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Prospect Park drops plans to bring daytime soaps online

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Fans of daytime soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live got a dose of bad news today, as the production company that had hoped to bring those shows online said it was abandoning those plans. Prospect Park, which had hoped to revive the shows after their runs on ABC (s DIS) ended, made the decision after it was unable to reach an agreement with guilds necessary to restart production of the series, and after it was unable to secure financing necessary to produce the shows in an economically viable fashion.

Just five months ago, Prospect Park announced ambitious plans to take over the production of the two canceled daytime soaps and bring them online instead. The belief was that the cheaper distribution costs associated with running an online series could provide more favorable economics than were necessary for broadcasting on-air.

But the company ran into problems in securing deals necessary with the guilds and creating a financial model that would allow it to profitably operate an online-only business. Prospect Park issued the following statement along with its announcement:

“[W]e always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, [sic] and unfortunately we couldn’t ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time. We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution.”

In the end, the fact that Prospect Park wasn’t able to come up with the financing necessary to make the plan work might not be too surprising. After all, the company was trying to produce TV-quality content, but within the financial constraints of the web series world. Prospect Park Co-Founder Jeff Kwatinetz told AllThingsD earlier this month the company would need up to $80 million to produce a year’s worth of episodes for the two canceled series, which is well above even the most ambitious web-only projects. While the shows averaged about 2.5 million viewers on broadcast TV, there’s no guarantee that audience would translate online, which makes the economics of such a venture a bit risky.

The failed experiment may throw some cold water on others looking to online distribution as a way to build new programming models or to save canceled shows. While the online channel has recently emerged as one possible avenue for continuing the life of a TV series — check out Netflix’s (s NFLX) deal to bring Arrested Development back from the dead as one example — it’s clear the opportunities for online-only support are still few and far between. Hopefully that will change soon, however, which would be a positive for both content creators and fans alike.

13 Responses to “Prospect Park drops plans to bring daytime soaps online”

  1. Christine

    I think that leaving us with a cliff hanger on AMC not fair the the viewers. I agree that there should be a movie or something to tie up loose ends with this show. I still think about it and need to know. I will never watch the chew and hope it fails. Shane on you ABC

  2. Jorja Mason

    ABC should be ashamed! The perfect cable station to air our soaps would have been SOAPNET! ABC could have just moved their soaps to SOAPNET & we fans would have been happy with that! How about ABC selling SOAPNET, AMC, OLTL & GH to some other station who truly WANTS to continue the legacy of soaps and then all of us would be happy? Instead, ABC cancels our beloved soaps in exchange for cooking, entertaining and personal growth advice and changes SOAPNET to another station for kids, like Disney really needed another one! I think NOT! Just proves ABC couldn’t care less about producing soaps or pleasing the millions of loyal fans who watch them, sad but true! I certainly won’t be watching any of the new shows; I’m done with ABC!!!

  3. Really? I spent 40 years with my soaps and you promise us an out, only to pull the rug out from under us again. This is just like “Las Vegas” They left us with a cliff hanger (remember?) and we never saw what happened to Delinda’s baby. I’m really dissapointed with ABC and Prospect Park. If they are going to cancel the soap, at least wrap it up with a movie. I feel that these two companies don’t care about the time that fans put into these shows. Really, waiting until the day before the last day of taping is very wrong to the fans. I know I won’t be watching ABC from 12 to 2.

  4. Such bad news…. ABC shouldn’t have canceled and PP should have just kept them going as they said. Hoping a cable channel will pick them up, but I’m sure it won’t happen. Such a shame…

  5. Gary Landsman

    I feel that everybody dropped the ball on this. ABC-TV for just Cheaping-Out on cancelling the shows because of the people running the network, Prospect Park, because they were never truthful and above board with everyone connected with the production team and actors/actresses. I think if we start a petition to get an independent cable network to Pony-Up the necessary $$$ then we can get these shows, that were not dinosaurs, back on the air where they belong. The story lines for AMC were just getting riveting and the same goes for OLTL. To just toss these shows out like yesterdays trash, all the Suits should be ashamed of themselves. How dare you do this to the public that buys the products that the sponsors pay to the networks to broadcast these wonderful shows, how do they live with themselves. They go ahead and air The Chew, that is tanking in the rankings, and so will the new show The Revolution. Enough is Enough, stop Jerking us the viewers and the actors/actresses around. Totally Unfair.

    • Just a guy

      I don’t have a dog in this race but Chew is doing great and is cheaper to produce: “The Chew” posted its 5th consecutive week of growth to hit a series high in Total Viewers (2.248 million) for the 3rd straight week.”