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. Read More »
Once again, soap opera lawsuits are vexing ABC. Having been hit with a now $125 million breach of contract suit by Prospect Park over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live, the network also faces a legal action from one of the soaps’ former writers. Requesting a trial and claiming he is owed more than $50,000 in royalties from OLTL being played on iTunes, Hulu and OWN, Allison “Sam” Hall this week slapped ABC with a complaint in New York Supreme Court (read it here). Hall served as co-lead writer on OLTL from November 1984 to mid-1985. Because he “created and developed the story line and numerous characters in the series,” Hall says his deal with the network ensured that he would be paid weekly royalties of $1,000 a week “as long as the ONE LIFE TO LIVE series is broadcast.”
OLTL ceased airing on ABC in early January 2012 but the network had licensed the show in late 2011 to Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park for new online episodes as well as a 10-week showing on OWN. Those 30-minutes episodes launched in April of last year. Though the new digital OLTL was suspended after 40 episodes and PP and ABC have been locked in a legal battle over alleged broken agreements and claims of sabotage since last spring. Read More »
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 Livewere 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.”
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. Read More »
Hours after the premiere of the rebooted All My Children andOne 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. … Read More »
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 soapsAll 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.Read More »
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 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.
One of One Life To Live‘s most popular characters, Todd Manning, will be back, at least for a while. I’ve learned that Roger Howarth, who portrayed the character on the ABC soap, has signed to reprise his role on the series’ revival for Prospect Park‘s Online Network. But that doesn’t mean Howarth will be departing ABC’sGeneral Hospital, where his character migrated after the end of OLTL. I hear Howarth has signed on to film OLTL for four weeks starting in late March. He then is expected to go back to General Hospital and continue as Manning.
Howarth is one of three OLTL actors who segued to GH after the show ended in January 2012, along with Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson. The three had been the subject of legal wrangling between Prospect Park and ABC as Prospect Park made it clear it wanted the actors back on OLTL, though it indicated it was willing to make a compromise by sharing the characters with ABC’s GH as the company is in a multimillion-dollar licensing agreement with the network for its two online soaps, OLTL and All My Children. For now, Howarth appears to be the only actor to have worked out such an arrangement. Read More »
Los Angeles. CA – February 11, 2013 – The Online Network announced today that production will commence on the highly-anticipated revivals of the beloved long-running serial dramas “All My Children,” and “One Life to Live,” beginning February 25. Principal production for both series will take place in Stamford, Connecticut with new episodes of “All My Children” and “One Life to Life” set to debut later this spring.
In an announcement earlier this year, Prospect Park’s The Online Network revealed its plans to re-introduce the beloved vanguard franchises, through a groundbreaking content deal that will bring premium first-run, broadcast-quality programming to a mass market audience via the Internet. Brand new 30-minute episodes of both “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” will be launched each weekday and available to stream online via the free Hulu.com service and to subscribers of Hulu Plus making these venerable dramas available in a new format that suits the viewing habits of the digital generation. In addition, the iTunes Store will offer both series via iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV and Mac or PC.
The online revival of cancelled ABC daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live is officially just months away. Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park today announced a distribution agreement with Hulu and iTunes that will bring the soaps to fans beginning this Spring. New 30-minute episodes will be introduced each weekday They’ll be available on the free Hulu.com service as well as subscription-based Hulu Plus and iTunes for viewing on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, Mac or PC. “I believe that both Hulu and iTunes have the vision, the reach and the technology to help us launch TOLN in a significant way,” Prospect Park Chairman and CEO Jeff Kwatinetz said in a statement. “We think these platforms are part of history, helping us to transform distribution”. Prospect Park recently cleared the last major hurdle for the soaps’ online revival, reaching agreements with SAG-AFTRA, WGA, and DGA. The company also closed its financing with ABRY Partners and has entered into a consulting agreement with All My Children and One Life To Live creator Agnes Nixon. Prospect Park also recently announced more deals with cast members and production executives. You can read today’s release below:
Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY – January 25, 2013 – In a groundbreaking move that brings premium first-run, broadcast-quality programming to a mass-market audience via the internet, Prospect Park’s The Online Network (TOLN) announced today that the Company has reached an agreement with Hulu and the iTunes Store to distribute all-new episodes of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Through the Hulu distribution agreement, the hugely popular daily dramas will reach tens of millions of fans via the free Hulu.com service, as well as millions of Hulu Plus subscribers watching on connected TVs, mobile phones, tablets and PCs. iTunes customers can enjoy viewing on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and their Mac or PC. The announcement was made today by Prospect Park Chairman and CEO, Jeff Kwatinetz.