Welcome to the Chicken Coop, Mr Wolf

Chucky 2Politics. The word is so charged and laden with emotional baggage that many people wisely leave the room at its mere utterance. Give it a try, and if you’re anything like most people, the images it conjures in your mind are probably fairly predictable (and not at all unreasonable): Angry people yelling at each other, often-rigged popularity contests, and above all, disingenuous, unscrupulous individuals more concerned with attaining positions of power than with faithfully carrying out the responsibilities that are supposed to come with it.

 It may surprise you to hear, then, that – of all things – the inner workings of soap operas are surprisingly similar to this latter aspect of politics. All too often, favors and status from personal friends result in the appointing of someone to a role of some stewardship over a soap that the named person in no way deserves. Today we discuss one such example, in the infamous person of Charles Pratt, Jr.

 Of course, for soap opera fans, this man needs no introduction. A writer of influence for some time on All My Children, he was commonly ridiculed by viewers, who liked to joke that he “couldn’t write a grocery list”. His style and the content of his stories left it plain that he neither understood the show for which he was writing, nor cared about its integrity. Susan Lucci and Michael E Knight are among the AMC alum known to have criticized Pratt, and even to have approached him with protestations that their characters were being egregiously mishandled, all to no avail. Fed up, fans even launched an online petition, collecting digital signatures to demand that Pratt be removed as a writer.

 So naturally, he’s now an Executive Producer on The Young and The Restless.

 I’m afraid you read that right. Not only has Pratt never been punished for his careless attitude toward the show he was entrusted to guide and protect, he’s now been rewarded with a promotion. In addition to the fact that this is simply outrageous, it’s also a threat to another beloved soap, and it must be treated as such. This monster, who obviously couldn’t care less about the soul of the shows he works on, must not be allowed to do to Y&R what he did to AMC.

Fans must make their voices heard, speaking clearly and unequivocally their rejection of Charles Pratt, Jr, and be clear that they will not patronize his involvement. It’s his job to protect this show, but we already know he’s not going to do it. And that means it falls to us!

By Eternalendrea

Decoding the Latest Development in the Ever-Tedious PP vs. ABC Lawsuit

pp abc picHello, Soap Fans! Hope you’re all doing well this Monday! This blog is intended to continue demystifying the lawsuit involving Prospect Park and Disney. Both this blog and the previous one , both of which are interviews—this one being just two quick questions and a link to the legal document Trevor McBain and Karim El Masri alerted us to!—with a legal counsel colleague of ours, Troy Veenstra. We would like to thank Trevor McBain, big soap fan and blogger, and Karim el Masri, also a big soap fan, for making us aware of the legal document that this blog references.

Here is a link to it

http://www.law360.com/articles/578671/creditors-slam-one-life-to-live-producer-s-ch-11-plan.

Click here to read the full transcript in a PDF doc.pp legal jargon

Do you know, soap fans, how over this lawsuit your trusted editor and friend, Akbi Khan is? It’s starting to feel like just another way for ABC/Disney to prolong the pain of soap fans like us and you. Am I right?

So we asked our friend and legal counsel, Troy Veenstra , to help us understand the latest legal drama (if only it were as interesting, well-written, touching, etc. as a soap!).

LTAS: What, essentially, is this latest chapter in the increasingly irritating and way-too-long legal battle between ABC and Prospect Park?

TV: Because the Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan is based on PPN winning their lawsuit against ABC, Wilmington Trustee’s say that it is unfounded, unreliable as its using the basis of the payment of the suit to pay their debts, relying on funds that currently are not tangible. Meaning funds that don’t actually exist and will only exist IF PPN wins their lawsuit. (This is kind of like saying; I will pay my bills once I win the lottery.)

Furthermore, because PPN has failed to release or disclose their monthly operating cost to the Bankruptcy court, the trusties want to change the chapter 11 filing to an all-out bankruptcy, chapter seven, liquidating all assets. I have attached a copy of the Bankruptcy Docket for your reader, it includes some information you might find interesting and useful.

Trustee Blasts ‘One Life To Live’ Producer’s Ch. 11 Disclosure

Share us on: By Jamie Santo

Law360, Wilmington (December 16, 2014, 2:35 PM ET) — A U.S. Trustee on Monday blasted the disclosure statement of bankrupt Prospect Park Networks LLC, the production company that tried to revive soap operas “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” online, saying it outlines a Chapter 11 plan that doesn’t pass muster.

U.S. Trustee Roberta A. DeAngelis argues that PPN’s disclosure statement should be rejected because the plan itself is defective and would only take effect once funds are available to pay administrative and priority tax claims, a situation that seemingly depends on the company succeeding in its $95 million lawsuit against the ABC television network.

“The debtor’s disclosure statement should not be approved because the underlying Chapter 11 plan is unconfirmable,” DeAngelis said in an objection filed in Delaware bankruptcy court. “The plan has an indefinite, contingent effective date and appears to hinge on speculative litigation winnings.”

PPN launched a breach-of-contract suit against ABC in California state court in April 2013, alleging the television network sabotaged the online relaunches of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” and entered bankruptcy in Delaware this March after its online versions of the soaps failed to generate sufficient revenue.

The Hollywood-based production company unveiled a Chapter 11 plan in August that would create a liquidation trustee to wind down the estate, and filed an updated plan and disclosure statement in October.

DeAngelis contends the proposed plan violates the Bankruptcy Code requirement that administrative and priority tax claims be paid in full soon after confirmation, since holders of such claims would have to wait until PPN has raised sufficient funds, the objection said.

“The effective date can occur only if the debtor accumulates enough money — presumably from the ABC litigation — to pay administrative and priority tax claims in full,” the trustee said. “But that contingency may only come to fruition at an indefinite future date and may not come to fruition at all.”

The disclosure statement touts the ABC litigation as PPN’s most significant asset, but fails to state how much cash the estate has on hand and whether it is sufficient to cover the required claims, according to the objection.

“If the estate does not have enough money to pay administrative and priority claims in full on or around the time of confirmation, then a hearing on the disclosure statement should not go forward,” the trustee said.

Moreover, considering the disclosure statement at this time is inappropriate because PPN has failed to file its required monthly operating reports since July, said DeAngelis, who concluded with a request that the court consider converting the case to Chapter 7.

LTAS: ABC/Disney still own the rights to All My Children, we know this. But do the latest developments have anything to do with or change the fact that ABC/Disney owns the rights to One Life to Live? Will this latest development interfere in any way with ABC/Disney’s ability to reboot the soaps?

TV: No the latest development doesn’t have anything to do with or change the fact that ABC owns the rights to AMC or OLTL or their ability to reboot the soaps?”

Hope that helped! In other LTAS news, we are working on a blog on advertisers/advertising and soaps. Dr. Donald Boudreau’s interview delved into this topic often, but this upcoming blog will be dedicated exclusively to it and will feature the answers of someone who knows that industry.

We would like to thank our friend, Troy Veenstra for his continued help in understanding the lawsuit between Prospect Park and ABC/Disney. Thank you, Troy! Veenstra is also the author of a book titled, “The Murder of Jeffrey Dryden: the Grim Truth Surrounding Male Domestic Abuse,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Please comment on this post and anything related in the comment section below. Also, subscribe to our blog to get immediate e-mail notification when we put up a new post. And as always, soap fans: Stay Soapy!

Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

Soaps Are Family, Especially At Christmas Time

jack and erica wedding picOLTL Christmas pic

It’s that time of year again when I miss the soaps that are no longer with us the most. As I decorate and wait for my family to arrive for our annual visit, I think back to many Christmases when I found comforts in soaps and when the soaps were very much a part of the family celebrations.

I’ve watched just about every soaps over the years and I always loved Christmas on the soaps. When I think of Christmas and the soaps I think of Days of Our Lives, Another World, General Hospital, All My Children, Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Young & The Restless, and more. These soaps played an important role in my life and each of them gave me special Christmas memories and in many respects, each gave me a tradition that I carry with me even today.

day christmasOne of my earliest memories of soaps at Christmas time was watching Days of Our Lives with my grandmother in the 1970’s. Each year, we would bake cooking and decorate the house, all while watching the Horton family prepare for their Christmas activities. I remember the Horton tradition of decorating their tree with bulbs that had the names of each family member. This tradition is one that carries forward to today, and it is one that stays with me. As Alice Horton always explained, the bulbs were a way to have the entire family present, even if the actual person could not be in Salem, or if they had passed and were no longer with us. As I grew into adulthood, I borrowed a variation of this tradition for my own tree. I don’t have bulbs with the names of family members, but I make sure to buy dated ornaments each year as a reminder of what that particular Christmas meant to me and my parents. Each year, as I decorate the tree, every ornament has a memory and a meaning attached to it, and each time I view them, I am transported back to a special time, and I always think of Alice Horton and the tradition she started.

As I entered my teenage years I quickly discovered that time honored soap Christmas tradition of bringing hope when things seemed most hopeless. This was always the case with lovers who had been torn apart for whatever reason, somehow, they always found themselves in the same place at the same time to remember what they mean to each other and to give hope to the viewer and signal that they would soon find their way back to each other. One my of favorite Christmas soap moments was JennyandGreg amcwatching Jenny and Greg on “All My Children” in the early 1980’s. The pair had overcome their different socio-economic backgrounds to find love, only to be broken up by the meddling of others. Somehow, though, at Christmas, they found themselves in the same place and the magic of Christmas let them, and the viewers, know that they needed to be back together, and soon! I had the same a feeling almost a decade later when “Guiding Light” reunited Phillip Spaulding with his long lost and believed dead love, Beth Raines. With the help of Phillip’s guardian “Nick” who somehow only showed up at Christmas time, the two lovers found each other again and celebrated their very own Christmas miracle.

I’ve written before of how I always had the soaps on in the background while I was decorating our family tree and I thought of that this week as I prepared my tree for the arrival of my parents for Christmas. As I hung the lights and ornaments, my mind immediately went back to those many Christmases when I would start decorating around noon and continue on through the afternoon as “Young & The Restless,” “Bold & The Beautiful,” “As The World Turns” and finally “Guiding Light” played on the television. By 4:00 PM, the tree would be finished, the house decorated, and another soap-inspired Christmas in my memory.

Christmas, sadly, can also be a time of stress and sadness, if you are thinking of lost love or family that is no longer with us. In those situations, there is nothing better than curling up with a warm cup of hot chocolate, some comfort food and the soaps. Many sop writers realize that there are viewers struggle through adversity and they always craft storylines around the holidays that center on finding hope in hopeless situations. No soap does this better than “Young & The Restless.” Each holiday season for the past several years, that soap has presented an episode that focuses on one character and the struggles they face. Over the hour, that character hits rock bottom and with the guidance of a stranger, they reach the end of the episode, not with their problems solved, but with hope that everything will work out over time. That theme speaks to so many during the holidays and it has spoken to me many nicki drinkingtimes. The episode that stays with me most is the one that centered on heroine Nicki Newman. Nicki has battled alcoholism for years and as she found herself alone at Christmas and involved in an alcohol fueled car accident on her way to her daughter’s wedding, she encountered a stranger who explained what life would be like for her loved ones without her in their lives. In the end, she discovered that the stranger was her long dead mother, manifested as her guardian angel.

Many dismiss the soap opera genre, but when done well, the soaps are inspirational, and I for one have been inspired, comforted and uplifted by the soaps year after year. I can’t imagine a Christmas without the soaps and I hope there will never be a holiday season when I can’t turn the television on and share my Christmas with my soap families. That is why we must work hard to keep our soaps on the air, and fight to get our old soaps back.

Share some of your favorite soap Christmas memories, I know you have some.

David Arwood

David Arwood

American Soaps Overseas: Popular Much?

????????????????????????????????????Hey, soap fans! Have you ever wondered whether American soap operas were and/or are popular overseas? Well, wonder no more. Here is one example, written by a LTAS contributor “Lidia”. She is a young Spanish woman and has a fascinating story to tell about the popularity of American soaps overseas. Read on, fans!

I was born at the beginning of the 90s.

TV series are something I’ve grown up with. Personally, I am a huge fan of Xena the Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I’ve also consumed an endless list of series and I’ve enjoyed them greatly.

I’ve always lived surrounded of a TV culture that, daily or weekly, allowed me to visit for a while someone else’s life, and usually that someone else was American. And these series that surrounded me were of all kinds and genres, Family, Comedy, Action, Science Fiction, Horror… and also of course Soap Operas.

All these series have made me and people very different than me, people that may never set foot in the USA, become strangely familiarized with the American lifestyle, culture and even history. With the curious and strange (for us) American high school hierarchy, with American dollars, with American presidents, with Thanksgiving… through our TVs, American culture entered our homes, and it was very welcome!

But, even though I’ve always lived surrounded by all this, even in the 90s this was a pretty new situation in Spain.

It may be strange to read this for an American, because you’ve been enjoying a great variety of TV shows for decades (even from the 50s and 60s, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch… and I’m not even sure all of them were aired in Spain! Talk about how strong American culture is), but in Spain, when we look back with TV nostalgy… we don’t have to look back much, because it’s all pretty recent in comparison.

Because in Spain, back then, we only had two networks (although, ironically enough, in some aspects they were much more productive than nowadays). I was born at the same time as channel plurality in our TVs, in 1990.

I tell you all this because it’s important to keep it in mind to fully appreciate how big of a deal it is that Spanish audiences keep some things, certain soap operas, certain characters and moments, so close to their hearts.

All these was important because in the years that followed this birth of multiple TV channels, in these first decades of TV in Spain, what was aired was carefully chosen, and it was supposed to be a big hit for the audiences, it became part of our popular culture.

These decades gave us shows that had their golden age in our TVs and endure in people’s memories as fantastic products that made us love the small-screen. American cop shows, family sitcoms… and Soap Operas.

A huge and very beloved part of these TV revolution were those great series about wealthy families and colossal financial empires, with archetypical characters, fabulous openings… the 80s was a glorious moment for American Soap Operas. Those were dramas starred rich and powerful families, where its members hate each other for their wine or oil businesses, and they ruled TV audiences for years and won their hearts with those wicked villains, those love triangles—and even quadrilaterals–those mansions and those stories full of secrets and unexpected twists.
For the audiences, the characters, their lives full of luxury and intrigues, the whole package was just fascinating.

falcon crestA great example of all this was “Falcon Crest”, which apparently was more successful in Europe than in the United States. In Spain, people loved how very involved the wine culture was on a story level. Even just the opening theme is one of the most famous from TV shows history. An everyday conversation back then might probably include some references to certain character who became part of our TV culture… because Angela Channing was a celebrated villainess par excellence. “Falcon Crest” was one of the firsts Soap Operas to arrive on Spanish TV. Here, it truly became a social phenomenon. Each new chapter made thousands of homes stay paralyzed, everyone looking at the screens, tuned to the wine/love stories of those characters.

Alexis ColbiSpeaking of TV villainesses becoming popular icons… if “Dynasty” had an added bonus, it was Joan Collins, another great wicked villain: Alexis stole the scenes every time she appeared. And, even though the show was famous for the incoherence in its scripts and the apparitions/disparitions of characters, in a sense, it also laid the foundations of the genre in our screens, and “Dynasty” is still a synonym of glamour for us.

Dallas JRAnother great Soap Opera to arrive here was “Dallas”, of course, the show that made the breakthrough. It was the first luxury saga, set on a Texas ranch, that told parallel stories of several families whose members were by no means moral exemplars, to the point that “good” characters were a rarity. What the Spanish audiences enjoyed was its narrative structure: several entwined plots giving us a story about a Texan family, the Ewings, millionaires from the oil and cattle industries. And also, once again, people loved the unforgettable villain: J.R., another villain that would influence greatly our popular culture, even being named and referenced in a lot of programs and pictures by comedy actors such as Lina Morgan on Spanish TV.

Dallas also paved the way for other classic shows to try to make a comeback. In summer of 2012 it was on the news that TNT Spain would air the “Dallas” revival, to the joy of the online community of fans of the show… even though a couple of months ago we learned about its cancellation after three seasons. Fans wondered, is this the destiny for the Soap Opera genre?

Spanish network la Sexta announced in 2011 plans for having its second channel completely devoted to Soap Operas and telenovelas, making a profit from its association with Televisa.

This genre is so beloved in Spain that our studios have tried to replicate the success with some projects hugely inspired by the classic American productions. One example would be “Herederos”, in 2007, a production that followed the line of the great American Soap Operas and told the story of a wealthy family from the bullfighting scene, the Orozcos, living under the scrutiny of the press and fighting internal disputes, with intrigues, the fights between classes, double morals and plenty of betrayal. The main character was played by a very well-known Spanish actress, Concha Velasco, and it was impossible not to see references to shows such as Falcon Crest, Dynasty, or the recent Brothers & Sisters.

The problem for the Spanish audience of today, young people like myself that were born after the successful era of this genre, is that first of all we would have to learn to differentiate two different genres that are seen as one and the same nowadays: Soap Operas and telenovelas. This confusion is, in this case, damaging the Soap Opera genre because young audiences are not very keen of Latin American telenovelas (although this genre also has its own audience and tends to be successful in terms of numbers).

Meanwhile, we are living with a trend in which everything “retro” is fashionable, a trend driven by nostalgia that makes young people want to experience everything that made a hit decades ago (remember the “A-Team” movie, for example…). Just mentioning any of the great American Soap Operas evokes the idea of those popular TV shows that we’ve heard about so much, but in most cases never had the occasion to watch.

AMC OLTLI should say the confusion between Soap Operas and telenovelas in Spanish audiences’ minds is not damaging at all in the case of American audiences. Univisión is huge in the USA thanks to their telenovelas. We learned, much to our surprise, of the cancellation of classic Soap Operas such as “All My Children”, “One Life to Live”… while each new Televisa or Telemundo production is sold to an average of 20 countries.

Some people think Soap Operas today would be almost obsolete formulas for being “serialized dramas that require a hard loyalty that nowadays would be difficult to get”. But actually, that hard loyalty from audiences is today much easier and normal than it used to be before the Internet. Online communities of fans have had a huge impact on shows such as “Lost”, “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones”. The only difference would be the genre, it might be that the audience’s taste has changed… but even that would be arguable.

daysofourlivesIf “Grey’s Anatomy” still works, it is thanks to its distinctly Soap-Opera-esque quality, very much in the tradition of shows like “General Hospital” or “Days of Our Lives”, that allows them to keep, through thick and thin, a large number of captive audiences that have endured ups and downs and some very bizarre moments.

General HospitalIt’s not so much that the tastes have changed—people still like a good Soap Opera. What may have changed, in fact, are expectations. We expect quality TV.

TV business has changed. We are living a new golden era for TV shows. In foreign countries like Spain we can enjoy an endless amount of American shows, for all kinds of tastes, being aired with less than a week of difference than in the USA. Now there are very different kinds of creators, genres, broadcasting…

Then, why would it have to be the end of ANY genre? Especially given how much television owes to THIS genre. Right now, there is an audience for pretty much any genre you can think of, and definitely there is an audience eagerly waiting for the great return of Soap Operas.

Then, what are networks waiting for?

Lidia,

As always, soap fans, stay soapy! And don’t forget to comment. And subscribe to our blog (upper-right-hand corner of the main page).

Your Editor-In-Chief

Akbi Khan

LTAS December promo

1. We will be posting an interview with Dr. Donald Boudreau, author of “American Business and Daytime Drama.” He is a soap fan, a brilliant business thinker, a wonderful writer, and one of the most gracious and kind people. You’ll see all this reflected in our interview, guaranteed.

2. We will also be posting an interview with an advertising industry insider who has some fascinating insights into soaps and their relationships to advertisers. We drew inspiration from Carolyn Hinsey’s recent column on the same topic.

3. Our Cliffhanger Friday columns for “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless,” penned by Casey Hutchinson and Sofia Bryan will be starting up.

4. And we have a surprise interview in the works. I wish I could tell you more—I’m itching to—but I you’ll see it soon enough.

And as always, soap fans, stay soapy!

–Your Editor-in-Chief, Akbi Khan

Photo on 5-2-14 at 3.42 PM #3

Those Who Will Not Be Silenced

Susan memoirKim's bookIt’s hard to overstate the affection which devoted fans of a soap opera feel toward the actors who play the characters they follow on TV every day. We’re talking about true, dyed in the wool fanatics here. These are the people, more than anyone, that the actors are talking about – and talking to – when they thank their fans for their support, because they are the people who provide encouragement and a human connection between the actor and their fans, and who most passionately inspire others to join the ranks of the fandom. We all know the type: They familiarize themselves with the actors’ career prior to appearing on the show, they write fan mail to the actors, they attend events where the actors are scheduled as guests. And they listen, very carefully, to everything the actors say.

 Which is why the irony is so overpowering that, many times, the actors really can’t say anything at all. It’s not their fault, it’s in their contracts. They’re working under a gag order.

What is a gag order? Put simply, it’s a clause in an actor’s contract (they’re also used for people in the Department of Defense who handle top secret classified government secrets) that requires them not to reveal sensitive information about their show or be outwardly critical of its producers. Basically they are obligated – under contract – to avoid saying anything that embarrasses the show, angers fans, or otherwise risks the profits of the suits behind the cameras. And these gag orders are serious business; if you violate one, losing your job on the show is the least of your worries. You could be looking at a hefty lawsuit.

This is why it’s so impressive when an actor is willing to risk such harsh consequences in the name of the truth. A prime example would be Kim Zimmer (Reva from Guiding Light CBS), who wrote a book entitled “I’m Just Saying” in which she was brutally and beautifully honest about her feelings towards the studio’s production methods on her show. In the book, she accuses the studio of abandoning their pride in a job well done, and concerning themselves only with churning out an hour of television (of whatever quality) as quickly as possible. She became disgusted with the caliber of her own soap, and she told everyone about it at hers bosses’ expense. It’s the kind of thing anyone under a gag order risks being severely disciplined for, but she loved Guiding Light too much to keep quiet.

 Another prime example Susan Lucci (Erica Kane, AMC) : Her rage is captured in excerpts published by the NY Post on Saturday.”An iconic show was losing out to greed … If Brian Frons could show his bosses that he could save the network 40 percent … he could keep his job even if the rest of us lost ours,” she writes, referencing the decision to go with a cheaper show — food talk show “The Chew — in the place of the classic soap. “I watched Brian Frons’ decisions destroy the production of our show and the lives of people on both sides of the country.”

Yet when this does happen, all too often there’s no appreciation for the courage of the outspoken actors, because there’s so little understanding of the risk they are taking. I’m hoping to put a stop to that, right here and now, at least for anyone who reads what I’m writing here. Let’s not be too hard on those actors who abide by their contracts and keep silent at all costs – they have good, personal reasons to do so – but please, let’s give credit where credit is due and acknowledge the downright heroism of those whom no order can gag!

By Eternalendrea,

Remember two things, soap fans, you have a voice, and an important one, at that. Use it! And two, as always, stay soapy!

“Dynasty” is Coming Back! And We Must Save “Dallas”!

DallasVsDynasty“Dynasty’s” first iteration aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 until May 11, 1989.  After 8 years, ABC/Disney cancelled it. But an inside source told us that “Dynasty 2015” is about to make a comeback on A&E , a cable channel owned by–you guessed it–ABC/Disney.

 

We at LTAS have to wonder why ABC/Disney doesn’t just air the new “Dynasty 2015” in primetime on ABC?

In a recent, related development, TNT has decided to pull the plug on their reboot of “Dallas,” which fans were loving. The incomparable Shawn Brady  whom we have interviewed here on LTAS,

(http://www.letstalkaboutsoaps.com/an-interview-with-shawn-brady-soap-hero/#.VDx3LEt4VG4 ),

one of the leaders of the influential and important group, Soap Fans United, is now working on convincing another network to pick up  “Dallas”.

Please sign these petitions, have your friends and family sign it and pass it on to Save Dallas. The first one is intended to convince TNT to rectify their mistake and keep on airing “Dallas”. The second one is to demonstrate to ABC, CBS, NBC, to pick it up. Here is a link to the first:

https://www.causes.com/actions/1772642-sign-the-petition-to-tnt-channel

and here is a link to the second:

http://chn.ge/1yfM080?recruiter=165010389

Now, back to “Dynasty,” We at LTAS have criticized ABC/Disney a lot, it’s true–always with good reason, we feel. Nevertheless, we are generous of spirit and believe in reinforcing good behavior, so: THANK YOU, ABC/DISNEY/A&E FOR MAKING SOAP FANS HAPPY AND DOING SOMETHING SO VERY RIGHT!

Hey, ABC/Disney–wanna know something else you can do that fans would love and that would also be so very right? LTAS will tell you: until you return “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live” (OLTL) to the 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. time slots, respectively, on ABC, you can show the last “x” amount of televised months of both AMC and OLTL in those 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. time slots on ABC! We know it will take a while to work out all the legal and financial kinks, get all the actors’ contracts in order, etc., so we are willing to be patient. Because, as we all know now, the rights to AMC and OLTL have reverted back to ABC from Prospect Park, and there is no reason you can’t restart both soaps.

http://www.letstalkaboutsoaps.com/a-legal-counsel-explains-the-abcpp-lawsuit-in-detail/#.VDs0ZEt4VG4

We at LTAS think the rest of AMC’s and OLTL’s fans would join us in waiting patiently until we get to find out who JR ended up shooting and who Alison Perkins’ was reading the final draft of “One Life to Live” to!

Remember two things, soap fans, you have a voice, and an important one, at that. Use it! And two, as always, stay soapy!

 

Your Editor,

Akbi Khan

With Hidden Dagger, The Network’s Fake Smile

pp abc picAt the end of the day, television networks are beholden to their viewers. There simply cannot be an ongoing production of television programs without people to watch them, because those people (and their money) attract advertisers, and it is those advertisers who provide the network’s revenue stream. Thus, with there entire business model relying upon the viewing audience, it behooves networks to listen with a careful ear to the needs and wants of that audience and to comport themselves accordingly.

Somehow, all of this got lost in the translation to whatever language is being spoken at ABC/Disney, who are – or were – responsible for the production of the beloved soap operas All My Children and One Life To Live. Despite the fact that these shows were well liked, with legions of loyal fans behind them, the network took the decision to cancel both productions. The backlash was as swift as it was terrible, with millions of outraged fans flooding ABC/Disney with angry letters, as well as organizaing boycotts of Disney commercial products in wholesale retaliation. Advertisers, as ever they do, took notice, and the danger of remaining, unrelated ABC/Disney productions suffering a loss of revenue become very real. In what could be called a panic, the network put on their best politicians’ faces and took to damage control, assuring fans that the soap operas were not dead, but had merely been leased to Prospect Park Production, who were now charged with taking over stewardship of All My Children and One Life To Live. And, not to worry, the network said: In the event Prospect Park doesn’t continue production within a certain time frame, the rights to the shows will revert back to ABC/Disney and the shows will go on anyway.

 But ABC/Disney’s smiles were as fake as the plastic constituting Mickey Mouse’s ears. Trusting perhaps a little too much, the fans were mollified and backed off of their outrage and boycotts, calming advertisers, but after the promised time period had elapsed there was still no sign of the soaps. When fans demanded answers, they were told that Prospect Park was now conducting a lawsuit against ABC/Disney, and neither party was legally able to produce the shows until after the litigation was resolved.

 This explanation is nothing more than a slap in the face to millions of soap opera fans. It was ABC/Disney themselves who promised that full rights to All My Children and One Life To Live would revert back to them if Prospect Park did not continue production, so now that production remains stopped, why is it that the work cannot make good on its promises to pick up the shows again? It is all too obvious what has happened. Soap opera fans everywhere had the wool pulled over their eyes, listening to the sweet poison whispers that told them what they wanted to hear so that they would stop hurting the network’s bottom line. Well, it’s time to stop trusting the network, and it’s time to stop getting fooled. They panicked enough to resort to these despicable tactics because they feared viewer boycotts and subsequent advertiser withdrawal. Now it’s time to renew those threats, and this time not back down until our soaps are back on the air!

By Eternalendrea

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We Need Alexis Carrington Colby!

IDynasty’ve been watching the new “Dallas” on TNT, and I’ve seen how or favorite Southfork family has been brilliantly and successfully resurrected as a prime time soap. The new Dallas combines the best of the past with engaging new stories for the next generation of Ewing’s, Barnes’ and their associates. As I’ve watched how easy it was to become reengaged with the Ewing’s of Dallas one thought keeps coming into my mind: We need Alexis Carrington Colby back!

Yes, it is time for the powers that be to realize that Americans are eager to catch up with their favorite night time soap families from the 1980’s and it is time for them to bring Dynasty back! Dynasty was a unique soap because the writers were not afraid to tackle the most controversial issues of the day. At least they did at first, until circumstances of the day caused the producers and writers to pull back and be more cautious. With society at a much different place now, imagine the ground breaking and dramatic storylines a new generation of Carrington’s and Colby’s cold bring to life on the television screen.

Dynasty premiered in 1981, and it was far ahead of its time. Think back to that year. 1981 was the year that Ronald Reagan moved into the White House ushering in an age of business, riches, greed, opulence and entrepreneurship. It was the perfect time for a show like Dynasty. Americans loved to watch the Carrington’s live large and they came to represent the 1980’s in the most perfect way.

 Still, 1981 ushered in a conservative era when women still had subordinate roles in the workplace, for the most part, and 1981 was the year that AIDS burst onto the scene, setting back the gay rights movement for another two decades. Dynasty’s writers and creators pushed the envelope with topics like women in positions of corporate power and a gay character in a relationship with another man. Americans had not seen anything like it, even on the powerhouse Dallas, which had more traditional storylines. The Dynasty writers had to constantly calibrate just how far they could go to tell the stories the wanted to tell.

 Two characters were central to these ground breaking stories. There was Steven Carrington, the family son and heir to the empire. Steven was handsome and smart, and he was rebellious and independent. Steven was also gay, and in a relationship with another man. The very first season was crafted around the trial of Steven’s father and family patriarch Blake Carrington for killing Steven’s gay lover when he found them in a compromising position. Americans were riveted to their televisions when Steven testified in great detail about his relationship with another man and when Blake was cross examined and angrily revealed his feelings towards gay men. Topics like this simply were not discussed on American TV in 1981, not until Dynasty came along, that is. Sadly, when the AIDS epidemic burst onto the scene, the topic became taboo and the Dynasty writers had to scale back their provocative story, even making Steven straight and pairing him with Heather Locklear’s Sami Jo.

 The second character to break through with amazing stories was the one and only Alexis Carrington Colby, played to perfection by Joan Collins. I have to say that one of the television moments that I will never forget was the last few minutes of that first season when the prosecution in Blake’s trial called their surprise witness, his ex-wife Alexis! It immediately became television history. The producers had not yet cast Alexis, so they had to have the actress wear a hat with a black veil to cover her face. When the show returned in the fall of 1981, Joan Collins was under the veil, but in that episode in the spring, it was just a woman and a veil, and the audience immediately knew that this woman meant business!

 Alexis is what set Dynasty apart from its main rival Dallas. That show of course had its ruthless corporate villain, JR, but Americans were used to men playing the role of greedy vicious businessmen. 1981 was only one year after the movie “9 to 5” which shined the spotlight on the plight of American women in the work place. In 1981, most women who worked outside the home worked in the hospitality industry, were teacher or nurses or worked retail. Those who were in the corporate world were most likely part of the secretarial pool. No one had seen an ambitious woman charge the corporate board room and do whatever it took to reach the top. Not until Alexis did it!

 Alexis was ambitious and determined to get what she felt was rightfully hers. When she didn’t get it from her ex-husband Blake, she chose to get it by any means necessary. She would use her children, her knowledge of people’s past for blackmail purposes, and most of all she would use her sexuality. Who can ever forget how she went after Cecil Colby, convinced him to marry him and then watched as he had a heart attack during their passionate night of sex? For 1982 this was shocking, but Americans loved it! Unlike the storyline of a gay man dealing with his sexuality in a time of AIDS, America was ready for a strong woman to enter the corporate arena with a men and beat them at their own game, so the writers made Alexis bigger than life and were not even afraid to have her roll around in the mud fighting with her arch nemesis, and Blake’s wife Krystal.

 Dynasty ended in 1989, and like all series, sputtered to an end, suffering from storylines that were no longer fresh and cutting edge. There was a two part mini-series a few years later to wrap up loose ends and it seemed like the end of Dynasty for good. Today, however, we have seen the rebirth of Dallas, and it works! The new Dallas is riveting and most important it is fresh, focusing on modern and contemporary issues like alternative energies and the tension in Texas between the law enforcement authorities and the Mexican drug cartels. The characters are familiar, but they are modern. The older Ewings have one foot in the past and the other in the present and the younger generation is fully engaged in the issues that contemporary 20-somethings face every day. There was even a three-way sex scene!

 Imagine what Dynasty could be today if it was reborn. Its not 1981 anymore and there are no boundaries. Americans have come to accept the most controversial subjects and there would be no limit to what the writers could do. Steven could be out and would probably be married to his lover. Younger Carringtons could be involved in any number of situations and there would really be no limit.

 Best of all, Alexis could be unleased and watching Joan Collins reprieve her iconic role would be incredibly entertaining. With the children of the ‘80’s now the adult and parents of the new millennium, there is a craving for the icons of that incredible decade; Dallas has proved that.

So now, with one voice, the fans of Dynasty are proclaiming – BRING BACK DYNASTY AND BRING BACK ALEXIS CARRINGTON COLBY!

David Arwood

David Arwood

Written by David Arwood.

 

 

 

 

And thank you, soap fans, for reading. Remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper left-hand corner), and most of all,

STAY SOAPY!

A Legal Counsel Explains the ABC/PP Lawsuit in Detail

prospect park picHello, Soap Fans! Lets Talk About Soaps recently sought legal counsel from, Troy Veenstra. We asked him some questions about the ABC/Prospect Park lawsuit and its implications. Here are our questions and his answers. Veenstra is also the author of a book titled, “The Murder of Jeffrey Dryden: the Grim Truth Surrounding Male Domestic Abuse,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

LTAS: First of all, Troy, we at LTAS want to thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview and demystify a lot of the legal issues involved in the ABC/Prospect Park lawsuit and its implications for us.

LTAS (Lets Talk About Soaps): So, to placate the viewers and attempt an end to the boycotts of their products, did Disney said they had leased the rights to “All My Children” (AMC) and “One Life to Live (OLTL) to Prospect Park?

Troy Veenstra (TV): This statement is partially correct, whether or not it was to “placate” the viewers I cannot legally say one way or the other, but ABC did lease the rights to AMC and OLTL to Prospect Park Production. The original licensing agreement between ABC and Prospect Park first entered into in July 2011, after the network cancelled the two long-running soaps, gave Prospect Park twelve months to put together online versions of the shows. Prospect Park would then have the exclusive right to produce fifteen seasons of each show. In Jan 2012, the agreement was amended to also state that, “If Prospect Park Productions did not produce the shows for 18 straight months, the rights of AMC and OLTL would immediately revert back to ABC, which Disney does own.

LTAS: Is Prospect Park owned by Disney?

TV: According to the IRS, and Public Records of ownership, The Disney Corporation does not own Prospect Park Productions, nor does any of its subsidiaries. In fact the only property that Disney owns that even sounds close to Prospect Park Productions is Prospect Park Studios, which is not part of Prospect Park Productions. That said, several former employees of Disney own Prospect Park Productions, but there is no paper trail that shows otherwise.

LTAS: Now, Prospect Park is suing Disney, and then—what a coincidence—Prospect Park goes into bankruptcy. But, there is supposedly still an ongoing lawsuit for the rights of AMC and OLTL.

TV: Prospect Park Productions is suing ABC, not Disney (I know you think they are one of the same by ownership but legally speaking they are two different entities). As for Prospect filing for bankruptcy that is also true, and as far as the fact that the lawsuit is ongoing for the rights of AMC AND OLTL, this is also true as the lawsuit was started by Prospect Park Productions, and their bankruptcy is only a Chapter 11 bankruptcy (reorganization) instead of a Chapter 7 (full out bankruptcy).

LTAS: And I don’t understand how can there be a lawsuit with a company who has filed for bankruptcy, as Prospect Park has.

TV: First off, a chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the United States Bankruptcy Code, states that a debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. Thus this all for the company to stay afloat while also try to pay those business they may owe huge amounts to in partial payments rather than full payments. Secondly, though as you obviously know, The Bankruptcy Code halts pending litigation against companies who file for bankruptcy. Often companies will file for bankruptcy for this very reason, as litigation costs and liabilities pile up. However, if the lawsuit was initiated by the company that filed for bankruptcy, suing another company, the lawsuit can continue, as this helps maximize value for creditors, a main goal of bankruptcy, because creditors will also benefit if the company in bankruptcy is successful in the litigation. Thus, because Prospect Park Productions started the lawsuit against ABC before filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the lawsuit can continue forward as the other creditors that are owed funds by Prospect Park Productions have a better chance of getting their funds paid if Prospect Park wins their case.

LTAS: Do the details of the lawsuit demonstrate that it is just a smoke screen to keep soap fans off ABC’s back?

TV: Unfortunately, as this is an ongoing case, getting actual court records of the inner workings is impossible, as each party is only privy to that information until the case is resolved.

 Now with all this said I cannot legally tell you that there is some scam going on between ABC, Prospect Park Productions, and the Disney Corporation as the information just isn’t there to show it. However, as a professional author, who has written his own conspiracy theories in the past, I would say that it’s a bit suspicious that the owners of Prospect Park Productions are former employees (head employees I might add) of the Disney Corporation… that I find kind of odd… but again legally I’ve done all I can for you.

LTAS: In a law suit, can both parties keep the lawsuit going forever, or they can just decide to settle and close the law suit overnight. Is this correct?

TV: A lawsuit can go on for sometime, until either the judge handling the case gets tired and demands otherwise, or both parties can decide to come to some agreement and request the lawsuit be terminated. But it can be officially terminated only by the plaintiff (the one that brought the suit up in the first place)

LTAS I just have one final question. As the rights of AMC and OLTL were reverted back to ABC, is there any legal reason that the law suit could prevent ABC from producing the soaps or airing them? I mean, I remember a few years back they had a law suit with General Hospital, but that did not affect the shooting or the programming of General Hospital.

TV: If the rights were reverted back to ABC than no, there’s no reason they couldn’t restart the programs.

LTAS: Once again, thank you so much for consenting to do this interview and providing us with such valuable information. We really appreciate your time and expertise!

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And thank you, soap fans, for reading. Remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper left-hand corner), and most of all,

STAY SOAPY!

Your Editor,

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Akbi Khan