originally aired five years ago today.  Then share your thoughts and memories of the soap in the comment section below.

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  1. Iakovos says:

    Among the most boneheaded decisions by ABC, cancelling OLTL and AMC. The Alphabet net once owned daytime and had a brand envied by all in the game. These were quality programs that deserved better than what they received in their final years.


    Jimh(leave it to beaver) replied

    OLTL was in an upswing in its final year…it got so good-better than what is currently going on in our 4 remaing soaps!


    robert replied

    it was better than the material we are seeing now. OLTL’s demos were higher than what the current soaps are doing

    Sean replied

    The ratings were not good and although The Chews ratings may not be as good its close enough and much cheaper to produce. Im sad OLTL is gone but from a business standpoint I get why ABC did what it did.


    Celia replied

    Yeah, Iakovos.That’s what I call a SOAP….. Drama. Suspense. Gorgeous characters. Supreme acting. Oh, yeah….watching these clips was an incredibly out-of-body experience for me. Be still mine heart…it’s all a’twitter! So bittersweet.
    I wanted to dive right in there, head first. I love these people….every single one of them.
    Victor ( fake Todd) is alive? I do not remember that scene.


    Mollie replied

    I encourage you to watch The Sopranos, The West Wing, and Breaking Bad. Those are quality programs. For you to put One Life To Live in the “quality” category is simply absurd.


    Celia replied

    Hey, Mollie,
    I am trying to understand your post. How is it relevant? We are speaking of soaps not defunct primetime shows.
    We, as viewers are a diverse lot. Different strokes for different folks.
    What may seem “quality” to you, may be trash to another. My intellect must be impaired because I never found any interest in those shows. I am sorry, but that is such a blatant remark.
    I do not appreciate violence, no matter the “high” quality. ‘Tis a choice. How can one compare soaps to primetime programming? Apples and Oranges.
    OLTL, as far as I am concerned, was one of THE best soaps ever created. Still watching, after twenty-seven years. My first memory, at the age of three, was Rachel talking to Ava (ANOTHER WORLD, in her kitchen, with a dish cloth swung over her shoulder. Constance Ford, I believe died just a few years later.
    So, you see, Mollie, what counts is what makes an impression. To me, that’s “quality”.
    Furthermore, Iakovos is right. The soaps of yore brought something to the table. They had heart….something to which we all related; even to those of us who started watching as toddlers.
    Iakovos was not comparing, you are. He is strictly talking about soaps, THEIR merits and how their ‘richness’ is getting poorer and poorer. To those of us who are avid soap watchers, Mollie, this “regression” hurts. I take it, you don’t really like soaps? Later.

    brian replied

    i have to agree so strongly with Celia.. and somehow i feel that you may not understand what soaps gave to people. Imagine being a gay teenage in my world of 1981 and 1982 and my 2 final years of high bulling being now played 10 years later by Ryan Phillipe. the dialogue, the visualization of what Billy Douglas suffered bridges so much understand of what i went thru for my mother to see on this soap. I mean no offense to you in any way, but i felt strongly to give voice to my experience. there were days in those years when it would be easier for to have gone to bed and hoped not to awake..but it was wanting to watch OLTL the next day that calmed those thoughts. And with regard to Breaking Bad , which at the time it aired, i too enjoyed watching..please do some viewing of the documentary movie “Chemsex” and see what crystal meth has done to the gay community 10 years later on.

    Steven replied

    Judith LIght as Karen Wolek. Need I say more?

  2. AJ says:

    While I loathe the cancellation of soaps – I still miss my beloved Santa Barbara – I can’t agree that it was “among the most boneheaded decisions by ABC.” Soaps are quite expensive to produce and just don’t have the ratings they once did, especially the ABC ones. The Chew averages almost 3M viewers and costs much less than OLTL to produce. It’s simple business. Yes, the Revolution failed, but now that hour is back at the affiliates and that makes them happier than having any network programming!


  3. Alan says:

    OLTL was at the top of its game during its last few years. It’s sad that a show that was never afraid to take creative chances with its storytelling was cancelled in favor of GH and its singular worship of all things Corinthos.


    Brian replied

    It’s pretty simple, GH was the higher rated show at the time, and brought in higher ad revenue. It also had the history and the track record. Not to mention, OLTL was cost ineffective being taped in New York where production costs are much higher. There’s a reason none of the New York based soaps ever lasted. It came down to dollars and cents, which is all ABC cared about. I don’t like that it happened, but from working in the TV business, I can understand why it did.


  4. fginaspy says:

    I enjoyed the finale better this time around. I think no commercials helped. I least favorite character in this episode was Tomas. Now that ABC owns the rights of characters again I wonder if some characters will once again appear on GH. Even if they resurrect OLTL on a smaller scale to stream online. We know there is an audience.


  5. Claudio says:

    Wow time flies, ABC made a huge mistake in cancelling OLTL. ABC will never admit there mistake, I hope they choke on it. OLTL will never come back to ABC, way too late now.


    Rose replied

    I agree with you Claudio. Even if they tried to re-boot it’s hard to catch the magic again…like David Vickers, Dorian, Blair. And then there seems to be problems finding good writers for the soaps we have left.

    It’s said it costs more to do a soap than the other shows they’ve tried as replacements for our soaps. But I also have to think it has cost a lot in loyalty and the revolving door of shows that have come and gone.


  6. Phil says:

    I miss Guiding Light of all the cancelled shows… wish they would find a way to bring it back on the air, but sadly we will never see another daytime soap premiere!


  7. jlh says:

    I thought about OLTL several times today and still recall 5 years ago. I was at work and looked at the clock at the time it was airing its final moments. A heartbreaking moment. Went home, watched the episode and cried like a baby. I’ll never forget the series–it was a part of 40 years of my life–and in fact got a OLTL tattoo (the abbreviations) last year!


    Lori bono replied

    I felt the exact same way, it was so heart wrenching I was devastated


    Patricio replied

    I cried from the opening credits on. I was hoping that OLTL would be my afternoon companion as it was for my mom and aunts. GH is too hit and miss.


  8. John Gordon says:

    It COULD come back though it is highly unlikely – the viewers would have to accept new cast members intermingled with existing Cast members such as Erika Slezak as Victoria ~ add in some new players – there’s no reason why it can’t be done – the only problem is, ABC probably won’t do it.


  9. Terri says:

    OLTL was must watch daytime drama, funny, poignant, sexy, with the best cast and couples . The acting was superb and the writing was at the top of its game. I miss my beloved soap I miss my favorite couple Jolie, as well as other favorites Cicki and Clint, David and Dorian, Todd and Blair, Victor and Tea, Jess and Nash, Bo and Nora and oh the tears when it ended.


  10. Patty says:

    Miss oltl to much, bring it back and other character from and
    And other soaps it will do great, daytime right now sucks
    Except for a few shows.


  11. jeanine girard says:

    Wow. Five years already! So miss all the soaps that were cancelled last: OLTL, ATWT, and of course GL. The reasons can be many why they were cancelled from expenses to different demographics and viewing habits, etc. I just find it ironic that the execs who proclaimed that viewers don’t want to watch serial dramas anymore. And now what is the primetime landscapes littered with: Serialized dramas! Makes me crazy!!


  12. Llanviewer717 says:

    I still mourn the loss of our beloved One Life to Live. All this week, I’ve watched episodes from 2009-2010 online and am thoroughly entertained. The quality of the acting, story weaving and production is superb. There were half a dozen different story lines going on at the same time and nothing got lost in the shuffle. I miss those rich, multi-layered characters and complex stories with all the twists and turns. I offer my sincere thanks to the entire cast and crew for entertaining me from July 15, 1968 to January 13, 2012.


  13. Abe Washington says:

    Prospect Park’s OLTL was also really good. It got better and better as it went on, I wish it had continued1


  14. Yvonne says:

    Now maybe GH can have Dr Finn go off into the sunset with Hayden or his not-so dead wife and bring back John McBain. They can do the same with Franco/Todd. Or better yet have some other actors take the role of Dr. Finn and Franco and return Michael Easton to the role of McBain and Roger Howard to Todd. That would be a hoot.


  15. Shelly says:

    I miss it a lot! And AMC too. I watched them both from the time I was a little girl staying with my Grandma. She’d stop for a break to watch her “stories” then she’d go back to cooking and cleaning. Lol


  16. James R. Poissant says:

    What I loved most about OLTL is that Ron Carlivati was in charge of the writing and Frank Valentini was the head honcho. Ron gave us a surprise every day which had me tuning in because I knew if I missed a day I missed alot. He also waited until a big payoff came on a story and I remember swearing at my TV so many times because I wanted the ending to come but of course making me wait was half the fun with the show. The last time i had that anticipation was when TEXAS was on the air. Soaps that have something exciting happen every day are the most fun for me to watch and I miss both those shows so very much.


    su0000 replied

    hi James,
    yes, Ron gave us a surprise every day and always an ending pay-off to the story.
    Ron Carlivati is the best of the best.
    I am awaiting Ron Carlivati’s return to GH.


    James R. Poissant replied

    Is Ron coming back to GH? I didn’t hear anything about that but I was disappointed when he was let go because I felt that Frank and Ron were the Dynamic Duo of Daytime. OLTL was my favorite soap when they were the captains there and when they went to GH, they were still the best team anywhere. I hope this is true!!

    Steven replied

    Ron is now head writer on DOOL.

  17. Lori bono says:



  18. Violet Lemm says:

    I also loved The Guiding Light and Santa Barbara among many other favorites over the years that gave been cancelled.


  19. Jp says:

    Still miss one life to live everyday. It was part of me growing up. I wish it was still on the air in some capacity.


  20. Chaz says:

    Through highs & lows I watched OLTL from beginning to end and it had a talented cast, was fearless in highlighting social issues way before some other shows – even prime time – would touch them, was not afraid to be silly and incorporate humor and those musical numbers into it and created some of daytime’s most loyal fans.

    While I doubt it will happen again, I would love to see the show revived, even in a 30 minute format.


  21. blake says:

    Do you have to remind us? I’m still not over this. OLTL was the best soap at this time and I enjoyed watching every episode. ABC was stupid to cancel it and they never recovered for it thankfully.


  22. Rodd says:

    Still miss it like crazy.


  23. P. McMahon says:

    I miss that show every single weekday to this day.


  24. mgb357 says:

    They were family… and everyday they are thought of fondly.

    OLTL – hopefully Another Life To Live….


  25. su0000 says:

    On RC’s twitter..
    he posted a link to a video of–
    OLTL: Viki’s Heartbreaking Last Speech About Soaps (2012)
    She tells it !

    you OLTL fans might want to view it, get your hankies out !


  26. dmr says:

    In my opinion, the final days/episodes were dreadful-focused on Destiny, her family, and Matthew-all lackluster actors in lackluster storylines. OLTL was filler for me, airing before General Hospital; although, I always enjoyed Viki when she was altered as Niki Smith and I loved Dorian and the Cramer “girls.”


  27. Janet says:

    Unless it’s coming back I don’t want to say anything but this.


  28. robert says:

    it was a stupid decision to end it. over it’s last year,it had really improved. the quality was much better than what we are currently getting with the four remaining soaps. all of it’s replacement flops showed they made a mistake


  29. John Gordon says:

    Wow it’s been over 5 years since ABC-TV made the biggest mistake in the history of television ~ now they have CRAP on in the afternoon, I really hope the Execs are happy ~


  30. Steven says:

    To Mollie, who called soaps ‘absurd’:

    The week where Judith Light as Karen Wolek was on the stand, testifying to save her friend Victoria Lord from prison for killing Marco Dane, confessing her hidden life to an entire courtroom, won Light not ONE but TWO back to back Emmys, and the episodes are shown in many acting classes to emphasize just what stellar acting truly is.

    Just because you don’t care for daytime drama, and think it is not up to ‘Oscar’ standards, also remember many future Oscar nominees and winners got their starts on daytime.

    Read up before you criticize, princess.


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