Deep Soap: Will Katie Couric Replace ‘General Hospital’ on September 10?

by | March 16, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Deep Soap

Katie Couric (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Katie Couric Talk Show Will Launch September 10

Katie Couric’s new talk show, “Katie” now has a premiere date: Monday, September 10. That means that Friday, September 7 will be the final telecast of either “General Hospital,” “The Revolution” or “The Chew.”

The cancellation of GH seemed like an inevitability a month ago, but if reports that Couric has requested that  she not have the low-rated “Revolution” as a lead-in are true, the could soap could get a stay of execution. According to Daytime Confidential’s Jamey Giddens, ABC will decide which show will be cancelled within the next few weeks.

If ever there was time for a fan campaign, this is it. So watch GH, send toy ambulances to ABC headquarters, and persuade any Nielsen families that you know to start watching.

Robin’s Funeral Is The Definition of a Good Cry

General Hospital” proves that it is possible to turn around a struggling soap in just a few weeks. I marvel at how, in less than a month, the show has gone from unwatchable to save the episodes on my DVR so I can see them again. I am not sure it’s sustainable. The combination of the aftermath of Robin’s death and the “One Life to Live” crossover provided for unusually dramatic, meaty episodes, but Team Cartini has yet to show us what their longterm non-Llanview storylines are going to be. (I am hoping DID Kate will come to an end once everyone figures out that she shot out the tires on Anthony’s car, causing the car wreck that killed Cole and Hope, and she is sent to St. Anne’s mental hospital for treatment.)

The Sonny-Todd-John confrontation was epic. It was like an excellent fan fic that was actually produced. Todd (Roger Howarth) vowed to get revenge on Sonny (Maurice Benard). Todd mispronounced Sonny’s last name while pointing a gun at him. Sonny turned into a snitch the moment the cops showed up and demanded Todd be arrested for attempted murder, even though he never fired his gun. Carly (Laura Wright) and Blair (Kassie DePaiva) compared notes on the two violent ex-husbands that they just can’t get over. It was a Socratic lesson for the audience: what is it that makes Todd awesome and Sonny loathsome? The answer, for me, is that Todd suffers the consequences for 99 percent of his mistakes, while Sonny gets away with everything. Also, Todd’s schemes are a lot less likely to hurt innocent people. It’s amazing what a difference a change of setting makes. On OLTL, I was usually annoyed by John’s brand of emo self-righteousness. On GH, he was a breath of fresh air. He is a cop who has a demonstrated ability to catch criminals — albeit slowly. He has no affection for mobsters, Toddsters or anyone else who commits felonies on a regular basis. His backstory with Sonny turned out to be utterly believable: when he was an FBI agent — established canon for his character — he failed to make a case against Sonny.

Then there was Robin’s (Kimberly McCullough) funeral. Remember when Jake’s funeral happened off-camera? And Alan’s? And pretty much every character of any significance from the past few years? The new regime understands that viewers want and need to see the service in order to make peace with the death of a beloved character. Other than the absence of Robert, it was perfect. Jason Thompson‘s performance is one of the best portrayals of grief that I have seen in any medium. The decision to show what a struggle it was for him to even get up and go to the funeral was brilliant writing. His visions of Robin — lying next to him in bed, in the shower, dressed up — were poignant, not cloying.

I loved the slideshow of photos of Robin from childhood to the present that were on a monitor in the back of the church. It was a great tribute to McCullough’s decades on the show, and it felt like something that a family might actually create for a funeral. Everyone who cared about Robin was given a chance to eulogize her. Mac, Anna, Patrick, and as much as I wanted to throw him out of the church, Sonny. Earlier in the week, we got Edward, who I assume was not there for budgetary reasons. We’ve also got Maxie, who now somehow remembers accidentally starting the gas leak even though she did not notice when she did it, feeling a lot guiltier than Luke did for running over his own grandson while drunk. Port Charles seemed like a community full of human beings who, however flawed, are compassionate, loving people, the way it used to be in the 1990s.

As I fought to avoid becoming a sobbing mess, I enjoyed the brief moment of levity that came from Jason’s Handguns magazine. That was a sight gag worthy of “The Simpsons.” “One Life to Live’s” hilarious prop department seems to have migrated with Cartini.