Walt Disney's ABC may stand by 'General Hospital'
The embattled soap opera still has loyal viewers, while the network's new reality show 'The Revolution' falters.
Last year, ABC canceled "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" and replaced the long-running soap operas with "The Revolution" and "The Chew," cheaper unscripted programs. Many fans assumed that "General Hospital" would meet the same fate, but as Deadline Hollywood recently noted, Disney's plans have not worked out as expected.
Deadline Hollywood's Nellie Andreeva noted that GH "hit an 18-week high among women 18-49, 657,000, for the week of March 5, which featured the death of a character, and in the female demo, it's been actually running ahead of NBC's Days Of Our Live."
Disney shareholders, who have been bitterly disappointed by the company's box office bombs like "John Carter," should be rooting for GH to succeed. Turning around the show may draw more female viewers, an audience coveted by some advertisers.
ABC is now faced with a tough decision. Katie Couric's new talk show debuts in September and there isn't enough room on the network's schedule for all three shows. An ABC spokesman, Mitchell Messinger, told Top Stocks the network didn't have an exact date for an announcement. "When we are ready to announce something, we will," he said.
Not only have Valentini and Carlivati brought back fan favorites from GH's glory days, such as Robin Mattson (Heather Webber), Rick Springfield (Noah Drake) and Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), but they are telling exciting stories as well, according to Richard Simms, executive editor of Soaps In Depth.
For instance, GH fans were recently stunned to learn that Robin Scorpio, a character who was apparently killed in February, is still alive and being held captive in an undisclosed location. (An earlier version wrongly said the character was Heather Webber). Simms tells Top Stocks that he was surprised that GH managed to keep her fate a secret, considering that plot twists are often leaked to the press.
Valentini and Carlivati "have really cracked down on leaking," Simms said, adding that the lack of information is frustrating for the media -- but great for fans. "They are actually making you tune in tomorrow."
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed companies.
ABC/Disney has made some of the most questionable decisions in regards to programming that I have ever seen. Cancelling All My Children and One Life to Live, coupled with the insulting comments of Brian Frons and Ty Pennington, have driven decades long fans of ABC to other networks. Leaving General Hospital on the air may go part of the way to repair the damage. Bringing back at least one of the cancelled shows would be better. The Chew and The Revolution are "so 29 seconds ago." Reality shows on all the networks do not do that well. ABC should have done better research. I will watch General Hospital, and only General Hospital, on ABC until either All My Children or One Life to Live is returned to the air. If this does not occur, or General Hospital is cancelled, then my viewership of ABC/Disney, TV or movies, will end.
Keeping a tight grip on spoilers is a brilliant move. GH is NOT the least watched drama. If it were it wouldn't be the MOST talked about in online forums, twitter, message boards. The ratings do not accurately show how many of us are watching, the ratings don't count all the ways in which we are watching. I've recorded and watched GH for 30+ years. How many reality shows can you say that about?
If GH does get the ax in September, this viewer will not be watching ABC, daytime, prime time, none of it, period.
Keep GH and put AMC and OLTL back and we will start watching ABC again! The replacement shows are horrible! Who on earth wants to watch Katie Couric in the afternoon?
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