“General Hospital” makes a few changes to the writing staff.
Head Writer Ron Carlivati brings in another writer from his former “One Life To Live” team. Anna Theresa Cascio joins the “GH” team as a breakdown writer. Leaving the “GH” team is breakdown writer Garin Wolf, who has been with the show since 1997. Also leaving is breakdown/script writer Tracey Thomson.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — Yesterday afternoon, Soap Opera Digest reported that “General Hospital” has named breakdown writer Shelly Altman as its Co-Head Writer working alongside Head Writer Garin Wolf. Per the magazine’s website Altman’s new role is effective immediately.
In July, Soap Opera Network first reported on Altman’s move to “General Hospital” after 11 years at ABC’s “One Life to Live.” At the time Altman was joined by Tracey Thomson on the breakdown team replacing Meg Bennett and David Goldschmid, who were both fired following the termination of Bennett’s husband Robert Guza, Jr., who Wolf replaced back in May.
Before joining “One Life to Live” in 1999 as an Associate Head Writer, Altman worked at NBC’s “Another World” from 1995-1999 in the same position. She received five Daytime Emmy Award nominations in the category of Outstanding Writing Team. Her last four nominations being at “OLTL” (2002, 2006, 2008 and 2009) and her first at “AW” (1996). Altman won the award in 2008 while at “OLTL” under the writing team headed up by Ron Carlivati and Dena Higley.
In July 2010, Altman wrote a blog for The Writers Guild of America East which can be viewed here.
As Soap Opera Network went to press, a “GH” representative was unavailable for comment.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — It was June 8 when newly appointed “General Hospital” head writer Garin Wolf previewed to TV Guide Magazine‘s Michael Logan that “sometimes they come back” in reference to what fans can expect from his tenure as the shows top scribe. Since then word broke that Leslie Charleson would be returning to the soap as Dr. Monica Quartermaine nearly a year after being placed on recurring status, but never seen or used since. Also expected to return in recurring capacities are Tyler Christopher (Nikolas Cassadine) and Ingo Rademacher (Jasper ‘Jax’ Jacks), who were both fired while under the Robert Guza Jr. dictated writing regime. Also showing their face for a lengthier stay than originally thought, and in a recurring capacity, is Constance Towers whose Helena Cassadine is finding herself a new boy toy after many years of lacking a 3 dimensional personality, the return of Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and more Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliott).
“I want to make this a nice, easy transition. I want to bring balance to the show. I’m very big on secrets and romance and triangles. I’m a child of [Charles] Dickens and Doug Marland. I love “Dexter” and “Desperate Housewives.” I’m very eclectic. I love to combine a lot of different things, which is what’s great about soap operas. I love multi-generational stories,” said Wolf of what viewers could expect from him directly as a longtime fan of the medium himself. Regarding “GH” specifically, Wolf made it clear that “this is an amazing cast and I want to use everybody. I want to mix it up and bring back the entertainment. I want to bring back the reality to the characters’ lives. If you’re a cop, what is your life really like? Even in the most outrageous storyline, there must be some kind of identifiable emotion. I don’t care if we’re talking about a mobster or a plumber — you have to watch and say, ‘I know how he feels. I’ve been there.’ And we really need romance. For me, that’s all about yearning and obstacles. You have to know who you are rooting for and rooting against. I want to bring back villainy — dishy villainy, fun villainy, dangerous villainy. This is going to date me. My earliest soap opera memory is having a crush on Ann Flood on ‘The Edge of Night’ when I was 7 years old. And I went from there to ‘Dark Shadows.’ Growing up, comic books were soap operas for me.”
All the fun and excitement fans have been hearing about from stars of the drama series, including Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), who has been very vocal on Twitter, kicks off on Tuesday, July 26, when Wolf penned episodes begin airing on ABC. Almost immediately fans can expect love, romance, fights for survival, passion, courtship, reconciliations, introductions, jealousy and even a touch of “Cougar Town” (think early episodes from the shows first season) to hit their screens. In response to what she knows of Wolf’s material, Grahn shared on her Twitter page ” “It’s going to be all about women. This team loves them. That’s not to say we’ll all be saints, but it’ll be about us. The pace will be picking up. The actors have worked with him [Wolf] before and they are all happy.”
Sources tell Soap Opera Network that with all returning cast members and the creative changes hitting “General Hospital,” you should expect to hear that those returning actors will be not be offered contracts. “All of these actors are being kept on recurring in an attempt to keep costs down in order to keep the show on the air,” said a source. The same also holds true for other daytime soaps as well. “This is a trend we can expect to see more of, not just on ‘GH,’ but in daytime in general,” our source continued. “It’s been headed this way for a long time,” a daytime star told Soap Opera Network requesting anonymity during Emmy weekend earlier this month. “We’re going to see less and less contracts and more people on recurring basis. Unfortunately this is the way its been headed and in order for daytime to survive, this is the way it has to be.”
The cost cutting idea is one that makes the most sense when you think about it. You’re not guaranteed to have to pay people who aren’t being used, so the big gamble will be either risk losing key players to current storylines or lose millions of dollars on stars you don’t use, only to see your show canceled due to budget constraints. In order to avoid this all together, it is also likely we will see actors continuiously picked up for cycles as they are used and then being dropped before the next cycle kicks in.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — After fifteen years of working in various positions on the “One Life to Live” writing staff, including serving as the show’s head scribe for the last three years, ABC has announced that Ron Carlivati will be joining “General Hospital” as a script writer. The move will fulfill the remainder of the three-year contract Carlivati signed with the network last September. A similar two-year deal was hammered out at the time with “One Life” Executive Producer Frank Valentini.
Despite the timing of the news, “OLTL” fans breath a sigh of relief, however, since Carlivati is not expected to begin his new duties until after the show wraps production sometime in mid-November. “One Life to Live” will air its final episode on January 20, 2012.
Carlivati echoed the sentiment in a press release, saying that “I remain fully committed to Frank Valentini and ‘One Life to Live’ as the show’s Headwriter until the series concludes in January of 2012. It has been my distinct honor to write for Agnes Nixon’s groundbreaking soap opera for the past fifteen years, and it will be with a heavy heart that I, along with my incredibly talented team, pen its finale. At that time, I am happy to announce that I will then be joining the writing team of ‘General Hospital,’ and am thrilled to be working once again with Executive Producer Jill Phelps as well as new Headwriter Garin Wolf.”
Wolf was just named “GH” headwriter last month by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group, upon the firing of the show’s former head scribe Robert Guza, Jr.
The news of Carlivati’s move to the L.A.-based “Hospital,” was broken Thursday by “One Life’s” soon-to-be-departing leading lady Robin Strasser, who tweeted that ” JUST TOLD but NOT told it wuz SECRET: Ron CARLIVATI to #GH as script writer-hopes 2 b co-head writer? Yo,I’m taking heat for leaving early?” Strasser, as we previously reported, is leaving “OLTL” this summer to have back surgery. Her final tape date is Friday, July 1.
Carlivati, along with his writing staff, won a Daytime Emmy in 2008 for their work on “One Life to Live.” He began his daytime career on the soap as a Writer’s Assistant from 1996-1998, before being promoted the the position of Script Writer. In 2001 he was again promoted, this time to the job of Breakdown Writer. In May 2007, he was appointed Co-Head Writer (along with Dena Higley). In September of that year, he was named the show’s sole Head Writer following the network’s dismissal of Higley, where he has continued to serve (minus a brief hiatus during the 2008 Writer’s Strike) in the same capacity.
Click here to read an interview Soap Opera Network did with Carlivati in March of this year, one month before ABC announced the cancellation of “One Life to Live” and sister soap “All My Children.”
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — A few weeks back I reported on my personal Twitter page that two actors would be let go by summer’s end and it wouldn’t be by their own choosing despite how it would be presented by the show. The firing of Ingo Rademacher was not one of those people I alluded to. In an official statement released to ABC Soaps In Depth on their website, the actor said “After 15 years on ‘GH’ portraying Jax I must say goodbye. I’m fired.”
While Rademacher’s departure does not come as a surprise, his firing comes hot on the heals of ABC confirming reports of now former Head Writer Robert Guza Jr. getting the boot this past Wednesday only to be replaced by scab writer Garin Wolf and Tyler Christopher getting kicked to the curb in March after learning his new ABC Family pilot, “The Lying Game,” was picked up to series. Christopher’s last airdate has not been announced, but he last tapes today in scenes we’re told he may have had a hand in writing.
“Yes, I know that’s sounds bad but sometimes little birds need a shove out of the nest to find their wings…. better late then never? I’m trying to find some humor in all of this. Even though this was not my call, I think my ‘GH’ days were almost up anyway,” Rademacher’s statement read. “I would like to thank everyone at ‘GH,’ the producers, directors, crew, my fellow actors and ABC/Disney for making my 15 years enjoyable and fun. It was always a great place for me to work and I will have fantastic memories. I would like to thank my fans and especially my ‘Jax Angels’ who have been there for me, supporting me in every way, from Day One. Thank you!”
An ABC representative was unavailable for comment at press time. A last airdate has not been set.
(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — ABC’s “General Hospital” has announced that effective immediately Garin Wolf will replace outgoing Robert Guza Jr. as its head writer. The announcement was made by Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney/ABC Television Group.
“Garin is a talented writer and storyteller who has been a part of the ‘General Hospital’ family for nearly 15 years,” said Frons. “His in-depth knowledge and adoration for the show’s legacy will help make a smooth transition and an immediate impact on story,” said Frons. “I’m sure he will succeed in taking ‘General Hospital’ to new heights as he develops characters and storylines that will engage and thrill our viewers.”
According to ABC, Wolf has been part of the “General Hospital” writing team since 1997 for which he won two Daytime Emmy Awards. In addition to his time at the flagship ABC soap, Wolf had written for CBS’ “As The World Turns” and SOAPnet’s “General Hospital: Night Shift.” While he’s best known for his work on soaps, Wolf is also credited for his time at animated series “Batman” and “Tiny Toon Adventures.” He won a Writer’s Guild of America Award for his work on “GH.”
EXCLUSIVE: Soap Opera Network has learned the names of soap opera writers who declared “Financial Core” status to keep on working during the strike. By going “Fi-Core,” these writers can never be members of the WGA again but they continue to pay reduced union dues and the Guild is obligated to continue providing services such health insurance, pension and residuals. Though they can still work on Guild projects, Guild members will not be keen to hire them.
Here is the list of “Fi-Core” writers:
- “All My Children”: James Harmon Brown & Barbara Esensten (returned to work in late December)
- “The Bold and The Beautiful”: Kay Alden
- “Days Of Our Lives”: Hogan Sheffer (went “Fi-Core” in early January), Meg Kelly (went “Fi-Core” in late November), Victor Gialanella, Mark Christopher Higley
- “General Hospital”: Garin Wolf (went “Fi-Core” immediately), Michael Conforti
- “One Life To Live”: Gary Tomlin, Fran Myers, Jeanne Marie Ford, Michelle Poteet Lisanti (all went “Fi-Core” immediately)
- “Passions”: James E. Reilly, Shawn Morrison, Pete T. Rich (went “Fi-Core” immediately)
- “The Young and The Restless”: Josh Griffith, Maria Arena Bell, Paula Cwikly (all went “Fi-Core” immediately)
There are no “Fi-Core” writers at “As The World Turns” and “Guiding Light.”
At “DAYS” the show decided not to use the services of Hogan Sheffer and Meg Kelly; instead they were paid to stay at home. This signifies that “DAYS” will name a new Head Writer.
Still at “DAYS,” it is unclear as to whether or not that the fired writers (Tom Casiello, Frederick Johnson, Gordon Rayfield, Judy Tate, Judith Donato, Renee Godelia, Richard Backus) will be returning to the show. More on this story in the upcoming days or weeks.
Over at “Y&R” there have been rumors and speculation about the departure of Executive Producer and Head Writer Lynn Marie Latham. However, there has been no word if these rumors are true or not.
UPDATE: April 18, 2008
The WGA released a letter today naming more writers that I didn’t originally have.
The list of writers are:
- “The Bold and The Beautiful”: John F. Smith
- “Days Of Our Lives”: Dena Higley (went “Fi-Core” just before the strike ended in February)
- “Passions”: Marlene Clark Poulter, Clem Egan, Darrell Ray Thomas Jr.