Former Daytime Emmy-Winning Scribe Sara Bibel Weighs in on Prospect Park’s Maneuver Around WGA

Former Daytime Emmy-winning writer Sara Bibel has a few questions for Prospect Park about their attempts to bring All My Children and One Life to Live back from the dead. Although Bibel praises PP's efforts to resurrect the defunct sudsers, she wonders why the production studio with such primetime titans as Royal Pains and Wilfred under their belts, would try to proceed without the Writers Guild of America. Check out a snippet of her latest column after the jump, and be sure to read it in full here.

I must admit, I am troubled by Prospect Park’s alleged decision not to make a deal with the Writer’s Guild. As every soap fan knows, story is everything in daytime. The company is saying that it wants to have access to union directors, as well as the key crew members that are also represented by the DGA. Given that the WGA makes deals with Web series, video game companies, and other forms of New Media on a regular basis, I can’t imagine why an established production company who works with the union on its prime-time series would not be able to make a deal unless it wants to avoid paying for pensions and health insurance — while offering those benefits to actors and directors — or wants to pay well below the market rate for writers. Given that writers are a such a small portion of the show’s proposed budget, it seems like a strange choice. It would also prohibit WGA member Agnes Nixon, who created both shows, from joining the writing staff. Most of the other writers who made AMC and OLTL great, and understand the shows’ history, would also be off limits. It would limit the pool of potential writers to two dozen people, unless Prospect Park plans to hire writers with no daytime experience who have never been members of the WGA. Why wouldn’t the company want to have access to the best writers? Without writers who know the shows and the casts and characters that viewers love, the online versions of AMC and OLTL will be nothing more than new Web soaps with familiar names.

I don’t want to be a skeptic. Nothing would make me happier then for both of these shows that I love to rise again. I would like to believe that over the past year Prospect Park has raised the money it needs to finance the shows and figured out how to produce soap operas. I hope that a few months from now I will be sitting down to watch the premieres of the online AMC and OLTL and will gleefully discover that they are fantastic.


18 Responses

  1. Profile photo of missmuffett41

    I understand Sara Bibel skepticism about PP not using WGA writers, but maybe this is what the genre needs, “new soap writers”. Recycling writers and executive producers has done the genre no favors and this has put the daytime soap genre in the pickle that it is in now “dead on arrival”.

  2. Profile photo of appleridge

    There are some really good fi-core writers with Daytime experience that would be great for AMC & OLTL
    Micharel Confronti
    Pete T Rich
    Fran Myers
    Michelle Poteet Listani
    Kay Alen
    Hogan Sheffer

    The writers who went fi-core have the legal right to do so & I dont like the black-list feeling I get for those who chose Fi-core status

  3. Profile photo of jcmellencamp78

    I agree with MissMuffett. In no other industry would people (like Charles Pratt, Bob Guza, Jill Farren Phelps I could go on) with disasterous tenures at the helm keep getting work. I am always PRO union but we definitively need new and old blood in the mix IF AMC and OLTL start up again. Still skeptical on this whole thing.

  4. Profile photo of nysam

    Douglas Marland & Pat Falken Smith are dead. Claire Labine reitred a long time ago. Sara talks about plenty of good soap writers that are available???? Where are they? The same writers who drove the genre into cancellation over the past 10 years? The same writers where no matter what soap they worked on they simply recycle the same stoies? The same writers who don’t write because of passion but because of a pyacheck? There are plenty of people who can come up with the long term story and do breakdowns. As for the scripts since the shows are only 4 days a week and a hlaf hour they can hire two scripts writers. The EP should be able to come up with long term story (Ginger has been with AMC for over 25 years and knows the characters inside and out). Hire 1 breakdown writer and 2 script writers. These WGA soap writers were making a minimum of a quarter of a million a year and most of their material sucked. I hope PP gets new blood.

  5. Profile photo of harlee490

    [quote=jcmellencamp78]Yeah, appleridge I didn’t watch ATWT and his DAYS fun started off strong then took a huge dive. His whole run at Y&R was horrible, but that might have been because of MAB…[/quote]

    Hogan is still at Y&R as Josh was his writer at ATWT. I liked most of Hogan’s writing for ATWT so possibly I’m thinking Scott & Maria was writing most of the garbage at Y&R. Hogan on ATWT wrote alot of family dynamic stories and he gave a big break to Josh.

  6. Profile photo of Marcelle

    Hogan Sheffer is the worst.

    There’s no problem with new writers, the issue is making deals with all the other unions, but not the writers, who I would think would be the most important group. Wanting to pay writers less than deserve, or not wanting to provide benefits for them is not a good look.

  7. Profile photo of bishbay

    Also, in what universe are GROWING PAINS and WILFRED “titans”? They’re mid-list cable series with short seasons and low production budgets, and little-to-no buzz. They’re not an argument against PP going cheap by cutting out the WGA.

  8. Profile photo of days4ever

    I hope they choose someone that was connected with these soaps as either a breakdown writer or script writer and promote them to head writer. Some of these writers have the writing chops to make it happen. Some are better in my opinion than most of the head writers that AMC has had in the past. I would really love Lorraine Broderick for AMC and maybe Anna Theresa Cascio or Shelly Altman for OLTL. All of these people are fans of the genre and also were around at the end or towards the end of these soaps. All of these writers are currently on other soaps (LB is on Days and ATC and SA are on GH now) but maybe they could still make it happen, I don’t know how it works. There is also Jean Passanante who is also on GH again as Associate Head Writer.

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