Sunday, May 26, 2024

“General Hospital” Celebrates 55th Anniversary by Firing 40 Year Vet Kin Shriner, No Plans for a New Deal with Genie Francis


ABC’s “General Hospital” celebrated its 55th anniversary yesterday by firing a 40 year vet, Kin Shriner. The actor had been playing Scotty Baldwin on and off since 1977.

“General Hospital,” ABC’s last soap, is clearly going through a huge budget tightening. In January they tossed Genie Francis, also a 40 year player as Laura Spencer, one half of the famous Luke and Laura.

Over the last few weeks there was hope Francis was returning to the show because she had a public lunch with executive producer Frank Valentini. After I received emails about this I called Francis’s agent, who told me in fact there was no offer and there are no deals. Francis, meantime, has been posting photos from a trip to Paris. Living well is the best revenge.

One way to kill soaps is by undermining their base, and turning off older fans. ABC already did this with “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” The idea is to strip off fan favorite actors and make the fans angry. The ratings drop and then the network has an excuse to cancel the show. It seems like ABC is moving in that direction.

It’s cheaper for them to run a talk — maybe from Roseanne or someone like that — than to produce a soap.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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