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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

All My Children Alums to Appear in E!’s New Series, ‘Reunion Road Trip’

All My Children is having a bit of a renaissance of late. First with the previously announced primetime series in development, Pine Valley, and now a new series on E! Entertainment Television.

Coming up on the June 10th episode, which kicks-off the new show, Reunion Road Trip, several of your favorites from AMC are part of the first episode.

Look for Rebecca Budig (Ex-Greenlee), Eva LaRue (Ex-Maria), Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan), and Jacob Young (Ex-JR) along with Alicia Minshew (Ex- Debbi Morgan (Ex-Angie), Kelly Ripa (Ex-Hayley), and Darnell Williams (Ex-Jesse), to appear.

According to EW.com, who broke the news, viewers can look for Budig, LaRue, Mathison, Young, to come together at an exclusive Hollywood mansion to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary where they get some surprise visitors in the form of Minshew, Morgan, Ripa, and Williams.

Reunion Road Trip airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT with other episodes to feature the former casts of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, A Different World and Scrubs.

So, looking forward to seeing the Pine Valley crew on Reunion Road Trip? Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Alum Finn Wittrock To Headline ‘Green Lantern’

From Pine Valley to the DC Universe! Now comes word that former All My Children star, Finn Wittrock (Ex-Damon Miller) will take on the role of Guy Gardner/Green Latern on the upcoming HBO Max series, Green Lantern from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Brothers Television.

According to Deadline who dropped the casting news, Wittrock’s Guy Gardner/Green Lantern is “a hulking mass of masculinity, and, as rendered in the comics, an embodiment of 1980s hyper-patriotism. And yet, Guy is somehow likable.”

In the premise of the series, Green Lantern reinvents the classic DC property through a story spanning decades and galaxies, beginning on Earth in 1941 with the very first Green Lantern, secretly gay FBI agent Alan Scott, and 1984, with cocky alpha male Guy Gardner (Wittrock) and half-alien Bree Jarta. They’ll be joined by a multitude of other Lanterns — from comic book favorites to never-before-seen heroes.”

Previously, Finn received Emmy nominations for his work on American Horror Story: Freak Show and for Versace: American Crime Story.

So what do you think of Finn’s new role? Comment below.

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All My Children

All My Children Alum Cornelius Smith Jr. Joins the Cast of Apple TV+ Limited Series, ‘Five Days At Memorial’

Daytime fans remember him fondly as the son of Jesse (Darnell Williams) and Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan), Frankie, on All My Children.  And now, actor Cornelius Smith Jr., is set to join a major limited series based on the acclaimed nonfiction book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sheri Fink, about the the first five days following Hurricane Katrina made landfall entitled Five Days at Memorial.

Written by John Ridley and Carlton Cruse, Smith will play a doctor, (something he is very familiar with playing since Frankie Hubbard was a doctor in Pine Valley!) named Dr. Bryant King, an internist and one of the few doctors of color at the hospital, who finds himself very much in the middle of the crisis.  He will headline the show alongside Vera Farmiga and Adepero Oduye.

Photo: JPI

The series will stream on Apple TV+, and no word yet as to when it will have its debut following its filming.

 

Since his time on All My Children, Smith has appeared on ABC’s Scandal, and had recurring roles on God Friended MeSelf Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker and Manhunt.

Deadline broke the casting news.

So, looking forward to seeing Cornelius back on our screens? Do you remember his work as Dr. Frankie Hubbard on All My Children? Comment below.

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