All My Children (abbreviated as AMC) is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC for 41 years, from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011. Created by Agnes Nixon, All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia. The show features Susan Lucci as "Erica Kane," one of daytime's most popular characters. The title of the series refers to the bonds of humanity. All My Children was the first new network daytime drama to debut in the 1970s. Originally owned by Creative Horizons, Inc., the company created by Nixon and her husband, Bob, the show was sold to ABC in January 1975. The series started at a half-hour in length, then was expanded to an hour on April 25, 1977. Earlier, the show had experimented with the hour format for one week starting on June 30, 1975, after which Ryan's Hope premiered.
From 1970 to 1990, All My Children was recorded at ABC's TV18 at 101 West 67th St, now a 50-story apartment tower. From March 1990 to December 2009, it was taped at ABC's television studio TV23 at 320 West 66th Street in Manhattan, New York City. In December 2009, the locale for taping the series moved from the costly New York City to California. The show was then produced in Stages 1 and 2 at the Andrita Studios in Los Angeles. All My Children started taping in high definition on January 4, 2010 and began airing in high definition on February 3, 2010. All My Children became the third soap opera to be produced and broadcast in high definition.
At one time, the program's popularity positioned it as the most widely-recorded television show in the United States. Also, in a departure from societal norms at the time, All My Children, in the mid-1970s, had an audience that was estimated to be 30% male. The show ranked #1 in the daytime Nielsen ratings in the 1978–79 season. Throughout most of the 1980s and into the early 1990s, All My Children was the #2 daytime soap opera on the air. However, like the rest of the soap operas in the United States, All My Children experienced unprecedented declines in its daytime ratings during the 2000s. By the 2010s, it had became one of the least watched soap operas in daytime television.
On April 14, 2011, it was announced that All My Children would be canceled after 41 years on the air. On July 7, 2011, ABC sold the licensing rights of All My Children to third-party production company Prospect Park with the show set to continue on the internet as a series of webisodes. The show taped its final scenes for ABC on August 30, 2011, and its last episode on the network aired on September 23, 2011 with a cliffhanger. Prospect Park had suspended its plan to revive the series in November 2011 due to lack of funding and unsuccessful negotiation with the union organizations representing the actors and crews. On January 7, 2013, Prospect Park officially brought back its project to restore All My Children as a web series. The relaunched series will premiere on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Video: Watch a snippet of an early episode of All My Children:
In her Archive of American Television interview, creator Agnes Nixon told a story regarding the longevity of the series:
"Once we were plotting an episode and I looked down and saw that it was the six thousandth episode of All My Children, and so I said to the group, hey let’s knock off and go to lunch, I’ll take you to lunch and when we came back for the first time in my life I had forgotten that I was supposed to have a telephone interview. So I called the reporter who happened to be a woman in the Midwest and apologized profusely and explained that we had discovered that it was our six thousandth episode we were writing and she some figuring and she said, do you realize, that if you had been writing nighttime that you would have been working 240 years? So it did sort of put that in perspective."