Production company Prospect Park has expanded its lawsuit against ABC — from which it acquired the rights to “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” — to accuse the Alphabet net of borrowing “OLTL” characters in order to create a “mega-soap” merging that show with “General Hospital.”
In an amended complaint filed Wednesday, Prospect Park said it is seeking at least $95 million plus punitive damages from ABC. The producer also argued that it should not have to pay ABC licensing fees for the first seasons of the shows, which debuted in their new incarnations earlier this year.
“Unbeknownst to Prospect Park, at the same time the ink was drying on the licensing agreement granting Prospect Park an exclusive license for ‘OLTL’ through January 31, 2013, ABC insiders were developing a plan to create a mega-soap through the amalgamation of ‘OLTL’ and ‘GH,’ intentionally disregarding Prospect Park’s rights,” the company said in the complaint.
An ABC rep said the network has not been served with the amended complaint and could not yet comment.
Prospect Park first sued ABC in April, alleging the net killed off two “One Life to Live” characters and effectively killed off a third character to sabotage Prospect Park’s online resurrection of the show. ABC had previously called the suit “baseless.”
Prospect Park appears to have put the next seasons of “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” on hold pending the resolution of the ABC suit; cast members of “AMC” have indicated on Twitter and Facebook in the last week that the show has been canceled. The company said it has lost $30 million in out-of-pocket expenses in producing the first seasons and/or at least $95 million in lost profits.
Under the agreement with ABC, according to Prospect Park, seven “OLTL” characters were on loan to ABC’s “General Hospital.” Prospect Park claims ABC failed to consult with the studio on “GH” storylines involving them, which included characters Cole and Hope Thornhart dying when their car was forced off a cliff.
Moreover, Prospect Park alleged, ABC had planned to kill off those characters even before approaching the production firm about “borrowing” them for “GH.” Prospect Park also claimed ABC made changes to storylines of “OLTL” characters that it had never been given permission to borrow.
Prospect Park acquired the rights to the shows from ABC in 2011 after the Alphabet net canceled the soaps, which had each been on the air for more than 40 years. After hitting stumbling blocks with union negotiations and lining up financing, the studio began shooting in February at a soundstage in Stamford, Conn.
According to Prospect Park’s filing, the production company agreed to pay ABC $4.5 million per season for the rights to the first three seasons of “AMC” and $4 million per season for “OLTL.”
The new versions of “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” launched in April 2013 on Hulu and Prospect Park’s TheOnlineNetwork, with episodes also available for purchase through iTunes.
According to Prospect Park’s complaint, execs at ABC — one of Hulu’s owners — “instruct(ed) Hulu management not to offer Prospect Park the beneficial terms and arrangements that Hulu was prepared to provide and had provided to other less-popular shows.”
Less than a month after the debut of “AMC” and “OLTL” this spring, Prospect Park upset fans by announcing it would reduce the schedule for both shows from four eps weekly to two. The company said it made the change after viewers said they were having trouble keeping up with the faster pace.
Prospect Park’s lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.