Sam Hall, former co-head writer for daytime soap opera ONE LIFE TO LIVE, filed a lawsuit against the American Broadcasting Cos. Inc. in New York state court on Tuesday, claiming he hasn't been paid weekly royalties he's owed for the showing of the program by iTunes, Hulu and other services.
According to the complaint, ABC made a deal in 1984 with Wildercliff, Ltd. for Hall's writing services. The agreement is said to have entitled Hall to a weekly royalty "as long as the ONE LIFE TO LIVE series is broadcast."
A copy of the agreement was included as an exhibit in the lawsuit. The royalty payment was $1,000 per week, and it's not spelled out whether "broadcast" is restricted to network television. Hall says he got those weekly royalties until January 13, 2012, when the series ended on ABC. ABC licensed the show to Prospect Park which aired a new version online in 2013.
Hall is now claiming his his old contract entitles him to royalties from Prospect Park's ONE LIFE TO LIVE.
"Each week during which such exhibitions by each authorized entity occurred Hall was entitled to be paid the weekly royalties," says the complaint. "Despite due demand, Hall has not been paid any of the weekly royalties to which he is entitled for the exhibition of the series by Prospect Park Productions, iTunes, Hulu and OWN, which total in excess of $50,000."
Sam was born Allison Samuel Hall in Carrollton, Ohio, and graduated from Dartmouth and Yale. A veteran of the World War II Battle of the Bulge, Hall was married to Grayson Hall in 1952. Their son, Matthew, later worked with his father on scripts for the soap opera ONE LIFE TO LIVE as well as the 1991 DARK SHADOWS series.
In the October 9, 1971 issue of TV Guide, Sam Hall contributed an article entitled "Here's What Really Happened to Barnabas & Co." This article described the future fates of all of the major DARK SHADOWS characters following the final story arcs from the series which would have been filmed had the show not been cancelled.
Sam spent 10 years at ONE LIFE TO LIVE and went on to write for other daytime serials including GENERAL HOSPITAL and SANTA BARBARA.
"The woman in charge of the [ONE LIFE TO LIVE] was very open-minded,” Hall said in a 2009 interview, "and she allowed us to do some very risqué things. At one point, I lifted the entire plot of Belle du Jour [the 1967 Buñuel film about a married woman who becomes an afternoon call girl]. One day a woman came up to me and told me my work was gritty. I never thought I’d be gritty."
Along with Gordon Russell, Hall was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for writing the infamous Karen Wolek courtroom confession. They also created the Buchanan family which remained prominent for decades after Hall left ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Bo and Clint Buchanan were featured on Prospect Park's new ONE LIFE TO LIVE, which aired on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes in 2013, as well as on OWN.
"At one point in the 1990s I had five writers working for me," Hall revealed about leaving the TV world. "They were all earning 10 grand a week, but they had never read anything of interest. They had spent their entire lives watching television and it was their whole frame of reference. I realized television was never going to get any better because the people who were taking over thought everything was fine. There was no impatience about the medium."
Sam's wife, Grayson Hall, plyed Dr. Julia Hoffman on DARK SHADOWS and Euphemia Ralston in ONE LIFE TO LIVE. She died in 1985 at age 62.