‘General Hospital’ Executive Producer Frank Valentini Teases Plans For Show’s 13,000th Episode and February Sweeps!

Ida Mae Astute/ABC

Anyone who’s been watching “General Hospital” as of late knows that the iconic sudser is seriously on fire — and from what we can tell, the flames don’t look as if they’ll die down any time soon! In fact, when Soap Opera Network caught up with executive producer Frank Valentini at this month’s Television Critics Association event at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, California, he revealed that fans haven’t seen anything yet! Read on for the scoop on what’s to come in the weeks ahead, how interaction with the network heads has helped with the soap’s recent success and what to expect for the long haul when it comes to everything Port Charles!

Though soap opera fans are extremely relieved that the industry has seen a recent resurgence, it’s been a bona fide shock for all. And surprisingly enough, that includes Valentini, who says he was just as taken aback by “GH’s” recent high ratings as viewers were. “It is certainly unexpected, because it’s such a reversal of the trends — not only in daytime, but in television at large,” he says. “But I think that it speaks volumes to the equity in the brand that is ‘General Hospital,’ and Ron [Carlivati, headwriter] has done such an amazing job of finding the moments and the stories and the characters that are resonating with our audience.”

Craig Sjodin/ABC
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Additionally, the relationship between the powers that be at “GH” and the network heads — Vicki Dummer, Executive Vice President, and Nathan Varni, Manager, Current Series, Primetime & Daytime — is at a strong point, which Valentini says helps with the show’s success. “[They] are very smart about story, really get it, understand it, love the shows, support us 1000% percent and are really trusting us, and we trust them,” he notes. “It’s always got to be a two-way street. It hasn’t always been that, and right now it is, so we’re open to input and they’re open to trusting us, which is great.”

The result of the symbiotic relationship between the show runners and the network heads is stellar television, which “GH” consistently proves to be these days. And as Valentini reveals, it’s only going to get better! “There’s a lot of really special stuff coming up in February,” he teases. “It’s kind of an incredibly jam-packed month, and I would encourage the audience not to miss any days between now and then, because there’s a lot of great stuff going on — it is, of course, a sweeps month. And we have some great stuff planned for the 13,000th [which will air on Monday, February 24] and also for the spring and for the Nurses Ball 2014.”

But is he willing to tease specifics? “I don’t want to give anything away, so I will just say do not miss!” he says with a sly smile. “It’s a lot of great stuff.”