General Hospital Team Talks of 'Rebuilding,' Plus 7 More Scooplets (Including a 'Jolie' Update)

Some may say the future of soaps seems grim — but the mood was anything but during General Hospital‘s showing at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Several key cast members — including Anthony Geary, Kelly Monaco, Nancy Lee Grahn and Laura Wright, to name a few — and executive producer Frank Valentini took the stage to discuss the future of the ABC sudser — which is nearing its 50th anniversary — as well as preview what’s ahead for all of your Port Charles (and Llanview!) faves.

Here are eight key takeaways from the panel discussion:

ADDING NEW LIFE | At the start of the panel, Valentini was careful to note that he came in earlier this year to remodel, not rebuild General Hospital. “I think the show was in terrific shape, but there needed to be some tweaks.” And now? “It’s much more my taste and my sensibility for the show to go just a little bit faster,” he shared. “I also thought there were some key characters missing, not in terms of who they were, but certain archetypes that I thought were really important to bring on the show.” Valentini explained that his choice to bring on “some of the people from One Life to Live was a little bit of a way to honor that audience and also to create story that was good for the current cast of General Hospital.” For example, “John McBain being a police officer [on OLTL] was a good fit to merge into the PCPD.”

RELATED |
General Hospital Casting News: Kirsten Storms to Return! Jen Lilley Out!

A SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT | As you’ve probably figured out by watching General Hospital this week, Kimberly McCullough is back, baby! “Robin is back for a little bit,” Valentini confirmed. The EP explained that while the actress had chosen to leave the show to pursue her dream of directing prior to his joining the series, they quickly bonded and after a few weeks of working together, “I said to her that this is such a wonderful thing that [she'd created], so let’s try to keep it alive as opposed to snubbing it out. She’s open to it, and we’re going to try to work together.” Added McCullough’s on-screen cohort Jason Thompson, with a laugh, “And who doesn’t want to do a story about electric-shock [therapy]?”

THINK OF LAURA | For the foreseeable future, Luke Spencer will remain Laura-less. “Unfortunately, contracts forbid us from even discussing that,” Valentini said of the possibility of Genie Francis — who is currently on The Young and the Restless — returning to her iconic GH role. “I’ll just say we’re big fans of Genie’s and we wish her all the best — but I think we’re pretty solid right now.”

CHANGING IT UP | Michael Easton, who plays stalwart cop John McBain, discussed his “bittersweet” move from the axed One Life to Live to General Hospital. “It’s been exciting to come over and work with these guys. It’s been new energy for me… I was in a stupor a little bit [at the end of OLTL], and these guys have snapped me out of it. I’m really happy to be there.” And his new castmates are happy to have him. Shared Maurice Benard (Sonny), “I love that there’s new blood. They’re great… They’re bringing a different element to Sonny that wasn’t there before; maybe a little bit more vulnerable.” And speaking of Port Charles newbies that we love…

RELATED | SOAPnet Sets Dates for General Hospital‘s ‘Gold Medal’-Winning Moments

BLAIR WILL BE BACK! |  Valentini told TVLine following the panel discussion that, “Kassie [DePaiva] will definitely be coming back” as Blair Cramer. The showrunner also promised that it will “absolutely” come out that Todd did not kill his brother Victor over on OLTL. “We have all these great surprises to play out,” Valentini teased.

NO NAT… FOR NOW | On the possibility of further complicating John McBain’s love life by at some point getting his Llanview love Natalie to Port Charles, Valentini confided to TVLine that “legal issues, in terms of the Prospect Park deal [that almost gave OLTL an online home]” were among the reasons why Melissa Archer has yet to at least cameo. “I can’t really talk about it, but I will say that Melissa is a very close friend of mine and I adore her, and she’s a phenomenal actress.” (Easton, for his part, told us he’d love to reunite with Archer, since the “one-sided phone calls” between John and off-screen Nat are getting to be a bit much.)

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER | Valentini, for one, is thrilled about General Hospital‘s upcoming “great” time slot change. “I like the way that we’re being positioned with the other shows surrounding us. I know that the network is doing a big push to inform the audience about the time change.” What’s more, the soap is planning “an umbrella story” leading into the move, and has “a lot of really fun surprises [and] terrific stuff coming on in September.”

STAYING POWER | And when it comes to life for General Hospital beyond its upcoming 50th anniversary, Valentini is “confident. All I can say is [ABC] invited us here [to TCA], and to me that’s a great sign.” He added that in anticipation of the show’s big 5-0, the soap will be “rolling out lots of different things between now and April — and past then… So, you just need to watch the show to catch the energy and the momentum that we have.”

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172 Comments
  1. jen says:

    Thanks for always covering General Hospital! :)

  2. Leanne says:

    Damn you PP. I want Jolie back.

    • Vicki says:

      I sure do too! I miss Natalie so much and her beautiful little son! John belongs with Natalie! I feel like the big speech he gave her and asking for her forgiveness is all for nothing now because he has cheated on her!

    • chica7540800 says:

      Me too!! John doesn’t belong w/ sam they are boring!! McBain needs to reunite w/ his family. I don’t know why RC doesn’t reunite families. He took forever w/ Jason,Sam & Danny, it’s been almost a year for Natalie/John/Liam. Natalie/John are more entertaining then Sam/John. I don’t like theie sweet friendship, in real life I would LOVE it, but on a soap it’s boring. Caleb & Livvie I LOVED, McBain/Sam not so much.They have chemistry of friends not lovers.

  3. trista says:

    I want Natalie

  4. Debbie says:

    Am confuse? He saids that because of legal problems with PP that Melissa can’t come on the show.!

    But what makes her contract different than Michael’s Florence’s and Kassie’s contracts with PP. They were signed with PP too. And their not have any problems.

    Am just curious about this that’s why the question?

    • Leanne says:

      At ME’s FCW event, a fan asked him if MA would be on the show, and he said PP was causing some issues. Apparently, only several of the contracts can be released at a time, and ME, KDP, FL, etc were already on the show. We have to wait for her contract to expire. I HATE Prospect Park.

      • Casey says:

        I hate Prospect Park too. Brian Frons looks like Ghandi compared to those fools at Prospect Park these days. Ironically, were it not for PP’s interference, I’m almost certain OLTL and AMC would have been brought back into production by now. Instead, we have no OLTL, no AMC, and Prospect Park is even preventing certain characters from OLTL from appearing on GH? It simply galls me to know end. I CANNOT WAIT for their contract with ABC/Disney to lapse so the shows and their characters will finally be out of Prospect Park’s incompetent clutches.

    • annie says:

      I DON’T WANT NAT BACK…SHE WAS A PAIN…TERRIBLE ACTRESS…JUST PATHETIC… I DO LOVE LUKE’S SLACKS THOUGH !!!!!! WILDDDDDDDDDD

      • Ann says:

        I do not want Natalie on GH! They have got to bury that story and move John forward with GH stories and new love interests. It will stifle John if they do not do this. They have to end John and Nat.

        • JASon says:

          Enough with the OLTL characters. These three are ok but there is only so much room!!! We need Spinelli and Maxie back at the forefront. We need Lulu and Dante back at the forefront!! ANy more additions will cut into their time.

          That being said I’m loving the return of Anna Devane. What we need is a big adventure to send the whole gang on!! MAybe Valentine Cassadine will finally show up and try to take over the world to be stopped by Luke and Anna.

          • nick1372 says:

            I have a strong feeling that the Cassadines are behind Robin’s kidnapping/fake death/electroshocking. So you might see a Cassadine/ Luke & Anna battle soon.

            Speaking of Cassadines, wouldn’t it be awesome if Helena teamed up with Heather. That would be freakin great!!

          • CTwildheart says:

            Maybe Ewen really is working with the Cassadine’s and was the entire time he was “working” with ‘Cassandra’. Finally meeting Valentine would be sweet!

          • Tina says:

            Agreed, however I miss Anna and Robert! Why can’t Luke be single? I think he is perfect for Heather! I was looking forward to Sam and Jason…and now I have to watch them split up Carly and Jax AGAIN! I was hoping to see them get back together. I would love a pairing of Tea and Sonny though…I am a die hard GH fan but I really enjoyed Tea. I can tolerate the OLTL characters as long as they lose a few of the ones on GH that do not contribute to the story. I am anxious to see how they are going to filter in the Robin story, the actress clearly wants to leave, but the show needs her to wrap this up! I would love it if Ewen was Mac Scorpio’s son. Mr. V please bring us back Frisco and Felicia.
            Tina

    • sunnyandblessed says:

      So true all of the signed the contract for PP and that’s alot of bull if you ask me. I want the truth why he atleast wont allow her one visit to GH.

  5. Curly says:

    Why would the Prospect Park deal keep Natalie off of GH, but they allow John, Todd, Starr, Tea and Blair to crossover? I don’t need Natalie to join GH, just wondering why she can’t even do a cameo?

  6. Rrrrrr says:

    I actually love what they’ve done to General Hospital these past few months. I think it the best it’s been in years, and I can’t wait to see what this “umbrella storyline” is.

    Thanks, TVLine, for always covering GH.

  7. schmooimax says:

    Kudos to ABC for showing that General Hospital means something in their line up. Did NBC take anyone from Days of Our Lives to their TCA presentation? Were (Will they if CBS hasn’t done theirs yet) the CBS soaps represented at theirs? Very curious.

  8. Natalie_Luv says:

    PP Sux. They ruined OLTL ending and now they have my Natalie. I’m not amused by this at all. I want Natalie back and I want Jolie back.

    • Ronnie says:

      I’m not amused either. Screw PP. At least when the contracts expire in january (too long) she’ll probably come over.

  9. Ronnie says:

    It never ends with PP. Now we know why Jolie hasn’t been on screen, even though TnB and TnT were.

  10. Maggie says:

    So Natalie will be coming eventually. HELL YES

  11. Jolieforever says:

    DAMN YOU PP. I want jolie back!!!

  12. Jolie4life says:

    Natalie should be on GH. Something needs to be done about those contracts.

  13. Kira says:

    So FV claims to be remodeling GH. Which really means screw over Jolie and Jasam. Not to mention throwing John McBain under the bus. Guess he really loves his OLTL fans. Way to screw up a happy ending.

    • dude says:

      Exactly! This John/Sam crap has been horrible! At least Jason/Sam’s baby gives me hope eventually things will work out.

      • Jan says:

        Heard Jason is leaving next week..Sam should be w/Jason and Nat, I wish would come back..Love the cross over between OLTL to GH..Its Great!!! Thanks Writers!!

  14. Nancy says:

    Jolie love. I’m not here for that McBam crap

    • chica7540800 says:

      I don’t care for McBain/Sam pairing, it didn’t happening naturally and they don’t really have a story behind them, it’s almost a year and still nothing interesting for them, I like for them to remain friends and for Jolie and Liam to reunite.

  15. Maddie says:

    YES!! Some Jolie news, thank god. I’m going to throw up if I see McBam on my screen any longer. Fix the contract mess, FV

  16. Tenney says:

    I am actually really enjoying GH again. The new characters and the new storylines have brought new life to GH. I never watched OLTL so I have no background on any those characters and I know some people are upset about the storylines of the OLTL characters, but I say be glad that some of your favorites from OLTL have found a new home at GH. The best thing about GH lately thought has been Todd. My favorite new addition without a doubt.
    Thanks Tvline for covering GH!

  17. Sam says:

    I recently started watching GH again because of the return of Anna Devane/Finola Hughes. Anna is my all-time favorite character and Finola is as amazing as ever.

    • JASon says:

      Yes anna is killing it!!! Love to see her back as chief of police. But we need a big adventure or murder mystery.Bring back Faison, Donnelly and Frisco!!!!

  18. Dennis says:

    i want trevor st. john to show up

  19. MEMA says:

    Awesome. So we might see Jolie again soon. I miss them so much

  20. Wen says:

    Missing Jolie more and more everyday. PP sucks so much.

  21. Tracy says:

    Thanks for the Jolie news TVLine!!! They need to be back on my screen *cries*

  22. Joe says:

    LONG LIVE VICTOR LORD JR!

  23. Alex says:

    JOLIE love. Screw McBam.

  24. Maria says:

    I’m glad Melissa Archer isn’t on the show. I’m enjoying the developing romance between Sam Morgan and John McBain tremendously. If MA came on the show, it should be to break up with John or for a custody battle. Just because OLTL characters are on GH doesn’t mean that GH is a venue for OLTL stories to continue uninterrupted. If that were the case, OLTL would be continuing as a soap on its own. OLTL characters on GH need to be integrated on to GH, and one of the best ways to do that is to romantically pair up GH and OLTL characters with each other. Starr and Michael are doing great, and who knows, maybe even Todd and Carly could get together. I think FV should be honest though and tell fans the real reason MA isn’t on GH: it’s because Natalie as a character is no longer needed to be a love interest for John.

    • Roxy says:

      Well, to each their own, but FV did say the real reason. And so did ME at his event. Natalie will show up eventually. And she and John are soulmates.

    • Cornflakes says:

      Todd is not hooking up with Carly, so save it. They are obviously bringing back the only woman he ever really loved for him – Blair. Notice that all the other OLTL characters are in romantic entanglements with GH characters but Todd is alone with his continued love for Blair. They aren’t moving him on to anyone else. It’s always been Blair or bust for him and that’s how it shall stay.

      • GH& OLTL FAN says:

        I think that once its proven that Todd didn’t kill Victor that Todd & Blair will end up back together. I hope so anyway.

    • Roxanne says:

      I agree with Maria. I was a OLTL fan and I didn’t like John and Natalie together. I just never saw the chemistry like he had with Blair and Kelly. THAT was great and I see that b/t Sam and him on GH! ooking forward to see how their relationship plays out.

      • Mary says:

        I am the opposite I see no chemistry with Sam and John. Their story line was forced and the kiss was awkward. I know Blair is coming back but I think Todd and Carly have great chemistry. I am not to fond of her with Johnny. The only thing I don’t like, is FV is using the same story lines he used on OLTL, split personality baby switch. I just hope they don’t drag it on forever.

      • sunnyandblessed says:

        what chemistry are you talking about with John and Sam. She is married and he has a baby with his girlfriend. That’s crazy! John and Nat have been a item for as long as they have been on OLTL, They have been with others and was always drawn back together. For all the GH fans which I’m one you should understand when soap couples are together and the chemistry is there you dont want them to be apart. So why don’t you understand why OLTL want this couple to be together. You may not see it but its there like Luke and Laura, Vicki and Clink, GiGi and Rex, Bo and Nora, Danta and LuLu, Patrick and Robin, Blair and Todd, Tea and Victor, Sam and Jason need I go on. The chemistry is there maybe you don’t see it but atleast be understanding to those that do. Yes, John and Nat should be together on GH, if they break up later then so be it, but for now the OLTL fans want closer and a happy ending for John and Natalie, they waited a very long time and deserve it. Lets turn the tables and say if it was GH that went off the air would we not be asking for the same for our characters? Be fair.

    • Ann says:

      Me too, there is no need for Nat. They have to end that to free John.

    • Natalie_Luv says:

      i wish Melissa Archer was on the show and I think she is needed. More importantly, John and Sam is a poor substitute for Jolie. I will never give up hope that John and Natalie will find their way back to each other again. They are love. Jolie <3

      • Samfan says:

        That’s exactly how JaSam fans feel about the forced “connection” with Sam & John. We don’t have a problem w/ GH giving out of work actors jobs, but don’t trash our couples to do it. So Jolie & JaSam fans need to join forces to get our couples back!

        • Tina says:

          Agreed, I would like Jasam back too, with baby. Of course I don’t mind them bring fresh characters on the canvas the more the merier..however I see no connection between Sam and John:(
          Tina

  25. Terry says:

    I hate the ILTL characters. It’s just how I feel.

  26. Lexi says:

    John belongs with Natalie and that’s that.

  27. Roxy says:

    I just heard about TCA and had to come here. TVLine didn’t disappoint. Jolie is love always. Get MA out of that contract

  28. c pic says:

    Thanks for the info on GH. The news was good. I am really enjoying watching GH now!

  29. Dennis says:

    Wasn’t pine valley in the same world as port charles? i’m surprised we haven’t seen anyone from there come to port charles like David hayworth he would seem to be a perfect villian for General hospital and he has a connection to Anna

  30. Gabbie says:

    Jolie 2012!!!! Get MA on this show

  31. Farrah Flener says:

    Blair is coming back. Heck yeah.,I love Kassie.

  32. ghospital says:

    John and Natalie are it for each other. I won’t watch McBam. I hate PP too.

  33. ghospital says:

    Get JOLIE onto GH!!!!

  34. ashley says:

    So happy with what FV said about MA.

  35. bob says:

    Please no Natalie. Never liked her.

    • SMOKEY says:

      Me neither! John with Nat makes me throw up in my mouth! He had WAY more chemistry with Blair and Evangeline! They need to end it already! Now if they can bring back Victor Lord Jr and Allison Perkins…the planets will align!

      • em says:

        Yes to Evangeline. I actually started watching OLTL because of her and John. Then he got with Natalie and I lost interest. I really did not like her (or her and John together) then, but maybe she’s changed? There seems to be a huge fanbase for her after all.

  36. melissa kingery says:

    My favorite soap was OLTL so thrilled to see the characters come over to General Hospital because so Miss OLTL!!

  37. Susan says:

    Loving GH again and loving the OLTL characters already on the show…but, I don’t think MA is needed…sorry. I love Sam and John McBam for the win. P.S. there’s a reason that when they decided what characters to bring…they chose the ones they did :)

  38. JOLIE4THEWIN says:

    JOLIE LOVE ALWAYS!! Bring my Jolie back.

  39. AC says:

    Jolie and Jasam belong together. I will not watch McBam and/or Liason. Neither can compare.

  40. AlwaysJolie says:

    I love the TCAs for this Jolie news. It’s all that stupid PP’s fault that MA isn’t on GH. I miss Jolie so damn much.

  41. moshane58 says:

    PP is just a damn ploy to cause more trouble.Jill Larkin said they only talked to them once on AMC and only offered them 50 dollars a show if they aired there prt.Now everyone knows these actors cannot make a living sitting around to see if they get 50 bucks a show.They had no intent to make it work/Theo produce shows on FX and USA and have no clue about unions/Give me a break.They knew it was a way for Disney to get us off there backs with 2 of there exec executives playing the game.Why should they still hold actors hostage?They said they were not gonna do them.Bad enough we where not allowed to have a descent tribute at the daytime emnys over holding footage of the shows now this.Hope ABC paid them enough to keep this crap a going.Give em back to Agnes and leave as soap fans alone.Enough is enough ABC and PP with your games.

  42. Dee says:

    Glad that PP held up MA and Natalie by the time she free to come to GH Mcbam would have made Jolie a distant memory.

    • Jen says:

      Or, far more likely is that Natalie comes onto the canvas just as McBam is getting off the ground. And no way in hell will Jolie ever be a distant memory. Both Jolie and Jasam have 8/9 years on that pairing.

  43. Jen says:

    Always good to hear more Jolie news. Thank goodness this situation has been explained. Of course it’s PP’s fault.

  44. KayKEELY says:

    If they have to wreck a good thing w/ Natalie down the road, I hope FV and RC get the most bang for their buck w/ McBAM in the mean time. I am loving the attraction and the push/pull between John and Sam on screen.

  45. Jas says:

    McBam sucks ass. I won’t watch that crap. Jolie is an amazing couple and they need to be together. I’m glad FV loves MA. I’m sure we’ll see her soon.

  46. Jamie says:

    Jolie needs to come back on my screen soon. I can’t wait until the contracts expire in the next few months.

  47. Becky says:

    FV loves MA, yay!! And ME wants to be reunited with her :) Do what you have to do FV

  48. Debbie says:

    Frank should quit calling it GH when it’s really One Life at General Hospital. I want my GH back. I don’t like the hybrid show and don’t believe it’s necessary to save it.

    • Wildbehr says:

      I agree with you. This whole post was pretty much about all the new OLTL characters. And for them he has ruined GH characters that I loved. It’s not making me happy at all. I’m seriously thinking about giving the show up with the direction it is going and I have watched GH for 25 years.

    • Troy Turner says:

      Gang, facts are facts-if it weren’t for the OLTL infusion-we’d be playing out the string in PC right now. Just watch the show…

  49. Bee says:

    Jolie was the best part of OLTL. Bring onto GH, FV. You know you want to lol

  50. DebbyS says:

    I tuned in because of Michael Easton. I’m sticking around because the writing is surprising, story lines seem to actually finish, and there seems always to be something going on. If I realize I don’t like a story line or a character, just fast forward 30 seconds and there’s a different one. I enjoy that the actors really have to *act*, and most do very well.

    • Ann says:

      Michael Easton and Kelly Monaco have electric hot chemistry, best couple ever! The oozed it as Caleb and Olivia and they still ooze it!

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