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GH Co-Head Writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor Interview – “Soapmakers of the Year” Honors 2020

Courtesy/GeneralHospital

In a year which saw production of your favorite soaps shutdown for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone in daytime had to pivot.  As original episodes aired, they eventually ran out, giving way to rebroadcasts, while the audience eagerly awaited the return of the current stories.

At General Hospital, once production resumed over the summer, head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor had teed-up: surprising homecomings (Dante, Britt) shocking twists and revelations, the conclusion of what will become an all-time soap classic, the Alzheimer’s storyline, dipping into the rich 57-year history of the iconic soap to tie story to the present (Laura, Cyrus, Martin), and crafting stories for its A-list cast which gave 2020 some of its finest on-screen moments.  GH became can’t-miss television again, coming back even stronger than its pre-pandemic self; which also kicked the year off in high-style with the reveal of Nikolas to his family, alive and well, and the long-awaited truth about baby Wiley.

Chris and Dan’s depiction of Mike’s heartbreaking battle with Alzheimer’s gave viewers many tears through its unrelenting and realistic storytelling, plus their commitment to air the standalone episode to honor the passing of the 19th amendment of the women’s right to vote in November.  Both were noteworthy, and illustrated what daytime can do best.

 

Each year, Michael Fairman TV gives our highest honor to a creative or creatives who most delivered to its audience and whose quality of work continues to keep us engaged, on the edge of our seats, or reaching for the hankies. That is why this year’s Soapmkers of the Year honor goes to GH scribes: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor.  Shortly after receiving their acknowledgement, the duo spoke to us about some of the 2020 highlights in Port Charles, and how they work so well together to bring their stories to life.  Here’s what they shared.

Courtesy/ABC

First, and foremost, I want to commend you for the Alzheimer’s storyline  As I’ve shared publicly, my mother died of Alzheimer’s, and I have seen the progression of this disease and the effects it has on a family and loved ones, and the person afflicted with it.  You did a beautiful job of telling every beat of the story within the context of what you could do within a soap opera.  What can you tell me about crafting that and seeing it through to the end?  You never abandoned the story, which at times, can happen on daytime.

CHRISNo, we didn’t abandon it.  Soap operas have a power that I am sure we have acknowledged before, to allow audiences to really get to know characters in a deeper and more profound way than I think most other mediums do.  We get to see characters’ lives day in and day out.  For us to tell a story about Alzheimer’s, which is a disease that is devastating in so many ways, not the least of which is the fact that it can take years to develop and years to finally claim a life, we felt that among our audience, there had to be many people who had experienced this in an up-close and personal way.  So that to tell the story too expeditiously would really deny their experience and would take away from their appreciation of the show as a reflection of reality.  Of course, soap operas don’t do that in every sense on every episode, but when you’re telling a story about a disease that people experience every day, you have an obligation to reflect the real-world experience.  So, by bringing it to a close too fast and by doing it in a way that didn’t honor what at times is the horror of the disease, felt like it would be a cop-out.  We wanted to do our best within the constrictions of the medium to depict that; while at the same time, of course, not wanting to leave people so depressed as to not want to tune back in.  It was a really delicate dance.  We are very grateful to have had the support of the network and Frank Valentini’s (executive producer, GH) ingenious production team as well as a great repertory of actors who were willing and able to give their all to this story.

Courtesy/ABC

Maurice Benard (Sonny) did some of his finest work of his career in this story, and you gave him the ball to do it, and Max Gail (Mike) was amazing.  Two standout episodes included: when Mike passed and was taken to heaven by Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis) and Mike’s funeral episode.  Did you realize when you were writing it, the impact it would have on the audience?

DANAs for the funeral, I’d say that we knew as we were writing it that not only did we want to give the characters and the audience a chance to say goodbye to Mike, but we also wanted to give the performers a chance to say a goodbye to their relationship with the actor, Max Gail as well.  Max is a fantastic, phenomenal actor, and he formed close relationships with many of our performers.  So, when we wrote the episode, yes, we did want to give the audience a chance to say goodbye to the character, but we also knew that because of the close relationships that these performers have made with each other that the actors were going to bring their all, and it was going to provide the audience with some powerhouse performances.

Did you get emotional seeing it? 

CHRIS:  Oh, personally, I cried.

Courtesy/ABC

I know you both love and appreciate the soap genre and understand that the audience often wants a good cry and is invested in these characters.  So because of that; what’s it like for you when you see these emotional moments play out that start in your mind, go to the page, then to the stage, and now are out in the world for people to see and experience?

CHRIS:  I can’t speak for any of the other writers, but I’m not crying when I’m writing it, but I’m crying when I see it realized and how the actors, and the producers, and the directors realize it.  I personally am always surprised by the nuance and the beats that they find that we, in our first draft kind-of-lifestyle that we have as soap opera writers; where we are writing six or seven episodes per week, we don’t have the time or the luxury to really sit with an episode and mine it for every single beat and every emotion. That’s why we have great directors and great actors who take these scripts and find these extra moments.  So, it is really gratifying to watch – yes, to see something that we’ve imagined be produced and personified, but then to see how the production then takes it in other directions, that’s the best.  I think that’s the most gratifying part of writing for a show, not seeing what you’ve written produced, but seeing how it was parented into life.  When you have a baby, I think you have all sorts of ideas about what the baby will be, and then the baby becomes something else as the result of its environment and of the people who are influencing and guiding it along and that may be a bit of a stretched metaphor, but it kind of feels relative.

As co-head writers of General Hospital, how do you work together to come up with long-term story?  What is your process?

DAN:  Chris and I will meet regularly and discuss the long-term stories that we are telling, and plan to tell, and maybe some adjustments that we have to make along the way.  We get to meet with our writers several days every week as we figure out the best way to tell that story in the form of however many episodes we write a week.  Chris and I also write episodes along with our great breakdown script team, and every week we figure out the best way to either stay on the path of the story we are intending to tell, or find new opportunities or new twists and turns we can take along the way.

Photo: ABC

Do you get into friendly, creative disagreements? Is one of you more protective of a certain character than the other? 

DAN:  Chris and I have known each other for close to 15 years at this point, and we are not just colleagues, we are also friends.  There is a certain amount of shorthand that we have with each other which is just invaluable in telling story.  What’s great is that we sometimes come at the story from different angles or we have a different point of view, much like any two fans of the show wouldn’t agree on necessarily everything, but in our discussions about the show’s needs, wants, and haves, and the story trajectory, we ultimately get somewhere better than where either of us could have come up with on our own.  At the same time, there are those moments where we both come to the same idea at the same moment, and that’s definitely when we go, “Okay, we’re onto something good.”

CHRIS:  I can add as a partial translation that I can get really snippy, and Dan has the patience of a saint.  So, often times, I need 24 hours to go away, and sleep on something, and wake up, and say, “Oh Dan, you were totally right about that.  I’m so sorry I was snippy the other day,” and he doesn’t seem to hold it against me.

Do you ever get a writer’s block; as has to happen often with scribes in the unrelenting medium of daytime drama, and if so, I would think having a writing partner would be an asset during those times?

DAN:  I think it’s the nature of the beast.  At a certain point, you might hit a roadblock somewhere, but that’s why having a partner is so valuable that there is somebody else that you can bounce ideas along with, and just as, if not more importantly, our team of writers are always there to sometimes give us even better ideas than what we would have come up with on our own.

Courtesy/ABC

This year you utilized and delved back into a lot of GH history.  How did the idea come about to bring back the character of Jackie Templeton and have former All My Children and NYPD Blue favorite, Kim Delaney, take on the role?

DAN:  Jackie Templeton is a character who has been an Easter egg on the show for many years now.  Whenever we needed to namedrop a famous journalist, she was always our go-to.  It always felt like the character was in the ether of Port Charles for awhile, and we were excited to bring this take-no-prisoners character back and explore her history with Robert (Tristan Rogers), and at the same time, we were finally teed up to tell the story of Finn’s (Michael Easton) falling out with his father and step-mother, and we realized we had a great opportunity to have the character serve both stories and collide with not just Anna (Finola Hughes) and Finn, but Robert as well. Those three played wonderfully with each other. When we heard that Kim Delaney was interested in playing with us, we were just over the moon.  .

Courtesy/ABC

You have also been delving back into Laura’s childhood past and her history. I love that you brought up the death of David Hamilton and her teenage years, which hasn’t been discussed for a very long time on the show while tying it into the present.

DAN:  We were always aware of the story just because we love General Hospital and we love the character of Laura, and there is nothing else like daytime drama, and one of the great things about it is that you can reach decades into the past and expand on stories and themes that the audience actually witnessed. Long reaching history is a tool in our toolbox that not many other series have.  Chris and I love honoring and using our characters’ histories to propel the show into the future with some serious momentum.

Photo: ABC

You created and brought the character of  Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober) on to the canvas. Was it originally a case of, “We need an uber-villain to come and shake things up,” and then you decided to connect him to Laura?  It’s been an intriguing shocker for viewers.  Jeff is playing the multi-levels of Cyrus with great finesse, and whenever you give Genie something, the fans go nuts, and she, in turn, delivers every time.

CHRIS:  The story of Cyrus has a couple of phases to it.  We wanted to bring on a villain who would not only be an adversary to Sonny, but someone who we could use to really test Jordan (Briana Nicole Henry) and Curtis (Donnell Turner), and we knew going in that the first phase of this story would really hit the Corinthos family and also the Ashfords, and as we developed it, we thought about what the act two would be, and we knew that we had an opportunity to really engage Genie Francis and to expand her sphere and expand her footprint on the show, and by connecting her to Cyrus, who is not your typical face or presence for a soap, but is also not your typical person who I think Laura would encounter in her daily life.  So, we knew, as we really developed Cyrus as a villain, that for Laura to find out that this man is her brother, would really allow us to play with Laura in a different context and in a different light and really give Genie a new kind of challenge.

Speaking of Genie, what did you think when you watched back her performance in the episode where you wrote that Laura has to say goodbye to her comatose daughter, Lulu (Emme Rylan), before she was sent off the canvas to a long-term care facility?

CHRIS:  I mean to me, that’s vintage Laura.  I came to General Hospital personally in the late 80s to early 90s, so my experience of Laura really only begins with her, and Luke (Tony Geary), and Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) at the Triple L Diner.  I think that what we’ve gotten to see with Genie is really reflective of the high emotion that she is capable of delivering.  At the same time as the high emotion, you’re also seeing really small human moments that she really breathes a lot of life into.  I can speak for Dan and myself when we say that we are just really thrilled with what she has been able to bring to the screen.  Thrilled, but I guess not surprised.

Coutesy/ABC

Nelle (Chloe Lanier) was such a great interloper and threat throughout the year in story; whether it’s hatching plots to gain custody of baby Wiley, or her “death” scene and confrontations with Carly (Laura Wright).  However, through all of this, when was it decided to make Nina (Cynthia Watros), Nelle’s biological mother?

DAN:  There are very few things that are as exciting on a soap as a character that makes you wonder what they are going to do next, and Chloe and Nelle provided that role with just gusto.  The truth is, the idea that Nelle was Nina’s daughter has been a part of the conception of that character, and over the last few years, the story evolved, and we ultimately got to reveal the truth to the audience.

Courtesy/ABC

As writers, there has to be characters that are just so delicious and treacherous to write for that you have to get a kick out of it! Chloe Lanier is so good that she makes the audience want to slap Nelle when she takes the dialog and then brings it to the screen.  

CHRIS:  It is tremendous fun.  Yes, yes, we love writing for these characters who are willing to do and say anything to get what they want.  We are constrained when writing for characters who have morality.  It takes a moral character a lot of really difficult circumstances for them to make a decision that might go against the grain, but when you have a character like Nelle, who is not shackled by certain societal norms, then you really get to live out the worst impulses that a person could have, and it’s really fun, especially when you take a really great performer like Chloe and see her as Nelle unleash all of the poison that she’s capable of.  At the same time, she can turn on a dime and rip your heart out a little bit when she turns on the water works.

Photo :ABC

Ava Jerome’s (Maura West) story this year had her moving into a relationship with Nikolas (Marcus Coloma).  We, the audience, didn’t know how that was going to go – if they were just going to use each other, or ultimately fall in love.  Was that the plan all along … that they would develop deep feelings for each other, or did you want to see how it progressed and played out on-screen, and then make that determination?

CHRIS:  I think that once we saw the chemistry between the two actors, we knew we had gold. So, we wanted to take our time, especially the way that it was constructed.  These were two people who had little use for each other emotionally, and in fact, probably wanted to see one another’s downfall, and that’s what makes it so great to write – that these are people who, in a similar vein as Nelle, don’t live by the same rules as most of the rest of us, and therefore, they might do things to each other that the rest of us would not do to anyone let alone whether we like them or not.  That’s what makes Ava and Nikolas so delicious is that from one moment to the next, you don’t know if they’re going to hatch a plot against each other or fall into bed and ravish each other. That’s what I think we hope to continue to play as we go forward because they certainly have very strong, passionate feelings for one another.  When you’re talking about Ava and Nikolas, these are two people who do not have a lot of fans necessarily in Port Charles, and there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily want to see them achieve happily ever after.  Knowing that there was so much initial mistrust and suspicion between the two of them could really provide the foundation for their own undoing or their undoing from someone who does not want to see them happy.

Photo: ABC

Back in November, GH made good use of a standalone episode spotlighting the history of the women’s right to vote and the suffrage movement; just as the presidential election was happening.  What made you decide to write this special show, and how do you feel it turned out as it also spotlighted the female cast?

CHRIS:  We had long intended to honor the one hundred years of American women’s suffrage with a special episode to air on the anniversary of the 19th amendment’s passage, but we missed the date due to the pause in production.  We realized we had a second chance as the election neared.  Going forward was a no-brainer. The biggest challenge was in distilling such an epic story into one episode. We think ABC would do well to consider a spinoff: “Port Charles, 1920”

Courtesy/ABC

You have such a powerhouse cast to write for.  It’s loaded.  It’s got to be a challenge for you to construct the story for GH when you’ve got to front burner people and back burner people, and then you’ve got these huge daytime stars all in one show.

DAN:  It’s an embarrassment of riches to have a cast as talented as we do quite frankly.  We are fortunate enough that we know that we have these amazing performers that we can trust with whatever stories that we throw their way.

CHRIS:  I will say that we do have a great cast.  They’re all wonderful, and when you have a show that is only approximately 35 minutes of airtime on any day, it’s a real balancing act to make sure that everybody gets a story that really is worthy of their talents, and we’ve got one for everybody.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of which story takes precedence in which moment, which is why occasionally some characters aren’t featured on a daily basis, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be.  If you were to ask me, “Who are the standouts?”  I would say all of them.  You saw this year: Maurice Benard, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Maura West, Genie Francis, and Laura Wright (Carly) to name but just a few.  They’ve all done such fantastic work, and we can’t wait to give them more material to give them more moments to shine.

DAN:  A priority of ours is every week, we meet up and look (well, it’s virtual now during Covid-19) at the big board of our cast photos and we go through each character and always make sure that they have some story percolating even if it’s not on the air at the moment.

Photo: ABC

As we close out 2020, and look forward to 2021, any parting thoughts, and perhaps a tease of what GH fans can look forward to in the New Year?

CHRIS:  In general, I would just say that despite all of the challenges of the year, we are really grateful to our cast and the crew back in Los Angeles for realizing and improving the show that we imagined, and we are so excited for everything that is coming in 2021.  We hope to continue to throw a lot of surprises at the audience, and at the same time give them a lot of moments and stories of heart and love and excitement.

So, what did you think of the year in story on General Hospital in 2020? Share your thoughts on Chris and Dan’s comments and their year-end honors via the comment section below.

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Mandy
Guest
Mandy

The supremely talented and uber popular Rebecca Herbst is tragically underused and Liz has been reduced to wallpaper. I guess writing for morally sound characters is just too hard, I wonder how Shonda Rhimes and others do it every day. may Chris and Dan should contact her and ask? Also Daytime writers stay avoiding interracial relationships involving leads at all cost. Black couple containment supercedes actual chemistry. Disappointing!

aria
Guest
aria

I ditto everything you said about Rebecca Herbts, liz, I mean its so frustrating to see her not be on continuously like “some” others that will go nameless get to be. Its really getting old to say this but damn the people writing and producing this show need to wake up.

Carol
Guest
Carol

AMEN to that.

Trizia
Guest
Trizia

Yes, I definitely agree with you. You’ve got a vet like Rebecca Herbst on the show of more than 20 years who is very popular and well liked with minimal POV anymore. Liz Webber is a complex character who used to have a bit of an edge. She could be very snarky, sneaky, and sassy. Now, her character has become very 2-dimensional and almost seemingly irrelevant. Why? Where are Liz’s parents? Why do they never check in with her? Do they know she’s a rape survivor? That she’s birthed three children and is married to an ex-serial killer? Are LIz’s… Read more »

B Faulkner
Guest
B Faulkner

Or they could bring her sister Sarah back and have her make a play for Franco. She and Liz have always fancied the same guys, Lucky…Nickolas.We would get to see the strong Liz again when she goes all momma bear for her family.

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Liz seemed a little jealous and resentful of Franco’s artistic talent a while back, maybe it would be interesting seeing her renewed interest in painting, while we watch them dry and be shown at Ava’s gallery or displayed around the hospital, cheering up the patients or they might have her showing signs of an early menapause, acting like a bitch at home with her husband and kids and screaming at her co-workers and patients when she has to empty a bedpan or take a temp.

Sharon Stone
Guest
Sharon Stone

Great ideas maybe they should hire you to write the show

Steve
Guest
Steve

It would be great to see an Elizabeth-first storyline, as she’s mainly been seen as reactionary in Franco’s storylines these past few years. These writers are capable of giving story to morally sound characters (Laura, Ned and Chase as current examples). As for interracial couples… although we see them less frequently, Molly and TJ are a good example of a modern young mixed-race pairing. This on a show that was a pioneer in interracial coupling in the 80’s with Tom and Simone Hardy. The show played the potential pairing of Cameron and Trina but his end game is likely with… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

The only story Chris & Dan could come up with for TJ & Molly (the show’s only interracial couple) was Molly cheating with a white dude.

Liz’s parents were mentioned the other day & she told Terry that she didn’t expect to see her parents anytime soon. Seems to me that someone got snippy about the fans criticizing them regarding not bringing on Liz’s parents.

Jill
Guest
Jill

Um, Mollie and TJ? I agree with you about Lizzy, however.

Katherine Grayson
Guest
Katherine Grayson

I despise them for killing Jason and Sam, and apart from the altzheimers story I have utter contempt for their dubious talents.

Christopher Corey
Guest
Christopher Corey

Go watch YR and see what true garbage is. Dan and Chris are amazing.

ann
Guest
ann

So true. The GH writers are GREAT. I appreciate them keeping the “bed hopping” to a minimum. If you want that, watch the other soaps. PLEASE keep GH as it is!

TVJeff
Guest
TVJeff

Despise them for breaking up a couple that was truly yawn worthy? I do believe they’ll eventually find their way back to each other, but hopefully in a more interesting way.

Kbell
Guest
Kbell

Exactly, however Jasam are not getting back together! They are permanently over and that is on Kelly Monaco not writers!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Something had to be done with Jason and Sam. The actors barely seem to want to be in the same scene together. Outside of Sam’s orbit, Jason seems much more alert. I’m intrigued by the possibilities of a Jason/Britt pairing. Some soap couples, no matter how popular and long their reign is, have an expiration date. Luke and Laura is a prime example. Outside of Luke’s shadow, Laura has so much story to tell. Sam grew as a character when paired with Patrick and Drew. Once “the real” Jason returned, she reverted back to 2012 form (a time before she… Read more »

IMM
Guest
IMM

Agree I will not be watching I quit watching when Steve Burton left. They have not done anything with Jason and Sam since he came back now they’re breaking them up I’m done. They were the only reason I watched GH. Sick of the Carly and Jason relationship.

Silvana De Nardis
Guest
Silvana De Nardis

My thought’s exactly !!! JaSam forever ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

Silvana De Nardis
Guest
Silvana De Nardis

Agreed 100%

Jo
Guest
Jo

Ditto!!! I think they have damaged every woman character on the show portraying them as weak, whiny, and rather stupid. Hate what they’ve done to all the couples too. I’m so frustrated with their writing and wish there was a woman writer on this show.

Angela Y.
Guest
Angela Y.

I absolutely love General Hospital and the direction it has taken. Writers can’t please all of us and every coupling is going to have those that want their characters to be with others. I think they do an amazing job; if every couple was happy it would be boring. The writing has had such great depth and when you have the cast you, have it’s riveting at times. The episodes mentioned in the article where exceptional. I much enjoy this type of writing and staying for the most part in character than what Days of Our Lives is doing. It’s… Read more »

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Chris Van Etten and Dan O’ Connor, since becoming the head writing team of GENERAL HOSPITAL, have single-handedly ignited this soap to new heights. Is everything perfect? No. But, that is what makes a good soap opera. They came into 2020 firing on all-cylinders and they are leaving 2020 firing on all-cylinders, and I can only hope they are able to continue to do so in 2021. Under their regime, the Quartermaine family have seen a grand re-ignite, even more so than when Ron Carlivati became head writer in 2012, and I hope it continues to flourish. I do hope… Read more »

Christopher Corey
Guest
Christopher Corey

Totally well deserved. Dan and Chris brought the best soap all year and nothing came close to these two. They brought twist after twist and huge excitement. Just fantastic these two are and refreshing. Josh Griffith can take note because he did everything opposite.

James R. Poissant
Guest
James R. Poissant

What I like best about the writing on GH with some of the stories is that they tell stories the way they used to be told…they take their time before giving us the payoff. yes, it’s a killer to see those stories dragged out for so long but when we get to the end, it’s delicious!!! To me, that takes me back to soaps of yesteryear and that’s what i like best.

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

Hi James, I agree with you 100%…I am loving GH and it reminds me what soaps use to be…GH is my favorite…Keep up the GREAT WRITING Chris and Dan…I also agree THAT GH has a GREAT CAST…

Marilyn Miller
Guest
Marilyn Miller

Chris and Dan have shown made GH a Show that is worth watching everyday. I applaud them on their hard work and look forward to what this great team brings to the viewers in 2021

Leslie V
Guest
Leslie V

I must be watching a different show. You talk of history yet we have 1 Spencer since Lulu is gone, Liz is the only Webber, Ava is the only Jerome now that Julian is gone and the Q’s are hardly the powerhouse they used to be. The truth is the only ones featured day after day are Jason, Sonny and Carly. They have dominated every storyline since Jason returned and you continue to portray mobsters as heroes and law enforcement as fools. They are not noble, they are not root worthy. They are killers. Your constant focus on 3 characters… Read more »

Silvana De Nardis
Guest
Silvana De Nardis

Fine point taken

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

I think they deserve the kudos given by most of us. When you compare the exciting shows we’ve been given the past few months with the boring and stupid fodder fed to us daily from the other two and 1/2 shows, GH stands out alone. Good job guys!

Gigi
Guest
Gigi

I love the direction the show is headed & the closing out of stories; instead of an unending circle. I’m going to need a bit more diversity from the TPTB on GH. Where are the interracial couples besides TJ & Molly? Where are the Latino & Asian actors? Is it really cost effective to have this many former Soap vets return indefinitely vs the kind of fire we get from ex-Teresa (Passions)? Nothing against Nina, but I would trade that character out for the above mentioned actress in a heartbeat! It’s time to recognize the viewers don’t care how much… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

Jeff Webber is the ultimate deadbeat dad/son/brother. The writers didn’t have him return when his father died (Steve), when his daughter was raped, grandson presumed dead, son (Steven Lars) went to prison, new daughter (Hayden) revealed or when brother Rick was killed. It’s been 40 years since Richard Dean Anderson left the role. Multiple writing regimes have passed on the chance to revisit the character and passed. If there’s any crew that would have him return, it’s Dan and Chris. I mean, did you really expect Jackie Templeton to return after 35 years? There’s no chance that Audrey will be… Read more »

Jenn
Guest
Jenn

“If there’s a crew that would have him return, it’s Dan and Chris.” Then where is Jeff Webber? They brought on Chase & Finn’s parents instead. They deserve to be dragged for filth for that.

Steve
Guest
Steve

If Chase’s mom wasn’t Jackie Templeton, played by a soap legend, combined with the great addition of Gregory Harrison, I might agree with you. Robert has been revitalized and Finn actually seems a bit interesting after all these years. If, and when, Jeff returns, he needs to be played by a major soap presence. Richard Dean Anderson has said he has no desire to return. Someone like Jerry ver Dorn or Walt Wiley. While she’s lacking non-offspring family, it’s good to see Elizabeth has a real friend in Terry, who needs to be seen more. Too often they’ve given Elizabeth… Read more »

Pamela Cox
Guest
Pamela Cox

The writers have gotten better this last 3 months. Instead of exciting on Wednesday only we do get 2 days of action,drama, and the good stuff. I just wish the arc of the storylines wasn’t 6 months. Let’s wrap it up in three. Can still leave a hanger but dragging it out is boring. You get fans losing interest. You’d think they’d tune in daily for the peak but they don’t when it just goes on and on for months. Example: Michael and Wiley. Too many twists and turns for 2 yrs. Nell, Shiloh, Brad, Julian, Lucas, etc…all involved in… Read more »

Rodd
Guest
Rodd

GH has really been on fire since returning from the COVID shutdown. I hope it continues. I also hope that ABC will promote this show more in primetime. It’s far more deserving than many shows on the roster.

Congratulations and many Thanks to Dan and Chris for keeping us glued to our TV sets!

Michael A Breshears
Guest
Michael A Breshears

Great interview! This year’s re-focus on Laura, the Ava, Nik and Ryan story, and the Alzheimers story… all were great (and I’m no fan of the Sonny character.) I hope this trend continues. Still a little too heavy on the Sonny/Carly/Jason front and I’m not sure why that is. Something tells me there’s some heavy handed influencing that’s been taking place for years regarding that threesome. It’s time to give Liz a storyline and I’d vote to have it start with the Franco character being offed. Figure out a way to bring the actor back but no amount of redemption… Read more »

Becky Barnett
Guest
Becky Barnett

Liz is a boring character. Always has been!!!! Nothing makes her interesting.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Ditto. Is it me or are there tons of guys on here that watch GH and like what these writers are doing? As for me, except for the alzheimer’s story, their writing has been leaving me cold. Destroyed almost every couple (do like Ava and Nic and Liz and Franco and the boys) and write garbage for the women characters. Very sad and am almost ready to give up on GH after over 50 years.

Harry
Guest
Harry

What a great interview. The questions were researched and thought provoking which yielded to interesting answers. Well done!

Tracy Carter
Guest
Tracy Carter

It’s sad to see Dan and Chris using the same party line as Frank Valentini and touting the same few pet players. Genie deserves to be number one because she is GH. NLG and Maura West are both talented but over hyped, Maurice and Laura Wright are over used but all of these characters get the best writing and airtime. Other actors and characters would shine even brighter if GH would just give them the opportunity to do so. Rebecca Herbst is an incredibly talented gem. Fans love Elizabeth yet GH only uses Liz to prop Franco. Minimizing such a… Read more »

Mark Urick
Guest
Mark Urick

I have been watching GH since I was around 12 with my Mom back in 1971. I am now 61.I want Michael and Sasha together and Willow and Chase together. I wish Nina’s daughter was Willow

Jo
Guest
Jo

I’m with you Mark – exactly!

Christina Miller
Guest
Christina Miller

Bring back Julian.

Carole Gutowski
Guest
Carole Gutowski

Please do not bring Nelle back. Willow and Michael are super boring. She belongs with Chase. Jason and Britt are great together. Sam needs to quit whining. Nina’s daughter story has gone on waaaaay too long. And bring Sonny home SOON.

Barbara Cullen
Guest
Barbara Cullen

I hope Nelle isntNinas daughter also keep Michael and Willow together

Cathy S Hedrick
Guest
Cathy S Hedrick

Didn’t the writers confirm she is?

Sandra Davis
Guest
Sandra Davis

As the saying goes b.s. walks money talks! Makes no sense but fits perfectly! Not many soaps left!

Cheryl Gordon
Guest
Cheryl Gordon

Loved all of them but the scenes with Mike really hit home. I have a Sister with Dementia and all the things Mike was doing is what she is doing. Really scary. Terrible disease. Great year of story lines. Keep on writing. Kudos

EDNA
Guest
EDNA

Reunite Jason and Sam. You did not give them a chance to be happy .Go back and look at u tube at the power couple. You could learn a lot.

Silvana De Nardis
Guest
Silvana De Nardis

Edna, you took the words right out of my mouth

Silvana De Nardis
Guest
Silvana De Nardis

My thought’s exactly, couldn’t agree with you more.

Patty McCann
Guest
Patty McCann

The writers may love Nelle, but most of the fans despise her and the long drawn out storyline. Who, exactly are they writing for? Themselves? Sorry – Enough already and stop making Nina such a whiney little byatch. MOVE ON

Susan
Guest
Susan

Chris I love you I do but please stop bring bck ppl they don’t know what ppl been through some people has been through a lot but understand like losing a family member that’s sure he’ll slit if some has stuffer more than one can’t believe people think they do much better than everybody else when they are just as bad and they accuse people of being bad and doing terrible things when they did the sane there no better and where the hell is the love

Sheba
Guest
Sheba

You writers sucks I hope you lose everything I hate yall as a writers just when I though things couldn’t get worse you mess thing up screw you both Chris and Dan karma coming for y’all watch your back bc you breaking my coupe that ain’t right stood fuckers go to hell dumb asses y’all suck and can kiss my black asses fuck all of y’all karma is waiting on y’all just waiting laughing now but we see who laughing when you can from General hospital no can’t be happy bc y’all suck as a writers I hope y’all get… Read more »

Christina Bryant
Guest
Christina Bryant

I hate to tell these writers, but not all of their lonnnng drag out storylines are delious. As a matter of fact they are really really getting stupid. Gh needs to fire these two and bring in fresh minds

Sharon Stone
Guest
Sharon Stone

No one goes to prison to await trial. Where do y’all get this crap from don’t you do research before writing a storyline?

Kathy S Pritchett
Guest
Kathy S Pritchett

When is Sonny coming back? Soon I hope.

linda may
Guest
linda may

I LOVE, SIMPLY LOVE G.H. I’M SO HAPPY MICHAEL GOT HIS HAIR CUT, AND DANTE’ LOOKS FAB. WITH A CLEAN SHAVEN FACE AND A HAIRCUT. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE SONNY COME BACK TO CARLY. I WISH KELLY (SAM) WOULD LEAVE THE SHOW FOR GOOD. THIS IS A WONDERFUL SHOW THAT MY MOM GOT ME INTO SEVERAL YEARS AGO, AND I JUST LOVE IT SO DOES MY NEIGHBOR. I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH THAT WHEN I BEGAN GOING TO SR. LIFE I INSISTED ON STAYING HOME ON FRIDAY’S JUST TO SEE ME SOAP. CHASE IS HANDSOME AND A GOOD… Read more »

Elizabeth Boston
Guest
Elizabeth Boston

Why can’t women be written stronger! Why can’t women that have kids still be kick ass! I think these 2 writers are the worst clearly don’t know GH history and the writing characters out of character to push a story stop with the plot point writing and get back to character writing. I agree about Rebecca Herbst even though I’m not a Liz fan I agree she deserves better and so does so many other Vets.

Shelia Dobbins
Guest
Shelia Dobbins

Ok GH writers get with the program. You bring back a wonderful actor in Roger and you have him acting like a lost boy wandering around in the woods half dressed. You missed a great opportunity with his comic timing also because you didn’t even have anyone bring up the fact he looked like Franco. Get real with it people. Also kill Chase already are let him live and move on without Willow. I am so sick of will he or won’t he Willow loves Michael let it be. Kill Gladys Corbin also she is a character that does nothing… Read more »

Karen F
Guest
Karen F

I’ve been watching GH for years and I am so sick of the SL Nixon falls! I was so exited when it ended and burnt down, when Sonny got his memory back and back to Carly. But only to watch scenes of Phyllis trying to pull Nina and Sonny together? Seriously? Nina needs to hit rock bottom and get what she deserves for everyone to turn in her and run her out of town. Leave her in a country with amnesia and be taken advantage of. Sonny needs to get rid of her. I hate this SL. It’s worse than… Read more »

LINDA
Guest
LINDA

WHY WON’T SONNY GET A SHAVE, THAT BEARD DOES HIM NO JUSTICE AT ALL. HAVE MICHAEL TRIM HIS HAIR AND THANKS SO MUCH FOR DANTE LOOKING HANDSOME AGAIN. I HOPE SONNY AND NINA GET TOGETHER. I LOVE GENERAL HOSPITAL, SO DO MANY OF MY FRIENDS. I’M GLAD NICHOLAS, AND AVA ARE BACK TOGETHER I HOPE ANNA, AND VALENTINE GET TOGETHER. WHY WONT PETER GET HIS JUST DUES??? GENERAL HOSPITAL IS THE BEST PROGRAM ON TV, MY MOM GOT ME HOOKED ON IT AND I NEVER WANT TO STOP WATCHING, AND LOVING IT NOW. CARLY IS BEING A REAL B—-.

Awful
Guest
Awful

The present story (Jan 2022) line is just sophomoric. Story lines are predictable and poorly developed. The settings are dark. Cast members are all in turmoil. With everything going on in this world there is no happiness, bright colors, or signs of hope in this Soap Opera. Why would anyone continue to watch such darkness? General Hospital use ti be exciting. I am tuning out.

Ruth Ba
Guest
Ruth Ba

They killed off Luke Spencer! How do you like these writers now?

Breaking News

NATAS Reveals Categories to be Presented at 49th Annual Daytime Emmys and Creative Arts & Lifestyle Ceremonies

On Monday, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced which categories will be presented at the 49th Annual Daytime Creative Arts & Lifestyle and the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Award ceremonies.  Both award shows will be held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.

The Daytime Creative Arts & Lifestyle Emmy ceremony will stream live at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on Saturday, June 18 at watch.TheEmmys.tv and via The Emmys apps for iOS, tvOS, Android, FireTV, and Roku. while The Daytime Emmy Awards telecast will be presented live at 9 PM EDT (replay at 9 PM PDT) on Friday, June 24, on the CBS Television Network and streamed on Paramount+.

Check out the alignment of categories for each show and ceremony below.

The 49th Annual Daytime Creative Arts & Lifestyle Emmy Awards

Saturday, June 18, 2022 

Categories to be awarded:

Outstanding Culinary Series

Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program

Outstanding Lifestyle Program

Outstanding Travel, Adventure and Nature Program

Outstanding Instructional and How-To Program

Outstanding Arts and Popular Culture Program

Outstanding Entertainment News Series

Outstanding Daytime Special

Outstanding Short Form Daytime Program

Outstanding Interactive Media for a Daytime Program

Outstanding Daytime Promotional Announcement

Outstanding Guest Performance in a Daytime Drama Series

Outstanding Culinary Host

Outstanding Daytime Program Host

Outstanding Writing Team for a Daytime Non-Fiction Program

Outstanding Directing Team for a Single Camera Daytime Non-Fiction Program

Outstanding Directing Team for a Multiple Camera Daytime Non-Fiction Program

Outstanding Music Direction and Composition

Outstanding Original Song

Outstanding Lighting Direction

Outstanding Technical Team, Camera Work, Video

Outstanding Cinematography

Outstanding Single Camera Editing

Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing

Outstanding Live Sound Mixing and Sound Editing

Outstanding Sound Mixing and Sound Editing

Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design

Outstanding Casting

Outstanding Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design

Outstanding Costume Design/Styling

Outstanding Hairstyling

Outstanding Makeup

Outstanding Special Effects Costumes, Makeup and Hairstyling

Lifetime Achievement Award: This Old House

Photos: ABC, CBS, NBC, JPI

The 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

Friday, June 24, 2022

Categories to be awarded:

Outstanding Daytime Drama Series

Outstanding Game Show

Outstanding Informative Talk Show

Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Daytime Drama Series: Actress

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Daytime Drama Series: Actor

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Daytime Drama Series: Actress

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Daytime Drama Series: Actor

Outstanding Younger Performer in a Daytime Drama Series

Outstanding Game Show Host

Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host

Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host

Outstanding Writing Team for a Daytime Drama Series

Outstanding Directing Team for a Daytime Drama Series

Lifetime Achievement Award: John Aniston

So, what do you think about how NATAS has chosen to give out this year’s gold statuettes?  Looking forward to the ceremonies? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn Chats On Her Daytime Emmy-Nominated Performance and Its Significance

When the nominations were revealed for the 49th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, General Hospital mainstay, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), was recognized for her stunning work in the Alexis-centric standalone episode which honored her 25th anniversary with the ABC daytime drama series.

Grahn, is already a two-time Daytime Emmy winner.  She won back in 1989 in a tie for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her work as Julia Wainwright on Santa Barbara along with All My Children’s Debbi Morgan, and again received the honors in that category in 2012 for her work on General Hospital.

Now. she is vying for the gold in 2022 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category against other formidable actresses including: B&B’s Kimberlin Brown, DAYS Stacy Haiduk, Y&R’s Melissa Ordway, and her GH castmate, Kelly Thiebaud.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Nancy to talk about her decision to enter the Emmy race this year, her powerful and moving scenes, why this nomination is significant and important to her, and her take on some very important social issues of our time.

Always candid, insightful, combined with great humor and wit, here’s what Nancy had to share below, and make sure to check out GH this week when sparks fly between Alexis and Gregory (Gregory Harrison). Will he turn out to be the new beau in Alexis’ life? Stay tuned.

Courtesy/ABC

Congratulations on the Emmy nomination.  How do you feel about being in the running again, especially with the material from your 25th anniversary episode?

NANCY:  You know, I don’t submit myself if I don’t think I have something, and I didn’t last year.  This year, I had the one show, and the first reason I submitted myself was I had the episode that was worthy of the competition. These judges have to sit, and watch this stuff, and very often, it’s hard to watch soap opera scenes.  It really is, unless you’re in it.  It’s a different kind of material that most primetime people aren’t used to watching.  So, it’s tricky business.  I don’t want to put them through anything too awful. I don’t want to torture them and I’ve judged before. It can be a bit tedious. So, for me to submit myself, I thought, it has to be something that isn’t going to torture another human being. The second thing is, older women get marginalized the older they get, and they get diminished very often, and every time we get nominated, it means something different to me.  This time, to me, I want it to somehow be symbolic, or a shoutout to women who are still producing, who have been doing their job for a long time and are still doing it good enough, and that it’s still worthy of respect and recognition.

When we were at the GH Convention back in March, I played the scene on-stage for the fans in attendance of when Alexis goes over to the corner of Kevin’s office and heals her younger self.  You saw the reaction just from the fans.  It’s such a beautiful moment within the story.  What did you think about how the standalone episode was crafted?

NANCY:  It was a different experience for me because GH co-head writers Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, and script writer, Scott Sickles gave it the attention, but even more to that, they allowed me to participate in the creation of it.  They allowed the director, Phideaux Xavier, to participate.  We all sat in a room.  They said, “You know what?  Make it how you’re comfortable with it.”  There were so many people who gave it time and effort, and Phideaux gets a lot of credit because he came up with a lot of ideas.  So, the little girl in the therapy room wasn’t initially a part of it.  That was Phideaux’s idea, and they let us alter things, and they allowed me to write some words that meant something to me with the character.  Our producers, Michelle Henry and M.K Weir, who I both adore, were also a part of this.

Courtesy/ABC

That is great to hear that you were involved in the collaborative process of the creation of the episode.

NANCY:  We read through the whole script, and we worked it like you would on primetime. We went through it like, “Does this moment work?  Does that moment work?  Does this make sense?  Does that make sense?”  We never do that in soaps.  We don’t get to that.  So, it was a gift to me.  It really was. Chris and Dan, and Scott and Phideaux, and the two producers, generosity in gifting me that experience and making sure that it was to everybody’s liking, was really very special to me, and it meant a lot.

Did you come up with the key lines which summarized Alexis as a person and her journey: “I’m Alexis Davis, and I’m a fighter, and an idealist and an advocate?”

NANCY:  No. They designed it, but we were allowed to enhance and contribute creatively to it, and, we don’t normally have the time to do that.  They don’t have the time to – and you can’t allow people to do that with every episode, to be creatively participating, because it would turn into madness with everybody.

Then, when it came down to choosing the scenes from your anniversary episode to include for your Emmy submission, was that a challenging process of which moments to go with?

NANCY:  I just told a little story with it with the time that I had, and so, I edited it with a friend of mine.  I did a sort of pre-edit on it, I’m good at that, and handed the timeline to our editor, who nicely put it together. It took very little effort.

In my humble opinion, I think that episode featured one of your all-time best performances.

NANCY: Thank you. There was a nice effort from everybody, from the lighting to everybody else, and all the effort Phideaux put into it.  He worked so hard on that!  It was fun for us.  It was like the old days where you really got to work something out.

Photo: ABC

It truly harkened back to everything we knew up to that point about Alexis and her past as well, and included a montage of scenes over the years.

NANCY:  I think it was M.K. who put that together, but when you’re working at the pace we’re working now, to have to sit and put together a montage of twenty-five years, that’s not an easy feat.  Nobody has time for that anymore, but they did it, and like I said, it was really, really appreciated.  My only thought with it is that I wanted it to be relatable to other people.  I didn’t want it to just be some, you know, self-indulgent Alexis episode. I knew that by bringing in the little girl and talking about people being hurt in their childhood and how that makes somebody feel that it was probably relatable to many people, and so it became meaningful to other people and not just me.

Do you think you’ll attend the Daytime Emmys? I know the last time you won you were not present.

NANCY:  Yeah, I’m planning on it.  I mean, barring anything happening! (Laughs)

Does it feel nice to be recognized by your peers?

NANCY:  Of course, it does.  It always does, and way too often, women who are still producing well in their jobs, don’t get the respect and the acknowledgment for it.  So, that’s why I’m saying, this is no small thing, and that I want other women to know that I know that, and that I wish for them the same thing.

What was the reaction of your daughter, Kate and your fiancé, Richard, when you told them you were Emmy-nominated?

NANCY:  Richie goes, “What is this?  Your 18th nomination?” (Laughs). You know what I mean?  It was just kind of like, “Yeah, sure, why wouldn’t you be?” It wasn’t like, “Oh, my God!”  It was like they kind of expected that.  That was nice!  I’m glad they feel that way.  I’m glad they weren’t surprised.  They were like, “Sure!  Of course, you would be.  Why wouldn’t you be?”  I said, “You know, it doesn’t always work like that!”

Photo: JPI

Now comes the part of having to find a dress and all that goes with it for the red carpet.  Do you enjoy that part?

NANCY:  No, I hate that part.  That is my… oh ‘boohoo’, you know?  I mean, I have to find something to wear.  Also, the older you get, that becomes so much less important, and the more makeup, and the more hair, and the more foofy, the more ridiculous I look. I start looking like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.  You’ve just got to keep it simple.

You were talking about women and ageism.  Do you not feel that also exists for men?

NANCY:  It exists for men, but it’s not at all on the same par as women.  I mean, men still get paid more than women, and men still are valued more than women.  I mean, there are exceptions, but if you look in any place of employment, even the soaps, you will typically find the men making more money than the women, and the older the women get, the less they get.  Life’s not fair right now.  It’s fairer than it was, but still the equality game is not won yet.

Photo: JPI

I know how much all of this means to you in terms of equality for women, and people being run out of their jobs because of their age.

NANCY:  It’s just a reality.  It’s not something that I’m hopeless about, but I have a story to tell.  I’ll tell it when the time is right.  It’s life!  It happens in every field everywhere.  When my mom was 70, she was still producing the exact same way she was producing when she was 30, and she got run out, and was replaced by a man who was 40 or something, and there was no particular reason for it.  It was just, “You’re done.  We decided you’re done,” but like I said, it happens everywhere, in every line of work, and that’s why I just wanted to give a shout-out, when you still, after 36 years, can be recognized or shown respect or acknowledgment for what your do.  It’s a very big deal that I am appreciative of and grateful for.

So, rooting for Nancy to win the Outstanding Supporting Actress prize? Happy she was nominated for her work in the the milestone episode devoted to Alexis? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and to tune-in to the 49th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on CBS and streaming on Paramount+ on Friday night, June 24th.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: What’s Up With Elizabeth?

Friday’s episode of General Hospital, finally moved the story of the haunting of Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) along a bit, after it has been a very slow build for the audience. As it turns out, and with the new developments, it appears that Liz has been going in and out of a catatonic state, while sleeping walking.

With a tip from Violet (Jophielle Love), Finn (Michael Easton), who is chatting with Gregory (Gregory Harrison), recalls Liz was having trouble sleeping and was that she given a sleeping aid. He thinks he may be on to something so he decides to go to Liz’s house to talk to her.

Meanwhile, Liz comes to her house and tears Finn and Violet out of the picture that Violet drew, and then gets a scissors and starts cutting pieces off of the drawing, bit by bit.

Cameron (William Lipton) comes home and see his mother.  She does not respond to him and appears in a trance-like state. He is getting more upset by the moment, and then Finn arrives on the scene.

Finn is able to get the scissors from Liz, and also get her to snap out of her trance.  Liz talks with Finn and wonders what is happening? She doesn’t even remember how she got home.  When Cameron fills Liz in on what she was doing … cutting up the drawing and all … Finn tells Liz he believes she is the one who is haunting herself.

In tears, if what Finn is claiming is true, then it is she who is responsible for slashing her dress, setting fire to Franco’s studio, and hitting Chase over the head.  In that moment, a teary-eyed Liz recognizes that something is terribly wrong, saying, “What’s happening to me?”

Finn promises Liz they will get to the bottom of this as Cameron looks on.

So, what is happening to Liz and why? Is this just a case of another sleeping pill storyline on soaps, where someone does not recall their actions or where they are going in the middle of the night a la Nighttime Hope on DAYS? Is someone controlling Liz to make her do these things?  Is something else physically wrong with Liz causing her behavior? Share your thoughts on this storyline … and where you think this is all heading via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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Jacqueline MacInnes Wood as Steffy

The Bold and the Beautiful

Airdate: 5-09/13-2022

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