Cliffhanger! ABC Soaps' Salvation Hits a Snag

Previously, on “As ABC Daytime Turns”: Dr. Brian Frons declared that All My Children and One Life to Live, each presenting with declining vitals, only had months to live. What’s more, he not-so-secretly planned to replace the two with imposters known as The Chew and The Revolution. But unknown to anyone, somewhere in a hi-tech compound, an organization known as Prospect Park was hatching a daring plan to help AMC and OLTL cheat death, by way of something called “online streaming.” Can the two faves actually survive their proverbial tumble down Miller’s Falls? Our story continues….

This latest plot twist surely can surprise no one. After all, no sooner had Prospect Park announced their pact with ABC to let AMC and OLTL live on, as cornerstones of a new Hulu-like video hub they have in the works, then those who know how TV works questioned the financial model. Namely, how can a web series afford to uphold the production values and fulfill the actors’ contracts of two series that had been broadcast for some 40 years each?

The answer: They can’t. And that is why Prospect Park is now in talks with all of the relevant unions, as well as the cast members, about finding a way to make this crossover work.

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A statement released by the media venture acknowledges the AMC and OLTL fans’ enthusiasm for what they have planned, but notes “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.”

As such, though there was pie-in-the-sky talk that All My Children, which is due to air its last ABC hour on Sept. 23, would not have to pause production, it’s now all but guaranteed that the show will go on hiatus -– possibly until 1Q of 2012, the New York Times reports.

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And what if Prospect Park cannot reach deals with all of the primary cast members from each soap? Daytime Confidential is hearing that the media venture has, for example, asked AMC‘s headwriter to end the show’s broadcast run with a “Will they live or die?” cliffhanger that sets the table for any unavoidable exits.

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All of this to-and-fro is a bit of a shame, actually. Because as nice as it may be to keep the residents of Pine Valley and Llanview in our lives, AMC, for one, had a very nifty, thrilling and satisfying series finale in place. This “limbo” state, alas, threatens to rob those who like their TV on TV a healthy bit of closure.