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Frank Valentini, Shelly Altman & Jean Passanante Interview – General Hospital – Soapmakers of the Year 2016

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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):

And more!


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.


Photo: ABC/Getty

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”)


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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 planted that bomb. Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care and neither does Jimmy!
Please, beg Tyler Christopher to come back. We need him back as Nikolas Cassadine. He Tweeted that he wanted to come back but it does appear that he was not met half way. Bring him back!
I love the Anna and Valentin scenes. Clearly, they are in each other’s leagues as far as powerhouse acting is concerned.
Stafford as Nina continues to make inexplicable and odd acting choices which distract from the story line. Perhaps she could use more direction?
I also love Laura and Kevin–but please sir, may I have some more? I want more.
On that note, Happy New Year! Let us hope 2017 affords us better times.

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 what was going on.But now there is real dialogue, with real emotion, and they are utilizing it’s history and its core characters and properly connecting them to new characters. I am hooked again on GH and it has been along time since I’ve been able to say that. So someone is doing something right.

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 character, Boo! Theirs just so much more history that can be brought out if the writers ever looked into it. Also the fact of not giving Tyler Christopher a new contract but giving one to Becky wasn’t nice. Nickolas is a major character in the Cassadine storyline. Valenitin killed I’m in cold blood and he should get away with it and what he did to get Charlotte!

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 of story. Just plain awful.

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

Well said!

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.

Music Box!

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 LIASON BACK ON GH!!!

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 want Jason fully committed to her, marry her and they finally make it to Italy.

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

LOL. Just…no.

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 thriving Jeromes onscreen. What is there for Classic 80s fans especially Gen X fans who have lost so many icons this past year? Wouldn’t it be smart to give us a central story for our GH icons before they retire or decide to do other things or leave this planet? I don’t watch this show for actors, I watch it for characters and families I’ve loved for decades.


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?”

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 & joy of Billy Miller. The characters may be soul mates on paper, but it is never apparent on screen.

I do love Laura & Kevin & I hope they put Jon on contract so we can see more of them.

Judging from Twitter–aren’t too many people who give a crap about Nelle’s story.

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 about Franco. Liz gets no triumph, she gets no POV, and these folks took a story that some Liz fans have been waiting almost 18 years for and they give it to Franco. It’s disgusting and disrespectful.

And I love how they blame the character of Liz for having her lie to Jason, like it wasn’t FrankenRon who green lit the story and Jelly who continued it. You would have had more respect if you came out and said, “Yeah we blew it. We could have written a real triangle with enotional stakes, but we decided to take the cheap way out and needed a bad guy. It was a bad decision and a squandered opportunity.”

And pretty much HALF of this interview was talking about characters who weren’t onscreen before Frank came on, so they can spare me the talk of respecting history.

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 slit her own throat was overkill and destroyed the show’s hottest couple.

Valentin and Nelle are excellent additions.

Olivia, one of the show’s most beautiful women, has no life, but the cast is huge.

Stop painting characters into definitive corners and keep expecting the fans to be accepting of it. Julian has been decimated, no matter how a new twist tries to excuse his actions. Love WD and do not want him to leave, but unless you’re a diehard fan, nothing really takes away what we’ve seen him do. Ava has been in corners since her introduction, and if not for the amazing Maura West, would’ve been gone long ago. She’s given some humanity and light material so we see some growth, then back into a corner. You want viewers to love to hate Ava, not just hate her. Again, it’s the actress saving things because of immense talent. Sonny would’ve made Ava disappear at some point, and it makes him look like the ineffective mobster he is, and Ava the villainess who miraculously gets out of every corner. BTW, I DESPISE Sonny, and would hope Ava is around for many more years!

I don’t get the fascination with Franco. We’ve seen him face his demons, but except for the fact he is the iconic Scott and iconic Heather’s son, this character is useless. Brain tumor long gone, he is the most unlikable of characters and pairing him with Liz, the mother of young children is beyond my comprehension. Maybe I’m not seeing the character or Liz/Tom story the way it was intended. When Sam pretty much said FU to Franco’s apology, I cheered.

I love seeing Monica and wish Monica and Tracy were treated more like Viki and Dorian, two powerful actresses when given the material.

The gay couple. Brad and Lucas (who is connected to virtually every character via Julian, Bobbie, Tony) have vanished after a pathetic wedding. Brad was great with Britt and deserves more than being a lab extra, and Brad is great with Lucas, representing a gay couple who both are connected to the hospital, ya know, the main setting which is like a character.

Love Nelle and her scheming. Talented actress.

You can shove Kiki on us as some young heroine, but except for the fact she is Ava’s daughter, she’s wasted space and no Kristina or Molly, who are infinitely more interesting.

Carly. I like how Carly has become more of the focus. Carly should never be the supporting player in dumb mob plots and I appreciate the family focus with the mob in the background. Seriously, I’d love to have Morgan’s death finally be the wake up call for Sonny considering how many people he has lost or have been shot because of him.

Since Hayden is now Liz’s sister, I’d love to see more of them together. Otherwise, Hayden can dissappear with Finn and Roxie.

Nina. Michelle Stafford somehow keeps her interesting as this is another case of the talent keeping a useless character around. Pairing her with Valentin has been the Best use of the character since she awoke from her Coma!

Anna. Finola can sell any plot and has been given some good material. I hope she stays front burner.

Heather was ruined long ago by Guza, but Robin Mattson is the reason I started watching GH back in 1981. I’d love to see her as more than just a mental patient. Drugs, tumor, whatever, get her out of this corner that re wrote her history. She left GH as a great but sane villainess, not the murdering psycho Guza turned her into when she returned.

Joss could be more than just a plot device in the Nelle/kidney story. Hoping we see more of her and Jax, especially since he foreshadowed a bombshell secret he’s keeping from Carly.

Billy Miller. This guy should be your Leading actor, not a supporting player in the mob story that never ends. Jason finally had a chance to go in a new direction, but he’s pretty much back at square one, when he’s played by an actor who is so talented and can do so much more. How much more fascinating if his brain injuries led him back to the Qs (like Michael’s great story that was quickly eradicated) and somone to go against Sonny, effecting many characters? You’re going to lose BM with this current material.

The entire Nathan/Claudette/Charlotte story was the worst of the year, except it paid off after Charlotte had 3 dads in one week by putting it into a Lulu/Valentin story with a truly fantastic casting of the young actress.

Please keep Morgan dead for at least several years even though he wasn’t even in the car when it exploded, as these back from the dead stories make each death less credible, as other characters who’ve returned from the dead discuss a death without mentioning, hey we’ve all been dead, maybe he’s alive too?

Love Laura with Kevin. I do not, I repeat, do not miss Luke! Great characters, great actors but they could use Lynn Herring’s Lucy around to throw wrenches and because Lynn is so underutilized.

Love seeing Scott weaved into different plots. Love Kin Shriner.
Diane is sorely missed while her BFF Alexis spirals out of control. Carolyn Hennessy is another amazing talent.

Love Ava, despite her actions, as they’re mainly against characters I’m less fond of. Maura has chemistry with EVERYONE on GH, male and female. Lets get Ava more focused on getting her daughter back, while remaining a powerful force to be wreckoned with. She needs a purpose, a legitimate treason to add dimension and let viewers choose to accept her actions, love her, or love to hate her, not make her so unlikable. Me, as one of Maura’s biggest fans (back from her ATWT days), even finds Ava unlikable.
A great example of a ruthless villainess who was painted into many corners, committed many heinous crimes (including switching someone’s medication to drive them crazy), but she always went back to a reason root for her, love or love to hate her: most everything was for her child. Whether it was numerous custody battles, wanting her son (and herself) to have the family money, it gave her some type of motivation to be evil, wanting revenge, always plotting. Even if her motivation to keep her son was her rationalizing her horrible actions, it made her one of the best ever soap characters : I speak of Robin Mattson’s Gina Capwell of Santa Barbara.

Overall, GH was still the best and most entertaining soap of 2016,and for that I thank Frank, Shelley and Jean, and the cast and crew

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. It was boring and redundant then and showing a repeat of it weeks later is unbearable.
Could it be they do not want to show a GH episode from the 80’s, the 90’s or even the first five or so years of 2000 because it will remind viewers of how bad GH has become by offering a comparison.

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 this as just a convient way for the writers/Frank to get him off the canvas. And Ava…come on, doing it for Kiki like Paul did it for his daughter. As an aside, too bad they maybe killed off Nicholas…liked the budding relationship he was having with Ava. And how much longer will they drag out Morgan’s death (again, maybe) in scenes between Carly and Sonny. FF time. And even Kiki who did a great job mourning. Hopefully she’s moving on.

As for Alexis…Nancy is playing her well, but I don’t like stories about alcohol and possible reconciliation with Julian since he has lied to her, almost killed her, and for reasons of denial on her part caused Alexis to compromise her principals. It’s like some abused women who find a way to go back to their abusers. Hope the writers don’t go there.

Do like Laura and Kevin, and more time for Monica and Tracy. And always Anna. Just am really looking for some more happiness in Port Charles instead of this fog they seem to be continually under. There’s enough of that in real life lately in 2016.

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, fear and loss. Now, I know my rationalization sounds bad and I would NEVER excuse such actions in real life. But for purposes of the drama I still see him as a good man who loves Alexis deeply. I don’t see him as an abuser. Sigh…I want them back together and in such a way that Alexis can regain respect and not judged if she takes him back. Perhaps they’ll be too much outcry; don’t know. But, lol, Laura and Luke? They were somehow given a pass on their sordid history (which by the way I never saw but know of from hearing/reading their history.)

Hope you’re enjoying the holiday season!

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 has continually put herself in questionable situations with bad boys in her life…most particularly Julian. She comprised her principals by not looking too close at his business dealings, or the other way when it came to Duke, to actively defending Carlos. If anything, she was hurting herself for whatever needy reasons (much like Nina- needing love)…using the excuse…much like Sonny…it was for her family, love of Julian, and believing through her rose-tinted glasses that Julian was a changed man. Now I’m sure that Frank, etc are going to try to write him out of the corner he’s been put into so they can put Alexis and Julian together again.

As for Luke raping Laura, I wasn’t watching at that time either. So I don’t know how they sugar-coated it so they could be together. And I just don’t know if that happens in real life, except to say I would have kicked Luke in the b*lls, and walked away. Much like anyone who touched me uninvited. But as you said, it is a soap. Just wish there was more justice instead of bad deeds being forgotten about, or even rewarded.

Happy New Year! 🙂

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 interesting. Another waste of airtime.

I hope 2017 is better. Because I’m not sure it can survive. 🙁

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 great chemistry and u limited story potential for a long term pair that in itself must be fun. The mature love between characters Laura and Kevin “without baggage” how wonderful to have a clean slate to work with and the couple are cute and at times totally not matur whic makes it so much fun and root able. Loved reading everything. Frank V. Seems to be aware of the great writing team he has and has made wonderful decisions. I wish them all continued success and a plethora of “what if’s” to play with. Thanks for the article!

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 do it!” will be accepted, at least my me!! I am getting close to turning the TV off. Jelly, look at Y & R they are on fire in less than a month!!! Fix GH before it gets cancelled!!! Unless that is your goal! Been a viewer/fan for over 40 years. But these storylines are sad!! Bring back Nic Cassidine!!! He is needed NOW!!!!!!

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 Nina was a mistake, end it now
I would much rather see Laura instead of Nina or Nelle
Love the Kevin Laura dynamic and Finn and Hayden.
But why make Liz and Hayden sisters only to drop it for months.
Still too much focus on Sonny and his pain and Carly.
The show needs to cut it’s losses with Julexis, Alexis would never take Julian back after what he did.
Stop writing characters like Sam and Jason as some sacred cows, it only feeds fan wars.
Give us real diversity, not token characters that show up once a month.
Why not really mix up some couples, Dillon and Valerie and Jordan and Julian would have been much more interesting that what we got. Don’t be afraid to take risks and stop catering to entitled fanbases and bigots.
We want more romance and let the women be stronger.Let Liz save Franco or Laura save Kevin
Fans have been crying for years to see Jeff Webber, why not bring him back for Liz.
Finally, I appreciate the things that are working on GH, keep it up.

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 she wanted for Christmas, but at a certain point, it she would be reacting as though he slashed her throat. I hope the writers continue to add authenticity to their stories about real life issues while embracing the fantasy side. No having Alexis cured by Julian’s love and innocence because it does not work that way in real life.

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 meaningful righting of the moral compass.

So what if Julian brutally knifed Carlos and terrorized his wife. The fans of his pairing want them back together so all will be fixed and we will be expected to move on from this brutality. Not happening for some of us!! Sometimes characters can descend too deeply into evil to come back.

And let’s not even bother mentioning Sonny’s crimes and sins because he has been crowned King of Port Charles and will never be truly accountable because, as with Ava, Julian and others, the generous GH writers will pen them out of purgatory and they will live to sin and/or pontificate another day.

Recurring actors and day players bear the brunt of the punishment – either on screen or from fans. They can be used as scapegoats for fans to vent anger and frustration while the writers protect their “chosen ones.” Example: Wasting the talented Richard Burgi by writing Paul as the hospital killer. Or let’s take the case of a lonely, grieving young woman who made the moral mistake of falling in love with and sleeping with her cousin’s husband. She didn’t strangle or knife or terrorize anyone and she committed a sin that happens with regularity on soaps. However, the writers hung her out to dry by failing to develop and integrate her character first and then by failing to write even a modicum of the retribution and rebuilding material so easily handed out to “pets.” Again, like Paul, what a waste!! AND, ON GENERAL HOSPITAL, A SPENCER IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE. And, in Valerie’s case, what skewing of the moral compass when such a relatively minor soap sin can be more damaging to a character and actor than brutal and repeated murders, rapes and sustained abusive behavior!! All because the writers used and then neglected her.

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 to Dante about it…again. The only one who was genuinely nice to Val was Dante, a non-Spencer.

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 carefully, but I don’t see that at all. They need to think about all of the audience, not their own interests and fascinations with dark, twisted stories.

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 about Jason about d Lucky then the grieving mother. Hated the whole lying to Jason about his identity, wasn’t real, she would never do that to him. Also the way Jason has been treating her is so not like him. No matter how angry they get at each other Jason would never treat her the way he has. Case in point the whole Tom Baker story Jason would of made sure that Elizabeth and the boys were protected. He would of been the one to threaten Tom not Franco. I have been watching GH off and on this pass year, very disappointed. Mostly I read fanfiction, much better storytelling. Maybe the writer should read them too.

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. And yet it made it on screen.

Passanante and Altman really have to revise their way of veto’ing the stupid out of their brainstorming.

“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 (a Quartermaine, no less) … a chance to show her softer side by being giving and caring with Finn’s illness … a serious illness so fans could root for her to get better. With the exception of her introduction to Nik, these events in Hayden’s life have all happened under the current regime’s watch.

Now, I don’t want the following example to take this post away from the point of how some characters/actors are “propped” – ie, given repeated chances to integrate successfully in a show by the methods described in the preceding paragraph about Hayden’s development on GH. But to emphasize how MUCH support Hayden received, I want to speak about how LITTLE support another character received. There was one other new character introduced on the same day as we first saw Hayden – March 20, 2015. That character was Valerie SPENCER – yes a Spencer about whom many fans were curious and whom many hoped to see developed and integrated into this dwindling legacy family and into the Port Charles fabric. A Spencer for whom many of us had huge hopes when we watched those closing Elm Street scenes in early April, 2015 – scenes in which Carly, Bobbie and Lucas surrounded a grieving Valerie and promised to be there for her as she rebuilt her life.

But did we see that support? Was Valerie’s backstory developed? Was she included in meaningful scenes with a wide variety of characters? Was she allowed to develop and sustain good, visible friendships? Basically, was she given ANY of the support listed above to integrate Hayden? No, she was not.

Now, I definitely do acknowledge RB’s history and experience – and I do acknowledge the drawing power of an established fan base. And I most definitely would have NOT have expected BS/Valerie to have received the same amount of focus and screen time, being a newbie to the business. However, shouldn’t a new Spencer have had more development than she did? And isn’t the amount of promotion given Hayden excessive – especially when compared to Valerie’s non-existent development and integration? Re Hayden, is this what is meant by “propping”?

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.


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 pets unlike Sarpy…but let’s stop denying the fact that Valerie wasn’t pushed like a rocket in 2015…and numerous efforts weren’t made to make Lulu look bad so Valerie could come out looking good…and let me assure you the extreme hate for Valerie from the anti newbie crowd would be back in a flash the second there was a scent of a story in the air…back to the topic of Hayden you have said yourself that many have warmed up to her since they got her away from Nik…and don’t deny that you haven’t said many times you like her romance with Finn…and were coming around to enjoying her friendship with Curtis more since she’s not written as selfish….if the writers can get a hardcore Hayden hater like you to see improvements then they are doing their jobs…so in closing your opinion would be more solid if you weren’t so selective with the favortism label you only throw for Hayden…are you ever gonna place it where it really belongs on people like Franco and Finn?

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 Todd/Franco, John/Silas/Finn and Starr/Kiki situations and the ways in which their high profile introductions pushed some GH characters to the background and the ways in which stories were convoluted to bring them on the canvas and excessively promote them as headliners. I’ve said little – so far – about Nelle– but I am also aware of the priority given to her. As for Nina, I have MOST DEFINITELY spoken against her excesses. Overall, I’ll say that those I’ve talked to about this “propping” issue for the past four years would have some definite laugh-out-loud moments at the inaccuracies in your comments – because your comments are SO FAR off the mark. Please think about acknowledging that what you read in a few specific topic threads is NOT anywhere near a person’s complete position on the topic

Of course, I won’t deny that I saw those improvements in Hayden, especially in her relationship with Finn. These improvements are real and have helped Hayden lose some of her earlier status that has been described (NOT BY ME) as “the most hated character on GH.” Believe it not, I’m pleased to see her status improve … I believe almost ALL characters (expect the most murderous villains) can be redeemed and can be made more likable … I enjoy the journey when characters who have messed up are allowed to show their better side in gradual, believable ways … I try to stay open to the possibilities for improvement and redemption for ALL characters. BUT I WANT THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO BE OPEN TO ALL CHARACTERS – NOT JUST THE CHOSEN FEW THE WRITERS HAVE SELECTED.

As for focusing on Hayden in this particular thread, I have used her as an example of excessive promotion for three reasons. One, her “propping” was initially mentioned by several others in this thread. Two – and very importantly – this thread is primarily a discussion of the Passanante, Altman, Valentini regime; and Hayden’s promotion so clearly happened under their watch. Three: promotional elements in the writing for her have been especially obvious – as listed above and especially in comparison with the minimal (at times non-existent) promotion of another character introduced on the same day. MY POINT IS – AND ALWAYS WILL BE REGARDLESS OF SPECIFIC CHARACTERS BEING DISCUSSED – THAT ALL CHARACTERS SHOULD BE GIVEN A FAIR CHANCE WITH BETTER, MORE POSITIVE WRITING – NOT JUST A SELECTED FEW.

I won’t say much about the inexplicable comments about Valerie being “pushed like a rocket in 2015” because that sentence simply doesn’t stand up to the facts as outlined in the comparison with Hayden’s detailed “promotion.” Valerie had NONE of that type of writing given to Hayden – NONE of the type of writing which even you agree was able to create more favorable opinions of Hayden. As for Lulu being made to look bad so Valerie could look good, remember that ALL three characters in this part of the story were written badly – not just Lulu. And, more importantly, re-read Shelly Altman’s words above about Lante when she said: “WE WERE ALWAYS INTENDING ON PUTTING DANTE AND LULU BACK TOGETHER. WE ARE INVESTED IN THEM AS A COUPLE.” Note the very important word “ALWAYS” and consider that this story was ALWAYS a Lante story and that whatever was written for Valerie, Lulu or Dante was most definitely about promoting Dante, Lulu and Lante and NOT about making Valerie look good, especially at Lulu’s expense.

And now I come to the most troublesome words in your post: “LET ME ASSURE YOU THE EXTREME HATE FOR VALERIE FROM THE ANTI NEWBIE CROWD WOULD BE BACK IN A FLASH THE SECOND THERE WAS A SCENT OF A STORY IN THE AIR.” These are alarming words because they could be interpreted as being a planned vendetta against a character and, indirectly, the young actress who plays her. I would hope that you don’t mean that there are intentions to try to damage or destroy whatever chances the character and actress are given on GH.

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 DeVry. They have all given us outstanding performances this year.

I even like the Julexis story IF we get a solid explanation for Julian not only attempting to murder Alexis but also daydreaming about killing her and dreaming about killing her in his sleep. I just can’t get past that so far and they were one of my favorite couples.

I’m really looking forward to Anna solving the Valentin mystery and hope she and Laura have more scenes together. I have also really enjoyed the scenes with Tracy and Laura. It’s wonderful to see mature successful women getting along. MORE female friendships please. And I love the #KevLaur relationship!! It’s beyond time that the more mature women of GH get a chance to shine and show that it’s not only men who can have friendships and relationships.

I’m also enjoying the quirky Finn character and his relationship with Tracy. It’s nice to see Tracy having relationships with non Quartermaine characters since there are so few of them left. I would love it if Ned would come back permanently. I love the character and Michael could surely use some help at ELQ. And I really love Ned and Olivia and miss seeing them.

Hoping to see much more of Brad and Lucas in 2017! The couple is sorely missed from the canvas. And seeing more of Epiphany and Monica Q would be great. The hospital seems to have hardly any doctors these days.

All in all it’s been a pretty good year with just a few major hiccups. I’m hoping that in 2017 storylines will tighten up so that characters don’t disappear for weeks or months at a time. Looking forward to the 2017 Nurses Ball and all the wonderful entertainment provided by the talented GH actors!

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, Finn or Billy Miller’s Jason but I also wouldnt wish anyone to lose their job. Lets see what happens in 2017. Happy New Year!

General Hospital

John J. York Shares His Emotional Journey from Cancer Back to ‘General Hospital’ with ‘Good Morning America’

General Hospital fans are counting the hours till tomorrow, and the June 19th episode of the ABC daytime drama series, where they will see the highly-anticipated return of longtime veteran, John J. York (Mac Scorpio).

York has been through a physical and emotional rollercoaster fighting two blood cancers, myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple smoldering myeloma, and receiving a lifesaving blood stem cell transplant after months of trying to locate a match donor.

Now, on the other side of it, York sat down with Good Morning America this week ahead of his first episode back on GH, where not only do we see the moment he steps through the door at Maxie’s (Kirsten Storms) and is welcomed by her, Georgie, Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and he will also meet the new young children playing the role of Bailey James, twins Riley and Miley Polonki.


Speaking with tears in his eye on coming back to work at the set of GH, York expressed, “Everybody has been very welcoming. Very welcoming, and here I go right off the bat (begins to tear up). I can’t tell you how nice it’s been to get the support that I have gotten.”

When asked by GMA’s Zohreen Shah, what he missed the most about being away from GH, while undergoing treatment, York shared, “I just felt so attached that I didn’t feel I missed anything. I just took a little break and a little vacation, I guess, and had to go through something, and now we’re here kind of on the other side of it.”

Photo: Disney/ABC

The story for Mac heats up on today’s June 18th episode of GH, when in a preview for the show, Cody (Josh Kelly) talks to Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) and finally admits he is having regrets about the time he wasted with Mac, after seeing how Chase (Josh Swickard) has been grieving the loss of his father, Gregory.  Will he fess up when Mac steps back into action and tell him that he is his biological son? Stay tuned.

Check out John’s emotional appearance on Good Morning America below. Are you looking forward to seeing Mac back in action on GH starting tomorrow? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

‘Santa Barbara’ Legends and Daytime Emmy Gold Circle Honorees, A Martinez and Jerome Dobson, to Chat Live on Michael Fairman Channel

Two of the men responsible for the success of the beloved soap opera, Santa Barbara, A Martinez (ex-Cruz Castillo) and Jerome Dobson (Co-creator and co-head writer) visit You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for a live conversation on Friday night, June 21st beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT.

Recently, A and Jerry were honored at the 51st annual Daytime Emmy Awards as they were selected to be Gold Circle inductees in which they received a medal as admired individuals who have made enduring contributions to daytime television and have performed distinguished service within the television industry, setting standards for achievement, mentoring, leadership and professional accolades for 50 years.

Currently, A can be seen The Bay as Nardo Ramos, a role in which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his work this year. Martinez is also remembered for his roles on General Hospital as Roy DeLuca, One Life to Live as Ray Montez and Days of our Lives as Eduardo Hernandez; among other TV and motion picture roles. However, A’s most memorable role in soaps, and the one that won him a Daytime Emmy, was that of Cruz on Santa Barbara, for which he took home the gold for his work in 1990.

Photo: NBC

Jerry Dobson created Santa Barbara with his wife, the late Bridget Dobson, and the couple became soap-famous for not only their work on SB (1984-1986, 1991-1992), but their time head-writing for General Hospital (1973-1975), Guiding Light (1975-1980) and As the World Turns (1980-1983).

Photo: NATAS

Santa Barbara aired on NBC for 9 years from July 30, 1984, to January 15, 1993 and featured some of the all-time greats in soap opera as part of the cast including :Marcy Walker, Nancy Lee Grahn, Jed Allan, Dame Judith Anderson, Judith McConnell, Justin Deas, Robin Mattson, Lane Davies, Eileen Davidson, Robin Wright, Jack Wagner, Sydney Penny, Kim Zimmer, Roscoe Born, Nicolas Coster and more.

Watch below, when A Martinez was named Outstanding Lead Actor at the 17th annual Daytime Emmys.

If you can’t be with us live for A and Jerry’s livestream chat, but have a question you would like posed to one or both of them, please leave it in the comment section below.


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General Hospital

John J. York Returns as General Hospital’s Mac Scorpio and Shares, “Expect The You-Know-What to Hit the Fan”

General Hospital fans were overjoyed when John J. York (Mac Scorpio) revealed he was back on set and taping all-new episodes of the ABC daytime drama series.

The beloved GH star was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and multiple smoldering myeloma, two blood and bone marrow disorders, back in 2022.  Later, he underwent treatment for the cancer in September of 2023, which took him off the show while he went through a blood stem cell transplant and the recovery.

Now, those who have waited for Mac to finally get to the truth – that Cody Bell (Josh Kelly) is his biological son – may finally get their wish!  Speaking with TV Insider on his imminent return (he is back on-screen this coming Wednesday, June 19th), York shared on what’s about to go down, “Expect the you-know-what to hit the fan and let the dust come down and settle where it will, so get ready.”

Photo: ABC

York also prepped viewers that he will look a little different when he first seen back in Port Charles, due to his cancer treatments, “My hair grew back nice. I was not sure how my hair would look because I was bald. Now it’s short, like a military cut.”

Photo: JYorkIG

Speaking on his own health and life, John shared, “With the MDS, if everything goes well with the bone marrow transplant, that should be handled. With the multiple smoldering myeloma, smoldering being the key word, it just kind of stays there in my system. There is a small chance that it could turn into full-blown leukemia at some point, but the goal is for me to die of old age before I die of any kind of blood cancer. I feel fantastic and all the blood tests that I take once a month have all pointed in the direction that things are all going in the right direction, which is really good.”

Photo: ABC

Are you looking forward to the moment that Mac realizes Cody is his son? What do you think his reaction will be as he has been duped all this time? Happy, as we are, that John is back on-screen on GH? Comment below.

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