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
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?