‘One Life To Live’ Writer, Producer Taking Over ‘General Hospital’

Update: It’s official. ABC has issued a press release confirming that Frank Valentini is “General Hospital’s” new executive producer and Ron Carlivati is the show’s new headwriter. ABC Daytime President Brian Frons states, “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. 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.”

Valentini adds, “I look forward to this next exciting chapter working with the wonderful cast and crew of ‘General Hospital,’” said Valentini.  “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.”According to the statement, the two officially report to work on January 9, 2012, so their material should start airing sometime in February.

One week after plans to move soap opera “One Life To Live” to the internet fell part, the show’s headwriter and executive producer are reportedly moving to “General Hospital.” According to Soaps In Depth, Frank Valentini will replace GH’s longtime executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, while Ron Carlivati will assume the headwriter position currently filled by Garin Wolf. The magazine’s editor tweeted, “Huge #GH news: A source at ABC/Disney says Jill Farren Phelps was let go and Frank Valentini is the new EP.” late Wednesday night. This morning, that tweet was followed up with, “As expected, sources are telling me Ron Carlivati will be joining #GH , too, as headwriter.”

The team of Valentini and Carlivati raised OLTL’s ratings after the show’s cancellation, a near impossible task in an era when soap viewership is declining across the board. Notoriously hard to please soap fans regularly sing their praises, and lament that the show is ending while it is so creatively strong. In contrast, GH, ABC’s most popular soap for years, has struggled since Wolf took over as headwriter, with a series of depressing storylines proving unpopular with viewers. Many assumed that ABC had given up on the show and planned to cancel it to make room for Katie Couric’s new talk show in September, 2012.

Valentini is known for his ability to produce a high quality show on a low budget. Carlivati’s stories are often poignant and uplifting, with a large dose of camp.Carlivati was previously offered a job on the GH writing team, which he turned down in favor of the on-line version of OLTL.  The big question of whether this dream team is being brought in to save GH or to send it out on top. Headwriter Lorraine Broderick, who made AMC must-see television in its final months, was hired just weeks before that show’s cancellation was announced.

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