William deVry On ‘GH’s’ Success: ‘It’s Survival of the Fittest!’

General Hospital Mast Head by Soap Opera Network

Jill Johnson/JPI Studios
Jill Johnson/JPI Studios

There have been a slew of stories celebrating soap operas’ recent turnaround in the game as of late, but it’s an unexpected trend worth repeating: Soaps are back, baby! And “,” which was marching toward an ABC death similar to “” and “,” is doing particularly well. Soap Opera Network sat down with the sudser’s very own (Julian Jerome), who discussed some particulars of why “GH” is on such an upswing. And while he was at it, he revealed some details on what’s to come in Julian’s life, as well!

All four remaining soap operas — “GH,” “,” “,” and “” — have shown ratings increases this past year, and deVry has a theory as to why the genre has been flourishing. “[The industry] is definitely very, very healthy,” he says. “Right now, it’s survival of the fittest: You’ve got the best actors, the best writers, and the best executives in place.”

Jill Johnson/JPI Studios
Jill Johnson/JPI Studios

But he says perhaps the most important element, at least when it comes to “GH,” is the network relinquishing control. “I think the network in the past, traditionally, has said, ‘Hey, I’m going to hire you as my executive producer for this show, and you go do it.’ Then, for the longest time, they decided to want approval and final say on everything, and they were having final say on everything, and everything just starts looking the same; there’s no variety, because it’s their personal tastes. And honestly, when you give the power to [executive producer] Frank [Valentini] and [headwriter] Ron [Carlivati], they know what’s best for ‘General Hospital’ and the fans. They’re passionate about it. And the network people, even though they want us, and they love us, they don’t always know what is best for the show. And now, they’ve completely gotten out of the way.”

And the result is similar to when former executive producer brought the show back to life back in the 80s. “Back in the day, they said to her, ‘We’re going to bring you on to basically finish the show for us,’” deVry continues. “And then she said, ‘Oh yeah? Well, I’m going to show you!’ And she brought it back to life, and it hit ridiculous highs and made a ridiculous amount of money for the network, and all of a sudden, it became viable again. So I think that’s what’s happening right now. We’re a viable operation again. We’re making money, we’re setting the table for the primetime shows, and we’re keeping the audience loyal for the primetime shows. It’s great.”

Rumor has it that “GH” storylines this year will continue to stay strong and possibly pull in even more viewers, which the actor says is key to the soap’s success. “I’m really looking forward to 2014,” he says. “You’ve got to have the story to retain the audience, and I think that Ron and Frank are doing a fantastic job of keeping everybody’s interest. Of course, not everybody is going to be happy with every single storyline, but I think for the most part, we’re doing a great job. It’s great that they’re both really interested in the history of the show instead of trying to steer it in a completely new direction.

“I think we have a real possibility to get close to 4 million total viewers,” he continues. “We can keep growing on what we’ve built. Let’s face it: Word of mouth. You’ve got all of these fans who haven’t checked in for awhile, they check back in, they see Robin (), they see Anna Devane (), they see Duke (), they see (Lucas Stansbury), they see (Luke Spencer) is still there, (Scott Baldwin), Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring), all these people, and it’s like, ‘Man, this is great. I recognize all of these people. What’s going on?’ And then those fans are going to start telling their friends, the friends that used to watch the show and say, ‘You should really check it out again,’ and before you know it, I think we have room to grow. That being said, there are a lot more things on TV, so there’s a definitely ceiling, with everything that’s available now, but hopefully we have room to grow. I mean, we went from the high two millions to 3.5 million viewers in six months!”


As for story points regarding Julian, deVry says the immediate future is looking a little vague, but he has hope that it will turn around soon. “He’s got a lot of time lost with his family, his children that he didn’t know he had, and I think this has put a whole new perspective on his life,” he notes. “Julian has a real genuine interest in connecting with his daughter [Samantha ()], and his son [Lucas, (Carnes)] , so I look forward to that myself, just as much as the audience does.”

And what about love? “Well, I think the audience wants to see a resolution of some kind with Alexis (),” he says. “I think it’s important for the audience, and I think it’s important for the characters. Otherwise, it’s sort of unfinished business. There’s a journey to be had with us right now. Whether or not we score a touchdown at the end of that journey, I don’t know. But the journey is going to be there. How it resolves itself is anybody’s guess right now, outside of Ron and Frank, of course!”

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  • LLL

    Great Interview

  • SoapfanGH50

    I absolutely love William dear Vry as Julian Jerome. He’s so gorgeous I can’t stop looking at him. He’s right…GH characters are what gets the viewers to tune in but the story lines keep them there. As a very long time faithful fan, I couldn’t be happier the show is renewed. Let’s hope it continues forever as far as I’m concerned.
    Of course, I want Luke and Laura together again. That’s my big wish for GH.

  • KansasGuest

    I not only like the character of Julian, I like the actor for his honesty and frankness. He does not suffer fools…and he looks great with his shirt off! 😉