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The Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati Interview – General Hospital – Soapmakers Of The Year 2014

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: ABC/S. Bergman

Can’t-miss-a-day episodes, fast pacing, payoffs and reveals, surprising returns, huge casting acquisitions and additions, inside humor in the dialog and scripts which the true connoisseur, or even the most casual fans who frequent the happenings in the town of Port Charles appreciate, bringing back plot points and characters from the show’s 51-year history, and a unique way of storytelling, in which just when you think the story is going one way, it swerves and dovetails into another … are just some of the reasons that ABC’s General Hospital kept television audiences on the edge of their seats in 2014!

The duo behind the scenes that make this mighty soap engine roar are General Hospital’s executive producer Frank Valentini, and the series head writer, Ron Carlivati.  Coming off a remarkable ride given to its legions of fans during its 50th anniversary season, the task at-hand was how could they top that and make the 51st year of the daytime drama series just as engaging, show-stopping, fun and entertaining, and oh-so-dramatic.  Well, they have succeeded bringing us tales of: doppelgangers, prosthetic masks, crypt sex, mind control, and thawed out returns from treacherous villains that we believed were long gone.  There was also sadness with the death of Baby Gabriel, Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Robin’s (Kimberly McCullough) break-up, Britt’s (Kelly Thieubaud) final goodbye, and fun with the 2014 edition of the Nurses Ball, and special moments such as the 3 Carlys (Sarah Brown, Tamara Braun, and Laura Wright) all appearing for this year’s anniversary episode.  While for some all of this may not be your bill of fare, for others it provided hours of entertainment throughout the last twelve months.

On-Air On-Soaps has given our highest honors of 2014 to Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati, and named them our choice for “Soapmakers of the Year”.  This is Cartini’s third year in a row receiving this honor.  The twosome won it in 2012 for their accomplishments of ending the ABC version of One Life to Live on such a high note, and then moving over to General Hospital, and within six months, literally reviving the show.  Then, last year in 2013, Frank and Ron also received this honor for the aforementioned 50th anniversary season of this legacy soap opera.

After receiving the news of our year-end honors, Frank and Ron chatted with On-Air On-Soaps and shared their thoughts on: the biggest GH on storylines of the year, what they felt were the show’s biggest accomplishments, those highly acclaimed stars landing on GH, and they gave us an inside look at how some of the biggest shockers were constructed.  In addition, we get a little preview as to what’s ahead after we ring in the New Year.  Here now are daytime’s dynamic duo!

MICHAEL:

Frank, do you ever get a chance with everything you have to do to put the show together, to just sit back and watch the episodes, and pat yourself on the back, and go, “Oh, my God.  That was so enjoyable?” …Or … Are you always in production mode of, “I’ve got to get this done, and we’ve got to keep moving?”

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

There are all sorts of moments … seeing the show when it’s taping and then watching the show again after it’s edited.  Sometimes you are seeing it in sweetening, or on-air.   I always find things that I enjoy and some things that I missed earlier on.  For our Christmas party, our Associate Director put together a really fantastic reel that was sort of a “Best Of” the year.  That was really something I got to enjoy, and I was a little bit overwhelmed on how much great story Ron told, and how much we had done in production in terms of: weddings, fires, explosions and fights, and all sorts of great stuff, as well as really emotional scenes, and love and great romance, and all this other cool stuff.  It was really fun.

MICHAEL:

The GH watercooler moment of 2014 has definitely been “Who is Fluke?”  Did you have any idea how polarizing, or how much traction this would get?  Did you have to change the story mainstream as to who the ultimate reveal of Fluke would be once Tony Geary (Luke) left the show for an elongated period of time?  Some fans in the audience are of the belief, even you don’t know who Fluke is at this point, and/or have any idea where the story is going! (Laughs)

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

We do know where it’s going, and we have known for a very long time.  I have seen a couple of comments by the fans saying, “I don’t think the writers even know who Fluke is.” (Laughs)  We definitely do, and the audience will find out now that we have Tony back, and Luke and Fluke, back on the air.  I think any story involving Luke is always going to be of interest to the audience, and I think the death of little Jake was his last big storyline, and so I think Tony was due for one.  Frank and I discussed the Luke/Fluke story with Tony, and it was only then that I found out he needed six months off to have surgery on his back.  It gave us a shorter window to tell the story.  We discussed burning through the entire story before he left and paying it all off, but it was such a big story, and the three of us agreed.  Frank told Tony and myself, ‘if there was a way to put a pin in the story and revisit it when he came back, we should do that.’  So we knew there had to be a big payoff for why he was acting so crazy.  We revealed there was a Luke and a Fluke, where Tony pretty much addressed the audience as Fluke and says, “Who am I?  Wouldn’t you like to know?”  That gave the audience something to chew on until Tony came back.  As you saw, we did find ways to weave the story back in, and had the character on Skype a couple of times, and then we had characters becoming suspicious of his actions, and we had some mini-adventures along the way; one of them going to Amsterdam and the re-emergence of Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roche).  It helped us create a build until Tony returned, and to keep the story alive. And, we had our little fun in November Sweeps with the misdirection and delving into whether it could have been Faison (Anders Hove) or Larry Ashton (Hugo Napier), and giving the audience some subtext, and having some fun with our latex masks, which we like to do.  We then realize Faison is just a decoy, and now that Sweeps is over, and we know Fluke is back in the bosom of the Quartermaine family, we know he is up to no good.  This is where the story picks up from now and into 2015, and it kicks into high gear and starts to unravel as far as who Fluke is, and what is at the heart of all of this.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

You had the Nurses Ball, which was a highlight of the year, which included Liesl’s (Kathleen Gati) shocking opening number of “Wilkommen”, the 13,000 episode celebration, as well as the 51st anniversary episode where you had the three Carlys (Sarah Brown, Tamara Braun and Laura Wright) in special scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny).  Frank, can you speak to me about these great moments of the year that you were able to accomplish?

FRANK:

I think when we pitch the stories that Ron has been writing, people just love them and think it’s very exciting to be a part of.  Tamara and Sarah just loved it when I told them about it, so it was easy to get them to come on board.  The Nurses Ball is always a labor of love, and always a milestone in the life of General Hospital.  We’ve done two that are super fun, since Ron and I have been here, and that the fans really love.  We are looking forward to doing it again in 2015.

MICHAEL:

Ron, how did the three Carlys concept come about?

RON:

Courtesy/Twitter

I was working with one of our writers Dan O’Connor, who was originally my assistant at One Life to Live, and he has been watching General Hospital forever.  He knows the history really well.  We wanted to have something special happen on our 51st anniversary show, and it was kind of timing out with AJ’s death and where a lot of plot stuff was happening.  We thought, “Was there a way we could have a pause button, and have some emotional scenes between Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Carly  (Laura Wright) on this big day, since they are such a big couple on the show?”  However, that got us thinking about Carly’s history on GH, and the fact that the character has been recast several times, and how each Carly has made their indelible mark on General Hospital.  So, we started tinkering with this idea of what if, as we go through the history of their relationship, we could actually see the different Carlys.  I pitched it to Frank, who is great in that he rarely tells me “no”, (laughs), or he will say to me, “This is impossible, but I’m going to try.”  As soon as I said; “What about having all these Carlys on?” … he was on the phone and making calls trying to make it happen.  It was so interesting for Dan and me to take a walk down the history of Sonny and Carly, and how great it would be for the audience to see these Carlys again.  As soon as it clicked into place it felt very natural.  I was just thrilled that it got to happen.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

“Crypt Sex” would be another GH watercooler moment of 2014!  Fans had a definite reaction to Sonny and Ava (Maura West) having sex in the Quartermaine mausoleum!

RON:

Again, you come up with these ideas, and you really don’t know how big of a deal it’s going to turn out to be, or how it will be received.  I just had this image that Sonny and Ava should have sex on AJ’s grave, basically.  Sonny already killed him, and then between Ava and him they have already done so much to AJ’s family, and then to have sex on top of his grave is like the ultimate insult!  Obviously, I knew it would have a reaction, but I did not know we would be talking about “crypt sex” a year later! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

The casting additions to General Hospital in 2014 have been simply stunning with Michelle Stafford, Billy Miller, and Donna Mills all joining the cast.  So how did this all sort of happen?  Frank, did you say, “I’m going to get these people on GH!” And Ron. you then said, “Are you really?” (Laughs)  Michelle seems to be very into playing the part of Nina Clay; Billy Miller is truly making the role of Jason Morgan his own, and thus far doing a great job.  Can you tell me your thoughts on landing these heavy hitters?

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

When I said to Ron, “Who do you want to be Nina’s mother?”  He said, “Donna Mills!” … Then I said, “O.K.” (Laughs)  It was as simple as that!  We called, and Donna was so lovely.  She is really a bright woman who asked a lot of interesting questions.  She wanted to get on the phone with Ron and talk about who this character of Madeline Reeves was.  So we did it, and it’s Donna Mills!  And if Donna Mills says, “Let’s get on the phone,” you get on the phone.  As far as Billy Miller and Michelle Stafford, I have been friends with Michelle forever!  When this role came up, and we had ideas that maybe Michelle would be interested in doing this, and it sort of all came together.

MICHAEL:

As for Billy Miller, you got this three-time Daytime Emmy winner, and extremely popular actor, to come to the show.  I thought it was a great idea to give the character of Jason plastic surgery, so it wasn’t like he just showed up on-screen one day as the recast Jason Morgan.  Were you at all concerned how this might play out to the fans when they watched Billy’s entrance onto the show?

FRANK:

I wasn’t.

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

Obviously, it’s an iconic character for General Hospital … Jason Morgan … and when Steve Burton (Ex-Jason, now Dylan, Y&R) left and we had to write the character off, there was a void there.  But, I think we filled it, and what was great then was with one Quartermaine son exiting, we had another Quartermaine son, AJ (Sean Kanan) returning at that moment.  We giveth and we taketh away!  So you had this other story to focus on, but we always felt that down the line the return of Jason would be a big story, but obviously then it’s some big shoes to fill.  It wasn’t until we had the possibility of bringing on Billy Miller, who is such a big name in daytime and is so talented, that we thought we could do this.  Billy is someone who we felt would fit the part both physically, and an actor who would be believable as Jason, and would bring something new to it.  It was never my intention that, “O.K., he has got a new face, but “Stone Cold” walks in,” because I feel that would be us trying to recreate what the character of Jason was when he left.  We felt we had to start over from scratch a little bit, and give the actor an opportunity to make Jason his own, and bring his strengths to the role.  I felt there was so much story to tell, and I thought it would be more interesting for the characters on the canvas to not know he is Jason for awhile.  That way we can get to know this guy, and the other characters can get to know this guy, before the big revelation, that he, in fact, is Jason.  So we are having a heck of a lot of fun right now with “Jake”, and yet knowing we still have a huge story to tell eventually when we are ready to reveal that “Jake” is Jason.

MICHAEL:

Thaao Penghlis (Victor), Constance Towers (Helena), Anders Hove (Faison), Hugo Napier (Larry Ashton), Robert Kelker Kelly (Stavros), so many characters and actors were worked back into the story for major surprises and shockers along the way throughout 2014.  Were you concerned how this might play to the audience resurrecting so many people who were dead, or frozen, or MIA? It was kind of delicious to watch it all unfold!

FRANK:

Courtesy/ABC

I love how it plays out, and I think it’s been great, and everyone talks about honoring the fans, and doing it for the fans, we do, do it.  It’s a pain in the neck to get Anders Hove (Faison) here from Denmark.  It’s extraordinarily expensive for the show, but I think it’s worth it, because of the people we have on the show, and not just for the idea of bringing people back from the past.  Every time we have brought someone back, it has only furthered story on present day General Hospital, but it also gives fans a treat.  However, it has to work in two ways, because otherwise it’s not worth all the money we’re spending, I think.

RON:

For me, Faison was a story thread that was left hanging that the audience wanted to know the answer to, which was: ‘what did Anna (Finola Hughes) and Robert (Tristan Rogers) do to Faison?’  We then sort of found a way to weave that into our Fluke story, and give some payoff to that.  That one was a no-brainer.  We knew that Faison would have to come back eventually to play that out.  As far as some of the other characters you mentioned, luckily for us that family of people “The Cassadines” with Victor, Helena, and Stavros, that story started with such a far-fetched storyline all those years ago involving a weather machine that I think the audience will go with you on the story, because the Cassadines are so mercurial, and Helena has nine lives!  Unlike certain other characters, I think it’s easier to swallow when they return.  Like Frank said, “The audience loves these characters and they will go with you and accept them back from the dead.”  So to me, I think it’s absolutely worth it to bring these people back.  Some of these have been surprises to me:  I vaguely remember Lord Ashton (Hugo Napier), and I know he was Ned’s (Wally Kurth) father, but I wasn’t so familiar with the actor.  I had the idea to sort of weave him in to the Fluke story, and then I googled him and saw images of Hugo Napier.  I thought, “You know, he could look a little bit like Tony Geary, and he has the right hair, and is in the age range.”  I thought that Lord Ashton could be a believable suspect for Fluke.  I thought Hugo was so delightful and I did not want him to go, but the guy owns his own business, and isn’t so much acting anymore.  It’s like you’ve got to call up a guy who owns his own company, and who sits behind a desk and go, “Will you take a few days off and come play Lord Ashton?” (Laughs)  Luckily Hugo wanted to, and I thought he was great!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

This year, we saw the power women of daytime soaps front and center, and nowhere was it more so evident than the A-list female cast of GH, which includes the likes of:  Laura Wright (Carly), Finola Hughes (Anna), Maura West (Ava), Michelle Stafford (Nina), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), and Jane Elliot (Tracy), etc.  Do you ever get to a place where the two of you may be stuck trying to figure out how to work them all into story?  It seems like you have found a great way to make sure everyone is working, and that they have story of their own playing out.   Has there ever been a major concern at how to spread the wealth among such a great group?

FRANK:

For me, it’s not a challenge.  I think that challenge goes to Ron to keep all those balls in the air, but I think people have their moments, and then they slightly reside, and then they come back to the forefront.  I think that’s always good.  Then there is a lot more variety on the show.  I just think this show is jam-packed with good actors from top to bottom. Singling out those women who are exceptional, yes they are, but I think the entire cast is really good.  When you add people to the show, you want to add really good actors if they are going to go up against the likes of: Laura Wright, Maurice Benard, and Kirsten Storms (Maxie).  It’s just that … everybody is good in our cast!  So, the people we bring on need to be just as good.  We’ve been lucky that we have been able to add to the cast in a way that enhances not only the story, but the acting and the craft of the show.

RON:

Of course, it is a challenge to have such a large cast and to weave everybody in.Every time I look at the cast, I think, “There is nobody here that I don’t want to see!”  I have such a great team that is able to find ways to weave them all into one story together, or to find ways for each of them to have their own moments to shine.  First, we had Ava (Maura West), who was a new character on the show, and then we brought on Nina (Michelle Stafford), who was another new character on to the show.  But these are two great actresses, and then you realize, “Well, these two need to be in a story together.”  Luckily, it made sense because of the back-story of Silas (Michael Easton).  It’s been such a delight to write for those two, I mean, from their first on-screen encounter, and then especially I would say, when Ava gave birth.  It was just such a treat to watch the two women go head to head.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Kelly Thiebaud (Britt) made the decision to leave the series.  Her final scenes as Britt were so emotional with Spencer (Nicolas Bechtel) and Liesl (Kathleen Gati), and talked about by the fans of the series.  I felt like I was watching this altered version of “Climb Every Mountain” from “The Sound of Music”, but with the baddies who needed to get away and escape to save their lives! (Laughs) Were you surprised at how well that played on-air?

RON:

No, I was not surprised.  I love Kelly Thiebaud.  I think she is so talented, and she was ready to try and do something new in her career.  It was sad, but we had the story set up such that Britt’s life would have to blow up if Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) found out her latest deception.  So, we had this escape hatch already when Kelly decided she was not going to sign a new contract.  I love the relationship between Britt and Spencer (Nicolas Bechtel).  I love her relationship with Brad (Parry Shen).  I found that unexpected friendship something the audience really responded to.  I also found that farewell video to Kelly that Parry Shen put together so sweet.  Here these characters started out as schemers, who were sort of using each other, and a real friendship was built.  I think not having that friendship on the show is a loss.  I think her relationship with Spencer is a loss, but it is allowing us to spin Nikolas in a new direction, and Liesl (Kathleen Gati) still has her purpose with Nathan (Ryan Paevey) on the canvas.  We are in decent shape with that, but yes, I found that to be a very touching goodbye with her mother, but especially saying goodbye to Spencer.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Frank, Kimberly McCullough (Robin) coming and going from the series and figuring out how to write-in and write-out the character of Robin based on her availability, has that been one of the biggest challenges of the past year for you?  Do you want to continue to have the ability to have Kimberly come back whenever she can?

FRANK:

We love Kimberly, and we love to have her back, but she is again pursuing other interests, and it’s hard to keep sort of bringing her back.  It’s challenging story-wise for sure, but also scheduling-wise, because I never know when she is going to get a directing gig.  So it’s never definite that we are going to have her, and that is tough some times.

MICHAEL:

Ron, did you find it tough creating a viable love interest for Patrick (Jason Thompson), which you now seem to have with Sam (Kelly Monaco), when there previously has been some form of pushback that Patrick should be with Robin and no one else, from many fans perspective?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

I think it’s been less and less of an issue, and obviously Patrick and Robin were such a popular couple and relationship on GH, but I think as time has gone on, the majority of the audience understands that Patrick has got to move on without Robin.  I think they are going with us more and more on that.  Hopefully, they will be embracing this Patrick and Sam relationship as we go.  As far as Kimberly goes, for me, it’s always such a great thing to have in your back pocket.  Of course, it’s always been a challenge to find Patrick’s new direction, especially because we have him now, I feel, certainly on track.  It’s always about having that thing out there.  So in my mind, you know that someday Robin is coming back, and we also know she knows about Jason (Billy Miller).  She hasn’t seen him with a new face, but she knows Jason is alive.  Robin has a lot of information.  But besides that, it’s having that legacy character out there knowing she could return at any moment to create shockwaves throughout the town.  That is kind of a great thing for writer to have.  I mean, it’s frustrating if you need to throw her in there all of a sudden right now.  But, having her out there is a great feeling to be able to say, “I know I have that story ready to go when the time is right.”

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Let’s talk about another addition to the cast this year … Ryan Paevey (Nathan)! Were you surprised, or did you know from the get-go that this guy is going to be hugely popular, not only because of his looks, but because you had very wisely positioned him as the good guy cop who falls for everyone’s favorite gal, Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms)?

RON:

Frank had sent me a tape to watch and said, “Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) found this great guy.  We don’t have a character in mind for him yet, but look at this tape, and what do you think?”  The tape was of Ryan.  It was an audition tape for some other role.  Of course, you’re struck by how handsome he is, but Ryan was also very believable as a possible cop on the show.  He had that vibe.  So, we decided to bring him on, because we sort of needed someone that was pressing this Nina story.  It made sense that we needed a cop who was dogging Silas and Ava, and we decided to make that Ryan.  And then love story-wise; the person that struck all of us that he could possibly be paired with was Maxie (Kirsten Storms).  Of course, that was coinciding with Kirsten’s maternity leave.  So, we managed to have them cross once with Nathan taking her apartment, and to be able to test their chemistry there, which I think people latched on to immediately.  Then, what it did for Ryan was it allowed him to get his feet wet as an actor, and to make him feel a part of the canvas by just easing him playing a detective and not going, “Now, here’s your story” right away.  I thought, “Let’s let him get comfortable.”  I think everyone would agree how Ryan grew by leaps and bounds very, very quickly.  Finally, then we had Kirsten back. We knew that would be the true test, and it seemed to be magic right from the beginning.  It’s been really great to watch.  I had an instinct that it would work, but of course, you just don’t know until you put them together.  I am thrilled to see the audience response that Nathan and Maxie have gotten.  It has been everything that we have hoped for.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBechtelTwitter

Nicolas Bechtel (Spencer) became the GH scene stealer of 2014!  His delivery of the lines, and his presence on-screen always provided some chuckles, cuteness, or some major drama.  Ron, you clearly enjoy writing for him!  When did you know you struck gold with Nicolas?

RON:

From the first time we saw Nicolas on screen, I thought he was so talented, adorable, and such a little ham, and so it just kind of evolved.  What we also saw is that it brought out a nice quality in the character of Nikolas Cassadine (Tyler Christopher) with having to deal with this little troublemaker, and of course, once we latched on to his love for Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) which gives him his raison d’être, we just kind of built the story from there.  For me, it’s been such a thrill to write for these four little youngsters: Nicolas, Brooklyn, Michael Leone (Cameron) and Hannah Nordberg (Josslyn) that are somehow all able to handle the material.  I think it brings such a nice sweet quality to the show and that is important for a multi-generational genre.

MICHAEL:

Some final questions for the head writer: One of the more incredible weeks of storytelling this year on the soaps was the first week in November on GH, when you had so many payoffs to so many stories.  You had Nina drugging Ava which forced her to deliver her baby, and Nina and Madeline kidnapping the newborn baby girl!  You had the Franco/Carly “Hallowedding” disaster, and Roger Howarth’s (Franco) incredible performance as you sort of re-set the character of Franco, as he watches, while pantomiming eating popcorn, Carly and Michael’s (Chad Duell) worlds rocked to the core.  Then, you had Michael confronting Sonny with a gun now armed with the knowledge that Sonny killed his bio-dad AJ!  Can you talk about crafting that week and how all those stories dovetailed into each other … and your thoughts on Roger as Franco?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

We knew that all that stuff was coming.  The whole reason we had Sonny kill AJ was to have that week.  Once we had Ava pregnant, we realized that is the other big element to that story, and then as you mentioned, Carly and Franco’s relationship and how that would play into it.  We knew all the pieces were there for a giant payoff.  It was a matter of how that would all fit together.  I had to sit down with the writers and say, “OK.  If she goes into labor on this day, or Franco plays the tape on this day…” you have to move your pieces around until it finally clicks.  We spend a lot of time mapping out when events are going to happen, in order for it to continue to tumble like it did as dominoes.  And as far as Franco goes, Roger Howarth can do anything.  I think once we decided to let the character of Franco be cheated on, and to let him go bad, and to let him be a little more like the Franco when he first came on the show, maybe not necessarily a serial killer, but let him be a bad guy, I think that has been great.

MICHAEL:

We have talked a bit about the use of prosthetic masks on the show, which you have used with the characters of Anna, Faison, Duke (Ian Buchanan), Liesl and now Luke/Fluke.  But did you ever think it would end up being used as this sort of running plot device on the show?

RON:

Courtesy/ABC

Those are always the kinds of things that are a hard sell. Years ago when I was at OLTL, a lot of the over-the-top things that I wanted to do were the hardest sells; whether that would be to the producer, or whether that be to the network.  There is always someone who will go, “Well, isn’t that too over the top?”  Which of course is then my cue to say: “Look, I understand there has to be a balance.”  Soap operas became known for evil twins, amnesia, and back-from-the-dead stories, and unfortunately in my mind that became a dirty word for soap.  And for me growing up, that is what made soaps so much fun to watch.  I feel there is a place for all of that on soaps.  I felt there is a place for the well-placed amnesia story, or the well-placed evil twin story, or some larger than life moments.  I love all that stuff, but I think that you have to be careful not to rely on it always.  The stories have to be grounded in some sort of reality.  It also helps to have great actors who can sell this stuff and type of material.  That said, that is what brings a sense of fun to GH, and it’s not something we do every day.  It was so successful when we did the mask with Faison.   I think it was at that point I got some people from the network going, “A mask? Are you sure?” (Laughs)  But I will say, it didn’t hurt that Mission Impossible did a high-tech latex mask, and so it doesn’t have to be silly.  So we did that, and then the one with Obrecht was going to be an homage to the Faison one, and then when I came up with this way to play up the red herring being Faison in the Fluke story, I basically promised that this would be the last one! (Laughs)  That said my other mantra is, “Never say, never.”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

And so now we have “mind control” going on again with Helena (Constance Towers) using that tool to have Jason, and perhaps even Nikolas, doing her dirty work.  That draws on Helena’s history of using mind control on Lucky Spencer all those years ago.

RON:

Right! Those are all things that you have to be careful with, and when you raise issues like that.  But the story was set-up as such that there was a plan for Jason that Victor (Thaao Penghlis) had.  I think with an actor as strong as Billy Miller, he can play it more Manchurian Candidate.  We try to take something that is over the top and have everyone play it and sell it straight.  To me, it’s like the movie Tootsie.  Dustin Hoffman as the lead character looked ridiculous dressed as a woman, but the actors played it absolutely straight in the movie, and that’s how you go with it.

MICHAEL:

In closing, what can you say to the GH fans on what they can look forward to in story in 2015?

Courtesy/Twitter

RON:

I think the audience comes to expect a certain something from General Hospital, and we want to continue to deliver that.  We always try to find new ways to tell a story, or new ways to surprise the audience, and so that continues to be our goal.  There are so many big things that have not come out yet, such as, who is Fluke?  When will everyone find out that “Jake” is Jason?  There are so many huge, huge story points that are still to be revealed.  I think that is why I am excited going into 2015, because there was so much stuff begun in 2014 that we still have to play out in the New Year.

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Thanks for the interview, Michael! It’s always fascinating hearing what Frank and Ron have to say. I know the people that don’t like them will be picking apart their comments word for word, and getting the pitch forks ready, lol.

For me, someone that has been a loyal GH fan for over 20 years now, I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed watching the show more. The cast is phenomenal and the deepest its been since I’ve started watching, and the stories are like a roller coaster ride, you never know which direction they’re gonna go next. And I love that. I love the over the top unpredictability. That’s what makes it fun to be a soap fan, they’re not like any other shows on TV.

Thanks to Frank, Ron, the rest of the GH staff and crew, and the incredible cast, the best cast in daytime period, for making 2014 an awesome year to be a General Hospital fan! Here’s to another great year in 2015, and hopefully many more exciting years to come!

Michael S.
Michael S.

You were right Dan. So many negative comments. Are things perfect on GH…but what soap is perfect?!?! Some people just need not to be so flippin’ critical.

sara
sara

No way do I believe RP was hired for his acting talents because when he started…………..

KansasGuest
KansasGuest

Well, if the description is “hunky 20ish male,” you have to know that there are THOUSANDS of them in L.A. just like Paevey. Looks alone don’t get you hired. Yes, Paevey was a little awkward in his first scenes. But, he also was really good right away in scenes with Finola Hughes, Donna Mills and Lulu. He’s always been more relaxed & comfortable in scenes with the ladies.

jbj
jbj

KansasGuest,
Agreed! RP was incredibly stiff (I used to joke about the stick up Nathan’s butt and wondered if he was sucking on lemon drops whenever he was showing displeasure), however he connected with his scene partners which is an important first step. His early scenes with Anna were earnest in a way that ultimately saved his character from coming off as a conniving villain when going after Silas. And as grating as this year’s NYE hijinks were, it is pretty impressive that he was able to connect with KS so well on his first day on the job, that Nathan’s infatuation was still palpable 4 months later. He was also great with KT, and that relationship literally came out of nowhere. So I’m thinking the producers saw his potential and his work ethic (he apparently has a couple of acting coaches), gambled and won.

Beth
Beth

I agree with every word Dan said. GH has not been this good in a very, very long time–thanks to the great team of Carlivati and Valentini! Kudos also, to the hard working and talented cast and crew!

Sierra Lodise
Sierra Lodise

I have watched GH for almost 50 years and I assure you that at one time the show was way better than this. RC is not a writer, he just picks out plot points. You obviously missed GH during the 90s when it was written by Claire Labine. If you enjoy the claptrap this pair dish out, fine but don’t diss people who are negative because they think it stinks.

Trammell
Trammell

Agreed! This era of GH has been one of my-all time faves, been watching since I was like 10 or 11, so 33 or 34 years. Great interview Michael, and thanks to the cast and crew, writers and producers — wonderful to have GH relevant again! Happy New Year!

Melissa
Melissa

2014 was a outstanding year for GH!! Can’t wait to see what is ahead in 2015, but Please, for the love of your viewers, solve this Fluke storyline once and for all.

GH50
GH50

There is just so much to comment on here. So many things on this show just don’t make sense, characters are dumbed down and ignore the obvious to advance plot and so many beats are missed. Things are rewritten midstream (like Robin all of a sudden skyping with Emma). Still can’t get over the whole Chrichton-Clark stuff and the Levi/Peter, Aztec treasure bit. It was about nothing and meant nothing. Felicia wasn’t even a part of it and by the way, how’s that recount going? The election, a 30 year vet running for Mayor, was so intriguing and brilliantly told, we’re all dying to know the outcome.

But one thing I have to address is that they take something over the top and have everyone play it staright to sell it. Seriously? What show are they watching. A point was made about Howarth’s popcorn eating. Is that playing it straight or is that schtick? Michelle Stafford? What about Dr.O? She’s playing it straight? And Victor was an absolute cartoon. How about little Spencer who Ron refers to as a “little ham?” Yes everything is taken seriously and played straight. I am baffled every time I read an interview with Ron. The disconnect between what he thinks he is writing, what appears on screen and how he sees it is astonishing.

Tristan
Tristan

Couldn’t agree more with your assessment. Show is sorely lacking in sense… but maybe we are simply expecting too much of this team. Maybe this really is the best they can do. If so, no amount of thoughtful criticism will resonate, because it will make as much sense to these creators as their show makes to many of us. We clearly have much different dramatic standards than these creators and maybe we should just accept that this is all they are capable of giving us. They have reached their level and maybe that is just what it is. Expecting a higher set of dramatic standards on GH may really be an exercise in futility. It is what it is. And will always be so.

Harry
Harry

Sigh. It being almost the new year I want to be positive. But the truth is this interview made me wince. I mean, does Ron ever get shoulder pain from patting his own shoulder all of the time?
As GH50 says, there is so much to say but suffice to say Ron is reinventing the soap opera genre. Character driven drama has been replaced by pure plot driven camp. Some viewers love this new brand of soapy camp while others like me miss flesh and blood characters who make us care about them.As Tristan says, it is what it is.

GH50
GH50

Tristan, I think you’re right. It is what it is with this regime and team of writers. My biggest problem with the show is the lack of sense, logic and superficial storytelling.

I still can’t believe that Super Spies Robert and Anna, in their attempt to safeguard their family from Faison, stuck him in a hole under Wyndemere, had what appears to be the groundskeeper keep an eye on him, never checked on him in a year and were duped. What kind of storytelling is that? Does it make any sense to the audience? Is that really the best that a group of paid writers can come up with?

SZima
SZima

Finally, comments that make sense! Sure, there have been some good stories, but far too many are unbelievably over-the-top. I’d like some semblance of reality on this soap!
And I’d like to see some of the “ruined” women (Anna, Tracy) redeemed and brought back to their fierce selves!

GH50
GH50

“For me, Faison was a story thread that was left hanging that the audience wanted to know the answer to, which was: ‘what did Anna (Finola Hughes) and Robert (Tristan Rogers) do to Faison?’ We then sort of found a way to weave that into our Fluke story, and give some payoff to that. That one was a no-brainer. We knew that Faison would have to come back eventually to play that out.”

That comment by Ron speaks volumes. It proves what is obvious to many, that they make it up as they go and change story midstream. They had no idea what happened to Faison and then just threw him under Wyndemere and then put a Fluke mask on him and none of it makes any sense. Does anyone here think that when Levi came on that they knew he was Peter Harrel Jr.? No chance. Then they came up with that, threw around the term Aztec treasure and they think they used some sacred piece of GH history. How did that play out?

Sierra Lodise
Sierra Lodise

There is so much delusion in this interview. Who enjoys the mask stories? Or the way most of these uses of history are done? They usually end up rewriting it or making people so unbelievably stupid and vapid so they can move some piece of BS they are shoveling. The best work they did this year was the Sonny/A.J. reveal and Michael’s reaction. Sadly, things like that are few and far between. No one cares about Fluke anymore. I have been FFd like mad for weeks.

mfarris70
mfarris70

Love these guys not only for the stellar work they do on GH but also for the final years of OLTL. Their brand of soap opera may not be for everyone but there are a lot of people who obviously love it. I haven’t missed an episode since Valentini and Carlivati came on board. If you don’t like it, throw your passion into one of the other shows that needs viewers!

Jill S
Jill S

General Hospital rules Daytime Soaps. This is the soap that will be the last one standing. Great writing, acting, and production. The winning combination.

Harry
Harry

Production is good, yes. Some of the acting is as good as can be expected given the over-the-top, purely camp stories. Billy Miller seems to be just acting like Billy Abbott while claiming that he’s going to play it his way. I guess that means he is not even going to try and hint that Jason Morgan lurks darkly beneath the surface-no nuances, and no conflict. And I LOVE Miller–I was singing his praises from the roof tops when I heard he was coming aboard.
The writing? I do not profess to be an expert on anything except one thing–good writing. And Jill, this is not good writing. not even close.

Timmm
Timmm

Your right Harry, Billy is talented but to me Billy Miller is still just being Billy Abbot in PC! I’m waiting for Victoria to show up at Kellys and ask Billy why he hasnt been around because over at Y&R they have some guy in our “Father Knows Best” dream home who looks like John Denver but calls himself Billy Abbott!

sarah
sarah

I agree jill right on

Angela
Angela

I will never understand how the soap press keeps marvelling at some greatness that is not on my screen. This show is awful. There is no consistency and the propping of characters that should not be is astonishing. Dr. O? She is a frigging felon. She is now leading the traditional Christmas show. Another slap in the face to GH history that they so respect. The trashing of Robin is another. I am sick to death of hearing how they never know when she will be available, but they continue to USE this character to drive stories. After reading this interview I have determined there is nothing left for me to watch. Good luck. You are gonna need it. Example: OLTL…where is it?

Margie
Margie

Dr. O is just ridiculous. Robin is trashed, Anna and Robert are trashed.

I don’t get it, Michael.

Harry
Harry

Agreed–Margie and Angela.
Why is Anna constantly being made to look like a imbecilic, corrupt officer of the law while the vile, heinous, vile, sneering horrible Dr O is constantly being propped up at Anna’s expense? I did not know they had Dr O taking the beloved Steve Hardy’s place in reading “Twas a Night Before Christmas.” Is that supposed to be cute and funny? I have a pretty good sense of humor but I see no humor in that.

Lin
Lin

I agree with everything you said as well, GH 50. None of the people you mention seem to be playing it straight.they all seem to be “winking at the camera.”

Anna
Anna

THANK YOU. THANK YOU. I’ll never understand why these men are praised as Messiah’s of the soap world when they haven’t done a single thing extraordinary to warrant such honors. There are no Labine like ratings coming from these two. Even Guza’s era had higher ratings and I threw a literal party online when he was finally cut loose. It’s downright baffling. None of the soaps have shown major improvement over the last decade and won’t because times have changed, which I totally understand. But Ron and Company are so stuck in his love for the 80s that he refuses to actually change with them and move forward instead of back. The type of writing he is doing now is better suited for the GH of yesteryear. I think he would’ve made a fine writer during that time because it was nothing but over the top camp, big hair, giant emeralds, and women fighting in fountains. It was Dynasty in the Daytime. But in going into 2015 with the same cartoon characters and storylines? Nope.

SZima
SZima

It’s always been a mystery to me too! I quit watching OLTL shortly after they started writing that show. They did the same ridiculous far-out writing over there too. I’ve been with GH longer, so I’ll not quit watching, but I always have the remote in my hand so I can FF.

Beth CP
Beth CP

@ Angela-This. There is neither heart nor soul in this headwriters’ plot point stories. and little that resembles greatness as it emanates from this executive producer. The sad thing is that some people keep on eating this stuff up, talking themselves into believing it’s good. The loyal viewing audience deserves better. The actors who have to wring something out of this schlock deserve better.

Beth
Beth

I adore Dr.O! Kathleen Gati is incredibly talented, she brings so many sides to the character. She can be evil, scheming, giving, vulnerable, hilarious, and what a singing voice!

I love when Dr.O. and Anna get in each other’s faces. I do not agree at all that Anna has been trashed. Her character was never perfect and she did many devious things in her long ago past. I am just so darn glad that Anna is back on GH.

As for Robin, she is barely on the show so…

Anna
Anna

IMHO, what most mean when they say Anna is “trashed” is that she’s being written like a total idiot 99.9% of the time. Who can’t tell rubber lips from real ones? It’s absurd. For someone who is a former spy, it’s not remotely in character. Same for Tracy and most women on this show. They are written like total fools.

Susan
Susan

Bravo, I agree. Plus GH was going under, and was only expected to survive for one year, when Frank and Ron came on board. That was in 2011. I love these 2 guys, and because of them, GH is still going strong.

Reen
Reen

My issue with these guys is twofold. First- the overall storytelling. Gaps, inconsistencies and contradictions dominate. Don’t know if writing team just lacks skills or are lazy, but it needs to improve. They’re in dire need of a TV version of a dramaturg. Secondly, their style. I’m not a fan of the camp and actor mugging for the camera. It feels like we get bad versions of SNL sketches rather than a serialized drama. In addition, sets continue to get darker creating a gloomy atmosphere. On a positive note, at least wardrobe has improved .

Timmm
Timmm

Everyone salivates over Liesel. I hate the character. She is an evil bitch! She kidnapped Robin and then took over Steve Hardy’s job at GH.. What a joke!

Gemma
Gemma

This is another gloss over the flaws interview. It’s a shame the soap press would rather cozy up to actors/producers/writers then critique the show. Every article praising horribly written characters, plot points, and ridiculous reveals.

Beth CP
Beth CP

Wonderfully short and sweet comment. And absolutely true.

Harry
Harry

I agree, brevity is the soul of wit. And speaking of brevity, now that Geary is finally back, can we please wrap up the Fluke storyline?

Sonnylove
Sonnylove

I agree, He is definitely glossed over this interview. There is so much over the top writing at GH these days. I am totally exhausted and burned out from it. You now have your entire cast the people of PC as criminals. All in need of jail space. There is no balance. and the fake faces storylines are too much. It is time to be more creative and move on and end this. They can’t continue to fall back to this overused storyline plot. We are not in 70’s any longer.

Lin
Lin

agreed

Toni
Toni

The head writer thinks people have moved on from scrubs. LOL Maybe because he intentionally systematically destroyed them. I have actually moved on from GH.

yvonne
yvonne

With KM not available to be on the show all of the time, how can scrubs still be relevant? They were one of my favorite otp’s but it is not fair to JT to have Robin on every once in a while.

Cathy
Cathy

How about working with Kimberly like they work with others. Or better yet give Scrubs their HEA and have JT come back as someone new since this isn’t Patrick anymore. Real Patrick isn’t stupid and would be investigating his wifes’s reason for leaving’especially after she came back from the dead and don’t get me started on how stupid ANNA looks like. PATRICK is written so out of character., he is unrecognizable. Getting tired of FV blaming Kimberlys schedule since he doesn’t blame TG for one, who delayed many stories,. He works with BM and others when they get other jobs which come up suddenly. So that excuse doesn’t work. Yet FV uses Kimberly for her fans and to advance their stories because of her RICH GH history. And FV shouldn’t assume Scrub fans are coming around because a few might or more than a few claim to be Scrub fans but aren’t since I know some of them and they have agendas. How would he know by Twitter since many Scrub fans spoke out and got blocked. The Scrub fans are loyal to Scrubs not just JT and we want our couple. A good writer would be able to write a good story and keep fans from leaving without destroying history of couples and GH. WHY does Robin get destroyed so PATRICK can move on that’s not fair to,Kimberly or her fans. I went to a doctors appt and they always had on GH at 3pm and liked they watched for Scrubs and other GH couples but was I surprised to see that changed and they had on another show. I was so so shocked and asked and the employees and people in waiting room had enough of GH. Said they changed too much of GH and the characters are totally different and so out of character.

Timmm
Timmm

This is true. Kim is leaving a huge hole on this show and it hurts other characters. Robin was gone 2 years, reunites with her husband and child and then “Disappears” again and Robert, Anna, or Patrick are not even suspicious? Bull****!

scyren
scyren

I feel like Jake/Jason is a failure of a storyline. I don’t even like Jake. There is nothing special about the character. I don’t understand why Jason wouldn’t be JM unless somehow Robin took away the brain damage because the brain damage is what made Jason JM not the memory loss. JM has been around for almost 20 years while JQ was only around a few. JM was the most unique character on daytime. I don’t want BM to try to act like Sbu. I just want him to be Jason. Sbu was nothing like JM but they never cared about how funny he is personally. So, I don’t get why I should care how BM is in relation to JM either. Just play the character. This show has turned into a campy cartoon. There are far too many crazies running around. The brain control has already been done. I’m so over Jason/Sam/Liz in fact I don’t want Jason with either woman. It’s just the same boring crap over and over. Not to mention that the women on the show are stupid idiots when it comes to men. I hate that Liz will sleep with Ric yet again. WTF Can she not have an appropriate reaction to men that have done her wrong? He almost killed her yet she’s so hard up for a man she has to go back to someone who never put her first? I’m just done with this show. There is no one to root for; no romance, it’s just crazy plot lines over and over with no respect for character history.

MissySnow
MissySnow

I agree the stuff with Liz and Ric is way OCC. Liz moved on a decade ago and never gave her ex a single thought!

Suzie
Suzie

I completely agree! Liz got over Ric… and she didn’t mourn for him a darn lick when she thought he had died. She flirted up a storm with Jake only to then kiss Ric on Christmas? Her reaction to seeing Ric was way too much and didn’t make sense at all. I’m tired of characters acting against their history. I actually miss Guza and JFP.

Reen
Reen

Wake me when Robin returns with the shock waves because right now show doesn’t warrant an hour of my time. Jason return has been sleep inducing, Fluke identity has gone on too long, too much focus on the crazies. Show need someone to be a grenade to blow everything Sky high.

Pam
Pam

I really hope we get Silas and Ava as a official couple in 2015. Silas and Ava is all I really care about.

KansasGuest
KansasGuest

Their scenes were FANTASTIC, weren’t they? I don’t think Silas will ever tolerate Ava’s criminal involvement. But, I love the brutal honesty between both of them, and his continuing kindness to her. It even fits his character that he’s not completely horrified by her behavior because, after all, he had an evil serial killer brother.

Elle
Elle

Michael, I wished you would have asked Frank and Ron if they have considered recasting the role of Robin especially because as they’ve said of the challenges of KMC’s unpredictable schedule. Additionally, there has been backlash to the character & Kimberly because of the comings and goings of Robin and some believing stalling the progression of Patrick, which I find unfair to the actress. People are blaming KMC when it was FV and RC who chose to keep Robin alive back in 2012 after the lab explosion. I will admit I find the writing has been underwhelming for Robin and Patrick has become one of my least favorite characters (more due to JT’s acting choices). Some are saying Kim can choose not to come back but in my opinion she probably feels a sense of obligation and loyalty (I could be wrong) to GH and her fans to come back whenever she can.

KansasGuest
KansasGuest

IMO, KMC should be mature enough to cut the cord to GH. If she wants to be successful director, she needs to go after that & not continue to count on the “safety net” of playing Robin. Look at Ron Howard. Once he decided to direct, he stopped the acting thing & went after directing whole hog. I think Scrubs fans would feel respected if KMC gave the OK to recast Robin because then GH would be free to write a REAL resolution for these two characters, and not just continue the patchwork job that has been done.

Audrey J
Audrey J

If this show is so “awesome” right now please explain why they are down 300k viewers from last year? Sam loved Jason, but soon fell in love with Silas, but a week later is with her soulmate Patrick. WTH? I suffered through the god awful unneeded dying baby storyline with Patrick and now he barely remembers he has a real daughter Emma who is in some weird kiddie romance. This show has become nothing but plot points and camp. No depth, no soul. It is shame they are not being called out on it.

yvonne
yvonne

As a longtime viewer I’m very happy w/GH! I love what they have added to it. A few years ago I was deleting episodes of GH because it was going nowhere. Now I’m back again watching daily. When they took over OLTL, I loved it and began to watch it after giving up on that show. I’m happy that they took over GH before I gave up on it.

SOAPVIEWER
SOAPVIEWER

I agree. I am extremely happy with GH, the talents of all involved. Of course there are critics (always are)…. and they have a choice to stay or go … but for those of us who enjoy GH today this is OUR time, and I love that these talented gentlemen are the toast of the town. They deserve it …. and so many of us love it.

KansasGuest
KansasGuest

I came back to GH last year after giving up on daytime soaps for over 25 years. I LOVE it! It’s a hoot. I like the pacing, the humor (Nina’s horse story while delivering a baby), the talent (hello, Maura West!), and the little surprises they throw in (“Wilkommen”, Spinelli, Anna imitating Faison, triple Carlys). Can’t wait to see what happens next. Go, GH!

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Either recast Robin or have Patrick divorce her and move on…and instead of a repeated Robin kidnapping, have her work in some medical facility overseas…case solved!!!

Jeremy
Jeremy

Ya, probably best to finally recast Robin. I’m waiting for story to pick up with Emma, she has been abandoned so much lately, and probably still confused wondering why her Momma is always “away”.

Lisa
Lisa

I have been watching GH over 30 years. I have loved the story telling. It’s not real life, it”s an escape of reality to be enjoyed. I may be disappointed in losing Luke and Laura or Frisco and Feclicia, my favorite couples, but I still love my GH. I respect the writing and the actors, new and old. Go with the flow of life and GH.. appreciate their efforts and just try and be positive with a smile.. I for one am glad General Hospital is still here for me to enjoy.

sarah
sarah

I agree lisa as I have been watching GH FOR 22 YEARS thanks to Maurice Benard abd I love me some sonny!!!!!

Tena
Tena

Ron is wrong about the majority of the audience moving on. Most people I Know seriously grateful for DVR can barely watch cuz w/o being able to FF through the majority of the show. Robin and Patrick’s marriage was the only anchor on the show.

sandra
sandra

I started watching general hospital in 93 I fell in love with the character of Robin, Sonny then Jason and They kept me glued. I loved jason and robin and also love Robin and Patrick they became my super couple. I felt so bad at the way they wrote Robin off. I can’t believe the writers have made me dislike Patrick but I can’t help to love him sometimes when I see the old Patrick show up here and there especially around emma. Robin deserve better then RC has come with. Scrubs 4ever

tommy graham
tommy graham

I think it’s sad GH writers lack the ability to write for their gay characters l can’t remember when was the last time I saw Lucas in a storyline. and the two other gays on the show are nothing but cheerleaders for their female friends. I watch soaps like Hollyoaks… the writers are always giving their gay characters back to back lead storylines I just finished watching one of the gay character in court, the scenes are some of the best I’ve seen from a soap opera. I think GH producer need to maybe hire someone who knows gay characters can be compelling and interesting like the straight characters.

Jeremy
Jeremy

ya, I hear ya, man. I always enjoyed the great drama, Hollyoaks when I’d visit the UK.

Lyn
Lyn

Interesting. GH can be highly entertaining yes, but it’s also maddening because of the numerous inconsistencies and plot gaps. You many think people are ‘overly critical’ and it’s a SOAP but that doesn’t take away the fact that GH has a bloated cast and because of that, can’t keep up with telling the stories that mean the most in a timely manner. I also really REALLY wish you’d get some complexity into your questions for these guys. Why waste time bringing back characters like Lucas and then wasting doing nothing with them. What about the whole TJ/Shawn left-field thing about the Dad? That took about 2 years to develop and fell flat. Taping schedules that have characters that literally DO NOT MOVE around the canvas for days. Follow up on that Franco question because obviously, neither Ron nor Frank realize what a misstep that has been. Delve into the bloated cast issue. Lastly, you could also ask why/how bringing several characters back from the dead year after year is exciting or shocking anymore.

lovesgh
lovesgh

I am so sick of the Royal Robin Highness Treatment. Comes back when she feels like it, she is not needed any more. Patrick can be with anyone he chooses, she will only come back to destroy whatever happiness he and Emma find. Put this deadbeat character to rest. Oh, and RIP Scrubs once and for all. Buh Bye, Robin.

Kevin
Kevin

I Thank God For These Two, I AM GLAD That They Saved General Hospital From Certain Death And Brought “NEW LIFE” To The Show

I Am GLAD That They Turned Things Around And Saved The Show

Which Was About To Be Extinct By SOAP OPERA KILLER JILL FARREN PHELPS

And Her Toadies And Lackies: Bob Guza, Steve Burton, Brian Frons, etc.

Glad THEY ARE ALL GONE From GH.

Kevin
Kevin

A Special SHOUTOUT Goes To Frank Valentini & Ron Carlivati

Thank You For Saving This Show.

I Am Glad I Stopped Watching Y and R

And Started Watching AND STILL Watching General Hospital And Have Been A Fan Of General Hospital Since January 2014

And Most Of My Other Favorite Actors Are On GH From Other Shows

Ie: Billy Miller & Michelle Stafford (The Young And The Restless)

Ilene Kristen (Ryan’s Hope / Loving / One Life To Live)

Donna Mills (The Secret Storm / Knots Landing)

Timmm
Timmm

And thats the point, these two saved the show. Its not perfect, sometimes you scratch your head, get frustrated on who IS on the show and who is NOT on the show but Frank and Ron deserve credit. How would you like to be a AMC or OLTL fan right now. I’m sure those fans would take Frank and Ron in a heartbeat!

To m
To m

I love GH for the following reasons:
1.a large talented cast with a great distribution of storylines.(remember the days when it was the Sonny- Carly-Jason show)
2.cast members aged 6-66 enjoying frontburner storylines(remember the days it was the Brenda- Sonny-Jax show)
3.guest appearances, cameos, of old time fan faves to bring surprises and rewarding storyline pay- offs to long time GH fans.
4. The Frank -Ron pairing. Frank the great businessman and Ron the writer who both were responsible for OLTL ‘s last year being one of the best of any soap with literally pennies to work with as their budget. Their reward : the GH gig in 2012. Their challenge: reviving Gh, which they did.(remember the storylines in 2011 u
Under the JFF- Gavin Wolfe regime-pitiful)
5.maxi- Nathan pairing.If your a fan of the classic Doris Day- Rock Hudson movies, you will know what I am talking about,
6. One large amusement park with humor. Roller coaster rides,clowns,princes,and house of horrors.
7. Has not exhausted all its storyline possibilities and fave returns,(Jonathan Jackson – genie Francis mother-son reunion.
8.as in real life,accept the imperfections because things can be muchworse(Gh in 2010 and 2011)

Barb
Barb

The large talented cast you speak of is filled with Cartini inventions. Wonder why they were invented? Not that hard to figure out. 6 year olds have no business driving a romantic story. That is disturbing. The guest appearances are called stunt casting to bring in viewers, but offering no reason to stay. Cartini is responsible for the CANCELLATION of OLTL. GH is down 300 thousand viewers from this time last year. People are finally figuring out the real deal here and not staying. There is no substance and anything that even smells of General Hospital history is at best rewritten and and worst decimated.

Thomas Procaccini
Thomas Procaccini

The latest rating report states total viewers is down 22,000 viewers from last year. Where is the 300, 000 viewers figures from? Everybody has the right to their own opinions, but ratings are factual. Happy New Year, I hope your beverage choice is at least half full next year.

Timmm
Timmm

Barb, I respect your opinion but would you rather have this or nothing?

Timmm
Timmm

PERFECT!

randy
randy

i only have one issue where the heck is genie francis,,,,id like to know why ron lied when genie 1rst came back and said she was back permanently,,,,hes a liar a total liar,,is that why there is never no mention of genie in interviews,,,sorry this show is a over the top mess… does any one even really care bout fluke,,,,i didnt even realize tony geary was gone,,,,the whole cassidine mess does not work with out genie francis s laura,,it just does not work,,sorry ive taken this disaster off my dvr…a waste of good actors in retarted story lines…

Keri
Keri

Genie left because her dad was very ill and went to take care of him. Don’t quote me but I think she did interview with TV Guide (or some other mag) I can’t remember which explained why she had to leave so suddenly. As to why she hasn’t come back I’m not sure. Maybe her dad is still ill or maybe some other reason. But they brought back almost every other person there has to be some reason why not GF. I’m sure the payoff would be with the reveal of Fluke finally if she was involved. I hate the Fluke SL but I understand the delay with AG imjuries. I just can’t wait till it’s finally over.

Les
Les

I have watched GH since 1977. Over the years, there have been compelling characters and stories that drew you in and kept you watching. However, my GH viewing has now dwindled down to the point where I barely ever watch. In fact, watching old episodes on youtube is far more satisfying. I think for me the last straw was the abrupt way that Genie Francis (Laura) fell off the canvas last go round. To have the Cassidine /Fluke storyline without her is just such a lost opportunity and frankly I find it jjust too frustrating to continue watching. Time to move on me thinks.

Matt
Matt

All I have to say in response to many of the negative posts about the present writers is this:

Would you seriously rather have Guza back??

The stories on GH now may have their flaws, but at least this team has bothered to integrate the characters, writer large umbrella stories that affect every character on the canvas, and make it fun. This is a show that has a history of wild and bizarre tales that didn’t always make a heck of a lot of sense. Since the early 80’s this show has had spies, weather machines, masks, alien crystals, cryo freezes, toxic gas-filled balloons, the list goes on and on.

I love that these writers have decided to bring some of zany aspects back, as well as bringing back many characters that were part of those stories when GH was really considered “must-see TV”. I’d personally much rather watch a show that features the occasional completely outlandish plot versus a show that spends over a decade focusing on shootings, dead babies and children, woman-beatings, and rapes.

Keri
Keri

I’m with Matt this show is so much better then it was before. I may not like it all but who likes everything I’ve been watching 30 years that be impossible. FV and RC have brought the show back for certain death. I’ve LOL, cried and been shocked so many times. When I watch GH i try to just go with the flow and don’t worry about that would never happen in real life. I have a real life I want to see suspense and thrills and love that are out of the realm of anyone’s real life. That’s what makes soap a soap!!

Audrey J
Audrey J

I will gladly accept Guza back. I would rather watch character driven stories with depth than some stupid plot point that makes the weekly Soup. This crap is NO WHERE near “must see”.

Dan
Dan

Guza and his “character driven stories” had GH on the verge of being canceled. There wouldn’t be a show on today for you to complain about. How soon people forget.

GH50
GH50

Outlandish plots are fine if they are told intelligently. The problem is when stories don’t make sense and characters are constantly dumbed down, ignoring the obvious, to advance those plots, and that’s what we have on GH.

Kelly
Kelly

All the things Michael praised FV/RC is what had me rolling my eyes. Britt’s exit was laughable! Her crying over a 9 year old kid she selfishly USED and put in immense danger to SNAG his father… TOTALLY LUDICRIS!!!
But why am I not surprised? Villains have taken over the show. Dr. O, Faison, Fluke, Britt, Franco, Ava, Nina, Helena, Victor, even villainous kids like Spencer and Josslyn all get pushed to the front while the normal characters most fans can relate to are shoved to the back fighting over scraps!
Meanwhile their stabs at romance on the show can only be described as frenzied! Sam has gone from John to Silas to Patrick. While Liz has gone from Nik to AJ to Nik to Ric to Nik to Jake to Ric again… I am getting serious whiplash!!! How about sticking with one guy and building a romance slowly with a few bumps in the road instead of passing these leading ladies from guy to guy!

MissySnow
MissySnow

Guza can only return to the show if he helps RC write character driven stories and not stories where veteran characters are round pegs in his square hole story telling..ie. see Carly/Franco and Liz/Ric!

Silas_FTW
Silas_FTW

Tired of the plot point story telling with no focus on character development or POV. These writers so desperate to sell a plot that they sabotage their own writing. Case in point the Silas/Sam romance. They built that romance for over a year only to destroy it to sell Patrick as Sam’s love in a matter of weeks. They should have just went with Pat from the beginning and moved Silas on to another viable love interest instead of wasting my damn time for a year. Will never invest in a couple again cause this regime damn sure does not know how to write romance. The fact that they will change couples at the drop of a hat to sell a plot tells me all I need to know about these writers and what they think the definition of romance in the afternoon is.

Amy
Amy

I have watched GH for over 25 years and finally Frank and Ron made me wash my hands of this show. GH makes no sense. It is all plot driven and no real character development or stories are told. For starters Sabrina is the one who wanted Gabriel not Patrick yet she had next to nothing to do with the story of who ran her son off the road because he had to use Gabriel as an excuse to push his Sam and Patrick agenda. Also what happened to Silas being the other great love of Sam’s life besides Jason. It is like the show just dropped Silas and Sam after a year of watching them be built as what was thought to last. It would have made more sense for Sam to be torn between Silas and Jason not to then quickly include Patrick all because he knew Jason was alive and they wanted the most bang for their buck. It was all about plot, plot, plot and the fallout was not compelling at all. Sam was made at Patrick for what a day. It is terrible writing. Ron does not follow through on anything. Everyone has like 3 possible love interests, it is almost like whiplash, Liz likes Jake wait Ric then of wait don’t forget about Nik. GH is far too confusing and they forget what they wrote. Does Silas even know who put Rafe up to running Patrick and Sabrina off the road. After all his nephew did die as a result of the accident. I guess they dropped the ball on that or just forget. Both are possible. I hated Guza’s last run because of his single minded Sonny, Carly, Jason and Sam focus but one of the things he did really well though was tell character driven story. His stories had heart and he built things to last. I was a huge Jason and Robin fan but he made me love Robin and Patrick. He told a great love story, probably the best love story GH told in the last decade with Scrubs. This show refuses to recast Robin, this horrible writing out of Robin could be stopped if they just recast the character. I love Kimberly but she wants to move on. This show doesn’t have to be in the position of writing Robin in and out, it chooses too. This Jake stuff is terrible. Billy Miller is a fantastic actor but he is doing Billy Abbot on GH. Jason Morgan was no Billy Abbott. As far as people paying for there crimes. RC has these characters do horrible things and then asked you to care about them. Well I for one don’t. Ava killed Connie for no good reason, then went on to not even blink an eye about it. She only cared about her own self preservation. So forgive me if I don’t care if she ever gets to raise that kid or see her again. Sonny on the other hand… Read more »

Carole
Carole

I agree with everything you said which is why I WILL NOT be watching GH in 2015. I have DVR’d every episode since October and probably actually watched 3 all the way through. I’ve been watching for most of my life (I was 7 when Luke and Laura got married and remember it) and I cannot believe the amount of inconsistencies and just bad storytelling that is going on. I know it’s a soap opera and there is a level of disbelief but come on. How many times do we have to watch Helena come back – just die already. Ava should have been killed months ago. Michael is a spoiled brat who needs to get a clue. What happened to Danny? Does he still exist? I’ll even admit I am biased because I was/am a huge Silas/Sam fan but that pairing was completely wasted. So what, Caleb/Olivia, John/Sam, Silas/Sam – are you messing with our heads? Just put them together already and stop f&^^^^$ around. And I’m sorry but there is no way Patrick keeping that secret should have been forgiven in like 90 seconds. What a load of crap. Soaps were being cancelled left and right. Keep up this horrible storytelling, and you will soon join your friends AMC & OLTL.

Timmm
Timmm

Amy, you make some really good points. I think one reason characters are written all over the place is to always have options in telling new or different stories. Your best point is the writers asking us to care about people who committed heinous crimes. It will be very tough to watch Ava bounce her little girl on her knee while we all know that she is a cold blooded murderer!

Ruth
Ruth

I shouldn’t be amazed at how the only soap critics who address the faults of GH (and there are many) are those who don’t make the big bucks and obviously work for the networks. Cmon Michael, sometime I would enjoy reading an interview between you and GH head honchos where some of the issues mentioned by fans above are actually addressed by Frank and Ron. GH wouldn’t be in third place out of four if there weren’t issues that needed to be addressed. You are great at what you do, but the continual stroking of Frank and Rons egos without addressing how to improve flaws in the show makes for a phony boring read.

Timmm
Timmm

I thought the interview was great. Michael asked good questions and Frank and Ron were as candid as two could be. You may have not liked their answers but give credit. I watch talk shows on TV and its the same questions with the same canned answers!

nancy
nancy

If I look at the whole show, there are things I don’t like or agree with . But I still think Ron C and Frank have done a fantastic job. I can’t remember the last time I fast forwarded anything even when I’m not happy with the story. And I always remember the Guza days and that makes me sooo thankful for these two

Timmm
Timmm

Michael Fairman, I consider this a belated Christmas gift. Thank you. As for Frank and Ron, you two are at the top and people will point fingers at you about this or that but my friends, I am a huge GH fan and when the history of this show is written and the curtain falls, you two gentleman will play a major role in not only keeping it on the air but wring and producing some of the best entertainment on TV, daytime, nighttime, ANYTIME, thank you.

Sharon
Sharon

I started watching GH in the 70’s and although I missed most of the 80’s, I have not missed an episode since 1993(when they brought Luke and Laura back). I love this show and think it is amazing right now. Sure there are things about the show that I don’t like, but the stories and characters I do like, far out weigh the bad. My question to all the fans complaining is, if you hate what’s going on so much, why do you watch? I go on ABC message board a lot while I’m at work to see what’s happening, and I can’t believe some of the comments made by people who say they are fans. Do us all a favor and change the channel.

Sirfirchick
Sirfirchick

The Fluke story itself is sooo long, Lulu will be wearing Depends by the time it’s over. You had a father and son sleep with the same woman (get Sonny neutered already) gross for even GH’s standards, you set up the reunion of a lifetime with Scrubs only to decimate it in months…for what? On top of that you destroy a veteran character from Medical doctor researcher extraordinaire into flake of the week. Nothing was new, how many fake faces and baby daddy stories can we recycle….oh and bring em back from the dead stories? Kathleen Gati, my fav Anna Devane, and Nathan/Maxie pairing are the only things you have going for you. Recasting Franco with a puppy dog RH was idiotic. You should have made him the mysterious Cassidine you …. oh yes, dropped the ball on the 100th story. Sorry…they are ruining GH. My opinion…

Ginger Houck
Ginger Houck

Hello, in the General hospitals episode tue. 30 at the New Years Bash Carli made a speech that I really enjoyed is there a possibility of me getting a copy of it, it was a terrific speech , thank- you Ginger Houck

Ally
Ally

Do you know what happened to Sabrina? and Felix? Sabrina just disappeared. Is she leaving the show? I was truly hoping that there would be a chance for her and Patrick to get back together.

Timmm
Timmm

Consider it a blessing!

Shay
Shay

Touche’, Timmm…..You are a man after my own heart when it comes to Sappy. The only thing I wish for her in 2015 is a one-way ticket out of Port Charles!!!!!!

lovesgh
lovesgh

Sabrina and Felix are great;ly missed and loved by this fan! I want to see more of them in 2015…and I want Sabrina and Emma scenes. Sabrina has been more of a Mom to her than deadbeat Robin, who didn’t even try and get in touch with her “daughter” for Christmas.

Julie Lomoe
Julie Lomoe

I began watching GH only after OLTL was cancelled, and OLTL only after Port Charles was cancelled, because I’m a huge Michael Easton fan. I loved him as the vampire Caleb Morley, then as John McBain, and now as Silas Clay, and I wish they’d feature him more prominently.

As a mystery writer, I love the many plot twists, the humor and the sometimes over-the-top campiness. Some things are just unbelievable, for example that Jason would come back as Jake and the women who were closely involved or intimate with him wouldn’t recognize his body and voice if not his face. Many of the criticisms above are valid, but I feel people are being too hard on Frank and Ron. Much of the writing is first-rate!

Lawrence
Lawrence

Well looks like the majority is sick of re ronscrappy writing and dumbing down of characters. Frankly I think this was a flat year for Gh and the current writing is boring.

Timmm
Timmm

There wasnt a flatter year than the one Y&R had!

Maxsmom
Maxsmom

I find this interview more disappointing than the show. I’ve watched the show for 35 of my 46 years and will probably watch one way or another as long as it airs but I am losing faith in the soap press regarding GH. I don’t need the press to rubber stamp my opinions of the show but I would like answers to some of my questions regarding what I think are problems. Mr. Carlivati has developed a reputation for being thin skinned and Mr. Fairman seemed to dance around any semblance of a tough question. I have no desire to offend Mr. Fairman but this interview made me sad for a man I once admired.

GemmaG
GemmaG

Even though I don’t like all the characters, when GH is good, it is so good! And, looking back to what it was before RC and FV took over, one can only say it has improved 500%!, thanks to these guys. Ok, remember Alexis walking around saying “I’m so hot, I’m so hot!” Now, the men all pause when she walks into a room! She has a storyline!!! And Julien does too…. And remember when it was the StoneCold and Spinelli show (I liked both these guys but they were 95% of the show). I think Ron and Frank can use every character and every actor to the best of their ability, and that is what makes a soap great. So congrats to them for winning this distinction of best soap! Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow…

Liz
Liz

Thanks, Michael for that great interview. I love to hear how plots are hatched. What goes on behind the scenes is fascinating to me. It’s great that Frank and Ron can enlighten us without spoiling us.

One thing I latched on to was when Ron was talking about evil twin plot lines. It’s looking more and more (at least to me) that Luke’s evil twin might REALLY be his evil twin!! Just my current and ever changing theory about #WhoIsFluke

Since OLTL & AMC have left us, GH has been a real comfort. I’ve tried to get into Days but I just can’t get invested in the show and characters. There is nothing like knowing, loving and yes, even hating a show that you’ve watched for 45 years. I’m so grateful to Frank an Ron for saving our last ABC soap family from the chopping block. Yes, after investing as much time as I have in ABC soaps, they ARE family.

Emme
Emme

I must be in the minority of what the Frank and Ron see because I don’t think Patrick needs to move on. There’s so much story there for him to figure out what actually happened to Robin. He can spend months searching for the killer of the child he didn’t even want but can’t find his wife? Bullshit.

Geena
Geena

After feeling like 2013 was a flop for GH, 2014 was truly a great year all around from start to finish. I hope that Ron and Frank will continue to develop and invest in Patrick and Sam who have become my favorite couple on the show. With KMc not on the show, Patrick had to move on imo and also BM only signed a one year contract as I understand it so Scrubs & Jasam would be touch and go. Better to invest in two characters we know are going to be on canvas long term.

dmr
dmr

I’m just not a fan of Valentini/Carlivati’s storytelling. Their characters are too cartoonish which makes their storylines dull and dumb. The writing is dreadful. I can only imagine what the actors must be feeling and thinking when having to rehash the ridiculous storylines in their lines. I was a fan of Gloria Monty, Claire Labine, and Wendy Riche.

jbj
jbj

I think the Sam & Patrick pairing was such a brilliant move by the writers that I never saw coming. One of the reasons why Scrubs always felt endgame is that Robin is one of the few people who will put Patrick through the ringer for his crap, but love him anyway. His relationship with Sabrina had that sleeping with the babysitter cliché ick factor, that fit more with his affairs with Layla and Lisa, where the women came out more broken and damaged than him. I just wanted people (other than Britt) to take her aside and warn her that Patrick is not as perfect as she thinks, and IS a serial cheater.

Sam & Patrick on the other hand, know each other’s flaws and have even been butting heads over some of them for years. Then they managed to become platonic friends by way of the grieving process. Their chemistry has evolved over the years, such that the romantic pairing was only contrived in the sense that I am pretty sure I can place the week when the writers told the actors that it was a go, but that it was just subtle enough that it still took the characters months to fully (and believably) realize the change. And like Robin, Sam is capable of really calling Patrick on his crap, and vice versa. So, unlike Silas and Sabrina, I can actually see there being credible conflict when Robin returns and/or Jason is revealed to be Jake. That’s proper soap! You know that even if they go back to their previous partners, they are entwined enough in each other’s lives that there is always a chance of a reunion (a la Jason & Liz or even Luke & Tracy).

mike
mike

They get many more hits than misses and have made a once dull show very watchable. The big multi-generational cast works because of the use of the shows very rich history. Please keep up the good work.

KMB
KMB

My favorite characters are Stefan played by Stephen Nichols and Jax played by Ingo Rademacher. I guess I have given up ever seeing them again on GH, but that’s just the way things go in the soap world I guess. I don’t have anything really against GH or any other soaps, it’s just that there isn’t that much to pull me in right now. Hope it changes someday.

Breaking News

GH’s Billy Miller Lands Role In Apple’s Upcoming Thriller Series, ARE YOU SLEEPING

Exciting casting news for mutli-Daytime Emmy winner, Billy Miller (Drew, General Hospital).  Miller has been cast in the upcoming drama series thriller, Are you Sleeping to be on Apple’s streaming platform.

Are you Sleeping stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer along with Lizzy Caplan, and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) with another Oscar winner, Reese Witherspoon serving as one of the series executive producers with the project through her production company, Hello Sunshine.

According to Deadline: Are You Sleeping, is based on the true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber,and provides a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage.

Code Black’s Moon Bloodgood is also set as a series regular. Brett Cullen (Devious Maids) and Hunter Doohan, will recur along with Miller.

In story, Octavia Spencer stars as Poppy Parnell, a relentless investigative reporter who looks to uncover the truth behind a decades-old questionable murder verdict through her new podcast. Caplan plays twin sisters Josie and Lanie, whose father’s murder decades ago is examined on the podcast. Paul plays convicted murderer Warren Cave, whose guilt or innocence has remained a question in many people’s minds for the past 20 years.

Miller will play the role of Lanie’s husband, Alex Dunn.

Elizabeth Perkins, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Tracie Thoms, Haneefah Wood and Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) also co-star in the series.

So, looks like Billy will be a part of a star-studded cast! Excited to see him in this role? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Breaking News

Does GH’s Margaux Have A Connection To Someone In Port Charles? If So, Who?

This week, General Hospital viewers saw that the ABC daytime drama series is teasing a potential pairing of Drew (Billy Miller) and the new district attorney in town, Margaux Dawson (Elizabeth Hendrickson), after the two characters run into each other at a concession stand at the cancelled baseball game.

As fans of the soap genre know, Miller and Hendrickson also played former love interests on The Young and the Restless as Billy Abbott and Chloe Mitchell.

During Hendrickson’s first #AskGH live Twitter Q&A when asked: “Is your character connected to someone on the show?”  Elizabeth responded: “As of now Margaux is new to town … but you never know, there may be some connection that has not be revealed yet :)”

That tweet has left fans speculating if perhaps Margaux, has an ex in Port Charles, is tied to a major family in someway, or perhaps has some legal trouble past?

Recently on GH. when Chase (Josh Swickard) arrived on the scene as the new cop (following Nathan’s (Ryan Paevey) untimely death), it was later revealed that he was actually the half-brother to Finn (Michael Easton).  And as we know in the soaps, connections are usually the key to more long term success in a role, rather than being just a standalone character, but there have been exceptions.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, who would you like to see Margaux have a connection to on GH?  What do you think will happen with her character? Comment below.

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Breaking News

General Hospital Promo: Obrecht Decides It’s Time To End Peter’s Life, But Her Plans Go Up in Flames!

This week on General Hospital, looks like Peter (Wes Ramsey) may finally be freed from being kidnapped by Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) and Nina (Michelle Stafford), or will he?

In the just released promo from ABC,  Obrecht needs to be stopped, depending on who you are rooting for, that is.  We see her smash Franco (Roger Howarth) in the head from behind on the docks to keep him from uncovering what she has been up to.  Then, it looks as if Obrecht is holding what looks to be a molotov cocktail! “You have come to the end of the road,” she wildly tells Peter.

Nina attempts to stop her, but it’s too late,  Next thing you know the cabin is engulfed in flames? Who will get out of there alive?

Watch the promo below and then let us know, what you hope happens via the comment section below.

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Next week on Y&R, Hilary is fighting for her life, but the prognosis is not good. Friends and loved ones come to the hospital and ask for forgiveness and to tell her to fight. But how can she? Watch the latest promo from CBS Daytime below. Leave A Comment

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