“All My Children” and “One Life to Live” creator Agnes Nixon has released an official statement on the news of Prospect Park once again moving forward with plans to produce online episodes of the soaps this year. Her message was posted on her official website as well as her official Facebook page just a short time ago. The statement is as follows:
Just about a month before announcing their decision to postpone plans to launch “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” on the web in early 2012, Prospect Park announced a partnership with Universal Music Group that would bring music, e-commerce and artist participation to new productions of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” So now that word broke that Prospect Park is re-rebooting both soaps for the web in 2013, we felt it was a great opportunity to check on the status of this endeavor.
The big news of December 2012 was word that Prospect Park was taking another stab at moving ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web in 2013. The news was first reported by Deadline.com‘s Nellie Andreeva. In her initial reporting, Andreeva revealed that Prospect Park had made agreements with the unions SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America). Previously, while the company had planned on debuting the shows on the web in early 2012, no deals had been signed with either union or the WGA (Writers Guild of America). This hindered the company’s plan to move forward with the shows and resulted in a postponement that was announced in November 2011. In a statement at the time, AFTRA (prior to its merger with SAG) said that they were “deeply disappointed to read that the executives at Prospect Park have decided to suspend their efforts to produce the long-running and popular daytime serials.” Additionally, the union had said that they “remain hopeful that an opportunity to revive these two popular series will emerge in the future, and remain ready to resume discussions should that opportunity arise.” The future took more than a year, but it appears to have finally emerged. However, although a representative from SAG-AFTRA confirmed that an agreement with Prospect Park had been made when pressed for comment from Soap Opera Network early last week, it remains unclear if said agreement had actually been signed. “Not absolutely certain it had been signed but can check that for you,” said the rep. Due to the holidays, we don’t expect a response on that little detail until at least tomorrow, January 2.
On Saturday, July 23, 2011, “General Hospital” held its annual fan club weekend event at the Sportmen’s Lodge Event Center. Incidentally, in the year that followed many were left wondering if the 2012 event would ever come to be amidst all the drama and rumors surrounding the cancellation, reincarnation (through the Disney/ABC Television Group/Prospect Park Productions deal that wasn’t) and ultimate demise of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” and the possible effect it would have on “GH” itself. On July 21, 2012, “GH” did indeed holds its annual fan event – again at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center – with a renewed focus and much hope for the future.
“General Hospital” cast members Steve Burton (Jason Morgan), Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth Webber), Kelly Sullivan (Kate Howard/Connie Falconeri), Scott Reeves (Steve Webber), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia Falconeri), Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dominic Falconeri), Chad Duell (Michael Corinthos), Jen Lilley (soon-to-be ex-Maxie Jones), Drew Cheetwood (Milo Giambetti), Rebekah Montoya (Delores Padilla), Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara), Bradford Anderson (Damien Spinelli), Sean Blakemore (Shawn Butler), Laura Wright (Carly Jacks), Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer-Falconeri), Haley Pulos (Molly Lansing), Erik Valedez (Trey Mitchell), Robin Mattson (Heather Webber), Nathin Butler (Ewen Keenan), Lindsey Morgan (Kristina Corinthos) and Richard Steinmetz (Joe Skully Jr.), were joined by “One Life to Live” turned “GH” stars Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning) and Michael Easton (John McBain), along with the soaps new executive producer Frank Valentini, on the stage as they greeted some of the soaps biggest fans.
For more than half an hour they all took fan questions, while Erik Valdez created a running joke within their answers alluding to shirts coming off. Of course, it couldn’t be helped as Valentini revealed a new boxing set had been built similar to the steam room set seen frequently on “OLTL.” Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) arrived late and was only on hand for the fan autograph signing sessions that took place immediately afterward.
Before Bradford Anderson took the reigns from “GH” Fan Club President Debbie Morris, Valentini was asked if he wanted to say a few words to the audience gathered. While he kept his responses short and sweet, he did reveal that he had arrived late to the party due to an important commitment. “I was at the Director’s Guild meeting this morning with some of the directors from daytime,” he said referring to the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), which is the union that represents directors in movie and television productions – despite being an executive producer, Valentini frequently directs episodes of his soap operas. “This is my first fan club event. I’m really excited about the show and I’m excited about this cast and I think it’ a great day for celebration, so don’t let me get in the middle. Let me share it with you,” Valentini concluded.
Despite receiving pre-prepared questions, Anderson decided to take the unusual approach of giving the fans the chance to ask their own. He walked around the room and had each person he chose say their name and ask their question of a “GH” cast member. The first question asked was how much time the cast have off each year. While the question was directed at the entire cast it was agreed, in particular by Burton and Zamprogna, that Bradford should be the one to answer it for them. “As you guys know, we have a new episode practically everyday. So that means we have to make a new episode practically everyday, and what we’re doing now is we’re trying to do more in less time so that we can save money to keep our fare show on the air for all of you,” the actor answered.
Thanks to the presence of Valentini some of the questions directed at the cast ended up being directed at him instead – in part due to Burton’s insistence on Valentini answering one particular question that referenced the timeslot change for the soap. The exact question was “Do you think the change in the timeslot for ‘GH’ is gonna screw up the ratings?” Burton, deciding it wasn’t something he could answer, immediately jumped up and over the legs of his co-stars to hand the microphone over to his boss who was all the way across the other side of the stage. As fans and cast members laughed over Burton’s gesture, Anderson joked “Aren’t you glad you showed up Frank?” Always the trooper, Valentini said “I think there is always risks in having a timeslot change, but I believe that our audience is loyal enough, but more importantly smart enough, to say ‘okay, now we have to watch GH at 2 so we’ll take our naps at 2, we’ll take our lunch at 2, we’ll take our breaks at 2.’ Here on the west coast it’s at 1 o’clock and I think that’ll be better. I actually think on the west coast it’ll be better for us than on the east coast, where it’ll be more of a challenge.”
While not giving anything away, Valentini did reveal that “we have a really great story that’s gearing up for the fall and we’re going to get a lot of promotion from the the network,” which according to the producer includes the recent blurbs popping up that reminds viewers of the change just before the end of each episode of the soap.
On a posting on the Official “General Hospital” fan club web site, Debbie Morris revealed that “Yes, we are already working on plans for a fabulous 50th Anniversary Fan Club Weekend, like no other….so stay tuned!” If you were unable to attend this year’s festivities, make sure to keep one weekend in July 2013 (TBD) on your radar so you can go next time.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” gets ‘canceled’ for the second time in seven months as Prospect Park breaks the hearts of the show’s loyal fanbase.
What a roller coaster ride of emotions for “OLTL” fans in the past month. First the show tapes its final episode for its television run on Friday, November 18 in preparation for its move online with Prospect Park, only to be told five days later via a press release that the upstart production company was scrapping plans to transition “One Life” and its sister soap “All My Children” to the Internet due to a lack of funding.
This was an especially hard pill for many “One Life to Live” viewers to swallow, given that the news came only four months after it was announced that Prospect Park had licensed the rights to “OLTL” and “AMC” from ABC after the network unceremoniously axed the soaps in April after 43 and 41 years on the air, respectively.
Further adding salt to the wounds of ticked off fans was that the announcement to dump “One Life to Live” came only weeks after it was revealed that the company had decided to focus solely on the soap while keeping “All My Children” on the back burner for the foreseeable future. Add to this the fact that Prospect Park had reached agreements in the past few months with 13 “OLTL” cast members, along with the show’s head writer and executive producer to continue the show after it left ABC.
Talk about a feeling of déjà vu. My first reaction to the news about Prospect Park dumping “OLTL” was “not again.” Only recently had I begun to work my way out of the five stages of grief over the loss of my favorite soap opera, which I have grown up watching since I was a little kid. I had nearly come to terms with the cancelation and was coping with the fact that although the soap wouldn’t continue that my “Life” (no pun intended) would go on. Then came the news that Prospect Park was swooping in to save the day. After being skeptical at first, I slowly became lulled into a false sense of security, excited about “OLTL” getting another chance. I was thrilled at the possibility of still being able to see characters like Viki and Blair, who have become like a part of my family over the years. I was intrigued that the thought of actually setting down in front of my computer on a regular basis to watch “OLTL” and other shows. And most of all I was optimistic that the show would thrive online and continue to enjoy its current level of success (so to speak).
Then the rugged was pulled out from me…again. Going through the emotions again, I still hold out a small glimmer of hope that another miracle will take place, saving my favorite soap once more. However, this time around I am also becoming more rational in my understanding that “One Life to Live,” like all other things in life, must eventually come to an end. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much we hope they will. Just like losing a beloved family member, pet, or possession, we have to learn when and how to let go of something that we have loved and cherished for so very long. And, while it may be painful, time will eventually heal those wounds.
“One Life to Live” may be “only a television show” but to myself and millions of other fans out there, it has and always will hold a special place in our hearts. The characters are like family, and Llanview is like our second hometown. Throughout the years, we have laughed, cried, hurt, and mourned alongside the residents of the fictional Philadelphia suburb. We rallied around Viki when she had breast cancer, encouraged the Cramer girls as they tried to stay sane in a family with a history of mental illness, sympathized with Shane when he was being bullied, and learned about intolerance as Llanview was torn apart over homosexuality. We cried when Megan died, became depressed when Asa passed on, and smiled when each baby was born. We became Llanview and Llanview became us. So, while to many it may be only a TV show, to us it is part of the family. That’s why the 2:00 pm ET hour (1:00 pm for me) will never be the same.
And, like family, “OLTL” fans need to come together to celebrate the show’s long history, and allow it to bow out gracefully and not needlessly suffer through frivolous lawsuits, ineffective boycotts, threats of violence, and harassing letters, phone calls, and e-mails to ABC, Prospect Park, and others. Let’s show everyone what soap fans are really like and give “One Life to Live” a proper sendoff like Viki and the rest of Llanview deserve. That is the least we can do for four decades of memories. Sure we’re angry, but those types of things will get you nowhere. And at the end of the day, it will all be for naught as “OLTL” will still be canceled.
Let’s make these last seven weeks that “One Life to Live” is on the air the highest rated the show has seen in years and show ABC that they were wrong in canceling it and Prospect Park wrong in thinking that there aren’t people out there willing to help fund its continuation online. That is the least we can do for “One Life” for all that it has given us. I know that’s what I’m going to do anyway. And I hope you will do the same.
As with the show itself, my “One Life to Live” reporting duties here at Soap Opera Network will also soon be coming to an end, which includes this column. Barring any last minute changes, look for the final edition of “My View of Llanview” on January 30, just over two weeks after “OLTL” airs its final ABC episode. Thank you to all my faithful readers over the years, who have endured all my incessant ramblings and opinions. It has been one hell of a ride to say the least.
Moving on, no one guessed (either correctly or incorrectly) the answers to the trivia questions from the previous column. So I’m going to give you a second chance. Here are the questions again: 1. What role on “OLTL” did Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan, “AMC”) once audition for? Before taking over the character of Cristian Vega, what small role did David Fumero play? 3. What did Jerry verDorn wear to his audition for the role of Clint Buchanan that disappeared before his first episode aired? I’ll have the answers in the December 15 edition of My View of Llanview.
Now, before I wrap up this column, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and give you a quick sneak peek at a few things coming up a few weeks down the road. One man is forced to make a tough choice. Someone sees things from a whole new prospective. More than one secret is revealed. And one Llanview family spends Christmas with someone unexpected.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Stay safe and warm.
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A compilation of Twitter and Facebook posts from the cast of “One Life to Live” following word that Prospect Park was dropping plans to resurrect the show online only five days after the soap wrapped production on its ABC run.
Kristen Alderson (Starr): “Extremely sad sad news… No #prospectpark deal for AMC or OLTL. So many lives affected by this… #RIPoltl”
Hillary B. Smith (Nora): “I want to b careful what I say right now. I am so sad for the fans. I am so sad for all of us who were robbed of the 7 months to plan. I wish there had been more communication. This was not about AFTRA! The guilds and unions were talking. The endings were changed to accomodate the move. I wish they would have left us alone. So sad!!!! no, I believe they did what they could, just had no idea what a soap cost. Don’t hate them for ignorance. Endings were changed! So unprofessional. You will al still be satisfied. The ride to the end is still worth it!!! I promise. Meanwhile, LONG LIVE VENICE!!! no but ABC chose this deal. It was on the interrnet. I still feel that ABC will regret this decision. I love you all! I m sorry! But the show is worth the ride. Enjoy through January!!!
Mark Lawson (Brody): “Sorry to hear Prospect Park was unable to pull it off. A sad day today for all the fans. A sad day for all of us who were part of the One Life family. But I know we all brought our best these last few months and can be proud of how we finished the game. Thanks OLTL for all you taught me.”
Michael Easton (John McBain): “I’m sorry to say it’s done. Still Much to be thankful for. Happy Thansgiving. I love you all. MY THOUGHTS ARE WITH ALL OF YOU TONIGHT…I know how disappointing this news is to many of you. We tried to fight the good fight, we fought to the end to get the ratings up, but it wasn’t enough. We’re sorry we let you down. I just wanted to thank you all for the years of kindness, love and support you’ve shown me and my family. If you get a chance at some point, maybe say a prayer for the wonderful crew members of “One Life To Live”, many of whom are supporting large families, that they may find work soon. God Bless. Happy Thanksgiving.”
David A. Gregory (Ford): “So sad to hear. Again, thank you everyone for all your support… Keep watching! Its gonna be a great finale week starting January 9th.”
Robin Strasser (ex-Dorian): “I know NOTHING about Prospect Park’s purported pick-up-or- drop out of #OLTL-I depend on SOD+SID+other postings. If I knew-I’d tell YOU. I’m rooting Prospect Park finds the funding, even if I was not picked to be a start-up contract player. Hoping good things happen for ALL. Sad+disappointed-tho not surprised. Statement sounds a bit blame game- Actors/Directors/Writers terminated by ABC were amped 2 rock 4 PP! I believe OLTL actors who accepted PP offer from git-go would’ve knocked it out of ballpark right through last tape day-even without that. #OLTL cast: talented, smart, great looking, edgy, uniquely+singularly creative. How much do I admire and miss them?-let me count the ways.”
Shenaz Treasury (Rama): “OLTL ended, Im so bummed. Now I may really need to be in LA.”
Jerry verDorn (Clint): “Hello everybody.Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes. I enjoyed the day prepping for the Thanksgiving Feast. Much to be thankful for and a little something to grumble about. Don’t blame Prospect Park but rather blame the economy. They lost some financing that was too hard to replace. Start-up money is near impossible to find these days. Who knows what may happen. I guess my birthday present this year is retirement. Love to all.”
Kelley Missal (Dani): “Just saw the news that #OLTL won’t be moving on to the Internet after all. so sad but at least they gave it the chance it deserved!!”
Matt Walton (ex-Eli): “My heart goes out to my #AMC and #OLTL alumni. What a backwards world we live in right now. A bold response is coming soon.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Hillary B. Smith (Nora) opens up to Entertainment Weekly about the decision by Prospect Park not to proceed with previous plans to relaunch “One Life to Live” online after it ends its ABC Daytime run on January 13, 2012, and what the future would have held for her alter ego.
“It was a noble attempt and I believe they really wanted to do this,” the actress tells EW, and admits that she believed the production company was “biting off a lot” by planning continue “OLTL” and sister soap “All My Children” on the Internet. “I’m just sad for the fans. I think this was a very ambitious project for a company with no history of the technology. I do wish there had been more communication between the company and those who’d signed on. We were finding out a lot in the press.”
Smith also revealed that she had previously reached a tentative deal with Prospect Park to continue with the show, alongside 13 of her “One Life” co-stars, during the soap’s transition and that she and onscreen husband Robert S. Woods (Bo) filmed different ending for their characters. “I can’t say [if it'll be satisfying enough if there's no continuation]. I don’t know exactly the whole ending. I want to be able to watch it myself. I know that they shot a couple of different endings for Bo and I. I have an idea which they’ll use. But I don’t know the ending for the show,” she adds.
As for the last seven weeks of “One Life’s” television run, Smith encourages fans to keep watching until the last episode airs. “We’re still here through January. I want them to enjoy this journey. It’s really going to be fun through the end. It’d be nice if a knight in shining armor came riding up to save us but even if that doesn’t happen, it will be a fun ride to the end.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On the heels of today’s announcement by Prospect Park that the upstart production company was shelving plans to relaunch canceled ABC soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” the cast and crew of the sudsers are beginning to speak out. Kassie DePaiva (Blair), who became one of the first “OLTL” stars to sign on back in September to help the show make the transition, has issued a statement regarding the turn of events.
via DePaiva’s website
Words just don’t express how sad I am at hearing that Prospect Park has dropped the deal to move forward with “One Life”. I think what upsets me the most is how this whole deal has been handled from the get go. I wanted more than anything not to have been cancelled by ABC. I find it mind boggling that a company can spend 45 years building the strongest brand in daytime… launch a cable network to support it and then decide to cancel both broadcast and cable airings leaving the beloved fans with no where to turn for that brand. Then PP shows up out of nowhere as the great white hope promising to continue these shows…. I was happy to sign on. I love what I do and I’m proud to go to work everyday. I was asked to take a cut in pay and was happy to do it if it meant our show would go on. That was the first week of September. But other than a very quick speech on the studio floor by PP in late September the company did not give out any information regarding when and where we would be working. Last Wednesday the cast received an email telling us our dressing rooms must be cleared out by the 9th of Dec. or ABC would be tossing things out… and then to hear the official news today via a media report.
The last 2 weeks have been emotional for me. The stories are rocking and show is so good. It is must see TV. Don’t miss a day… don’t miss a scene. My hat goes off to Ron Calivarti…. he has written really powerful stuff and I think the fans are going love it. I especially want to shout out to Frank Valentini… who has fought the hardest to make the transition happen. He has been amazing and I want you fans to know how hard he worked to continue giving you fans the show you deserve. He found out this wasn’t going to happen just like I did…via a media report.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have so much to be grateful for but I must say I wish things had worked out differently. It’s been the best 18 years of my life. I hope you will continue to watch “One Life” until the bitter sweet end.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After rumblings for the last two weeks and a shocking report by Deadline Hollywood earlier today, Prospect Park officially pulled the plug on plans for producing online versions of ABC’s “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” Of the key issues, Prospect Park cited its inability to come to terms with the unions including those representing the actors (AFTRA) and the writers (WGA). Shortly afterward, the various unions began issuing statements in response to the production companies decision.
The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) issued the following to Soap Opera Network, “We were disappointed to learn that Prospect Park’s financing fell through. Prior to the end of last week, we were close to a fair deal for the writers.”
On Monday, November 14, Soap Opera Network spoke with a rep from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), who stated they were still in talks with Prospect Park. Unfortunately, as noted in the statement issued to media outlets today, those talks went no where as the production company wasn’t communicating well with the union.
via Press Release
AFTRA Statement Regarding Prospect Park’s Decision to Suspend Production of “One Life to Live” and “All My Children”
LOS ANGELES (Nov. 23, 2011) — The following is a statement from AFTRA, the union that represents actors on “One Life to Live” and “All My Children”:
“AFTRA was deeply disappointed to read that the executives at Prospect Park have decided to suspend their efforts to produce the long-running and popular daytime serials, ‘One Life to Live’ and ‘All My Children,’ via online distribution.
Despite initial progress in our negotiations with Prospect Park toward resolving a fair agreement to cover the performers appearing on these programs, we were perplexed and disappointed that for the past month Prospect Park has not responded to our repeated inquiries to resume those discussions. We now conclude from the press reports that Prospect Park faced other challenges unrelated to our negotiations, which prevented continuation of those discussions.
We remain hopeful that an opportunity to revive these two popular series will emerge in the future, and remain ready to resume discussions should that opportunity arise.”
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.
via Press Release
After five months of negotiations with various guilds, hundreds of presentations to potential financial and technology partners, and a hope that we could pioneer a new network for the future, it is with great disappointment that we are suspending our aspirations to revive “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” via online distribution. It is now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get OLTL on the air in a reasonable time period following its January 13, 2012 ABC finale impossible.
We believed the timing was right to launch an Online TV Network anchored by these two iconic soap operas, but we always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, and unfortunately we couldn’t ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time. We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution.
While we narrowed in on a financial infrastructure, the contractual demands of the guilds, which regulate our industry, coupled with the program’s inherent economic challenges ultimately led to this final decision. In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion.
In our opinion, new models like this can only work with the cooperation of many people striving to make them happen, and we would like to thank and praise the numerous people who tried to help and showed us incredible support. We are extremely grateful to the fans and media who showed great support to us through this process, to ABC who did everything in their control to help, and we are especially grateful for the support and encouragement from many of the Soaps’ cast and crew themselves.
We hope that our efforts are not lost, and that we somehow created a dialogue and movement on the feasibility of first run, network quality content online.
Of special note, we would like to thank Frank Valentini (Executive Producer), Ron Carlivati (Head Writer of OLTL), Agnes Nixon, many of the cast of OLTL including Michael Easton, Ted King, Kelley Missal, Melissa Archer, and of course Erika Slezak all of whom signed on quickly and did all they could to help, as well as our own Christine Sacani. Cameron Mathison and Lindsay Hartley also get our sincerest thanks for their support. We feel terrible we couldn’t come through for them and we were very much looking forward to working together.