Disney/ABC Television Group

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — For the past two and a half weeks, I found myself in unfamiliar territory when it came to running the website as I was based out of Los Angeles. Normally, I run things here in New York. What I found unfamiliar, however, was finding out the true stories behind what many soap fans can’t seem to get enough of – the Disney/ABC and Prospect Park connection as it relates to “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and even “General Hospital.” So what did I learn that I can share with you? Plenty!

After speaking with sources it became clear that even though “GH” had been rumored to be joining “AMC” and “OLTL” online after Katie Couric takes over the soaps timeslot in September 2012, when the network hands the hour back to affiliates, ABC isn’t ready to give it up just yet. In fact, the network boldly told Prospect Park “No!” when the companies began negotiating the “AMC” and “OLTL” deal just a few short months ago, despite Prospect’s ultimate desire to have it. This information was confirmed on Wednesday, August 3 by Deadline.com‘s Nellie Andreeva, who also reported that Prospect Park is now shopping both “AMC” and “OLTL” to cable networks, which is something fans have long been asking since the duo were canceled by ABC back in April of this year.

According to Andreeva:

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.

Interestingly enough, even though an ABC representative told Soap Opera Network that both soaps will not be available on Disney/ABC owned & operated networks when they end their runs on the broadcast network, the Walt Disney owned networks aren’t necessarily out of the running when it comes to Prospect Park pursuing a television home for the soaps. How is that possible you ask? Disney/ABC Television Group brokered a deal with Prospect Park that allows Prospect to produce and distribute “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” on its as-yet-to-be-named online branded infotainment network, which will debut in January 2012 according to many individuals we spoke with, while Disney/ABC retains ownership rights. The deal also allowed Prospect Park to pursue a television distributor to help supplement the costs to produce both programs, which are pretty high considering that not only does Prospect have to produce and distribute the shows, they also have to pay Disney/ABC yearly license fees. If a Disney/ABC owned network were to pick up the soaps, they would only have to pay a fee for airing the programs as SOAPnet currently does with the ABC Daytime lineup, “Days of our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless,” which would then leave Disney/ABC to recoup the cost when it receives its yearly license fees from Prospect Park. Connecting the dots…if Disney airs the soaps on television, they will make huge profits off of shows that were not included in the “strongest will survive” mentality of Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, when announcing the cancellations earlier this year and Disney won’t have to pay a dollar when it comes to payroll checks for cast/crews of both soaps or provide the free tickets to Disney theme parks for their fired employees. Although, a Disney/ABC network picking up these shows is a big if!

Back on July 8, just a day after the Prospect Park deal was announced, we answered a number of your questions about What Happens Next? One month later, we have more answers for you.

The Studios

  • Soap Opera Network is still hearing that “All My Children” will remain at the Andrita Studios in Los Angeles, CA when it wraps production at the end of this month. You’ll remember that in a bid to save on productions costs, ABC moved the soap out west beginning in January 2010.
  • “One Life to Live” will remain in New York City as expected. Although we erroneously stated Queens was one of the studio locations secured for the show in our Big Scoops! report on Friday, August 5, it is actually two studios in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. In the weeks to come, we should be receiving the exact names of the studios and their locations. The soap currently films at the ABC Television Center on West 66th St and West End Avenue, which is where “AMC” filmed prior to its move out west.

The Stars

  • With “All My Children” being the first to go off the air of the two soaps, Soap Opera Network has learned that representatives from AFTRA have been meeting with Prospect Park and union card holding actors re: what their rights would be for this new era of entertainment viewing. Representatives from Prospect Park were on the set of “AMC” on Monday, July 25 to finally put to rest any and all rumors cast and crew had been hearing regarding the future of the show after ending its ABC run on Friday, September 23. While details of the meeting remain sketchy, sources tell us it looks promising that much of the current cast of characters will remain in Pine Valley for version 2.0.
  • Unfortunately the same thing can not be said for sibling “One Life to Live.” With the show still filming for nearly four more months, there is enough uncertainty over this new business model that many of the actors are packing up and heading to the West Coast immediately after production completes in November for the shows ABC run, which is right around the time pilot season gets underway for primetime television roles. To name just a few, Farah Fath (Gigi Morasco) and John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex Balsom) are said to have already found new digs in Los Angeles and Kristen Alderson recently tweeted that she’s heading to LA later this fall after enjoying a week off in the City of Angels with friends and family and a night of Karaoke with fans on Wednesday, July 27.

“This trip to LA was just perfect. #extremelythankful Going to miss everyone, MOSTLY @britt_underwood ! I’ll see ya in Nov. Los Angeles!”

  • Kristen and her family are said to be heading out west for an extended stay, despite the show heading back into production later this year to begin its transition online under Prospect Park.

As always, keep your eyes peeled to Soap Opera Network for the latest happenings surrounding Prospect Park and the future of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” as they transition online and possibly back to your TV screens.

Topics Discussed