Deadline is Reporting Prospect Park’s Plans to Save ABC Soaps Close to Being Kaput


 




Deadline's Nellie Andreeva is reporting Prospect Park is on the verge of scrapping plans to bring cancelled ABC Daytime soaps All My Children and One Life to Live to the web via The Online Network. According to Andreeva's sources, Prospect Park's inability to reach pacts with WGA and AFTRA could cause the production company's principles Rick Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz to shutter to project as early as today.
 

The article goes on to say negotiations proved difficult because there is no collective bargaining precedent for transitioning a broadcast series to the web, and that Prospect Park is "exhausting every possible avenue" before pulling the plug. Funny, I heard they had been cancelling meetings with the WGA and AFTRA left and right.

Maybe if Prospect Park had been spending more time figuring out the logisitcs of their ambitious efforts, or how to streamline production costs, as opposed to continually trying to throw Susan Lucci under the bus, things could have been different? As it is though, I do commend them for even trying, and hope they can pull it out.  Happy Thanksgiving, soap fans.  

28 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Bourgeois Nerd
    Bourgeois Nerd

    “Maybe if Prospect Park had been spending more time figuring out the logisitcs of their ambitious efforts, or how to streamline production costs, as opposed to continually trying to throw Susan Lucci under the bus, things could have been different?”

    That’s unfair, Jamey. In OLTL’s case, they sure seemed to be getting all their ducks in a row, signing people, both behind and in front of the screen.

    Anyway, I hope things can be worked out, but they do deserve credit for trying. It’s not like anyone else was going to. And if someone tries to say this was all a conspiracy by Brian Frons or Disney, I’m going to have to cut someone.

  2. Profile photo of Smooshiest
    Smooshiest

    “Maybe if Prospect Park had been spending more time figuring out the logisitcs of their ambitious efforts, or how to streamline production costs, as opposed to continually trying to throw Susan Lucci under the bus, things could have been different? As it is though, I do commend them for even trying, and hope they can pull it out. Happy Thanksgiving, soap fans.”

    Jamey, this last paragraph in your article is so spot on. I am a fan of yours and of course, AMC, however, while I had hope, I did not spend my days thinking about PP. My family might think otherwise, but it does not inform my days. In any case, like I said, I had hope for PP; that hope is now vanquished. The fact that they have been so quiet when they could have been marketing their site better, giving fans at least snippets of information. Every thing about the new ventures has come only from the soap press and/or regular press and other entertainment blogs. They have never confirmed one casting (as far as I know; I could be wrong). There has been so much pontificating from people on the boards, etc. that this has become a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. I think I became really skeptical when fans started contacting investors on PP’s behalf. That was the dumbest move ever (I’m in investment banking and that is NOT the way to go about closing a deal – how fans ever found out who was planning to invest is beyond me – that is usually confidential information).

    I’m not even sure what PP can do next. I do think they have an image to protect because if they want to keep making television deals, they have to do some damage control. They were looking like a hero. My honest opinion is that they should never have announced any saving of the shows – nothing should have been said until all the ducks were in a row and now the ducks are drowning.

    I’m rambling, so maybe someone else can take over and rant about this monstrosity of a “deal”.

  3. Profile photo of Columbus
    Columbus

    While they are likely having serious battles with the unions (who are understandably reluctant to cut a bad deal when the production quality and episode length are to be the same as on broadcast tv), I think that they vastly overestimated their funding capabilities. In today’s economy, traditional lenders and equity investors are not eager to provide money for even stable, long-established projects. They are much less willing to fund or invest in new, risky, “out of the box” projects.

    I applaud PP for trying to make this work but I could never understand why they didn’t start with producing half-hour episodes to air twice per week, thereby cutting down on the initial funding need. If those proved to be successful, they could always increase the schedule and the episode length.

  4. Profile photo of Ryan-Scott
    Ryan-Scott

    Oh fuck.

    Lorraine Broderick & Ron Carlivati both crafted the ends of these shows positioning them to continue. Now they are not. It’s very sad to me.
    There are so many fans who don’t know about PP & why they had JR shoot that gun for the cliffhanger. It’s really too bad.

  5. Profile photo of keanna
    keanna

    Jamey, I love you, but I think you’re being too hard on the Prospect Park guys. Were they ambitious in their planning? Probably, Should they have started small? Yes!! But you got to give them an A for trying.

    I hope they can work it out!!

  6. Profile photo of josser
    josser

    Columbus,

    You’re wrong. This is web project. Prospect Park tried getting funding through traditional investment sources before going to Silicon Valley. This should have always been a web play. Had PP started from the beginning trying to get funding from venture capitalist or online providers like Netflix or Hulu, they might have found funding easier.

    Earlier this week, Netflix committed to bringing back the cancelled comedy “Arrested Development.” Each episode will cost at least $3mil to produce. So, Netflix is going to invest at least $30 to $40 for exclusive rights for the show. Similarly, Netflix struck a deal with Kevin Spacey to create a new series called “House of Cards.” That deal is also in the tens of millions. Netflix and Hulu both struck large deals with the CW to distribute its content online.

    I applaud Prospect Park for wanting to take OLTL and AMC to the web. I hope someone like Facebook or Yahoo or Netflix will play white knight and save this unique opportunity.

  7. Profile photo of GHfan-4now
    GHfan-4now

    I… don’t even know what to say anymore, really. I stopped commenting about PP because I had a feeling something was up after the AMC deal fell through. It was only a matter of time. KDP was crying in TOO many interviews lately, and then we learned they were kicked out of their dressing rooms. I just… I wanted a decent ending and now, I don’t know if we’ll even get that. I’ll cry when it’s over, but I’ll cry harder at what could’ve been. I feel terrible for the actors and their families. And to be told and ordered out and dropped on your ass right before Thanksgiving. Stay classy, ABC… stay classy

  8. Profile photo of appleridge
    appleridge

    @CarolynHinsey
    Carolyn Hinsey
    Prospect Park has been actively looking for financing to save OLTL &AMC. Negative stories about their efforts are damaging #soapsstillmatter

  9. Profile photo of harlee490
    harlee490

    I Jamey agree with your statement. I give PP a D because of their silence and they have been cancelling meetings with the unions, they (PP & ABC) didn’t want to continue and SL became their scapegoat in all things of epic failure. If PP had just communicated and had been truthful what has happening behind the scenes, fans could’ve helped them just in support of this new venture. PP will continue to try to launch TOLN just wait and see but now they abandoned soap fans loyalty…good luck. Regardless, of what they try to sale PP won’t get my support. Fans were led to well as savior and the well was dry. Nobody is going to convince me that PP didn’t have problems before AMC ended and now ABCers of their soap lineup got cheated on a true endings for these icon soaps.

  10. Profile photo of Bob Lamm
    Bob Lamm

    In my view, Columbus is absolutely right in suggesting that Prospect Park’s plan was WAY overambitious. I can’t assess any of the funding issues and I doubt that anyone here genuinely can. But to think that Prospect Park was going to produce two daytime soaps online five days a week for 45 minutes of programming per day??? Or even one? If ABC couldn’t make that work financially on television (and we know CBS couldn’t either with GUIDING LIGHT and AS THE WORLD TURNS), how was Prospect Park going to make that work financially online?

    Right from the beginning when this was announced, I thought this was dubious at best. And, Jamey, as someone who greatly admires your writing, I thought you were avoiding the bitter truths of the matter.

  11. Profile photo of Columbus
    Columbus

    This is in response to Josstheguy: I don’t agree. These are savvy Hollywood guys – they know about the Netflix situation, etc…For whatever reason, investors are not equating the online soaps with ventures such as “Arrested Development”. (It may well be that investors believe that soaps are dying regardless of where they air or that they don’t believe that enough soap fans will follow the shows to the web.) They have gone to Silicon Valley and they are still getting shut down.

  12. Profile photo of GHfan-4now
    GHfan-4now

    and now ABCers of their soap lineup got cheated on a true endings for these icon soaps.

    *******

    you hit the nail on the head of where my problem lies with this entire situation.

  13. Profile photo of md1347
    md1347

    Not surprised at all, unfortunately. It was a uphill struggle anyway but making money off of web ads or even subscriptions to support the production was never going to work (business 101). They needed to be on TV as well as on the web.

  14. Profile photo of jphelps
    jphelps

    Call me stupid but didnt the WSJ article indicate they only needed 10% of the viewers online to be able to break even? Now I am certainly ignorant when it comes to advertising revenue on the internet but thats what I recall reading.

  15. Profile photo of GG78
    GG78

    Call me crazy, but I think this was the plan from the beginning. I think that Brian Frons made a deal with PP to make it look like AMC and OLTL would continue online to take the heat off of himself and ABC. I think that PP only pretended to be serious about taking them online and now that OLTL is almost off the air they can just say “the deal fell through”, and Brian Frons and ABC is “off the hook”. Just a suspicion.

  16. Profile photo of blake3b
    blake3b

    OMG, now it looks like it won’t be happening. I don’t know what to say. Especially that now the show won’t have a happy ending, it will be just like AMC’s ending, and now they can’t go back and reshoot.
    I feel really bad for the actors, crew, Frank, the writers and Agnes that their hopes and jobs maybe done for good now.
    And too bad this news couldn’t come after Thanksgiving. But hopefully it will give those people time to find something else now.

  17. Profile photo of lfad
    lfad

    The future of tv/entertainment is online, but that future was and is not going to happen with canceled soaps IMO. Arrested Development is a critically acclaimed sitcom and Kevin Spacey is a two time Oscar winner, soaps on the other hand have been a laughing stock for years.

  18. Profile photo of doodleynoodle
    doodleynoodle

    Being the eternal optimist, I’m going to continue to hope for the best.

    Today I did something I haven’t done for years. I turned on the TV and watched Young & the Restless, Bold & the Beautiful, One Life to Live and General Hospital. (I was really ticked when I realized I got the times mixed up on Days or that would be on my list, too. I’ll catch it later on Hulu.)

    The things I observed were…I still find Y&R an interesting soap, that Ridge dude on B&B is WAY, WAY, WAY over the top even moreso than John on Days, OLTL was sad but good and GH was trite. I think I come down on GH so hard because I know how good it CAN be but that’s another story.

    That being said, it hit me today…finally. I’ve been listening to it, reading it, kind of burying my head in the sand about it but when I saw that lame-ass show on at noon where AMC should’ve been I cried knowing that OLTL is right behind it. Then I decided, whether I watched them before or not or whether I love what’s happening on them or not, I’m going to support the ones we have left. I love this genre too much to let it die alone…

  19. Profile photo of soapster
    soapster

    Feel sorry for those who thought this was a sure thing, it just never sounded right to me too many unanswered questions. As far as getting Netflix, Hulu, Amazon to invest in PP never going to happen for one they are competitors and are trying to do their own thing.

    This may just be a good thing and force PP to actually try and make this work by taking a new approach to the soaps, Both soaps need to be scrapped and redone.

  20. Profile photo of SoapArmageddon
    SoapArmageddon

    dn, that’s exactly what I’m doing, watching them all, except for Y&R. Since Y&R continues to be No.1, I don’t think it is in imminent danger of cancellation; and because I’m very unhappy with that show, I have no plans to watch it unless and until major changes are made.

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