How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of 'GH,' 'The View' and 'The Chew'; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

How WATCH ABC Changes Will Affect Viewing of ‘GH,’ ‘The View’ and ‘The Chew’; Shows Also on Hulu Plus

By Errol Lewis

( — “General Hospital: Night Shift” premiered on July 12, 2007 with an average of 1 million total viewers and just under 500,000 viewers in Women 18-49. The reach the soap had was beyond anyone’s expectations at SOAPnet and the Disney-ABC Television Group. So what does the head of the company’s daytime division think of the premiere? “Obviously thrilled. There is a mass idea there where you put all of these ‘GH’ viewers and say ‘let’s come up with something that is spun out of ‘GH’ and put it on SOAPnet.’ It seems like a pretty basic programming idea, but you still have to make a terrific show and hope that people will watch it — and Jill and Bob have done that.”

Brian Scott Frons

On Saturday, July 14, 2007, Soap Opera Network was given an opportunity to speak with Brian Frons, [President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group], after the “General Hospital: Night Shift” press panel at SOAPnet’s portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour. In this five minute interview, Mr. Frons speaks candidly about “Night Shift” and how the show’s success relates to “General Hospital” and what changes are in store for “The View.”

With the success of the “Night Shift,” could plans of re-airing the show on ABC be far away?

“Not right now; I think that is certainly something we will consider for the future, but right now we are giving it multiple airings on SOAPnet and we are trying to use it as something to really draw people to the channel who haven’t been watching.”

If there are no plans on airing the show on ABC, how will the network help promote the series?

“I think that what we really have been using ABC for is as a promotional platform. This past week we’ve had longer than usual trailer’s for ‘Night Shift’ and ‘GH’ that pushed people to SOAPnet.”

Any spin-off plans for “All My Children” or “One Life to Live?”

“No, it is something certainly we will take under consideration. However, with ‘GH’ it was sort of a natural kind of thing as Robin and Patrick are always getting into trouble in the middle of the hospital. It was easy enough to imagine them being punished in some way – it just seemed to be a very natural idea. For the other shows it would need to be something that would make sense, like the McBain murders [One Life to Live]. We’d need to have something that we felt was right for each of the shows and that we had the time and the money.

While watching “Night Shift” and knowing that Jason is currently involved in a murder case on “GH,” was it a last minute idea to add Steve Burton into the show?

“It was something that came up prior to us writing the show. What happened was Steve has wanted to direct and he thought it might be fun if he could direct an episode and show up and do something new. Actors love to do something new and so the idea was kinda funny as we don’t talk about it, because you know usually everyone Jason kills is a bad person and deserves to die. Here we have the Angel of Death floating around the hospital, which we will deal with in the last episode of the series.”

Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough

“Night Shift,” the second spin-off of ABC’s “General Hospital” (“Port Charles” being the first), is set in the ER of Port Charles’ General Hospital. The series centers on Doctor’s Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) and Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough), who were sent to the Night Shift after the two performed surgery on a patient who lacked proper medical insurance without consent from hospital board administrators. The storyline may have started on “GH” but is continuing on “Night Shift.” However, once the primetime soap hit the air any continuity the soap may have had initially with its mother-ship may be whipped away.

How will you deal with the continuity of both series as their storyline’s are sure to intermingle?

“One of the early decisions we had to make was whether or not we think it is the same time. Because the tape schedule of ‘Night Shift’ was going be so disbursed we didn’t know exactly when the show was going to air or where we’d be in August. We decided that they [the shows] would live in their own separate universes. The relationships are transferred; some of the people would be in ‘GH’ and refer to what’s happening in ‘Night Shift.’ As Jill [Farren Phelps] said at the panel, if there was a preemption everything would be knocked out anyway.”

Rosie O’Donnell left “The View” abruptly after contract negotiations and her battle with a co-host went too far. Are there any plans to help the talk-show keep its ratings inroads without the outspoken diva?

“We are going to have an announcement by the end of the month. Barbara [Walters] will make it.”

Any chance Sherri Sheppard (“Less Than Perfect”) could be part of the plan?

“It’s possible.”

“General Hospital: Night Shift” airs Thursdays at 11:00 PM, EST/PST on SOAPnet and is a production of ABC Studios. Jill Farren Phelps serves as Executive Producer with Robert Guza Jr. as Head Writer.

  • General Hospital: Night Shift
  • The View
  • Brian Frons

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 10:45 AM ET | By Errol Lewis

    ( — According to the Hollywood Reporter, former soap stars Nathan Fillion (“One Life to Live”) and Lyndsy Fonseca (“The Young and the Restless”) are in negotiations with ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” to join the cast as series regulars for the primetime soaps fourth season. Actress Dana Delaney (“China Beach,” “Kidnapped”) is also expected to come on board.

    Delaney is said to be playing a character currently going by the name of Katherine, a former “housewife” who is coming back to Wisteria Lane after a ten-year absence with a younger husband (Fillion), described as “the best-looking gynecologist in town,” and her 17-year-old troublesome daughter (Fonseca).

    “Housewives” creator/executive producer Marc Chery, has been trying to get Delaney on the show since before filming the original pilot for the series in 2004. She was expected to play Bree Van De Kamp. Negotiations didn’t come to pass and the role went on to be played by Screen Actors Guild winner Marcia Cross.

    Fillion is set to return to ABC’s “One Life to Live” after a decade long absence as Joey Buchanan on August 17 for the soaps 10,000th episode. With the possibility of “Housewives” looming, do not expect the actors stay to be long-term anytime soon. He was last seen in FOX’s “Drive” this past spring.

    Fonseca has had a recurring role on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” since 2005. She was best known as Colleen Carlton on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” from 2001-2004.

    “Desperate Housewives” airs Sundays on ABC. Check local listings.


    • One Life to Live
    • The Young and the Restless
    • How I Met Your Mother
    • Nathan Fillion
    • Desperate Housewives
    • Dana Delaney
    • Lyndsy Fonseca
    • Marc Cherry
    • Marcia Cross
    • Kidnapped
    • China Beach

      Network Premieres Drama in the A.M.
      Tuesday, July 3, 2007 11:50 AM | By Errol Lewis

      ( — SOAPnet, the new way to watch soaps, has a secret that they don’t want you to know.

      Thursday, July 12 at 11:00 PM, EST/PST has been the designated premiere date and time for SOAPnet’s highly anticipated new original series, “General Hospital: Night Shift.” What you don’t know is that the network plans on launching the show a full 18 hours early as a special sneak preview.

      If by chance you are awake at 5:00 AM, EST/PST, you can catch a glimpse of what the doctors of “General Hospital” are up to in the wee-hours of the night as Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) and Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) try to save lives. Of course when all the action goes down, you just know Jason Morgan (Steve Burton) is just waiting in the wings as well.

      “Night Shift” is a primetime spinoff of the daytime soap opera “General Hospital.” The series also stars Bradford Anderson (Damien Spinelli), Kent King (Dr. Lainey Winters), Kiko Ellsworth (Stan Johnson), Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones) and Billy Dee Williams as Toussaint Dubois.

      “Night Shift” Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps and Head Writer Robert Guza Jr., will continue to run “GH” in the same capacity.

      Pictured: Jason Thompson, Kimberly McCullough and Steve Burton courtesy Craig Sjodin/SOAPnet

      • Kirsten Storms
      • Steve Burton
      • Jason Thompson
      • Bradford Anderson
      • Kimberly McCullough
      • General Hospital: Night Shift
      • Kent King
      • Kiki Ellsworth

        Recent Information

        Follow Us on Twitter