News - Soap Buzz

46 September 19th, 2017 Barbara Bloom Joins The Writing Team At GH!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Looks like former Daytime Programming executive and soap writer, Barbara Bloom is back at her old stomping grounds at ABC!

According to an item from Daytime Confidential, Bloom is writing outlines for the citizens of Port Charles at General Hospital.

When daytime fans last saw Bloom, she was the Senior Vice-President at CBS Daytime and was very involved in bringing Let’s Make a Deal and The Talk to the network following the cancellations of Guiding Light and As the World Turns.  She was also heavily involved with The Young and the Restless, where she brought Lynn Marie Latham on to the series as EP and head-writer.

When she left CBS in 2011, Bloom said in a statement: “I’ve had the great fortune to work with an extraordinary group of executives, producers and talent who make CBS #1 in daytime. With CBS Daytime teed up for success and stability for many years ahead, the timing feels right for me to make a change now and seek something different. The dramas have multi-year renewals, ‘The Price is Right’ has great momentum with Drew, ‘Let’s Make Deal’ with Wayne Brady is firmly established and ‘The Talk’ is a growing franchise.  I’ve been a writer, a producer and a programming executive, and now I’m excited to see what the next chapter has to offer.”

At ABC, Bloom began her daytime career journey in the on-air promotion department and soon became the series executive for One Life to Live, and then General Hospital. Barbara was very instrumental in GH’s spinoff, Port Charles, where she became the series head writer.

So, what do you think of Barbara Bloom joining the writing team at GH? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  1. Jimmy says:

    I’m not sure crediting her with bringing Lynn Marie Latham to Y&R is a good thing, considering the LML tenure was a colossal disaster. Her stories were plot-driven, nonsensical and destroyed several legacy characters in order to fit her machinations.

    However, GH is in desperate needs of a redirection, so hopefully she will have some say in the future of the show. Now that Steve Burton is back and Sweeps stories are beginning, hopefully it will be a positive change and steer GH in the right direction.

    Reply

    Iakovos replied

    I agree with that Latham association, Jimmy! Ugh.

    Seems the names just recirculate in daytime, yet the genre seems to crave for new directions. Circles!

    Reply

    Max Daddee replied

    I agree with Jimmy’s comment regarding GH needing redirection. They need to shift their focus back to learning how to creatively write and develop storylines for the existing cast members. I see yet another article on another actress joining GH. Good grief. Bring back Rebecca Buddig and Robert Palmer Watkins. Stop with putting hope in these newbies.

    Reply

  2. Jimh says:

    Time will tell…

    Reply

  3. Linda says:

    Oh my , please find a way to restore GH to its glory

    Reply

  4. su0000 says:

    Bloom joining the writing team at GH..
    Well, it could not get any worse than it is so hopefully has has the magic the turn GH back to the Real GH the GH was Not like the other soaps and bring GH back to its uniqueness..

    GH has been turned into entertainment for the Nursing Homes ..

    I hope ‘Chris’ and Barbara can revive GH ..
    (( Shelly has all but destroyed GH by redeeming everyone and eliminating all the bad guys, the characters that once brought the chills and thrills ))

    BB King / The Thrill Is Gone … should be GH’s theme song !

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    “Entertainment for the nursing homes”? S’pain, please? What mean you, su?
    “Redeeming everyone”? Again, explain, please? Don’t think they can redeem either Ava nor Franco–though, I’ll admit, they’ve tried.
    And they’re always trying to redeem Sonny; they can’t do it.
    They go down that road to making a character black; then they paint the character into a corner. Then they decide to keep the character and “redeem” it. No can do.
    Can’t have it both ways. You either write a complex character and write many conflicts for that character that have the character make moral choices that may or may not set the character on the road to “redemption” or you write cardboard, one-dimensional character and/or cartoon characters. You have to choose. Granted, the former is the hardest to do (and, in the classic storylines, the writers seemed willing to invest, and allow the audience to invest in the characters–not so much currently).

    Reply

  5. Nikki says:

    Isn’t she the one who came up with the short story arcs for Port Charles? While it started out as a fresh approach, wasn’t that what ultimately led to its demise?

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    I didn’t get to watch Port Charles, but I remember that it won some awards and had outstanding characters/plots. Maybe she’ll do the same for GH.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi Nancy..
    Bloom is writing outlines for characters..
    I don’t know how much power that gives her creation of stories..

  6. Jovin says:

    Soaps want to be relevant and watched. Could we hire someone under the age of 60 to write for these shows? No offence to this woman or her age. Soaps are on the chopping block, they need an infusion of young new writers. They have needed that for decades! I go on YouTube and watch the credits of say, a show like Search for Tomorrow (which went off the air 31 years ago!) and I still see some of the same names in the credits!!! Soaps need a fresh perspective and they aren’t getting it by recycling the same senior citizen staff!

    Reply

    Reed replied

    Jovin, well said…although you could have taken it a little easier on the AARP set, of which many of us fall into that demo. I’m choosing to see this as an intriguing hire. Yes, her 2003 – 2011 tenure as SVP of Daytime Programming at CBS saw her preside over the cancellation of both Guiding Light and As the World Turns, something that would otherwise give me pause, but this hire should strengthen the ranks of our show–if not create a little drama behind the scenes in the process. Barbara’s been one of the suits, responsible for an entire daytime line-up, a heady position to be sure, but I’ll hang my hat on her previous track record at ABC, being the VP in charge of GH and a co-creator of Port Charles, among her many other roles—there’s history there, including in promotion and advertising, and I’d like to think she’ll be a champion for our show once again. The timing is curious though, on the heels of having just named Chris Van Etten Co-Head Writer, a hire from within that I was certainly not opposed to (if this heavy hitter was available, why wouldn’t they have installed her, making more of a splash? And why is she only writing outlines at GH, unless they’re easing her back in before assuming greater responsibility?). Without knowing who brought her in, if it was Frank’s doing, I give him credit for being secure enough to go out and get a heavyweight, “best player available” type to buttress the show, when it’s the EP that’s always embattled, getting it from all sides, and constantly looking over their shoulder. So, I see this as a good hire, we’re getting a seasoned executive as well as a creative type, someone that can be a strong presence and creative force, someone who’s done it all before at all levels. [Barbara] Now go make our show better and protect it from the suits at ABC! Having pulled the plug before yourself (twice), making this medium an even more select group, don’t give them a reason…and leave your hatchet at home!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi Jovin ..
    I’ve said much the same for a long time..
    The GH writers write for people in nursing homes haaa!
    Really, the writers are older and live in that world and write of it..
    No one has the latests new Tech, none of them, they are still in the 80′s..

    We desperately need Young writers to bring the soaps into the 21st century.
    Media has drastically changed since the 80′s..

    bwa, no one even has an Echo..
    and most of their hair styles and wigs are from the 80′s ..
    For most of them being in the business world not one has an Apple Watch, what the heck..
    Sharons coffee house looks like a hoarder’s garage sale .. bwahaa

    Reply

    Rebecca1 replied

    Hi su…well, if you read my posts you KNOW we differ on the age angle! ;)

    First, writing is a craft. It’s about the human condition. Soaps are about people, families, love, hate, betrayal, sex, crime, melodrama, friendship…all universal and all timeless/ageless.

    Soaps are also a genre..and a tradition. If we were to infuse it with “everything” modern would that make a difference in the stories? I don’t need to see or hear “Alexa” or “Echo” for a story to be up-to-date! I don’t need to see the newest mac or samsung tab and I don’t need to hear my favorite songs or see the newest club scene on a soap.

    GH and the remaining three have been on for decades…and they continue on BECAUSE of that. There’s a history, a style of writing, of storytelling…continuity of characters, families, etc. I see nothing “old” about any of them. They’re just…”soapy.”

    Wanna know where I see modern tech? The Flash.

    Wanna know where there’s great stories with no tech? Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan, Walking Dead, Outlander, Poldark.

    Great stories have nothing to do with “things.”

    GH is a mix of older and younger characters. All have cell phones, computers and tablets. Really…what else do we need to see?

    All the younger characters are great looking and look of this generation. Valerie, Chrissie, Molly, Kiki, Nell, Dillon…I don’t see any 80s wigs or looks anywhere. LOL…do you???

    If I remember correctly you loved the online versions because you thought it great they could throw in curse words whenever they wanted. I hated them!!!! Not because they could use the words…I kinda throw em in way too much myself…but because they threw them in at every sentence just because they could! It was so contrived it was hideous. Excruciating…Couldn’t watch the stupidity of it. Seemed so forced.

    There’s nothing wrong with so many of the things you like…but they’re not these soaps. And I HATE the Apple watch!!! And I was a mac chick from the beginning.

    Gadgets don’t make a soap. Nor does hair, clothes, etc…although again, there’s nothing out-of-date on GH that I see.

    As for younger writers? It really depends what stories GH wants to tell. If they want to deviate from what makes GH, GH, then they can get younger writers to write for the younger characters and take them out to clubs, bars, co-working spaces like we have in New York, etc. But if you want a totally different vibe it’s just not going to be GH…the show that many have watched for decades and expect to see. They’re not written for people just coming on board; they’re written for those who have followed them for years with the hope that others will jump on board and care enough about the characters to follow their lives/stories.

    Seasoned writers are in their 40s and up…both on TV and film. Not a wig among em as far as I know… :)

    Tomas Torquemada replied

    I agree. We need younger audiences but the juvenile storylines meant to draw them in are universally horrible.

    Young audiences will connect to legacy characters provided they have the things that interest them. They need shows with energy and strong forward momentum. No flashbacks. No year long What Happened To Morgan. No improbable gee which one is Jason for the next year. Stories and characters advance swiftly.

    The night time soaps on CW understand it’s a different narrative arc for younger viewers. This the generation that downloads the song they like but not the rest of the album. The youth storylines on the final four shows don’t sustain any interest. And it shows in the ratings for the demographics.

    Reply

    Kit replied

    Yes, but the problem is that soap writing is a very specific form of storytelling, and with the demise of opportunities for the genre, there is very little opportunity for younger writers to rise up through the ranks and develop that talent. Much easier when you have a set beginning, middle, and end. With soaps, to quote Agnes Nixon, “the stories never end,” and most contemporary writers don’t learn how to project stories years in advance as she and Bill Bell did for so long–and so well.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    “An infusion of young, new writers” does not ensure good, current, or absorbing story lines. Quite the contrary. Writing is, and always will be, about craft. You learn craft by honing it. An outstanding example is Margaret Atwood (she wrote the handmaiden’s tale in the ’80′s–won a slew of Emmys this year). How long has she been writing? A l-o-n-g time, and she is still writing and still relevant. And, she had a vision in the 80′s that is still timeless today, witness the tale.

    A prime example in daytime still stands out: Douglas Marland. Ask Genie Francis about him. She expounds on his writing often and proffers it as an example of what good writing should be. And how old was he when he began? And how long did his writing tenure last? His writing had vision, scope, and was of a timeless (read current) nature.

    Reply

    Jovin replied

    I didn’t necessarily mean young as in 21. I meant new and fresh. Like when Hogan Sheffer came onto As The World Turns in 2000! His work was awesome!! Even some of the fan fiction I read here is better than what some soap writers crank out. What they do is tireless, exhaustive work and we fans really are too hard on them much of the time.

    Kevin C replied

    Nancy, Douglas Marland in my opinion was by far the best daytime drama headwriter…I so miss him and what he did to show’s that he wrote for…

  7. Maureen says:

    Seems like another possible All About Eve scenario. Remember when Mal Young joined Y&R? Who knows. I let myself get excited for today’s show and it did not fail to disappoint-and so much convoluted sewage to swim through that at times it is more exhausting than entertaining. Also so many hirings after firing Rebecca Budig-but am excited to see Jessica Tuck. Does seem odd though- taking a breakdown writer job when she has been at the top-

    Reply

    toscanti replied

    Well said, it is a red flag when a leader takes a step in the opposite direction. In soaps, those who can do and those who can not write.

    Reply

  8. KM says:

    Well this doesn’t bode well. I’ve had an uncomfortable feeling all summer that the whole point of ABC’s “Summer Fun And Games” was actually to test the game shows as a possible GH replacement show.

    I hope GH can continue to survive for a while longer but they’re definitely in a steep downward spiral with the biggest problem being that the show has been so gutted history that there’s not much left to hang on to.

    I understand the budget is very tight but while the contract cast is smaller than it’s ever been, the show seems to have turned into one big revolving door of short arcs and short term “stunt guest stars” whose only real purpose is to try to showcase and/or whitewash all the contract characters added in the last 5 years that were never really very well conceived or developed from the start.

    Maybe a simpler way to say it is that GH can’t continue to hire budget draining “big names” without having given much thought to or having any real clue who the character is supposed to be beyond that initial big “shocking twist.”

    Well thought out characters and stories are and have always been the backbone of soaps and exactly HOW new characters have turned into beloved character that had stood the test of time.

    I can’t say I’ve seen much of that from GH in the last 5 years. I hope they can correct course before the whole ship goes down but from what I know BB I’m not sure that’s what she’s going for.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    It’s not always about the budget. Remember classic GH? The budget was indeed tight. I have read articles where the late Emily McLaughin (Nurse Jessie/star of early GH) where she famously talked about doing their own makeup and wearing their own clothes. And their salaries were anything to “write home about” either!
    But they surely put on a good show. Good writing, good acting, good story lines still are the prerequisites to memorable, classic soaps.
    I still remember the characters vividly, their story lines–and even some of the gripping scenes. Not so today. Ask me about recent character, story lines, and scenes and I am hard-pressed to recall may clearly. They all run together and meld into sameness.
    Remember all the movies where they put on the show on a shoestring? Still can apply today. Craft, craft, craft. “The play’s [still is] the thing/”

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    And look at some of the classic movies where budget was limited. And there were no CGI’s, etc. But the movie (think classic black and white) was great. It was all about dialogue (think craft, writing, acting).

    dmr replied

    I think when General Hospital began, the only two sets it had were the nurse’s station and Dr. Hardy’s office. (?) I have always said, cut the bloated cast, stop bringing on new, recurring characters with no ties to the characters, and focus on the core characters/families of the show. Why bring on a new character when we see them one day, and then do not see them for weeks? It makes no sense. By then, I have forgotten all about them, and I have no vested interest in their storyline.

    Steve replied

    GH was near cancellation in the mid 1970’s due to poor writing and a cheap looking production. Gloria Monty was given a short time period and a budget increase to fix the show. She built the iconic hospital hub and focused the show on the younger characters.

    Frank has been a wizard with the budget and the show does have some of the best sets in daytime. It does need to focus on the younger characters more. The shrinking contract cast is primarily above 45. Michael, Nell and Kiki are the only ones under 30. Perhaps the future is an entirely recurring cast? Or, shorter term contracts. But, if the show can not afford to keep a young legacy character (Dillon) on contract because they have to overpay more senior actors, it’s not a good sign for the future.

  9. Barbara from Atlanta says:

    I feel sorry for GH viewers if this is true. I know nothing about Bloom’s writing ability but the hits that the CBS soaps suffered under her tenure were horrible — GL reduced to remote sets in a New Jersey town that looked cheap before the show was cancelled and put out of its misery; ATWT butchered by sub-par writing, bad casting decisions, and emphasis on new, uninteresting characters until it was tossed into a scrap heap like GL; and Y&R cans veteran producers and writers to bring on Lynn Marie Latham who gave us “stellar” plots like Brad and artwork stolen by Nazis and the senseless killing of John Abbott.

    I still do not think Y&R has recovered from the damage that was done during the Bloom period. I still miss ATWT.

    The ONLY good news in this is that Bloom (for now) is getting no where near Y&R.

    With marginal scribe Jean Passanante managing to remain employed despite a professional history littered with cancelled soaps, the firing of Sally Sussman mere months after she finally returned to Y&R, and this news, is a soap viewer suppose to have any confidence that this genre will survive??

    Reply

    Barbara from Atlanta replied

    An additional comment: Yes, I’ve read that Sally Sussman “retired” from Y&R but I find that hard to believe. I am no insider but I bet she (and Y&R veteran writer Kay Alden) either were fired or fled a situation where good writing was impossible. Just my opinion.

    Reply

    Michael (not Fairman) replied

    I agree on both points, Barbara: Bloom’s “work” (I would call it “demolition,” given the sorry shape that both GL and ATWT were in by the time they were cancelled) at CBS when she was in charge of the daytime lineup does not make me anxious to see what she will do as a member of the GH writing team, and there is no way in Hellman’s mayonnaise that Alden and Sussman “retired” that soon after they were hired–either they were fired or they took the first train out of Genoa City once it became apparent they could not do what was expected of them.

    dmr replied

    Oh, what happened to Guiding Light was an embarrassment-a travesty. That show was hard to watch-no sets, no make-up, no wardrobe-no nothing. I remember watching the show while in school (before the budget cuts) and I really liked it. Then, one day I turned it on, and was I in for a surprise! It was unwatchable.

    Reply

    Tomas Torquemada replied

    Guiding Light was a family favorite and my grandma/mom say they learned their English (first radio then TV) from the Bauer’s.

    The show was gutted. Those last few years were a cruel travesty. Truly accomplished actors, one generation after the next.

    She’s a wrecking ball in human form

    Barbara from Atlanta replied

    You’re not kidding about the GL budget cuts.

    I’d bet the budget in its last year barely covered one hand-held camera operated by an unpaid intern, a flash light, and a stick of gum for each actor appearing in the scene.

    Watching Y&R decline over the past decade has been hard. It also was difficult to observe what happened to ATWT in its final years. Neither compare to what was done to GL. Its final state was so painful to watch that GL really wasn’t cancelled, it was euthanized!!! I learned one thing from viewing the last year of GL —- A soap can suffer a worse fate than cancellation!!!

    Kevin C replied

    Totally agree 100% DMR…GL in it’s heyday when Douglas Marland was writing it was the best and I was so addicted to the show at that time that I didn’t want anyone to call, lol…

  10. Scott (ATWT Fan) says:

    I’m still holding out to see what Altman and Van Etten can come up with, but I say this: I am in firm believe that Disney ABC Television Group should be trying to secure Lorraine Broderick or Sri Rao to write General Hospital.

    Reply

    4ever DAYS replied

    Hey, Scott, because you’re a fan of GH who clearly was a fan of ATWT, I thought I’d let you and others know, if you didn’t already know, that GH has just surpassed ATWT, making GH the second longest running televised US soap opera of all time!

    Reply

    Scott (ATWT Fan) replied

    Thank you for stating the obvious (that I am already aware of! ;-) ), and actually, it doesn’t surpass As the World Turns until April 1, 2018, when it makes it to its fifty-fifth year. They’re both tied, at fifty-four years each.

    Steve replied

    Rao would be a great GH head writer. The Robert Cancer storyline on Night Shift was well done and showed that Rao appreciated the characters and history of GH.

    Reply

    Scott (ATWT Fan) replied

    I wasn’t sold on Sri Rao becoming a head writer, but having re-watched Night Shift online, I felt it was really written in a solid and balanced way, and wouldn’t mind his return. However, I doubt it will happen, as Rao has a wildly successful career in Bollywood.

  11. Trish says:

    Please don’t let her bring the vampires back to Port Charles!

    Reply

  12. clb says:

    I know that GH is gone now with soap killer Bloom on the team! I will not look over the fact that she cancelled GL and ATWT. It is now very obvious that ABC plans to cancel GH. Goodbye to ABC’s final daytime drama…

    Reply

  13. Tracy says:

    Soap fans need to not watch any show on ABC Daytime so GH’s ratings don’t look as bad! As soon as ABC finds something cheaper to produce with better ratings GH will be cancelled. Bloom being hired is bad for GH! Bloom is a soap killer!

    Reply

  14. K/kay says:

    General Hospital fans from everything I have read I do not think this woman is good for your show! She is the woman responsible for two shows dying she helped and she put LML in charge at Y&R and kicked the Bell regime out and it has never recovered.

    Reply

  15. mfarris70 says:

    Order the headstone and start digging a grave for GH.

    Reply

  16. Omar says:

    I doubt she will make a difference..GH is just stagnated and not much fun to watch..It has been like this for a few years…The last true good run was when Ron/Frank came over when OLTL was cancelled..The show was good for about 1 year or two and started to fall apart after that.

    Not just GH, but all the soaps in general (Days has slowly become watchable again)..The British soaps are SO much more entertaining..Hollyoaks is a good soap..Solid acting, good writing with storylines that make you tune in day in and day out!! Coronation Street is solid too!

    Reply

  17. Reed should watch and not comment says:

    Wow, I guess I should retract my comment from above, as it seems like I’m in the minority–I hope this isn’t the death knell, as some have suggested. I choose to be optimistic because of Barbara’s past association with GH, her giving birth to the Port Charles spinoff, and her later attempt to save it. The “something to prove” factor can also be a great motivator. The show is not a disaster by any means, but all it takes is one well-placed executive needing to justify their existence to spell the end. I’ll continue to hang my hat on the “venerable show” theory and how it’s touched generations and continues to reach millions each day. It’s their job to continue to make it work and attract the audience. As a premier entertainment and media conglomerate, if the Disney brain-trust can’t keep this wonderful legacy going, then it will be a sad day indeed. We can only hope for the same passion and energy producing the show as they expend fiercely protecting their copyrights. God forbid we should have a place to go to find random episodes that we may have missed or that were preempted…abc.go.com is so generous and user-friendly with their one week of episodes, otherwise, time to ante up!

    Reply

  18. JK says:

    GH …STOP BRINGING IN ONE NEW CHARACTER EVERY WEEK….DO SOME GOOD WRITING FOR MANY WONDERFUL ACTORS ALREADY ON THE CANVAS…THIS IS GETTING OLD…….

    Reply

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