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Cady McClain: Fans should have been treated better
Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2011 12:09:34 PM
Cady McClain has sounded off about Prospect Park's failure to transition All My Children and One Life to Live to the Internet in a new blog entry. In addition to railing against poor decisions, McClain also put forth ideas that could have made the move possible. The actress also expresses her displeasure with the way fans were treated.
Another soap star has spoken out about the failed venture by Prospect Park to move All My Children and One Life to Live online. In a posting on her Facebook page, an impassioned Cady McClain (Dixie Martin) took aim at some of the statements made by Prospect Park in both the press release the company made in announcing that had acquired the licenses to AMC and OLTL, and in the release that revealed they were suspending their plans to move the shows to an online network, called The Online Network.


At issue, McClain blasted the notion that the unions representing the actors were ultimately responsible for blocking any forward progress. The Emmy-winning actress also felt it was disingenuous for Prospect Park execs to make certain claims when they did not yet have financing secured to make those promises a reality.


"A soap opera is a scripted drama with a cast, crew, writers, directors, producers, and a series of sets. Cutting overtime or your lunch hour, for example, is not going to suddenly make your budget half of what it was. It's going to give you a tiny bit more money and some really exhausted actors and crew members. You can't drive a horse until he's dead. It's just wrong," McClain explained, as she laid out an explanation as to why union representation is essential for those in the entertainment field.


Perhaps most importantly, while networks executives offer reason why soap operas are not viable, McClain puts for forth a series of suggestions that could help keep the daytime drama series alive -- and make them more palatable for executives who are only interested in the bottom line.


"Everyone in the business I have talked to has said that Prospect Park would barely listen to the very helpful ideas of how to make these shows for less," McClain noted.


Here are other ideas that McClain said were suggested by those who have been a part of the soap industry:

    1) Have a smaller contracted cast, say 10 ten actors
    2) Have one studio with permanent sets, NOT in Manhattan
    3) Have longer scenes
    4) Shoot only one show a day
    5) Pay everyone their union scale rate plus 10% for their agents
    6) Use a smaller crew
    7) Don't go over schedule
    8) Make the contracts short, only a year, in order to allow for re-negotiation up or down, as necessary


McClain ceded that some big-name stars might not want to work for scale, and that losing those stars could upset the fans. However, McClain noted that some initial sacrifices might need to be made in order to get to a point where everything could get back to some sense of normalcy.


"The audience might protest initially not seeing all their favorites, but if the quality of the show was high, then perhaps they would stay, which would raise the ad rate, which would raise the budget, which could allow for paying the actors more... you get my drift," she added.


Perhaps the most egregious error, McClain asserted, is that the shows' creator, Agnes Nixon, and the fans somehow ended up being discounted in the process.


"If Prospect Park wanted to move the shows 'AS IS' to the internet, AS THEY PUBLICLY STATED, then they really needed to have 90-100 mill in place to finance one year of the two shows. If they didn't have that money, they shouldn't have made that claim. I get that it was a sales pitch, a hustle to try and raise the rest of the funds, but that's a gamble. Gambling with the future of a 40 year old show and its historic 40 year value to an entire country is pretty cocky. I am in shock they did not have it in them to call Agnes Nixon directly and admit they were not going to continue. That is another arrow pointing very clearly in the direction that PP as it stands is not a class act."


"All that said, I'm really sorry for you guys, the incredible, loyal fans of the soaps, who put in so many years only to be whipsawed at the end," McClain concluded. "Your attention and support is worth more and you should've been treated better."


McClain's statement comes about a week after One Life to Live's Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) sounded off on the breakdown of Prospect Park's venture. To read DePaiva's remarks, please read: Kassie DePaiva says OLTL's end is "mind boggling"


To read McClain's complete commentary, click here to visit her official Facebook page.


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