Prospect Park said it will shut down production of its two soap operas, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live,” for a summer hiatus 11 days earlier than it anticipated, with the studio blaming a dispute with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees over wages.
“We believe we have met all contract requirements with IATSE, and as an Internet startup, and per our contract with the IA, we cannot afford, and our business model cannot sustain, traditional broadcast rates,” Prospect Park said in a statement.
IATSE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prospect Park, which resurrected the soaps as Internet-only properties after ABC canceled them in 2011, has run into union problems before. Late last year, the studio reached agreements with SAG-AFTRA, DGA and WGA that allowed it to commence production.
The new episodes of “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” premiered on Hulu, iTunes and Prospect Park’s TheOnlineNetwork.com on April 29. Two and a half weeks later, however, the company announced it was cutting the release schedule to two episodes per week for each show, down from four — a decision that angered many fans.
Studio bosses claimed viewers were having trouble keeping up with the previous rate, expressing concern that the sudsers would lose audience. With the slower pace, Prospect Park is hoping to drive up views (and advertising revenue) per episode. The shows are free to watch on Hulu and TheOnlineNetwork.com; ad-free episodes are 99 cents through iTunes.
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Now, according to the company, because of the IATSE issue, “All My Children” and “One Life To Live” will cease production at its Stamford, Conn., facility on June 6 instead of June 17. Shooting is scheduled to resume Aug. 12 pending resolution of the labor issue, the studio said.
“Right now we have 40 episodes of each show ready to post through September, and if we can resolve this issue by August, we can get back into the studio on time so audiences will enjoy uninterrupted postings of their favorite shows,” Prospect Park said.
Prospect Park said the shows’ writers, directors, actors and rest of crew “have been supportive of the shows and our success… We are committed to these shows, and to the nearly 300 jobs they produce, thus we are exploring every legal and logistical option to maintain our production schedule.”