Home Television ABC’s Real Soap Opera: “General Hospital” is Booming in the Ratings

ABC must be having a fit: “General Hospital” is a hit. The last remaining soap opera on ABC was almost cancelled last year. But for a terrible show, now gone, called “The Revolution,” turning out to be a terrible dud, “General Hospital” would have followed “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” to a VHS tape bin.

But “The Revolution” is no longer televised. The executive producer and head writer from “One Life to Live” transferred over to “GH” in its 49th year. They brought over some of the “OLTL” characters, mixed them into the show, and brought back favorite actors like Finola Hughes and Robin Mattson to enliven the story. And it worked.

Last week, “General Hospital” added 378,000 viewers vs. the same week one year ago. They’re up to a 2.7 rating, third among the remaining four soaps (including “Days of our Lives” on NBC and “Young the Restless” and “Bold and the Beautiful” on CBS.) But very importantly “GH” is now second among the four soaps, in viewers ages 18-49 and growing in all the ratings categories. Last year around this time “GH” had a 2.2 rating. The increase is significant.

(The ratings may have increased because the show brought back a character who died on screen seven years ago. It reminded me of the scene in “SoapDish” when Whoopi Goldberg, who plays the writer of the soap in the movie, exclaims, “The man was decapitated. I can’t write for a man without a head.” Apparently these people can.)

Soap plots are always crazy, so you have you have to accept these things. It’s better than watching one more person discuss how to slice a rutabaga, that’s for sure.

One other thing is for sure: ABC has never explained in any realistic way whatever happened in their whole debacle with Jeff Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park Productions. ABC and Prospect Park announced they were moving the other two soaps over to the internet and maybe cable. Then the whole thing collapsed mysteriously. Prospect Park made it seem like “All My Children” couldn’t be done because star Susan Lucci was asking for too much money. Lucci told me recently that simply was not the case. “One day we were negotiating,” she said, “and the next day we were not. We didn’t know what happened.”

Indeed, Prospect Park–aside from a limited involvement in USA Networks’ “Royal Pains”–doesn’t do very much and didn’t do very much when the soap ‘deal’ was going on. Like many Hollywood production companies, they have a few things ‘in development.’

And now ABC is having a hit on its hands that it didn’t want. The network thought it was out of the soap opera business. CBS is doing everything it can to kill its remaining soaps. They hired General Hospital’s fired and failed executive producer to take over “Y&R,” long the number 1 show. The ratings and viewers are in decline. At “B&B” two of the main actors are gone in the last few weeks, sending that show’s numbers down. It’s clear what CBS wants. But ABC may be stuck giving afternoon viewers what they want a little while longer no matter how much they want to cancel “General Hospital.”

10 replies to this post
  1. I have watched ” general hospital ” for about 3 years now cancelling it IS A BAD IDEA because it is my favorite show!!!!!!!!! cancelling it wood a be a big very ., very , very , very , very , very , very , very , very , very ,very, very , very , very, very , very , very , very , very , very , very very , very , very , very , very , very , very , very , very , very bad idea! because it is my favorite show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    really it is a really bad idea trust me! please. please don’t cancel it ever if you can pretty please :) my name is Mitchell bourque by the way and I have cerebral palsy

  2. Who was the actor that died 7 years ago and they brought back I don’t remember my brain I forget alot of stuff in getting old lol

  3. Is general hospital gone why do they not play current shows do they think i will be waiting forever really come on now the holidays are over what gives there have been to many reruns!!!!!!!!!!!!!not too interested in reruns hello is this for the week

  4. GH is better than ever! The show is no longer stagnate..the story moves. This show is back centered around all the characters instead of being the Sonny/Carly/Jason mob show…which was getting really old! Love all the OLTL characters too. I’m back watching daily again!

  5. Love Robert and Anna they need to be together.Not to mention they loved each other when the boat blew up.Duke is will always be second choise., deep in Ann’s heart.

  6. Great that the ratings are up. No surprise though, with the great writing and the OLTL stars on there. New life has been pumped back into the ailing GH storyline.

    I still think all three soaps characters (AMC, OLTL, and GH) could be combined into one major 2-hour night-time made for TV movie, in prime-time, once a week, and let the talk-shows, and cooking shows have the daytime, if ABC must change the daytime line-up. ABC could make programming history by doing this.

    Even if this isn’t a viable option for night-time, it’s showing that combining the characters works very well, if the writing is good, as it is now. :) so bringing story-lines and stars, of the other remaining soap (AMC) and more characters from OLTL is a good idea, and works in skilled hands of talented writing.

     – Regarding the new writer and the OLTL stars … 
    I liked the dialogue Luke had when McBain first came to Port Chuck, to Lukes suite, about how McBain reminded Luke of a Vampire. – Ha Ha …LOL … Making mention of that actors first portrayal of a Vampire, on the spin-off called Port Charles, before going to OLTL as McBain :)

  7. Ive watched general hospital since the 70s its the best its ever been right now! Roger howarth/Todd keeps us in stiches! My kids watch it w
    / now.Abc screwed up royal taking away all my children & one life to lice!put them back on abc &really watch your ratings take off.The only cooking show I want to watch is gorden ramsey.One life to live was getting better too just like the election the people told the nation what they wanted when will abc wake up and listen?…..

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