Disappointing news for fans of the All My Children reboot – Variety reports that the launch (originally slated for September 26, 2011, then January 2012) is now “expected to be delayed by at least a few months.”
Many fans panicked when ABC Soaps in Depth went as far as saying, “According to our insiders, the company…has decided that they only need one soapopera for their new Internet channel…Word is that they are not moving forward with the AMC reboot.” But multiple other sources (including the November 22 Soap Opera Digest) report that the project has merely been put on hold – citing Prospect Park’s financial difficulties, as well as the struggle to secure cast members.
Former AMC cast members are quick to point out, “The OLTL cast has the benefit of knowing who’d they be working under [as executive producer] and who’ll be writing the show. That’s all still up in the air with our show. For us, signing a four-year commitment is a much bigger risk.”
The Online Network (TOLN) is still launching in January – with plans full-steam-ahead to air the also cancelled One Life to Live – but executives at Prospect Park (the media company launching TOLN) have only signed two Pine Valley castmates to date.
At the recent Tribute to Pine Valley event in New York, Darnell Williams (Jesse) touched on Lindsay Hartley’s (Cara) October tweet proclaiming, “Darnell Williams has officially signed on!!” Apparently, this was news to him as he didn’t know an announcement was being made. Williams praised PP’s Jeff Kwatinetz and Frank Rich, saying “I do think that if it were to happen, it’d be very exciting.” He cautioned, however, that there were still a number of factors up in the air. Fellow castmate Cameron Mathison (Ryan) – who has already signed with the online soap – added, “It’s only a question of when, not a matter of if.”
Each of the Tribute actors expressed hope that the show would go on. In fact, Jacob Young’s (JR) deal with The Bold & The Beautiful is short-term, so the gun-toting Chandler is also a candidate for the show. “Let’s see what the Prospect Park guys can bring to the table,” Young said.
The delay landing AMC stars does not seem to be their unwillingness to make the leap, but rather PP’s intention to land Susan Lucci (Erica) before it pursues anyone else. Lucci rejected an early offer to re-sign. She was reportedly promised her network salary – but when she asked the new producers for even more cash (to compensate for the salary cut she took when the show moved to the west coast), fewer hours, and a commitment for a primetime series, Prospect Park declined. Lucci has since taken a multiple episode role on Lifetime’s Army Wives, but is reportedly still in negotiations to return to AMC.
Which brings us back to money. While navigating further negotiations with various actor and crew unions, PP is also working to win over enough financial backers to bring the soap online. According to Peter Kafka of All Things D, Kwatinetz will need around $80 million to produce two soaps for one year. To start production, he’ll need $65 million. That’s a lot of greenbacks. Still, Kwatinetz maintains that he can make a profit on the shows if only 10 percent of the 2.5 million regular TV viewers watch online.
Prospect Park continues its search for an AMC producer and head writer.