It's a sad day for fans of the soap operas One Life to Live and All My Children. Production firm Prospect Park, which a month ago announced plans to save the two cornerstones of daytime television, now says it can't put a deal together.
The company said they were unable to make a deal with the actors and writers guilds, which balked at concessions the company said it had to have to make the shows profitable on the Internet.
"We always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, and unfortunately we couldn't ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time," Prospect Park's partners Rich Frank and Jeffrey Kwatinetz said in a statement. "We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution."
ABC's One Life to Live will take its final bow Jan. 13. The network in September pulled All My Children. That soap had actually been rewritten with a new ending, as Prospect Park had hoped to pick it up and run with it.
"In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion," said Prospect Park.
Prospect Park in July said it had licensed All My Children and One Life to Live from ABC. It said it would produce new episodes for Web consumption, as well as put older episodes online. The deal would have netted millions in royalties for Disney over the expected decades-long contract.
Prospect Park considered a subscription model, but also looked at ad sales, product-placement deals and sponsorships.
Frank, a former Disney exec, and Kwatinetz, who headed up a talent management firm, were knee-deep in negotiations for months, attempting to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement with "the appropriate guilds and unions," an agreement that needed to be in place before any plans to breathe life into the shows could move forward.
According to the Los Angeles Times, keeping the shows alive on the Internet would have cost as much as $50 million a year each under existing production conditions, numbers that simply couldn't be worked around.
- see this LA Times article
Prospect Park looks to make labor deals on ABC soaps to bring them to Web
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