“General Hospital” is in the Emergency Room, and expensive transplants seem to be the diagnosis.
Word went yesterday that actors William DeVry and Emme Rylan, who’ve each been with the show seven or eight years, have been let go. It wasn’t their work that got them fired. It’s the ratings. They’re terrible.
Since returning from the pandemic break, “General Hospital”– ABC’s remaining soap– has been off by several hundred thousand viewers. Last week, they were down a “mere” 136,000 to 1.9 million from 2019. But the trend is off by about 700,000 or more over the last two years.
And what do networks and producers do when they can’t think of anything else? They start firing actors.
It doesn’t help that coming in, at the same time, are two former prime time TV stars. Kim Delaney, of “NYPD Blue” and “CSI Miami” fame, has already started. Long ago “Trapper John MD” actor Gregory Harrison arrives shortly. Delaney, at least, has soap cred from “All My Children” in the 1980s. It’s unknown whether Harrison can handle the soap workload. Neither of them was a superstar at night, but ABC must think familiar and expensive faces will give “GH” a jolt.
In DeVry’s case, I’m told, his character was being painted into a corner for dastardly deeds and will likely “die” in an explosion. (No one ever dies on soaps unless the actor actually buys the farm.) As for Rylan, there are rumors the show may reach back to the previous actress who had her role, Julie Berman, to get viewers’ attention.
There’s also a big question mark hanging over show perennial Genie Francis, who’s played Laura since Jimmy Carter was president. She’s been off screen since the pandemic, staying safe in Maine. But with the prospect of Susan Collins winning re-election, she’d be wise to get back to California.
Will there be more changes? Watch those ratings. If they keep going down, actors may be paging through their scripts to see if their characters suddenly develop a bad cough.