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.
Related: ABC Fails To Trim Prospect Park Soap Suit
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.” Read More »
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 »
It took two months but ABC has finally responded to Prospect Park’s multi-million dollar legal action over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. And not unsurprisingly, the network wants the amended complaint quashed – at least the part of it where the production company of the online shows asked to have the license agreement extended and payments to ABC “excused” while the nearly $100 million breach of contract suit moves forward. “Here, Prospect Park is not this Court to resolve an unsettled question by interpreting the Agreement,” says the filing earlier this week by ABC (read it here) in LA Superior Court. “Instead it is doing the exact opposite: asking this Court to rewrite the contract to unsettled something that the parties have already firmly determined – the term of the License. Simply put, Prospect Park’s request is not a proper subject of declaratory relief,” it adds in the motion to strike. ABC has asked Judge Robert L. Hess for a hearing on its motion on February 10.
Related: ABC Sued By Ex-’One Life To Live’ Scribe Over Online Royalties
On November 13, Prospect Park submitted an 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 ABC. PP claims that … 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.”
Related: Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwantinetz Takes Company To Court
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 »
EXCLUSIVE: Prospect Park’s multi-million dollar legal battle with ABC over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live isn’t the only courtroom drama the production company is now facing. Co-Founder Jeff Kwatinetz has filed a complaint against the company and ABRY Senior Equity IV, L.P., ABRY Investment Partnership, L.P., and ABRY Senior Equity Co-Investment Fund IV. The producer and talent manager is seeking a declaratory judgment over non-compete clauses in a December 31, 2012 employment agreement he signed with Prospect Park when the Boston-based investors came on board late last year. Long story short, Kwatinetz wants a judge to decide if the “unenforceable non-competition and non-solicitation provision” would actually prevented him from working for another company for 5 years and if Prospect and ABRY could get an injunction to force him to work for them for 5 years if he attempted to leave. “In addition, the Guarantee contains what is essentially a $5,000,000 liquidated damages penalty for a ‘breach’ of the unenforceable non-competition provision and employment term requirements in the Agreement,” the 10-claim complaint filed on November 21 in LA Superior Court adds (read it here).
Related: Prospect Park Now Seeking $125M In ABC Soap Lawsuit
The catalyst of the complaint was a difference of opinion that Kwatinetz has with ABRY over the direction of the company, sources tell me. Specially, that … Read More »
The on-going multi-million legal drama between Prospect Park and ABC over licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live looks poised to get much rougher and much pricier. Nearly seven months after Jeff Kwatinetz and former Walt Disney Studios president Rich Frank’s company first filed a breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, their lawyers Wednesday entered an amended complaint in LA Superior Court. One big change is how much money the plaintiffs are seeking. “As a direct and proximate result of ABC’s breaches, Prospect Park has been damaged in an amount to be determined at trial, but including at least $30 million in out-of-pocket losses and/or at least $95 million in lost profits,” says today’s filing. That’s way up from the $25 million the plaintiffs were looking for in April. Claims that ABC called “baseless” then. The now amended suit also includes claims of promissory fraud and declaratory relief and seeks Prospect Park’s continued licensing fee payments to be waived and an extension of that agreement while the case goes on – which could be years.
In addition to previous allegations of dirty dealing on ABC’s part, today’s filing says that the network inked long term agreements with OLTL actors behind the production company’s back. in the hope of creating a new property of its own. “Unbeknownst to Prospect Park, at … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It’s business as usual for ABC and Prospect Park. The network has given a script commitment plus penalty to Limelight, a drama project from writer-playwright Kelly Masterson (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) who is executive producing with Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry. Limelight, produced by ABC Studios, chronicles a murder trial that becomes a national media obsession, thrusting the lives of the accused, the prosecution, the defense, and everyone in between into the public spotlight. ABC and Prospect Park too are involved in litigation, a $25 million case over soaps All My Children and One Life To Live. This marks a reunion for Barry and ABC and ABC Studios where he was a drama development executive for a decade before joining Prospect Park. Masterson most recently penned NatGeo’s upcoming Killing Kennedy and co-wrote the upcoming feature Snowpiercer.
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).
Related: ‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life To Live’ Top Digital Streaming Charts
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 »
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. Read More »
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 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.
Read More »
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’s General 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 »
UPDATE 3:25 PM: Prospect Park has announced that Eden Riegel will reprise her Emmy-winning role as Bianca Montgomery as a cameo guest arc in the online revival of the ABC daytime drama All My Children.
PREVIOUS: Prospect Park‘s The Online Network announced today that Julia Barr will reprise her role as Brooke English in the online revival of the cancelled ABC daytime drama, the character for which she earned two Daytime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She joins previously announced cast members Darnell Williams (Jesse Hubbard), Debbi Morgan (Dr. Angela Hubbard), Vincent Irizarry (Dr. David Hayward), Lindsay Hartley (Cara Martin), Jordi Vilasuso (Griffin Castillo), Jill Larson (Opal Cortlandt), Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater). Additional casting details will be announced in the coming weeks. Prospect Park announced earlier this year that new 30-minute episodes of All My Children and One Life To Live will be launched each weekday and will be available on Hulu and iTunes beginning this Spring.
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.
Read More »
UPDATES: Prospect Park has closed more deals with cast members and production executives for The Online Network’s productions of All My Children and One Life To Live. Production is scheduled to begin in February.
Prospect Park Closes Deal With WGA, Clearing Way For AMC’, ‘OLTL’ Production
‘AMC’, ‘OLTL’ Creator Agnes Nixon Gives Prospect Park Reboots Her Blessing
One Life To Live Cast:
Erika Slezak as Victoria Lord Buchanan
Robin Strasser as Dorian Lord
Tuc Watkins as David Vickers
Robert S. Woods as Bo Buchanan
Kassie DePaiva as Blair Cramer
Jerry verDorn as Clint Buchanan
Florencia Lozano as Tea Delgado
Melissa Archer as Natalie Buchanan Banks
Hillary B. Smith as Nora Buchanan
Kelley Missal as Danielle Manning
Josh Kelly as Cutter Wentworth
Andrew Trischitta as Jack Manning
Read More »
Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park has cleared the last major hurdle in its effort to revive the cancelled ABC daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live online, reaching an agreement with the WGA. The company already inked deals with SAG-AFTRA and DGA for the soaps’ production in December. With the WGA taking long to engage, Prospect Park was faced with the prospect of having to work with fi-core writers, which proved difficult. Now it doesn’t have to. The company recently announced that it has secured financing and distribution, entered into a consulting agreement with Agnes Nixon, creator of both All My Children and One Life To Live, signed Jennifer Pepperman as Executive Producer on One Life to Live, Ginger Smith as Executive Producer on All My Children and Foz McDermott as head of production of The Online Network where the soaps will air. Prospect Park also has started to lock in cast members for a February production start.
Related: ‘AMC’, ‘OLTL’ Creator Agnes Nixon Gives Prospect Park Reboots Her Blessing
UPDATE, 9:25 AM: Prospect Park has sent out a letter from Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz confirming our earlier break. The new developments include confirmed deals with SAG-AFTRA and the DGA — sticking points in previous talks — and inking the soaps’ creator Agnes Nixon to a consulting agreement. Here’s the entire letter, which says a launch date for the anchor programs on the company’s The Online Network will be announced in the coming weeks:
We are pleased to confirm that Prospect Park is reviving the beloved soap operas, All My Children and One Life To Live as the anchor programs on The Online Network (TOLN). Today we are also pleased to confirm that Prospect Park has: 1) signed guild agreements with both SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America); 2) entered into a consulting agreement with Agnes Nixon the creator of All My Children and One Life to Live guaranteeing her active involvement; 3) hired Foz McDermott (coordinating producer Heroes) as TOLN’s head of production, Jennifer Pepperman (Director, One Life to Live) as Executive Producer on One Life to Live, and Ginger Smith (Producer, All My Children) as Executive Producer on All My Children; and 4) arranged the necessary financing to begin production in February on both All My Children and One Life To Live.
Read More »
Agnes Nixon, creator of both All My Children and One Life To Live, chimed in tonight with her approval of Prospect Park‘s plans to resurrect the canceled ABC soaps. On her blog and on Facebook, Nixon wrote, “We of the One Life to Live and All My Children families are thrilled to bring our beloved viewers new, ongoing stories from Llanview and Pine Valley.” It’s believed to be the first time Nixon has said anything publicly about Prospect Park’s second attempt to bring the soaps back online. “I’m especially grateful to Prospect Park for deploying the power of you, our fans, to enable this exciting transition to dramatic production for the Internet. It’s a historic moment, comparable to how life was changed when television took over for radio.” Prospect Park has secured agreements with SAG-AFTRA and DGA but is expected to forgo an accord with the Writers Guild and use “financial core” writers who opt for reduced membership status. Details remain scarce but AMC alum Vincent Irizarry (Dr. David Hayward) has agreed to return as has Lindsay Hartley (who played Cara Martin). Nixon did not say whether she will play a part in the soaps’ resurrection.