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While the news that ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE will get a new lease on life thanks to ABC's licensing deal with Prospect Park, details about the transition from television to Internet remain scarce... including exactly how many actors will move to the new format. "We have all been released so no one owns us," tweeted Bobbie Eakes (Krystal, AMC). "They have to renegotiate with all the actors."
Indeed, some of the actors have already been written off -- like OLTL's Farah Fath (ex-Gigi) -- and some like Debbi Morgan (Angie, AMC) have started to book other projects. "It would have to happen quickly to be able to maintain the original cast," Morgan told Soaps In Depth just a few weeks ago when asked about the then-rumored prospect of the soaps finding a new home on the Internet.
Numerous questions remain unanswered: Will the soaps continue to air daily? When will the new site launch? Will the episodes be free to watch, or will it be a subscription service? One AMC actor, who spoke to In Depth on the condition of anonymity, seems skeptical on exactly how things will work out, even with Prospect Park promising to deliver the programs with the same quality and in the same length and format, per the agreement with ABC. "My personal thought, it won't be the same show," says the setsider. "There's no way they can afford to produce the show like we currently do and make any money from it online. Even Susan Lucci's (Erica) pay for one episode is more than an online show could generate. I'm guessing the whole thing would be low-budget and different. It's just too expensive!"
Prospect Park will essentially have to start from scratch, says the source, since the cast is all released from their contracts as of September, and aren't automatically going along with the licensing deal. "None of the actors' contracts will carry over, and it's not likely that many will sign on to do a Web series, which will no doubt be unable to pay the same salaries as ABC. It's great that someone is ready to invest in keeping serial programming alive on the Internet, but I don't think people should expect that the same show we know, as it exists today, will seamlessly carry over into this new format. Hopefully some exciting new stories will carry on. But let's not assume that we are 'saved.'"
AMC's J.R. Martinez (Brot) for one, is enthusiastic about the news. "I think it's safe to say -- FANS WIN," he tweeted. "I will say this -- my current contract was to terminate on August 31st. Now we must see who they want to keep & renegotiate with. Not sure..." Eden Riegel (ex-Bianca) now plays THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS' Heather, but she is thrilled for her former Pine Valley family. "Best. News. Ever? Right up there anyway. Long live AMC, OLTL!" she posted on her Twitter page.
Robin Strasser (Dorian, OLTL) was incredibly thankful to the fans who have been hard at work ever since the April 15 announcement of the cancelations with their campaigning to save the soaps. "Big SHIFT is a GIFT," she tweets. "Just know ALL THE FANS GOT THIS TO HAPPEN! Take a bow! YOU did it! WOW." Adds Lenny Platt (Nate, OLTL) "OLTL lives on... in cyberspace. Times, they are a changin.'"