Soaps TV News

Prospect Park Files $25 Million Against ABC Over ‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life to Live’

Photo: Prospect Park

Wow. With the premiere of Prospect Park’s reboots of All My Children and One Life to Live a little over a week away, the production studio has filed a $25 million lawsuit against ABC for breach of contract.

Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva broke the news, reporting that Prospect claims ABC broke the licensing agreement and is sabotaging their efforts to continue the canceled soaps online. More details have since been revealed, with The Hollywood Reporter publishing a copy of the complaint against ABC.

Prospect argues they entered into a modified agreement with ABC as a “gesture of good will to ABC and the actors playing these roles to ensure that they would have employment and income while Prospect was in pre-production and development of OLTL. The company alleges, among other things that ABC:

  • Violated their modified agreement by not consulting Prospect when creating storylines involving the characters “on loan”
  • Violated their modified agreement when it killed off characters Cole and Hope Thornhart in a car accident.
  • Violated their modified agreement when ABC “effectively killed off” another OLTL character whom they did not have rights to by revealing this “long-standing OLTL character” to be another character on General Hospital.
  • Refused to transfer URLS for allymchildren.com and onelifetolive.com
  • Significantly altered history and other elements of key characters Starr Manning, Todd Manning, John McBain, Blair Manning, Cole Thornhart, Hope Thornhart and Tea Delgado
  • Expanded the role of Todd Manning and made him a central focus on the show when his role was to be “limited” – including transferring Todd’s fictional companies and newspaper to General Hospital
  • Damaged OLTL characters (including characters to which they did not have any rights) by, among other things, creating absurd story lines, having characters do things they would never do (and of which Prospect would never have approved), and destroying critical character relationships popular with soap fans.  All of this was done without Prospect’s knowledge, consultation and/or approval, and in direct breach of the License.
  • Entered into long-term contracts with certain actors without informing the stars that rights to their characters reverts back to Prospect and as a way to prevent them from working for Prospect Park.
  • Created new characters for the actors, including Roger Howarth (who agreed to return to PP to film for four weeks), thereby damaging negotiations and intentionally sabotaging the projects. Surmises that Howarth’s new character will appear on-screen on ABC while he’s airing as a principal character on OLTL.
  • Threatened to pull Prospect’s OLTL advertisements because they feature Howarth playing the character licensed to Prospect.

Prospect claims it has made “repeated overtures” to ABC to “resolve these issues amicably.”

In July 2011, Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank negotiated a multi-year, multi-platform deal with ABC, enabling the studio to continue production of AMC and OLTL beyond their life on ABC. Prospect Park would produce and deliver the two long-running programs to consumers via online formats and additional emerging platforms including internet enabled television sets. Under the terms of the arrangement, the programs would continue to be delivered with the same quality and in the same format and length.

However, in November 2011, Prospect announced it would not proceed with the projects as a result of failing to negotiate deals with the major unions for actors and writers. “After five months of negotiations with various guilds, hundreds of presentations to potential financial and technology partners, and a hope that we could pioneer a new network for the future, it is with great disappointment that we are suspending our aspirations to revive “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” via online distribution.  It is now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get OLTL on the air in a reasonable time period following its January 13, 2012 ABC finale impossible,” released the company in a statement.

Thirteen months later, Deadline reported the studio revived plans to resurrect the soaps. In January, Prospect released an official statement acknowledging they had secured deals with the major unions and would begin production in the coming months.

ABC has yet to comment.

All My Children and One Life to Live will premiere on April 29 on Hulu and iTunes.

ARCHIVED: THE PROSPECT PARK TIMELINE – OLTL/AMC

About the author

Ryan White-Nobles

Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TVSource Magazine. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.

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