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'General Hospital' Showrunner Replaced With 'One Life to Live' Vet ... Sign of Soapocalypse?

by Chris Harnick, posted Dec 1st 2011 1:00PM
General Hospital Showrunner ShakeupIt's been a rough couple of months for soap fans. First 'One Life to Live' and 'All My Children' saw their plans to move online collapse, and now, according to a report from Vulture, Jill Farren Phelps, the longtime showrunner for 'General Hospital,' is leaving the series. Phelps is being replaced by 'One Life to Live' veteran Frank Valenti.

ABC confirmed the news. Valenti will be joined on the soap by Ron Carlivati as head writer, both appointments are effective Jan. 9, 2012.

"Frank and Ron's creativity, passion and outstanding leadership will be a welcome addition to the cast and crew, as well as viewers and longtime fans," Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime, said in a statement. "As creative leaders in the industry, I am very excited for their arrival to 'General Hospital,' and their dedication to the genre will certainly invigorate the daytime drama that has been part of pop culture and the TV landscape for many years."

Valenti was signed to move online with 'One Life to Live,'
but after Prospect Park halted plans to bring the soap back to life, Valenti became available again. Vulture reports Valenti has been known to bring his soaps in under budget and helped 'One Life to Live' maintain steady ratings as almost all other soaps dropped.

"I look forward to this next exciting chapter working with the wonderful cast and crew of 'General Hospital,'" Valentini said in a statement. "This is an incredible opportunity for me to extend my passion and expertise for daytime television as I continue my relationship with DATG and become part of an extraordinary team in 2012."

The future of 'General Hospital' is in question. Katie Couric's talk show, 'Katie,' is coming to ABC in fall 2012, set for the 3PM ET hour in key markets, bumping 'GH.' Why change showrunners with such an uncertain future? That's the million dollar question.

Phelps joined 'General Hospital' in 2001. Prior to her time in Port Charles, Phelps served as executive producer on 'One Life to Live,' 'Another World,' 'Guiding Light' and 'Santa Barbara.' She's been nominated for 14 Daytime Emmy Awards and won six times. Additionally, Phelps is credited with bringing James Franco to the soap.

Starting January, 'General Hospital' will be the only soap on ABC. 'All My Children' has already been replaced by 'The Chew' and 'One Life to Live' will end on Fri., Jan. 13. 'The Revolution' starts Mon., Jan. 16.

Tell us: What do you think of ABC's shakeup?

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I think it's strange.

March 22 2012 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have watched One Life to Live for 38 1/2 years. Now, ABC is taking it off the air. I will not be watching The Revolution. I will not give ABC the air wave time for another boring talk/reality show. I have tried to watch The Chew over the past few days, and I have not made it through an episode yet. If that is indicative to The Revolution it will fail as well. ABC should have been proud to keep a legacy like One Life to Live on the air. That soap was passed to me from my mother, then from me to my daughter, and now on to my gradaughter...we all loved the show...ABC you let many of us down, so now we can just change the channel as well. ~Sorry.

January 13 2012 at 3:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have been watching One Life to Live for 35 years now. I have a daughter in veterinarian school and another in her 2nd year of undergraduate school and we all enjoy this show. I look forward to it everyday and will make sure that I am home in time to watch either on ABC or soapnet. I don't believe there is any other show that I am so compelled to watch. I think this is a big mistake and I believe ABC will regret it. I do not have any respect for ABC anymore.

January 02 2012 at 1:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I have watched One Life to Live my whole life. I record it everyday. I am so upset about them going off the air. I think I might just have to stop watching ABC all together. All these reality shows and talk shows are driving me carzy. Nothing is on TV worth watching.

December 16 2011 at 12:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Karen Kleinman

Unions are terrible. They demand SO MUCH for their members that when the needs can't be met, the shows die. I hate unions now. That is so disgusting, when people can get millions of dollars for each show, and the show is run EVERY day of the weekday. Of COURSE the station has to get rid of the shows. It's because of the GREED of the unions and actors. As a special ed teacher, when I used to work, the most I got was $3500 a month at the highest. Not a million per day. That is just EVIL with our economy the way it is.

December 15 2011 at 4:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen Kleinman

The writing is on the wall. It is spelled: B A N K R U P T C Y for channel 7.

December 15 2011 at 4:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen Kleinman

After One Life to Live dies, my watching channel 7 will also die out. I have better things to do than watch a bunch of people with no purpose talk about things that are 1) of no interest to me, 2) unhealthy foods and lifestyles, 3) stupid.

December 15 2011 at 4:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen Kleinman

It sounds as if SOMEONE is about to declare bankruptcy. It is so much CHEAPER to have a non-scripted talk show with only a few actors than a whole soap opera with many characters. I think with the invent of internet, nearly ALL channels will eventually go under. Too bad. One Life to Live was among the most creative of all shows. I hope someone gets smart and makes a book out of "Roxy-isms". Those sayings of hers are so funny! Why didn't the channel think of just changing actors to cheaper ones? I'm sure they all have understudies. We could adjust.

December 15 2011 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe I'm missing something. The only soap ABC plans to keep on the air is GH. Presumably, that's because there is high enough viewership and low enough costs. One Life to Live was cancelled, despite, as Vulture reports above, "Valenti has been known to bring his soaps in under budget and helped 'One Life to Live' maintain steady ratings as almost all other soaps dropped." So, now ABC is replacing the Executive Producer of the soap they kept as their "best" choice with the Executive Producer who did his job well, but was cancelled anyway. ABC, those other shows may be cheaper to produce, but aren't you losing advertising revenue when your viewership falls?

December 03 2011 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it is terrible and won't watch anything on ABC never again. We have enough of those stupid reality shows. I grew up with GH and they should just leave it alone and let the soap watchers have something sane to watch.

December 03 2011 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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