Frank Valentini, Shelly Altman & Jean Passanante Interview – General Hospital – Soapmakers of the Year 2016
Great soap opera features: high emotional stakes, daily cliffhangers, a deep connection to the history of the show and finding ways to honor that and their longtime viewers, character-driven storylines, large umbrella stories that service many characters on the canvas, and sharply written twists that keep fans begging for more, and even becoming so frustrated that they want that reveal for their favorite character to finally come to light. While 2016 was the first full year of current GH head writers, Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante steering the characters of Port Charles, they certainly faced many challenges, but by mid-year, the duo seemed to have the show firing on all cylinders, and with that came the emotional heartbeat that is specific to the brand, “General Hospital”.
Teamed with the man in charge, executive producer, Frank Valentini, these creatives took fans of the long-running soap though their paces in a good way. None more so than the hankie-inducing, riveting storyline of the tragic death of Morgan Corinthos, putting squarely the burden of this drama on three of daytime’s most respected and revered performers, Laura Wright (Carly), Maurice Benard (Sonny), and Maura West (Ava). 2016 also put the popular duo of Julexis, played by Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) and William deVry (Julian) on a haunting journey on the dark side of love that has made this twisted love story must-see TV. Valentini, Altman and Passanante also pulled off another GH Nurses’ Ball with surprising performances, and tender story within. They utilized beloved veterans, such as Genie Francis (Laura), and Jane Elliot (Tracy) in story, gave Monica (Leslie Charleson) her job back as Chief of Staff at the hospital, and brought back fan favorite Michael Easton to yet another role on the series that of Dr Hamilton Finn. Now, while every single story may not have been a home run in the eyes of GH viewers, the good this year on General Hospital far outweighed the bad, and has set the drama on the road to a very promising 2017.
On-Air On-Soaps has given our highest honors of 2016 to Frank Valentini, Shelly Altman, and Jean Passanante as our choice for “Soapmakers of the Year”. This is Valentini’s fourth honor, and the first for Altman, and Passanante. After receiving the news of our year-end honors, Frank, Shelly, and Jean chatted with On-Air On-Soaps and shared their thoughts on: the biggest GH storylines of the year, what they felt were the show’s standout accomplishments, plus they gave us an inside look at their collaboration. We get a taste of how some of the must-see moments came to life and how they were constructed, and in addition, how this trio made some of the key decisions that mapped out what viewers ultimately would see on-air. And in a little bonus, we get a little tease as to what’s ahead as we ring in the New Year. In a comprehensive review of what had viewers talking in 2016, including their favorite GH duos, characters, and casting additions, here’s what our honorees shared.
The death of Morgan Cortinhos, the lead up to it, the groundwork that was laid prior to it, the fallout after it, and the time you have taken to show the devastating journey of grief the Corinthos family has endured, has been the most emotionally riveting storyline in soaps in 2016. Not only did it give the audience many powerhouse performances from the cast, but it also was well written in the set-up of it, and the scenes between the characters. Can you tell me how you came to decide to construct the story this way, once you knew Bryan Craig (Ex-Morgan) made the decision to depart GH?
In terms of the writing of it, we started the groundwork of it without realizing what we set the groundwork for. I think when Morgan gets in the middle of Ava’s (Maura West) arms deal, and Carly starts to question Sonny’s involvement in a business that ends up in violence every step of the way, and with Morgan nearly jumping off the roof of the hospital, Kiki (Hayley Erin) getting shot at, and Sonny getting shot in the first place, it put so much in place. We knew we wanted to head towards a crisis that really caused a huge rift in the Sonny and Carly relationship, with this being a part of it. So, when Bryan made the decision to leave we thought, “Here we go. What could be higher stakes for them as a couple, but for them to lose as a result of Sonny’s involvement in this very violent world, their own child?”
In addition, as you may know by now we are really fond of umbrella stories, and how this would have more global implications by playing the romance of Kiki and Morgan, and at the same time playing a young people’s potential love triangle. That gave it emotional roots for them, and that put Morgan in a particular state of mind that also affected Julian and Alexis. We started laying the groundwork with them, and realized there could be more story with the disillusionment of their marriage over the course of the year.
… As well as Ava’s history with Morgan, and Dillon’s (Robert Palmer Watkins) interest in Kiki, the death of Carlos (Jeffrey Vincent Parise), the death of Duke (Ian Buchanan), and the return of Carlos. It all sort of fell into place.
Frank, from a production standpoint, was having the car bomb explosion, and playing Morgan’s final scene, and the fallout with the other characters at the edge of a cliff, difficult to execute within the confines of a studio?
Not really, but I think the pre-production is very tricky, because you want to construct the set in the way that you could take advantage of the most important moment. I feel like the most important moment, although some of it was off-camera, was Sonny on top of that cliff realizing that his son was down there in the debris and trying to process this accident. So we sort of worked from what was the most important moment and construct the set off of that, because you could really get crazy and almost take up the whole studio with roads, and walls, and cars, and everything else. Because we do such a large amount of work in a year we can’t get too crazy on any particular day.
When you watched the performances back following Morgan’s death, can you tell me if you had a favorite moment, or scene played by Maurice Benard and Laura Wright? Where you were either on the floor as Frank would you be seeing it go live-to -tape, or when as writers you saw it play out on -air?
It’s hard sometimes when you are moving into a very important arc, or an umbrella story arc, where everybody is going to have very challenging work. You are kind of keeping your eye on each scene after each scene, after each scene. Certainly, you are moved when they are performing it, but once we had that first moment where Jason (Billy Miller) had to find out, then Jason had to tell Sonny, and then Sonny has to tell Carly, you wanted to make sure every domino was close to the next one to knock it down. It’s kind of hard at that point to enjoy it, but I had that experience certainly in the edit, and that for me was like, “Wow. It really all came together, and they did a great job.”
I think there were so many great scenes on-air: Carly listening to Morgan’s phone, and Sonny and Kiki were tremendous. I think Maurice and Laura are such magnificent actors that the silent scene when Sonny tells Carly what’s happened, and that it was shot through a window, and the audience couldn’t hear the dialog, but you knew everything these two people were feeling and saying. I thought that was pretty stellar.
I thought Carly letting loose on Kiki was tremendous, and not a lot of actors are willing to go that far. But, Laura is pretty amazing, and Maurice as well. They are both emotionally available. I am not on the studio floor with them, but you can tell they listen to each other, and they play off of each other so well pretty much every time they are in scene together. Each scene now is loaded with their history. Frank did encourage us from the beginning to give them something really meaty to play, and they got it. They have delivered, for sure.
Frank, speaking of the silent scene, and the long shot through the window (when Sonny tells Carly their son perished) was that a decision you made to shoot that moment in such a poetic way?
That was already in the script. When we read it we loved it, and it was pretty powerful.It is very untraditional in what is usually a typical soap moment when someone has to deliver bad news. I felt this was a very fresh take on it. That is also a perfect example of knowing who your talent is, and being able to give them something much more challenging to do.
A huge moment that meant so much to so many longtime fans was the scene when Robin (Kimberly McCullough) came upon Sonny on the bridge as he is overwhelmed by grief, and guilt over Morgan’s death. How did that moment come about to have Robin be the one character to save him from possibly ending his life? You also effectively weaved in the history of Robin and Stone to it.
That was in the script, as well. The writers felt Robin was the right person to help Sonny at that moment, and again, when you are mixing and matching the legacy characters from the show, certainly Jason could have talked Sonny off the bridge, or Sam (Kelly Monaco), or Michael (Chad Duell), or Max (Derk Cheetwood), or somebody like that. But, it was so refreshing that it was Robin, because there were so many things that tie back into it, which is cool. I just had to work out the logistics with Kimberly. She was lovely, and so excited about coming back for it.
One of the wonderful things about working with Frank Valentini is we present him with our best case scenario, which in this case was Robin on the bridge, and he makes it happen.
We appreciate that. Frank is a producer who says, “Yes”, way more often than he says, “No”.
Let’s discuss Ava’s replacement of Morgan’s pills with placebos prior to his death. Were you at all concerned with Ava switching the pills on a character that was dealing with a mental health issue, such as bipolar disorder?
We are holding on to it, but we are continuing to play it. It’s a bomb waiting to go off, pardon the analogy, but that’s what it is.
We knew that we were in dangerous territory, but at the same time it did not seem out of character for Ava. It seemed motivated by love for her daughter, and never imagining the potential consequences.
I think it was an opportunity to do something really bold, and also something where you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s such an extreme thing that Ava has done and you want to see her get her comeuppance, which is great, but then at the same time you are going: “Oh, no! I love that character, and I don’t want her to go away, so how is this going to work out?” Maybe, she will get her comeuppance, and Sonny will kill her, or she will go to jail, or she may worm her way out of it. There are just so many possibilities there to play, and understanding you have someone like Maura West who can do it all and take on that much responsibility as the character, and get the audience to believe that switching Morgan’s meds was the only thing she could do. That, even though it’s a reprehensible thing, there’s a part of the audience going, “Yeah, I could see her doing that.”
I think Morgan’s death is an example of great soap opera storytelling; how Shelly and Jean not only weaved in Ava’s part in this, but there is also the “Oscar Jessup” mystery which fans are cluing in on, and who planted the bomb in Julian’s car. There has been this continued domino effect for many of the core characters out of this tragedy.
I agree. It’s never easy on us with the constraints we have to work with tell the stories, both in the writing and in the producing. You have to be very clever. In addition to being great storytellers they are clever in the way they keep the audience guessing. Almost every day there is a cliffhanger. Then the following day, there is another piece of the puzzle to see, and for the audience to be a part of.
Shelly and Jean, how do you feel creatively the last six months has been for you? Do you think you are finally on the track you wanted to be on since you took over as head writers? As with any writers taking over that position on a soap, you had to first get out of other stories that were previously in place.
It’s funny. We are always looking forward. So, it’s hard for us to look back and look at what we have accomplished. Our goal is always to figure out where this story is going, or that story is going. We think about,” How is this going to roll-out?” We go, “Won’t it be great to put this person with that person!” I think it certainly has been an evolution for us. Hopefully, the next six months will be even more exciting.
I think in writing soaps you hope for the periods of time where one thing leads naturally into the other, and that it can incorporate a lot of characters, and a lot of completely different points of views, desires, and motivations. You can pin it on something of extreme importance to a lot of people. Obviously, Morgan’s death was that event of extreme importance. You only get so many times when the son of a prominent character on a show dies. So you look forward to those times when it all comes to a head, and you have those wonderful and enormous pay-offs that keep on going. That’s what we always want and hope.
We try very consciously to create story events that will lead into the next story. Stories never end, and they never should. It’s about, “Where does this story go?” As you said, we picked up on story that was in place when we got here. We then moved it into a direction that we felt was logical and potent, and off of that came the next story, and off the story we have been telling will come the next story.
Bringing in Nelle (Chloe Lanier) to the canvas, and having her “set up” Sonny to make it look like she slept with him, just as Sonny and Carly are getting back to sort of reconciling, was another story move with a secret planted that could potentially spoil any happy reunion. Did you know when you brought Chloe Lanier back to the show how Nelle’s story would slowly reveal itself, since viewers are seeing it eek out while making their guesses as to who she really is in relation to Carly?
The casting of Chloe was all Frank’s idea. We are so thankful for that, because she is wonderful. This is another story, which plays upon the history of the show, and yet is going to carry forward with the characters that are here now.
There is an overlap with the Morgan story, because that character Nelle comes into the Corinthos family at a time when they are in crisis. In that sense, it is still part of the umbrella, but her story is also sort of its own arc. One of the great things you have with a soap opera that has been on for decade is a lot of history. It’s great to be able to open up something like, “How would Carly feel if what she did to her mother somebody did to her?”
Sometimes in soaps writers bring in new characters with a mystery, but they haven’t really fleshed it out that mystery before they begin airing. Had you mapped out Nelle’s entire back-story and knew all the points you were going to unveil before she made it to air?
We did in this case. We know Nelle’s back-story. Another example of how it is not too dissimilar from planting the bomb in Julian’s car, and everyone is waiting for it to explode.
Frank, we know Chloe Lanier delivered a memorable performance as young Patricia Spencer in the Daytime Emmy-winning 52nd anniversary episode of GH. What was it about Chloe that made you decide to hire her back to play the role of Nelle?
I have always said that here at GH we have an extraordinary cast. So if you add someone into the mix who can’t keep up with them, it tends to stick out on the air. I didn’t want that. I was so impressed with what Chloe was able to do on the 52nd anniversary episode, and I feel like in a way the audience so loved and embraced that show, that they would accept Chloe a little bit more readily than they would another new face. I think this year we have added two new main characters, and that is something we haven’t done in a long time: Valentin (James Patrick Stuart) and Nelle. I felt we added them in a way that honored the show. The other thing I would like to say about the story with Nelle and Carly is that it also lets us dip back into the history of fan favorite Jackie Zeman (Bobbie), who we all adore and love, and it gives her something to do as well.
In 2016, the mighty Alexis was well on her way to becoming an alcoholic, and the tale of the tearing apart of Julexis with: Julian trying to kill her, Alexis stabbing him, then she later runs him down! How did you come to make this such a dysfunctional mess (laughs) for Alexis and Julian, yet you still can play and see the love between them?
They are both very powerful characters, and we decided to put them through their paces!
It’s one thing that we kept being reminded of, and that is despite their great love and wonderful romance, Julian’s past couldn’t be erased. Despite the changes he made for love, for Alexis, that was always sitting out there. When the past caught up with him, and things start to unravel for Alexis, she started to have to examine the choices that she made. It seemed sort of a natural instance for a downward spiral for a smart, powerful woman who has to take stock of the fact that she may have made a very bad … and potentially lethal mistake. Now, obviously, it remains to be seen if that mistake is everything we think it was, but it seems a natural progression for her, and of course, we learn more about Julian, which will play into this story.
I also think it gave some real credence to the fact that she has gone through some horrible upsetting experiences. I think it’s important to play those things off. A lot of times we tend to brush things off in soaps: “Hey, we’re great. Now, we are moving on.” I think it was very, very smart to explore the trauma Alexis experienced.
Frank, did you talk with Nancy Lee Grahn about where the story was going to go prior to beginning this story arc, in that you were going to have Alexis develop a drinking problem?
I feel like sometimes with the actors you don’t want to say too much, because you don’t want to get sort of ahead of yourself, and play the end story. So as we were going through the storyline, I sort of fed Nancy a little bit, and just enough so she would know what she would have to connect the dots to next. But, not too far into the future that it would step on a surprise or a reveal for the audience.
What do you think, as writers of how Nancy has been navigating and performing the material you have given her? It’s been fantastic to see her have a story she can sink her teeth into.
She has been amazing.
We tried to develop the story of a woman with a drinking problem without underscoring, “Oh, oh! Drinking problem!” coming off of the first day she took a drink. We are glad that Frank didn’t talk to Nancy about it too much; because you don’t want to have the actor start playing it, before the character does.
I think both Nancy and Will deVry have done some of the finest work in their careers in taking their characters on a dark path, and in some very dark, and complex scenes.
I am very excited with the performances they have turned in. It has been fun to watch. It’s always fun to watch the actors be challenged. I have felt we have done that with everyone on this show … Roger Howarth (Franco, Becky Herbst (Liz), and Michael Easton (Finn), for instance. Everyone has gotten the chance to sort of spread their wings, and dig in.
This year, you had to deal with the situation of Tyler Christopher not returning to the show, and thus writing-off the character of Nikolas Cassadine. You made the decision to cast Nick Stabile as Nikolas to finish out the story. Stabile did a very fine job in the role. What was that like, from a creative standpoint, figuring out what to do in these circumstances with replacing a popular actor with another actor at a key point in the story?
It wasn’t that difficult for Jean and me, because it was in the writing already when that happened. But yes, there were plans that had to be changed.
We didn’t expect Tyler to be gone. That’s why, as writers, we always have to have a plan B.
I have been doing this for such a long time, and I almost never, and not to my memory, have I been in a situation where I had to recast somebody in that way. I have always been able to work it out scheduling wise, but this situation was a little out of my hands. I think Nick Stabile did a great job. We were able to make it work for the other people who were still involved in the story. It is always a challenging decision.
The arrival of Valentin Cassadine on to the scene was quite memorable, and now he is back for a second go-round on the canvas. Is it everything you had hoped for having James Patrick Stuart inhabit the role and bringing it to life?
SHELLY AND JEAN (In unison):
He is such a wonderful actor, and he gives us everything. You know he is a bad guy, but boy can he be charming and loving!
James is just easy to work with, and from a production standpoint, it’s sort of the same thing as I said about Chloe: You are adding someone into the mix who can do it, and James obviously can do it.
You have found a way now to have Finola Hughes as Anna Devane, in story linked to Valentin. I think we can safely say 2016 was the year you wrote major stories for the women on GH. How do you view the legacy character of Anna?
We want to see Anna Devane being the strong woman she has always been in the past. We love Finola. She is an important element on the show for many people. Increasing her relationships with the addition of Griffin (Matt Cohen), and the occasional return of Robin as often as we can have her, we felt was re-grounding her in Port Charles society. We admire strong women in the world, in our lives, and on our show. So it’s fun to invent situations for Anna to be in.
Anna is obviously a kick-ass character, as that is who she is, and we want that to continue. We wanted her to have an emotional reckoning with all of the loss she has experienced in her life.
I think Anna had a major part of that reckoning in an episode back in February. Anna was sitting inside the hospital chapel. She is just beyond sad following the mess on the docks with the arms deal gone awry. Anna chats with Andre (Anthony Montgomery) about her loss, and about trying to get justice for Duke’s death, on the heels of Robin and Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) leaving Port Charles. It was another brilliant performance by Finola. On that note, Frank, you have so many major actors and characters to service story to on GH. Do you ever have anxiety about, “How am I going to make this all work and appease everyone?”
No! I don’t. (Jean and Shelly laugh) Because that is what Jean and Shelly do!
I would not say we have anxiety over it, but it can be a challenge. We are aware that sometimes some characters have to recede into the background for a day, or a week, while other stories are in the foreground. Port Charles is a community and people interact, so it’s our goal to have the characters interact, and sometimes in the most surprising ways.
Sometimes the things that turn out to be the most fun are the ones that happen when you throw people together, because you are working in a certain set, or you need to finish off the day. You go, “Isn’t that great having Franco and Liz together?
… Or look at Valentin and Nina (Michelle Stafford)!
So just when, as writers, you are ready to be the most anxious, something happens. It is certainly a pleasure to work off of a partner like Shelly who never is short on ideas, and we bounce things off of each other a lot. One of us is going to come up with something! (Laughs)
A lot of sentences begin with, “What if …” When working together we often start sentences by saying “This may be really stupid … but …” We will finish the sentence and the other one of us will say whether it’s stupid, or not. Often times it is! (Laughs) We keep the photos of our entire cast in front of us on the wall when we are writing. So, just seeing them and remembering this is our community, and that these are the people that will be interacting with each other is helpful. It is a large cast and we try to honor all the characters.
Did you decide to put Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) and Lulu (Emme Rylan) back together after the Dante/Val (Brytni Sarpy) affair more quickly than you would have, because there was a fan backlash?
We were always intending on putting Dante and Lulu back together. We are invested in them as a couple.
We think they are an important and central couple of the show. They bridge the Spencer and Corinthos families, and they are beloved.
I also think Dante and Lulu are rational people who make mistakes. I think more than the others who don’t have those characteristics that might have stayed apart a little longer. You can’t look at Dante, who is always sane, practical, and the peacekeeper, and Lulu, who serves the same purpose in her family, and think they would not get back together. I feel that the timeline was totally realistic. Also, it was put in place to serve future story, which is what we have going on now with Lulu interacting with Valentin.
Now there is this young girl, Charlotte, who as it turns out is the bio-daughter of Lulu! Did you have a hard time trying to connect the dots, when looking back at the often convoluted history, and back-story with the Cassadines and Lulu’s frozen embryos’, to have this make sense? (Laughs)
Surprise! (Laughs) This was a story we were very clear on, and in inheriting the past of these characters we took a look at it and said, “Huh. Here’s a very logical outcome of that.” It seemed surprisingly logical to us (laughs) in a crazy way.
It also paid off a lot of story that the audience had invested in; when Stavros (Robert Kelker Kelly) came back, and sort of continuing the legacy of Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), who is such a beloved character, and in terms of Laura.. This will ultimately affect her as well.
There was a major outcry from fans to give Genie Francis story. You put the character of Laura into a romance with good guy Dr. Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom). Did you have any trepidation putting this iconic character with Kevin? You had promised, and needed to find a romance for her. So why was Kevin ultimately that guy?
For one thing, we love Jon Lindstrom. He is a wonderful actor. We didn’t want to bring in a completely new, unknown, and un-beloved character to the audience. It’s always a risk when bringing in someone and going, “Here’s so and so, and they will be the love interest…” It just seemed right for it to be Kevin for Laura, and it sort of just evolved.
They are two people that had no history. It was a fresh love story, which is great. That always really struck me about the love story Jean and Shelly came up with. It’s about two characters who are blank slates with each other, and you can actually see them falling in love. What is interesting about doing this with a more mature couple is that they would bring their experiences in all the relationships they ever been in to one another, and how would they make that work? How would they reconcile that, and share that experience with one another? I thought that was very interesting, and continues to be very interesting with the two of them.
They don’t have baggage with each other!
They are baggage-free, which is great!
Whose idea was it to pair Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Franco (Roger Howarth) as a romantic duo?
We just did one day. It probably was one of those, “What If’s?”
We did have a conversation about how Liz just had come off of a relationship with Jason (formerly known as “Jake”), and we have the fan bases of Liz and Jason, and Sam and Jason. The Sam and Jason pairing though seemed inevitable to us in a lot of ways, but Liz is a very worthy character. Her relationship with Jason was a very worthy relationship, too, until she started lying to him, but that’s another story. We wanted someone to fall madly in love with Liz, and who needed her in some way, and we wanted to take Franco in a new direction.
And we wanted someone for her that would not judge her for what she did.
In the latest GH winter romance promo from ABC, it clearly looks like Griffin is being positioned as a spoiler for the Liz and Franco romance. So in 2017, can you see him becoming a suitor for Liz?
Sure. He is hanging out there, too! (Laughs)
Then you brought Liz’s rapist, Tom Baker (Don Harvey) back. Now Tom has been murdered. Some fans have been somewhat critical of this story. Is this story ultimately for Franco to be redeemed, or to be put back into his old treacherous ways?
You will have to stay tuned and all will be revealed!
We brought Tom back, because we wanted to play off some of Liz’s history, and her evolution, and put Franco in a position to come to grips with who he really is. In some ways, Tom is/was a mirror of that. I think the rest of the story will become clear as it goes along.
In 2016, you also positioned Hayden (Rebecca Budig) as more of a feisty, misunderstood heroine, and she is more firmly anchored into the show then she was before. How do you feel the Finn and Hayden romance is stacking up? Was the Liz and Hayden connection (that they were revealed to be half-sisters) a way to further secure her into the fabric of GH?
I think that was the rationale of having her being related to Liz, and knowing Tracy (Jane Elliot) and making it a little triumvirate of: Finn, Hayden and Tracy.
We did see Hayden and Finn as a potential couple. We knew early on that we wanted to make this sister relationship happen between Liz and Hayden. As Jean said, we connected her to Tracy, a beloved, solid character on the show. We felt it was an important way of grounding her. Hayden was very isolated there for a while. We delved a bit more into her, and it created an interesting relationship between Tracy and Hayden with Tracy being the hinge between Hayden and Finn.
These are two women who don’t really like each other, but who also love each other.
Frank, can you speak about also utilizing soap treasure, Jane Elliot, in story throughout 2016 in particular with Hayden? Jane also shared some great scenes with Leslie Charleson (Monica) this year, which played upon the history of Tracy and Monica, particularly when Tracy thought she might die.
I feel like in a way, and not to make too much of a simplification in comparison, but Hayden is the way Tracy used to be when she was younger. Hayden on the outside is tough and feels like a bad girl, but on the inside isn’t. The contrast to that is Liz, who on the outside does sweet and nice things, but sometimes on the inside we know she does the wrong things. Whereas Liz has all these other people to play off of. I think what Jean and Shelly did was create a situation where Tracy has to take in this stray, and who better than someone like Jane Elliot to do this where she is creating this situation and relationship that is sometimes cantankerous, contentious, and other times motherly.
You went out and brought Michael Easton back to the show after he was previously killed-off as Silas Clay. Now watching him in his latest soap incarnation, Dr. Hamilton Finn, what do you think about how that move has turned out?
I think I have said that every time I have seen Michael do something different. I will go, “This is the best he has ever been!”(Laughs) Michael is a fantastic actor. There is no doubt he can play anything. He has been great as Finn. I love how he has helped create this relationship with Hayden. Michael is a very good friend, a wonderful actor; and it is so much fun to watch him.
Jean and Shelly, I would assume it would be fun for you to write for the character of Finn, and all of his quirks, and let’s not forget his reptilian sidekick, Roxy!
We love writing for Finn, because we love watching Michael. We have known him, and written for him in other roles. This one is really different, and I completely buy into him as this guy.
Michael instantly gets what we are thinking, and brings this quirky quality to it, and to the screen. It’s a real pleasure to watch, and write for.
Sam and Jason had a tumultuous year. He was finally Jason after months and months on end of being “Jake”. You finally resolved that part of the story. Now you have the duo together, and Sam is pregnant, but they can’t stay happy for too long, or can they?
The trick has been that the character of Jason had to evolve in a certain way, because the circumstances of the character are different. He has a child and a wife, and he never really had the opportunity to be with them, and there is a different actor playing the role. Billy Miller brings these special characteristics to the part. We love his warmth and humor. I think the two of them together have evolved into this strong pair, and they are soul mates. Kelly and Billy are very good at playing that. Kelly is very strong, too, and they are sexy and fun together. When we watch the two of them they inspire us. It has been a long path to sort of find a new way of seeing them, but the way the characters are now, the actors have done a great job with that.
We put them now into a domestic situation, knowing that they will never be domesticated. This is a couple that is not your “average” couple.
They always play by their own rules, because that is who they are, and yet they are very relatable. It seems like love brings out the best out of one another, and unites them in a very emotional, as Jean said, a soul mate kind of way.
With the fact that they have a growing family now, Jason is being forced to look at this past, specifically with Sonny, and what he sees in the future. Is that a path he wants to continue down, or is there something else ahead? At the same time, he has more reason now to stay alive and protect his family than he ever did before.
Throughout the year, viewers have seen the hotness that is Curtis (Donnell Turner) and Jordan (Vinessa Antoine). When will they finally hit the sheets?
We are going to play the heat. Donnell Turner and Vinessa Antoine do something to each other’s presence on-screen. We are trying to hold off with that as long as we can so we can get people wanting to see that.
In 2016, you also played the beginnings of a same-sex relationship with Sonny and Alexis’ daughter, Kristina (Lexi Ainsworh) and Professor Parker Forsyth (Ashley Jones). Since this has not been featured on the canvas for a while, is that relationship done with?
We certainly plan to play Kristina’s growth, and development as a character, and her sexual identify. Parker is an enormous factor in her life. So, I would say, no.
They are absolutely not done.
Frank, what were some of the achievements, from an overall production and vision standpoint, you are most proud of having accomplished on GH in 2016?
I think there are so many. However, I can only address the one that sticks out in my mind at the moment. I think that it was the Nurses’ Ball. I think it was really fun this year. The opening number of the homage to “Hamilton”, I think was very fresh. I thought some of the numbers had a new twist to them, and involved a lot of different people. The Nurses’ Ball is always our chance to break out and have a bit of fun together.
Jean and Shelly, what were some of the achievements, from the overall writing and story point perspective, you were most proud of having accomplished on GH in 2016?
Echoing on what Frank said, the production of the Nurses’ Ball was fantastic, and for us it was really fun to play with some different twists within it, and climaxing certain stories outside the building that affected what was going on inside the ball.
I think overall what I am proud we accomplished is that I think we made “General Hospital” a real center of the show again, which was a goal, and one we continue to work on, and one we continue to hold important. In all the stories we mentioned; the Morgan story, Hayden/Finn, Sam/Jason, the Nurses’ Ball, the hospital itself is almost like a character. We want to honor that character, and I hope we have.
So, what did you think of 2016 on General Hospital? What parts of the comments made by Frank, Shelly, and Jean stood out to you, and you were pleased to here? What did you think of the trio reflecting back on key storylines that were some of the best in daytime throughout the year, as well as the popular duos and characters in Port Charles?
Share your thoughts on our “Soapmakers of the Year” feature in the comment section below. (Note: To make a comment, go to the top left side of the interview and click on “Leave a Comment”)
GENERAL HOSPITAL: Zeke to Jordan on His Arrival Back in Port Charles: “This Place Is Looking Better By The Minute”
As many had predicted, it turned out that Portia’s (Brook Kerr) brother, Zeke (Gavin Houston) did pick-up and promptly hit the sheets with Curtis’ (Donnell Turner) ex-wife, PCPD commissioner, Jordan Ashford (Tanisha Harper). It all happened on Tuesday’s episode of General Hospital.
Jordan, who was already reeling and trying to get over Curtis, after he went back to Portia, is having a drink at the Metro Court pool. She meets a handsome man at the bar. The guy happens to be Zeke. That’s ‘Zeke’ as in Portia’s brother, who is back in town.
Zeke introduces himself to Jordan. At first, she is a bit dismissive. However, she quickly realizes her mood is her own doing when she admits to kissing her ex, who then went back to his wife.
As she looks at Zeke, Jordan says she is not wasting another minute on her former flame and offers to buy Zeke a drink. When Jordan asks where he’s from, Zeke shares that he’s new to Port Charles, and adds, “The place is starting to look better by the minute.”
What followed … and quickly … was Zeke and Jordan heading to his hotel room for a night of steamy passion. We also see that Jordan took off her ring when a pool boy found it when he cleaned up the bar.
So, what do you think will be the fallout when Jordan learns Zeke is Portia’s brother? Are you all-in for a Jordan/Zeke romance? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Kate Mansi On Contract at General Hospital
Former Days of our Lives Daytime Emmy-winning actress, Kate Mansi (ex-Abigail), now General Hospital’s new Kristina Corinthos-Davis, is apparently on contract with the series.
Recently, General Hospital viewers who catch the closing credits of the episodes noticed that Mansi’s name is listed with the other contract players from the long-running ABC soap opera; currently celebrating its 60th year on the air.
Mansi, who replaced another Daytime Emmy-winner, Lexi Ainsworth, made her debut on the ABC soap opera back on May 24th. It is believed that a major storyline is on its way for the character of Kristina, which will have her more prominent in story in the months to come.
Ainsworth had previously played the role of Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Alexis'(Nancy Lee Grahn) daughter from 2009 through to her last appearance on the April 27th episode of this year.
Soap Opera Digest chatted with Mansi for their upcoming issue where she addressed replacing Ainsworth: “There will be glimmers of things that are similar and things that are really different. I appreciate the support of my fans and also Lexi’s. Something I learned as I grew up is that things aren’t always black and white, and two things can be true at the same time, so fans can love Lexi and love me, or fans can love me and love Marci (Miller), or they can love Ashley Benson (Mansi’s predecessor as Abigail) and me. There’s nowhere that’s truer than in the soap/daytime world because one doesn’t necessarily negate the other.”
Now the question becomes, just what is in store for nuKristina? Is it being part of the Molly/TJ baby drama? New romance ahead? Trouble in the building of her new LGBTQ center which leads her into danger, yet again? (Think ‘Dawn of Day’ cult).
Stay tuned and let us know what you hope is Kristina’s new story via the comment section below.
General Hospital’s Haley Pullos Sued By Driver Over DUI Car Crash
More bad news for General Hospital’s Haley Pullos (Molly). The driver, in the car crash reportedly caused by Pullos, is suing the actress.
According to TMZ, the man, who’s name is Courtney Wilder, is suing Haley for plowing into his car last month while driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
In his lawsuit, Wilder says the car he was driving behind barely swerved to avoid Haley’s car as she drove the wrong way on a freeway offramp. However, he claims he didn’t have time to react when he saw headlights coming his way and crashed head-on into Pullos. Wilder says he was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition.
The collision happened back on April 29th when Pullos was driving on a freeway in Pasadena and then swerved into oncoming traffic, before hitting another vehicle, which the police reported was going roughly 60 mph.
The court documents filed by Wilder claims Haley should have stopped driving when she got into a hit-and-run earlier in the night and and that she should have never been behind a wheel while being under the influence. He goes on to say, the crash has resulted in serious and lasting injuries to his body and his car being totaled, and that he is going after Pullos for the damages.
Three weeks ago, reports surfaced that Pullos entered the Malibu Detox and Residential Treatment Center.
General HospitalJune 6, 2023
GH’s Former Nikolas Cassadines, Tyler Christopher and Marcus Coloma, Come Face to Face
General HospitalJune 4, 2023
B&B’s Scott Clifton Reflects On His Conflicted Emotions on Winning Lead Actor Daytime Emmy Over Y&R’s Kristoff St. John
RecapsJune 3, 2023
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: Cameron Begins His Plot to Frame Nick As His Return Rocks Sharon to the Core
General HospitalJune 4, 2023
General Hospital’s Réal Andrews and Finola Hughes Deliver the ‘Power Performances of the Week’
General HospitalJune 1, 2023
GH’s Nicholas Chavez and Tabyana Ali to ‘Sprina’ Shippers: “Thank You For Not Only Being Fans, But Turning into Family”
NewsJune 2, 2023
Eva Longoria on Reprising Her Role of ‘Desperate Housewives’ Gabby : “I Would Be The First to Sign Up for a Reboot”
Wow. They still think we love Sonny, Nelle, Ava and Nina.
I am so sick of Sonny and Carly being on every day. And I do not like Nelle. Nothing against Lanier but I just don’t like the story.
ITA they are show stoppers in a very bad way
I will take Sonny and Carly anyday over Franco.
GH has been shoving him down my throat for three years…and he is right up there with Dylan on Y&R as most propped character of the decade…but they knew neither one was working so they paired them with Liz and Sharon…with the hopes they can mooch of those characters big fan base.
I’m now fast forwarding Carly and Sonny; have no patience to hear their repetitive sentiments. I also detest Carly’s smug attitude and her trying to take Ava’s place with Avery. Carly would KILL if someone tried to possess one of her kids. Nell is chalk on a blackboard. Can’t stand her…but I think she’s either Carly’s daughter or much younger sister.
I’m surprised with how unaware these show runners are as to how so many fans are reacting to their stories and characters. I see a lot of discontent out there!!!
Because 2016 was the suckiest year of all time, I don’t want to be too negative so I will try and offer a balanced response to this interview. Michael Fairman, what a terrific interview. Yes, I disagreed with a lot of what the two writers and EP said, but the interview was extremely well done. You always ask the most thought provoking questions. That said, I am very weary of Carly and Sonny–please give us a long, long respite from them I fast forward through all of their scenes and I know I am not alone. As far as who… Read more »
If ABC really cared about GH, they would have cleaned house like we’re seeing over at CBS with Y&R. I think the current regime’s first love will always be OLTL which is okay for OLTL fans, but not so much for General Hospital fans!
And they still think we want Parker with Kristina! She’s waay too old for her.
And “. One of the great things you have with a soap opera that has been on for decade is a lot of history.” Try 5 decades, Shelly.
2016, brought me back to GH. I have grown up on GH , my earliest memories are if Luke &Laura, so when I was a young teen I feel in love with stone & Robin. Since then there has been some highs and lots of lows, but the only thing GH had going for it the last few years was it’s big 50 birthday. Otherwise I would tune in only to find basically no dialogue, just superficial characters repeating the storylines and people talking to themselves so the dumb viewer or people who weren’t really fans of GH would nlkniw… Read more »
They cannot rely on Jane Elliott as Tracy to be the connector between Hayden and Finn forever. Enough Hayden propping and turning Michael into Silas again. Nothing would make me happier than to see Melissa Archer cast as Sarah Webber, or a hot savvy doctor to knock Finn’s socks off. Done with the Hayden propping. Ugh….
A big No to Melissa Archer! Hayden and Finn are just fine!
We can respectfully agree to disagree Lois. I would love to see them reunited.
Finn is becoming Silas#2. He needs his mojo and quirkiness back. Have to admit not a big Hayden fan. Extremely over propped character.
I agree. Melissa Archer is not needed in PC. And Finn has made Hatechel likable
I love Finn and Hayden
I agree, Lois. Have no desire to see Melissa Archer and am enjoying Hayden and Finn.
I agree, Lois. I do not want Melissa Archer on GH I love Hayden and Finn. Finn is nothing like Silas thanks to excellent writing and Michael Easton’s talent.
Love Michael and Melissa. Their chemistry is amazing.
Love Michael Easton even though he has lost much of his initial quirkiness. Rebecca B is a great actress , not a fan of her character Hayden. Next she’ll be running for mayor of Port Charles. Prop much?
Totally agree with you! I love Tracy & her scenes with Genie (Laura) who have a past together, when she talked Laura into wearing only the fur and showing up at Kevins I said genius. Have them do a lot more together,she’ll get Laura to break free a lot more & that would be a lot of fun to see. Also bring Bobbie back onto the screen & give her a love interest. Much rather see that then Hayden & Finn. She does nothing for me and I don’t find any chemistry between them!
No more OLTL, AMC or actors from ANY soap opera on this show! FV has turned GH into a bloated mess of once popular actors from every soap that ever played on air!
HateChel bombed, period, And now the “not needed character” was turned into an instant Hardy and has now slimed her way over to the Q’s.
She sure as hell bombed. Pretty obvious all the storylines she was inserted into. She was with Ric, then Jake, then Nikolas, then she was Raymond Berlin’s daughter then Jeff Webber’s daughter and now Liz’s sister. Ok now with Finn. Really?????????
Not buying it my friends.
With you 100% Katia. I too would love to see Michael reunited with Melissa. Their chemistry was exceptional.
Hell yes it was and could still be!
Me three. Miss and love those two.
Michael and Melissa are awesome together. Would welcome a reunion at any time!
I love Jane Elliot and Tracy; however, like you, I’m done with the Hayden propping.
End the Hayden propping! So darn obvious it gives me indigestion!
The poster above forgot to mention that Hayden was shot in the head as well as stepped into bio hazardous material and broken glass removing the glass with her hand. Oh yeah I remember that was her first day on the job as financial officer of GH(laughs) . Ughhhhhhh!
Sad to say but I think the propping will continue.
The Hayden character cannot stand on its own like Tracy, Laura etc. It’s like force feeding someone their least favorite food :((((((((
Serious question? If Nina, Hayden and Nelle were off our screens would they be missed and ratings affected negatively? I think NOT!
I think Jane Elliott is wonderful but hate to see her on prop duty for Hayden and Finn. Give her a story. Belle and Nina need to take a hike
Can’t stand either, Nina deserves to be smacked upside the head thinking she’s going to be Charlottes mother over LuLu. Find a cell on Cassadine Island & put her in it for a long ,long time she can keep Helena company!
Valentin obviously hasn’t done any research if he thinks marrying someone like Nina will help him keep Charlotte. The woman is black listed on every adoption site. And what about what she did to Ava? I wouldn’t allow her within a mile of my child, especially as she’s getting very possessive of her already.
Preach. JE and BH have been on overload with propping HateChel, Franco and Finn. We do NOT need HateChel, Finn, Franco, Nina on this show!
If you’re interested, I have written more below about the propping of Hayden.
She has had a wonderful story with Hayden and Finn! Tracy has been a very positive force in both of their lives! Tracy has been in the forefront of the Hospital troubles, has been a force in Dillon’s life, was part of tge Paul mystery. Jane has been featured and I have loved everything she has done!
Agreed love Jane but she has been relegated to propping duty and that is wrong.
Would love to see a May/ December romance with Tracy and Finn. They have chemistry in spades.
Nelle and Nina
Nelle I have no words,can’t stand that she gets put front and center on GH and is on practically everyday taking time away from actors who deserve it so much more that get the crumbs. She’s nothing but annoying. Give more time to Laura & Kevin, Jon should be on contract, how can they be invested in them as a couple if he’s just called in once in a while but has no story. Their are a lot of stories they can write for him if anyone ever really could write on this show. Figured Frank thought up the Nelle… Read more »
BH was low balled and it was fan outrage (again) that forced the network to keep her on contract. TC is a GH vet and belongs on this show more than ME, ReBu, Mst, MW, MC, etc….!
Agree with Steph. Cannot stand Nina and Nell. What do they bring to the show?
Nina and Nelle need to go.
Nina and Nelle suck. No mincing words here.
Agree. Tired of both of them, though Valentin and Nina do have good chemistry.
Would have been nice to mention Nathan and Maxie. Ryan and Kirsten are very talented and they deserve to have a storyline where they can shine and let Naxie get married in 2017. Almost every couple on this show has gotten married or remarried. It’s Nathan and Maxie’s time.
I love Franco and Liz. They are funny, sweet and their scenes are great. Roger and Becky have fantastic chemistry.
Please, please, please, no more triangles for Liz. Been there, done that. Let her be in a long lasting relationship with Franco. They have enough internal conflicts for years of storylines. They don’t need a third party.
Franco funny? He is a sick bastard!
He’s hilarious! Except for one fanbase…
Yeah, the fan base who doesnt idolized rapist and murders!
It’s a good thing Franco isn’t a rapist then! LOL!
I would like to hear their thoughts on if they plan to bring back or on any OLTL or AMC Characters now that the Suit is over? Thanks
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Huge OLTL fan, but General Hospital should NOT be the dumping ground for more of FV’s actor pets.
I would be interested to hear that as well
NO! We have enough of FV’s actor pets and the “gets” from other soaps.
Looking forward to the buildup of the Curtis and Jordan relationship. I already want it. Glad to hear that Kristina and Parker are not done. Nelle needs to go. If she is supposed to be a younger version of Carly, then this story is an epic fail. The character of Nelle is neither likeable or sympathetic.
Ugh. Kristina and Parker make me cringe…like watching mother and daughter.
I’m with you on this Rebecca.
That is your opinion, personally I loved them and the chemistry between Ashley and Lexi is magical.
They’re awful. Too many maternal vibes.
I know it’s my opinion; that’s why I gave it!
Yes, I always find it amusing when someone expresses an opinion and someone is compelled to state the obvious–that is, that it’s their opinion.
That said, I cannot stand Parker and really feel she and Kristina have no chemistry.
I refuse to close this post with a JMO.
I do miss Kristina and Parker. I love Lucas, as well.
Is everyone on crack? General Hospital was the worst show of the year. Coming off of Ron Carlivati’s brilliant storytelling, the team of Passanonsense only gave us starts and stops, disjointed storytelling and poorly-plotted crap, including the “no way could he have done it” Paul Hornsby serial killer storyline. Usually I agree with Michael Fairman but not this time. This was truly an awful, awful show that shot its history in the foot and dishonored so many of its veteran actors and characters. Everything was done on the cheap and it was a series of moments, not any thorough plotting… Read more »
The Paul story was really bad. Jake’s time on CI has been dropped. There’s a lot that’s fallen between the cracks–not sure how anyone thinks this show is firing on all cylinders.
Preach! GH has been an off and on HOT mess all year long.
these are reasons why I no longer watch GH–this tom baker stuff just added fuel to the fire
I would tend to agree with. Certainly not a banner year in Port Charles
Preach! I’m ready to walk away from GH after this past year.
I truly wonder how this writing team works. Are they planning how stories will play out in days, weeks and months or do they just come into work and say “What should we do today?” Often times, I’m sure it’s the latter.
Those of us who suffered through Jean and Shelly’s tenure at Y&R are not surprised by the mess they’ve made of GH.
Great interview, Michael. It’s always nice to get a little insight on what takes place behind the scenes. I’m really enjoying the show for the most part, and look forward to what they have in store for 2017. Hopefully, they will balance out the stories a little more. I’m a huge Michael Easton fan and would really like to see him on my screen more than 5 or 6 minutes a week. Pacing has been an issue for a while so fingers crossed that it improves over the next few weeks.
Wholeheartedly agree Becca! Easton is such a force and a huge star, a fan favorite! We need much more! They talked amazingly about him, Hayden and Finn. Now they need to put their pen to those words and write more!
Jason & Elizabeth WAS, IS, and ALWAYS will be a VERY worthy relationship because Liason is filled with sweet and sexy tension of friendship, love, and romance! Liason remains the greatest love story never told on GH because it still needs to be told! Liason is still under-rated, under-developed, and under-appreciated by TPTB at both ABC Daytime and GH! There needs to be more Liason in 2017 and beyond! Jason/Elizabeth deserves as a second coming AND chance as both the supercouple and family known as Liason! WE WANT LIASON BACK ON GH!!! WE WANT LIASON BACK ON GH!!! WE WANT… Read more »
It will never happen as long as KeMo is on the show and I find that truly sad, because soap couples break up all of the time and move on.
Still drinking the delusional kool-aid.Liason is and was nothing.
I miss Liason too, but I do not like this Jason. I loved him as Jake. I miss the Liason of 1999,2006 and 2007. Even before Steve left it looked like Liason was reuniting. I hated the whole Elizabeth lying to keep Jason,kit they knew anything about them they would know she would never do that. I want Liason back but only if, 1. Steve is back playing him, 2. This Jason remembers that he once loved Elizabeth and reverts back to being Jake. Liason is the greatest love story never told. If and when they get back together, I… Read more »
So happy to hear Parker is a big part of Kristina’s story. Ashley is such a talented actress and was brilliant as Parker. She can and will add so much in the continuation of their journey
What Rebecca said. I will be happy to never see Parker again and to never hear the creepy manner in which Christina pronounces, “Parker.”
Parker acted completely inappropriately and I would never want any daughter of mine near that predator.
If the below was your way of asking why Anna hasn’t gotten Justice for Duke (or a return of Duke with all of the clamoring fans and many other returns) when Jean & Shelly said they wanted it in a previous interview with you then it certainly was NOT answered to my satisfaction. I’m sad to say this Valentin storyline is not pulling me in and although a possible return of Olivia Jerome could be fun, it’s only for a month and I feel that Anna has been given the short end of the stick when it comes to the… Read more »
I extremely LOVE Franco and Liz together. They are funny, sweet, sexy, and romantic. Rebecca and Roger have great chemistry. Please no more triangles for Liz to much. Plus Griffin and Liz would be boring. I want him to be the new Patrick for her. PLEASE keep Friz together. Let them get married and have a kid in the future someday. Let this be Liz’s final man, nobody else. Oh and have Griffin officiate at their wedding to.
While I agree with some of this–I am a Friz fan and their explanation made sense. And I do think Jordan & Curtis will bring it. However, there was too much (as usual) Corinthos worship. I don’t think Morgan’s death (and I pray he stays dead) is worth so much more time & attention than Nik’s–who was a much more core character. I think that whole story has been underplayed & underwritten and it detracts from the Valentin story. A lot. As for Jason & Sam–gimme a break. These 2 have less than zero chemistry–this show has destroyed the charm… Read more »
I clearly am not watching the same show. This year has been a mess. Disjointed storytelling, trampling history, missing beats, and the pushing of all of these new hires. If they think this has been the greatest year ever, GH is in trouble. And the ratings are down over last year, which was considered by most a really bad year. And the biggest mess of all is this triumvirate taking Liz’s rape history, putting her with a sexual assaulter, then bringing that rapist back and giving her exactly two scenes with him where she spent 80% of the time talking… Read more »
YES! So much of this interview was about characters who weren’t on screen when FV rode into town in 2012. Just look at the list of contract actors which closed a recent episode and you’ll see how many have are new hires! Too many!
Only 33% of GH was enjoyable this year and the stuff that was really HORRIBLE is tainted with pets from old soaps that are still playing their same roles on this show!
They’re doing a really good job. I love Jane Elliot as Tracy but would prefer *her* at the center of story, as Finn and Hayden are expendable and boring together. Rebecca Budig is completely wasted. Love seeing a lot of the hospital. Love that the Females are leading the show. So much talent. Morgan’s death was great, effecting so many characters; and a bonus for me because I hate the character. NLG and WD are so talented they are selling a story that is unsellable. Having the man who loves you using the dagger that slit your mother’s throat to… Read more »
This is a fabulously well written post. I disagree with about ninety-five percent of it, but still, you deliver your opinion so well.
Great read! Well wriiten!
Gh has been the best in a few years although there are some missed opportunities The core elements of soap opera have been restored after The Miseducation of Bob Guza era of disconnecting and uninspired deconstruction. Ron Carvilati intially promising was the closest truest nod to its heyday with Legacy characters The Faison mask stuff the classic good guys save the day storylines(robert and Anna alongside Luke save Robin, The Clinic Critchon Clark, Cassadine story) but eventually burned out.. with too much plot and not enough of character..
GH was the worst show on TV this year. What the heck?
No, that would be Blackish!
Indeed. And for the love of God, when GH has to show repeat episodes fir special occasions, can they reach deep into their archives and give us viewers a little fun? Y&R showed a really fun episode from 1984 today. It was interesting to see Paul and Lauren with their his and her matching mullets, Katherin Chancelor in her prime and so forth. What episode does GH decide to show? An episode we saw just a few short weeks ago. Yes, on in which Sonny and Carly continue to naval gaze, mourn Morgan and fluctuate between blame and self recrimination.… Read more »
Addison…I didn’t even bother to FF for all the good that would have done,. I just turned GH off. Since I only started watching Y&R the last couple of years it was fun to watch Nikki and Victor’s wedding day. But I don’t know who the woman is who is trying to kill Nikki.
My major problem with the way GH is presented it has no moral compass…the bad guys always get away with murder…literally. Laura, Lula, Ava and Dante saw Valentin kill (maybe) Nickolas, and almost Laura before Kevin stepped in. Yet he is part of Port Charles now, and they all have to deal with him on a “daily basis.” And why does Nina have to be so needy for love that she’s ignoring all of this. Paul drugged Alexis in court, and Ava switched Morgan’s pills. Okay so Paul is in jail for the hospital serial killings, but I look at… Read more »
P.S….whether I like all story-lines/characters or not, have to admit it takes a lot of imagination to come up with new stories on a daily basis. So I tip my hat to day-time head writers and their staff. Just hope they hear some soap fans and don’t make criminals the central core of GH with no consequences. And please, more romance, adventure, even humor as a break from real life news…especially 2016.
Hi Rose! 😉 I think you read my comments on another thread regarding this so I know we disagree but it bears repeating; I just don’t see Alexis as an abused woman, I don’t think Julian abused her. They had a wonderful, loving relationship and when things started unraveling he snapped…yes…in the most horrible way. But it was a violent struggle. Not a pattern. And I’m not convinced it wasn’t staged for whoever’s controlling him now. Either way, I don’t think he ever would have killed her…he didn’t hit her…he chased her, threatened her…out of a deep sense of betrayal,… Read more »
The writers are clearly trying to retcon what they wrote where Julian abused Alexis which happened, on screen! The show retcon Anna killing Carlos in cold blood and now their trying to fix the mess that THEY wrote by having someone else controlling Julian.
Hi Rebecca…I did have a nice holiday. Right now I’m resting up from it. And Poldark will be part of my New Year. As far as Alexis acting like some abused women by going back to the abuser, I should have clarified my comment. I don’t think Alexis was physically or mentally abused by Julian. I think he really loves her, but conditionally. He is who he is, and like Sonny, can’t completely change his stripes. Too bad, because I liked them when they were together, before all the stuff hit the fan. What I meant was is that she… Read more »
Are they watching their own show? 2016 was full of potential but resulted in nothing. The stories take too long. No balance. The pacing is awful. Paul was the biggest waste of character and potential. The last minute serial killer was stupid. Where was the fallout? There was no triangle with Kiki/Morgan/Dillon. It was mostly Kiki repeating the same thing over and over again to Morgan. And Morgan became whiny. Just like his father. And it had nothing to do with bipolar. Dillon/Kiki were wonderful in the beginning until Morgan. Then it became a mess. And no Nelle is not… Read more »
A great interview and I love getting insights into how they develop and o things. Thank you for that. I love that they said they keep a picture of the cast in front of them while writing to help them develop and decide what to throw into the mix. The interview also gave you an idea of all the things they have to deal wit. I hadn’t watched in quite a while but came back around August and haven’t missed an episode since. They did hit go,d with the “what if” Paige g of Franco/Liz . Herbst and howarth have… Read more »
I think the ratings speak the truth about these writers etc. GH is always 3rd and fans are dropping out in droves.
The ratings reflect that the nielson system is outdated. It does not reflect the opinions who do not hit twitter and other public forums to bash a show that outshines anything prime time can come up with in story and pacing. At least you don’t throw up from motion sickness of cameras and dialogue that is to fast to hear and follow.
The ratings measure who is actually watching the show. And fewer people are.
Love the past year on GH. Since the news broke of Emme Rylan’s pregnancy, maybe somehow, it could be written into the show. It would be a wonderful, gifted s/l for these 2 great actors.
Also, there are not enough words to thank you Frank, for bringing back Michael Easton. He is a fabulous and gifted actor, who is worthy of all the screen time.
Nooooooooooo! Do NOT write in any more actresses pregnancies. Women have babies, just deal with it and allow ER to carry a large purse.
Yeah, and than that creepy Nina will probably swoop in and steal the baby from Lulu’s womb.
They’ve made Nina into a baby hungry, creepy pariah.
Truly dislike Nina!
GH was the best soap of 2016. Well deserved for FV, JP, AND SA.
I’m sorry the writers dropped the Lucas & Brad storyline.
Murderers, mobsters, drug addicts, psychos, alcoholics….they’re all front and center. But exploring the continued relationship of this gay couple gets dropped? BAH!
The same dropped story happened with OLTL’s gay couple Kyle and Fish who were very popular!
Am I watching a different show?` I find GH to be lazy in it’a writing and plots. I DO NOT WANT THE SONNY SHOW!! I do not want to watch the mob family I love LW but get her out of the MB storyline. She is a great actress. but not when she’s with MB, I want Laura,Anna, Tracy and a strong Alexis. The Julexis story is over!! No woman would EVER take back a man that tried to kill them. The writers ruined them when they had Julian pick up that dagger, no amount of “Oscar Jessup made me… Read more »
Mmmmmmmmmm. Sam took Jason back after he threatened to blow her head off in 2007 for going after Elizabeth and her boys. Sam and Alexis are two peas in a pod!
Soap makers of the Year?! How truly absurd. Although 2016 was such an all-around bizarro year, this nonsense shouldn’t surprise me at all. The utter desperation to keep this genre alive has caused so many to lower their standards when it should be making everyone strive to be better (like Y&R is finally doing with Sally Sussman). GH was horrible this past year. Pointless, anticlimactic stories, gratuitous character destruction and screwed-up priorities DO NOT qualify this team for any sort of commendation! It’s downright offensive!
I couldn’t agree more.
I try to see the positive and understand that all soaps have their highs and lows, but GH has been awful this year. It’s missing heart, drive, a sense of purpose. The characters are uninteresting. The scenes are boring. RC’s plots could be farcical, but things zipped along and there were big payoffs. I think we need new writers. Or bring RC back as a co-head writer. My partner and I have been fast forwarding and even skipping the occasional episode. It’s a new world with Netflix, etc., and fans will not accept this mediocre storytelling for long.
Totally! The writing is awful, firing Ron was a big mistake.
I was a big fan of RC! Not every story worked but I was glued to my television to see what happened next. The surprise first shot of Michelle Stafford waking up as Nina, Faison as Duke watching from behind the curtain, Ohbrecht confronting Faison while wearing the Anna mask– edging the line to campy but always grounded in great, developed characters.
RC wrote soaps for today’s age with over-the-top, high-stakes plots and quick scenes ideal for sharing on social media. Maybe he took it a bit too far, but it was never boring. When RC was the head writer, the show felt like it was 15 minutes. Now it feels like two hours. I think the current writers do play out some beats that RC missed, but they play them out over and over ad infinitum. Can’t we find a happy medium? Pardon the pun.
I think this statement:
“…Carly letting loose on Kiki was tremendous, and not a lot of actors are willing to go that far. But, Laura is pretty amazing, and Maurice as well.”
Not willing to go that far? Ummmmm…if actors aren’t willing to emote they shouldn’t be actors.
Carly would have gone off on Kiki when she was bed hopping Morgan and Michael three years ago.
That statement just showed that it must be in MB’s contract to be praised every 5th statement. They’re talking about Carly letting loose on Kiki and praise MB? Gimme a break! That encapulates the problem with this show.
Jasam have become a joke. Where are the scenes of them at the PH as a family? No Xmas scenes at the PH. They must now live at Kelly’s. They haven’t had a love scene in months. No lip kisses. The forehead and head kisses are laughable. Sexy? Fun? I think not. This is NOT Jasam. This Jasam fan is very disappointed
The show chose to trash Elizabeth and Nicholas for no reason at all last year, so I don’t care that JaSam are boring and have NO chemistry!
Billy Miller, Michael Easton and Roger Howarth are ONE TRICK PONIES!
I enjoyed reading the article,, thanks for posting it. It is more than apparent that GH is trying to fix its own messes. Some of it is working, some of it is a fail. The detrimental writing for Liz last year for Liz was a mistake all to prop Jasam. Jelly did well to move Liz on from the perpetual Jasam bus. The pairing of Liz and Franco is a risk and controversial but works for many fans including me.. Although Jelly need to resist the urge to always give Roger the spotlight in this pairing. Bringing on Nelle and… Read more »
We need character development, relationships and romance. Why can’t stories be written to showcase these things?
I completely agree.
Sorry Michael but this is a sick joke! GH suck! I find it insulting to long time viewers to give them any reward for such pathetic writing! Some of us would like to keep GH on the air and these pathetic history ignoring fools are doing nothing but running it into the ground!!
Couldn’t agree more!
Jelly and Frank and Nathan all need to be fired. This show didn’t even try with Valerie. Valerie is a Spencer and should’ve been played with the Spencers. All the couple’s on this show sucks.
FV is way too busy looking to hire another one of his actor pets and now that AMC and OLTL is back at ABC, you can forget about Val or anyone else!
I agree, this show writes for their own pleasure. Two points: Valerie Spencer is half black. Why doesnt ANYONE question that? Two, Finn has been around for 7 months, not once has he run into Kiki and she would scream SILAS! Stupid!
“Great soap opera features: high emotional stakes, daily cliffhangers, a deep connection to the history of the show and finding ways to honor that and their longtime viewers, character-driven storylines, large umbrella stories that service many characters on the canvas, and sharply written twists that keep fans begging for more, and even becoming so frustrated that they want that reveal for their favorite character to finally come to light.”
This does not resemble GH in anyway, this regime has ruined this show.
When I read that lovely-sounding intro, I thought I was in the wrong place. I said: This does NOT describe GH!
I love how the writing team became educational with Morgan’s story. I know that MB had input which kept the story honest and I could tell by responses of fans how confused people are about bi-polar and trying to feel compassion for a jerk (which we are when we are sick) It is also great to watch them having Alexis do the natural progression of an untreated alcoholic. Leaving off the bizarre circumstances, they are still staying true to the progression. It could be the same story with her merely being upset because Julian did not get her the present… Read more »
GH lacks a moral compass and the WRITING allows sins to be judged in ways which are totally out-of-proportion to the magnitude of the sins committed. I don’t expect to see my real-life social and moral values on a soap; however, I do expect that there will be some justice and some fairness in the writing. Example, we are expected to forget that Ava murdered Connie and that she was directly complicit in Sabrina’s brutal murder. So what if Morgan’s switched pills will come back into play because we know that this will be a plot point and not a… Read more »
Valerie is gone because there are way too many actor buddies that FV wants to hire for this bloated show!
It’s sad when GH has no room in which to promote a promising young Spencer. Very sad.
Caitie…I think they wasted Valerie, too. And treated her character, a Spencer, like crap. They never developed the Spencer connection, we never knew who,her father was, and she was certainly not embraced by or shown with the rest of the clan except Lulu. You know…”perfect,” Lulu (I’m not a big fan of her character, never have been) who took off for Canada with Dillon in search for her brother but lied to Dante about it. The same impulsive Lulu who is still marching to her own Spencer drummer and getting a lawyer to get full custody of Charlotte without talking… Read more »
That interview just showed me that they don’t watch their own show. The storytelling is choppy and scenes are too short. The moral compass is completely askew. Most of the air time and the bulk of the stories go to characters who aren’t nice in any way at all, especially men. It’s highly misogynistic and downright irresponsible at times. A good portion of the interview offended me. History is honored very little. In fact, they throw history out when it doesn’t suit them. So many stories were dropped this year. They made it sound like they think stories through very… Read more »
AMEN! I would add that there seems to be a tendency in the writing to dodge dramatic moments that would require good dialogue in favor of moments requiring screaming and violence.
I agree. I’m frequently frustrated by the omission of moments that should have meaningful dialogue and reactions. The show refuses to dig deep and goes for shock instead.
So agree about the writer’s fascination with dark, twisted stories. This was really capped off with this continuing “journey” of a Franco and the dog cage. I like Roger, but he always looks so greasy and unkept. I get tired of the writers forcing this character on viewers when there has never been any good reason to do so. And we’re supposed to believe that Liz wants him in her life? Even a good actor like Rebecca isn’t really pulling this off, IMO.
When are Elizabeth ‘ s sons going to age? Cameron is supposed to be older than Molly, Josslyn and Morgan yet all three are older than him. Josslyn was a baby when she got Jake kidney now she is older than him. I am tired of the excues that Rebecca looks to young to have teenage children, in real life she does so let it reflect on screen. Also the Tom Baker story sucked. Elizabeth should of been more apart of it than the 2% she was. This reminds me of when Jake died, the story seemed to be more… Read more »
What a kiss ass interview. They keep starting stories that seem promising but then go nowhere. I’m looking forward to Olivia Jerome? return but I no know in the end it will go nowhere.
The show needs to lighten up and please stop talking about Morgan
Pat, I dont think it was kiss ass. Michael Fairman is a journalist and a fan. He cannot slam the three guests or he will never get to talk to them again. It wasnt an insider scoop type of interview but NONE of the soap people like or are not allowed to reveal spoilers anyway.
“A lot of sentences begin with, “What if …” When working together we often start sentences by saying “This may be really stupid … but …” We will finish the sentence and the other one of us will say whether it’s stupid, or not. Often times it is! (Laughs) ” And yet it ends up on the show. 😛 Can’t believe the Deus Ex Machina “Chalotte is Lulu’s beloved child that she expected and deserved so much” isn’t an intentional mess. It was the WORST way to write Lulu’s story and the worst story to concentrate on with these actors.… Read more »
“Frank is a producer who says, “Yes”, way more often than he says, “No”.”
I’ve only watched for a few years, but I cannot believe that both GH TPTB and fans are so cavalier about domestic violence and the seriously damaging message that Alexis is suddenly safe around the husband who TRIED TO KILL HER. I’m just beyond disgusted, and I’m sad that women writers just don’t care about women being abused.
I’m very upset by this too. Very. It’s completely irresponsible storytelling and misogynistic. Julian is an abuser and I certainly do not want to see Alexis back with him. How could two women writers come up with this? The show should be doing public service announcements about domestic violence and showing Alexis empowering herself, not trying to tell some horrifying ‘love’ story.
I also feel that Franco is emotionally abusive and manipulative. I have no desire to see Elizabeth with him. It’s another highly irresponsible and misogynistic story.
I love Julexis and I root for them! They are literally the sole reason I still watch. Looking forward to their story!
Geez why is everyone so rude? Lol
Anyways I’m enjoying gh lately for the first time in months!
I hated what they did to Alexis and Julian but I’m enjoying the journey back so much!
I also love jasam and lante
After rereading this again, I am much less excited about the show perhaps, because I watched with the caveat that it had to continue to improve more and more as time went on this year to keep my viewership. The bad seems to far outweigh the good in the interview. I was excited with all the changes that were happening for much of the year but the more things change on GH, the more they seem to stay the same. Where is the humanity, the passion, the vision?
Another poster has mentioned the “using” of Jane Elliott/Tracy to “prop” Hayden. I agree that the writers have literally coddled Hayden’s character – tons of airtime … multiple and lengthy scenes with A-list characters and stories … a dramatic and high profile love interest with Nik … an even more high profile and more workable love interest with fan and producer’s favorite, Michael Easton … a chance to develop a meaningful friendship with Curtis … a family link to the legacy Hardy/Webber family … an on-screen mother … a very supportive relationship with one of the show’s grande dames, Tracy… Read more »
Heck yes and it makes me dislike the character even more! I dislike the character of Hayden immensely.
There is favoritism on display constantly in daytime. We all have our favorites and are willing to overlook it when it involves them as opposed to characters we view as unsympathetic.
Caitie, I would respect your opinion a lot more if you ever called out the unprecedented favoritism shown to Howarth and Easton…and how many times and how many ways the show have turned themselves inside out to make Todd/Franco and John/Silas/Finn work and fit on GH…but not once have you ever singled out either actor for being favored pets…as usual in your propping rants about new characters you single out Hayden and only Hayden…don’t remember seeing you post about Nina or Nelle getting preferential treatment over Valerie on the many places you frequent…or about how Stafford and Lanier are favored… Read more »
I can tell you with 100% certainty that Nina, Nelle and Hayden will never be likeable for me.
Good points, however; the favoritism is glaringly visible in the case of Hayden/Rachel Barnes Cassadine Webber…..
I am annoyed at ALL of FV’s pets that have taken air time away from Bobbie, Ric, Scotty, Lucy, Mac, Felicia, Monica and any off screen children that are Hardy/Webber, Baldwin, Cassadine’s, Holts/Wards/Q’s!
At first I thought about NOT responding to this post because it verges on being a personal attack and because conversations about whatever issues you may have from elsewhere should be discussed there and not here. However, because of the inaccuracies in your post, I decided to comment. I won’t take the time and space to itemize all the ways in which I’ve spoken out against introducing too many “newbies” too quickly and about promoting these newbies at the expense of original GH characters and families – other than to say that, since 2012, I’ve been very vocal about the… Read more »
I love your posts Caitie. It’s just really bizarre that Carly and Valerie didn’t have scenes together. Really how hard is it to write scenes for Carly and Valerie or Valerie and Michael or Morgan and Valerie.
Thank you. The writing for Valerie has been abysmal – no real attempts ever to fully integrate and develop her. And what I find especially disturbing is the suggestion that any future plan to write better material for Valerie would be shot down by those who have made her a scapegoat for all the writers’ mistakes in that story with Lante.
I am enjoying most of the GH storylines except for the Franco/Frizz crap. I FF any and all scenes that feature them. Sickening!!! Really enjoying the Jasam stories (my favorite) and LOVE the HOT sizzling chemistry that Kelly and Billy have together!!! I just wish they were on more often!!! And I’m enjoying the addition of Curtis to their PI practice but I do miss Spinelli. The dramatic story of Morgan Corrinthos dying allowed a lot of characters to shine as did the Julexis story. Laura Wright and Maurice Benard did not disappoint nor did Nancy Lee Grahn and William… Read more »
When Frank and Ron took over GH, they really cared what the fans wanted, they toned down the mob, brought back much missed characters, focused more on the hospital etc, then last year it seems Frank stopped caring about the fans and started his own ‘vision’ for GH and it’s just awful!
I thought they improved the show when Frank and Ron began too. Now it’s just bad, with weird decisions being made all the time.
Frank’s vision started once GH was renew in 2012 with all of the out of work actors from the other soaps! GH has become a “mega or hybrid” soap opera which is now home to Phyliss, Billy Abbott, John McBain, Todd ManningLITE, Carly from ATWT, etc…
Well, after reading this interview you can see what is going on at ABC. These writers worship Frank and the writers also dont like looking back. WE know that since history is not always correct or a characters historical story from the past is crapped on! These three are connected at the hip and they all resigned so you either stay on board or you tune out. I am a fan until the end. To be positive, this past week the writers did use Bobbie, Monica, Mac and Felicia. Thats encouraging. I’m not a fan of Michael, Nathan, Andre, Jordan,… Read more »