John McBain, Starr Manning, and Todd Manning may have left Port Charles for good, but that hasn't lessened the tension between ABC and Prospect Park. In fact, the situation has escalated, and now Prospect Park has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, in which Prospect Park seeks damages of at least $25 million.
According to documents first obtained by Deadline.com, Prospect Park contends that "for over a year, ABC outright failed and refused to consult with Prospect on any storylines involving these characters, rendering Prospect's approval rights meaningless."
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of California, is the result of months of building tensions between ABC and Prospect Park. In 2011, Prospect Park licensed the rights to All My Children and One Life to Live. The company's initial plan to relaunch the series online didn't work, and while it regrouped, Prospect Park licensed seven characters -- which, in addition to the three previously mentioned characters, included Blair Cramer, Téa Delgado, Cole Thornhart, and Hope Thornhart -- to ABC for use on General Hospital on what Prospect Park says was a "limited basis."
Prospect Park alleges that it was to have approval rights to any story that ABC crafted with those characters. That didn't happen, Prospect Park claims, and it potentially impacted the stories that Prospect Park wanted to tell on One Life to Live.
Prospect Park also asserts that ABC interfered in its negotiations with the actors who portrayed the disputed characters by saying that working on an Internet-based program would negatively impact the actors' careers and that ABC then offered the actors contracts on General Hospital to "induce them not to work with Prospect."
Prospect Park was also seeking to be given the URLs allmychildren.com and onelifetolive.com, both of which had been redirecting to ABC's homepage. Shortly after news of Prospect Park's lawsuit were made public, both domain names began redirecting to Prospect Park's theonlinenetwork.com site.
Any legal proceedings will not, however, delay Prospect Park's relaunch of All My Children and One Life to Live on April 29.
"Prospect Park has been and continues to be committed to creating and delivering exceptional episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live. We have overcome each and every obstacle in an effort to make this dream become a reality," Prospect Park said in a statement after news of the lawsuit was announced. "Over and over again our effort to bring these shows to audiences has faced challenges, and yet we along with the actors, the writers, producers and the directors as well as our fans, have confronted and then overcome these challenges, and we have every confidence that we will prevail again. We look forward to our April 29 launch now more than ever."
"We haven't seen the complaint or been served, so we can't comment," ABC said in a statement shortly after the lawsuit was revealed.
UPDATE - April 24, 2013
The network later made a full statement.
"ABC remains very supportive of the on line launch of both One Life to Live and All My Children," the network said in a statement. "With respect to Prospect Park’s lawsuit, we believe the claims are baseless and we will defend them vigorously in court and not the press."