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47 October 1st, 2015 REPORT: Ex-DAYS Head Scribe Chris Whitesell Headed To General Hospital Writing Team!

Courtesy/ABC

More changes to the writing team look to be happening behind the scenes at General Hospital. 

In a report and item from Daytime Confidential, they are hearing that former Days of our Lives co-head writer, Chris Whitesell will be joining the GH team as a breakdown writer, supporting the efforts of new head scribes: Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman.

According to DC, Whitesell is close to signing a deal with the series. Chris does have a history with the ABC soap opera.  He was with the series back in 1997, both as an associate head writer and co-head writer for a time.

The scribe is certainly familiar with the genre having worked on many daytime dramas including: Another World, As The World Turns, Guiding Light, One Life to Live, Sunset Beach and The Young and the Restless.

What do you think of the pontential of Whitesell on the GH writing team? Comment below.

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  1. jeremy says:

    Haha OMG, this SuckS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    Derick replied

    Yes it is, GH has 6 months to turn it around or the soap will be cancelled. I am not shocked by this news at all. ABC want to replace GH with a new talk show .

    Reply

    CeeCee replied

    Hey, Derick.
    I really am hopeful for GH. The storylines are salvageable, if they could just move them along and get Sonny and his ‘plight’ take a long nap.
    Friday, I enjoyed the easiness and love between Patrick and Sam.
    Then, there are, Kiki, Franco and Nina. This trio is great together. Who would have ‘thunk’?
    I just love the chemistry they share and consequently offer. I want more of that. Finally, Kiki is humanized. We all mourn differently…she is exhibiting loneliness, aloneness, and sadness.
    I have a feeling the three will end up living together. Looking forward to it.

  2. Kalle says:

    Is it another nail in the coffin?

    Reply

  3. Steven says:

    This happens within writer’s rooms (all of the time)! – He’s going to be a breakdown writer (not head writer) and he was a writer on GH before, so he knows some of GH’s history. He has worked with both head writers (Shelly Altman & Jean Passanante) on other soaps before.

    I also heard a rumor that writer Janet Iacobuzio is also joining GH too?!
    She was recently a script writer at DAYS (under Gary Tomlin and Christopher Whitesell). She left DAYS when Josh Griffith & Dena Higley took over as head writers. Plus, she was co-head writer at GH (with Christopher Whitesell) back in 1997.

    Reply

  4. Mary SF says:

    Sounds like another case of musical chairs in the writing department at the soaps. I get wanting to hire writers with experience in the genre, but it seem soaps writers just get passed between one soap to another, like a bad flu. Does anyone want to bet that within the year he will be replacing SA or JP as head writer?

    Reply

  5. su0000 says:

    lol ..
    Shelly, Jean and now Chris . None know the GH history . Well, Shelly more-so than the other two, knows some of GH history.
    GH could go every which way .. lol doing to be a fun ride :)

    Shelly, as of today is still in the Y&R roll down credits as a writer with Y&R,
    Jean has not been in Y&R credits for awhile.
    Jean has been in with the writers of GH in the roll down credits, but Shelly is not.

    Some are under the impression that Jean is tweaking/writing GH, I do not believe she is.
    Ron is titled, as of yet, as the head writer. It’s still his stuff.
    It is Ron’s stories we have been watching, and Jean has been with the writers most likely getting acquainted with GH history or stories whatever.
    I do not see how what Ron has written and put to digital can be altered after filmed.
    head writer writes the stories the writers write the dialog.

    But who really knows, unless on set and with the writers we do not know what goes on.
    I do see; Head Writer Ron.
    I do not see; head Writers Ron and Jean or even co head writer Jean.

    Jean, back when, was a breakdown writer during her short stay with GH, perhaps she has been doing her breakdown writing again because now Chris Whitesell from Days has been brought in as the breakdown writer probably to take over for Jean as she goes to head writer.

    This change will be interesting, for sure :)

    Reply

    Jim replied

    The stuff on air at GH now is in between Ron and Jean Passanante. Nathan Varni said on Twitter or Facebook about a month ago that it was in-between stuff and he and Frank Valentini were tweaking things.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hi..
    they can tweak but its still in Ron’s hands, his writing.
    I am going to miss Ron..
    He is very good..
    Since Luke’s exit Ron has switched it up and writing more-so as he wrote for OLTL
    with couples and family..
    there was a lot of couples/love stuff and a lot of family with OLTL, it was character driven.
    Ron did well with OLTL and now I see he has recently, since Luke, brought his OLTL style to GH..

    Dan replied

    Jean, Shelly and Chris have all worked at GH in the past, so they’re certainly a lot more aware of the show’s history than Frank or Ron were when they took over. But I don’t think it’s about knowing history, it’s about writing good, emotional, dramatic stories. And stories that don’t infuriate the audience by dragging on and on for months or even a year in the case of the Jason/Jake storyline. That’s what it boils down to. If they can do that, the show will be fine.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hey Dan..

    Passanante; now GH Head Writer—
    Was-
    GH -breakdown writer from May 3, 2012 until November 25, 2013
    (google)
    She was with GH = 6 months.

    Shelly; now GH Head Writer.
    Was-
    Associate head writer: August 10, 2011 to January 6, 2012; = 6 months
    Co-head writer: January 9 – February 20, 2012 = 40 days
    (google)

    Christopher Whitesell; now GH breakdown writer.
    Was-
    Associate Head Writer at General Hospital (1997)
    Co-Head Writer at General Hospital (05/1997-12/05/1997) (with Janet Iacobuzio)
    Succeeded by Robert Guza, Jr.
    (google)

    Whitsell– with GH in the 90′s , for 7 months

    Passanate– with GH May 3, 2012 until November 25, 2013
    (google)
    She was with GH = 6 months

    Shelly– was with GH 7 months..

    None of 3 have any GH history to mention..

    Dan replied

    I know all of their history, Su. My point is having a history with GH doesn’t mean all that much. In fact, I think it’s good that they don’t have a big history with GH. It’s a positive to have some people come in with a different perspective. That’s why I was in favor of Frank and Ron at the beginning. You need someone to come in with a fresh look at some of the characters, and a different way of telling stories. Cause what’s been happening on the show for a while now is clearly not working.

  6. Jim says:

    Great news! He did great at ATWT and Days. He should know the longtime vet characters at GH better than a lot of other writers since he was there in 1997 before Guza. He knows the longtime characters better than a lot of other writers since he was there in 1997 before Guza.

    Reply

    Jim replied

    I think his co-head tenure in 1997 at GH was dull, but he and Janet Iacobuzio were just holdovers between Richard Culliton and the return of Guza. He was there at the beginning of Liz, which should be quite interesting since some people now think Liz should be a saint and are mad she isn’t. Whereas at the beginning, people who saw her at the beginning, know she was the “bad girl” then, perhaps too stereotypically so.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    hey Jim..
    He won’t know anything much ..
    He was with GH for 7 months..lol

    Christopher Whitesell;
    Associate Head Writer at General Hospital (1997)
    Co-Head Writer at General Hospital (05/1997-12/05/1997)

    Reply

  7. Paul says:

    I’m afraid no writer can save GH. It seems quite obvious that the network wants the show to be all Corinthos, all the time. I’ve found the last 4 weeks unbearable. There have been days where the non-Corinthos characters spend their entire scenes talking about Sonny. I’m barely sticking with GH right now.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    Well. Paul..
    The ‘Corinthos’ are now the core family of GH..
    same as the Abbots and Newman’s are the core family of Y&R..
    A core family; they are upfront with their family members in stories.
    GH will always be about it’s largest core family the Corinthos.
    If you watch GH then you will see Sonny and family. They are a cornerstone family, one of the couple of core families that are still alive.
    To watch GH is to have the Corinthos on your screen.
    it is what it is LOL :)

    the past weeks centering on the Corinthos family, again- the whole family, has been awesome! It is the best insight into the C family in a very loooong time, and well done.
    A great story and acting..
    ((and Sonny hasn’t said more than a few words these past weeks, sheess lol

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    Are you kidding me?! “The Corinthos are now the core family”? Who really can say that with a straight face? (Besides you, suOOOO)?
    Wow! I’m ALMOST (but not quite, as you can see-lol) at a loss for words.

    Insight into the Corinthos family, you say? And then turn around and say “Sonny hasn’t said more than a few words these past weeks.”

    So what is it–insight or silence??? Huh, huh!

    Melissa replied

    You are right, unfortunately, that the Corinthos have become a core family. But they don’t have to be the only ones. We still have a Hardy on canvas in the form of Liz, and they can start recasting and bringing back her relatives. And for Godsakes someone give Tracy a real storyline having to do with winning back and running the family company. Bring back Monica in a big way. Don’t leave us with the Corinthoses as the only core family!

    Justin replied

    You’re so right Paul. I feel the same way. As long as the focus is on the Corinthos Clan/All Mob, I won’t return. I also know that we’re not alone. I just wish someone at the top making the decisions would realize that.

    I think that all the suits hear is from the Sonny lovers. I think that they are a vocal group. There are millions of old-school true GH viewers that would love to have their show back.

    Reply

    KansasGuest replied

    I returned for GH’s 50th anniversary after stopping in the late 80′s. I’ve stayed this long. But, so help me, if Jake’s memory returns and he ends up going all Corinthos instead of helping to rebuild the Quartermaines, I’m gone. Watching Michael attend that organized crime meeting was disgusting. They waste a lot of characters with decency and heart like Anna, Dante & Nathan while allowing criminals with no morals to dictate the messages on the show. The show was most popular when Luke & Robert were the “good guys” and the Cassadines were “bad.” The audience liked the adventure, and watching Port Charles pull together in those difficult times. Now, PC characters create the difficult times and the mob characters actively keep core families apart, poisoning wells and driving wedges that are never resolved. The Corinthoses are rewarded time and again for their amoral behavior and I’m sick of watching it. Turn it around, or you’ll be losing more viewers, I swear.

    Iakovos replied

    I remain faithful, Paul, but the mob focus for years has been a turn-off for me. There is not enough balance. Characters need to grow, to evolve, to find redemption, to be punished. The death count (and resurrection count!) is way too high. And no one in Port Charles seems to care. For a show built around a hospital, there is little healing of body or spirit anymore. That disappoints me. Romance, a good mystery… how about it?

    Reply

  8. val says:

    No disrespect to Mr. Whitesell but this is exactly why the daytime soap genre is dying and fails to reinvent itself. They just keep reshuffling the chairs on the Titantic. I get that soaps are complicated and need experienced people to write for them but why is it always the same failed people who started in the 1980′s. They go from one failed writing job to another. Talented new comers and minorities are never given a shot. I predict the resurrection of Bob Guza is right around the corner. Daytime will never change.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    I would luvit if Guzza came back to GH :)
    And– all the soaps can do for writers is recycle, there are no new writers.
    soap writing is a very hard demanding job and it seems like the younger/newer gen of writers want nothing to do with writing for soaps, I can understand that .
    It is a good thing that there are still seasoned soap writers, if and when they fade away so do the soaps..
    Soap writers are an endangered species, on the endangerment list, soon to be extinct…

    Reply

    val replied

    We don’t know if younger experienced writers want nothing to do with soap writing because they are never given a shot. Doug Marland was once a young writer, so was James Reilly Malone and Sheffer were unconventional choices. Now its the usual suspects over and over. I look at some of these shows and I see writers who worked on Another World for Petes sake. Institutional knowledge is great but you are not going to get young people to watch when the writers are all pushing 50 or more and do not reflect the diversity which is America today. I have no problem with a Chuck Pratt because he has been a winner in daytime, prime time etc. But new blood, new ideas, new themes are needed to save this genre

    Harry replied

    Me thinks Guza is back as headwriter, Suoo. The Jason and Sonny love story, the mobcentric stories…..
    Perhaps Guza is the head ghost writer.

    su0000 replied

    0oooh Harry, that would be wonderful !!!
    Guzza back- I LOVE IT!!
    If only it were true :(

    I have very little confidence in Jean and Shelly; the Queens of Snooze..
    (after 2014 Y&R snooze fest I fear the dual will comatose me once again..

    Guest replied

    Christopher Whitesell was a part of the GH writing team before as an associate Head Writer and briefly Co-head writer. They were even nominated for the writing that year. So he does know GH history. Why Michael did not report that he was apart of the GH family. Ido not know.

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    Agreed. For whatever set of reasons younger writers do not seem drawn to this genre — probably because younger viewers aren’t drawn to it either. I work at a College and for this age group the days of being hooked on a daytime soap are LONG gone. The genre needs reinvention STAT, much in the same way that network TV has found new and exciting ways to do sitcoms, dramas, procedurals and prime time soaps. The Corinthos are yesterday’s Sopranos. Do something new and different. It’s worth the risk because the death knell is tolling.

    Reply

  9. tim S says:

    UGGHH……

    Reply

  10. su0000 says:

    Head writer;
    The head writer conceives and outlines the long-term story.
    In daytime television, the over-arcing story lines are broken out into daily episodes, which are then individually outlined by particular writers, and fleshed out with dialogue by others.

    The breakdown writers /Chris Whitesell new GH breakdown writer will do this-
    meet with the head writers sit down at the beginning of every week and figure out what will happen in the next five episodes….
    or via a conference call to figure out where everyone’s episodes begin and end – what’s gonna happen storyline wise, which characters they are using, which sets to use in each show.
    Once the week is worked out then they each take one day of the week and write a breakdown …
    which is kind of a narrative of the episode…. It’s kind of like reading an outline of the show…. Once that’s written, it gets sent to the network executives and producers and they give them notes. then they incorporate the notes and then that goes to a scriptwriter and they then turn it into a script.

    Writer
    is responsible for writing the script/dialogue. Once they’ve handed over the script that’s pretty much the end of their creative involvement with the project.

    Director
    The Director is responsible for making the script a reality, they’re basically in charge of the creative decisions on the project. During pre production the Director will cast actors and may make changes to the script to suit their own personal vision. They will storyboard the shots and choose locations, colour schemes, costumes and many other elements.

    Producer
    may be the ‘boss’ of the production, with Director and Writer etc being subservient to them, and the producer having final call on things like script and editing.

    Editors;
    Decide what to cut or change script for better for time allotted.

    Reply

    nancy dillingham replied

    Hey Su, are you charging for this seminar? LOL!

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    Hi Nancy ..
    It is FREE!
    I only charge if there are picture included … lol :)

  11. code85 says:

    Gh can have Christopher whitesell his writing over at Days was either a huge hit or big miss. I so glad days ace him , I like Gary Tolmin but the two together wrote awful stories( elephants statues with blood diamonds in them , boring couple’s Jordan and Rafe , Serena and Eric , Kate with Clyde , destroying Will and Sonny , I go on but there were some bright spots. Overall Gh can have him. Just don’t make him head writer or cohead writer.

    Reply

  12. Jimmy says:

    Not sure what this means for GH, but the show is definitely in trouble right now. The cast is very disjointed, stories aren’t meshing well together, and there is still too much focus on the mob. I understand change takes time, but look at DAYS, for example. Josh Griffith and Dena Higley’s work started airing just over a month ago, and the show feels totally different. Vets are back, go-nowhere stories are being wrapped up, new and intriguing stories are being written, and the dialogue has improved.

    GH doesn’t have this right now. The main focus of GH is Sonny and the mob, and that’s not what the show should be focusing on. There are many useless characters (Sabrina, Valerie, Jordan, Brad, Kiki, etc.) and there doesn’t seem to be a direction.

    Chris and Gary’s vision of DAYS started out well enough, but somewhere along the way, it got clouded, and a whole bunch of new, unimportant characters were brought on, and story revolved around them. GH already has its share of needless characters (thank God Sloane was bumped off earlier this week), so Chris’ addition may not be a good thing. Only time will tell.

    It’s just a shame because GH could be so great, if the show focused more on the Q family and the hospital, and less on the mob. I’m not saying get rid of the mob entirely, (and Richard Burgi is doing a great job as bad-guy Paul right now), but GH needs to be less the Sonny-mob-gunfire show, and more of the hospital-romance-Q show.

    Reply

    su0000 replied

    HI Jimmy..

    you want GH writers to focus on the Q family.. hmmm what Q’s lol
    The Q’s are near defunct..
    Tracy is near retired and if FV & RC did not bring Dillion back there would be no Q’s but Tracy.. which Q’s would be in the romance generation, one- Dillon is it.
    So- no big stories for the Q’s ..

    The Hospital is a building.. Once long ago the hospital held many doctors and nurses all are now long gone.
    Patrick and Liz hanging out at the nurses station is not really story building material.
    Well, there is Brad and Lucas.

    the mob has romance, family, couples and their problems as any other soap families. and the mob is 2 men and a moll .. lol
    Paul is Cartell a much higher stature than mob.

    GH has been mob families for over 3 decades, it is what it is .. :)

    Reply

  13. tim S says:

    I have to say…. I do know that this is the old writing regime.. but…. the Dillon/Maxi movie storyline.. is AWEFULLLLLLLLLLL…… Is anyone really enjoying this?????

    Reply

    CeeCee replied

    Not one bit, tim S. But, I am keeping my fingers crossed. There are many stories to be had….I just wait. LOL.

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    Nope, not me. I keep thinking it’s going to end in a Maxie/Lulu/ Dillion/ Nathan/ Dante pentangle. (Is that even a word? Basically a five way love triangle.) As always these storylines are moving at a glacial pace. I hope the new writing regime picks up the pace.

    Reply

    Shay replied

    I think that would be a “quintangle.” Sounds quite messy….

  14. su0000 says:

    On thursday’s show Ron gave us a goodbye gift ahaahaa!
    Dillion and Maxies sex scene. After it went wrong, Maxie got off the bed to get dressed.
    She was full Monty breast nude lol ,, yup, she was breast naked !!
    It was a 1st for daytime, indeed..
    OK- to keep it PG/whatever she had nude colored nip covers.
    Maxie the 1st to go full monty neck to low waist naker- COOL ..

    We had a good laugh… I have a wall mount 55′ screen smart tv and we got together and watched GH via the net on the 55′ and we froze the naked ahaa,
    Josh said ”she is fine really fine and we counted a 5 second bare naked breasts with the nip covers, but still it was awesome for a soap, huh .. lol

    ((strange; the boards have no mention of it, go figure lol :)

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    I noticed too. Did a double take. I think they are trying to comment within this storyline the challenges of being an actor doing sex scenes. Still not sure how I feel about it though since I think Maxie and Dillion have no chemistry nor do their “movie” characters.

    Reply

  15. Michael says:

    GH needs Ron C

    Reply

    Abruzzfan replied

    I agree Michael!

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    Sorry, nope.

  16. Tim S says:

    This is still Ron’s story lines. I heard that sometime in October is the switch.

    Reply

    Melissa replied

    Noticed the new head writers’ names listed in yesterday’s credits. Not sure if that was the first time or they showed up earlier. I scrutinized every line of dialogue to see if I could get clues as to future / new directions. So tired of Sonny hospital storyline and his family’s angst. Want to smack Morgan’s face every time he appears on camera. But loving the “family” storyline emerging with Kiki, Franco and Nina. Thinking about how much it will gall Ava to have Nina essentially serve as a surrogate mother to Kiki.

    But basically I am REALLY tired of all the town’s mobsters being deemed by courts as fit parents. In what universe? It’s even absurd for the soap opera universe.

    Reply

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