Once ABC decided to get out of the daytime soap opera game, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” found themselves without a home. Prospect Park, the company behind the venerable soaps, had to pull a rabbit out of its hat to save the long-running shows.
Well, Prospect Park found its Peter Cottontail, as the company announced today that it has closed deals with Hollywood unions to air the two series on the internet, on The Online Network.
Owners Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank released a statement that detailed the signed agreements with the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Directors Guild to get clearance to proceed with production and airing. Moreover, Agnes Nixon, the original, legendary creative force behind the soap opera hits, will act as a consultant on this latest iteration of the two series, while Ginger Smith will return to “All My Children” as an executive producer with Jennifer Pepperman also taking an upgrade from director to an EP.
Prospect Park expects production to begin in February for the now online-exclusive soaps. “We thank the loyal audience and new generation of fans of both shows who have demonstrated that passion and exciting story lines are not just reserved for traditional television,” the statement read. “Their enduring support encouraged us to move forward each and every day. We look forward to sharing more details including our launch air date and additional specifics in the coming weeks.”
Other details (and full story), via Entertainment Weekly:
In 2011, Prospect Park had to abandon plans to air the soaps online after failing to reach guild deals to make the soaps’ run on the internet a reality. Arrangements with the unions are necessary if Prospect Park wants to also sell the soaps to cable. It’s also economically unfeasible to pay guild wages for an internet show that would generate a fraction of the revenue it once did on ABC.
At the time, Prospect Park was struggling to close deals with the AMC actors: Only Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery) and Lindsay Hartley (Dr. Cara Castillo Martin) had agreed to continue after it ended its ABC run. In contrast, OLTL’s Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord), along with Ted King (Tomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain) and Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer), among others, had closed deals to stay in the fictitious town of Llanview.
Prospect Park has not yet released information on which actors will be returning to the series, but it looks like they’ll have roughly a month to iron out contracts and similar working agreements (though I would imagine who does/doesn’t return will depend heavily on the kinds of stories they intend on telling. A daytime soap has to remain a relatively fluid process, owing to their long life spans).