The daytime drama surrounding ABC’s General Hospital has escalated since my last post, and I’m not talking about fictional plot lines. Instead some of my favorite actors are caught up in a real-life melodrama, replete with multiple rumors and cliff hangers, and no one seems to know how things will play out.
When ABC cancelled One Life to Live and its sister soap All My Children in 2011, an upstart company by the name of Prospect Park bought the rights to the soaps and their characters, intending to continue the programs in a new format that would be available only online. Some of the newly unemployed actors committed to the Prospect Park venture, but it ultimately fizzled.
End of story, right? Not quite. Amazingly, like many a seemingly deceased character on daytime drama, Prospect Park came back to life – with a vengeance and presumably a healthy transfusion of cash – and resurrected their plans to go ahead with OLTL and AMC. Meanwhile, ABC had transplanted some of the OLTL characters from the fictional town of Llanview, PA, to the fictional GH town of Port Charles, NY – the very town that spawned the vampires and vampire hunters of Port Charles, the General Hospital spin-off that folded a decade ago. But now PP is telling ABC that as of this month, GH can no longer use these characters – including John McBain, the Michael Easton character who inspired my novel.
Are you confused yet? I’m barely scratching the surface of the messy dispute between ABC and Prospect Park. In a futile effort to understand what’s going on, I’ve been slogging my way through a myriad of online sites, from fan groups to soap magazines, whiling away hours I should be devoting to finishing my novel. The plot came to a roiling boil last Friday when Michael Easton posted a message on his Facebook page advising fans not to bring birthday presents to the GH studio in California, since after February 8th, he will no longer be there. Instead of the Irish whiskey and other goodies they’ve been accustomed to bringing, he suggested they donate to the American Cancer Society.
Here’s Friday’s follow-up from Soap Opera Network:
“Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.
“‘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,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing its decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”
So how will ABC keep these actors on the show? There are lots of tried and true soap solutions. An actor can return as his own heretofore unknown identical twin, albeit with a different surname. He can turn out to be someone else entirely, someone who suffered from amnesia and created a new identity, only to learn that identity is totally phony, and who recovers and reclaims his original self. Or he can have dissociative identity disorder and be banished by one of his alter egos.
I’m betting John McBain will morph into the vampire Caleb Morley. Several newcomers to Port Charles are already convinced that’s who he is, including a teenage boy who’s accused him of murder and who may turn out to actually be his son.
I promise I’ll blog about something else one of these days, but for now I’m begging your indulgence as I pursue this obsession, the better to fuel my inspiration. When I’m in the throes of creativity, I tend to develop a one-track mind. And now, back to my novel.