Actor and playwright Matthew Cowles, best known for creating and playing the villainous Billy Clyde Tuggle on ABC’s All My Children, died May 22. He was 69. Cowles’s long-running stint on the ABC soap ran began in 1977 as he popped in and out of the Pine Valley soap through 1990, when the Tuggle character was presumed dead in a bomb explosion. He came back a final time to reprise the role in 2013. Cowles nabbed two Daytime Emmy Awards for his turn as the notorious thug and also starred on CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful for a season. In features Cowles made his film debut in 1969′s Me, Natalie with Patty Duke and a young Al Pacino. He also acted in The Happy Hooker, Slap Shot, The World According to Garp, The Money Pit, Brenda Starr, The Juror, Nurse Betty, City By The Sea, and Shutter Island.
Prospect Park Networks may have filed for Chapter 11 earlier this week, but ABC still wants every dime it says it is owed from licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. “ABC sues to recover all unpaid Series Fees owned up to and through the date of the trial of this action as a result of Prospect Park’s failure to pay in breach of the License Agreement,” the network said in a cross-complaint filed last week (read it here). That could end up taking a hefty chunk out of Prospect Park, which started this legal arms race with its own multimillion-dollar licensing suit against ABC last April. In Friday’s filing, ABC claims that the multi-season series fees arrangement entitles the network to more than $145 million in payments but argues that it was paid only for a few months on the first seasons of AMC and OLTL, which PPN launched online last spring. It later ceased production after around 40 episodes. In its Chapter 11 filing, Prospect Park listed ABC as being owned $1.7 million.
The network also says the total Season 1 series fees for the now seemingly shuttered AMC and OLTL were $4.5 million and $4 million each, most of which it hasn’t seen. “As a direct, legal and proximate cause of Prospect Park’s breach of the License Agreement, ABC has suffered damages of not less than $5 million,” adds the 27-page cross-complaint. ABC is seeking compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and legal fees from PPN. “We value the history and the legacy of both All My Children and One Life To Live. They are television institutions,” an ABC spokesperson said of the filing. “Prospect Park has the exclusive rights to these programs. It was their decision to discontinue producing new episodes online thereby disappointing fans. Prospect Park has not honored their agreement with ABC.”
Although its multimillion-dollar legal action against ABC over seemingly shuttered licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live continues, Prospect Park Networks today filed for Chapter 11. With creditors such as ABC and the DGA, the online production company made the petition for protection in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. “PPN is optimistic that this filing will make it possible to continue to maximize the value of its assets and settlement of past liabilities,” the company said in a statement today. “The company is optimistic about the prospects for a smooth transition into bankruptcy.” The action today leaves little room for the resurrection of All My Children and One Life To Live in their last online incarnation. After a long-awaited first season online, both soaps ceased production last August.
ABC took a hit this morning in Prospect Park’s multimillion-dollar legal action over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. The network was denied its motion to strike the part of the production company’s amended complaint in which Prospect Park asked to have the license agreement for the online shows extended and payments to ABC “excused” while the nearly year-old breach of contract suit for more than $100 million moves forward. The ruling came after a 50-minute hearing in LA Superior Court before Judge Robert Hess. Trial lawyer James Edward Maloney of Texas’ Andrews Kurth represented Prospect Park, while Susan Klein and Nuritsa Ksachikyan of LA’s Valle Makoff were there for ABC. “Prospect Park exercised its option — it produced an entire season of the series,” Klein argued early in the hearing. “It can’t ask the court to rewrite what the parties have negotiated.” Hess saw it differently: “After hearing the arguments from them and you, I’m going to let them leave it in,” he told Klein.
ABC filed the motion to strike on January 13 of this year, two months after Prospect Park filed its amended version of its initial April 2013 complaint seeking “at least $30 million in out-of-pocket losses and/or at least $95 million in lost profits” from the network. The November 13 amended complaint alleges that ABC has been breaking the licensing agreement, claiming the network inked long-term agreements with OLTL actors, killing off OLTL characters on loan to General Hospital and deliberately attacking Prospect Park’s efforts to continue AMC and OLTL online.
Well, Jeff Zucker did say that CNN was going to more broadly define what news was. It looks like it is going to more broadly define the sort of roles its reporters will play too. With The Lead With Jake Tapper up in the ratings, its host Jake Tapper is going dramatic, with his previously announced role on All My Childrennow set for August 12. The opportunity emerged when Tapper went up to Connecticut to do a piece on the cancelled ABC show’s new online life. Unlike CNN personalities like Wolf Blitzer or Larry King, who often show up on movies and TV shows playing themselves, Tapper will appear on the online soap as Business News Update reporter Spencer Phillips, which sounds almost like a real cable news reporter’s name. His character tries to interview Brooke English (Julia Barr) and Dixie Cooney (Cady McClain). This will be Tapper’s dramatic debut and finale, an insider tells me. After an unsteady start in mid-March, Tapper’s The Lead has seen rises, with the show topping its 4 PM time slot in July in the key adults 25-54 demo.
Online soap One Life To Live will end its first season on Monday, August 19 and All My Children will wrap on Monday, September 2, The Online Network said today. TOLN promises the first season of All My Children ends by answering many of the season’s burning questions, including whether Angie and Jesse will bring Cassandra home after her horrific journey and if the ordeal will bring them closer together. One Life To Live ends as the entire town of Llanview attends the annual Man of the Year Gala. Episodes are streamed on TOLN partners Hulu and iTunes. Producers say they are already prepping for the next season, so stay tuned.
Online soaps All My Children and One Life To Live have found a network home. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has acquired the first 40 episodes of The OnLine Network’s revivals for a 10-week limited engagement that will bring the cancelled ABC daytime dramas back to daytime. Half-hour episodes of each show will air Monday through Thursday beginning Monday, July 15 with All My Children at 1 PM and One Life to Live at 3 PM. “These shows have proven to be very popular with a significant, loyal fan base, not to mention Oprah herself is a big fan,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. Added Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of the soaps’ producer Prospect Park, “We are really excited to bring OWN viewers and our audience at large an opportunity to catch up on All My Children and One Life to Live on traditional television.”
All My Children and One Life To Live producer Prospect Park and IATSE Locals 52, 161, 600, 700, 764, 798 and USA829 have resolved the labor issues that led to the two soaps going on hiatus 11 days earlier than planned. In light of the dispute, Prospect Park also was considering moving production of the two shows, based in Stamford, Conn., to another state. Now they will stay put and return to production as planned on August 12.
Speaking on behalf of the New York Production Locals, Local 600 rep David Blake said, “We are pleased that that the parties were able to successfully address their concerns in a mutually beneficial way, which will enable these innovative shows to continue to be produced with our talented crews.” Said Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz, “We thank the entire IATSE organization for their continued support in bringing these shows to fans, and we especially appreciate the efforts of Chaim Kantor and John Ford and our entire crew for helping us to move forward as a unified team.”
IATSE had accused Prospect Park of going over $120,000 per episode budget, which would trigger higher rates for the crew, something the production company has …
‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life To Live’ Start Hiatus Early Because Of IATSE Dispute, Shows Mull Move To New Location
All My Children and One Life To Live were scheduled to go on hiatus on June 17. But in light of recent labor issues between soap’s producer Prospect Park and IATSE Local 52, work will stop 11 days earlier. What’s more, because of the dispute, I hear Prospect Park is considering moving production of the two shows, based in Stamford, Conn., to another state. “As a result of a dispute with the IATSE, The OnLine Network is beginning a long-planned hiatus for both All My Children and One Life To Live tomorrow instead of June 17,” the company said in a statement. “The hiatus is scheduled to end on August 12 pending resolution of this labor issue. Right now we have 40 episodes of each show ready to post through September, and if we can resolve this issue by August, we can get back into the studio on time so audiences will enjoy uninterrupted postings of their favorite shows.”
EXCLUSIVE: Hunger Games tribute Leven Rambin will be busy this summer filming a pair of indie dramas. The actress who played Glimmer in Lionsgate’s blockbuster YA adaptation has lined up roles in Seven Minutes, rookie writer-director Jay Martin’s about a young athlete (Luke Mitchell) whose serious injury leads him to break bad, and Walter, first-time helmer Anna Mastro’s tale of a guy (Andrew J. West) who believes he’s the son of God and thinks he is destined to decide the fate of everyone he encounters. Rambin plays a love interest to the male leads in both films. The actress, whose credits also include Chasing Mavericks and an Emmy-nominated dual role on All My Children, co-stars in Fox’s upcoming sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. She is repped by CAA, The Schiff Company and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Three weeks into the re-launch of soaps All My Children and One Life To Live online, I’ve learned that producer Prospect Park is adjusting their release schedule to two new original episodes each week instead of four as it is now. Starting next Monday, fresh episodes of All My Children will be uploaded on Monday and Wednesday, and new episodes of One Life To Live on Tuesday and Thursday. (Friday will continue to be day for recaps, which will now run as a single show). I hear Prospect Park has started to notify producers and have obtained a letter by the company’s principals Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz to fans about the change (read it below).
I hear the decision to reduce the number of new episodes a week was made after Prospect Park studied the data for the first 2.5 weeks of viewing. On traditional TV, soap fans come in and out of their favorite shows, usually watching 2-3 shows a week. But because all aired episodes of AMC and OLTL are available online, viewers don’t rush to watch them right away and then try to see what they missed at once, leading to binge viewing. While that is not a problem for shows like Breaking Bad, Homeland and House Of Cards, which offer 13-episode seasons, catching up on four new episodes of both soaps proved difficult for online viewers, many of whom have already fallen behind. To accommodate them, Prospect Park will keep all aired episodes of AMC and OLTL on the free Hulu platform for now, instead of migrating the older ones to Hulu Plus with only the 10 most recent segments available for free. The decision was made to make the viewing load more manageable before fans start giving up.
Dimitri Marick is returning to Pine Valley. Prospect Park’s The Online Network announced today that Michael Nader will reprise the role, returning to the online revival of All My Children on June 3rd. Brooke English, played by Julia Barr, has offered Dimitri a job as head of one of Chandler Enterprises new divisions – Chandler Media – which he gratefully accepts. The question is – how will Pine Valley residents react to Dimitri’s return after all these years? Nader (Dynasty, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) first appeared on the ABC daytime drama in 1991. New 30-minute episodes of All My Children are streamed Mondays-Thursdays on TOLN partners Hulu and iTunes.
The Online Network announced today that Brooke Newton is taking on the role of Colby Chandler, described as the spoiled entitled daughter of patriarch Adam Chandler, and Jason Pendergraft is checking into Pine Valley Hospital as new character Dr. Anders, an all-business physician. Newton’s episodes begin streaming May 16, and Pendergraft’s episodes begin running May 27. Newton’s TV credits include Gary Unmarried, CSI, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Mad Men, Happy Endings, and Suburgatory. She also has appeared in the feature films Natale a Miami, Real Premonition, Sydney White, Little Fish, Strange Pond, and RoboDoc. She currently stars opposite Rob Lowe in the feature Knife Fight and appears in the films Jake Squared, Hamlet’s Ghost, Jet Set and A Leading Man, all set for summer release. Pendergraft’s TV credits include Law & Order, As the World Turns, CSI: New York, Gossip Girl, Army Wives and White Collar. On the film side, he’s appeared in When Will I Be Loved and Frat Brothers Of The KVL. New 30-minute episodes of All My Children are streamed Mondays-Thursdays on TOLN partners Hulu and iTunes.
Hours after the premiere of the rebooted All My Children and One Life To Live, the online-only (for now) soaps have climbed to the top of the two digital platforms they’re available on: iTunes and Hulu. On iTunes, the soaps are No. 1 and No. 3 in the TV seasons category, sandwiching the current sixth season of AMC’s Mad Men. Among episodes, AMC and OLTL currently rank as No. 5 and No. 6. On Hulu, the AMC and OLTL premieres are the two most viewed TV episodes today. The AMC and OLTL debut comes on the heels of the soap’s producer Prospect Park filing a $25 million breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, claiming the broadcast network had sabotaged the soaps’ revival. That litigation is ongoing.
UPDATE, 1:08 PM: Almost a week after producer Prospect Park sued ABC for more than $25 million over alleged broken agreements and claims of trying to sabotage the online launch of All My Children and One Life To Live, the network finally has responded. ABC says the suit is “baseless” and that it will defend itself legally. Read the brief full statement here:
“ABC remains very supportive of the on line launch of both ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘All My Children.’ With respect to Prospect Park’s lawsuit, we believe the claims are baseless and we will defend them vigorously in court and not the press.”
PREVIOUSLY, APRIL 18: One week before Prospect Park is set to launch online soaps All My Children and One Life To Live, the production company today filed a breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, (read it here) which licensed the shows two years ago to Prospect Park, the company of Jeff Kwatinetz and former Walt Disney Studios president Rich Frank. In the complaint, which was filed today in LA Superior Court, Prospect Park claims that ABC has been breaking the licensing agreement and sabotaging Prospect Park’s efforts to continue AMC and OLTL online. Requesting a jury trial, the suit seeks damages of at least $25 million from Disney-owned ABC. ABC had no comment.
The lawsuit won’t derail plans for the AMC and OLTL relaunch April 29. “These shows will go forward, and Prospect will address its rights in Court,” the suit said. “Regardless of how successful Prospect may be, the fact remains that ABC did not deliver what it promised, Prospect did not get what it paid for, and Prospect is now entitled to recover millions of dollars in damages for ABC’s egregious conduct.”
The lawsuit follows a couple of months of building-up tensions and threats of legal action between Prospect Park and ABC over the OLTL actors who had been starring on ABC’s General Hospital since the cancellation of OLTL by ABC. Prospect Park attempted to get them back, which created a stand-off with ABC. The last straw came last week when ABC announced that OLTL‘s Kristen Alderson, Michael Easton and Roger Howarth will return to GH on May 10, presumably as new characters.
MORE One Life To Live and MORE All My Children will be available beginning Friday, May 3rd, The Online Network announced today. The weekly half-hour installments will feature exclusive behind the scenes footage and one-on-one interviews with the series’ stars. Fans will also be able to interact with the cast in real time via Twitter and Skype. Both shows also will feature original lifestyle segments, ranging from fashion to beauty to relationship advice that draw on the storylines of the prior week’s content. Former KABC correspondent and anchor Leslie Miller will host. Tomorrow Productions’ Marc Victor exec produces. Original episodes of the revived serial dramas will debut Monday, April 29th on Hulu and iTunes.
The Online Network has released “first look” previews of the revived ABC serial dramas All My Children and One Life To Live. Both are set to make their debut on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes on April 29th. Check out the videos below:
The Online Network has released new logos for the revived ABC daytime dramas One Life To Live and All My Children. TOLN also confirmed today that the premiere episode of All My Children will be set approximately five years later from the time setting of the last episode, while One Life To Live has advanced in real time. Both are set to premiere April 29th on TOLN partners Hulu and iTunes.
The revived ABC daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live will make their debut on Prospect Park’s The Online Network on Monday, April 29. Both shows will air 30-minute episodes in broadcast quality on TOLN partners Hulu and iTunes. “We thank the fans whose tenaciousness to see these shows return made this historical moment possible,” said Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank, Prospect Park’s partners. “We are determined to repay their support by delivering new and creatively groundbreaking episodes that both the fans, as well as legions of new viewers, will love.” Added AMC and OLTV creator Agnes Nixon, creative consultant for the reboots, “I am so pleased that our dream of bringing these two series back to life is coming to fruition.” Here are the first cast photos of both shows, with a list of all their actors.