‘Sometimes They Come Back’ Becomes Reality on ‘General Hospital,’ Plus the Plan to Cut Costs
(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.