The future of One life To Live and All My Children are being questioned by many in the business. The facts are that All My Children and One Life To Live went into hiatus earlier than expected because of a union dispute, which might be threatening the future of the online soap operas.
The OnLine Network had released a statement about the changed plans. The shows originally planned to go on summer hiatus beginning June 17 but production stopped June 6th instead. A dispute with IATSE, which represents production staffers on the shows has put a halt to taping. The hiatus is scheduled to end Aug. 12 pending a resolution.
The network insists they have followed all contract requirements with “International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees”, the labor union representing the actors. The network made it clear that as an internet start up, they simply could not afford or sustain traditional broadcast rates.
Here is the full statement:
“As a result of a dispute with the I.A.T.S.E., The OnLine Network is beginning a long-planned hiatus for both ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ tomorrow instead of June 17. The hiatus is scheduled to end on August 12 pending resolution of this labor issue. Right now we have 40 episodesof each show ready to post through September, and if we can resolve this issue by August, we can get back into the studio on time so audiences will enjoy uninterrupted postings of their favorite shows.
“We believe we have met all contract requirements with I.A.T.S.E, and as an internet start-up, and per our contract with the I.A., we cannot afford, and our business model cannot sustain, traditional broadcast rates.
“The writers, directors, actors and rest of crew have been supportive of the shows and our success. Both ‘One Life To Live’ and ‘All My Children’ consistently earn top rankings on both Hulu and iTunes since launch just over a month ago. The popularity of the shows is matched by the continued passion and excitement from the fans. We are committed to these shows, and to the nearly 300 jobs they produce, thus we are exploring every legal and logistical option to maintain our production schedule”
The union has stated that Prospect Park, the production company behind the online soap operas, were withholding thousands of dollars from the actors. That Prospect Park was allowed to pay members less than the standard day rate as long as it did not spend more than $125,000 per episode. The union said it wanted to look over the books to make sure that the budget was not exceeded.
Also, Prospect Park had filed a $25 million dollar lawsuit maintaining that ABC, the network was attempting to sabotage their efforts. Both soaps had previously aired on ABC before their cancellation in 2011.
Then in May, Prospect Park made the announcement that OLTL and AMC would only be available twice a week, instead of the original four shows a weeek.
It was also reported that Prospect Park was considering moving taping out of Connecticut. It was reported that other states had approached them about filming there.
On June 6th, Robin Strasser through her “Robin’s Hotline-212-414-5300 ” told fans “I got the news that the show was not going to tape today, because of a union dispute, (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) the small local (chapter) in Connecticut,” she says. “I listened to some really smart people during the day who were saying, ‘Well, there’s going to be a problem when we come back from the hiatus.’ Now, I was already in a state of deep concern and I’ve been tweeting about feeling off-center but trying to keep it obliquely upbeat. Not untruthful, but just, ‘Okay, this seems a little odd, two weeks ago we were told we would close down production on June 15 and then not resume until September 8.’ Now, if it is to fine-tune and make the already existing shows that Prospect Park has made of One Life to Live and All My Children and make them better and better and better, well that’s wonderful and I really look forward to that possibility…. I want to take every opportunity I can to thank the people who’ve been involved in making the revived One Life to Live episodes. When you watch them on Hulu and iTunes and they’re edited together, they look like movies. They look like these groovy regeneration of the concept of the multi-generational storytelling…. Prospect Park spent a fortune and enormous energy making those shows. So anger placed at them is misplaced. Absolutely misplaced, alright? Those two wonderful men (Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz) have a set up where they can produce shows, entertainment and create jobs and let’s all say ‘Thank you’. I’m gonna and that’s my recommendation.”
What are the fans to think with all of these reports out there? Are they going to once again lose their beloved soaps? How can two high ranked shows on both hulu and iTunes be lost again. Especially since, One Life To Live has maintained the #1 spot on both hulu and iTunes and All My Children is at number three on TV Guide.com’s “Social Power Rankings”
We must all just wait and see how things turn out for The Online Network and Prospect Park and the waiting will be hard, especially with many different sources adding their thoughts, so I will just say to keep the faith and hope once again that your shows will be back in production in September.
It will be a long hot summer and I will sweat it out with all of you and report whatever news is official through the summer. Keep cool and keep watching All My Children and One Life to Live available at hulu.com and iTunes.com