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L.A. Times Looks At The Phenomenon That Is General Hospital As It Turns 50!



Today, there is a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times that talks about, that as of this coming Monday, April 1, 2013, when General Hospital turns 50 years young, it ramains is the longest running soap opera currently in production – after 12,776 original episodes!  The L.A. Times piece takes a look at the historical successes, near cancellation threats, and how GH is probably the one soap that is the biggest cultural phenomenon of them all!

Here are some excerpts from the Times piece:  “A year ago, fans fretted that ABC would cancel General Hospital following the demise of the Walt Disney Co. network’s two other signature soaps, All My Children, and One Life to Live.  Show producers, however, accepted the challenge, introduced some younger and more diverse characters and downplayed story lines that revolved around the mob bosses of Port Charles, N.Y., the show’s fictional setting. The result has been a ratings revival.  The show, which averages 3 million viewers an episode, is on track to have its best season in five years. It has experienced a 19% boost in viewers compared with last season, and a 44% increase among women ages 18 to 34.

General Hospital was the soap opera that brought young people to daytime television,” said Ed Martin, television columnist for MediaPost Publications. “Other soap operas like ‘Young and the Restless’ and All My Children dabbled in it, but  General Hospital was most aggressive.”

General Hospital changed the mold for soap operas. It became one of the first soaps to go on location for shoots, they introduced younger characters and they tackled sensitive issues like cancer, AIDS and rape,” said Karen Herman, director of the Archive of American Television part of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. The archive has collected oral histories of nearly a dozen actors from the show, including Genie Francis (Laura) and Anthony Geary (Luke).

So soap fans, do you think GH is the soap that most impacted our culture?  Let us know!

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There is no doubt that among all the soaps GH is indeed unique
GH is a different breed of soap opera and there is none better than GH, and that includes the humdrum Y&R which rarely changes from its’ theme of ‘business and family problems, little change with Y&R..

At times while watching GH, as last Wed, it looked much like prime-time viewing.

BRAVO!!! to the FV, RC, and ALL the staff at GH..
(GH would not be here today without your great work)

I love the new feel and direction of GH and I believe GH is here to stay.

And i agree…

ITA! GH, the GH of old, is back in all its’ glory. It is must see TV and the respect that RC has for the history of GH is evident. Mentioning Amy Vining this week was incredibly sweet (RIP Shell Kepler) . There have been so many exciting moments in the past year. And so much character development. I’m so glad it is averaging 3M viewers. This show deserves it. And these show runners deserve it. OLTL increased viewership in its last year to what, 2M? I had hoped it would be enough to save the show to no avail. I’m so happy for GH and hope it continues to thrive. I will keep watching! More excitement lies ahead.

Agree completely!!! LOVE GH!!! It is a unique soap in all that it does! I wouldn’t say it is the one that dealt with the most impactful story lines and I would say that is a good thing for it! I like that it has more adventure and intrique and mystery than the others. I also think they do comedy more and better than the others. I think they have the best cast hands down and on most days the most watchable and exciting storylines than the others. There isn’t a day that I am bored or can’t stand all of the story lines. There are a few of course but they are usually balanced with good and great stuff! Congratulations GH!!!

Actually All My Children was the first soap to go on location shooting when they went to St. Croix for Erica and Tom’s honeymoon in 1977.

Sorry, but your also wrong. Hawkins Falls in the 1950s did location shooting years b4 AMC, and so did Dark Shadows in its first year in 1966.

While you are correct that AMC was the first to go on location, GH was the first soap to make it “cool” to do so

well of course it is the best soap . I have been watching for 33+ years . I have watched through the good the bad and the ugly have stayed with general hospital. I can say this past year has been the best. I look forward to watching every day and can not wait for the next day to see what is going to happen. I can honestly say I have not felt like that in years. love general hospital

No doubt about it. GH was the soap that broke the mold. They made watching soaps cool. I remember I watched before Luke & Laura and my friends made fun of me for watching. Then came L&L and they were hooked. It changed alot of people’s perception of daytime tv. Here’s to 50 more!

All the ABC soaps weaved big important soaps into there stories.It a shame ABC didn’t get them notice instead of cancelling them.They needed someone in there who knew how to do the soaps right instead of destroying them like Frons did,But that was Anne Sweeney’s dream to get them all cancelled.

I started watching GH in 1963 and am thrilled it has survived Frons and Sweeney’s attempts to get rid of it. Gloria Monty brought GH back to life in the 80’s and Frank and Ron have done the same thing today. Bravo!! No if only Sweeney will leave GH alone!!!!

Hawkins Falls was the first daytime soap( it started in primtime then like a year later moved to daytime) in the 1950s to do location shooting and Dark Shadows also did location shooting its first year in 1966 long b4 GH or any other soap. Dark Shadows also brought alot of young people to daytime long b4 GH, and so did the mystery crime drama The Edge Of Night. Dark Shadows had three movies based on it, 2 failed primetime revival attempts and tons of merchadise connected to the show still being made today. But anyway GH is the current best soap opera on the air and except for a few minor story flaws, im more addicted to it than i ever was. Some fans will criticize the show and complain how horrible the writing is but FV and RC must be doing something right to generate all this publicity and save it from cancellation by improving its ratings which hasnt been this good in years!

I have been watching since 1964 at age 9– I would be lost without it! I have weathered every bump & twist in the road to Port Charles & lost some favorite actors & characters along the way. Some plots I love, some not so much– but I would never give up on watching!!!

GH in mind introduced the SUPERCOUPLE ala Luke & Laura but followed it up with Frisco & Felicia, Robert & Anna, Sonny & Brenda, Jax & Brenda, etc etc. But my personal fav…Sean & Tiffany come back to us please!

GH is simply the best!

Love General Hospital….

The one thing I luv the most about GH since FV&RC took over is;
The fast moving stories, the suspense, excitement and the often surprises.
And, the lighter side , yet deep, twisting love stories..

Put it all together and mix is intriguing ..

GH is the best. Thanks to FV, RC, and the writting team for a superb job. Without you guys, we probably have lost the show. Please keep up the great work!!!

So happy GH is getting the media attention it rightfully deserves! Not only has this soap been woven into television history unlike any other (30 million people watched for ONE episode!), but lately, it has been better than it has in year! Thankfully, ratings are also reflecting how the show has increased in quality! I used to complain about some of Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati’s choices on OLTL, but on GH, they have truly saved this show from certain “death” (aka cancellation) and I give them all of the props they deserve! Some say that “oh they only brought back vets for the anniversary”, but that is not true. The incredible Finola Hughes, only used as a guest from time to time during the past regime’s tenure, was put on contract! Ian Buchannan was brought on for months before the 50th! Actors like Genie Francis or Jack Wagner, who were “tough sells” for the last regime, came back in full force! Not to mention, AJ was brought back from the dead in direction of redemption as the rest of the Quartermaines also were brought back to the front-burner like they deserve! Every day I am excited to watch the show and cannot wait for the next one. Here’s to the 50th and 50 more!

Loving this GH Marathon so far!! Gonna have to pry me away from the tube this weekend. I remember SO much of this stuff (making me old!).. especially always loved Thaao Penghlis as Victor Cassadine. YUM!! Thanks SoapNet! Here’s to many more years …. btw, check out Jaclyn Zeman with a normal face 😉

GH is the best, now as it was in 10 years. That’s how long I watched, General Hospital. I grew up watching Sonny and Carly, but I can’t Explaine it. But I have more memories of watching Luke and Laura. I have my own special 50 years list of my memories of Gh. And at the top are Luke and Laura. Anyway there are more stories, of the current day. To like and to post. There were too many stories, that were my favorites. And my top couples: Nikolas and Emilt, Sonny and Brenda.

I have been watching since 1975 and love this show,I just wish this past year was Patricks bad dream .Come back Robin please.

I am a long time soap watcher. While I am thrilled GH has made it to its 50th, I don’t want to pit one show against the other or say which soap I think affected society the most.

GH always has the most amazing talented actors and actresses!!! LUV GH keep on Rockin another 50!!!

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Dante is Shot as Jason Reveals Himself

Just how was General Hospital going to reintroduce the character of Jason Morgan to the canvas with the highly-anticipated return of Steve Burton in the pivotal role? Well, why we don’t have all the answers, the show wasted no time, and Burton first appeared at the beginning of the Monday, March 4th episode.

In story, while Sonny (Maurice Benard), Selena (Lydia Look) and Ava (Maura West) are at the warehouse, they are facing off with the FBI and the PCPD when John (Adam J. Harrington), Anna (Finola Hughes), Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), Chase (Josh Swickard) et al show up.  Meanwhile on the roof, a man kneels over a skylight window who pipes up with, “it appears they are late to the party.” It’s then revealed just who the man is talking to, and it turns out it’s JASON!

Meanwhile, John and Anna are questioning Sonny and Selina on what they are doing in the warehouse. Selina says they are planning a poker game. Next, the man with Jason aims his gun at Sonny. However, Jason messes up his shot, but the shot rings out. Inside the warehouse everyone scatters about. They realize the show came from the skylight.

Photo: ABC

Jason tells the other man they’ve been compromised and need to leave the location. Below, in the warehouse, Dante thinks that he and Chase can get onto the roof since the shooter didn’t see them. So, Dante takes off with Chase to find the culprit. In the meantime, John orders a CSI unit. Next, Chase returns and says the building is all clear and Dante is pursuing the suspects.

Now on the pier, Dante catches up with Jason (who’s back is to him) and the other man. Dante orders them to freeze. While the other man gets away, Jason stays put and Dante orders him to turn around slowly with his hands up. Dante is shocked to see its Jason. Confused, Dante says, “What the hell?” Next, the other man returns and fires two shots into Dante’s chest.

Photo: ABC

As Dante goes down, Jason runs over to him. The other man calls Jason “Jacobs” and tell him to leave the cop to die. Jason tells the other man to go to the planned site and he will find another way out. Next, the man attempts to fire at Jason who is hovering over Dante, but Jason shoots at him first and takes him out.

Back at the warehouse, Ava sees a bullet hole in Sonny sleeve, as John says that it confirms that Sonny is the intended target. John and Sonny stare each other down due to their dark past.  It’s clear that Sonny doesn’t trust John and vice-versa.  Anna tells Sonny she is not out to get him and doesn’t want him to die. She adds that Sonny, “Must have had an angel on his shoulder because she doesn’t see how that sniper missed from this range.”

Chase returns to the warehouse having dropped everyone off at the PCPD, but says Dante hasn’t checked in with him. Sonny looks very concerned, as Jason is looking very concerned over Dante’s body.

So, what did you think of the first episode back for Steve Burton as Jason Morgan? Will it be revealed that he has been infiltrating this organization to save Sonny? Does Jason not know his true identify? What do you think is going on?  As for Dante, will he pass out from his injuries and not identify Jason was even there on the roof with him? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Steve Burton Confirms ‘General Hospital’ Head Writer Switch Changed Jason’s Comeback Storyline

General Hospital viewers will see today, Monday, March 4th, the beginnings of the return storyline for Steve Burton and his character of Jason Morgan.

Just how did the recent head writing regime change at GH alter the plans for story for Jason’s comeback? As had been rumored, seems plenty. Back on January 22nd, it was revealed that Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor had been replaced by Patrick Mulcahey and Elizabeth Korte. At that time, Burton had already signed-on to return to the daytime drama for the first time since being let go towards the end of 2021.

Speaking with Soap Opera Digest, Steve confirmed that what we will see on-air is from the new head writers and that the direction of the story changed, “So apparently there was a whole different story planned and then the head writer switch happened and then they kind of rebooted (the story arc). I know Patrick (Mulcahey, one of the new head writers) a little bit, but I really know Elizabeth Korte (who was promoted to co-head writer).”

Photo: JPI

Burton added, “There’s no one in the building that loves that show, knows the history of the character, and is invested in it 100 percent than Elizabeth. There has never been a more deserved promotion, ever. Once I know that she was (one of the head writers), I was like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be good! I cannot wait.’ And it has been exactly that. Everything has been amazing.”‘

Photo: JPI

In addition, during an Instagram live on Monday with his podcast and comedy show partner, GH star, Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), Burton also commented on the upcoming story arc which brings Jason back to Port Charles. Steve expressed, “The story is not going to disappoint. The scenes are super deep. Frank (Valentini, EP, GH)  and the new head writers took some time to really think this out.”

Burton, being a longtime veteran of the soaps, said Jason’s return is not just isolated to be about him. “Great story on daytime should involve a myriad of people across the board and where it effects everybody,” he shared. The popular fan favorite feels that this story delivers on all levels.

So, what do you think about the head writer change and how it prompted the plans for Jason’s return? Comment below.


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Days Of Our Lives

Jason Cook Recalls Landing His Soap Roles as DAYS Shawn-Douglas Brady and GH’s Matt Hunter

Daytime fans remember Jason Cook when he became wildly-popular as Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Bo’s (Peter Reckell) son, Shawn-Douglas Brady on Days of our Lives from 1999-2006. He later made a brief return in the role in 2015 for the series 50th anniversary.

After departing DAYS, Cook was offered a role on General Hospital as Dr. Matt Hunter, the younger brother to Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) from 2008-2012. However, during his time on the soaps, and after, Cook has been focusing on his behind the scenes roles and passion as writer and a director of feature films.

Last week, the Michael Fairman Channel welcomed Jason, along with two of the stars of his latest film, Four for Fun, Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-AMC, B&B, GH). During the conversation, Cook revealed his continued admiration for the soap medium and the actors who work in it, and how it came to pass that he landed his parts on Days of our Lives, and then on General Hospital.

Photo: JPI

Cook spoke on becoming the on-screen son of soap opera’s most iconic couples, Bo and Hope: “I auditioned for Fran Bascom. She was the Days of our Lives casting director at the time. I was never a great auditioner, I don’t think. She made me feel really comfortable. I remember that screen test. And then, I remember when I got the part, I was actually working at a company at a desk job. I got the call at work and I just screamed, and at the time I didn’t quit my job. But then, I got that contract when I was 19-years-old and it totally changed my life.”

Photo: JPI

But, was Jason aware how key to the show being Bo and Hope’s son would be? “Yeah, my older sister was a fan of the show. She definitely let me know that I better not mess it up, because I was gonna ruin her favorite couple,” he shared. “I remember she printed out the family tree and it looked like a physics diagram. It was so complicated. A lot of detailed work went into it. But, I was excited.”

After being a known entity with a large fan following, eventually Cook made his way to a new role on General Hospital. Jason explained, “GH was fun. That was a situation where Brian Frons (ex-ABC Daytime President) brought me over there. I just told him I didn’t want to be like or want to do Shawn. He’s like, ‘Well, what do you wanna do?’ I said, ‘How can I screw things up around here and shake things up?'”

Photo: JPI

From that conversation things began to formulate. Cook revealed, “We started talking about the TV series House. I think in soaps, there’s an assumption if you’re going on a show that everybody wants to be the hero. I was like, ‘I don’t want to (be). I want to screw everything up.’ And then, they wrote it in that Matt Hunter burns the hospital down within like six months. I was like really proud about that. The other part that I loved about that character is that Matt, and his older brother Patrick (Jason Thompson), were both neurosurgeons. And if you (an actor) resigned your contract (with the show) you go to Patrick, you see Patrick. And if you don’t resign your contract, you see my character, because my character was going to kill you every time.”

For more on the interview, make sure to check out the replay of the livestream conversation below with Jason, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young.  Now let us know, did you enjoy Jason as Shawn-D and Matt on GH? Do you hope someday he might return on-screen to the soaps? Let us know in the comment section.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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