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



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.


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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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!

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: and These are the kind of scenes that set soaps apart and made them viable. Please bring this back!

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 with Michael E. Knight.

And I also agree that scenes, like the ones you posted are not readily available on soaps anymore. It’s all a bunch of quick unimportant scenes thrown together to make a show. And I’ve stated this before, but why is it that on AMC right now, just about every character on the show is circling around the Orpheus story line? Shouldn’t there be some separation of stories? I mean, it’s like the story is being beat into the ground. I mean, you’ve got JR, Krystal, Angie, Jessie, Ryan, Greenlee, Cara, Griffin, Tad, Dixie, Zach, Kendall, Erica and I’m sure I’m missing someone….but my point being, Project Orpheus is all that is discussed between all of these characters. It’s a waste of talent and time to have all of these characters focusing on one story line. It’s one thing if it were a who-done it story, where all of these characters were suspects, but come on…..

I wish to God that I could be a member of the writing staff, cause I am so sick of recycled writers from cancelled shows bouncing around making matters worse for our shows. I just hope PP has some fresh ideas that honor the history, talent and audience of both shows.

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!

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 without computers–but in this day and age most folks have them and access to the internet.

Personally, I think it would be a huge mistake to get rid of the vets and just write for the young cast because that is who the producers think will be watching. They tried that sh-t on the tv soaps and just lost loyal viewers. Soaps thrive on multi-generational storytelling. There needs to be stories for each generation, These storylines need to intertwine with each other. Doug Marland used to do that very well. When soaps started going for the bubble storylines with 5-6 characters and these sl had nothing to do with the rest of the cast–they usually failed. That’s what happened quite a bit on AMC.
Just one more thing–I got hooked on AMC in college. The characters that hooked me were Palmer, Myra, Phoebe, Mona and so on. These actors were about 40 yrs older than me. But, I can tell you–the whole dorm used to wait for Mona/Phoebe to get into it over Dr Tyler. We were fascinated by it and just loved those scenes!! We were riveted by what Palmer would do next to thwart Nina’s romance. And when Daisy showed up–it was awesome. I am telling you that kids from 18-22 loved the older characters just as much (if not more) than the younger ones.

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

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

EXCLUSIVE: Jacob Young, Joan Collins and Nadia Bjorlin to Prague to Film ‘Murder Between Friends’

On Thursday night during the Michael Fairman Channel’s livestream interview centering around Jason Cook’s (ex-Shawn, DAYS and ex-Matt, GH) latest movie Four For Fun which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, ex-Rick, B&B and ex-Lucky, GH), revealed another upcoming film project with some very familiar faces.

Jacob Young shared an exclusive that he is set to direct, produce and star in a Agatha Christie-like murder mystery feature film aptly tiled Murder Between Friends.

Speaking on the upcoming project, Jacob said, “I’m flying at the end of the March to Prague to direct, produce and star in a film with Joan Collins (ex-Dynasty). Nadia Bjorlin (ex-Chloe, Days of our Lives) is in it, and Toby Alexander Smith from Eastenders (ex-Gray Atkins). Plus, a couple of my Broadway friends and a very well known Czech actress (Hana Vagnerova).”

Photo: BBC

According to Jacob, the production start date is April 1st. He added on the premise of the film, “It’s very Agatha Christie sort of ‘Knives Out’ without having a hundred million dollars to shoot it, but still will be a lovely film nonetheless.” Young said the plan is to finish all principal photography by April 17th.

Photo: JPI

IMDb has more on the film. It shared that former All My Children star Trent Garrett (ex-Asher Pike) is listed as co-directing the feature. Mark Rozzano is listed as writer of Murder Between Friends.

So, what do you think about this upcoming feature from Jacob that will feature Joan Collins, Nadia Bjorlin et al? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Then below, check out the full livestream conversation with Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young on ‘Four For Fun’ and their notable soap roles.

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All My Children

Maurice Benard Reveals All My Children’s Lee Meriweather and Daughter’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

At the beginning of the latest episode of General Hospital star, Maurice Benard’s (Sonny Corinthos) State of Mind series, he delivered some heartbreaking news with a purpose.

Kyle Oldham, the daughter of former All My Children star, Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth Martin), who previously made a guest appearance on Benard’s show, returned for a new interview which will be coming soon.

During their conversation, Oldham shared that her beloved mother has Alzheimer’s. Sadly, according to Benard, Kyle also revealed she has been diagnosed with the disease as well.

Photo: JPI

Maurice expressed, “We talked about her mother and having Alzheimer’s and it was an amazing interview. And then Kyle said, ‘I gotta tell you something. I have Alzheimer’s.’”

Apparently, Kyle has agreed to come on State of Mind, periodically as the effects of Alzheimer’s take a hold of her to help educate others. “We decided that she was gonna come in … she was gonna call me and tell me as she progresses,” Benard shared. “She was going to come in again so the audience could see with their eyes what Alzheimer’s does to someone.”

Benard’s guest for this current episode of State of Mind was Vernee Watson (Stella, GH), who along with Maurice, was part of the Alzheimer’s storyline on the ABC daytime drama series that saw Mike Corbin (Max Gail) eventually pass away.

Photo: JPI

As for Lee Meriwether, not only is she known for her role on AMC, but also for her roles as Catwoman in Batman: The Movie, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and for the television series, Barnaby Jones, the New Andy Griffith Show and The Munsters to name only a few.

In soap operas, Meriwether was cast in The Young Marrieds years prior to her time on All My Children where she replaced Mary Fickett in the matriarchal role in the Martin family. She played the role from 1996-99, 2002-03, and 2007-11.

Meriwether’s daughter, Kyle Oldham, has been an actress and spokesperson herself through the years. She appeared on The Price is Right for over 14 years until she couldn’t anymore after going through multiple surgeries in her adult life.

You can check out the full episode of State of Mind with Maurice an Vernee below.

Share your thoughts on the sad news of both Lee Meriwether and her daughter Kyle Oldham, battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the comment section below.

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All My Children

Soap Favorites Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young Visit the Michael Fairman Channel

On Wednesday night, February 28, Four for Fun, the movie written and directed by former Days of our Lives and General Hospital star, Jason Cook (ex-Shawn-Douglas; ex-Matt, respectively), which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, Lucky, GH, and Rick, B&B), will have its premiere as part of The Golden State Film Festival.

If you’re in the Southern California area, tickets for the festival and to see Four for Fun showing at 7:30pm PT can be found here.

In the premise of the film, a dinner party between two couples experiencing eleven different endings, all of which points to the same conclusion – the best possible life comes from the one lived the most in the present. Sarpy and Young play one of the couples and actors Donovan Patton and Annika Foster, play the other.

Photo: FourforFun

After its premiere at the festival, on the next night, Jason, Brytni and Jacob will visit You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for a livestream conversation about the making of the film, working with each other, and a discussion on their numerous soap opera roles and much more.

It all begins on Thursday night, February 29th beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Make sure to join us in the live chat, so you can ask your questions and share your comments with this talented trio.

Photo: FourforFun

Check out the trailer for Four for Fun below, followed by how to watch the livestream interview.

Then, drop any questions you would like us to pose to Jason, Brytni and Jacob in the comment section, and we just might ask it live on Thursday night.


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