Why I Won’t Be Able to Fully Support Prospect Park’s Efforts to Reboot All My Children and One Life to Live Until a WGA Deal is Made


The revolution will be web-ivised. At least Prospect Park principle Jeff Kwatinetz is hoping it will be. The entertainment mogul—who is busy attempting to relaunch cancelled ABC Daytime soaps All My Children and One Life to Live with his partner Rich Frank— gave a brief interview about the endeavor to the New York Times. Said Kwatinetz:

“I know it’s been a long journey, but the timing is actually fortuitous as TV viewing is evolving rapidly in our direction,” Mr. Kwatinetz said in an interview. “The adoption of online TV in the last year has begun to move exponentially as viewers start to realize the immense advantages digital distribution affords. But all of that is unmatched compared to the relentless fan support. Since they didn’t give up, neither did we.”


Kwatinetz is definitely saying all the right things, but I will be much more comfortable in supporting Prospect Park's efforts once a fair and mutually beneficial deal is made with the Writers Guild of America (WGA). In soap opera, story comes first.

According to my sources, Prospect Park didn't even approach the WGA until the Friday between Christmas and New Years, though published reports state they presented the Guild with an offer "a few weeks ago". Why start leaking details when only pacts with the DGA and SAG-AFTRA were secured?

Would PP have even approached the WGA at all, if I hadn't revealed they initially planned to forego negotiations and hire writers with Financial Core status? Now actors are on Twitter pressuring the Guild to make a deal, when from what I understand, PP presented the WGA with a "take it or leave it" option, and said they wanted a response in four days time. Not cool. Strong-arm tactics aren't the way to go.

The people who will be writing the new versions of All My Children and One Life to Live have just as much right to see their pensions, residuals, health benefits, etc. be properly cared for as those who will direct episodes and star in them. Everyone involved is more than prepared to take significant pay cuts from daytime rates, that isn't at issue — a proper deal with the WGA is.

 If PP hopes to go into production next month, someone (preferably a Guild writer) needs to be writing story bibles. Here's hoping Prospect Park can make a go of it this time around, but only if it's done the right way. 

39 Responses

  1. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    “The people who will be writing the new versions of All My Children and One Life to Live have just as much right to see their pensions, residuals, health benefits, etc. be properly cared for as those who will direct episodes and star in them.”

    BOOM!

  2. Profile photo of giogio
    giogio

    Thats interesting Jamey, and balanced this whole thing out in my head. With this happening, I dont think PP would think twice to announce they cant go thru with this. They would do it on a dime as the did last year. I would be so happy if it all went down as it sounded, but Im not giving up any of my shows that I have replaced these soaps with.

  3. Profile photo of soapfan616
    soapfan616

    Well said!

    I’m not sure how you plan a show with no show bible, no scripts. It seems to me backwards that PP would be talking of going into production before they know what they are in fact producing. It worries me that writing is the last thought. After years of decay, soap opera writing is in desperate need of both reinvention and heightening for more sophisticated viewers.

    Ditching the WGA would be the first sign in letting all soaps fans know they don’t care about quality writing.

    Praying to the soap goddesses someone at PP believes soap opera writing is both an art and an art that requires a skill set beyond “who’s the baby daddy”, “oops my twin stole my life while I was dead” and stories that require viewers to dumb down to their level rather than lifting up viewers.

    I’m not optimistic, based on past hiring decisions, that PP knows what good soap writing is much less that they recognize the need for soap opera writing to evolve. Since the creative highs of the 1990’s soap writing has regressed and churned out re-hashed versions of the worst soap plots. But I haven’t given up all hope. We’ll see who they hire. A lot rides on this. Hire a visionary, groundbreaking writer and a producer with the balls to let the writer write, and soaps can really come back from the dead! Hire a hack and the shows will just be soap punch lines.

  4. Profile photo of SwanQueen59
    SwanQueen59

    Why do I get the feeling that this “second time around” has been handled “a** backwards, much the same as the initial offering? Not to throw cold water on anything but as Jamey has said, it’s odd that the concern in approaching the WGA came after the other concerns. That, for me, throws up a red flag that PP doesn’t quite have their “golden ducks” in a row… 0:)

  5. Profile photo of giogio
    giogio

    Hey Swan, I think they do things a**backwards, cause they dont care one bit if later this afternoon, or at the eleventh hour, they announce “deal off”. No skin off their back. Does anyone remember last year the day before thanksgiving? It was OLTL last day and PP called the whole thing off. The actors were emailed the day before their last day to clear out their dressing rooms and within days the set of OLTL was demolished. Cold shivers down my spine.

  6. Profile photo of dsmwmn
    dsmwmn

    This PP stuff sounds like more of the same BS we got the last time around. They plan on starting production in a few weeks but don’t have a full cast or writers yet. How are they going to get everything together by the end of the month? The worse part is if they fail this may look bad on the soap industry and not PP.

  7. Profile photo of SwanQueen59
    SwanQueen59

    giogio/dsmwmn-Exactly. I so truly would love to be able to support this re-boot of two classic dramas but there seem to be “holes” in PP’s “script” the way it’s unfolding. Like watching a story where there are a few gaps that leave you going “What? Wait! What the h**l”… 0:)

  8. Profile photo of Bob Lamm
    Bob Lamm

    Thanks, Jamey, for this great statement!

    I’m not a WGA member, but I joined picket lines in New York City during the WGA strike a few years ago to support other writers. Once again the writers from the WGA have my full support.

    It is disheartening to read that actors have gone on Twitter to pressure the Writers Guild into accepting what’s probably a lousy deal. How will those actors feel the next time THEIR union is on strike if members of other unions in the same business don’t support THEM? The actors who made those posts on Twitter are obviously self-serving creeps who don’t give a damn about anyone not visible when they look in a mirror.

    It isn’t just that the WGA soap writers are those who will do the best job in writing new versions of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIVE TO LIFE. It’s also that members of every profession and occupation deserve to be compensated and treated fairly rather than like dirt.

  9. Profile photo of giogio
    giogio

    Bob Lamm- very insightful. While I dont want to be negative, I dont want to see this turn in to a dog eat dog kind of a thing. I dont want to see anyone get hurt again. I just hope if its not going to happen, it stops now or if it does happen it gets settled like today. I say today cause if they plan on starting production next month, this should have been like settled yesterday.

  10. Profile photo of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    If I remember correctly, when it fell through the first time, didn’t they blame the unions?

    If so, could one assume that they are setting things up for the blame game again?

  11. Profile photo of highdensity02
    highdensity02

    Isn’t Agnes Nixon, who has signed on with PP to help with stories, they ultimate show bible?

    Would using fi-core writers with Agnes Nixon basically at the helm, for the beginning at least, be so bad?

    Wouldn’t it be better this way so production could get off the ground so that way it doesn’t all fall through again if talks with the WGA don’t go according to plan?

    And I had another question, but it completely left me…when I think of it, I’ll post again. But can anyone enlighten me on my questions above?

    And honestly, if this is just another smoke-and-mirrors trick again, and everything falls apart, I’d prefer it for AMC and OLTL just stay dead. Cause if this ends up being BS again, then it’s time for the soaps to RIP.

  12. Profile photo of nysam
    nysam

    I haven’t been happy with WGA soap writers in many years. They are overpaid and under perform. I would prefer to give a break to young writers or someone from outside the TV realm a la Michael Malone from OLTL in the early 90s.

    Allow Agnes to beat out the stories and let her mentor younger writers.

    I don’t see WGA being very flexible. They weren’t a year ago so not sure they will be now.

  13. Profile photo of nysam
    nysam

    Funny that you use a photo of awful Stacy Morasco which was one of OLTL’s worst stories in it’s last couple of years and it was written by WGA writers.

  14. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    would prefer to give a break to young writers or someone from outside the TV realm a la Michael Malone from OLTL in the early 90s.

    ***
    I would love for this to happen too, but once the new talent is found, they can become members of the WGA.

    I don’t see WGA being very flexible. They weren’t a year ago so not sure they will be now.
    ***
    That isn’t what happened. The Guild presented Prospect Park with an offer, to which PP thanked them, said they would get back to them, but never did with a counter offer, according to my sources. The next thing the Guild knew, PP had gone to the press and blamed them and Lucci for everything faling apart.

  15. Profile photo of appleridge
    appleridge

    [quote=Jamey Giddens]would prefer to give a break to young writers or someone from outside the TV realm a la Michael Malone from OLTL in the early 90s.

    ***
    I would love for this to happen too, but once the new talent is found, they can become members of the WGA.

    I don’t see WGA being very flexible. They weren’t a year ago so not sure they will be now.
    ***
    That isn’t what happened. The Guild presented Prospect Park with an offer, to which PP thanked them, said they would get back to them, but never did with a counter offer, according to my sources. The next thing the Guild knew, PP had gone to the press and blamed them and Lucci for everything faling apart.[/quote]

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jamey-
    Is it possible that PP may hire Non union writers for these reboots until and if a WGA deal is reached?

  16. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Jamey-
    Is it possible that PP may hire Non union writers for these reboots until and if a WGA deal is reached?
    ***
    According to my sources, that isn’t what’s happening.

  17. Profile photo of appleridge
    appleridge

    [quote=Jamey Giddens]Jamey-
    Is it possible that PP may hire Non union writers for these reboots until and if a WGA deal is reached?
    ***
    According to my sources, that isn’t what’s happening.[/quote]

    Ok Thanx

  18. Profile photo of appleridge
    appleridge

    I do want a WGA deal but maybe PP should hire two fi-core writers like James Harmon Brown (AMC) & Michelle Poteet Listani (OLTL) to start off. Then regroup once WGA deal is final?

  19. Profile photo of hothunk
    hothunk

    this seems to be a go …. agnes nixon even announced.
    Surely she would not do that , if it was an iffy situation.. other actors as well, the only deal to reach is wga, I dont see that being an issue.. do you …. seriously people have been contacted and they say its a go …

  20. Profile photo of appleridge
    appleridge

    [quote=hothunk]this seems to be a go …. agnes nixon even announced.
    Surely she would not do that , if it was an iffy situation.. other actors as well, the only deal to reach is wga, I dont see that being an issue.. do you …. seriously people have been contacted and they say its a go …[/quote]

    Thats why im wondering if PP & WGA cant come to an agreement soon if they will just go with fi-core or non union writers til a deal is reached

  21. Profile photo of hothunk
    hothunk

    its all going to work out then ….
    Im not sure why everyone is griping about with all the negatives.. they wouldnt release that type of announcement if they did not have it all together ..

  22. Profile photo of rlegall432
    rlegall432

    From what I’ve managed to glean, all PP really cares about is getting production off the ground before their contract ends and the rights revert back to ABC. To them, it’s probably most essential to get the actors to act and get the directors to film. PP probably doesn’t care about the WGA because they assume that any old schmuck can cobble together some dialogue and call it a script. Who cares how good the episode is as long as they’ve held up their end of the bargain to produce one?

    I want to be happy for these shows, but this has disaster written all over it. If they’re really trying to make this work, they should worry most about putting out a quality product (which means not waiting until the eleventh hour to get production off the ground, number one). No one’s going to tune in and stick around if these shows suck. But I’m afraid right now PP’s only concern is having a product at all, so as to have not wasted their investment by sitting on their hands for a year and a half.

  23. Profile photo of blake3b
    blake3b

    [quote=hothunk]its all going to work out then ….
    Im not sure why everyone is griping about with all the negatives.. they wouldnt release that type of announcement if they did not have it all together ..[/quote]

    I agree. I’m not going to freak out, I’m curious to see what happens. I really want these to work. I can’t wait to watch OLTL again for sure!

  24. Profile photo of TV Gord
    TV Gord

    [quote=hothunk]this seems to be a go …. agnes nixon even announced. Surely she would not do that , if it was an iffy situation.[/quote]

    Agnes had similarly glowing words LAST year…before everything fell apart.

    It’s very possible that she and the actors who have made comments have a bad case of wishful thinking. Well, wishing doesn’t always make it so…

  25. Profile photo of dsmwmn
    dsmwmn

    Thank you for pointing this out!! It’s great the Agnes is supportive but she was last time as well and look hoe that worked out. I’m not sure why people think Agnes statement make this a done deal or a good thing.

  26. Profile photo of rjm118
    rjm118

    Maybe thats what should happen, writing is the key reason viewers have been tuning out of these shows for years.

    GH has proven that good writing coupled with the characters viewers want and you strike gold.

    I dont care who the writer is as long as its interesting and they dont treat us viewers like idiots.

    My prediction, GH will either be number 1 in the near future but it will definitely knock that crapfest B&B out of the number 2 spot.

  27. Profile photo of Realist79
    Realist79

    Do the other online soaps have deals with the WGA, or any of the other unions and guilds? And let us not forget the crew….Many union craftsmen lost their jobs when the soaps went under. IATSE members should be supported also.

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