Prospect Park first announced plans to move “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web back in July 2011 after striking a license holding deal with Disney/ABC Domestic Television. Sadly, plans fell through by November 2011 after apparent financing and union discussions fell through. Since that dreadful time period, Prospect Park has resumed work on returning the soaps to your [computer] screens, only this time with financing said to be in place and union deals already signed with the DGA (directors), SAG-AFTRA (actors) and the WGA (writers). With more than a year gone by since “One Life to Live” last aired, we thought it would be a great opportunity to see which stars have (so far) signed on to return to “AMC” and “OLTL” compared to the list circling back in 2011.
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.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — December may bring the first signs of the winter season, but as the month begins things will be heating up on “One Life to Live” when several familiar faces return to the canvas as the show’s ABC run prepares to come to an end.
The week begins on Monday, December 5 when Matthew Conlon next appears as Tomas’ (Ted King) acquaintance M. Claude Calmar, when John McBain (Michael Easton) becomes suspicious of what the shifty Frenchman has to say.
On Tuesday, December 6, January LaVoy reprises her role as the pie-totting waitress Noelle when she and Moe (John Rue) have a special surprise for Shane (Austin Williams). In the same episode, after taking a brief hiatus from “OLTL,” Amanda Setton reappears as an incarcerated Kimberly Andrews (aka Aubrey Wentworth) when the character receives a visit from some unexpected guests. Meanwhile, Nigel (Peter Barlett) gets an earful from Clint (Jerry verDorn) about the women in his life.
Brian Kerwin returns as Viki’s most recent ex-husband Charlie Banks on Monday, December 12, when he encounters someone from his past while at the Bon Jour Café in Paris, Texas.
Tuc Watkins is back yet again as David Vickers Buchanan on Tuesday, December 13 when he pays a surprise visit to his family. Once in town, however, he is quickly sought out by Roxy (Ilene Kristen), who has an usual request for him when she asks him to help save something very important to her.
All this…plus as the residents of Llanview settle in to watch their favorite soap “Fraternity Row,” will fans receive a special treat? Tune in to find out!
In Other News…
Brittany Underwood (Langston) reportedly shot scenes on “OLTL’s” final ABC tape date (Friday, November 18) alongside her onscreen beau Jason Tam (Markko).
David A. Gregory (Ford) has posted on Facebook that his upcoming [tentative] airdates include November 23, December 13 and 19, and January 5, 6, 9, and 10.
Farah Fath (Stacy/Gigi) reveals on Twitter that the “First scene I ever taped on #OLTL was w/ the queen Erika Slezak. Last scene I will ever tape was w/ Erika Slezak.”
Nick Choksi (Vimal) states that “there’s about 10 more episodes of ‘OLTL’ that I am in between now and the 13th of Jan when it all come to a close.”
Peter Austin Noir who, as we previously reported, will play Statesville Prison Johnny Rocket in January, has posted more information about his upcoming “OLTL” appearance on his website. The actor writes that the show contacted him on October 26 and that he taped his scenes on November 10. Look for him to appear on screen on Tuesday, January 3.
Prospect Park executives Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank have confirmed to Soap Opera Network that the production company has signed “One Life to Live” cast members Tuc Watkins (David), Josh Kelly (Cutter), Florencia Lozano (Tea), and Shenell Edmonds (Destiny) for the online version of the ABC soap pending final Guild agreements.
In a statement, the company said “After the ABC television network finale airs in January, ‘One Life to Live’s’ David, Cutter, Tea and Destiny will be reunited with previously announced characters including Erika Slezak’s Victoria and Kassie DePaiva’s Blair Cramer.”
With the signing of Watkins, Kelly, Lozano and Edmonds, Prospect Park has now signed a total of 13 current “One Life to Live” cast members including the aforementioned Slezak and DePaiva. On Friday, September 30, Prospect Park announced deals with Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan). The company previously announced the signings of Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain) on Tuesday, September 6.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Friday, September 30, Prospect Park officially announced actors Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans),Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan) will be joining already signed Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and Erika Slezak (Viki Banks) when “One Life to Live” is transitioned over from ABC to the web beginning in January 2012. Since the announcement, Soap Opera Network has reached out to a number of the signed stars and today Missal explains why she signed on.
“I felt very blessed to be asked in the first place,” said Missal earlier this month when Soap Opera Network caught up with the actress outside of the “7th Annual Rock Show for Charity” event held at the Soho Playhouse theater in New York City. On making the decision to continue with the soap online, “Obviously you have to go through a bunch of decisions and a lot of factors come in, but ultimately I love ‘One Life to Live’. I love the people that I work with and I really wanted to be part of this new project going into this new era of TV on the internet. I was just really excited that I was asked and I’m really excited to be part of it now.”
With only nine actors signed on so far for the online version of “One Life to Live,” and some stars coming forward with news that they do not plan on staying with the show when it is transitioned to the web, Missal wishes everyone well. “I wish the best of luck to everyone who is staying on and everyone who is going. I just want to say that I’m very blessed and very thankful.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Casting changes for “One Life to Live” for the month of November.
As we previously reported, Tonja Walker is returning to “OLTL” as Alex Olanov. Yesterday the actress posted her upcoming airdates on her Twitter page. Fans can be expect to see her on November 17, 18, 21, and 22, and for Alex to have a surprising connection to Cutter (Josh Kelly).
Kathy Brier has posted a few of her upcoming airdates as Marcie McBain on Facebook. Look for her again on November 1, 3, and 8.
Looks like he’s not dead after all. On Friday, November 4, homeless man Louie (Helmar Augustus Cooper) has an encounter with Todd (Roger Howarth) after having escaped from Irene’s hired goons, who have been holding him prisoner.
Speaking of Irene (Barbara Rhoades), look for Todd to have another vision of his dead mother on Thursday, November 10 when she pushes him to do something drastic.
Matthew Conlon is back as Tomas’ (Ted King) friend art dealer M. Claude Calmar on Tuesday, November 8 when the two have a visit.
Patrick Gibbons, Jr. and Stephanie Schmahl next appear as Sam Manning and Bree Brennan on Monday, October 31.
Although she has been MIA recently, Destiny (Shenell Edmonds) returns next week.
Kearran Giovanni appears again as Dr. Vivian Wright on Friday, November 11 when she and Sean (Shaun Ringgold) have a difference of opinion regarding their future together.
Peter Barlett will be making at least a couple of appearances as Nigel next month, including Tuesday, November 1, when he relays an important message to Clint (Jerry verDorn). On a related note, verDorn talks about Prospect Park’s takeover of “One Life” in a recent interview with Soap Opera Weekly.
Kristen Alderson (Starr) and David A. Gregory (Ford) are reportedly in negotiations with Prospect Park about continuing with the show after it leaves ABC.
Doggie David Vickers (Tallulah Bean) will continue to play a role in an important storyline in the coming weeks.
And check out this cute picture of Andrew Trischitta (Jack) helping Patrick Gibbons, Jr. (Sam) out with his math homework during a break on set, and this one of Roger Howarth (Todd) posing with “OLTL’s” Make-Up Artist Julia Davis.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — On Saturday, October 1, the National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) met for the final time in 2011, as previously reported. One of the topics of discussion was Prospect Park and its transitioning of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to the web in January 2012. While exact details of the meeting are still unknown in that respect, a representative speaks to Soap Opera Network exclusively on where things stand at this time between the actors union and Prospect Park.
It has been nearly three months since Prospect Park announced that they had licensed the rights to “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” from the Disney/ABC Television Group with the intention of transitioning the soaps to the web beginning in January 2012. Since that time, AFTRA, better known as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, has been relatively silent on how the transition would be possible, until now. Soap Opera Network has learned exclusively that despite a number of actors from both “AMC” and “OLTL” signing on for the 2.0 versions of the soaps, talks between Prospect Park and AFTRA are still ongoing and that a deal between the actors union and the production company has yet to be signed.
Although “One Life to Live’s” Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan), Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and Erika Slezak (Viki Banks) and “All My Children’s” Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery) and Lindsay Hartley (Cara Castillo) have already signed on despite no official deal between AFTRA and Prospect Park, an AFTRA rep tells Soap Opera Network “we are still in negotiations with Prospect Park. There is no agreement as of yet, but we are in discussion and when there is something final to announce we will announce it.”
Many of you have wondered why more cast members from “One Life to Live” have signed on to the web version of their show, pending a Prospect Park/AFTRA contract agreement, while not as many have signed on from the “All My Children” cast, but the AFTRA rep assures us that “we’ve been keeping the cast members of both shows advised as to the terms of the progress and the status of the discussions with Prospect Park.”
Actors from “All My Children,” which ended its television run on September 23, 2011, are left in limbo in the interim of a deal between AFTRA and Prospect Park, leaving many to seek new soap roles (Debbi Morgan, ex-Dr. Angie Hubbard now on “The Young and the Restless”), return to the soap that launched their careers (Jacob Young, ex-JR Chandler returned to “The Bold and the Beautiful”), or just deciding to take a much needed break (Michael E. Knight, ex-Tad Martin).
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” isn’t even finished filming its last ABC episodes yet and already the soap has signed deals with “OLTL” head writer Ron Carlivati and several of the soaps cast members. By comparison, Prospect Park has signed far fewer deals with cast members from “All My Children,” which ended its television run on Friday, September 23.
As we reported earlier this morning, Carlivati’s rumored return to “One Life to Live” is now confirmed as Prospect Park made it official in a press release issued just a short time ago. Carlivati joins Frank Valentini, the soaps executive producer, as the second behind the scenes crew member that will move on with the soap when it debuts online in January 2012 on THE Online Network (aka: TOLN). The Emmy award winning writer joined the writing team in 1996 and was named head writer in 2007. The terms of his deal are subject to an agreement between Prospect Park and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). Should it come to pass, it is understood that Carlivati will also be listed as a Consulting Producer for the soap.
For those that know more about what they see on TV than they do behind the scenes, you’ll be pleased to hear that Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan) will be joining already signed Ted King (Thomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) and Erika Slezak (Viki Banks) when the show is transitioned over from ABC to the web. Ringgold exclusively confirmed his signing to Soap Opera Network earlier this week.
via Press Release
LOS ANGELES, CA – September 30, 2011 – Below is a statement from THE Online Network (TOLN) regarding “One Life to Live.”
Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz of TOLN have confirmed today that a deal is in place for “One Life to Live” Emmy®-winning Head Writer and Consulting Producer Ron Carlivati, subject to a WGA agreement, to continue with the show when it moves online at the beginning of next year. Carlivati has been with the show since 1996 and a head writer since 2007.
Pending a final agreement with AFTRA, additional deals are in place for cast members Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Banks), Kelley Missal (Danielle Rayburn), Sean Ringgold (Shaun Evans), Andrew Trischitta (Jack Manning) and Jerry VerDorn (Clint Buchanan) to join previously announced cast including Ted King, Michael Easton, Kassie DePaiva and Erika Slezak.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Late last week, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” an excited Cameron Mathison (Ryan) announced that the production company that licensed “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” from ABC this summer, Prospect Park, had started to contact actors from his show to negotiate. Today, Prospect Park revealed to the press that they have come to terms with not only Mathison but his co-star Lindsay Hartley (Cara) to continue with the 41-year old daytime drama online.
Mathison joined the cast of “AMC” in December 1997 as con-artist and resident hunk Ryan Lavery. The Emmy-nominee, “Dancing with the Stars” contestant and entertainment show correspondent remained on the show for nearly the entire time since. He took a one year break from July 2002 to July 2003 to try other things. Hartley began her daytime career on NBC Daytime’s “Passions” as Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald in 1999. She remained on the show until its cancellation in 2008. In 2009, she joined the cast of NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” as Arianna Hernandez. The actress joined the cast of “AMC” as Dr. Cara Castillo in December 2010 after an early dismissal from “DAYS.” Hartley is married to former “Smallville” star Justin Hartley.
The deals with Mathison, Hartley and “OLTL’s” Erika Slezak (Viki), Michael Easton (John), Kassie DePaiva (Blair) and Ted King (Tomas) are not official as can be, yet. Prospect Park and the actor’s union, AFTRA, have to come to official terms before anything can be made official. It appears to be just a matter of time before that happens.
Prospect Park also announced today that they will release “AMC’s” first day of production for the 2012 season in the next few weeks. “AMC” last airs on ABC on Friday, September 23.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — With the Prospect Park era about to begin for “One Life to Live,” the show appears to be in better shape than its sister soap “All My Children.”
“OLTL” fans have reason to be optimistic about the show’s future after it leaves the ABC Daytime line-up in January. Ratings for the show continue to be solid and holding steady above “AMC” and “General Hospital.” Casting wise, the soap is an upswing. Hot on the heels of Roger Howarth‘s return to Llanview, comes word that several others, including Andrea Evans (Tina), John Loprieno (Cord), Kathy Brier (Marcie), Chris Stack (Michael), and possibly Tonja Walker (Alex) are on their way back as well. Rumors are flying that Prospect Park may be focusing more on “OLTL” than “AMC,” something which “One Life” never really experienced under ABC. And four of the show’s leading stars, including grand dame Erika Slezak (Viki), have already agreed to remain with the show when it transitions to the online distribution company in a few months (the others being Kassie DePaiva [Blair], Ted King [Tomas], and Michael Easton [John]).
Meanwhile, “All My Children’s” future seems less certain. Aside from strained negotiations between Prospect Park and “AMC” leading lady Susan Lucci (Erica Kane), there have thus far been no confirmed reports of any members of the show’s cast either being in serious talks with the company or signing on the dotted line to continue with the show. Furthermore, it appears increasingly more apparent that “AMC” may get the same treatment from Prospect Park that “OLTL” has gotten for years now from ABC.
Speculation on the matter was fueled last week by two separate incidents. First, Deadline Hollywood‘s Nellie Andreeva reported that “I hear that Prospect Park may reevaluate its short-term strategy for the two soaps and put its muscle behind the higher-rated ‘OLTL,’ while moving ‘AMC’ to the back burner.” That was followed up by a Soaps.com interview with “All My Children’s” Vincent Irizarry (David) who commented that “As far as I know, no, there hasn’t been. I’ve spoken to numerous actors from the show over the last few days and nobody from our show has been in contact with them. Except for Susan [Lucci, Erica], which we all assumed that awhile ago. So, that’s basically it. They’re moving [forward] with ‘One Life to Live’ right now and that’s certainly their right. That’s what they’re doing and for whatever reason that’s how it happened.”
Furthermore, unlike “One Life to Live,” “All My Children” will have a nearly four month gap between the airing of its last episode on ABC and its first episode of Prospect Park. “One Life” on the other hand, is said to be debuting on Prospect Park the Monday after its airs its final ABC episode on Friday, January 13, therefore maintaining the status quo for “OLTL,” while leaving “All My Children” fans in suspense and impatiently waiting for weeks for their show to return.
Personally, I find all of this extremely interesting, especially since there seems to have been a complete role reversal between the two shows. “One Life to Live” has always reminded me of “The Little Engine That Could,” endlessly trying to make its way up the hill to the top of the mountain (i.e. ratings), while all the more powerful engines (or in this case, the better known soap operas) just keep passing them by until one day when the little engine finally made it to the top after years of chanting “I think I can.” In a sense, it is uncharted waters for many “One Life” fans who aren’t used to their show doing so well. It makes me proud of the soap I have grown up watching for more than two decades now.
However, its one thing to get to the top, but it is quite another thing to stay there. And with the show’s writing, production, and directing crews under Prospect Park still up in the air, it leaves me feeling somewhat concerned, especially given the fact that current head writer Ron Carlivati still seems on track to join the writing staff of “General Hospital” once “OLTL” up production of its TV run in November. Granted, Carlivati isn’t exactly daytime’s best scribe considering “OLTL’s” overabundance of useless characters in idiotic storylines (e.g. the Nate/Deanna/Rick porn plot), and treatment of women characters, but he must be doing something right for the show to be climbing in the ratings as it has been. But like him or not, he does bring stability to the show and often draws upon the soap’s rather rich history (even if he usually twists it to fit his own agenda) when penning tales. Throwing in someone new, especially if they are not very familiar with the show could cause problems. The same can be said for Executive Producer Frank Valentini. For several years now, he has managed to keep “OLTL” under budget while running a tight ship. Finding a suitable replacement may prove difficult.
That being said, I think the show is in good hands with Prospect Park, and believe that it will continue to do rather well. Even so, I am well aware of the potential risks involved in moving an established 43-year-old soap opera from a television slot it has held for more than 30 years to the uncharted waters of online-only distribution. If it works, then wonderful, soaps will have found a new way to live on. If it fails, then at least soap fans can say they tried, and “OLTL” and “AMC” will be remembered for going where no other soaps have gone. Either way, it gives new hope for the daytime serial genre, proving that there may still be some life in the old “stories” yet.
Moving on, congratulations to “CBRVA83,” who correctly guessed the answers to my trivia questions from last time. In case you missed the clues, here they are, along with the answers: 1. What current “OLTL” cast member was the youngest soap star ever placed on contract with a daytime drama back in 2001? Answer: Kristen Alderson. 2. In college, what subject did Ted King get his undergraduate degree in and from what school? Answer: Business from UC-Santa Barbara. 3. What foreign language did Erika Slezak grow up speaking before learning English at five-years-old? Answer: German.
Now it’s time to shake things up a bit and do some more trivia. See if you know the answers to these questions about some of the current and former cast members of “One Life to Live.” 1. Kassie DePaiva (Blair) appeared on what game show before joining “OLTL” and who was the daytime celebrity (and future co-star) was she paired up with? 2. What two wars did the late Phil Carey (Asa) serve in? 3. What is John-Paul Lavoisier‘s (Rex) real last name? I’ll have the answers in the September 30 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. Someone turns up dead. One man risks his life to save others. An unlikely person is put in jail. And one sister makes a shocking discovery about her sibling.
Well that’s concludes yet another column. Have a great week everyone! Stay safe!
Take care, and until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live”…