And believe us when we say we think they deserve worse. 10 scripts a week, doomed by the hands of this asshats. Damn them all to hell–
What? Oh, sorry, guess we got a bit carried away. Anyway:
Prospect Park Networks Files for Bankruptcy
by Jared Kaplan
The war between ABC and Prospect Park Networks over “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” continues to rage on, but today Prospect Park Networks took an expected step: filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
According to Variety.com, the online production company filed for bankruptcy … in a federal court in Delaware. In a statement released by the company, they explained that “PPN is optimistic that this filing will make it possible to continue to maximize the value of its assets and settlement of past liabilities. The company is optimistic about the prospects for a smooth transition into bankruptcy.”
Already? Is this an “Uh-oh…” or a “Good thing?” Check out the press release:
by Team TVWriter™
For close to two years we have been working passionately to bring first run premium content to an online platform with the creation of brand-new versions of the two iconic series, All My Children and One Life To Live. There was no precedent for this effort- we had no history-no barometer for how our fans would respond. We always knew there would quickly be new insights into how audiences would respond to our shows and this new platform, and that our ability to adapt quickly to audience needs would ultimately determine the long-term success of the shows and our mission. This is a new medium, a new time and we have always planned to make changes quickly by listening to you, our fans and customers.
Today it is clear these shows have resonated, as many millions of views have been logged since our April 29th debut, a mere two and a half weeks ago. We’ve consistently been in the top ten shows viewed on Hulu and viewers and critics alike have told us how impressed they are with the quality of both programs. The past two weeks have been invaluable in terms of learning about how you watch and when you watch our shows on this new platform. We have gained enormous insight through our actual viewing data and our research. And our research has revealed the following:
· In the past these shows had their vast majority of views within the first 24 hours. Instead, our shows are primarily consumed on different days then when they originally air. Primarily, fans have been binge viewing or watching on demand, and as a result, we feel we have been expecting our audience to dedicate what has turned out to be an excessive amount of time to viewing these shows. (As an example, for the substantial audience only watching on the weekends, we are currently asking them to watch five hours of programming to keep pace with our release schedule).
· On ABC the shows shared a large percentage of their viewers with each other. Yet, the majority of our viewers are watching one show or the other, not both, and they aren’t viewing the shows when they did before. Part of the reason for choosing between the shows may be that the largest viewing takes place either between 12PM and 1PM (when people generally can only fit one episode during lunch time) or between 5PM and 7PM (when the vast majority of competing shows are a half hour long). We are finding that asking most people to regularly watch more than a half hour per day online seems to be too much.
· During their ABC runs, viewers watched only 2-3 episodes on average a week and picked up with whichever day’s episode it was. Our viewers seem to primarily start with the first episode and then continue forward episode by episode. Like with primetime serialized dramas as opposed to the traditional slower pacing of daytime, people feel lost if they miss an episode. People are starting from the beginning; the shows are designed for complete viewing from episode one. Yet starting from the beginning with the amount of episodes we are releasing is asking too much for viewers who need to catch up.
The clear conclusion is that while somewhat mixed, these viewing patterns resemble more closely the typical patterns of online viewing rather than how one would watch traditional television. This leads us to believe we are posting too many episodes and making it far too challenging for viewers to keep up. When it comes to online viewing, most of us are just trying to find time to watch series comprised of 13 to 22 episodes a season-so asking viewers to assign time for over 100 episodes per show is a daunting task.
Therefore, we have chosen to revise our scheduling model beginning this Monday, May 20th by introducing two new episodes from OLTL and AMC each week- new episodes of AMC will now run on Mondays and Wednesdays, and fresh episodes of OLTL will post Tuesdays and Thursdays. MORE, our behind the scenes series, will run as a single show on Fridays. This allows us to introduce a new episode of quality television every Monday through Friday and gives the audience a chance to catch up as we continue to build awareness and excitement around these new shows. Because Hulu agrees with our findings, for the meantime they will keep all of our episodes on Hulu.com for free to give viewers the opportunity to find us and catch up.
We know our most dedicated viewers will be upset as they would probably prefer more shows to less (we personally wish there were more episodes of our favorite shows; we would love 50 episodes a year of Homeland,Mad Men or The Simpsons). We apologize to these viewers and ask them to please understand we are trying to ensure our shows succeed and not meet the fate they experienced previously. We need to devise a model that works for all viewers and follows how they want, and are actually watching, online. When it comes to online, as with all new technology, it’s adapt or fail. We feel fortunate to be an online company and to have such an opportunity to adapt. Of course, we will continue to evaluate all the data that comes in and will be vigilant about revising our strategy as needed.
We want to be clear that this will in no way impact our feverish pace of production – we will be filming new episodes through mid-June, continue editing throughout July and until we go back into production in August. It’s a frenetic schedule but all of us are up for the challenge and excited to continue to deliver great shows.
As a new venture we felt obligated to address the needs of our viewers head on and to make adjustments that we think will work for our viewers. And as always, we thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
…Like my buddies Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway. (Although Gerry did a fine job of escaping that ghetto, didn’t he, by rising to Co-Executive Producer of LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, among other TV shows?).
I’ve always thought that those working in the two media had a lot in common, and recently two writers still working in comic books have cemented that theory – John Ostrander and Martha Thomases. Here’s Martha’s take on soap opera, which coincidentally happens to be right in line with, yeah, you guessed it – mine.
But my prayers have been answered, and All My Children will soon be back, if only on the Internet. And while it won’t feel real to me unless they get backErica Kane or Zach, I think this is a real win for those of us who like our entertainment niche.
Soap operas are not new. They were a staple of radio drama and easily made the transition to television. Usually, the focus would be on one or two families, and the drama that resulted when love, greed, hate and intrigue enmeshed them with each other and their neighbors.
Conventional wisdom maintained that this kind of entertainment was for women, especially housewives. They would watch “their stories” as they did the ironing or dusted. Every day, for 30 to 60 minutes (including commercials), they could vicariously experience the lives of beautiful people, with a cliffhanger at the end, ensuring a date with tomorrow’s show. When (white, middle-class) women went into the workforce in large numbers in the 1970s, it was assumed the genre would die.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, the soap opera mutated. It invaded primetime, where shows like Dallasand Dynasty were monster hits. Soap elements – relationship dramas among the characters that couldn’t be solved with a laugh, a gunfight, or magic – invaded cop shows, doctor shows and more. Do you think you’d have The Sopranoswithout General Hospital? If so, you think wrong.
(My point is not that David Chase is a soap opera fan – although he may be – but that network executives wouldn’t have gone for the pilot without a profitable precedent.)
What ultimately drove the soaps off network television was the cost, and the continued segmentation of the audience. It’s expensive to have daily shows with big casts, big sets, and lots of writers. The talk shows that replaced the soaps are way cheaper, and product placement is much easier (although I will always remember with fondness the month that AMC had Campbell’s Soup as a sponsor, and therefore soup solved everything). They don’t get the same audience as the soaps, but they don’t need to.
The solution? The Internet. It’s taken a while for the producers to get it together with finances, and unions, but now it looks like they have.
It’s an interesting parallel to comics. Hollywood is making a ton of money from superheroes, but sales of floppies appeal to a much, much smaller audience. And, again, the Internet provides a way not only to grow the readership, but to level the playing field for those creators (and readers) who don’t want to limit themselves to one genre, or one business model.
The folks trying to resuscitate All My Children have already signed up Angie. Get Tad, and I’m there.
Did I mention that several of my friends have been writing soaps for umpteen million years too? Wonder if they can speak about comic books so wisely.
Soap opera fans soon might see a return of defunct series All My Children and One Life to Live.
The ABC daytime dramas, both canceled in 2011 after 40-plus years before a deal with Prospect Park unsuccessfully tried to revive them online, might find another life on the web after all — and production could begin as early as January.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Prospect Park (the production company behind FX’s Wilfred and USA’s Royal Pains) has reached deals with SAG-AFTRA and the DGA that could bring both canceled series back — online. THR also has learned that Prospect Park is in talks with the WGA.
The news comes on the heels of Prospect Park co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz taking meetings with guilds, actors and managers for some time now in an effort to revive the pair of beloved soaps.
Prospect Park made its licensing deal with ABC in July 2011, shortly before both series went off the air and had planned to relaunch both online (with much of the casts intact) in early 2012. Those plans officially fell through in November 2011.
The company did not comment on plans to revive the series, but actors from both All My Children and One Life to Live are in discussions with to return for the new venture.
Details on which castmembers are attached to their old series are unclear, but One Life to Live stars Kassie DePaiva, Roger Howarth, Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson have reprised their characters on episodes of ABC’s General Hospital.
In the wake of the two series’ cancelations, all four of the broadcast networks’ remaining soap operas — General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful — have enjoyed ratings growth. All My Children premiered in 1970, and One Life to Live bowed in 1968.
Prospect Park declined comment.
Yeah, I know. I really have lost all my cred now. I’ll be back as snarky as ever as soon as I can, I swear.