The ongoing legal spat between ABC and Prospect Park over the future of three former One Life to Live characters has reportedly come to an end -- but in true soap fashion, it's a resolution that will more than likely leave some fans with their mouths agape.
Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning), Michael Easton (John McBain), and Roger Howarth (Todd Manning) will all be back on-screen soon, but according to TV Guide, the three performers will no longer be playing their transplanted One Life to Live roles.
"Prospect Park has been extremely difficult to deal with on this issue so GH basically said, 'Screw it! We'll create all new characters!'" a source told the magazine's Michael Logan. "It's the only way GH can get past the problem and get on with business."
It isn't known exactly how ABC would rework the show to undo the stories and influence created by the three characters over the last year, nor is it known what Prospect Park's future plans are for the three characters.
As previously reported, an unprecedented situation created a legal tug-of-war between ABC and Prospect Park, the company that purchased the rights to One Life to Live and All My Children after ABC canceled the two soaps.
Prospect Park owns the rights to One Life to Live's characters. When the company's first attempt to resurrect the soap failed, Prospect Park licensed the rights to John, Starr, and Todd back to ABC. Accordingly, Alderson, Easton, and Howarth were all signed to long-term contracts with ABC. Now that One Life to Live is returning, Prospect Park has asked that ABC stop using the three characters in question.
"[E]ven though we are paying ABC millions of dollars to license the shows, we have been, and continue to be willing to equally share the characters with General Hospital and ABC," Prospect Park said in a statement earlier this year.
As a result of the ongoing dispute, Alderson, Easton, and Howarth have all been off the GH set since February. Their final taped scenes aired just last week.
Howarth, meanwhile, had already reached a deal to reprise his role on Prospect Park's One Life to Live. It is unclear how these latest developments would impact that.
Neither ABC nor General Hospital has offered comment on the TV Guide story. The network did, however, previously release a statement about the brouhaha.
"General Hospital is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen," an ABC spokesperson stated.