IATSE claims that several episodes of “All My Children” have gone over the $125,000 dollar budget stipulated in its contract with the show. If true, Prospect Park, the production company that produces the show, could owe AMC’s crew tens of thousands of dollars in back wages. IATSE’s contract with the show stipulates that workers will be paid below standard wages because of the online series’ low budgets.
Prospect Park issued a press release stating, “As a result of a dispute with the I.A.T.S.E., The OnLine Network is beginning a long-planned hiatus for both ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life To Live’ tomorrow instead of June 17. The hiatus is scheduled to end on August 12 pending resolution of this labor issue. Right now we have 40 episodes of each show ready to post through September, and if we can resolve this issue by August, we can get back into the studio on time so audiences will enjoy uninterrupted postings of their favorite shows. We believe we have met all contract requirements with I.A.T.S.E, and as an internet start-up, and per our contract with the I.A., we cannot afford, and our business model cannot sustain, traditional broadcast rates.”
This is just the latest snag for the online versions of the long-running soaps, which Prospect Park opted to continue after ABC canceled them. They were initially supposed to debut in January 2012, but Prospect Park was unable to raise the funding necessary to start production. Three weeks into their run, Prospect Park decided to cut the number of weekly episodes from four to two. The company also opted to fire the headwriters of both shows and promote other members of the writing teams to take their place.
Deadline reports that Prospect Park is considering moving production out of Connecticut, which offers television producers a 30 percent rebate, in order to resolve the labor dispute.
With all of the turmoil, fans are beginning to worry that the soaps’ resurrection will be short-lived. Prospect Park insists, “We are committed to these shows, and to the nearly 300 jobs they produce, thus we are exploring every legal and logistical option to maintain our production schedule.” MichaelFairmansoaps.com reports, “All the writers for both AMC and OLTL have been told to continue writing, and they have been told to write long-term story.”
The soaps continue to be among the most watched shows on Hulu, xfinitytv and iTunes.