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ATI Exec, Jim Romanovich "Barefoot in Prospect Park : Daytime Soaps Dot Com" piece brings up thought-provoking commentary!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

Associated Television International’s President Worldwide Media and Entertainment, Jim Romanovich has posted a very savvy look and perspective on the Prospect Park/ABC deal that brought All My Children and One Life to Live online, including his thoughts on how the shows will ultimately be reflected on the web, and how they must change with the times and addressing some of the key hold-outs from the various AMC stars.

The complete blog was posted on Baseline Intelligence and here are some key excerpts below!

Romanovich: “Two and half months later Prospect Park announced they had acquired the rights to both All My Children and One Life To Live to continue on the internet.  This was huge news.  But it also led to a barrage of questions from the public and especially the conspiracy theorists who were working overtime to find some Machiavellian scheme that this was more plotting by the network to torture the fans.  I don’t think things are as dastardly as they seem nor as simple.  Quite often negotiations occur after a deal is done.  I do it all the time simply because issues crop up that were unexpected and you have to disclose these potential obstacles before you attempt to hurdle them.  Networks do it with me too. As they say, get them a little pregnant and then hammer out your terms.  Although I have no direct knowledge of the closed door sessions between Disney and Prospect Park, I, as a television producer, cannot imagine any license fees were paid to Disney for those rights.  If there is a huge cash cow with unlimited funds behind Prospect Park, I could tell you that buying cancelled daytime soaps would have been the wrong move.  Quite frankly if I had unlimited funds, I would have invested in something more bankable. But since they did acquire these two soaps, my guess is that it’s strictly on a royalty basis that may have revenue benchmarks due and payable once reached.

Courtesy/ABC

That makes more sense and is a complete win-win for Disney because they no longer have to be responsible for production costs, talent negotiations, or ad sales expectations.  Now they just can sit back and collect a quarterly check and still own the show since this is a royalty deal based on episodes produced. Prospect Park gets to access a potentially huge audience for no money down, too.  Once, or if, they decline to produce new episodes, the rights revert back to Disney.  Now that’s a risk I’d take.  Is this the deal they struck?  All I can say is if this is a straight royalty deal, then this is how it usually works. That’s the only deal I would have made.  According to the July 7th Wall Street Journal article ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ Head Online, the following quote reaffirms my royalty/benchmark opinion by stating “The deal gives Prospect Park exclusive rights to the two shows for more than a decade, and pays Disney millions of dollars a year in royalties for as long as the shows are produced”.

So what can fans really expect?  For the first three months, pretty much the status quo.  They don’t want to rock your boat too quickly.  Stories will mirror what they had done for television and many of the same actors will be playing those same parts.  Some will not.  For that void, you will see new, younger, edgier characters introduced that appeal to more of an online viewer as many stalwart soap fans have rightly commented on several well known soaps websites that their grandmothers would never watch them online nor would anyone in extreme rural communities be able to get them. If true, then the producers may think why bother to write for them. I also believe that these newer characters will be tied into legacy characters. In addition, I think recasting key characters in which the previous portrayer opted to not go on is almost a certainty.  For example, Alicia Minshew (Kendall) is one who will not continue when All My Children goes online although she would be open to a recurring role.  Well, that does nobody any good because the character is too woven into the show’s framework and a key part of the Erica Kane legacy.  With Susan Lucci out, who is irreplaceable, and now Minshew, I would recast Kendall and give her strong material.  You cannot create successful story integration within a five day a week soap opera on part time talent.  Ms. Lucci, on the other hand, is so iconic that her presence even on a recurring basis would be most welcomed.

The 2.0 versions of these soaps have to take chances that network censors previously had never allowed.  I think language and sexuality should be more honest and direct.  Look what Showtime and HBO do with Dexter and True Blood.  These soaps should take these risks in visuals and storytelling to grow their appeal.  Why would anyone invest their money into doing more of the same on the internet when soaps can finally be true to themselves and be the real groundbreakers they were initially created to be?  This is where the shows can succeed.  This is not about creating shock value.  This is still about the core elements of successful storytelling. It is taking Doug Marland’s formula How Not to Wreck a Soap to the utmost level of purpose.  In his formula, he states two key issues of success-story and character. I think that is partially true.  You also need execution otherwise story and character have no direction.  The execution is to hire the perfect writer and producer who envision and create the character who then hires the right actor who will make that creation come to life.  That is execution.”

So what do you think of Jim’s look into the Prospect Park deal and the soaps moves online? Let us know!

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Danielle
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Danielle

Folks, call Prospect Park and ask them to also air AMC & OLTL on TV. I did this earlier today (it’s one of the tasks being posted on fb) and the woman I talked to was very nice and she said they are considering, but that we have to keep up, and keep those calls coming!

Lee
Guest
Lee

1) First, #AMC needs to move back to NYC or NJ. Most of the #AMC actors have their roots here. They may be willing to take less in salary if they can be near their loved ones. 2) Soaps need to return to what they excel at. Soaps have 5 hrs per week to tell stories. They need to use this time. This means no short scenes. It means long, loving dialog. Here are two examples from Liz Keifer/Maureen Garrett from GL. This is amazing soap and amazing TV. We don’t get this anywhere anymore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFAExYc9bxw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r2eeo5Ohds. These are… Read more »

Torrey
Guest
Torrey

I agree with you that AMC needs to head back to NYC. It seems as if, that is a concern for most of the talent. And I do agree with what the man stated as far as recasting on AMC. We, as fans, may not want to see some of our faves recast, but as long as it is approached in a smart manner, unlike the Liza Colby recast, it would be ok. I personally believe that Beth Ethlers got a raw deal on AMC….she would have made a much better Liza than Jamie Luner….besides that, she actually had chemistry… Read more »

Blake
Guest
Blake

Wow, what great scenes between those two! I agree, why can’t they be like that anymore? God I miss GL. Wish it was saved, wish it could go online also! That was my favorite!

Laura
Guest
Laura

I don’t agree with the consensus that “grandmothers” will not watch online. I am in my early 50s (old enough to be a grandmother or a great-great grandmother in soapland–LOL) and I have no problem watching shows online. I have been doing it for quite awhile. My 77 yr old mother is pretty handy on a computer. She watches you tube videos that interest her and does FB etc. This sounds so cliche–but this notion that anyone over a certain age won’t follow t the soaps to the internet smacks of ageism. I do understand that there are some folks… Read more »

Blake
Guest
Blake

What a great interview. He has a lot of great ideas, true what he said about Kendall and everything else.

maria arellano
Guest
maria arellano

Will AMC continue online & if yes ( i cant see why not) when will it start, what is the url to go to, and what time? I cant believe after watching this show since i was 7 years old its going to end the way it did. Really? JR shooting someone and thats it? Are all the Tyler members dead that none where brought back to the reunion? Is this the same end in store for OLTL which by the way I started watchng and the same time?

All My Children

Kelly Ripa Talks On Her New Memoir ‘Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories’

Talk show host and All My Children alum, Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley) is opening up about her life and times in her highly-anticipated memoir available now, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories.

Ripa chatted exclusively with PEOPLE who got some of intel and dish on what’s included in the book.

Kelly told PEOPLE, when she landed the gig as the new co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly, with the late Regis Philbin back in 2001, she felt like she was “getting shot out of a cannon.”  Ripa was also appearing on All My Children at the same time.

She tells the story of when her agent called with the offer, Ripa was told: “They want you to know who your boss is. It was very ominous, and it did not feel good.”  Her agent also said the show didn’t want her, “bringing an entourage.” She brought two people. “I came with hair and makeup,” Kelly says. “It was not an unusual thing for people on a television show to show up with.”

She added that Regis greeted her with executive producer, Michael Gelman, saying: “Uh-oh, Gelman, it’s got an entourage.” It?!  Kelly expressed that she “felt horrible.  He was probably trying to be funny, but at the same time it felt like a pile-on.”

As for Philbin’s attitude at the time, Kelly shared, “I understand that probably he didn’t want a co-host, but the network wanted me to be the co-host and I didn’t think I should pass up that opportunity. I don’t think it was fair to him. But it was also not fair to me.”

Photo: JPI

The actress-talk show host-producer also talked on her marriage to Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo), whom she met while both were on All My Children, sharing that they were, “too young to get married! On paper it should not have worked and when it didn’t work, we really worked at it. We fought for our marriage when it would have been easier to quit and throw in the towel.”

According to the book publisher, HarperCollins:  “In ‘Live Wire’, her first book, Kelly shows what really makes her tick. Whether recounting how she and Mark (Consuelos) really met, the level of chauvinism she experienced on set, how Jersey Pride follows her wherever she goes, and many, many moments of utter mortification (whence she proves that you cannot, in fact, die of embarrassment) Kelly always tells it like it is. Ms. Ripa takes no prisoners.”

So, will you be ordering your copy of Kelly’s memoir? Let us know in the comment section below.

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All My Children

Eva LaRue’s Stalker Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison

In a harrowing situation spanning 12 years, a man who threatened former All My Children, Santa Barbara, and Y&R favorite, Eva LaRue (ex-Maria, ex- Margot, ex-Celeste) and her daughter, Kaya was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

James David Rogers, 58, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt for over a decade of threatening letters and phone calls about torture, rape and death to LaRue and her daughter.

Rogers had pleaded guilty in April to two counts of mailing threatening communications, one count of threats by interstate communications and two counts of stalking.  According to court documents, all of this began in March 2007 until Rogers eventually was arrested in November 2019.  At the beginning of his stalking spree, LaRue’s daughter, Kaya was only five-years-old.

According to Deadline, Eva gave a “tearful victim impact statement, telling the judge in L.A. federal court that she has undergone therapy since the harassment began in order to deal with feelings of fear and paranoia.”  She added, “We didn’t know if he would show up on our doorstep. We will think about him for a lifetime. The fear is with me forever.”

Photo: JPI

The judge has ordered Rogers to self surrender on October 12th to begin his sentence at a federal prison in Ohio.

Eva won a Daytime Emmy back in 2020 for her guest star turn on The Young and the Restless, and is best-known to primetime viewers for her role in CSI: Miami.

Share your thoughts on Eva and Kaya’s heartbreaking real-life experience via the comment section below.

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All My Children

Soap Vet, Broadway Star and Artistic Director, Robert Lupone Passes Away at 76

Bob Lupone, the brother of Broadway Icon, Patti Lupone, and who is best-known to soap opera fans as con artist Zach Grayson on All My Children (1984-1985) has died at the age of 76.

The actor, and artistic director of Off-Broadway’s acclaimed MCC Theatre for over 40 years, passed away Saturday, due to complications from his three year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Photo: MCC Theatre

Ironically, Bob was best known on Broadway as Zach in A Chorus Line which landed him a Tony Award nomination in 1976, and he also received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his other role of Zach on All My Children in 1985.  The murder of Zach Grayson was quite the murder mystery and trial; bringing in many suspects to the story.

In addition to All My Children, throughout his soap career, Lupone held roles on: Search for Tomorrow as Tom Bergman, Ryan’s Hope as Chester Wallace, Another World as Neal Cory, Loving as Leonard Brill/Charley Nichols, and Guiding Light as Leo Flynn.  He also appeared in primetime TV roles including: The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and several roles in the Law and Order franchise.

Lupone made his feature film debut in the 1973 musical adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar playing the Apostle James, and two years later got the Broadway role of his lifetime playing Zach in A Chorus Line after convincing creator and director Michael Bennett to let him play the part after the original actor departed the show.

A decade later, LuPone would co-found the Off-Broadway theatre company, MCC Theater, with Bernard Telsey and William Cantler.  MCC was founded as an artists collective designed to offer peer based classes and playwright development and has launched several successful shows that went on to great success.

LuPone is survived by his wife, Virginia; his son, Orlando; sister, Patti; and brother, William.

Below, take a look at the suspects in the Zach Grayson murder case on All My Children, followed by the 1976 performance by Robert and the cast of A Chorus Line on The Tony Awards, and last, a scene as AMC’s Zach around the 6 minute mark in the video.

Now, share your condolences to the Lupone family on Bob’s passing, and your remembrances in the comment section.

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