Ex-One Life to Live Scribe Sues ABC For Alleged Unpaid Royalties





Disney's legal team must keep Antacids on hand, thanks to all of the soap opera-related lawsuits they have to defend. Former One Life to Live co-head writer Alison "Sam" Hall is suing over royalties he claims he's due following OLTL airing on Hulu, iTunes and OWN.

According to the suit Hall filed Tuesday in New York, he struck a deal with ABC to receive a $1,000 weekly royalty check for as long as OLTL was being broadcast. Hall alleges he hasn't received a payment since Jan. 13, 2012. 

The writer claims he is entitled to the sum of $50,000, due to OLTL being brought back for a time by Prospect Park, which aired the soap online and on Oprah Winfrey's cable channel. This dude wrote for OLTL from 1978-84 and was still getting a grand a week almost three decades later? I want his agent!

  

19 Responses

  1. Profile photo of nysam
    nysam

    And this kind of ridiculousness when it comes to the business models of the soaps is what helped kill them in the first place.

    If you do the math over 30 years this writer who hadn’t written for OLTL in 30 years made close to $1.5 million!!!

    If he had this kind of deal there must have been other writers/directors/producers who had similar deals. That’s a lot of money going out the door for employees not even working on the show!

  2. Profile photo of angrierblackerman
    angrierblackerman

    ABC/Mickey/Disney really made a big mess for itself for sure when it entered into this convoluted ‘licensing’ deal with PP.

    I think maybe ABC should have just said ‘no’ and shelved the shows but retained the property for use at its discretion.

  3. Profile photo of liason4real
    liason4real

    D.A.M.N! I want to be a soap opera writer so that I can be paid three decades after leaving the show. ;) :party:

    Jamey, is there a reason Alison “Sam” Hall was being paid by ABC when he left the show in 1984?

  4. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    ABC/Mickey/Disney really made a big mess for itself for sure when it entered into this convoluted ‘licensing’ deal with PP.

    I think maybe ABC should have just said ‘no’ and shelved the shows but retained the property for use at its discretion.

    But you can’t blame this dumbass “lawsuit” by this particular writer on ABC.

    The licensing deal with Prospect Park was/is not convoluted: PP got the rights to AMC/OLTL for 10 years in exchange for a fee.

    The complication came in when PP granted ABC/GH the right to use characters from OLTL/AMC when PP originally failed to go into production with the reboots. When Carlivati “killed” extremely minor characters that could be easily resurrected (Cole & Hope), PP started crying foul literally a year after the fact and started adding on tons of other allegations (such as signing actors who had no intention of going to PP’s versions of OLTL to contracts, for example).

    Hindsight is 20/20 about what ABC should have done and there might be some shade on ABC’s hands in this dispute, but PP is clearly the one dealing from the bottom of the deck. (And I say that allegedly, because I don’t want PP suing me!! LOL)

  5. Profile photo of Secrets and Lies
    Secrets and Lies

    It would depend very much on the language of his contract whether or not ABC owes him money while the show’s production is farmed out under license to a third party entity.

    As for the richness of his deal, this was most likely a cost-spreading strategy on ABC’s part. Apparently this writer was a big deal from Dark Shadows and took over OLTL when Nixon first left – he created Dorian, the Buchanan family and many others. It was probably a case of he wanted big money to come to (or stay at) OLTL and ABC wanted him badly, but they were able to negotiate a lower up-front salary in exchange for a royalty in perpetuity. It’s a gamble on both parties’ part, but not necessarily bad business.

  6. Profile photo of TheOldSoapster
    TheOldSoapster

    That’s $200 per show, and I gotta say, I think he deserves it.

    He created characters and storylines that the soap used — and, if it were still on, could be used — for decades that followed.

    Under his watch Dorian lost her medical license. She and Dr. Mark Toland (Tommy Lee Jones) were doin’ the horizontal mambo and one of them forgot to mark that a patient’s chart, so the other accidentally administered a second, and fatal dose. Dorian never got her license back and never got over it. A great storyline.

    Before OLTL he was one of the head writers of “Dark Shadows” — and husband to Grayson Hall, who played Dr. Julian (“Give him/her a sedative.”) Hoffman.

  7. Profile photo of FoxCrane
    FoxCrane

    Of course, it depends on the language of the deal, but I don’t think he’s SOL. It’s my understanding that Disney/ABC still owns the shows. They just licensed them to PP. Right? It’s like if I own home, and I’ve granted you an easement to access the stream on my property, then just because I decide to lease the home out to a tenant, doesn’t mean you no longer have the easement. – jmho

  8. Profile photo of angrierblackerman
    angrierblackerman

    [quote=J Bernard Jones]Hindsight is 20/20 about what ABC should have done and there might be some shade on ABC’s hands in this dispute, but PP is clearly the one dealing from the bottom of the deck. (And I say that allegedly, because I don’t want PP suing me!! LOL)[/quote]

    Completely agree with your assessment of Prospect Park. Not sure how it stays in business with practices like this. I only wonder why ABC didn’t just sell off the property outright. I would have either kept them, or sold the rights instead of just licensing them…y’know, clean hands.

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