News - Soap Buzz

53 July 29th, 2017 Chris Van Etten Named Co-Head Writer Of General Hospital!

Courtesy/ABC

A current Daytime Emmy Award-winning member of the GH writing team, the talented Chris Van Etten, has been named the new co-head writer of General Hospital working alongside of co head-writer, Shelly Altman.

Outgoing GH co-head writer, Jean Passanante, revealed the co head-writer promotion for Van Etten when answering an inquiry from a GH fan’s tweet on who would be replacing her, since this week marked Jean’s last day at GH.  As previously announced by the enduring soap scribe, Jean has decided for now to step away from the soaps and has retired.

In her tweet, Passanante stated: “Shelly will have Chris Van Etten as co-head, and he’s a lifelong fan and brilliant writer.”

Van Etten got his start on the beloved One Life to Live back in 2001 and worked his way up through the ranks to where he was an associate head writer, and breakdown writer and had been with the series all the way through till One Life went off the air.

Chris joined the team at General Hospital then under head writer Ron Carlivati in 2012 and has been there ever since.

So what do you think of Chris Van Etten’s promotion to co head-writer?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  1. Joan Collins says:

    I think it is fantastic! I always love the shows that he has written!

    Reply

  2. Mister Media says:

    I know nothing about him but I hope that he brings some balance and fresh ideas to the show. Friday’s episode was one of the worst things I have ever had to endure as a loyal fan and avid viewer. It was basically 40 minutes of Sonny in a hole, praising himself endlessly by enumerating the wonderful qualities that his children were lucky enough to have had him pass on to them. It could not have been any funnier if it had been intended as satire, but sadly it was not. I guess that since every other character seems to have done it, all that was left was to have Sonny himself extol his unending list of virtues. Why, the man could be a saint if he wasn’t a murdering thug of a mob boss! So, come on Chris Van Etten – write us out of the current mess of a show we’re being being forced to endure. Long live GH!

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    Amen!

    Reply

    Charday replied

    Thanks for posting this–that Friday’s episode was 40 mins of Sonny. Now I can just delete it off the DVR without bothering to FF through it.

    Reply

    Celia replied

    Same thing today, Charday.
    I know I sound like a broken record; but, for heaven’s sake!!!!! Sonny went on and on about if he died, he’d, at least, see Morgan. Lordy Lord!! Even if Morgan were dead ( which he isn’t), father and Sonny would never meet in the supernatural sense.
    One woukd be “upstairs”, the other underground; Beelzebub’s habitat.

    Celia replied

    That should read: father and son.

    Shay replied

    Morgan, Morgan, Morgan! It’s always about Morgan…..

    su0000 replied

    Funny thing is…
    Sonny, himself, has killed like 5 Mobsters, that is his kill list ..
    It is Jason that did the killing..
    At least with Sonny it was always mobster against mobster it was kill or be killed..
    Sonny isn’t such a bad assed killing dude that’s Jason..
    Sonny actually saved more people from being killed then he killed , weird huh.. lol

    Reply

    Celia replied

    Su, Sonny killed AJ for no reason. Just because. No kill or be killed about it. Nah, my friend…..no excuses here.
    From what I hear, Sonny and Carly tortured AJ. I am not interested or invested in this couple, so I never bother to delve too much into Sonny’s “past”….nonetheless, I know it’s a notoriously crooked one.
    Today’s was the weirdest episode. So, this Stone guy/spirit had to come down from the heavens? ….or wherever; to show Sonny the way out?
    He already knew the way out….had actually tried to scale the wall on boxes and barrels. So what was the big deal about this apparition? A big waste of time.

    nancy dillingham replied

    Su, you say, “Sonny actually saved more people from being killed than he actually killed.”
    And I say, “Yes, and wouldn’t it be great if he had “saved” people rather than killed anyone? And if he had just been a “shady” character on the edges of crime rather than have been a monster?
    I say that would have been better dramatically: he would have had more moral conflicts and been an infinitely more interesting character. “Shades of gray” is always better that “black and white” when dealing with drama. Don’t you agree?

    Tomas Torquemada replied

    It was a fast forward fest for me. 100% agree.

    Saint Sonny isn’t going to die. Regrettably.

    If GH hadn’t been so coy about what kind of mobster he is we’d feel very differently. Choices for mobsters include drugs, prostitution, gun running, protection intimidation money, gambling, loan shark, identity theft.. Not the kind of stuff most find acceptable.

    Since he’s in imports it would be drugs or guns, right? And Momma Car

    Reply

    Tomas Torquemada replied

    Momma Carly, Moral Jason and Cop Son Dante are cool with drugs and or guns?

    Fast. Forward.

    Boop replied

    Tomas- I fast forward through anything Sonny, Carly , and Michael ( when he’s with them) because I’m sick of them. I can’t stomach Michael because he still calls Sonny , dad. Who does that when someone kills your natural father on purpose? Writers, wake up!

    Boop replied

    Mister Media- You are full of the truth! I’m tired of this uneven writing ; for example, the way Sonny’s daughter talked to Julian when he visited Sam at the hospital. To have Julian not say anything when she talked to him harshly should never have happened . The whole city of Port Charles needs to Wake up and recognize that Sonny is a mobster who has killed many people including A.J. ; unless they’re bringing him back to life. Even Monica doesn’t say anything against Sonny.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    LOL

    AJ was a bad man, he was worse than most.
    AJ was murdering Ava when Sonny entered, AJ stopped the choke and Sonny shot him.. Sonny was pizzedoff and bipolar, but AJ deserved to die cuz he was a creep that shot his father in the back.. LOL

    Jason is the all time murder, he has killed more people than any other in soap history and yet he is a loved cold blooded murder, sigh..
    Sonny is not as bad as the hysterical mind meld believes, but then again Sonny should never ever be a saint, he is a crime lord..he needs to be bad.
    Jason is king of the murders not Sonny ..

    Steve replied

    @Su0000
    I’m not sure if you’re serious, but you might want to go on YouTube and rewatch the AJ/Sonny/Ava confrontation again. AJ did start choking Ava because she framed him for Connie’s murder. He did stop and even if he didn’t, Sonny could have grabbed him off of her or threatened with a gun. AJ was trying to turn his life around. Yes, he threatened Connie, but Ava is the one who killed her and ultimately led to AJ’s demise as well.

    If you’re counting murders, Ava was directly responsible for Connie, but could have prevented AJ, Sabrina and Morgan from perishing, too.

  3. su0000 says:

    I can only hope the Chris guy is under age 50, best yet under age 40..
    Young writers are desperately needed ..

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    I searched and searched.. no information on him (age)
    he is from NY and has written a teen book;

    Chris Van Etten is a writer for the beloved television show One Life to Live. He is also one third of David Van Etten, the writing team behind the Likely Story series.

    Wickedpedia (Point Horror) by Chris Van Etten (2014-06-24)

    It’s the return of Point Horror for the Internet generation! Don’t open the door. Don’t answer your phone. And whatever you do, DON’T turn on your computer. . .

    Cole and Greg love playing practical jokes through Wikipedia. They edit key articles and watch their classmates crash and burn giving oral reports on historical figures like Genghis Khan, the first female astronaut on Jupiter. So after the star soccer player steals Cole’s girlfriend, the boys take their revenge by creating a Wikipedia page for him, an entry full of outlandish information including details about his bizarre death on the soccer field.

    It’s all in good fun, until the soccer player is killed in a freak accident . . . just as Cole and Greg predicted. The uneasy boys vow to leave Wikipedia alone but someone continues to edit articles about classmates dying in gruesome ways . . . and those entries start to come true as well.

    To his horror, Cole soon discovers that someone has created a Wikipedia page for him, and included a date of death. He has one week to figure out who’s behind the murders, or else he’s set to meet a pretty grisly end.

    Reply

    Harry replied

    Hey Suoo! Maybe the kid who plays Spencer has a classmate who always earned As in sixth grade Language Arts and he can be the new head writer!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi Harry..
    hmm that would be an interesting journey, kid soap writers they may surprise us!
    they the gen of video games and transformers and super heros, yup it may well be good a thing..
    The Joker in Port charles, I’m for it..

    Boop replied

    so0000
    I’ve said the same thing ; young writers are needed. If they don’t know the show’s history, they can read it.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi Boop ..
    perhaps holding onto 5 decades of old history is what keeps the soaps in the 80′s ..
    A new start a new day is what is needed ..

  4. Steve says:

    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for a few months. It would be interesting to know which stories he’s been involved with the past few years.

    Despite many issues near the end, Ron was good at balance among storylines. Jelly have ventured into Guza territory with the primary focus on Sonny (of course that might be the directive from V&V).

    What will their mash-up name be? Shellis? Chelly? If it works, I’ll go with SAVE.

    Reply

  5. Suzie rm says:

    Just hope the focus changes quickly. The focus on Sonny is killing the show.

    Reply

  6. JMER says:

    Sounds like business-as-usual with the execs still writing the show and them taking on someone as co-head writer that will tow the line as much as possible. I hope this backfires and he pushes them to do the right thing, but since RC and JP didn’t have any influence beyond a year for RC and six months for JP/SA , I doubt a younger person would have any more sway, probably less.

    Reply

    Boop replied

    JMER- You’re probably correct. I loved what Ron was doing ; however, he signed his death warrant when he consequenced Sonny for killing A.J. Somebody didn’t like that.

    Reply

    Steve replied

    Ron might have been able to survive the Sonny issue, but Fluke and Denise Demuccio were the final nails in the coffin.

  7. Maureen says:

    I read JP’s tweets and correct me if wrong but she said, “I am retiring-at least for the time being”-something to that effect. Is that like Steve Burton every time he leaves a show to be with his family in Nashville? I don’t know. Were Jean and Shelley really writing partners like Barbara Essensten and James Harmon Brown-do I have the names right? They were partners it seemed on every show they worked on. I know that when I have a half-empty carton of milk or tub of whatever that has soured-I don’t buy another and then add it to the half-empty one-I toss it out and start fresh. How much of this is really the headwriter and how much is the Exec. Producer or other higher-ups? I wish I knew the inner workings-only to have a clearer idea of the thought process-or lack of it-that goes into these shows. I do not know about Days but Victor is king at Y&R and Sonny at GH-once Luke left. Bold and Beautiful does not have a king-it has a wonderful cast and writing-in my opinion-and all get a turn front and center-and I do love the show-more so than any other and GH was once at the top, for me.
    So many of the plots and stories on GH are beyond suspending disbelief- they are like some crazed fool putting together a jigsaw by force-making the pieces fit regardless of their size or shape or towards any conclusion that pays off emotionally for me. Sonny shot and in a hole- there is no angst for me-except how long do we draw this out for? I am hearing Tyler Christopher was just signed by Days-to me huge score for them-huge loss for GH. I hope this new writer -who seems to have a good deal of experience, is well-liked by his peers and I like when one who has paid dues is promoted-but will his status now as co-head writer make any difference or not? How far ahead have they already written? I get all worked-up and frustrated- it seems GH fans are the most vocal and fanatical of all the shows.

    Reply

    Maureen replied

    The higher-ups all seem very happy with the writing and Sonny centered focus of the show-and I know many are die hard Sonny fans and say no show without him. Luke fans said the same- yet show is still on. I don’t dislike Steve Burton, but not excited for his return, either.

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    Excellent post.

    Reply

    Harry replied

    Oh no, did not know Tyler Christopher was signed onto Days.
    Shoot. For me, he’s the only Nikolas Cassadine. He looks and breaths the part perfectly.

    Reply

    Boop replied

    I like Nick who subbed for Tyler.

    Shay replied

    Loved your soured milk analogy, Maureen! That pretty much said it all about the state of GH storylines right now…time to toss out the entire bad carton of whatever and begin afresh!

    Reply

    Patrick replied

    @Maureen : Tyler Christopher going to DAYS of OUR Lives

    just read this on the internet.. as far back as three days ago.

    RUMOUR MILL RUMOUR MILL

    as was said: he could be Alexander Kiriakis

    THE BEST , IS BACK !

    can only hope

    Reply

  8. Bonnie says:

    Cronie of Ron’s do not like it. But he has been in the background on the show for several years so maybe….

    Reply

  9. Scott (ATWT Fan) says:

    Not the name I was expecting, but I do see Chris Van Etten credited often whenever I watch General Hospital, so I can only hope that he can bring some great things to the table. I only hope that it brings a bit more consistency to the serial. I know a lot of people were hoping for Sri Rao to come on board, and while I would’ve been open to that, as well, I am willing to give Van Etten a fighting chance to see how he handles the position as co-head writer, alongside Shelly Altman. Though, I low-key would’ve loved for ABC to lure Lorraine Broderick back as a head writer for a soap opera, despite her not wanting that kind of position again.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    Hope he continues to write more and more drama for Genie (Laura). She takes the crumbs that she is given and milks them. (Sorry to mix metaphors–lol. Maybe I should have said that “she takes the crumbs that are given her and soaks in them.–LOL)

    Reply

    Boop replied

    Nancy- I hope Chris can stop everyone from going into the rooms of patients and threatening them; Sonny with Ava , Carly with Oscar, Dante with everybody. If someone went into my family member’s room as they do, a complaint would be filed everyday. However, not with the Port Charles Dept. because they’re all incompetent.; even, Jay. They’re not fair officers because they only help the ones who are their friends; people such as : Valentin , Julian , Ava, Nelle , Franco and anyone who’s not Sonny’s friend or relative doesn’t stand a prayer!

    Reply

  10. Michael Taylor says:

    TOUPS, I WANT THE SOAP OPERA RATINGS FROM JULY 17-21 NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  11. su0000 says:

    I still would like to know which age bracket Chris is in..

    And- with Shelly and FV the leaders not much will change.

    Reply

  12. JasonLovesGH says:

    I’m hoping for good results. I’ll refrain from further comment for now…except for one thing. Why on God’s green earth are nearly all of the characters saying “what if” in the vast majority of their lines? This type of writing/dialogue is nerve-wracking to me. It’s tired. It’s unimaginative. It’s lazy. It needs to stop.

    Reply

  13. Timmm says:

    Oh good, more OLTL stunt casting!

    Reply

  14. Allen Saint James says:

    The show needs to return to its roots. I mean can we get awesome wsb plots. Danger mystery intrigue action adventure… Against all odds storytelling

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    ahh yes, return to the Real GH..
    the GH that was unique and stood alone among all the other soaps with its own identity unlike all the other soaps..
    GH the Not Traditional Soap, the soap on the edge.
    That GH needs to rise in its exciting glory!

    Reply

    Allen Saint James replied

    Im not sure why more Fans dont ask for this explicitly
    Everyone gets so caught up on the characters and what actor they do or dont like… I bet a number of new characters would work perfectly if the show put them in the harrowing situations from the 80s. The cast is there. I wish Gh wss more like Days of Our lives.

  15. Choward says:

    I think they should have scouted around for someone fresh who understand the genre and has even a mild grip on who the loyal viewers are and what they expect and want from a soap opera
    And has a knowledge of the history of general hospital and it’s MAIN characters

    Reply

  16. Jimmy says:

    This is a promotion from within the ranks of the current writing team, so anyone who expects so see a different show when Chris takes over duties with Shelly will be disappointed. Plus, with all the meddling from higher-up executives, story direction and creative control is seldom in the sole hands of the writers anymore. It’s frustrating for fans because GH doesn’t feel like GH anymore, and if they hired a brand new writing team with fresh ideas and let them tell the stories they want to tell, I have no doubt we would love GH again.

    It’s funny; Lauren Koslow recently said DAYS has “found its path again” with Ron C taking over as writer, and the two weeks of his shows that have aired so far have shown a marked improvement. I felt the same way when Ron took over at GH too. Hopefully they can find someone who can restore GH’s path because it’s been hardly recognizable for years.

    Reply

  17. Queerbec says:

    It seems shows always bring in a new writer right after irreparable damage has been done to a show. There are now so many cold blooded murderers running around Port Charles that it’s hard to like or sympathize with so many characters. Ava, Julian, Sonny, Jason, Anna, the rumored departing Obrecht, Alexis (in a way), even those who killed in when being fired upon (Sam) or trying to defend someone (Michael). And of course, Valentin. They need to bring back Nicholas so that Valentin can be softened and not made a murderer, and so Genie Francis and Marci Rylan don’t go into conniption fits every time they see him. Burning and disfiguring Ava is not going to make anyone more sympathetic to her character, she still has to pay for the number of characters she has killed off. Also, if I were Monica, I’d still be revolted by Sonny for killing my son, despite Monica apparently falling for the excuse that Ava goaded him into it, and taking out her vengeance on Ava by getting her to donate a painting to the Nurses Ball. It is ridiculous that all the characters have to act friendly and concerned to unpunished murderers who killed members of their family or lovers. I also hate the fact that lazy writers find it easier to kill of a character than creatively writing them out of the show. Budig’s character had such wonderful potential but they are rushing into this end-times scenario that appears the character will be written out forever. I don’t know how much of a back lash there has been (but the mantra, “anything for Steve Burton” takes precedence), but throwing her under the bus with two years on her contract (unless of course she has been a negative force on set and has been making life miserable for all the other cast members) pains a lot of viewers. I thought Michael Sutton did a terrific job. But the decimation of the Quartermaines really started GH on its path to ruin and too much emphasis on cold blooded murder performed by characters we are supposed to love has hastened its demise. Hasn’t anyone told ABC that The Sopranos went off the air and shows like the Good Fight (or Wife) or This Is Us are the shows that are attracting audiences today.

    Reply

    Boop replied

    Queerbec -I agree with most of what you’re saying; however ,Julian and Ava are very weak mobsters who don’t fit in the same category as hardnosed Sonny . Yet, I will say that all bad behavior should be consequenced regardless as to who it is.

    Reply

    Celia replied

    OMG!!!!!! WOW!!!! Hmmmmm!!!

    Reply

    Celia replied

    Above reply is for Queerbecca.

  18. Joan Collins says:

    He is under 40.

    Reply

  19. T says:

    I’m hoping that Steve and Rebecca will be reunited and let Kelly continue to be with Billy. I never been a Jasam fan and for the fans of Liz and Jason we should finally get to see that. Why bring Steve back to focus on just Sam? Sam has her Jason, let Liz have her Jason especially for the fans who are not on the Jasam bandwagon!

    Reply

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