Negotiations between Prospect Park and the All My Children actors are apparently moving slower than molasses in January. According to an article on the subject in the Oct. 25 issue of Soap Opera Digest, Prospect Park has yet to start brokering deals with AMC leads Walt Willey (Jack)or Vincent Irizarry (David).
This lines up with what I was told about the first round of talks with series star Susan Lucci (Erica). According to my sources, PP hadn't even met with Lucci face-to-face until just days before it was reported by Deadline she'd turned down PP's deal, allegedly over money and demands of wanting her own primetime series.
"Susan's husband [Helmut Huber] is handling her negotiations," says a source. "He's going to see to it she's treated with respect. It isn't about the money. How many pay cuts has she taken at ABC to keep playing this role? They were negotiating with Helmut over the phone and by email! You don't do that with a star of Susan's caliber."
Lucci later revealed to NPR she is still in talks with the company to continue on as the iconic Erica Kane. According to my sources, Agnes Nixon herself had to step in and play mediator between Prospect Park and Lucci's protective hubby.
Darnell Wiliams too says he'd like to keep playing Pine Valley's top cop Jesse Hubbard, but not if he's going to be taken advantage of. Here's what he says in the Oct. 31 issue of ABC Soaps In Depth:
"I would love to continue, but you don't want to be taken advantage of." Adding that he has yet to be approached himself, he continues, "They seem to be taking their time and going through [things] with a fine-tooth comb, slowly and carefully, with one or two individuals at a time."
In addition to painfully slow union talks and virtually nonexistent negotiations with stars, contracts restricting actors from doing outside projects is also at issue, reports SID. I know of one AMC actor who told fans at a recent event he or she had turned Prospect Park down because PP wanted a four-year commitment with no outs.
Here's hoping now that someone from the soap world, Frank Valentini, is onboard as a veep, things will start running a bit smoother. January isn't that far away...