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Chris Van Etten Named Co-Head Writer Of General Hospital!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

A current Daytime Emmy Award-winning member of the GH writing team, the talented Chris Van Etten, has been named the new co-head writer of General Hospital working alongside of co head-writer, Shelly Altman.

Outgoing GH co-head writer, Jean Passanante, revealed the co head-writer promotion for Van Etten when answering an inquiry from a GH fan’s tweet on who would be replacing her, since this week marked Jean’s last day at GH.  As previously announced by the enduring soap scribe, Jean has decided for now to step away from the soaps and has retired.

In her tweet, Passanante stated: “Shelly will have Chris Van Etten as co-head, and he’s a lifelong fan and brilliant writer.”

Van Etten got his start on the beloved One Life to Live back in 2001 and worked his way up through the ranks to where he was an associate head writer, and breakdown writer and had been with the series all the way through till One Life went off the air.

Chris joined the team at General Hospital then under head writer Ron Carlivati in 2012 and has been there ever since.

So what do you think of Chris Van Etten’s promotion to co head-writer?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Joan Collins
Joan Collins

I think it is fantastic! I always love the shows that he has written!

Mister Media
Mister Media

I know nothing about him but I hope that he brings some balance and fresh ideas to the show. Friday’s episode was one of the worst things I have ever had to endure as a loyal fan and avid viewer. It was basically 40 minutes of Sonny in a hole, praising himself endlessly by enumerating the wonderful qualities that his children were lucky enough to have had him pass on to them. It could not have been any funnier if it had been intended as satire, but sadly it was not. I guess that since every other character seems to have done it, all that was left was to have Sonny himself extol his unending list of virtues. Why, the man could be a saint if he wasn’t a murdering thug of a mob boss! So, come on Chris Van Etten – write us out of the current mess of a show we’re being being forced to endure. Long live GH!

Melissa
Melissa

Amen!

Charday
Charday

Thanks for posting this–that Friday’s episode was 40 mins of Sonny. Now I can just delete it off the DVR without bothering to FF through it.

Celia
Celia

Same thing today, Charday.
I know I sound like a broken record; but, for heaven’s sake!!!!! Sonny went on and on about if he died, he’d, at least, see Morgan. Lordy Lord!! Even if Morgan were dead ( which he isn’t), father and Sonny would never meet in the supernatural sense.
One woukd be “upstairs”, the other underground; Beelzebub’s habitat.

Celia
Celia

That should read: father and son.

Shay
Shay

Morgan, Morgan, Morgan! It’s always about Morgan…..

su0000
su0000

Funny thing is…
Sonny, himself, has killed like 5 Mobsters, that is his kill list ..
It is Jason that did the killing..
At least with Sonny it was always mobster against mobster it was kill or be killed..
Sonny isn’t such a bad assed killing dude that’s Jason..
Sonny actually saved more people from being killed then he killed , weird huh.. lol

Celia
Celia

Su, Sonny killed AJ for no reason. Just because. No kill or be killed about it. Nah, my friend…..no excuses here.
From what I hear, Sonny and Carly tortured AJ. I am not interested or invested in this couple, so I never bother to delve too much into Sonny’s “past”….nonetheless, I know it’s a notoriously crooked one.
Today’s was the weirdest episode. So, this Stone guy/spirit had to come down from the heavens? ….or wherever; to show Sonny the way out?
He already knew the way out….had actually tried to scale the wall on boxes and barrels. So what was the big deal about this apparition? A big waste of time.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Su, you say, “Sonny actually saved more people from being killed than he actually killed.”
And I say, “Yes, and wouldn’t it be great if he had “saved” people rather than killed anyone? And if he had just been a “shady” character on the edges of crime rather than have been a monster?
I say that would have been better dramatically: he would have had more moral conflicts and been an infinitely more interesting character. “Shades of gray” is always better that “black and white” when dealing with drama. Don’t you agree?

Tomas Torquemada
Tomas Torquemada

It was a fast forward fest for me. 100% agree.

Saint Sonny isn’t going to die. Regrettably.

If GH hadn’t been so coy about what kind of mobster he is we’d feel very differently. Choices for mobsters include drugs, prostitution, gun running, protection intimidation money, gambling, loan shark, identity theft.. Not the kind of stuff most find acceptable.

Since he’s in imports it would be drugs or guns, right? And Momma Car

Tomas Torquemada
Tomas Torquemada

Momma Carly, Moral Jason and Cop Son Dante are cool with drugs and or guns?

Fast. Forward.

Boop
Boop

Tomas- I fast forward through anything Sonny, Carly , and Michael ( when he’s with them) because I’m sick of them. I can’t stomach Michael because he still calls Sonny , dad. Who does that when someone kills your natural father on purpose? Writers, wake up!

Boop
Boop

Mister Media- You are full of the truth! I’m tired of this uneven writing ; for example, the way Sonny’s daughter talked to Julian when he visited Sam at the hospital. To have Julian not say anything when she talked to him harshly should never have happened . The whole city of Port Charles needs to Wake up and recognize that Sonny is a mobster who has killed many people including A.J. ; unless they’re bringing him back to life. Even Monica doesn’t say anything against Sonny.

su0000
su0000

LOL

AJ was a bad man, he was worse than most.
AJ was murdering Ava when Sonny entered, AJ stopped the choke and Sonny shot him.. Sonny was pizzedoff and bipolar, but AJ deserved to die cuz he was a creep that shot his father in the back.. LOL

Jason is the all time murder, he has killed more people than any other in soap history and yet he is a loved cold blooded murder, sigh..
Sonny is not as bad as the hysterical mind meld believes, but then again Sonny should never ever be a saint, he is a crime lord..he needs to be bad.
Jason is king of the murders not Sonny ..

Steve
Steve

@Su0000
I’m not sure if you’re serious, but you might want to go on YouTube and rewatch the AJ/Sonny/Ava confrontation again. AJ did start choking Ava because she framed him for Connie’s murder. He did stop and even if he didn’t, Sonny could have grabbed him off of her or threatened with a gun. AJ was trying to turn his life around. Yes, he threatened Connie, but Ava is the one who killed her and ultimately led to AJ’s demise as well.

If you’re counting murders, Ava was directly responsible for Connie, but could have prevented AJ, Sabrina and Morgan from perishing, too.

su0000
su0000

I can only hope the Chris guy is under age 50, best yet under age 40..
Young writers are desperately needed ..

su0000
su0000

I searched and searched.. no information on him (age)
he is from NY and has written a teen book;

Chris Van Etten is a writer for the beloved television show One Life to Live. He is also one third of David Van Etten, the writing team behind the Likely Story series.

Wickedpedia (Point Horror) by Chris Van Etten (2014-06-24)

It’s the return of Point Horror for the Internet generation! Don’t open the door. Don’t answer your phone. And whatever you do, DON’T turn on your computer. . .

Cole and Greg love playing practical jokes through Wikipedia. They edit key articles and watch their classmates crash and burn giving oral reports on historical figures like Genghis Khan, the first female astronaut on Jupiter. So after the star soccer player steals Cole’s girlfriend, the boys take their revenge by creating a Wikipedia page for him, an entry full of outlandish information including details about his bizarre death on the soccer field.

It’s all in good fun, until the soccer player is killed in a freak accident . . . just as Cole and Greg predicted. The uneasy boys vow to leave Wikipedia alone but someone continues to edit articles about classmates dying in gruesome ways . . . and those entries start to come true as well.

To his horror, Cole soon discovers that someone has created a Wikipedia page for him, and included a date of death. He has one week to figure out who’s behind the murders, or else he’s set to meet a pretty grisly end.

Harry
Harry

Hey Suoo! Maybe the kid who plays Spencer has a classmate who always earned As in sixth grade Language Arts and he can be the new head writer!

su0000
su0000

hi Harry..
hmm that would be an interesting journey, kid soap writers they may surprise us!
they the gen of video games and transformers and super heros, yup it may well be good a thing..
The Joker in Port charles, I’m for it..

Boop
Boop

so0000
I’ve said the same thing ; young writers are needed. If they don’t know the show’s history, they can read it.

su0000
su0000

hi Boop ..
perhaps holding onto 5 decades of old history is what keeps the soaps in the 80’s ..
A new start a new day is what is needed ..

Steve
Steve

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for a few months. It would be interesting to know which stories he’s been involved with the past few years.

Despite many issues near the end, Ron was good at balance among storylines. Jelly have ventured into Guza territory with the primary focus on Sonny (of course that might be the directive from V&V).

What will their mash-up name be? Shellis? Chelly? If it works, I’ll go with SAVE.

Suzie rm
Suzie rm

Just hope the focus changes quickly. The focus on Sonny is killing the show.

JMER
JMER

Sounds like business-as-usual with the execs still writing the show and them taking on someone as co-head writer that will tow the line as much as possible. I hope this backfires and he pushes them to do the right thing, but since RC and JP didn’t have any influence beyond a year for RC and six months for JP/SA , I doubt a younger person would have any more sway, probably less.

Boop
Boop

JMER- You’re probably correct. I loved what Ron was doing ; however, he signed his death warrant when he consequenced Sonny for killing A.J. Somebody didn’t like that.

Steve
Steve

Ron might have been able to survive the Sonny issue, but Fluke and Denise Demuccio were the final nails in the coffin.

Maureen
Maureen

I read JP’s tweets and correct me if wrong but she said, “I am retiring-at least for the time being”-something to that effect. Is that like Steve Burton every time he leaves a show to be with his family in Nashville? I don’t know. Were Jean and Shelley really writing partners like Barbara Essensten and James Harmon Brown-do I have the names right? They were partners it seemed on every show they worked on. I know that when I have a half-empty carton of milk or tub of whatever that has soured-I don’t buy another and then add it to the half-empty one-I toss it out and start fresh. How much of this is really the headwriter and how much is the Exec. Producer or other higher-ups? I wish I knew the inner workings-only to have a clearer idea of the thought process-or lack of it-that goes into these shows. I do not know about Days but Victor is king at Y&R and Sonny at GH-once Luke left. Bold and Beautiful does not have a king-it has a wonderful cast and writing-in my opinion-and all get a turn front and center-and I do love the show-more so than any other and GH was once at the top, for me.
So many of the plots and stories on GH are beyond suspending disbelief- they are like some crazed fool putting together a jigsaw by force-making the pieces fit regardless of their size or shape or towards any conclusion that pays off emotionally for me. Sonny shot and in a hole- there is no angst for me-except how long do we draw this out for? I am hearing Tyler Christopher was just signed by Days-to me huge score for them-huge loss for GH. I hope this new writer -who seems to have a good deal of experience, is well-liked by his peers and I like when one who has paid dues is promoted-but will his status now as co-head writer make any difference or not? How far ahead have they already written? I get all worked-up and frustrated- it seems GH fans are the most vocal and fanatical of all the shows.

Maureen
Maureen

The higher-ups all seem very happy with the writing and Sonny centered focus of the show-and I know many are die hard Sonny fans and say no show without him. Luke fans said the same- yet show is still on. I don’t dislike Steve Burton, but not excited for his return, either.

Melissa
Melissa

Excellent post.

Harry
Harry

Oh no, did not know Tyler Christopher was signed onto Days.
Shoot. For me, he’s the only Nikolas Cassadine. He looks and breaths the part perfectly.

Boop
Boop

I like Nick who subbed for Tyler.

Shay
Shay

Loved your soured milk analogy, Maureen! That pretty much said it all about the state of GH storylines right now…time to toss out the entire bad carton of whatever and begin afresh!

Patrick
Patrick

@Maureen : Tyler Christopher going to DAYS of OUR Lives

just read this on the internet.. as far back as three days ago.

RUMOUR MILL RUMOUR MILL

as was said: he could be Alexander Kiriakis

THE BEST , IS BACK !

can only hope

Bonnie
Bonnie

Cronie of Ron’s do not like it. But he has been in the background on the show for several years so maybe….

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Not the name I was expecting, but I do see Chris Van Etten credited often whenever I watch General Hospital, so I can only hope that he can bring some great things to the table. I only hope that it brings a bit more consistency to the serial. I know a lot of people were hoping for Sri Rao to come on board, and while I would’ve been open to that, as well, I am willing to give Van Etten a fighting chance to see how he handles the position as co-head writer, alongside Shelly Altman. Though, I low-key would’ve loved for ABC to lure Lorraine Broderick back as a head writer for a soap opera, despite her not wanting that kind of position again.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Hope he continues to write more and more drama for Genie (Laura). She takes the crumbs that she is given and milks them. (Sorry to mix metaphors–lol. Maybe I should have said that “she takes the crumbs that are given her and soaks in them.–LOL)

Boop
Boop

Nancy- I hope Chris can stop everyone from going into the rooms of patients and threatening them; Sonny with Ava , Carly with Oscar, Dante with everybody. If someone went into my family member’s room as they do, a complaint would be filed everyday. However, not with the Port Charles Dept. because they’re all incompetent.; even, Jay. They’re not fair officers because they only help the ones who are their friends; people such as : Valentin , Julian , Ava, Nelle , Franco and anyone who’s not Sonny’s friend or relative doesn’t stand a prayer!

Michael Taylor
Michael Taylor

TOUPS, I WANT THE SOAP OPERA RATINGS FROM JULY 17-21 NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

su0000
su0000

I still would like to know which age bracket Chris is in..

And- with Shelly and FV the leaders not much will change.

JasonLovesGH
JasonLovesGH

I’m hoping for good results. I’ll refrain from further comment for now…except for one thing. Why on God’s green earth are nearly all of the characters saying “what if” in the vast majority of their lines? This type of writing/dialogue is nerve-wracking to me. It’s tired. It’s unimaginative. It’s lazy. It needs to stop.

Timmm
Timmm

Oh good, more OLTL stunt casting!

Allen Saint James
Allen Saint James

The show needs to return to its roots. I mean can we get awesome wsb plots. Danger mystery intrigue action adventure… Against all odds storytelling

su0000
su0000

ahh yes, return to the Real GH..
the GH that was unique and stood alone among all the other soaps with its own identity unlike all the other soaps..
GH the Not Traditional Soap, the soap on the edge.
That GH needs to rise in its exciting glory!

Allen Saint James
Allen Saint James

Im not sure why more Fans dont ask for this explicitly
Everyone gets so caught up on the characters and what actor they do or dont like… I bet a number of new characters would work perfectly if the show put them in the harrowing situations from the 80s. The cast is there. I wish Gh wss more like Days of Our lives.

Choward
Choward

I think they should have scouted around for someone fresh who understand the genre and has even a mild grip on who the loyal viewers are and what they expect and want from a soap opera
And has a knowledge of the history of general hospital and it’s MAIN characters

Jimmy
Jimmy

This is a promotion from within the ranks of the current writing team, so anyone who expects so see a different show when Chris takes over duties with Shelly will be disappointed. Plus, with all the meddling from higher-up executives, story direction and creative control is seldom in the sole hands of the writers anymore. It’s frustrating for fans because GH doesn’t feel like GH anymore, and if they hired a brand new writing team with fresh ideas and let them tell the stories they want to tell, I have no doubt we would love GH again.

It’s funny; Lauren Koslow recently said DAYS has “found its path again” with Ron C taking over as writer, and the two weeks of his shows that have aired so far have shown a marked improvement. I felt the same way when Ron took over at GH too. Hopefully they can find someone who can restore GH’s path because it’s been hardly recognizable for years.

Queerbec
Queerbec

It seems shows always bring in a new writer right after irreparable damage has been done to a show. There are now so many cold blooded murderers running around Port Charles that it’s hard to like or sympathize with so many characters. Ava, Julian, Sonny, Jason, Anna, the rumored departing Obrecht, Alexis (in a way), even those who killed in when being fired upon (Sam) or trying to defend someone (Michael). And of course, Valentin. They need to bring back Nicholas so that Valentin can be softened and not made a murderer, and so Genie Francis and Marci Rylan don’t go into conniption fits every time they see him. Burning and disfiguring Ava is not going to make anyone more sympathetic to her character, she still has to pay for the number of characters she has killed off. Also, if I were Monica, I’d still be revolted by Sonny for killing my son, despite Monica apparently falling for the excuse that Ava goaded him into it, and taking out her vengeance on Ava by getting her to donate a painting to the Nurses Ball. It is ridiculous that all the characters have to act friendly and concerned to unpunished murderers who killed members of their family or lovers. I also hate the fact that lazy writers find it easier to kill of a character than creatively writing them out of the show. Budig’s character had such wonderful potential but they are rushing into this end-times scenario that appears the character will be written out forever. I don’t know how much of a back lash there has been (but the mantra, “anything for Steve Burton” takes precedence), but throwing her under the bus with two years on her contract (unless of course she has been a negative force on set and has been making life miserable for all the other cast members) pains a lot of viewers. I thought Michael Sutton did a terrific job. But the decimation of the Quartermaines really started GH on its path to ruin and too much emphasis on cold blooded murder performed by characters we are supposed to love has hastened its demise. Hasn’t anyone told ABC that The Sopranos went off the air and shows like the Good Fight (or Wife) or This Is Us are the shows that are attracting audiences today.

Boop
Boop

Queerbec -I agree with most of what you’re saying; however ,Julian and Ava are very weak mobsters who don’t fit in the same category as hardnosed Sonny . Yet, I will say that all bad behavior should be consequenced regardless as to who it is.

Celia
Celia

OMG!!!!!! WOW!!!! Hmmmmm!!!

Celia
Celia

Above reply is for Queerbecca.

Joan Collins
Joan Collins

He is under 40.

T
T

I’m hoping that Steve and Rebecca will be reunited and let Kelly continue to be with Billy. I never been a Jasam fan and for the fans of Liz and Jason we should finally get to see that. Why bring Steve back to focus on just Sam? Sam has her Jason, let Liz have her Jason especially for the fans who are not on the Jasam bandwagon!

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Franco Looks In The Mirror … And Believing He Is Drew Kisses Kim

This week on General Hospital, viewers have seen that when Franco (Roger Howarth) awoke from his mind-mapping implantation  (thanks to Shiloh and Dr Cabot) he woke up saying that he is “Drew Cain”.  Thus, as far we know, Franco now carries the life and memories of Drew from 2012 and back, and as of now, has no trace of Franco’s memories.

When Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Drew (Billy Miller) try to make Franco understand in his confusion what transpired,  Liz brings a mirror to Franco to see his face, which makes this all the more terrifying for him.  Liz insists to him that she is wife, but he tells her that he is sorry but he does not recognize her.  Franco insists he is going to leave town and Drew asks him to please stay put, as Liz promises that they can reverse what happened to him.  But can Liz really promise that?

Later, Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) fills Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Jason (Steve Burton) in on what happened and how Franco now was implanted with Drew’s memories, which leaves them stunned.  That means Franco, who is one of the people Jason loathes most in the world – now believes he is Jason’t twin brother.

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Meanwhile, as Kim (Tamara Braun) and Julian (William deVry) prepare to leave Port Charles for Manhattan and start live anew, (so Kim can not be haunted by her life in Port Charles from the recent death of her son, Oscar) things are about to make a shocking turn … for her.

Back at GH, Liz is upset when Franco decides he must get out of his hospital room.  Liz is scared he will just skip town knowing he feels he has no ties there.  Drew reassures her that because he is a version of him, the pull will be way too strong for him to exit Port Charles.

Courtesy/ABC

Kim is now at the hospital getting ready to turn in her resignation letter and runs into Franco.  He recognizes her and calls her “Kim!” You can tell he is quite smitten with her.  Kim is not sure why Franco is acting that way.  She announces she is leaving Port Charles to which he says he is going to come with her. She sees he has a hospital ID bracelet on, so she thinks something has happened.  Just then, Franco tells her about the first time Drew Cain and her met up! This shocks Kim  … and the next thing you know … he moves in for a major kiss and lip-lock as Drew and Liz look on.

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GH's Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

So, what do you think of the story turn thus far that has Franco now with Drew’s memories and with no trace of Franco? Share your thoughts on the twist via the comment section below!

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Breaking News

Constance Towers Returns To GH As Helena Cassadine … But Just How Does She Appear?

Now, any General Hospital fan knows that if there is skullduggery and evil going down, Helena Cassadine (whether dead or alive) is usually somehow involved when it comes to the lives of certain people in Port Charles.

And … some major storyline news from TV Line reveals that on next Monday’s August 19th episode of the ABC soap opera, Constance Towers reprises her role as the evil one herself … Helena!

Apparently, look for Helena to appear in a flashback with none other than Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and about Drew Cain’s time in Afghanistan.  That scene might hold a key to just what Shiloh wants now that he has implanted Drew’s memories into Franco (Roget Howath), thanks to Dr. Cabot’s work.  But could what is revealed also relate to the story that will see Billy Miller (Drew) exit the canvas later this month? Stay tuned.

Viewers last saw Helena alive in story until November of 2016, but then she was part of Jake’s hallucinations that were a part of the chimera storyline that climaxed at the Nurses’ Ball back in May of 2017.

So what do you think Helena’s presence in a flashback will reveal? And, who is ultimately having that flashback? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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