Remember when ABC Daytime thought they’d get rid of the soaps? Well, it didn’t work. They killed “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” before anyone could do anything, and left “General Hospital” to die another day. However: “General Hospital,” revitalized beyond belief by “OLTL” exec producer Frank Valentini and head writer Ron Carlivati is up a whopping 19% over last year at this time. It’s scoring a 2.8 mil in overall viewers, about a half million more than Katie Couric’s talk show–which replaced it at 3pm. Let’s not forget as well that the soap’s big replacement show, “The Revolution,” lasted a short time and was killed off like a soap character–except no twin will return one day.
It’s hard to believe that “General Hospital” staged this kind of insurrection. ABC would still probably like to see it go away. But Valentini and Carlivati combined elements from “OLTL” into the show, and revived old, favorite characters who’d been done away with by former megalomaniac exec producers and head writers. CBS snapped up Jill Farren Phelps, who nearly destroyed “GH,’ for the number 1 soap “Young and the Restless.” That show continues a downward spiral in the ratings.
Meantime, “GH” scored an inside joke this week when the last will and testament of series patriarch Edward Quartermaine was read. The billionaire left half of his estate to Habitat for the Humanity and the other half to…PBS! That was a little jab at Mitt Romney, who was angling to get rid of Public Broadcasting. Very funny. Edward was played for two decades by beloved actor John Ingle, who passed away a few weeks ago. Carlivati frequently sneaks funny one liners into the scripts. A few weeks ago, someone on the show decried the need “for more talk shows.” Considering how badly most of those are faring in the ratings, maybe it’s time to re-start the soaps. Susan Lucci, are you out there?