Friday, April 19, 2013

LAW SUIT: A View Through the Looking Glass at the Prospect Park vs. ABC Lawsuit

Though filled with legal mumbo-jumbo, the court documents filed in the Prospect Park/ABC case are frequently fascinating and occasionally even surreal.  For OLTL fans, and GH fans as well, the documents offer some very juicy and intriguing tidbits.  After reading the whole thing, here are some of the more interesting passages. All emphasis appears in the original court document.  All commentary after the quote is strictly my own opinion.  What do you think?  Please share your thoughts in the Comments section, below.

1. "Exclusivity of all OLTL characters was a key inducement to the license, and to Prospect's willingness to pay enormous license fees (as much as $4 million in the first season alone) and share profits for rights to OLTL."  Well, now we have an idea of what ABC is being paid for doing nothing with a product it tried to destroy.  It's a neat trick.

2. "As just one example of ABC's unapproved and outrageous behavior, ABC killed off two OLTL characters that were temporarily licensed for use on General Hospital, Cole and Hope Thornhart, by having their car forced over a cliff."  Perhaps this wrongful death suit will help Cole and Hope finally find some peace?

3. "ABC eliminated another major OLTL character, Thomas Delgado, who was not even licensed to ABC, by claiming Delgado is really another General Hospital character, Lorenzo Alcazar."  Not only was this move gratuitous, it seems to me (and PP is suggesting) that it may have been done, in part, out of spite.  Also, in this particular case, isn't this, maybe, a little bit racist, to conflate the two characters so easily?  And, it's Tomas!

4. "With regard to the character Todd Manning, after telling Prospect executives that his role on General Hospital would be limited, ABC made him one of the most central characters on that show, and even moved the newspaper he owns, The Sun, from Llanview to Port Charles, where General Hospital takes place."  That answers my biggest question at the time, which was, why on earth would PP agree to this?  Well that's simple - apparently, they didn't.

5. "In other instances, ABC damaged OLTL characters (including characters to which they did not have any rights) by, among other things, creating absurd story lines, having characters do things they would never do (and of which Prospect Park would never have approved), and destroying critical character relationships popular with soap fans."  If nothing else comes of this lawsuit, I am over the moon about the precedent this sets.  We can finally sue our soaps for absurd story lines, and for having characters do things that are, well,  out-of-character!  It's about time, don't you think?

6. "ABC entered into long-term contracts with certain actors known for their characters in OLTL... ABC did so knowing full well that it had short term rights to the OLTL characters, and without disclosing to the actors Prospect's right to get the characters back... at least some of the actors moved their families to Los Angeles not knowing that their characters were on short term loan..."   If this is true, wow.  Collateral damage.  Very ugly... sad, too.

7. "...ABC recently threatened to pull from its network Prospect's OLTL advertisements (for which it paid considerable sums) because they feature [Roger Howarth] playing the character licensed to Prospect."  For me, this complaint sums up the whole OLTL-GH-PP-ABC hot mess.  I think that, at the very least, I think it's obvious ABC is guilty of trying to hard to have their cake and eat it too.  As I see it, either you continue the series, including the history and the characters - or you let it go (and sit back and collect license fees).  Try to do both and not only do things get weird - the fans get royally screwed.

8. "Prospect Park hereby demands a trial by jury in the above entitled action."  Applause!  You know there will be OLTL fans on that jury.  Man, do I hope this goes to trial!

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  1. Not enough merit to justify a $25 million lawsuit. If the new OLTL is any good it will survive despite the alleged malicious acts of ABC and a monetary settlement will not change that.

  2. I had to laugh at the "creating absurd story lines, having characters do things they would never do" part of the lawsuit. We hear that so much online every day.

  3. The "voice" of the documents suggests part of the motivation for the suit is for PP to be able to clear the air and demonstrate to fans that the obvious issues we've all observed these past months are not their fault. I think the money may not be the only goal. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

  4. A trial by jury would be epic.

  5. Seriously! Can you imagine? "I call Todd Manning - I mean Roger Howarth - to the stand!"

  6. I feel for the actors who were led to believe they could appear on GH (where by the way I enjoyed them very much, and am very disappointed that they are gone now) for an extended period of time. If I were them and GH was still willing, I would return to GH as soon as my contract with Prospect Park is up. Loved Star, John and Todd on GH!!!!

  7. PP alleges that ABC lured them to LA with promises of long-term employment they knew they could not offer. If that is true, would it change your opinion, Suzanne? I would feel bad if they returned to work for a boss who intentionally misled them... Thanks for your feedback!

  8. Daytime execs like to say the OJ trial helped bring down daytime ratings (not their own choices). Well, this trial can bring all the viewers back! :)

  9. @ Kevin, that would slightly change my opinion, but the actors were still led to believe they had long term roles on GH, which I just read is true anyway. Another posting indicated they will be returning to GH on June 10th (I believe). They will return as other characters though, either replacing an old character or as a new one. I just want to see Sam & Michael, Todd & Carly and Michael with Star, no matter what their new names are. They all had great chemistry!

  10. Suzanne, I want Roger working with Robin Mattson too! They were comedy gold. He has great chemistry with so many actors on both OLTL and GH so I can't make up my mind what I want to happen.

  11. All such a mess... and no matter how you slice it, the fans (to which PP - and ABC - and the actors - all owe everything!) were absolutely disrespected.

  12. The part that really made me laugh was the assertion that PP had only the best interests of the actors at heart. Because TV executives are known for being such big softies!

  13. Not saying PP doesn't have some case, but given how "absurd" (to use their word) certain storylines and character developments can be in the daytime soap opera genre, they may have difficulty proving that something depicted on GH "alienated" fans enough for them to not tune-in to the new OLTL, because something went beyond "an element in connection with a character that is considered canon on OLTL."

    Daytime fans are some of the most loyal and forgiving viewers out there and have proven time and time again that they will turn the corner, put the mistakes of past head writers behind them and just move on, hoping for the best when new writers come in to (supposedly) fix things. I mean - characters come back from the dead, they have doppelgangers, clones, plastic surgery doubles, and even rip rubber masks off their faces .. lol! .. Anyway, thinking back on some of the outrageous things I've witnessed on soaps over decades of viewing, this particular claim made me chuckle .. just a bit. ;-)

  14. This PP battle with ABC is turning into a pissing contest.

    They mishandled Cole and Hope Thornhart by killing them off? Gee, soaps have never, ever, brought characters back from the dead. I guess Stavros has been in Port Charles for the past 12 years and I've just been overlooking him.

    They damaged Tomas Delgado by suggesting he's really Lorenzo Alcazar? Please! Two lines of dialogue and it's taken care of.

    The damaged Todd's character by moving the Sun from Llanview to Port Charles? Gee, I guess a media mogul like Todd can't own two newspapers. One line of dialogue fixes that.

    ABC had no right offering the Llanview Three long term employment? Excuse me, but PP was dead in the water for a year. Bailed out at the last minute and showed no signs of life.

    And exactly who was Ron C supposed to run storyline by at PP? An MBA working on financing? The janitor emptying the trashcans? It's not like OLTL had a headwriter in place to approve GH story decisions.

    I'm not saying ABC is without fault. They mishandled a lot of this. Ron C clearly overstepped his bounds, but it's understandable if he feels paternalistic toward the OLTL characters.

    However, PP isn't accepting any responsibility for its actions, or rather lack of action. This suit appears more like a money grab than anything else.

  15. GH can have star and Mcbain , but RH needs to come back to OLTL or we can share . ABC knows they made a mistake by ending OLTL . We TOLD u so ABC

  16. I have to agree with James here, ABC did us a lot of wrong. They did cancel my favourite soap after all; but PP is basically make it sound as if they were the saviours when OLTL/AMC was more or less dead until a couple months ago.

    This entire thing is a group of adults behaving like children fighting over 3 toys they both want.

    Also from what I remember the only actor out of the three that had signed with PP was Easton.

  17. I refuse to allow the behind the scenes drama impact my love for GH or my excitement about OLTL returning. Erika Slezak has made is very clear it was ABC, not just Brian Frons, that sent OLTL off the air..and it sounds like they are pretty shady. I wonder what Ron and Frank think, seeing how they loved OLTL and are loving GH. Shady moves on behalf of ABC, if it is true. This legal drama is juicier than Reeves vs. Days or Kimberlin Brown vs. Hunter Tyle

  18. Wasn't Frons at ABC when PP made this licensing deal? But he wasn't at ABC when PP claims the network breached the agreement. Is anyone specifically named like Ron or Frank?

  19. z, one of the most surreal things about the document is that almost all the actual names are character names... I don't recall any brass being cited specifically - but it was a bit of a slog to get through and I may have missed something =)