Prospect Park has field a breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, which licensed the shows to Prospect Park two years ago. Deadline was first to report the news..
According to the complaint, which is now being filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Prospect Park claims that ABC has been breaking the licensing agreement and sabotaging Prospect Park’s efforts to continue ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE online. They refer to the day ABC canceled AMC and OLTL as "Soapocalyspe".
“These shows will go forward, and Prospect will address its rights in Court,” the suit said. "Regardless of how successful Prospect may be, the fact remains that ABC did not deliver what it promised, Prospect did not get what it paid for, and Prospect is now entitled to recover more millions of dollars in damages for ABC’s egregious conduct.” The complaint pegs the monetary damages sought at at least $25 million.
The lawsuit follows a couple of months of building up tensions and threats of legal action between Prospect Park and ABC centered on OLTL actors who had been starring on ABC’s General Hospital since the cancellation of OLTL by ABC. Prospect Park attempted to get them back, which created a standoff with ABC. The last straw came last week when ABC announced that OLTL’s Kristen Alderson, Michael Easton and Roger Howarth will return to GH on May 10, presumably as new characters.
According to the lawsuit, after taking over AMC and OLTL in 2011, Prospect Park, in “a gesture of good will”, allowed ABC “to borrow seven OLTL characters to appear on a limited basis” on the network’s soap General Hospital for the actors playing them can have employment. (It is understood that, despite having the characters on a temporary basis, ABC signed the actors playing them in long-term deals, making their return to OLTL even more difficult. Howarth recently made a short-term deal with Prospect Park to do a stint on OLT before returning to GH.) Prospect Park claims that in the arrangement, they retained “approval rights over ABC’s use of the OLTL characters. But “for over a year, ABC outright failed and refused to consult with Prospect on any storylines involving these characters, rendering Prospect’s approval rights meaningless.” With that, “in the ultimate act of bad faith, ABC inexplicably killed off two OLTL characters on loan to GH by having their car forced off a cliff. ABC effectively killed another major OLTL character, who was not even licensed to ABC, by revealing that this long-standing OLTL character is in fact another character (alter ego) on GH.”
Prospect Park also claims ABC breached the two side’s licensing agreement by refusing to hand over to Prospect Park the URLs for the two soaps the company had purchased, onelifetolive.com and allmychildren.com. “These URLs are not only critical to establishing public awareness for the re-launch, but they are part of the rights paid for by Prospect. It is understood that ABC also recently declined to air ads for OLTL because it features prominently an actor who is on GH.
Despite the fact that ABC retains some ownership in AMC and OLTL under the licensing agreement, Prospect Park argues that ABC is trying to sabotage the two show’s transition online. The complaint claims that “at least one ABC executive” involved in the decisions to how to handle OLTL actors on GH, “has openly declared his desire to see Prospect fail” and suggests that the network’s actions may be driven by “a basic fear of embarrassment if Prospect succeeds.”
Read the complaint here.
In an announcement earlier this year, Prospect Park’s The Online Network revealed its plans to re-introduce the beloved franchise, through a groundbreaking content deal that will bring premium first-run, broadcast-quality programming to a mass market audience via the Internet. Brand new 30-minute episodes of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE will be launched each weekday starting April 29 and available to stream online in HD (when available) via the free Hulu.com service and to subscribers of Hulu Plus making these venerable dramas available in a new format that suits the viewing habits of the digital generation. In addition, the iTunes Store will offer both series via iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV and Mac or PC.
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