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GH Writer Change: Shelly Altman Retires; Dan O’Connor Named Co-Head Writer Alongside Chris Van Etten

Photo; HutchinsPhoto.com

The word is out that General Hospital’s co-head scribe, Shelly Altman has decided to retire from the rigors of writing a daytime drama series and is leaving the ABC soap opera.  Most recently, Altman had been in charge of the writing of the show along with c0-head writer, Chris Van Etten.

With Altman retiring, GH has named former breakdown writer, Dan O’Connor as the new co-head writer of the series who will work with Van Etten.

According to TV Insider’s report, Shelly’s last day with the characters in Port Charles is this coming Friday, August 2nd.   Viewers can expect to see her stories to continue to play out for the coming months.   In lieu of Altman’s departure, O’Conner was promoted within the writing team and GH ranks.

In a statement, General Hospital’s executive producer, Frank Valentini said on his new co-head writing duo:  “These two understand the canvas and the characters. They also bring creativity, passion and commitment to the show’s history and its future.”

And for Altman’s years on GH, Valentini added: “Shelly, thank you for years of complex, emotional, intriguing story that ranged from suspense to heartbreak to laugh out loud funny, and everything in-between. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”

Altman had been with the GH writing team since 2011 and eventually was promoted to head writer.  She is a two-time Daytime Emmy winner. and a two-time WGA Award winner throughout her soap opera writing career.   As for Chris and Dan, they have been with GH also since 2011 and before that together on the writing team at One Life to Live.

So, what are your thoughts on Shelly’s exit and Dan and Chris crafting the stories for Port Charles? Comment below.

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I think this change can only benefit the show. When the level of the writing rises to the level of the acting we’ll see an increase in the ratings. Long live GH!

As far as I’m concerned,, how can an actual veteran ,,who is a so called writer,,SCREW UP a storyline involving the military??? Are you honestly kidding me?? Personally I think they all need to be FIRED ASAP!!

I hope so, Mister Media—-
The last couple of episodes have been ‘interesting’, for lack of a more inspiring word—
The Cassadine household could prove to reveal all sorts of surprises….
So; who’s behind door number 1?

Does it really matter at this point?

Get rid of Shilow. End the baby switch. Let Nina find out about Sasha before her wedding. With all the dead talking. No word from Morgan or Nicholas. Bring them back Replace Drew.

The first order of business should be for Michael to given his child

IMPOSTER…im the real Jimh here-lol

Jim H isn’t you, Jimmy? Really? Oh, WOW!! My reply was to you!! LOL.
Sigh❤️

Yes, yes, yes to all of it, Jimmy—-enough of Shiloh—getting to the point of the ridiculous with the memory ‘implants’ again–good thing Billy Miller is leaving ( hopefully back to Y&R–fingers crossed) —–find another patsy for this idiocy….the PTB bumped him over to accomodate Steve Burton and Billy had to assume a ‘pale ‘ identity—fell into the cracks.— Now, ye gods are trying to build Drew up as a Naval phenomenon—-mamma mia!!
The Kim character doesn’t do him any favors, either. She’s the most flat, blah, dull and languid excuse for a doctor/woman on a show, ever. Poor thing!!

s for the Kim description☺

Ahh, Kay, my friend!! I can’t get started on Kim…..I’d never finish “extolling” her “qualities” …..Mr Fairman would never put my comment through–too risky.
Bu-ut, LOL…..the most annoying affectation is the thing she does with her mouth and eyes….grrrr—drives me nuts—I actually FF her scenes—-I find them meaningless and the character as a time-filler.

Yep, CeeCee, Kim is all you said and needs to go, ASAP! Enough of her outre’ antics already! Just hope her desired departure won’t free up Julian for a repeat appearance in the “chambre a coucher de Alexis”…that’s something I can do without on a permanent basis! As for Billy Miller’s bye-bye to GH??? Best of luck to him….I hate to see him leave Port Charles, but both the actor and his character have been ill-served for such a long time….The only question which remains is whether “Drew” will be recast or sent away with Miller…If “he” does stick around, will it be in the form of a dual rule for Burton…or another actor entirely??? Hey, how about getting Sean Kanan to fill the role, since it looks as though AJ is still chilling in the Q crypt?

Lady Marmalade, anyone? You slay me–
Agreed, Shaybelle—poor Billy—Drew is a bust!!
Kanan is too old, Shay–I saw him on the GG show ( Fox–Saturdays at 10–I DVD every show–such ridiculous, dry, witty humor)—and, he would not be en par with Drew’s age group—-neither is Jason, for that matter. Steve Burton looks waaaay older than Billy. Twins? …my a–ummmm, eye…
Perhaps, Sean is chillin’ in the Q crypt or amongst Salem’s undead.
The DiMeras are returning one by one….
❤️

Precisely, CeeCee! Billy was always too young for that role….period! Remember when we incessantly debated that very point eons ago and decided that the extensive plastic surgery required after his accident was credited for “Drew’s” incredibly youthful look vs. his so-called twin brother’s more realistic, albeit still handsome, appearance?? Despite those more recent physical considerations, the characters of Jason and AJ are virtually the same age…hence so would Drew now logically be, if not in the form of an actor a decade junior to Steve Burton..I repeat my assertion that a Kanan recast could work, particularly given the goodwill Sean has engendered with so many GH fans who want him back on the show……regardless of the circumstances. Having said that, I’m glad to know that SK is still doing his GG stints…I haven’t tuned in since the last time you gave me the heads up on his upcoming guest shot,,,,guess I’ll have to do a search to see what I’ve missed since then! I’m sure he didn’t disappoint! (Good guy!)

Nice to hear that GH is promoting from within and not bringing in someone totally new, meaning that the shift hopefully won’t be that jarring. Ever since Jean Passanante retired, the stories on GH have been getting increasingly better, and this last year and a half has been really good for the show. GH is definitely in a much better place creatively now than it was under Shelly and Jean P, and even the final year of Ron C’s tenure. It’s also nice that mob stories aren’t dominating the canvas anymore, and Sonny & Carly are involved in a medical storyline as opposed to a mob-centered one. Hopefully Chris and Dan will continue the momentum that GH has right now.

Excellent post – I agree with everything you said. I am really enjoying how storylines involve characters across the canvas…including longtime vets.

Gh predictable…Shiloh will be murdered in a whodunnit and Stella is mom of Curtis…Sam and Jason really do work well together as my sleeping pill…

Hahahaha! “Jasam” is better than ambien!

Great stuff, Jimmy!!HaHa!!

For the love of all that’s unholy can we get somebody writing this show who actually knows GENERAL HOSPITAL. As opposed to “general hospital, infected by the OLTL virus since February 2012”.

Thank goodness!!
Shelly did her time she needs to go..
Soaps need young writers..
Not writers that send characters to cemeteries to talk to rocks..
Shelly sends everyone who lost a loved one to go talk to a rock/headstone.
that was beyond stupid..
there is no one there!!
And– if there are spirts they would be by you not hanging out in a cemetery, sigh..
you could be on the toilet and talk to whoever gone no need to go talk to a rock..

So- with Shelly gone I can only hope characters won’t be sent to cemeteries!

I don’t know the ages of the writers and the newer writer but I hope they are under 40 🙂 :)and writing in relevant time not dragging out plots from eras past..

Shelly, enjoy your retirement!

hi suOOO, I think GH needs compassionate writers who can tell a great story with great character development–stories that touch the viewer in some way. And how about throwing in a little tenderness along the way? 🙂

Hiiii ! Nancy 🙂
hummm nice soaps??
naww soaps are- glamour, betrayal. tragedies, rape, murder, amnesia, alienation, misunderstanding, revenge, hostages, adoptions, loves, wars, friendships, deceit, insanity, life/death operations, villains, paternity, miscarriage, scheming, strange diseases, happiness to misery, marry, breed, divorce, kidnapping, funerals, secrets, eavesdropping, blind see, deaf hear, cancers, brain worms, dead are never dead..
soaps are not nice & sunshine – if they were they would be beyond boringly dull;)

suOOO
You hit the nail on the head, many times, but as in real life, we do need to see the good, happy stuff, just not too much of it. Some people would like to see a happy, forever after, but that doesn’t happen in real life either, so I say lets keep it REEL and enjoy it all!

I guess you haven’t lost someone since this comment is f’ing ridiculous.

Michael, hi..
You have guessed wrong..
You believe in ghosts, some do others don’t.

Shelly has done wonderful work on this show. I havent liked all of the stories ..but have been impressed by the umbrella scope and the layered writing style. After Ron Carlivati’s reign of terror…her work was often a breath of fresh air. I hope she enjoys her retirement!

OK, so I guess “retirement” is the new euphemism for a soap writer being shown the door. (They can always come out of “retirement” later, after all, if there are any soaps even left to hire them.) Jean Passanante “retired” a few years ago; before that, Kay Alden “retired” over at Y&R when TPTB decided Mal Young was a better option after Alden had been back at work for, like, 30 seconds. So now Shelly Altman is “retiring.” Ri-i-i-i-i-i-ght.

Well, whatever. I suspect this is a good thing.

Remember how when she and Jean P. were hired, TPTB went on and on about how they’d bring a “feminine perspective” to the show that had been missing, etc. etc. etc. (until I wanted to gag)? Guess somebody must have realized that didn’t work out so well, since we now have two male head writers.

I only wish great things for the writing team of GH.

What now Shilow wants Drews memory in Jason ??no worry about cost. The man is broke. This is STUPID!!!Just kill him off have murder mystery

I’m expecting Shiloh will be in Hell before Labor Day. And my three headed Hellhound Cerberus is very much looking forward to his new chew toy!

Okay, guys—now, this is really getting spooky—- we have a Jimmy; a Jim H; a jimh and a Jim—will the real Jim please show your face?! LOL.

She did a rush job on PTSD story line, plus she did not give Billy Miller a decent story line. So, goodbye, good luck, may be now the writers will get it right. I am tired of GH being at the bottom of the ratings,

I person like the writers at GH if I knew they would stop all this garbage if people what they ask for like action and romance instead all this bullshit they throw out they no one could care less about and and wish they would stop all break people up that’s what pissing me off the most this show is going to cancel they better listen to fans I love my GH but really they need to get it together now seriously stop playing and torture their viewers or toying with then

Breaking News

Patrick Mulcahey OUT as General Hospital Co-Head Writer

After various reports surfaced, it has been confirmed that Patrick Mulcahey is out as the co-head writer of General Hospital. This is after a very short tenure of under five months.

Mulcahey was named to the position back in January of 2024 along with longtime GH writer Elizabeth Korte. They replaced the team of Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, who had been the head scribes of the long-running ABC daytime drama since 2019.

A source informed Soap Opera Digest that stories created by the co-head writing team of  Mulcahey/Korte team will air through mid-summer. However they added “There will be more news to share at a later date as to the composition of the new writing team.”

In addition, eagle-eyed soap fans have seen that in recent episodes former co-head writer, Chris Van Etten has been credited, as he is reportedly a breakdown writer with the show.

Soap Opera Network is reporting that Korte has assumed the head writing duties solely on her own at the moment, while Buzz blog initially reported Mulcahey’s exit.

We will have more on the GH writing team evolution in the days ahead.

What do you think about the writing team changes at GH thus far? Comment below.

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Breaking News

Melody Thomas Scott and Edward J. Scott to Receive Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Honors

The Young and the Restless iconic Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) and her husband, Emmy-winning producer, Edward J. Scott have been named by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences as Lifetime Achievement Honorees at the 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

Melody and Ed will be presented with the award on June 7th during the 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (8 PM ET/delayed PT) broadcast live on CBS and streaming live and on-demand on Paramount+*.

In a statement Melody and Ed expressed, “We are honored and humbled to receive this recognition from NATAS. Throughout our decades-long careers in front of and behind the cameras, we have had the opportunity to work not only with each other, but also with an incredibly talented pool of people who excel in their crafts and are passionate about the art we create in daytime television. We are grateful to have worked side by side with them and to be included with such esteemed recipients who have made their mark in our industry. We look forward to spending another wonderful evening celebrating the daytime community!“

Adam Sharp, President and CEO, NATAS added,“We’ve long wanted to honor the legendary daytime duo of Melody Thomas Scott and her husband Edward J. Scott. With a combined 93  years of contributions to our community, they are true institutions in the world of Daytime television.”

In addition to Melody and Ed receiving their Lifetime Achievement honors, public television host and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich will also be honored.

Photo NATAS

Lidia Bastianich said, “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized and receive the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award for having shared my passion for food with TV audiences for over 25 years. Cooking together and sharing food remain a common denominator of all cultures. Food nurtures, it connects diverse people, and it brings families, friends, and strangers together. There is no better place to be on this earth, especially in these trying times, than sharing food at a table with others. That simple idea has been the basis of my life’s work. Hence, as I say in my shows, “Tutti a Tavola a Mangiare!” Mille Grazie to NATAS for this honor.”

While Adam Sharp shared, “Lidia Bastianich’s astounding success combines her love of cooking while simultaneously entertaining millions each day. It is an honor for us to say ‘grazie’ for the many fine meals borne from her TV kitchen and cookbook pages.”

Melody Thomas Scott recently celebrated 45 years in the role of Nikki Newman, having joined the show in February 1979. Scott’s character has matured from the girl from the wrong side of the tracks to the serial’s luminous and resourceful leading lady.  After garnering a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1999, she went on to win in the same category for the Soap Opera Digest Award in 2001 and received four Soap Opera Update Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress (1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996). Scott began her career at age three. She studied singing, tap dancing, ballet and jazz and became one of the world-famous “Meglin Kiddies,” performing in USO shows as she started booking national commercials and guest spots on such series as “Wagon Train,” “My Three Sons,” “Ironside” and a recurring role on “The Waltons.”  Scott made her motion picture debut at age eight when she was cast by Alfred Hitchcock as the young Tippi Hedren in the thriller “Marnie.”  She has co-starred with legendary actors Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. Scott has worked on stage and in numerous television shows and  was the subject of Lifetime Television’s “Intimate Portrait.” As a lifelong fan of “I Love Lucy,” Scott served as a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, N.Y., which is committed to preserving the legacy of the great comedienne. In 2020,

Scott released her memoir, “Always Young and Restless.” Married since 1985 to Edward J. Scott, the couple have three daughters and five grandchildren.

Photo: JPI

Edward J. Scott is a six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning producer who has played a pivotal role in the historic development of the soap opera genre for nearly five decades. Scott is currently supervising producer for The Bold and the Beautiful, the #2-rated daytime drama in the U.S. and the most-watched daily drama in the world, which is nominated for 12 Daytime Emmy Awards this year. Scott began his association with The Bell Family and Bell-Phillip Television Productions when he joined “The Young and The Restless” as an associate producer in 1976. He quickly moved up the ranks and served as the show’s executive producer for decades.

Scott’s legendary 48-year producing partnership and creative collaboration with “The Young and The Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” creators, the late William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, and their son, Bradley P. Bell, has helped create the two most popular daily American television series. Today, both daytime dramas are syndicated internationally.  Before joining “B&B” Scott was executive producer for the NBC daytime drama “Days of Our Lives.” Born and raised in Santa Monica, California, Scott earned a B.A from California State University at Northridge with a double major of anthropology and broadcasting journalism. He has been married since 1985 to actress and author Melody Thomas Scott. The couple have three daughters and five grandchildren.

So, excited to hear Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott and longtime daytime soap opera producer, Edward J. Scott are receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Honors at this years 51st Annual Daytime Emmys? Comment below.

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Breaking News

‘Daytime Stands Up: A Benefit For Stand Up To Cancer’ Live Virtual Event Announced; Featuring Soap Opera Notables and Moving Tributes

Stand Up to Cancer in collaboration with Alan Locher and Michael Fairman, will come together for a a three-hour livestream benefit, Daytime Stands Up: A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer … We All Have a Story.

Several stars from from daytime drama television past and present are scheduled to participate for an evening of stories of emotional on- and off-screen experiences with cancer, and moving tributes to beloved daytime favorites who lost their battle plus musical performances.

Daytime Stands Up: A Benefit for Stand Up To Cancer … We All Have a Story, streams live on Thursday, May 16, from 8 to 11 p.m. ET/5 to 8 pm PT simultaneously on StandUpToCancer.org and YouTube channels The Locher Room and Michael Fairman Channel.

Photos: CBS and JPI

Tune-in for cancer survivorship stories with General Hospital’s Cameron Mathison and The Young and the Restless’ Colleen Zenk, who will reflect on the impact of publicly sharing their diagnoses; 2024 Daytime Emmy nominee Eric Braeden, who shares his cancer journey as well his memories of beloved The Young and the Restless co-star Meg Bennett, who passed from cancer April 11; and more.

Moving tributes to soap stars who’ve lost their cancer battles, including: Daytime icon Jackie Zeman, who played nurse Bobbie Spencer on General Hospital for 45 years, shared by daughters Cassidy MacLeod and Lacey Gorden, a tribute to Elizabeth Hubbard who played the iconic Lucinda Walsh on As the World Turns and Dr. Althea Davis on The Doctors, as shared by her on-screen daughter Martha Byrne and real-life son Jeremy Bennett, two-time Emmy Award-winner Jerry verDorn (Guiding Light  One Life to Live), shared by widow Beth verDorn and his on-screen wife on Guiding Light, friend and co-star Liz Keife, the iconic Andrea Evans, who played Tina Lord Roberts on One Life to Live, shared by her husband Stephen G. Rodriguez and daughter Kylie Rodriguez and Kamar de los Reyes shared by his One Life to Live co-stars Michael Easton (General Hospital) Trevor St. John (The Young and the Restless).

Photo: MEastonFacebook

Poignant reflections from actors who have portrayed breast cancer survivors, including Sharon Case and Eileen Davidson from The Young and the Restless; Erika Slezak from One Life to Live; Tina Sloan and Kim Zimmer from Guiding Light and more.

Additional talent slated to participate in the virtual benefit include (*subject to change): Eddie and Kristen Alderson (One Life to Live); Elia Cantu (Days of Our Lives); The Day Players, Featuring Days of Our Lives castmates Carson Boatman, Brandon Barash, Wally Kurth (2024 Daytime Emmy nominee), Eric Martsolf (2024 Daytime Emmy nominee); Kassie DePaiva (One Life to Live); Don Diamont (The Bold and the Beautiful); Linsey Godfrey (2024 Daytime Emmy nominee, Days of Our Lives); Leo Howard (Days of Our Lives); Lesli Kay (The Bold and  the Beautiful); Eden McCoy (General Hospital); Kin Shriner (General Hospital); Michelle Stafford (2024 Daytime Emmy nominee, The Young and the Restless).

Courtesy/LaceyGorden

“Daytime television invites viewers into the private lives of characters, often bringing important issues like cancer screenings into living rooms and around water coolers. Soaps debuted the first cancer storyline in 1962 – years before the topic was discussed in the mainstream, and it left an indelible impact: a whole generation of women who scheduled a potentially life-saving Pap smear for the first time,” said Daytime Stands Up host Alan Locher. “For so many viewers, this brought the issue front and center,” added co-host Michael Fairman. “Today, it’s become almost impossible to avoid; but there is hope with cancer research, thanks to organizations like Stand Up To Cancer.”

SU2C Co-Founder Sue Schwartz, SU2C President and CEO Julian Adams, Ph.D., and SU2C Health Equity Committee Member Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., will also participate to speak to the importance of early detection, exciting scientific breakthroughs, and the ongoing work yet to be done to make screenings and treatment equitable for all.

“This year, an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer, presenting an opportunity for the public to stand with us and rise to the occasion,” said Adams. “We’re thankful to Alan Locher, Michael Fairman and our friends from the daytime television community, who will raise critical funding to honor those we’ve lost – and to propel new scientific breakthroughs for current and future patients. Everyone has a story, and we’re grateful to all of you for sharing yours.”

For over 15 years, SU2C has leveraged its relationship with the entertainment community – which includes more than 1,100 celebrity ambassadors – to generate public donations, increase awareness and fund cutting-edge cancer research. SU2C research has contributed to the development of more than 10 scientific breakthroughs that have significantly impacted the field and provided new treatment options for breast, colorectal, lung, melanoma, pancreatic, pediatric and prostate cancers.

Photo: SUTC

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