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'General Hospital' Showrunner Replaced With 'One Life to Live' Vet ... Sign of Soapocalypse?

Date December 01, 2011
General Hospital Showrunner Shakeup It's been a rough couple of months for soap fans. First 'One Life to Live' and 'All My Children' saw their plans to move online collapse, and now, according to a report from Vulture, Jill Farren Phelps, the longtime showrunner for 'General Hospital,' is leaving the series. Phelps is being replaced by 'One Life to Live' veteran Frank Valenti.

ABC confirmed the news. Valenti will be joined on the soap by Ron Carlivati as head writer, both appointments are effective Jan. 9, 2012.

"Frank and Ron's creativity, passion and outstanding leadership will be a welcome addition to the cast and crew, as well as viewers and longtime fans," Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime, said in a statement. "As creative leaders in the industry, I am very excited for their arrival to 'General Hospital,' and their dedication to the genre will certainly invigorate the daytime drama that has been part of pop culture and the TV landscape for many years."

Valenti was signed to move online with 'One Life to Live,' but after Prospect Park halted plans to bring the soap back to life, Valenti became available again. Vulture reports Valenti has been known to bring his soaps in under budget and helped 'One Life to Live' maintain steady ratings as almost all other soaps dropped.

"I look forward to this next exciting chapter working with the wonderful cast and crew of 'General Hospital,'" Valentini said in a statement. "This is an incredible opportunity for me to extend my passion and expertise for daytime television as I continue my relationship with DATG and become part of an extraordinary team in 2012."

The future of 'General Hospital' is in question. Katie Couric's talk show, 'Katie,' is coming to ABC in fall 2012, set for the 3PM ET hour in key markets, bumping 'GH.' Why change showrunners with such an uncertain future? That's the million dollar question.

Phelps joined 'General Hospital' in 2001. Prior to her time in Port Charles, Phelps served as executive producer on 'One Life to Live,' 'Another World,' 'Guiding Light' and 'Santa Barbara.' She's been nominated for 14 Daytime Emmy Awards and won six times. Additionally, Phelps is credited with bringing James Franco to the soap.

Starting January, 'General Hospital' will be the only soap on ABC. 'All My Children' has already been replaced by 'The Chew' and 'One Life to Live' will end on Fri., Jan. 13. 'The Revolution' starts Mon., Jan. 16.

Tell us: What do you think of ABC's shakeup?

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