It seems that reviving canceled television shows on the Web may not be as easy as once thought judging by what has happened with Prospect Park and two canceled ABC shows.
Back in July we brought you the news of a bold plan by a company named Prospect Park to save two soap operas ABC had just canceled: All My Children and One Life to Live. While it wasn’t all that surprising that these shows weren’t the usual fare for loyal TechnoBuffalo readers, it was far more interesting to us for what it could mean further down the road of the concept of canceled shows coming to the Web. however, I did include one caveat:
Of course, if this completely fails, we may also remember it as the day [TV shows moving to the Web] died as well.
I perhaps overstated that as we now see Arrested Development coming to Netflix, but the idea of shows moving to their own venues may very well be dead as Prospect Park has now pulled the plug on both shows.
The company issued the following statement about what happened on Wednesday:
After five months of negotiations with various guilds, hundreds of presentations to potential financial and technology partners, and a hope that we could pioneer a new network for the future, it is with great disappointment that we are suspending our aspirations to revive “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” via online distribution. It is now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get OLTL on the air in a reasonable time period following its January 13, 2012 ABC finale impossible.
We believed the timing was right to launch an Online TV Network anchored by these two iconic soap operas, but we always knew it would be an uphill battle to create something historical, and unfortunately we couldn’t ultimately secure the backing and clear all the hurdles in time. We believe we exhausted all reasonable options apparent to us, but despite enormous personal, as well as financial cost to ourselves, we failed to find a solution.
While we narrowed in on a financial infrastructure, the contractual demands of the guilds, which regulate our industry, coupled with the program’s inherent economic challenges ultimately led to this final decision. In the end, the constraints of the current marketplace, including the evolution and impact of new media on our industry simply proved too great a match for even our passion.
In our opinion, new models like this can only work with the cooperation of many people striving to make them happen, and we would like to thank and praise the numerous people who tried to help and showed us incredible support. We are extremely grateful to the fans and media who showed great support to us through this process, to ABC who did everything in their control to help, and we are especially grateful for the support and encouragement from many of the Soaps’ cast and crew themselves.
While it would seem to the bystander that the time of this concept has come, it appears that there are a lot of other moving parts involved in the process that have not yet come to embrace this way of thinking. While Prospect Park is laying at least some of the blame on the trade unions, those unions are speaking out and saying that it really is all on the company’s failure to secure the financing for the project. Either way, it really doesn’t matter, and the deal still fell apart, which makes you wonder if anyone could ever pull something like this off. You can point to the recent deals struck by Netflix as showing it works, but there you have a company with an established user base and money in the bank as opposed to a company with big aspirations coming out of the blue to try to jump in to producing two shows at once.
The day of original, full-length television programming coming to the Web is definitely coming at some point, there’s just no way to avoid that. The only question now is when it will finally come together. Give it a few more years folks, but don’t give up on the dream just quite yet.