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    Posted February 3, 2012 by

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    Prospect Park In Fantasyland


    Flo DiBona

    © February 3, 2012


    Very few people knew who Prospect Park was before July 7, 2011 when they were awarded the licensing rights to iconic Disney/ABC soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live.  They released a statement promising the shows would air online in the same format beginning with All My Children on September 26, 2011, the Monday after All My Children aired for the last time on Disney/ABC.  September 23, 2011 came and All My Children aired for the last time on Disney/ABC, but the online launch was postponed as unions and actors were publicly blamed.


    Meanwhile, One Life to Live, a ratings hit in daytime, came closer to its last Disney/ABC air date of Friday, January 13, 2012.  Rumors of sets and studios being secured for One Life to Live circulated.  Actors from both shows were confirming signings with Prospect Park.  On November 3, 2011, the Wall Street Journal published an article about Prospect Park’s funding issues. 


    As the final week of taping unfolded for One Life to Live cast and crew, the week began on a high note with expectations of transitioning to One Life to Live 2.0 via Prospect Park.  Even the Executive Producer and Head Writer had been signed for the transition.  Cast and crew had been told that the existing studio had been secured and future production would continue at least initially there.  However, the week did not turn out like anyone expected. 


    Cast and crew were unexpectedly and unceremoniously emailed a notice to have all of their belongings removed from their dressing rooms and offices or have them disposed of.  Calls to Prospect Park were reportedly not returned.  On November 18, 2011, the cast and crew of One Life to Live taped the last episode for Disney/ABC airing.  Then, on November 23, 2011, Thanksgiving Eve and just days later, Prospect Park issued a statement that they were suspending plans for producing both shows.


    On December 1, 2011, Disney/ABC announced that the One Life to Live Executive Producer and Head Writer were moving to General Hospital effective January 9, 2012.  Since that time, there have been steady rumors that Jeff Kwatinetz is still seeking funding for Prospect Park to produce these shows.  On December 6, 2011, Agnes Nixon spoke at Harvard University of Prospect Park having approached her about moving the shows to Canada to be produced.  On January 11, 2012, it was announced that several One Life to Live actors and their characters were being transitioned to Disney/ABC’s General Hospital.  Then on Friday, January 13, 2012, the last episode of One Life to Live aired on Disney/ABC.


    The website Prospect Park set up for their online network remains static as it continues to be a means of collecting fans’ contact information for updates.  But there have been no updates via the site to-date.  Remarkably, weeks apart, two Facebook soap fan group administrators were contacted by Prospect Park.  In both cases, Prospect Park accused soap fans of hindering their efforts to seek funding by making contact with them, investors, networks, advertisers and affiliates.  They claimed there were threats made, threats no soap fan or group would condone.


    There seems to be a great disconnect between Prospect Park and the very consumers it bases any financial projections on.  The disrespect with which Prospect Park has treated the actors, crews, and fans of both shows continues in this latest contact.  Words used were extremely condescending and demonstrated this disconnect.


    If Prospect Park were in Fantasyland, their approach to-date would be appropriate.  However, this is business and Prospect Park’s business depends on viewers.  Lack of communication and respect does not bring in those viewers and the damage done thus far to that relationship is quite severe.  It is questionable whether the damage done is repairable.  Prospect Park does have an opportunity to redeem themselves from a place that is not going to otherwise improve any time soon.  All it will take is giving fans what they want – return the licensing rights of both shows to Agnes Nixon through whatever arrangements need to be made with her and/or Disney so they can be returned to production. 


    Prospect Park may have had good intentions in wanting to produce these shows and bring them online.  But without an intimate understanding of the genre, shows, histories, actors, crews, process, unions, viewers, appeal, and respect for each, it would likely never be successful.

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