Tuesday, December 18, 2012


A little over a year ago, Prospect Park officially gave up on trying to bring All My Children and One Life to Live to the internet after their cancellation by ABC.  The main sticking point at the time was contracts with the unions representing the actors, writers and directors.

Twelve months later, however, Deadline.com is reporting:

Prospect Park has revived its plan to continue cancelled ABC daytime dramas All My Children and One Life To Live online. I hear the company behind USA hit Royal Pains has inked deals with SAG-AFTRA and DGA for the soaps’ production, eyed to begin in the first quarter of 2013. UPDATE: Reps for DGA and SAG-AFTRA have confirmed to Deadline that the unions have reached agreements with Prospect Park.

However, twelve months later, many of OLTL's and AMC's actors have moved on to other roles.  Despite the new union contract, how many of them would sign on to reprise their characters?  There is also the issue of money.  Used to network paydays, how many would agree to perform the same amount of work for an inevitable, substantial pay cut?

A year ago, I speculated about the possibility of producing the shows in name only, with different actors, characters and situations.

Read the below and let us know, is that option one you'd consider watching?

Originally published 12/8/11


No sooner do I post yesterday about Prospect Park no longer being an option for All My Children and One Life to Live, then Variety.com reports:

(O)ne of the options Prospect Park is said to be considering is bringing in an overseas firm to turn the shows into a co-production. That may or may not allow the shows to circumvent the unions, which couldn't come to terms with Prospect Park on compensation for talent on both sides of the camera.

Here's the thing:

Let's say the shows could be filmed overseas, in Eastern Europe or Spain, or even just across the border in Canada (they'd hardly be the first ones to leave the USA in order to cut costs - a couple of years ago an actor friend of mine shot a Baskin-Robbins commercial in South Africa; yes, it was cheaper to put up an entire crew in a foreign country for a few days than it would have been to shoot locally).

You could presumably get non-American/non-Union production staff, non-Union writers (would Agnes Nixon participate?), non-union directors. You could truck out the sets and make them look exactly the same as they did when erected at ABC Studios. Maybe no one would even notice the difference.

But, what about the actors?

Would American actors work on a non-Unionized production?

Some might, some might not. I certainly don't know everyone's personal status or opinion.

But, it's doubtful that enough actors would sign on to such an endeavor to makes the shows feel the same. This could well end up being All My Children and One Life to Live in name only, with a flood of new faces in familiar roles, or simply a flood of new characters (it's hard to determine which options soap fans would hate less.)

In 1988, a TV movie entitled Bonanaza: The Next Generation served as a pilot for what would have become a series sequel to the mega 1959-1973 hit. It featured none of the original characters or actors, though Michael Landon Jr. did play Little Joe's son, and Lorne Greene's daughter was also cast.

Next Generation failed to go to series, though it did spawn two more TV movies. In 2001, viewers got The Ponderosa, a prequel series that lasted one year on PAX, again featuring none of the original cast and changing some cannon history, to boot. The show filmed in Australia to cut costs.

Though it failed for a variety of reasons, a similar project, Star Trek: The Next Generation, was a phenomenal success using basically the same formula: Familiar name, new characters.

Would you watch an All My Children that focused on a now-grown Miranda, Gabrielle, Emma, Jenny, Little A, Spike, Ian and Trevor, or a One Life to Live that showed you what life was really like for young Viki under the thumb of her dictatorial father - not to mention what in the world made Dorian, well... Dorian?

Is All My Children: The Next Generation or Llanview a viable option?


midnighter99 said...

Some interesting food for thought. I can only add that Jeff Kwatinetz at PP has stated over the months that there were never any plans to replace the actors or drastically alter the look and feel of the shows. In fact, he's said he's known all along that fans would need a strong sense of continuity with the online shows, as compared to the way in which they were presented on network.

While the details of PP's new deals with the DGA and SAG-AFTRA have not been released, we know that in past these unions were insistent upon following an exact model of network production (one-hour episodes, 5 days a week, and with artist remuneration commensurate with what they'd earned on network). In a way, their insistence upon strict adherence to network production rigors made the task of resurrecting the shows even more daunting - the options to do fewer episodes or shorten the length of episodes were ones PP could not pursue, meaning the budgets were to be rather high.

Jeff's said PP did have their own ideas regarding cost-cutting, but it's doubtful that paying the actors considerably smaller wages were part of the plan. At the time actors were signing with PP, it was stated by those in the know that vets/principal players on OLTL were being offered the same money as they'd gotten on ABC - and obviously a number of them felt completely comfortable about signing on to the deals.

SassySoapFan said...

Very good and interesting Blog. It does give food for thought. Best scenario would be to find a place for them on one of the TV networks. I don't know.....I guess we will just have to wait and see how it pans out. Since several of OLTL's "family" have joined GH's "family", it would be wonderful to see Port Charles and Llanview intermix with each other, keeping each storyline the same, but different....does that make any sense??? LOL, LOL..