Ever since the news broke that production company Prospect Park bought the rights to ABC’s soaps “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” there has been much speculation about the future of the shows, which actors will be involved, and when the shows will debut but little actual information. Prospect Park has finally issued a brief statement explaining that the company is in the process of negotiating with entertainment industry unions.
“The love and support for All My Children and One Life to Live is truly amazing. Since we announced our intention to work with the shows, the fan outreach we’ve experienced over the past few weeks further validates our decision to work to keep them going for years to come. However we also respect the organizations and processes that are in place so that all can apply their craft within the infrastructure that the entertainment industry has set, specifically in this case with the appropriate guilds and unions. We are in the process of working out the essential terms of our proposed collective bargaining agreements with the appropriate guilds and unions, which we must do prior to firming up deals with above- and below-the-line talent. We will provide updates as needed.”
In other words, the company can not make any deals with actors, writers or crew members, nor determine the shows budgets until they figure out what the union payment scale for each job will be. For example, the Writers Guild currently has new media minimums, but they are for shorter webisodes, not full length episodes. A network series has never moved to the Internet before. This deal could set the precedent for any future television shows that move from television to the Internet, so the unions are going to do everything that they can to insure that its members get decent salaries. After Prospect Park makes deals with the unions, it will then have to negotiate with individual actors and writers, many of whom currently are paid far more than the union scale. The shows cannot resume production until all of the financial details have been solidified.
The good news is that Prospect Park is committed to using union talent, meaning that everyone who works on the shows now will theoretically have the opportunity to stay with them. Stating that the company hopes to continue producing them for years should also please fans who are concerned this is a short term stunt. The bad news is that negotiations this complicated could take a long time.