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News for the week of 18-Nov-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Prospect Park, through its lawyers, issued a request to increase the damages to $95 million in the lawsuit against ABC Daytime — filed last April. Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni and Eriq Gardner November 13 detailed the ugliness of the lawsuit through PP’s eyes. PP’s allegations paint ABC Daytime as a shark, intentionally reneging on arrangements, deals, and legal agreements to create a mega-soap with GH, while stealing major OLTL characters on loan temporarily. PP alleged ABC Daytime committed fraud and sabotage, after supposedly realizing it made a grievous error in canceling AMC and OLTL. ABC Daytime sought to rectify that situation by giving the online production company the shaft, continued PP’s allegations. Some of the specifics in this lawsuit leave no doubt as to ABC Daytime’s motive, including this: “ABC even went so far as to induce the actors who had been playing some of the more popular characters on OLTL to sign secret, exclusive, multiyear contracts with ABC – all without a word to Prospect Park.” Prospect Park’s attorney James Maloney said they found a lot more. “We have developed an increasing amount of evidence from ABC. The arrogance of ABC is simply amazing.” Without promotional airtime on talk show slots, its core OLTL actors, or much support from ABC Daytime as promised, Prospect Park had the choice to lose millions in investments or continue to break into the online market. “But, the damage could not be undone, nor the fans reclaimed. As a consequence of ABC’s fraud and its multiple breaches of both the express terms of the parties’ contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing included in every contract in this state, Prospect Park has sustained the loss of its investment of over $30 million, as well as the profits that it stood to make had ABC acted as the partner it had held itself out to be,” according to PP’s lawsuit claim. ABC Daytime did not comment on Prospect Park’s claims announced by media last week. But at the time of the lawsuit filing in April, a network rep issued a general statement of denial and support. “ABC remains very supportive of the online launch of both One Life to Live and All My Children. 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.”

Ellen Holly (ex-Carla) made news a few years ago and recently in Jeff Giles’ (Popdose) OLTL book, “Love in the Afternoon – The Oral History of One Life to Live” by alleging that she was persecuted racially on this soap back when she appeared as a character trying to pass for white. When Holly brought Erika Slezak (ex-Viki) into it, she stopped the presses. Holly alleged that Slezak used her power to oust Holly and even used racial slurs. Slezak firmly but respectfully refuted Holly’s accusation recently, even asking Giles to revise that section of his book to include her response. Here’s that response: “Let me begin by saying that never happened. I have never, in my entire life, used such language, nor would I have ever said that; especially about two ladies who I greatly admired and respected. I have no idea why Ellen has chosen to blame me for her being let go from One Life to Live. Not only is that an absolute fabrication on her part; it was never in the power of ANY actor or actress to make such a decision and anyone who has worked on One Life to Live would know that. We were owned and run by ABC; this was their decision alone. Furthermore, I would like to add that Ellen Holly was a wonderful actress, a beautiful woman and an essential and vital character on One Life to Live and there was nothing to be gained by her leaving the show. In fact I felt that her absence was detrimental to the show. Agnes Nixon had put together an amazing, multi-racial cast, which was groundbreaking at the time, and by losing two very important black actors, ABC was robbing the show of its diversity. I am very sorry that she has deluded herself into believing that I was in any way instrumental in her being fired, but more than that, I am appalled that she would accuse me of using racial slurs.”

Gossip for the week of 18-Nov-2013

by Carol Banks Weber

Sean Ringgold (ex-Shaun) has been named in a claim of rape. The former bodyguard to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and daughter Suri, Ringgold strongly denied the allegation that he sexually assaulted this woman on June 28, 2013 after a friendly Olive Garden dinner-outing-turned-nightmare in Seacaucus, N.J. The victim spoke to RadarOnline.com and said that they met through mutual friends in the industry. After dinner and on the way home, she said that Ringgold sexually assaulted her, “…using physical force or coercion, specifically by pulling up the victim’s shirt, grabbing her right breast and putting his mouth over her left breast while stopped at a traffic light inside of his motor vehicle,” based on the description in the paperwork. She herself told Radar Online: “I don’t believe he drugged me, not at all. The thing is, he said all the right things being a predator. The things he said were supposed to in some way keep me off my guard. Looking back, he was so smooth I have to wonder if it’s something he’s done before… He pulled behind a building to finish the job… I immediately decided to press charges. The police knew within two days… I really didn’t want to do this. He thinks any publicity is good publicity. But now I’m ready to talk… My concern is all the traveling he does for work. If he travels and he meets somebody, how many other girls could there be? The world needs to know about this.” The alleged victim said she’s afraid of repercussions, so she had to move to some place safer. “He is a big guy and he’s somebody who was running around in the streets. I have not had any communication with him since the incident. I blocked him and changed my phone numbers and I’m moving to a safer location. I need to move on and heal without being trapped by what happened.” Ringgold denied the allegation, pointing to his bodyguard resume and some crazy soap fans as a defense. “No way, that’s out of control. This person is obviously crazy. I have soap fans, they are a little crazy… The associations I have … you can really ask yourself that question. Do I look like I need to do that? It’s saddening to hear.” Ringgold was taken into custody July 2 and appeared in court July 6. A grand jury investigation is underway.

Former executive producer Frank Valentini, now with GH, may have asked ABC Daytime bosses to produce a two-hour mini-series to give OLTL and AMC closure.

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