Deep Soap: Could ‘General Hospital’ Become a Primetime Telenovela?

by | January 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Deep Soap

Steve Burton on General Hospital (ABC)

ABC Mulling Turning “General Hospital” Into Summer Telenovela

Could “General Hospital” become a summer primetime series if it is indeed canceled to make room for Katie Couric’s new talk show? TV Guide reports that ABC is considering turning the soap into a summer telenovela.  An ABC insider is claims that the network is considering turning GH into a, “short-run prime-time summer series, similar to Spanish-language networks’ telenovelas.”  For ABC it would be an opportunity to create inexpensive original primetime programming, since an episode of GH costs approximately two hundred thousand dollars to produce, about a tenth of a typical hour of primetime network scripted television. There is no word about whether GH would be turned into a true telenovela airing five episodes a week or a weekly series or for how many weeks it would run. This move would not be unprecedented. For two years, a primetime  “General Hospital” spin off, “Night Shift” aired during the summer on SOAPnet. During the 1980s and 1990s, networks occasionally aired special primetime episodes of daytime soaps during the summer.

Watch The Latest Episode of “General Hospital”:

Details of “One Life To Live”  from Kassie and Kristen

Two of the “One Life To Live” actors who are moving to “General Hospital” have revealed more information about their appearances on the soap. According to Kassie DePaiva, Blair’s stint on GH is short term for now. DePaiva wrote on her Facebook page, “I must say the the ads and press release by ABC is a little misleading and I feel I need to clarify to all my friends, family, and fans that are emailing and calling wondering when I’m moving to Los Angeles. Frank Valentini, GH’s EP, asked me to come out for a couple of shows in February and I’m thrilled. Not only will I get to work with a fantastic cast…. but a little piece of OLTL will live on. That makes me very happy. And who knows where it will lead. Once the Mannings come to town anything is possible.”  So, Blair and Todd (Roger Howarth) may be popping up just to wrap up their cliffhanger from the OLTL finale and reveal how Todd learned that he did not kill Victor. That ought to assuage the fears of GH fans who are concerned that OLTL characters are going to take over the show. On the other hand, it will disappoint OLTL fans who were looking forward to the continuing saga of Todd and Blair. I echo the hopes of numerous fans who that there will be a scene where Sonny (Maurice Benard) tells T&B the sad story of how he was locked in a closet as a child and they shut him down by pointing out that they have lived through much, much worse.

Kristen Alderson (Starr) tweeted “Just heard a tiny bit about my first storyline on “General Hospital”! Can’t WAIT to start filming…not this Friday but next! SO SOON!” First storyline? That implies Starr might be sticking around Port Charles for the long haul. Perhaps her character, who moved to Los Angeles to become a singer in the finale, will end up signing with L&B records? Of course, that would mean reviving L&B records, which would not be the worst thing in the world. Maybe the currently unemployed Lulu (Julie Berman) could take over the company. She has the right first initial.

“The Revolution” Debuts to Poor Ratings

One Life To Live’s” replacement, “The Revolution,” a makeover/weight loss/medical show, whose own hosts had difficulty describing it last week at the Television Critics Association panels, debuted to low ratings yesterday. According to TV Media Insights, the first episode garnered a weak 1.9/6 in the metered market ratings, which cover the 56 largest cities in the United States. Typically, ABC daytime performs better in these major markets than it does in the National Ratings which cover the entire country. (In contrast, CBS and NBC are the daytime networks of choice in smaller towns.) “The Revolution” declined by -21 percent from its lead-in “The Chew” (2.4/6). It’s also a 17 percent drop from OLTL’s year-ago performance (2.3/6).  This is certainly satisfying news for OLTL fans who have been arguing for months that daytime viewers want to see soaps, not talk shows. If “The Revolution” turns out to be a flop, it will also be good news for “General Hospital,” which is competing with it and “The Chew” for a timeslot on next season’s schedule. For comparison, the premiere episode of “The Chew” garnered strong ratings. Subsequent episodes declined, but after a few weeks the audience began to grow. “The Chew’s” ratings are now on par with those of the final year of “All My Children.” “The Revolution” may follow the same trajectory. I caught a few minutes of Tuesday’s episode of “The Revolution,” and found the content insulting. The hosts were teaching women how to eat at a salad bar apparently operating on the assumption that viewers are so ignorant that they do not know that not all salads are low in calories (does anyone really think that they will lose weight eating ham cubes and grated cheese?) Since”The Chew” is a standard cooking show, it may have wider appeal.

See Monday’s Premiere of “The Revolution”:

Soap Stars Book Primetime Roles

Two soap alums have booked guest star roles on primetime shows. OLTL’s Nic Robuck (James) is the latest daytime hunk to land a part on “Ringer,” following in the footsteps of “The Young & the Restless” Billy Miller and “All My Children’s” Justin Breuning.  According to Soaps In Depth, the role may be recurring. Is proud soap fan and alumna  Sarah Michelle Gellar, who not only stars in but is a producer on the show, doing her best to give daytime stars primetime exposure?

Lexi Ainsworth (ex-Kristina “General Hospital”) will appear on an upcoming episode of “Criminal Minds.” Tuesday, Ainsworth announced the news on her Facebook page.  “Booked “Criminal Minds!” Table read tomorrow, photoshoot on Friday and film on Monday. This is gonna be a good year.”