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.