With February Sweeps upon us, the upcoming departure of Kimberly McCullough (Robin), the launching of the mystery in Silas’ (Michael Easton) past storyline, the arrival of Lucas Jones (Ryan Carnes) back on the Port Charles canvas, and it being Emmy submission time, we had the opportunity to catch up with General Hospital’s executive producer, Frank Valentini to fire off a few questions to him during the ABC TCA (Television Critics Association) Cocktail Reception. Here now is what the Port Charles chief had to say on a myriad of our “quickie” subjects!
Kimberly McCullough’s getting ready to exit GH, and you have to write her out. What can you say about how you are positioning the story? And now in story, Sabrina’s pregnant, because Teresa Castillo (Sabrina) is pregnant in real life, which seemed to work with your plans … the timing of it all! That was convenient! (Laughs)
FRANK: I told her husband, it’s time to have a family! (Laughs) And he’s a good guy, Shane. I like him. (Laughs)
The show has gotten a lot of pushback from fans on the how the Robin and Patrick (Jason Thompson) reunion story was told. Some have commented that the whole thing was told the way it was to prop up the character of Sabrina.
FRANK: Pushback is an interesting thing. I think our fans are so incredibly invested and passionate about our show. I welcome that and I love it. The only thing I would say is … just wait and see. The entire writing team, and especially Ron, work so incredibly hard to make it satisfying. I am watching the shows for February Sweeps that are in the can, and I am watching them in post and scoring. They are really fantastic. It’s a great month, and it’s a month that pays off day after day, which is what we have been doing for the last six months. So, we just ask that fans understand that Kimberly came back for a limited amount of time. That was her choice, not ours. We love her, and if it was our choice, we would have her back forever. But, she is on track to become a director. That is what she wants to do, and I have actually been helping her with that. She and I have become really good friends, and I know a lot of people in the business, and I actually got her hooked up with Grey’s Anatomy, so it all could be great for her. But that doesn’t mean that General Hospital ends, and it does not mean that there is no more joy in Port Charles. There will be plenty of excitement, plenty of joy, and plenty of romance and heartache, and tears and happiness, and all that good stuff.
Michael Easton finally has a story of his own as Silas that we are seeing play out on-air. Were you in search of an “umbrella” story for him since he transitioned from John McBain to Dr. Clay?
FRANK: Well, he always had a story … it’s just the way a story develops. What Ron does, and something I think we do really well on GH, is that we don’t shove anything down the audiences throat. We had to reintroduce these characters, and we took time to make sure the audience knew who they were, felt comfortable with who they were, and that they felt they were important to the GH legacy, and Sam (Kelly Monaco) is part of the GH legacy. Silas always had this secret. He was always married from the get-go that was not something that we just came up with. Ron had that planned 8 months out and now this story is affecting Sam, it’s affecting her mother, it’s affecting her son, and it’s really great, and it’s kind of cool.
Will mobster Julian Jerome (William deVry) be an accepting father to Lucas… in terms of his son being gay?
FRANK: I think that meeting your son for the first time when he is his late twenties, is kind of interesting, because he is a fully formed human being and he will have his own ideas and own point of view in his own way. And for Julian, who is kind of a dark character and is a mobster, it’s about how are those two going to mix? It will be interesting to see what happens. Ryan Carnes, by the way, is a fantastic actor. It is fun to have him back on the show and it’s really exciting.
Big question; with so many wonderful episodes of GH in 2013, have you figured out which episodes you will submit for the Outstanding Drama Series category for the 41st Annual Daytime Emmys to land a nomination? And, I heard from Kimberly McCullough that she had the production team help her decide on what work of hers to submit? Is that true?
FRANK: As far as our Best Show submission, we are still deciding, but definitely one of them will be one of the Nurses Ball episodes. As for Kimberly McCullough’s Emmy submission, she had so many great performances she had a little trouble selecting, so she saw the list and we sort of whittled it down for her.
So what do you think about Frank’s comments on Kimberly McCullough’s upcoming exit? The laid out plans for the Silas storyline? And, how Julian and Lucas might have quite the stormy father/son relationship? What episodes do you hope GH submits for Outstanding Drama Series for this year’s Daytime Emmy race? Weigh-in below!