ABC Exec Nathan Varni Previews What's Ahead on 'General Hospital'

Nathan Varni joined ABC eight and a half years ago in current programming. Two years ago, he began overseeing General Hospital for ABC, in addition to working with primetime series The Middle and Once Upon a Time. On Thursday, Varni was a guest on podcast Daytime After Dark, where he talked about his career and previewed what's ahead on GH, whose new head writers Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante started at work this week.

Varni addressed the online discussion, good and bad, of GH in recent weeks.

"It proves that General Hospital fans are very passionate," Varni said. "My boss (Vicki Dummer) said the same thing recently in an interview. Regardless of whether they're people are hating or loving it, at least people are talking about the show, and that gives us a lot of exposure."

"We're trying to get back to the emotional storytelling for the show ," Varni added. "Just a lot more romance, and really kind of honing in on our core characters, and making it the show everybody has loved over the years. I feel like we got off course just a little bit over the last year or so, but we're really trying to bring the focus back to our core central characters. We do have a lot of characters but I think you can tell stories in a way that characters are coming and going, and the stories are relevant. I think you'll miss people as much as fans have missed people in recent months. Our goal is not to tell stories then drop stories. Our goal is to tell really detail emotional type stories with our main characters, and bring the families together. Shelly [Altman] and Jean [Passanante] have a lot of work to do."

Varni said there is a story in the works to bring the entire Corinthos family together.

"September is going to be a really great," he said. "We have a central Sonny and Carly story coming up. They're going to be picking out a [wedding] date pretty soon. It's about bringing that Corinthos family together."

Anthony Geary may be back as Luke Spencer at some point.

"I don't think it would happen anytime soon, but that character is very important to the history of General Hospital," Varni said. "The door would remain open for Tony to come back. Sometime down the road, in the next year or two, it would be feasible for him to come back."

There are no plans for Kristen Alderson to return as Kiki Jerome at this point.

"I have a lot of faith in the role of Kiki moving forward," Varni revealed. "I think Hayley [Erin] is doing a fantastic, admirable job as Kiki. I hope the character becomes more layered, and perhaps gets a job, and becomes more involved."

Varni chalked up Robb Derringer returning to Agent Kyle Sloane to Grayson McCouch's "scheduling issues" with no mention of the rumor that McCouch didn't want to return because the character was about to be killed off.

Could the Jake is Jason reveal finally be about to happen?

"I know we've angered a lot people over the past year because we've had a couple of very slow moving stories, one being with Luke and the next one with Jason," acknowledges Varni. "But if you can stick a little longer, all that reveal will be coming soon. We are addressing it, and the wait is getting close to being over. I'm really excited because I love Billy [Miller] as an actor and I think he is going to knock it out of the park when that reveal is finally made."

Varni also explained why we're seeing less of GH's child actors.

"The kids are wonderful and they're so talented, and Nicolas [Bechtel] who plays Spencer is one of the smartest, most articulate kids I've ever met. What was happening is we were giving too much weight to child actors on the show. this is an adult show and kids are mean to be ancillary characters and not center stage, so we took a little break from the kids. But Spencer is going to be back; he shot some scenes recently. I think it's all about using the kids sparingly so you don't get sick of them and appreciate the days they're on."

Listen to Varni's complete interview below:

18 comments:

  1. I may be in the minority but I enjoyed seeing the kids on GH. I just saw it as comedy and it was very entertaining for me. I certainly enjoyed it more than either version of Kiki.

    The thing I appreciated most about Ron Carlivati's GH was the humor. I'd love to see a streamlined GH with some deeper rooted stories but I'd like some of that humor to remain.

    It will be interesting to see how GH changes with Shelly and Jean at the helm.

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    1. I don't mind the kids. They weren't on enough to affect the ratings good or bad. I have no problem with this interview. Mr. Varni is simply replying to things fans have been complaining about, like starting & dropping s/l's. I like RC but I'm ready for some layers & romance.

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    2. Thanks Kevin for sharing the highlights!

      Roger, I never minded the kids either. I enjoy the lighter stuff. They appeal to me much more than CarSon's impending wedding of doom. I suspect this issue folks had with them was less about not liking them and more about them getting consistent air time while others disappeared for months. "Why is this 10-year-old on everyday when I haven't seen my fav in weeks!"

      I too hope the humor stays with GH and that we get deeper more character driven story telling without going too dark all the time. GH is best when it has heart & hope.

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    3. I love the kids too, but their storyliines were much too mature for 8-10 year-olds.
      Love sick kids? No thanks!

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    4. I agree with NV. This is an adult show, for adult viewers. Yet RC was writing children as adults and the adults as children or teens and that reversal just doesn't work on a soap. Also, I can understand why people might get upset if children have more airtime than many adult characters do.

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  2. I'm ready for Jake to know the truth and to see Sonny's reaction.

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  3. I agree I am ready for the Jason reveal. On a side note - what happened to the telenovela column? So much telenovela news recently and I do not see any of it . Also, Bajo el Mismo Cielo premiered weeks ago and I was looking forward to RG's critique

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  4. I am really sad about the Silas story because he is a wonderful actor and no reason to kill him off just needed him better written ,hoping they will bring Michael Easton back somehow. Very glad Robb Derringer is coming back, should've kept him to start with. The kids are great , its summer but we usually see a teen s/l. Jason reveal is long overdue.

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  5. Please don't bring Kristen Alderson back. Hayley Erin is much better in the part. Also, after today's episode, I can see why Ron Carlivati was let go. After reading that Ron stayed in NY most of the time, it is very understandable why Tony Geary never worked with him. Nice to know the door is open for Tony if he wants it to be.

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    1. Please get rid of Haley Erin....she is awful and nothing like the character of Kiki.....everyone is different and you can find someone to support almost any position there is! I for one am glad TG is gone....Laura and Scotty forever!! lol

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  6. If he thinks Kiki is working in either incarnation he's wrong. Kiki's position on the canvas has promise but they need someone who is more fitting - Ashlyn Pearce would be perfect.

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  7. I don't have problems with recast - I think let the actors have a chance it's their job. I think I'm the only one got used to or enjoyed Greg Vaugn's portrayl of Lucky Spenser. Don't get me wrong love, love, love Jonathan Jackson . But it's a drama and if an actor is moving on to another job then I say by golly the best to them and give another actor a shot at the role.

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  8. Any word about when or whether Genie Francis will be returning as Laura? The GH management said she'd be staying around after Luke's departure and she did--for one whole whopping week! I've read elsewhere that she'll be back onscreen in October, but does anyone have any additional info? I'm beginning to feel like it's 2013 all over again.

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    1. Yes she's on a pre-planned vacation. She will return on screen in early October.

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  9. Please start advertising the ahow at night. Remind people it's on the air. ABC, stop treating it shabbily. Hearing Spotlight will be back on Corinthis regime is saddest thing you can say.

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  10. It sounds just like the Days of our lives speech, "things have changed over the past year" not for the better, or something.

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  11. Honing in on core characters? Then where are the Q's. Haven't seen them since TG left. As far as family..it's all about the Sonny/Carly show. Seeing the kids is part of the family dynamics even if we just see them for a few minutes. Haven't seen Emma or Josh since the fire. Haley is a horrible actress...I have tried very hard to like her..but I just can't. Y n R let her go b/c the fans disliked her acting. And if KM can't get back as Robin..recast her. Many loose s/ls there to tie up. GH is a shadow of what it used to be...ratings at the lowest low ever. I have watched for 50 yrs.

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  12. With the new writing and focus on the show the opening credits need to be redone. The current one is too dark and depressing as well as too fast. Siren was the best opening and enjoyed hearing it everyday. Also, focus needs to be on Genie Francis. Laura is great and can be much more other than Lukes ex wife.

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