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GH’s Head Scribes Shelly Altman & Chris Van Etten Take You Inside The Writer’s Room Of How A Soap Is Written!

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The Nerdist has posted a very special podcast for soap fans and especially those of General Hospital.

Host, Ben Blacker welcomes GH head writers, Shelly Altman and Chris Van Etten for an inside look and discussion on just how the writer’s room works and is constructed on a soap opera, in particular the ABC daytime drama series.

Blacker is joined by writer and GH superfan, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, as they talk the nuts and bolts of writing for a continuing daytime drama series from: the creation of long story, to how the each week’s episodes are laid out in the hands of the breakdown writers, scripts writers, and more.

Courtesy/CVanEttenTwitter

Altman and Van Etten also talk about their writing team, what they look for in a writer, and if they are a fit for the genre, if there is story that they want to tell, but haven’t had the chance to yet, and how they must map out the lives for the many contract players and characters on the Port Charles canvas.

It’s a compelling listen. Check it out here.

After you have had a chance to listen, let us know if there is something you learned that you didn’t know about how the process of writing a soap, and in particular how GH scripts and stories are planned in the comment section below.

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Allen Saint JamesJMERrebecca1nancy dillingham4ever DAYS Recent comment authors
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su0000
su0000

Whoa! that was more than long so I had to skip it…
Anyways, I don’t care how they write GH I only care how good the writting is.
I gotta admit, I have been in snoooz mode the past 2 weeks, nothing is happening to keep me awake 🙁
overkill of Sam and Jason looking at each other like hurt puppies, to say it kindly, nuff is nuff of them..
They desperately need to write some hard drama, intriguing exciting adventure intense stuff and shelf the stagnate mush.
the couple’s woe is me woes are as interesting as a lint ball…

I need a thrill, an adventure, intense moments, on the edge intrigue I need drama!

and again- I don’t care what they do to write a soap I care that they at the least try to write gripping drama.

Fanny
Fanny

@Su000, you never cease to make me laugh…. Thank you
for your unvarnished honesty.

aria
aria

laugh and unvarnished honesty? all she does is complain about how boring gh is, if she doesn’t like it she should just give up already on the show, she seems happy w/Dool and RC, why is she bothering w/ GH if all she’s gonna do is bitch about it, what she is, is predictable, if you wanna read someone bitch about GH then su0000 is the one to go to to read about it That is all she offers.

Jovin
Jovin

Su is a man, by the way.

Rebecca1
Rebecca1

Su…I guess the difference lies in what you define as “drama.” I think you seek action. As for drama, Sam and Jason’s exchanged glances ARE drama…for those of us who were in love with their love story. Add to that Sam’s emotional conflict, her love for and loyalty to Drew coupled with her repressed but returning to the surface feelings for Jason and it’s an emotional tug-of-war for the characters and the veiwers who are invested in these characters. Personally, I get kinda teary when I see the flashbacks of Jason and Sam because I was watching back then. So, it’s nostalgic and it brings to mind how great they were together. And, even for me as a viewer, I’m conflicted because I like Drew…and Sam with Drew, too. So, speaking for myself and others who are drawn to this drama…it’s not boring but compelling.

What “grips” some doesn’t others. But it IS drama.

Allen Saint James
Allen Saint James

amen to Intense action adventure stories. They at the beginning phase of bringing back adventure storytelling to the show. The Jason/Faison Saga is the most intriguing story in ages.

Jake
Jake

They are building stories (i.e Faison and Mayoral/Charles St). What I like is that they are integrating a lot of the cast in both stories.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

I, too, like the integration of a lot of the cast members. “Seems like old times.” 🙂

Reed
Reed

It’s worth a listen (interview begins 5 minutes in and is 68 in length). I enjoyed learning more about Shelly and Chris, the process of writing the show, the constraints and challenges. GH should be in good hands with Shelly, Chris, and the current writing team. I’m sure the goings-on behind the scenes can be even more interesting than what’s on the screen, so it was a neat glimpse from that perspective. But what about the bigger picture? Let’s hear about the business side of things from the executives, those that can speak not only on the state of the show but of the genre as a whole and what they are doing to keep it alive, fresh, and viable for years to come? Are we running out the string with the four existing soaps or do they foresee a time and place for a re-entry of a beloved show? The entertainment business routinely serves us up reprises and reboots, whether due to demand, nostalgia, economics, or pure laziness to come up with original content. It’s difficult to believe that a network or cable channel wouldn’t want a show that can fill a time slot 1x5x52 for possibly years into the future. Like any venture, budget accordingly. Never have there been more platforms to view or outlets churning out content, nor has the talent pool been so deep. We’re all tethered to these devices, so give us something to watch! Soaps were a stalwart of the network television line-up for years and can be once again, if given a chance. As a business, you’d be hard pressed to find a more loyal consumer than a soap viewer—it’s beyond brand loyalty, it’s commitment and passion. You should be so lucky!

rose
rose

I am curious…Do the writers ike Shelly and Van Etten pay any attention to comments made by fans. A big example is that, at least on MF, for years many have expressed being very tired of Sonny and Carly, the mob, and both monopolizing GH. Doesn’t this count for something when writing the GH stories.

4ever DAYS
4ever DAYS

@aria

su0000 only watches GH and Y&R.

rebecca1
rebecca1

It was an interesting listen but I think it was meant primarily for those who are either in or interested in getting into writing. I found it interesting because of my publishing background. not sure if it would be compelling if I wasn’t in that realm.

On that note, it was a good interview and an insight into the writers minds…and of course an insight into the business aspect, as well.

For those of us who might be thinking of writing a soap…as was asked during the interview…it wasn’t too encouraging. But never say never!

JMER
JMER

I’m really disappointed with Chris Van Etten as the choice for co-headwriter. For someone who watched late 80s GH, supposedly, I see nothing that shows respect for that time period onscreen. I also don’t like that he is basically Ron Carlivati’s pupil, who loves the soap cliches like Ron does. Because the genre and especially GH started going toward the bad in the 90s, I see some sense in putting older Head Writers in place at GH becaue they know what good soap is made of. Many of the writers working under Chris and Shelly are older so why not?

General Hospital

GH Head Writers: Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor Reveal More Details On Michael E. Knight’s New Soap Role

When daytime favorite Michael E. Knight debuts on General Hospital on September 30th, he will not be coming to Port Charles as his former All My Children alter-ego Tad Martin; but instead will be playing a different character.

EW.com has first look photo of Knight in his new role and spoke directly to General Hospital co-head writers, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor for the scoop on the ever-popular Knight’s return to ABC.  On GH. Michael will indeed play a new role.

According to the scribes: “There are a number of people in Port Charles who are in trouble and his character will have an impact on how their stories are solved or further complicated.”

Both Van Etten and O’Connor shared: “As we were writing his character, we found out that oh, we have even more use for him! It’s helpful to know who the actors are in this situation. We have lots of ideas on how we can expand his character and cross-pollinate his character.”

As to how long Knight will be sticking around Port Charles, that was not offered-up, but what was is that Michael’s new character will mix it up with Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) with whom Knight worked with on All My Children when James played Will Cortlandt.

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Because ABC now has the rights back in their possession to use the characters from One Life to Live and All My Children, Van Etten expressed: “We have conversations when we have these actors come back about whether it’s more useful or not to resurrect their characters. “=We’ll continue to have these as the opportunity arises.”

So, what do you think Michael E. Knight’s role will be based on these tidbits from the GH scribe? Share your theories via the comment section below.

 

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General Hospital

Jessica Tuck Returns This Week To General Hospital

There will be a Cassandra Pierce sighting in Port Charles, which means one of the best actresses we know, Jessica Tuck, will be back on your screens this week on ABC’s General Hospital.

Tuck, who became soap-famous for her role as Megan on One Life to Live from 1988-1992 and then went on to primetime television roles returns to the canvas as the evil Cassandra, a role she debuted on GH back in 2017.  Viewers last saw her pop during Michael (Chad Duell) and Sasha’s (Sofia Matteson)vacation.

But this time look for Tuck to mix-it up with GH icon Genie Francis (Laura) in some major showdown scenes, when she holds the mayor and Curtis (Donnell Turner) at gunpoint on the Haunted Star.  Will these two be able to get the on-the-run villainess locked up for good? Don’t necessarily count on it.

Of course, a man who both Cassandra and Laura have an interest in bringing down, Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) plays heavy into the story. But will Cassandra do a double-cross of a double-cross? Who else may get a dose of something potentially lethal that she has been concocting?

Jessica told Soap Opera Digest that when she found out she would be working with Genie Francis; “I was like Woo-hoo! Hot diggity!  I mean, like many people, I have been a fan of hers forever and ever and ever.  It was fun to meet the person behind the character I’ve gotten to know.”

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So, excited to know Cassandra is back in Port Charles? What do you hope happens next for her, Laura, Curtis and Valentin? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Kelly Clarkson and Tamron Hall Talkers Debut With Strong Ratings; Hall On GH Friday

The newest talk shows in the daytime arena premiered on Monday and their initial ratings were quite strong. First up was the premiere of Grammy-winner, Kelly Clarkson and her new series The Kelly Clarkson Show.

According to Variety: the NBCUniversal new daytime series scored a 1.9 household metered market rating and a 6 share in the 56 metered markets. That is the highest debut for a new syndicated show since 2012.

Elsewhere, Disney’s Tamron Hall posted a 1.4 household rating and a 5 share, and with that Tamron scored the highest other debut other than Clarkson in the past five years.

Nashville was the most successful and predicted market for Clarkson, the show scored a 5.97 household rating on its premiere day which climbed 7% to a 6.41 on Tuesday.

Hall will be promoting her show with a cameo appearance on this Friday’s episode of General Hospital where she appears in scenes with Ingo Rademacher (Jax).

In a tweet Tamron also promised that on Friday’s episode of her talker she will talk about her “longgggggg #GH love and history.”

So, have you checked out the new Kelly Clarkson or Tamron Hall Shows? What do you think of them? Comment below.

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

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