Although the Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated this week, All My Children fans didn’t have much to be thankful for. Those anticipating the online launch of Pine Valley’s continuing saga were disappointed to learn that plans for the show to move forward were indefinitely scrapped. Daytime will never again see compelling stories like Pine Valley’s great baby switch of 2004. Even Jacob Young’s (JR) intent to come to the negotiating table and solve the question of, “Who did JR shoot?” in the network finale was not enough to breathe new life into the long-running sudser.
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ABC cancelled AMC earlier this year after a 41 year run. The last network episode aired September 23, 2011. Fans rejoiced when Prospect Park signed a licensing agreement to revive the show, but money problems have plagued the effort since the beginning; numerous hurdles have been thrown into the production’s path. After months of delays, Prospect Park’s Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinez issued a joint statement Wednesday:
“After five months of negotiations with various guilds, hundreds of presentations to potential financial and technology partners, and a hope that we could pioneer a new network for the future, it is with great disappointment that we are suspending our aspirations to revive One Life To Live and All My Children via online distribution.
We believed the timing was right to launch an Online TV Network anchored by these two iconic soap operas, but we always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, 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.
While we narrowed in on a financial infrastructure, the contractual demands of the guilds, which regulate our industry, coupled with the program’s inherent economic challenges ultimately led to this final decision. In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion.
In our opinion, new models like this can only work with the cooperation of many people striving to make them happen, and we would like to thank and praise the numerous people who tried to help and showed us incredible support. We are extremely grateful to the fans and media who showed great support to us through this process, to ABC who did everything in their control to help, and we are especially grateful for the support and encouragement from many of the soaps’ cast and crew themselves.”
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Rumors that Susan Lucci (Erica) was a fly in the ointment were last week quelled by her Facebook post:
“I want my fans to know the truth. There has been miscommunications as a result of statements in the press that I am one of the reasons that All My Children is not moving forward. This is simply untrue and not the case. We have been in discussions since Prospect Park first expressed interest in moving the series online, and in correspondence dated September 8th, I made it clear that I would be ecstatic to be a part of All My Children in a prominent way if they committed to producing the series for another year. I have not heard back from Prospect Park since then, in fact, I learned of their decision not to proceed with All My Children at the same time you did, through the media.”
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Both the WGA and AFTRA – also rumored to be slowing negotiations – issued statements expressing their disappointment that the launch would not be moving forward: “We were disappointed to learn that Prospect Park’s financing fell through,” said the WGA. “Prior to the end of last week, we were close to a fair deal for the writers.” “Despite initial progress in our negotiations with Prospect Park toward resolving a fair agreement to cover the performers appearing on these programs, we were perplexed and disappointed that for the past month Prospect Park has not responded to our repeated inquiries to resume those discussions,” said AFTRA, the union that represents the actors. “We now conclude from the press reports that Prospect Park faced other challenges unrelated to our negotiations, which prevented continuation of those discussions. We remain hopeful that an opportunity to revive these two popular series will emerge in the future, and remain ready to resume discussions should that opportunity arise.”
On Wednesday, creator Agnes Nixon was also asked to comment:
“I am sorry they had to give up the intent to put it on and I’m very grateful to Rich and Jeff for their efforts,” said Nixon, “but I know that no matter what happens, there is still much story to be told in both One Life to Live and All My Children, and in my heart, I believe, it may still be told. And I’d love to be part of the telling. I’m also grateful to [One Life executive producer] Frank Valentini and the cast and crews. But more than anyone to our fans who have been so loyal and who are a part of our big family.”
All My Children fans will now have to console themselves with behind the scenes documentary footage captured by stars Jill Larson (Opal) and Jacob Young (JR) during AMC’s last days on ABC. The project hopes to encapsulate what it took to put on the show for so many years – from the perspective of the cast, crew, and different department heads. The piece is intended as a keepsake for fans as well as those affiliated with the program.
What was your favorite AMC storyline over the years? And how will you remember the show?