GENERAL HOSPITAL executive producer Frank Valentini was joined by several cast members on Thursday at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour. Fans followed along on Twitter where "Steve Burton" and "Jason Thompson" were trending at different points of the discussion.
Valentini said that soap operas address the fantasy of family, the fantasy of love, the fantasy of friendship … bedrocks of what this nation is about.
"People look to these shows as touchstones," he said.
"We were living on death row," Anthony Geary said of last year's cancellation threat. "I think we were all pretty emotional to get 24 [Daytime Emmy] nominations when we were so shaky about a year ago before Frank came on."
"It was bittersweet," said Michael Easton, who moved over to GENERAL HOSPITAL as John McBain after ONE LIFE TO LIVE ended. "At the same time it's been exciting to come over and work with these guys. We were pretty aware for year there that the wrecking ball was right outside the door. It's interesting to come over here and have the same feeling."
Other tidbits of interest:
- Robin (Kimberly McCullough) is back for a short time (Jason Thompson: "Who doesn’t want to do a story about electroshock?").
- Kelly Monaco couldn't reveal anything when asked about DANCING WITH THE STARS All-Stars (cast revealed Friday).
- Kassie DePaiva will be back.
- Laura Wright challenges anyone outside of daytime to shoot seven episodes a week versus primetime's one episode over eight days.
- There will be a "big umbrella story with a lot of suprises" in September and a huge promotional push from ABC to let viewers know about the change in time slot.
- Valentini is "confident" that GENERAL HOSPITAL will live past the one year extension.
- Valentini likes the new time slot and thinks is surrounded/protected by good shows.
During an earlier panel Katie Couric was asked about soap operas and their fans.
"I think that they fill a need for a lot of people," adding that she thinks that can "peacefully coexist" with other daytime shows.
GENERAL HOSPITAL moves to the 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT time slot starting September 10, the day KATIE premieres.