All My Children and One Life To Live went into hiatus earlier than expected because of union dispute, which is threatening the future of the online soap operas.
The OnLine Network, which broadcasts the show online, released a statement on Wednesday about the altered plans. The shows originally planned to go on summer hiatus beginning June 17 but production stopped on Thursday. A dispute with the union representing production staffers on the shows put a halt to taping. The hiatus was scheduled to end Aug. 12 pending a resolution.
The network insisted that they had abided by all contract requirements with International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the labor union representing the actors. It was emphasized that as an internet start up, they simply could not afford or sustain traditional broadcast rates.
The full statement is below:
"As a result of a dispute with the I.A.T.S.E., The OnLine Network is beginning a long-planned hiatus for both 'All My Children' and 'One Life To Live' tomorrow instead of June 17. The hiatus is scheduled to end on August 12 pending resolution of this labor issue. Right now we have 40 episodesof 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.
"We believe we have met all contract requirements with I.A.T.S.E, and as an internet start-up, and per our contract with the I.A., we cannot afford, and our business model cannot sustain, traditional broadcast rates.
"The writers, directors, actors and rest of crew have been supportive of the shows and our success. Both 'One Life To Live' and 'All My Children' consistently earn top rankings on both Hulu and iTunes since launch just over a month ago. The popularity of the shows is matched by the continued passion and excitement from the fans. 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."
On Tuesday, the conflict between I.A.T.S.E and Prospect Park was reported by The Wrap. The union believed that Prospect Park, the production company behind the online soap operas, were withholding thousands of dollars from the actors. It was alleged that Prospect Park was allowed it to pay members less than the standard day rate as long as it did not spend more than $125,000 per episode. The union reportedly wanted to look over the book sand determine that the budget was not exceeded.
Blowback from the union is the latest setback for Prospect Park since the soap operas were brought back online in April. That same month, Prospect Park filed a $25 million dollar lawsuit against ABC with accusations that the network was attempting to sabotage their efforts. AMC and OLTL previously aired on ABC before their cancellation in 2011. In May, the production company decided that the online shows would only be available twice a week, reduced from the original four airings a week.
A source told Soap Opera Network on Wednesday that Prospect Park was considering moving taping out of Connecticut to avoid further issue.
“They would move and then start production. Other states have approached them," the source said.
Take a look back at the first month of All My Children.
Take a look back at the first month of One Life To Live.