LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Online Network sued ABC for killing off three major characters it borrowed for "General Hospital" before the fledgling network could keep them alive when it resurrects "One Life to Live" and "All My Children" this month on Internet TV.
Prospect Park Networks sued American Broadcasting Companies for breach of contract in Superior Court.
Prospect Park claims that when it resurrects "One Life to Live" and "All My Children," it will have to do so without three characters whom ABC borrowed - and then killed off - on "General Hospital."
Prospect Park claims it signed an exclusive licensing agreement to resurrect "One Life to Live" and "All My children" after ABC canceled the soap operas in 2011. Prospect Park plans to re-launch the soaps, and Its internet network, on Monday, April 29.
Prospect Park claims says ABC's decision to cancel the long-running soaps - representing a combined 85 years of television history - was "ill-conceived" and angered fans of the shows worldwide.
So to save the world from what the media dubbed "Soapocalypse," Prospect Park founders - entertainment mogul Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Walt Disney Studios president Rich Frank - formed The Online Network to save the shows.
ABC licensed all elements of the soap operas, including format, titles, settings and characters to Prospect in 2011, according to the complaint. Prospect claims ABC also gave up its own rights to use and license elements of the programs without Prospect's consent.
Neither party released the terms of the deal at the time, though Prospect says in its complaint that it paid "enormous license fees of as much as $4 million for the first season alone" to ABC, plus a profit-sharing agreement for "One Life to Live."
But four months after paying ABC for the rights, Prospect halted plans to launch its online network and production on the shows, and ABC swooped in, according to the complaint.
"Ironically, less than nine months after canceling 'One Life to Live,' ABC came back to Prospect asking to borrow seven OLTL characters to appear on a limited basis in ABC's competing soap series 'General Hospital,'" the complaint states. "Despite the enormous premiums paid for exclusivity, Prospect acceded to ABC's request as a gesture of goodwill to ABC and more importantly to the actors playing these roles, who would otherwise be unemployed while Prospect was ramping up for production. However, to ensure the integrity of the OLTL characters on loan, and protect the millions invested by Prospect and its principals, Prospect insisted and ABC agreed that ABC would consult Prospect on 'General Hospital' storylines. More importantly, ABC also agreed that Prospect would have express 'approval' rights over ABC's use of the OLTL characters. These terms were added to the license by amendment in January 2012. With its rights protected by contract, Prospect proceeded under the reasonable assumption that ABC (which was sharing in the profits) would act like a true partner and collaborate toward the success of the re-launch."
Though ABC may have doubted it would ever see its share of the profits from the new venture, with Prospect shelving of both shows and its online network, Prospect claims ABC's intentions in borrowing the OLTL characters were more nefarious.