The always insightful Sara Bibel of Fancast has broken down what Prospect Park's reported discussions with unions such as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (AFTRA) could mean for the production company's plan to move the ABC daytime soap operas online. Here's how the former soap scribe-turned-entertainment journalist summarized PP's latest press release:
In other words, the company can not make any deals with actors, writers or crew members, nor determine the shows budgets until they figure out what the union payment scale for each job will be. For example, the Writers Guild currently has new media minimums, but they are for shorter webisodes, not full length episodes. A network series has never moved to the Internet before. This deal could set the precedent for any future television shows that move from television to the Internet, so the unions are going to do everything that they can to insure that its members get decent salaries. After Prospect Park makes deals with the unions, it will then have to negotiate with individual actors and writers, many of whom currently are paid far more than the union scale. The shows cannot resume production until all of the financial details have been solidified.
Good stuff, Sara. While I may not believe viewers have a right to know all of the intricate details associated with this deal, soap fans are unique in that we have a generational investment in these programs, and therefore a right to know at least some of what's going on!