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.