(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.
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.