Saturday, February 2, 2013

GENERAL HOSPITAL: The Prospect Park character dilemma comes to a head

The drama at ‘General Hospital’ is coming to a head this week – and ABC and Prospect Park seem to be headed for a collision.

For those unaware of the situation, Prospect Park is the production company that originally bought the rights to ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live’ before they went off the air – with the express purpose of airing them on another network.
When they failed to secure the funding they needed, both shows went off the air (one with a proper goodbye, and one without).

With OLTL seemingly dead in the water, former head writer Ron Carlivati and executive producer Frank Valentini jumped ship to GH, where they now run things.

As part of the (much needed) overhaul, the duo brought OLTL favorites Roger Howarth (Todd Manning), Michael Easton (John McBain) and Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning) into the fold on GH. The three characters have been integrating themselves on the canvas ever since.

A few months ago, Prospect Park announced they were bringing AMC and OLTL to the web. I think most fans – myself included – were curious but dubious about the announcement. After all, we had heard this before.

Prospect Park has continued to move forward on the plan – and they have made some interesting moves (partnering with Hulu and iTunes, for example).

This week, Easton announced via Twitter that he was being forced out at GH in favor of the Prospect Park reboot. He stated that he didn’t want to leave GH.

Here’s how this works, Prospect Park owns OLTL and their characters. They were loaning the three characters (and guest appearances by others) to GH. They have a right to lay claim to the characters. The question is, should they?

None of the actors want to go to Prospect Park and my understanding is that all have made some sort of statements to the fact that they will not return to OLTL. This means Prospect Park may own the characters – but they would have to recast all three parts.

Now, granted, all three parts were an integral part of OLTL when it went off the air. My argument is, though, you cannot expect these three actors to take less money, have less exposure and be relegated to an online only endeavor if they don’t want to.

Prospect Park is the one that screwed up the original reboot of these shows. Carlivati and Valentini brought the three characters over to GH as a way to placate broken-hearted OLTL fans – and hopefully bring in crossover fans. They did both.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t know anyone in real life that is going to tune in to a web only soap. There are a few people I converse with on message boards who say they will – but everyone knows how the Internet goes. Just ask Manti Te’o.

I do think it fair to ask Howarth, Alderson and Easton to do guest spots on the new OLTL – if it ever actually goes into production (which I still have my doubts about) – and have them wrap up their storylines on OLTL before moving back to GH full time. I actually don’t think it’s too much to ask – and I’m guessing all three of them would do it.

If Prospect Park is asking for an all-or-nothing approach, they’re going to end up losing. All three name actors will walk – leaving recasts in a teetering endeavor. That’s not going to bring fans in.

Then GH will introduce Jack McLane, Moon Spanning and Tad Spanning to the canvas and fans will cry foul for a month – saying how stupid it is that new characters are being introduced with the same faces – and things will move on from there.

Prospect Park cannot expect these three actors to be happy about losing money and status. It’s not fair.

I think both sides need to meet in the middle, come up with a solution that benefits them both, and then move on.

Prospect Park has to realize that they’re not going to get their way on this – and forcing a rewrite for the three characters is only going to turn more fans off.

What do you think? What do you think should happen with the Prospect Park mess?


Blogger dj d said...

I'm not sure where this information comes from. To my knowledge NONE of the 3 GH actors have stated publicly which show they want to be on. No one is forcing them to go anywhere they don't want to go.

February 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM 
Blogger krazyrabbit said...

dj d said...

"To my knowledge NONE of the 3 GH actors have stated publicly which show they want to be on."

Um, read their Twitter comments. Since all three actors moved to California, are under contract with ABC and General Hospital seems to be riding high right now, it's a no-brainer that they would rather stay with GH instead of taking a risk with an untested online format, (probably at a lower salary).

Also, only Micheal Easton signed with Prospect Park in 2011 when they originally were casting the online OLTL. Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson were not interested and turned them down.

ABC and PP should listen to all the advice they are being offered, accept the "share," have the actors do crossover visits and DO NOT recast.

February 4, 2013 at 8:12 PM 

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