Today, there is a wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times that talks about, that as of this coming Monday, April 1, 2013, when General Hospital turns 50 years young, it ramains is the longest running soap opera currently in production – after 12,776 original episodes! The L.A. Times piece takes a look at the historical successes, near cancellation threats, and how GH is probably the one soap that is the biggest cultural phenomenon of them all!
Here are some excerpts from the Times piece: “A year ago, fans fretted that ABC would cancel General Hospital following the demise of the Walt Disney Co. network’s two other signature soaps, All My Children, and One Life to Live. Show producers, however, accepted the challenge, introduced some younger and more diverse characters and downplayed story lines that revolved around the mob bosses of Port Charles, N.Y., the show’s fictional setting. The result has been a ratings revival. The show, which averages 3 million viewers an episode, is on track to have its best season in five years. It has experienced a 19% boost in viewers compared with last season, and a 44% increase among women ages 18 to 34.
General Hospital was the soap opera that brought young people to daytime television,” said Ed Martin, television columnist for MediaPost Publications. ”Other soap operas like ‘Young and the Restless’ and All My Children dabbled in it, but General Hospital was most aggressive.”
General Hospital changed the mold for soap operas. It became one of the first soaps to go on location for shoots, they introduced younger characters and they tackled sensitive issues like cancer, AIDS and rape,” said Karen Herman, director of the Archive of American Television part of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. The archive has collected oral histories of nearly a dozen actors from the show, including Genie Francis (Laura) and Anthony Geary (Luke).
So soap fans, do you think GH is the soap that most impacted our culture? Let us know!