Connect with us

General Hospital

107

Jean Passanante Decides Not To Renew Contract With GH; Will Retire From Writing Soaps

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Paley Center For Media

One of the most enduring soap opera scribes of our time, Jean Passanante, has decided to call it quits plotting the lives of the citizens of Port Charles and retire from soap opera writing.

The current co-head scribe of General Hospital, along with Shelly Altman, revealed via her facebook post on Tuesday morning that she will not renew her contract with the ABC daytime drama series, and will complete her tenure in August, at which time she plans on retiring from penning the soaps.

Throughout her career, Jean has been head writer, or co-head writer for not only GH, but All My Children, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, The Young and the Restless and Another World. She has won multiple Daytime Emmys and WGA Awards for her work.

In her announcement Jean related: “Friends, soon I’ll have more time for pie-baking because I’ve decided not to renew my contract with GENERAL HOSPITAL. I’ll retire from soap-writing in August. The irony is that Con Ed must replace a gas pipe, and they show no signs of doing that in the foreseeable future. So we have no oven. It’s like the Twilight Zone episode in which all Burgess Meredith wants is to read, and after a nuke drops on his town, he finds himself among the ruins of the library with all the books he can possibly read at his fingertips. And then he breaks his glasses.”

Share your thoughts on Passanante’s departure from GH and send your well-wishes for the next chapter of her life after years in daytime in the comment section below.

Leave a comment | 107 Comments
Advertisement

107
Leave a Reply

avatar
31 Comment threads
76 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
42 Comment authors
joseph ronkeseterrydmrShayPatrick Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Rebecca A Blevins
Rebecca A Blevins

I’m so sad to see Jean go, but I’m so happy for her to embark on her next journey. Congratulations, Jean! You will be missed.

rebecca1
rebecca1

nice post. 😉

David Lally
David Lally

Best news in years. She’s a breakdown writer, not a head writer, and it showed, time and time again, in the writing. She and Shelly knew how to start stories, but had no follow-through, so every single storyline was a letdown. I wish her luck in her retirement and hope she doesn’t ever come back to writing. She was a hack.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Maybe she’ll write a book about WHY she is retiring from writing for soaps (and doing some pie-baking!). Maybe she’ll have the temerity to write in the book just how she was “shackled” and “hamstrung” by TPTB. Maybe she’ll write about how she was forced to write those inane story lines presented to her.
A girl can dream, can’t she? 🙂 🙂

joseph ronkese
joseph ronkese

I totally agree she a breakdown writer, not creative at all to be a head writer

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Good luck to whatever she decides…currently GH has its up and down moments but its too Sonny/Carly and i have grown bored with them as well as with Nina..almost everything revolves around them…Valentin/Charlotte story seems to go nowhere…Alexis and Dianne..every time they are together i almost feel like they are suddenly going to go all Lesbian…i can feel these two are attracted to each other but fear to admit it to the other…come on you two…you know you want to go there-lol

Rhonda
Rhonda

Say What?
Jim, you must be bored with GH because your daydreaming is off the radar!

Celia
Celia

Wow!!!!! Really!!!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Thats M.A.S.H-thats where my Radar is-lol

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Jimh, you made me laugh out loud today!

“suddenly going to go all Lesbian” — Priceless!

And what’s good for the goose… I used to think Sonny and Jason (Steve Burton) were “suddenly going to go all gay.” But they’re nonexistent on my wish list of possible such couplings…

Although — bringing this back to the writers — given that Sonny has been written for ad nauseam, exponentially frontburner, repugnantly the focal point, maybe one day the writers will run out of storylines for Sonny and the only thing left will be a storyline in which Sonny questions his sexuality. Such a storyline will give Benard a chance at a run for another Emmy, which is clearly part of the mission of the GH braintrust.

—Here I was, originally hoping to add additional humor to Jimh’s funny post, and then I had to get on my anti-Sonny soapbox! Oh, well, at least I’m consistent. And I’m not alone…

rebecca1
rebecca1

You are sooooooo not alone, Jamesj75! I don’t know how many fans have to express their dissatisfaction with the Sonny/Carly Fest for them to give it a rest. I mean, really, writers…get a clue. Please.

Celia
Celia

I hear you, James,
What sticks to my craw is how Jason would do anything for Sonny…”over the river and through the woods”.
I understand theirs was a close, brotherly friendship in another life….What I don’t understand is how Jason can even shake Sonny’s tainted, murderous hand—the hand that killed his real brother.
These writers do an injustice to everything that’s righteous, in this world.

Shay
Shay

Quite frankly, I cannot imagine for even one second Old Sonny Boy questioning his sexuality….he is so deeply invested in his primacy as Port Charles’ “Love God to the Ladies” that the mere notion of a possible alternative lifestyle would never occur to him, his “bromance” with Jason notwithstanding!

dmr
dmr

I had last week’s shows on in the background this weekend. I was so bored watching Sonny and Jason, and Monotone Sam. I ended up muting most of Monday’s and basically all of Tuesday’s episode and then just gave up watching all together.

Celia
Celia

Ahhh, Jimmy!!! You break the monotony of what is GH, these days.
I guess some people just can’t appreciate you or your own ‘funniness’. Pay no attention.
Love you, Jimmy.

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Celia! Thank you for your reply (above)!

Yeah, that whole Sonny-murders-AJ plot was the point of no return for Sonny. You make great points about shaking “the hand that killed his real brother” and certain writers doing “injustice to everything that’s righteous.” It’s appalling…

Best to you always, Friend!

Shay
Shay

Oh, jimh….you NEVER disappoint! I don’t know that I necessarily get those particular vibes from Diane….she still loves her Max—and shoe shopping, right???? But in terms of Alexis? I suggested some time ago that she should answer the Sapphic siren call after her many, many disastrous duos with men…now THAT would make sense!!!!!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

I felt it most just recently…it was like Alexis was about to jump off that couch and pounce on Dianne…but i have been ill so it could just be the meds im on-lol

Patrick
Patrick

the eppi where she goes to the hospital … “for” Julian

That embrace , spoke volumes… argh! and blech ! they were all over each other.

stop, put a stop to it

then the next minute – she’s pulling away , as Julian goes in for another “hug” and she pulls back… ” I think one hug is enough ”

COOL your jets Alexis.

at the cabin… as she sells herself at the doorway… looking demure and “naked” at the same time

argh! they are either together !!!!! or not… just STOP GH STOP with the will she or wont she step outside of her “box” and LIVE and have FUN.

accept Julian

although… I’d rather Robin Christopher… as Skye Chandler return to town.. and then… get Julian out of his tired scenery… save for Ava. because Sam has run her course. and we never see his sons… so who cares… altho I love Lucas.

so what’s the point ? what family should he be fighting for? dang

move on

I will no longer go the Frigidaire route

Steve
Steve

Oh, Shay, that’s not quite how it works. I’ve had many disastrous dates with men, but that doesn’t make my loins yearn for a woman.

If it did work that way, please let Brad Pitt know I’m available, lol.

Celia
Celia

Oh, Shay. Sappho, indeed. Greek mythology and history seem to insinuate themselves within your and mine. Great minds…..

Celia
Celia

Should read: within your thoughts and mine. Oops.

Timmm
Timmm

I think Shelly should also join you. You guys can open a bakery! You two could make little Chimera sugar cookies and shipped them around the world in music boxes!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

The Music Box Bakery…we can bake…but the music box connection makes no sense-lol

Rhonda
Rhonda

Ha ha! You two are funny.

Timmm
Timmm

On Y&R they wrote a MUSIC BOX story that went absolutely nowhere! Sally Sussman came and and wrapped that damn thing up in a few days! In other words, use the Music Box for cookies, not a story that stunk to high heaven!

Mary SF
Mary SF

That was too funny — thanks you made my day

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

How about miniature statues of the EP–with ising, Trimm! And sell them by the baker’s dozen (isn’t that 13–unlucky number!).
(Laughter and applause!)

Shay
Shay

Too funny, Timmmbo! But I should think they could simply supply the GH craft table with all those cookies….not to mention keep them coming onscreen to ply poor little Charlotte with her daily-required sugar rush that her minders cannot seem to do without when it comes to placating this child!

Jimh(leave it to beaver)
Jimh(leave it to beaver)

Charlotte creeps me for some reason…they should had kept the previous kid who played Jake who creeped me too and had him and Charlotte in scenes together…these children together could had been as spooky as those twins from The Shinning…lol

Shay
Shay

Yes, jimh!!!!….I still miss that spooky little Jakester….he was so perfectly eerie! New Jake is a real cutie, but he has more of a mischievous “Dennis the Menace,” quality, minus the truly menacing aspect!..It was the same situation with that superb “Child of the Corn” Joss we had awhile back…that girl was the ultimate Carly offspring…a total “bad seed.” I miss her, too!

Patrick
Patrick

Shay… your response with the little Jakester… I miss James Nigbor. he deserves another chance…

this little toothache ( nuJake)… syrupy over the top cute. don’t go their GH. it’s painful enough with Jason and Sam. PAIN

I LOVED the original JOSS… that’s a nice omen to LW Carly. fitting for the character

anyway.. I wanted to tell you I fell over laughing.. at your wit with Charlotte neverending supply of chocolate. I LOVE that child to bits. she… like Emma… own their scenes.

cute’sters ( the originals )

Emma
Josslyn
Jake
Charlotte

add in ONE Spencer

i’ll take them

Shay
Shay

Yes, Patrick! James Nigbor was the perfect “Little Jake!” Though reticent and on the silent side, I thought his demeanor was totally befitting for a boy who was obviously traumatized by Helena…all it took was a single spooky look from him to convey his deep-seated “issues”—no words required! NuJake is simply way too chipper to be effectively persuasive as a disturbed child who was brought up on “The Island” in the “Romper Room from H#!!” As for Charlotte, she is another “gift” from Helena that keeps on giving…must make sure those sugar infusions ala cookies and hot chocolate continue to flow to fuel this pint-sized terror! (On second thought, make that FROZEN hot chocolate with this week’s East Coast “heatwave!”) P.S. What I wouldn’t give to see the former Joss back in Port Charles! With her added to the roster— along with the insufferable Spence—whatta collection of kiddos that would make for one VERY scary “Bad Seed Summer Camp!”

Newmanwins
Newmanwins

Kate Hall Now!

Christopher Whitesell will join her if Shelly Altman leaves next.

Jenn
Jenn

Curious to see who will replace her. I think the fans who think her leaving will change anything at GH will be surprised since the issues aren’t the writers but the network and executives who meddle. Wish Jean a happy retirement!

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

I largely agree with you, Jenn–I’ve long thought the problem is more the ABC brass than the writing staff, going back at least as far as Guza. I have no confidence whatsoever that whoever is chosen to replace JP will necessarily write anything more to my liking. It could happen–I liked much of what Carlivati did–but I think if it did, it would be purely by accident. As long as the mob is the show’s focus–and it will be, until ABC changes its mind about that–the show is going to be set in a warped moral and ethical universe, and I think that limits the possibilities severely for telling truly compelling stories.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yes–ABC brass hold the key. Too bad!

Boop
Boop

I liked Ron’s work, also. Plus, I agree with previous comments about Jason and his closeness to Sonny; also, Michael and Monica don’t make it any better. Terrible writing as far as I’m concerned. I stopped watching G. H. years ago when Sonny was allowed to treat A.J. so horrific and the Qs had no power to fight Sonny. There have been people who fought the mob even though they knew consequences were coming.

terry
terry

I loved ron carliavatis writing he wrote with the history of the characters in mind and played the characters off of the other characters like they did back in the day not just one or two power couples and that is now the sl that is lame and boring my only problem with his writing was that he had a tendency to drag sl s on too long Jason/jake sl but over all I would love to have him back he also included the vets who are essensial to the show for history and continuity sake if not it becomes a new show the reason fans watch soaps is because we come to know and love the characters that have been a part of our lives for years

Dean_Morgan
Dean_Morgan

Overall, I have enjoyed Jean’s work in daytime, particularly on the P&G soaps. She has written some strong stories for GH as well. I wish her very well.

I do wonder what this will mean for GH. Hogan Sheffer?

Lou Piikes
Lou Piikes

New head writer: I want mystery, intrigue, and romance on GH. And I want storylines to have payoffs.

Howard
Howard

As a longtime soap opera fan, I appreciate Jean’s long history of writing amazing stories in daytime, and her dedication to this industry that we fans appreciate. I wish her well. I have wondered recently if she has written for Genie Francis, who is a legend at GH, on a good note that I am loving seeing Laura strong and with a purpose. Writing teams must focus on GH rich history of legacy characters (more webbers and quartermaines).

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Howard, I wondered also who was writing for Genie. I, too, am loving seeing Laura strong and with purpose (and glad to see that Genie has gotten some of her swagger, humor, and confidence back). Hope all that won’t end now! (Sigh!)

rebecca1
rebecca1

I really want to see Laura in a couple. I know she doesn’t “need” a man…I just think it would be nice for her to have one. They need to feature her with Jon Linstrom/Kevin. The fans loved it and they just ditched it. Again, if Jon’s not available or the budget won’t allow…why “tease” the viewer and then drop it. So stupid.

terry
terry

and baldwins

Scott5
Scott5

I hope her last script includes the death of Sonny. I’d for sure start watching GH once he dies. Nothing at GH will change as long as NV is at the helm of ABC Daytime. He needs to go stat!

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Thank you, Scott5! I second your motion!

Shay
Shay

Great suggestion, Scott5…along with a huge soap-style disaster that will wipe out at least half of the insufferable cast, including Sonny, of course…It can be either natural or manmade, I’m not partial to either, just so long as it gets the job done!

terry
terry

now the chimera would’ve been great for doing that lol

dmr
dmr

I’m cracking up!

jaybird369
jaybird369

Me, too, dmr…lol.

jaybird369
jaybird369

Enjoy your retirement, Jean!

k/kay
k/kay

How refreshing would it be to have HW and a EP over there that did not kiss the ring of Maurice Benard? I have no issue with her she was only carrying out her marching orders why do you think RC was shown the door he was giving GH some balance yes some of it was over the top but at least it was not the Sonny show ! Sigh! I would like to ask die hard fans that are still hanging in there how were you able to hold food down watching a washed up mobster with small man syndrome torment a woman who had just been burned badly ! I understand from blogs that most viewers were totally disgusted.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yeah, TPTB have sunk to a new low–and, believe me, baby, that a real LOW low!

Jimmy
Jimmy

I’ve never been a fan of Jean’s writing. The last few years of ATWT put the final nails in the show’s coffin, her tenure on Y&R was boring and uneventful, and her stint on GH has had mostly mixed results. Some stories, like Morgan’s death, Kristina’s sexuality, the Olivia Jerome arc and the Valentin/Anna/Alex chimera debacle have been interesting to watch, but other stories like the hospital serial killer of last summer, the whole Nelle storyline, and whatever this “Man Landers” nonsense is, have been dreadful.

I’m not sad to see her go. I was happy when she and Shelley were booted from Y&R, and I actually preferred Chuck Pratt’s writing in comparison to theirs (something I never thought I would say until it happened). Hopefully they will also get rid of Shelley when her contract expires, and we’ll get a new team that will restore the suspense, intrigue, and story payoffs that GH was known for under Ron C. and other previous writers.

I also really want a resurrection of characters we actually care about! The GH cast is populated with characters that have very few ties to the canvas and are nonessential to story. Dump characters like Franco, Nina, Andre, Valerie, Nathan, Kiki, Amy, Brad and Nelle and bring back fan-favourites.

Now that Tracy is gone, I want more Q’s. Even though Emily and A.J. are dead, I’ll accept whatever story is needed to get them back. I also want to see Nikolas and Lucky back in Port Charles, where they belong, even if they have to recast the roles. Since Tristan Rogers is no longer under contract at Y&R, why not bring Robert back permanently? And how about characters from GH’s past that have ties to the show, like Jax, Brenda, Steve & Sarah Webber, Tom Hardy Jr., etc. GH’s core families need to be beefed up again, and less focus needs to be given to newbie characters.

It would also be nice to get the vets involved more. Laura, Kevin, Lucy, Scott, Felicia, Mac and Bobbie used to be the show’s backbone, but now they are hardly ever seen and utilized the way they should be.

This is all just wishful thinking, but hopefully some of these changes can be made!

Steve
Steve

I, too, feel your pain about the vets. When it comes to contract actors, the writers have little say on who appears how often (due to guarantees and minimums for those actors). The writers leeway is with the recurring performers who work based on storyline, availability and budget. Sporadically, Jelly has done a decent job working recurring vets into story. We’ve seen more of Monica, Bobbie, Scotty and Ned than we have in ages. Yes, more Mac, Felicia and Kevin would be ideal. The only vet they really bothered was TR (Robert) who has refused to appear based on how his character was written the past few times.

The ultimate decision on contract actors lies with Valentini & Varni. Unless there’s a change there, we’re most likely going to see the same characters driving story.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Yeah, I agree! Why pick on the lowly writers? THEY are not the blame!

rebecca1
rebecca1

Haha, Nancy! I wouldn’t exactly call the writers “lowly” but I know what you mean. They’re not in charge of the hiring/firing…they write what/who they’re given. We can all go on and on about who we’d like to see back but there’s got to be a reason for such changes. I think it’s cost. Advertisers. Etc…glad to see Mac on today…his, sigh, “annual” appearance. As an actor he was really given a bum deal. As soon as Finola came back..don’t get me wrong, one of my favorites…but they ditched him from the police force, made him a bartender and then just edged him out. He was a longstanding, much loved character. Heartless moves by corporate.

Art imitates life. People get pushed out of jobs they’re still capable of doing for less expensive up-and-coming employees. Way of the world. Not good. Just is.

Timmm
Timmm

I dont think wants and needs will be fulfilled because Frank still runs the show and only hires his boys and pisses on GH history and its legacy!

PF
PF

Happy retirement to her! It should’ve happened years ago after she made the final years of ATWT barely watchable, but better late than never. Hopefully, Altman will “retire” (LOL) too and GH will install a new HW who’ll help this trainwreck of a show regain its heart, soul and brain.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

They’ll have the same problem because GH will still have the same EP and ABC daytime will still have the same heads.
“The more things change the more they remain the same.”

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

I agree about ATWT. Passanante’s “writing” butchered that show. I breathed a sigh of relief when she was gone from Y&R. I don’t watch GH but, given the years that I endured watching her “writing” on ATWT and (thankfully, briefly) on Y&R, I have a good idea of what she likely did to GH as well.

I wonder what the unemployed ATWT veterans (Eileen Fulton, Don Hastings, Kathryn Hays, Elizabeth Hubbard, Marie Masters, Colleen Zenk ……) think about this “retirement”? Most of them strike me as too classy to ever give their real opinion but I can’t imagine that they have a high opinion of her writing “skills.”

I hope Passanante’s retirement is enjoyable and wish her well. However, I still miss ATWT and will never get over what her writing did to that show.

Steve
Steve

Whomever comes in next needs to restore balance to the show. Too much Sonny, too much mob.

MB
MB

Nothing on GH changes much with just changing writers. Frank is still the problem as are all his pet actors that longtime GH fans care nothing about. As long as Frank produces a show geared towards fan wars and all the inside baseball BS of appealing to stans of specific actors and shippers, thinking that the obsessions of a very small group translate to what a larger GH audience wants, GH will still have a very limited appeal to a small group who can obsess over Friz and Roger and Jasam and whatever. GH is a shell of itself. It is unrecognizable and it is filled with faces like Stafford, Howarth, Easton, Budig, DeVry, Miller, the Valentin guy, West etc that longtime GH fans, lapsed viewers, care nothing about. Different or even better stories for them will not attract a larger audience.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Right on, MB! What I said! You say it so well.

Shay
Shay

Very well put, MB! And spot-on!

su0000
su0000

WHOOPIE!!!! ……
………………….. HALLELUJAH !!

bye bye Jean– take Shelly with you !!

The QUEENS OF SNOOZE (both) will be gone, hopefully.

GH needs to clean house on All the writers..
clean house and bring back General Hospital, the real GH, the GH that was unique and stood alone among the regular ho hum soap as the – Not a Traditional Soap, the Unique One needs to return to its glory.

(( Jean and Shelly and their sidekick Frank destroyed the once awesome soap.

LONG LIVE GH !!!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Hey, su! You got it right re “sidekick Frank.”

dmr
dmr

The show needs to clean house, with the actors, too. There are too many recurring characters and new characters. CLEAN HOUSE!

terry
terry

totally agree too many characters is part of the problem as to why there are issues on the show no continuity etc everything just gets all jumbled together like they have no clue what they are doing they should use the vets as a base and go from there building on the history of the show seriously someone just needs to hit the reset button on this show it is just getting totally screwed up

Tad
Tad

This is great news for GH. She is a horrible writer. I’ll never forgive her for the mess she made of As the World Turns in it’s final years.

Jimmy
Jimmy

That’s the problem with soaps today. Writers will come in with their own vision of what they want the show to be, and if the fans hate it, they will stop watching, the show will lose ratings and get cancelled, but the writer who destroyed it will find another job elsewhere with ease.

Jean is a perfect example – she canned ATWT, moved on to Y&R and made it a snooze fest, and then got hired for some inexplicable reason at GH and turned it into a shell of itself. Chuck Pratt is another example – he destroyed AMC in his year-long tenure, went on to find success in primetime, came back to daytime and made Y&R barely recognizable, and is now back in primetime. How these hacks continue to find work is beyond me.

su0000
su0000

it would be great if they could recruit some writers from TV land instead of soap land.
Give TV serial writers a try- it can’t get any worse.
New blood new ideas new way of laying out stories that could be interesting, for sure.
The soaps will die if they don’t roll into the 21st century.

(the soaps are stuck in the 80’s with 80’s writers and they only know how to write from the 80’s ..)
Stuck In The 80’s !!!!!

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

I totally agree with this comment. It has puzzled me how these writers continue to find work on the few remaining soaps after the wreckage on their resumes.

Passante:
Head writer of Another World when cancelled.
Head writer of ATWT when cancelled.
Writer on OLTL when cancelled.
Becomes co-head writer on Y&R and is demoted within a year on the job.

Sure, Passante has experience in writing but, over the past 15 years, little professional success. I wish her well in retirement. I just wish that she had made this decision 15 years ago….. maybe ATWT would still be on the air.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

But I remember when Charles Pratt’s writing (under other “regimes” and brass wrote sharp, even humorous dialog.

Shay
Shay

GH stuck in the ’80’s???? Hardly, su0000….were that the fortunate case, then the show would still be #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Remember she has to write what she’s being asked to write!
Don’t forget the “suits.”

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I wonder if Hogan Sheffer is available? I loved it when he wrote for ATWT. His style would be a good fit for GH.

Ric
Ric

There is a God after all!

toscanti
toscanti

Wendy Riche? Bring her back and restore GH to it’s roots. Sally Sussman is making Great strides at Y&R, the show looks like it did in Bill Bell’s days, Wendy can do this for GH.

PennySoap
PennySoap

I totally agree!

Steve
Steve

Wendy was the EP, not the head writer. It appears Frank is staying.

dmr
dmr

Loved Wendy Riche. I will forever miss Claire Labine, too.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Could we find someone who writes as well as Claire L. did–and with her core family stories–with ethics and goodwill to boot? Tall order! Wonder if anyone of that caliber is out there today. Must surely be!
PS Remember who disliked Claire L. vehemently? You guessed it? Petulant TG, by name.
“Can’t fight city hall”!

dmr
dmr

Nancy, when Claire wrote for General Hospital in the ’90’s, it was “must see daytime TV!” I remember rushing home from high school and doing my algebra homework, while watching Sonny and Brenda (favorite couple), Ned and Lois, and the Quartermaine’s. Back then, we had stories built on friendships and relationships. Drama was front and center and we had “Cliff Hanger Fridays!

Dzzdee
Dzzdee

Jean don’t retire, you will be bored

Steve
Steve

Why shouldn’t she have the same emotion that many GH viewers have had?

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Spot on, Steve!

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

Steve! You need to give warnings if you’re going to post witticisms like that one! My laptop does not like it when I spew coffee all over my keyboard!

Mary SF
Mary SF

I wish her well. However after enduring a revolting door of new writers on both Young and the Restless and Days I no longer have any illusion a change in head writers means much in terms of what we see on screen .

Dan S
Dan S

I am not a fan of any of the storylines she wrote while on GH but I do think she has had a respectable career and I wish her well.

rebecca1
rebecca1

I’ve enjoyed many stories on both GH and OLTL and I admire anyone with heart, imagination, and the creative drive. Thank you, Jean, for your contribution to our fictional worlds…

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Hello there, Rebecca!

Thanks for your supportive reply to me in this thread!

And I admire your classy angle in this thread, genuinely thanking Jean for work. You make terrific points! Take care, Friend!

rebecca1
rebecca1

Thanks, Jamesj75. I save my “wrath” for people who deserve it…not a creative soul…a soap writer…who did her best. Hopefully she has a thick skin!

Barbara from Atlanta
Barbara from Atlanta

This is good news…………ten years too late!! I don’t watch GH but I’ll never forget the HORRIFIC “writing” that she served up for years on ATWT. IMO, her writing was a key factor in the cancellation of 50-year old ATWT.

I wish her well in her retirement but don’t ever want to read that she has reconsidered the decision and is returning to soap writing.

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

Anybody else wondering if there’s more to the story than this? True, things could be exactly as reported; JP has had a long career, and it’s entirely possible she just wants to retire and enjoy life (I say this as a recent retiree myself; I had just reached a point at which I knew I was ready to go). It sounded like that was what happened to Jane Elliott, for example. Still, I do have to wonder if the grind of trying to produce compelling drama despite network interference (translation: having to spend day after day struggling to make ABC’s dumb ideas work on screen) took its toll and she finally decided she’d just had enough of soap writing. One could not blame her, if so.

Steve
Steve

Jean is fairly active on Twitter and she insists that it was entirely her decision. She acknowledged that many would think otherwise.

Then again, nobody asked her if she was tired of coming up with different ways to praise Sonny.

Shay
Shay

Because that is the top priority for any writer at GH these days…..

robbie
robbie

Too bad RC isn’t available, loved his tenure at GH. Yes, I know Fluke was a mess, but I think that had more to do with AG than RC.

dmr
dmr

FLUKE was such a travesty! I like how we were able to see more of Luke’s past and his childhood, and I would have preferred that angle to have been explored more. Then, that would tie into his “alcoholism” (which, I never quite bought) and his life as a recluse. The split personality disorder storyline was a total mess, IMO.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

So AGREE!

Steve
Steve

The only reason we got the split personality angle was that the audience figured Fluke was Bill Eckert. Ron wanted an element of surprise, so he switched the reveal to be a (disappointing) surprise.

Denise Demuccio is as much to blame for Ron’s ouster as Fluke.

Patrick
Patrick

damn…. YES ! I’ll take this and RUN

I never bought the hype… his everlasting appeal…. lets upchuck every thing

enjoy Amsterdam

no last laugh here

Timmm
Timmm

Besides the Chimera story sucking ,Jason Q not resurfacing, and no climax involving the Nelle story, we never knew who Val’s black father was, Kiki has never ran into Finn and could we go ONE episode without hearing the name Morgan! He was disliked on the show, a two bit actor with a big mouth!

dmr
dmr

You are spot on, the MORON was a two bit actor with a big mouth who squealed and screamed thinking that gave him “range.” I would like to watch General Hospital, not “The Morgan Hour.”

Lisa Z
Lisa Z

I enjoyed your writing during the last year of OLTL. Happy Retirement! Maybe they can call you if OLTL comes back in any form!

Matthew
Matthew

Fire Shelly and bring back Bob Guza as Head writer! GH was dark and intense when he was at the helm! As someone who isn’t a fan of the traditional love in the afternoon cheesy, soapy storylines, I miss the days that GH felt more like an edge of your seat prime-time series rather than a daytime drama!

Breaking News

GH’s Maurice Benard Takes On Role Of John Gotti In Upcoming Lifetime Movie

Who better to use their mobster experience playing the iconic role of Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital, and put it to good use, when taking on the role of a real-life mobster than Daytime Emmy winner, Maurice Benard?

As revealed over the past weekend, Maurice Benard is hard at work filming a Lifetime Movie based on the life of Victoria Gotti called “The Victoria Gotti Story”.

Sharing the news via his social media, Benard expressed: “Thank you lifetime and everyone involved 4 a Beautiful opportunity.”

Recently, John Travolta played the notorious New York mobster in the movie Gotti released earlier this year.

The infamous Gotti, had a wife and a daughter both named Victoria.  So as to which point of view the film is focusing on is yet to be released.

So what do you think of the casting of Maurice as John Gotti? Intrigued to see the Lifetime Movie when it debuts? Comment below

Continue Reading

General Hospital

General Hospital’s Max Gail Opens Up On Portraying Mike’s Battle With Alzheimer’s & Making A Difference In People’s Lives

“What happens the day I wake up, and you guys are the strangers,” says Mike to his son, Sonny and his wife Carly (Laura Wright). “I left you before to my everlasting regret, but it’s going to happen. I’d do anything if I didn’t have to do it again, but it’s going to happen – one way or the other.  At least this way I could leave some good feelings, instead of disappearing before your eyes.”  Those words were said during a gut-wrenching scene on Friday’s episode of General Hospital, as Mike tries to come to terms with his deteriorating mental state in his battle with Alzheimer’s, and the hard realization that he may be better off in a care facility, instead of at his son’s home.  These scenes, as all the scenes in this storyline, have been exquisitely played by Max Gail (Mike) and Maurice Benard (Sonny).

When Max Gail arrived on the GH canvas as the recast Mike Corbin in a role made soap-famous by Ron Hale, viewers did not know what to initially expect.  What they did know was that Max is an accomplished actor with a body of work from primetime dramas and comedies, film, and the stage, and that if he is coming to GH, he must be coming on board for something major.  Before GH, suffice to say, Gail is most remembered for his role as “Wojo” on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller that aired from 1975-1982.

In story on GH, Mike, who abandoned Sonny as a child, once again re-enters his son’s life, but soon we learn that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that the soap is tackling a story that is an important medical, social, and familial issue of our time.

Gail has been a revelation in this role.  A clear frontrunner for an Emmy, playing the facets, the levels, the characteristics, and the heartbreak of a person who is slowly losing everything they know near and dear to them, as in the end they are ultimately stripped of their dignity from this most horrific of diseases.

On a personal note, and as part of this conversation with Max, it was important for him and for me to share, that I lost my mother at the end of April of this year to Alzheimer’s.  So his work hits close to home, this story hits close to home, as it has also resonated for many viewers who have shared their stories on social media and when Max makes personal appearances.

Here now is this very special interview for Michael Fairman TV with an actor whom we can all agree is touching all of our lives.

You’re portraying a person suffering from Alzheimer’s and play the progression of the disease.  Do you feel pressure as an actor to get it right for those who have loved ones, or person’s afflicted with it?

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  It’s more like an urge, or a calling to find some kind of truth in it that I can connect with.  One of the things I’m inclined towards showing is someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia often just drifts off somewhere else.  “Where am I going?”  This has happened to me many times in life.  For instance, when I was a youngster, I can remember getting in my car, and I’d driven a long way from some party or something like that, and I’d been drinking, and I didn’t remember it.  I knew I’d gotten home somehow.  So, it’s not out of my realm.  I’ve learned that there are no set behaviors really… other than that it usually ends up being really difficult for caretakers, and seemingly really painful for many, if not most people suffering with Alzheimer’s, and losing connection and losing the ability to just function.  We are kind of on the cusp of that in story at GH.  I think it was originally proposed that I would play the part for just a few months, and to give me an out if it wasn’t working.  Maybe, there was a placeholder idea to ship Mike off to a home or something, but the storyline has touched so many people that it has been continuing.

The story has been so effective.  You’ve done such an amazing job, and the fans love Mike and what you’re doing with the character, and they’re on board on this journey.  It’ll be interesting to see how far they will take this with Mike.  Will we actually see him not being able to communicate anymore?  How far will the writers go to show the horrific aspects of Alzheimer’s? 

MAX:  I’m not sure.  You know, I’ve had times where I’ve got the scene, I get the writers, and I get the heart of it.  Other times, I find where that transition is from where Mike is lucid and clear, and other times what that state of mind is and that switch is, and what that is in behaviors and energy level.  I think there’s an ongoing downturn for Mike, and for me as an actor finding something in the moment and finding how it works with things that he does remember.  They’re trying to find a place for Mike within all of the interwoven drama of General Hospital.  I, frankly, had no idea how complex the range of storylines was.  Mike doesn’t really have control over his story.  I don’t want that as an actor.  Mike has some intentions that are really important to him.  I’m trying to find that balance where there are times when he has a pathetic, very sad remorse about what he has missed.  I think that underlies his feelings for his son, who he never could quite reach, because of his own failings as a father.  Sonny’s formative experiences growing up were then with his abusive stepdad.  Finding all of that is really important to do in a way that doesn’t make Mike just this sweet older man with Alzheimer’s.   It’s a wonderful challenge to be presented with.

Courtesy/CBS

You brought up that Mike is seemingly very sweet in his demeanor now.  My mother, who I shared with you died a few months ago from Alzheimer’s was a strong-willed, feisty woman.  As the disease took hold of her, she became very sweet.   She became almost childlike.  The fire had gone out of her eyes.  You knew she didn’t know who you were, and so, all of that, as you know is so tough to witness as her son.  In terms of Mike and his ultimate care, everyone says they love him and want what is best for him, but that he needs to be taken care of because he gets confused, doesn’t know where he is sometimes. etc.  Sonny has been grappling with putting him in a care facility to be looked after, or to keep him with the Corinthos family under their roof.  However, Mike has come to a realization that he may need to be in facility all on his own, and doesn’t want to burden his son by living with him anymore.  That was a poignant moment, and another one of the best scenes has been when Mike couldn’t remember that Sonny was his own son. 

MAX:  Right and he doesn’t know if he’s around friends or around enemies.  This can be true of Alzheimer’s patients.

I had that happen with my mother when she came out to Los Angeles to see me for the last time.  She was out of her element, she was confused, and she broke down and cried in the hotel room.  She asked my father, “Why did you bring me here?” and he told her, “We came to see our son.”  It was heartbreaking.   Later, she had a moment of clarity and realized more of what was going on.  I think it’s those in-and -out moments that you portray so well on-screen.  I feel that they are very realistic to what I, and others, have experienced.

Courtesy/ABC

MAX:  I appreciate that and sharing that with me, because you never know as an actor.  That place of “Where am I?  What is this?” makes me think of that “Summer Wind” moment from the Nurses’ Ball when it wasn’t just, “I’m embarrassed.  I don’t remember the words.”  It was, “I don’t know where the f**k I am.  I thought there was a band there, but there’s not.”  So, in a way, I just had to be there on this big soundstage and just feel this big space around me.  I could barely see that there were people out there.  It’s kind of a terrifying thing to a lot of people, but I think Mike has something in him that makes him want to be okay with all of this.  He doesn’t have to freak out and get accusatory.

Courtesy/ABC

What has it been like working with Maurice Benard as your on-screen son?  Do you watch back your scenes together and ever go, “Oh, that was great!?”

MAX:  Yes, there have been a lot of those!  There are some scenes that are so emotionally focused, and we get a lot of delight in each other.  He has been playing this character in this situation for so long, so it’s just kind of in him.  Maurice has presence.  I think when I went in to read for the part of Mike, I had gone through pilot season and had gone in for some interesting pilots.  I didn’t feel like I was really connecting in the readings, because most things are by tape these days, anyway.  When this part came up, a soap hadn’t really been on my radar.  I knew I’d be going in to read with the actor, so I said, “Okay,” and I looked at the material, and then I checked out Maurice on IMDB.  One of the things that got my interest was that he has been diagnosed and takes medication to deal with bipolar disorder, and that’s become a part of his life, and it’s become part of his character.  I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting.  This is a survivor, and he’s risen to something that takes a certain kind of balance and courage.”  I watched some clips, and when I went in for the reading of this kind of an amalgamation scene of what the story elements were going to be, I felt like we connected before we’d even started the dialogue.

Well, Maurice certainly loves working with you! He has been very supportive and vocal about that.

MAX:  It’s mutual.  We can take really little simple moments, and we can find something deeper in it, and it doesn’t have to be an, ‘I’m going to start crying now’ moment.  Although, I would love for Mike to have a moment of self-observation where he goes, “Gee.  I cry a lot more than I used to.”  I think there are people who are like that, and it’s okay for certain people to cry, and for other people it is not.

Courtesy/ABC

There was a part of my mom that knew something was wrong.  She’d go, “Why am I crying?  I don’t know why I’m crying.”  She got confused as to why she was feeling that.  She couldn’t connect it all, and at times she kept saying, “I don’t understand.  I don’t understand.”  Those were the things she would try to express.

MAX:  I have a feeling that Mike has those moments too, but he finds a way for it to be okay.  There may be a point where someone with Alzheimer’s can’t pull it off anymore, but how we find those and those specifics, I don’t know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Working on a classic sitcom such as Barney Miller is vastly different than working on a daytime soap opera.  While now being at GH, have you found any commonality within the experience?

MAX:  If I can take a moment and reflect on Barney Miller, because it was a great experience and one that I found was not so easy to find again over the years.  One of the things that really resonates is that when we started shooting the studio audience laughed too easily.  We would end up retaking the scenes.  Sometimes, we didn’t have the end of the show written, because they tended to let certain things start to show up in the earlier parts of the script.  Danny Arnold who was the writer, creator and producer of Barney Miller would always take over the way Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) does in a way … looking to be respectful of the director, but still seeing things on his own.  Frank has a really wonderful eye.  He’s much more connected into the overall storylines, the motivations that went into the writing, and what he sees in the moment.  I always welcome him on the set because the directors, who have a range of talents and sensibilities, are tasked with coming up with a whole lot of shots to cover, a whole lot of tricky angles, and all of that.

Courtesy/ABC

Vernee Watson has been amazing as Stella, who is also Mike’s social worker.  Does Mike have romantic feelings toward Stella?

MAX:  Vernee is wonderful.  I didn’t know Vernee had been on the show when I came on board.  She won an Emmy, and I’m not surprised.   She is so present and so specific, and she’s very bright and gets what all of these elements are, and so, I think they have a connection.  For whatever ways Mike has lived in his like, there isn’t some strange, exotic draw that she is black, and Mike is white.  I like that because both my first and late wife, and my second wife, with whom I’ve had children (and we’ve been separated for awhile, but have a great relationship) are African-American.  So, in my world that is not a big deal.   I think there’s an affinity there between Mike and Stella.  You know, he’s alive.  He’s old, but he’s not dead.  There’s an ease with women he likes.  I think there are a whole lot of reasons for them to not get involved.  One is just professional, and she’s a social worker.  We just shot something where I say something to somebody else about, “back when I still had all my marbles,” you know, he’s in another stage of life, which many people go into gracefully, while many don’t.

 

What do you think about how Mike knows about who was buried at Charlie’s Pub?  He was trying to keep the truth about Charlie Delaney from coming out, which turned into a gas leak that blew up the bar!  This storyline ties in to Sonny’s mobster dealings as well.

MAX:  Well, this is where they put this effort in the storytelling to connect Mike in some way and be intertwined with Sonny.  Of course, it reveals certain things about Mike that he’s never revealed to anybody before.  So, that’s kind of cool.  I think when he knows what and how much sometimes is not clear.  That’s why I started talking about Barney Miller because the other thing was a lot of times when we go together for the table reads, they didn’t have the end of the story.  They had a first draft, maybe. Dan would talk about it, and they’d say, “Next week, the main story is going to be this man in his fifties who is coming to terms with the fact that he is gay,” or whatever those underlying themes may be with the different characters reactions.  So, we knew elements going into it and that sometimes I  didn’t know what the writers are really intending.  In terms of Mike, he’s kind of back and forth in certain moments.  I have to resist the idea that they trap me by just being careless.  I’ve learned that just trying to fix the script often gets you into a place where you “rehearse yourself out of it,” as they say.

Courtesy/GoodDayLA

You appeared on the morning show Good Day LA  a few months back with Laura Wright (Carly), and Maria Shriver, who has founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.  What was that like meeting Maria, and helping get the word out about the effects of this disease and the work Maria is doing?

MAX:  It was great to do.  Maria had sent out a tweet that is was wonderful what was going on, on General Hospital.  On Good Day LA, she talked about her work, particularly focusing on the fact that more women are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men.  So, then Laura and I sat down and did an interview alongside Maria.  We actually had a nice conversation before.  They did a web interview also as a follow-up.  That was very cool, because Maria is very smart, and I’d never met her, but it was great to see what she was doing.  Whatever we are dealing with in the show is sort of my opportunity in the real world to bring awareness and shed light on the subject.  I’d love to see an ongoing conversation online amongst people who can share their stories with each other.  That’s a lot of what they’re doing.  They’re raising money for research, but people need to be able to talk to each other when you’re a caregiver.  Coming out of the early sixties and early seventies when I was playing a cop on TV, I never was a fanatic activist.  I certainly got the behavior of the Chicago police at a certain time in terms of the energy and conflicts of the time.  There was something to think about, but at the same time, I had opportunities to kind of share that all cops aren’t bad, just look at the show, Barney Miller.

Courtesy/ABC

You were my favorite character on Barney Miller as Detective Wojciehowicz!  I think for many who watched the show you were, too!

MAX:  I think “Wojo” ended up being the heart of the show.

Max, you’re helping people through your beautiful performances including me.  Congratulations on that.   I’ll continue have to have a box of Kleenex handy as I watch how it all unfolds for Mike.

Photo: IMDB

MAX:  Well, I really appreciate your questions.  I’m just planting that seed.  That is really what I would like to do after talking to you and so many people.  That’s something I’d like to put out there.   We each have our own domains and responsibilities and all of it overlaps, and you can kind of get in touch with that; if you just go around the circle and share it, and then go around again.  I’m looking to help people out there in the world who are watching and are looking to share in the conversation.

So, what did you think about the heartbreaking scenes on Friday’s episode of GH between Mike and Sonny?  What have you thought of Max Gail’s performance throughout his GH run?  Have you experienced the loss, or are watching someone you love, or care about slip away from Alzheimer’s?  Share your thoughts via the comment below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

ABC Names William Burton As The New Head Of Daytime

Over the years there have been several changes to ABC Daytime, and now comes word over the last 24 hours that William Burton has been promoted to Senior VP and Head Of Daytime, Sports and Syndicated Development/Production for ABC.  Burton starts in his new role immediately.

Deadline first reported the executive level move by the network.  Burton had previously been overseeing the business operations of ABC Daytime since earlier this year as SVP Daytime following the departure of former Daytime head Rebecca Campbell.

Courtesy/ABC

Those duties have now been formalized in Burton’s expansive new role,  In terms of General Hospital, the creative aspects from the network are still being handled by ABC head of current programming, Vicki Dummer.  Burton has been behind the business operations of ABC Daytime including the daytime drama.

In addition, Burton will oversee the creation and production of syndicated programming across ABC platforms including the upcoming daytime talk show from Tamron Hall that is in development for a potential debut in the fall of 2019.

So, share your thoughts on Burton being named the new head of Daytime for ABC via the comment section below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

This weekend we mourn the loss of General Hospital’s beloved Susan Brown who played Gail Baldwin. Here is her final scene from 2004 when Gail and her husband Lee (the late Peter Hansen) showed up at Lila’s funeral and had an exchange with Alan and Monica. Share your thoughts on Susan’s passing via the link below. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

  • rebecca1: “She airs everyone's personal life on The Talk! I watched a few of these shows at night OnDemand but she's…
  • Violet Lemm: “There is so much that can be said on Julie's situation. I think her leaving The Talk, is the best…
  • Michael: “That was one of the worst Emmy broadcasts I’ve ever seen.
  • Violet Lemm: “Can't wait to see this movie. I know Maurice can do as good, if not better than John Travolta.Kind of…
  • Shay: “I call it the “GH Model.” Sadly, it would seem that other soaps are now following its example...
Advertisement

Power Performance

Drake Hogestyn as John

Days of our Lives

Airdate: 9-8–2018

Advertisement

Popular