EXCLUSIVE: Here is a great holiday gift for soap fans: I’ve learned that Prospect Park has revived its plan to continue cancelled ABC daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live online. I hear the company behind USA hit Royal Pains has inked deals with SAG-AFTRA and DGA for the soaps’ production, eyed to begin in the first quarter of 2013. UPDATE: Reps for DGA and SAG-AFTRA have confirmed to Deadline that the unions have reached agreements with Prospect Park.
Rich Frank & Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park made a licensing deal with ABC in July 2011 to keep OLTL and AMC alive for online distribution on their Online Network, which was slated to launch in the first quarter of 2012. But after difficult negotiations with the guilds, the company last November pulled the plug on its plans, despite securing a slew of OLTL and AMC actors to reprise their roles. While the online venture was formally dead, I hear Frank and Kwatinetz never lost hope, and had been quietly working since the summer on putting their plan back together and had been talking with the guilds, resulting in agreements with SAG-AFTRA and DGA. (The status of talks with WGA is unclear.) I hear there are preliminary discussions with actors from All My Children and One Life To Live to rejoin the revived shows. Prospect Park refused to comment.
The news comes at a fortuitous time, as the four remaining daytime soaps on TV are having a strong ratings showing, all posting gains vs. last year.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The cast and executive producer of the ABC soap General Hospital appeared before critics this morning at TCA, looking and sounding like people thrilled simply to still have jobs. The fate of most of their cohorts on One Life To Live and All My Children weren’t so lucky, with only a few of the cast members — and producer Frank Valentini — absorbed into GH. It was touch-and-go whether even General Hospital would survive the ax. But it’s back, and as Valentini said, the fact a panel for the show was arranged shows a certain support for the show going forward. “They invited us here, and to me that’s a great sign,” he noted. “They’re behind this 100% and very excited about the 50th anniversary coming up. I’m pretty confident. You just need to watch the show to sort of catch the energy and the momentum that we have, and the network’s a big part of that.” One of the challenges for the show going forward is that it’s being displaced from its longtime 3 PM perch by Katie Couric’s new syndie talk show Katie. But Valentini did his best to put a positive spin on things, calling the time slot change “great” in that it will “shake up the lineup a little bit. And the network is doing a big push to inform the audience about the change.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Daytime icon Susan Lucci is heading to primetime while staying close to her soap roots. The former All My Children star is returning to ABC with a plum co-starring role in the network’s pilot … Read More »
‘One Life To Live’ And ‘All My Children’ Won’t Continue Online
The WGAW and AFTRA just issued statements in response to Prospect Park’s decision today not to proceed with its plans to continue to produce … Read More »
Online Soap Opera Network May Fold Ending ‘OLTL’, ‘AMC’
Sad news for soap fans just before Thanksgiving — One Life To Live and All My Children won’t get a second life online. Prospect Park, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: This is potential very bad news for soap fans who feel thankful this Thanksgiving that canceled ABC series One Life To Live and All My Children may continue online. That now may not be happening. It was considered a … Read More »
Prospect Park’s upcoming Internet-delivered network will be named The Online Network. It is slated for a January 2012 launch with new episodes of canceled ABC soaps All My Children and One Life to Live as well as first-run entertainment and lifestyle shows, with plans to add reality, scripted … Read More »
One Life to Live‘s Michael Easton, Ted King, Kassie DePaiva and the cast’s doyen Erika Slezak have become the first actors to sign deals with Prospect Park, the company that in June acquired the rights to continue to produce soon-to-be-canceled ABC daytime dramas One Life to Live and All My Children online. Prospect Park just announcement the pacts with the four actors. (See statement below.)
Meanwhile, I hear that, after a two-week deliberation, All My Children star Susan Lucci has turned down Prospect Park’s offer to stay on the show. The offer was for a salary identical to what Lucci currently makes at ABC, but I’ve learned that she tried to gouge the producers for more money while also asking to work fewer hours and get a commitment for a primetime series. In light of that development, I hear that Prospect Park may reevaluate its short-term strategy for the two soaps and put its muscle behind the higher-rated OLTL, while moving AMC to the back burner. Prospect Park’s original plan was to re-launch both OLTL and AMC online in the first quarter of 2012. Lucci made headlines over the weekend with a leaked new epilogue to her book All My Life, in which she blasts ABC Daytime president Brian Frons over the series’ cancellation.
On OLTL, King plays Tomas Delgado, Easton portrays John McBain, DePaiva plays Blair Cramer and Slezak plays the matriarch of the Lord family Victoria Lord. Slezak has been on the show since 1971 and has won six Daytime Emmy awards for the role, an Emmy record. Here is Prospect Park’s statement on the quartet’s new deals: Read More »
All My Children star Susan Lucci has some blistering parting words for ABC Daytime president Brian Frons as her soap ends its 41-year run on ABC this month. In a freshly written epilogue to the upcoming paperback edition … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: She is a daytime institution and the most recognizable star from departing ABC soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. So it would be natural for Prospect Park, the company that recently forged a … Read More »
All My Children creator Agnes Nixon will appear on the daytime drama, which is nearing the end of its run on ABC. In an arc starting Aug. 31, she will reprise her role as Agnes Eckhart, a long-standing board member of Pine Valley Hospital, which she created for herself in 2005 when she first appeared on the show as part of its 35th anniversary. This time around, Eckhart is admitted to Pine Valley Hospital, where Cara (Lindsay Hartley) and David (Vincent Irizarry) tend to her. She also crosses paths with Erica Kane (Susan Lucci).
Another soap veteran, The Young and the Restless regular Michael Graziadei, has booked a recurring role on FX’s upcoming drama series American Horror Story. The thriller, from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck, is about a couple (Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton) moving into a 1920s house and their new nosy neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange). Graziadei, repped by Innovative and Main Title, will play Constance’s new, young boyfriend. Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
The not-altogether-surprising intense protest sparked by ABC’s announced axing of its long-running soaps All My Children and One Life to Live demonstrated to ABC Daytime president Brian Frons that “we actually did a good job (promoting and nurturing them) for all of these last 40 years,” he told Deadline privately during a TCA lunch designed to promote one of the soaps’ daytime successors, the food show The Chew. “I think we’ve spent 40-plus years trying to keep the soap-opera audience happy. So in an odd way, (the outcry) is actually good. It’s just sad that we don’t have a solution.” However, a deal with producer Prospect Park has been cemented to relaunch both soaps during first-quarter 2012, and there’s been talk of enlisting a second production partner in cable television as well. But that remains uncertain.
Frons said that after the Prospect Park deal fell into place, All My Children‘s producers were forced to scramble to make the series ending more open-ended rather than final, since the series would now be continuing on after all. (All My Children is scheduled to leave ABC on Sept. 23; One Life to Live in January.) He added that the cancellations became necessary due to diminishing returns at the network. “We were at that point where we had to sit and look at what we were doing, and see if there were different opportunities for us in terms of serving a bigger audience. We looked at what was happening on cable — in the food space, the lifestyle space, the talk space, the reality space — and we just saw a very large audience and an opportunity.” Read More »
Sarah Michelle Gellar confirmed this morning at TCA while promoting her new CW series Ringer that she’ll be going back to the soap opera on which she cut her acting teeth, All My Children, before the canceled … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: ABC’s canceled daytime dramas All My Children and One Life to Live may be returning to television. I hear that Prospect Park, the company that licensed the soaps from ABC and plans to relaunch them online in the first quarter of 2012, is meeting with cable networks — both big-tent, general entertainment networks and female-centered nets — about TV sales of the two series and is getting interest. Under its agreement with ABC, Prospect Park has the right to carve out a traditional TV window, which, at least for now, is expected to come after the episodes premiere online. Prospect Park has cable ties — the company co-produces the hit USA Network drama Royal Pains. Repeats of All My Children and One Life to Live have been airing on cable, on Disney’s SoapNet, which will be rebranded to Disney Jr. early next year, around the time the two soaps migrate to the Web and possibly another cable channel. Prospect Park is currently talking with unions, trying to hammer out the terms of collective bargaining agreements for the cast and the crews of the two series. (Despite reports, the company does not have a deal with ABC to license the network’s other daytime drama, General Hospital, if the network cancels it.) Read More »
UPDATED: Rich Frank & Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park, the company that announced several weeks ago that it has licensed canceled soaps One Live to Live and All My Children from ABC to continue producing them for online distribution, is finding just how hard is to transfer broadcast network series to the Web. The company just released a statement addressing some of the guild and union issues it faces in trying to continue to produce the two series for what I hear are target re-launch dates during Q1 of 2012. (All My Children will end its run on ABC on Sept. 23, One Life to Live in January 2012.) The statement was timed to coincide with the two soaps’ return from their planned hiatuses. With the casts and crews back to work, reps for Prospect Park have started to meet with casts and crews to discuss the move, with conversations with the guilds and unions involved also underway. (Unions, including AFTRA, also have been setting up meetings with current employees from the shows to advise them on the provisions of their current bargaining agreements.) Under the terms of the arrangement between Prospect Park and ABC, Prospect Park has committed to “continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length,” meaning that the company plans to deliver five broadcast-quality episodes a week each of One Life to Live and All My Children. Here is the statement: Read More »