Home Uncategorized Did Susan Lucci Dodge a Bullet? Revived Soaps in Disarray

No one could figure out exactly why Susan Lucci hasn’t made it onto the revived online version of “All My Children.” But Lucci and her clever manager husband Helmut Huber may have dodged a bullet in the end. Today Prospect Park Productions, owned by Jeff Kwatinetz and Rich Frank, have gone on hiatus on “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” two weeks early.

The early hiatus comes just a couple of weeks after Prospect Park announced a surprise: instead of showing four new episodes each week of both soaps, they cut way back. The company said it would show only two new episodes a week of each show, with a catch up show on Fridays. Their reasoning was that fans couldn’t keep up with the amount of new shows.

Anyone who believed this also bought land in Pakistan.

Prospect Park says it shut down early in a dispute with IATSE, the union that built their sets and keep their shows going in a new studio in Stamford, Connecticut. Under their agreement with IATSE if costs for the shows rise above $120,000 per episode, the union fees go up. Clearly, the costs of both soaps are more than that. Prospect Park says it can’t pay higher fees.

It seems in retrospect that when Prospect Park announced the cut back to two episodes per week rather than four of each, the company knew it was running out of money. Now they’ve doubled how long their backlog of episodes will last. So it had nothing to do with their “viewer survey.” It was simply about stockpiling episodes.

None of this should come as a surprise. Prospect Park has run this operation in disarray from the start. They sued ABC, which licensed the soaps to them, over the move of three characters from “One Life to Live” to ABC’s “General Hospital” while the online version of the former show was being planned. Instead of making an arrangement to cross-promote the “OLTL,” Prospect Park instead took an adversarial approach.

Again no surprise to anyone who covered or knew about Kwatinetz in his prior incarnations. A Hollywood manager with a checkered past, Kwatinetz burned a lot of bridges in the music business during tenures with Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson. He merged his company, The Firm, with Mike Ovitz and Rick Yorn’s AMG ten years ago. The whole thing collapsed quickly, with Ovitz leaving the business and Yorn taking top clients like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. Kwatinetz’s personal life also attracted attention with major drug issues– chronicled in a 2002 Vanity Fair profile– and a brief engagement to the late actress Brittany Murphy.

Lucci and Huber obviously felt they weren’t on stable ground. When Kwatinetz first tried to relaunch the soaps, he couldn’t secure the “All My Children” star. In the press Prospect Park made it appear that Lucci was wildly demanding and unreasonable in her salary negotiations. But Lucci and Huber told me last winter that in the middle of talks, Prospect Park simply cut them off.

In the end, they may have lucked out after all. But that doesn’t help the crews and casts of both shows who bought into Prospect Park’s promises.

 

 

31 replies to this post
  1. Now I do believe you started the Lucci rumors back in 2011. Also you probably started the Frons rumors saying he was on the PP payroll last Feb 2013! @TOLN should include you in their lawsuit against the ABC network. Slander without hard evidence makes you another defendent of sabotage on these two soaps! Everyone on this discussion thread should check into your past, is probably full of lies of you trying to destroy careers! Major #FAIL!

  2. I really wish they could find a TV venue for these shows. I try to watch when I can on my computer but it really feels like I’m still at work. I can’t relax on my couch and unwind.

  3. All the dumb soap fans on here are delusional. This guy is IN THE BUSINESS. Sorry to rain on your parade, but AMC and OLTL will be cancelled AGAIN.

  4. I heard yesterday this was all resolved. PP taped both shows several months ahead so we won’t experience a gap in the shows. I also heard Michael Knight is planning on returning..

  5. People need to stop blasting PP …… they are doing the best they can with the budget they have. The soaps are back and that’s what’s important! It may take some time to have more episodes air each week, good things take time to happen. We are lucky to get 2 shows per week. Most network shows air only once per week. This article is just plain NASTY. As for Lucci, she has other commitments and they need to stop bad mouthing her and the other veterans who are not back in Pine Valley at this time. It’s a new rebirth…… Give it time!

  6. Mr. Friedman,
    You’ve been a great help to soap fans with your articles in the past… but this one is just plain wrong.

    1) Why drag Lucci into this? She’s made it crystal clear that she would love to come back to ALL MY CHILDREN and that she continues to be in discussion with Prospect Park. You’re using her absence on AMC completely out of context just to generate a headline. In fact, mean, I don’t think there is even ANY gossip or rumors out there to suggest that Lucci thinks this project or the company, Prospect Park, is unstable.
    2) Why are you reviewing Prospect Park’s Jeff’s past? What does that have to do with OLTL and AMC? Prospect Park has numerous shows on television currently, and they’re doing well. Clearly, Jeff’s past is the past and in no way impacts the success of AMC and OLTL or in no way provides grounds for the unions claims against Prospect Park.
    3) Why aren’t you reporting facts instead of spreading baseless rumor(s)? Did you investigate whether there is any validity, or grounds, for the claims made by the union? Isn’t that all that matters?!!!!

    Please stop spreading rumors about Prospect Park, ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, as well as any and all of the past or present cast and crew members. This is just not right. I can’t say I’m at all thrilled with a lot of the circumstances with AMC and OLTL at the moment, but it’s just entirely wrong to fabricate such unfounded gossip. Especially IF YOU want to see these soap operas do well. I’m all for the facts, however.

  7. Very biased and one-sided article. Interesting that my first comment was deleted, but go ahead with your anti-Kwatinetz agenda. Nice to see that I am not alone in seeing through it.

  8. Mr. Friedman,
    You’ve been a great help to soap fans with your articles in the past… but this one is just plain wrong.

    1) Why drag Lucci into this? She’s made it crystal clear that she would love to come back to ALL MY CHILDREN and that she continues to be in discussion with Prospect Park. You’re using her absence on AMC completely out of context just to generate a headline. In fact, mean, I don’t think there is even ANY gossip or rumors out there to suggest that Lucci thinks this project or the company, Prospect Park, is unstable.
    2) Why are you reviewing Prospect Park’s Jeff’s past? What does that have to do with OLTL and AMC? Prospect Park has numerous shows on television currently, and they’re doing well. Clearly, Jeff’s past is the past and in no way impacts the success of AMC and OLTL or in no way provides grounds for the unions claims against Prospect Park.
    3) Why aren’t you reporting facts instead of spreading baseless rumor(s)? Did you investigate whether there is any validity, or grounds, for the claims made by the union? Isn’t that all that matters?!!!!

    Please stop spreading rumors about Prospect Park, ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE, as well as any and all of the past or present cast and crew members. This is just not right. I can’t say I’m at all thrilled with a lot of the circumstances with AMC and OLTL at the moment, but it’s just entirely wrong to fabricate such unfounded gossip. Especially IF YOU want to see these soap operas do well. That being said, I’m all for the FACTS.

  9. I guess you didn’t like my first comment.

    I’m sorry Roger, but you got this one wrong. First, their reasoning was more about NEW viewers being overwhelmed with too many episodes to watch in order to catch up to current time. Although there are a few long time viewers who could not keep up. Second, this adjustment would also allow them to ensure that the quality of the story and shows remain top notch. Third, PP sued abc/d over HOW abc used those characters and other characters they did not have permission to use. The agreement was basically ignored by abc/d. Fourth, PP wanted to cross promote OLTL and GH – it was abc/d that ‘left the table’ on that discussion. I have no problem with them suing abc/d, since the contract agreements were not kept. Finally, maybe Susan has spoken with you – but everything she has said to fans has always been that she wants to return and it is the scheduling that is the problem. Just a few weeks ago she stated that she was getting ready to sit down with PP to figure out their schedules together for a return to Pine Valley.

    Usually when I read your articles I feel I am getting a balanced version of things, but not this time. Today I think you got it wrong.

    (gonna copy and save this one – in case you don’t post it, like my first one)

  10. I wish you could have had all your facts before a story like this is ever posted or printed! I think causing panic for something that has a better chance being resolved with baseless information in this article! Susan loves amc and due to two shows she is currently in is doing whatever she can to come back! As far as the Toln network goes they are new to this whole thing and doing this on a smaller budget! I think the union is going on wrong information and this will be resolved!

  11. This article is very one sided. Perhaps there is merit in Prospect Park’s disagreement with the union,as allegedly they HAVE been coming in under budget,every episode. As a soap fan,I will never side with ABC. ABC are the ones that cancelled the soaps in the first place and I am fully supporting Prospect Park. I LOVE the new AMC and OLTL and will continue to watch.

  12. Susan Lucci isn’t the only one who may have dodged a bullet. Don’t forget about Michael E. Knight, Rebecca Budig, Alicia Minshew, Cameron Mathison, Walt Willey, Jacob Young, Ricky Paull Goldin, etc. I’m sure PP knew they couldn’t afford to bring all these veterans/seasoned actors back. I want to remain optimistic, though, that at the end of the day, everything will work itself out in favor of the soaps being back online full time. I’ve been an AMC fan for 30+ years and I don’t want to give up on them.

  13. I sure hope AMC and OLTL don’t crash now. Lots of fans love them, and Prospect Park ruined the successful move of the Mannings to GH.

  14. I don’t think this is fair or accurate. I am one of the MANY people who can’t keep up and I LOVE ALL MY CHILDREN!!! More than anything. I don’t think a lot of people could keep up. None of my friends could and we are all frankly glad we are NOT falling behind. And, no, we haven’t bought any land in Pakistan smartie pants. The shows are 24 minutes of hard programing. The old one hour format was about 35 minutes of hard programing. One week of shows is a lot and it is paced much faster than the old soaps. Miss an episode, you miss a lot. It is common knowledge that production costs must be kept down on this new format. For the unions to hang on to the old pay scale is ridiculous. Things must be worked out. I think you need to check your facts and issue some sort of retraction or apology to all concerned, even Ms. Lucci who stated how much she would like to be back!

  15. This is absurd!!!! I truly hope we did not come all this way, fight this hard to lose these soaps now!!! PP new what they were up against financially. They should have known better, Lord knows they had plenty of time to get there facts straight & finances in order!!

  16. And now they’ve screwed up 3 amazing characters by forcing GH to create 3 new, and frankly unlikable characters for the actors who transferred over to the only surviving ABC show. Not cool.

  17. “It seems in retrospect…” “Obviously felt…” There’s an awful lot of assuming going on in this “report.” Perhaps it would be beneficial to actually interview Lucci before assuming what she feels about the latest on Prospect Park, All My Children, or the online soaps. Mr. Friedman, your bias showing.

  18. Roger, you’re the only one who cares about soap operas. Get serious. Credit should be given to anyone trying to breathe life into this moribund art. Keeping the costs down is a necessity and if that can’t be done without some pain, the whole thing will go away. Now let’s see if the actors really want to keep their jobs.

  19. I believe this is all a scheme, with ABC-D and PP… I almost can bet ABC will come back looking like a hero.. compassion taking the back PP hardship…. So phoney!

  20. thanks for this post, it seems Prospect Park is a sinking ship when they started the lawsuit to get the 3 OLTL characters it really pissed me off, im now blasting them every chance I get on twotter and face book, and NO ABC/Disney is not my employer, im just a fan of a General Hospital and now an Disney supporter just on this issue as I can see that they have been wronged with this stupidity from the get go.

  21. You know I read on another article online that PP said AMC and OLTL are the highest watched shows and now to find out in the press release that was released weeks ago they say that fans couldn’t keep up with the amount of new shows which was why the cut the showing of them to 2 a week . PP is full of malarkey and if anybody believes what PP is shoveling then I tell you this….I’m Santa Clause, I have 8 reindeer and when Easter comes I turn into the Easter Bunny!

  22. Roger how about getting the real scoop and you can start by reading the PP Vs ABC Lawsuit which you got all wrong. I hope fans dont believe a word that Roger has put here. Its all Rubbish

  23. I’m finding it difficult to keep up with all the disinformation that is being spread around about the rebirth of AMC. What is the truth?

  24. Sorry Roger, I think you have some of your information backwards. Maybe you know somebody I don’t…but I feel it was ABC/D who violated the agreement they made with PP regarding the three actors ON LOAN to them. Whether you consider it frivolous or not, I think they had every right to sue abc for breach of contract. PP compromised and allowed the use of these characters hoping for the cross promotion you spoke of – it was abc/d who failed.
    I also read nothing from PP stating that Susan was demanding anything.

    I usually enjoy what you print – but not today.

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