Home Celebrity “General Hospital” Replaces Head Writer After Three Months of Sinking Ratings

The world of soap operas is volatile. Just watch the movie “SoapDish” for a primer. It’s brutal, with more bodies littering backstage than in front of the camera.

So ABC has replaced Ron Carlivati, head writer of “General Hospital.” They’ve endured three months of sinking ratings without a turnaround. During his reign, Carlivati had very high ratings, was credited with saving the show from cancellation, and brought back a lot of favorite actors who’d been treated badly during the preceding decade.

But everyone burns out, and this was Carlivati’s turn. It’s hard to imagine writing a soap– five days a week, 40 or so characters, some of whom contractually have to be on all the time even if there’s nothing for them to do. And someone has to remember what happened when, otherwise you get people coming back from the dead without organs, or houses revisited that recently exploded.

I do tune in to “General Hospital” occasionally, when the news is slow on CNN or the box office numbers are still coming in. I do love Finola Hughes, but she took the summer off. Genie Francis is back, so it feels like old times. Anthony Geary is leaving on Monday after 37 years, but I think he’ll be back.

Oh well, soaps are old news when you see the crazy people on the court shows coming in with man bites dog stories. In five years they will probably be gone, but you never know. My guess is, Carlivati will back before that. At least he brought in Donna Mills. He gets a lot of thanks.

This got cut off: Carlivati is replaced by Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman, two smart veteran soap scribes. They’ve got to clean house, get rid of a bunch of extraneous characters who never gelled, and somehow restore heroine Elizabeth to sainthood. I do hope they retain some of Carlivati’s hip humor, though. He always threw in funny one liners from the real world.

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