This holiday season fans have just one wish for General Hospital. Fans wish that the ABC network will not replace their favorite soap opera with a cheap imitation. A number of soaps fizzled down into the drainpipe like suds, washed away by shrinkage in viewership, while production costs continue to threaten to flush even more soaps down the toilet. And all for what? Another reality show?
A recent article published in the New York Post reports that in spite of a recent spike in ratings, ABC has plans for remaking General Hospital into its own reality show, at a hospital with real nurses and doctors, without even a prescription pad for a plot. Apparently their plan is to save on costs by erasing their reliance on unionized actors and script writers. But this concept of cameras rolling live at some hospital featuring the lives of real nurses and doctors is a gamble for the network. The show will likely loose loyal soap viewers without gaining a new dependable audience and mirror the ratings drop as seen by The Revolution.
After all, General Hospital is neither a soap about a hospital nor just about the nurses and doctors there. In fact, the soap has been dubbed “General Mobspital” at one time when the focus was squarely on the war between Sonny Corrintos and the Zacharas’. The writers are doing a fantastic job now integrating key characters from the cancelled soap, One Life to Live, and moving away from mob storylines.
Although not all fans may agree with which storyline is best right now, or which actor or actress should stay or go, or who should return, perhaps the writers can do themselves a favor and not kill off so many characters in the future. Of course, that’s provided General Hospital isn’t shot dead in its own future. Characters like Nicholas Cassadine, Lucky Spencer, and Rick Lansing are just out of town, while Matt Hunter is in jail for a crime he likely committed in self-defense, and Jason Morgan’s body has not been found. Those characters can be returned easily without re-writing soap history or leading fans to burn down yet another suspension bridge of disbelief.
Currently one feature a reality show can never replace a soap with is a well scripted cliff hanger. Viewers can see how a situation will resolve when they tune in again the next day. Unfortunately, whether or not General Hospital will tune in for another year is the biggest cliff hanger of all.