Deep Soap: ‘One Life’ Headwriter Sets the Record Straight About Finale, Move to ‘General Hospital’

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Carlivati Podcast

Two days after “One Life To Live” pulled off one last miracle: crafting a finale to the show that managed to satisfy most viewers despite being filmed when everyone believed the show was going to continue online. You can watch it again, or catch it if you missed it, right here. This weekend the show’s headwriter Ron Carlivati participated in a lengthy podcast for Daytime Confidential. He addressed both the finale and his plans for his new show, “General Hospital.” I recommend listening, both for the information that he reveals and the insight he gives into the daytime writing process.

Here are some highlights:

  • Had he known that he was writing the very last episode of “One Life To Live,” he still would have crafted a similar finale, but there probably would have been more of a resolution to Victor’s (Trevor Sr. John) storyline, with Victor reuniting with Tea. He thinks ending that aired gave the audience some closure since viewers now know that Todd is not a killer and Victor is alive.
  • He would have done a jump forward in time a year a la the finale of “Friday Night Lights.” There would have been a final Dorian (Robin Strasser) scene. Viki would have called her for advice, and the camera would have panned back to reveal that she was in the Oval Office. Yes, Dorian Lord would be president. David was going to think that Camp David was named after him. I choose to believe that Stephen Colbert is Dorian’s vice president.
  • Both Strasser and St. John chose to leave the show before the finale. Strasser had back problems. She was supposed to appear several more time. When Blair called Dorian to get instructions on how to remove the bullet from Todd’s body, it was supposed to be a two way call. Dorian was also supposed to give Blair advice about choosing between Tomas and Todd, but David ended up filling in. St. John announced months in advance that he planned to leave OLTL at the end of his contract. By the time he changed his mind, weeks of scripts had been written and it was not possible to change the story. Carlivati acknowledged that some fans were likely to think that, even if he only had five minutes notice, he should have been able to rewrite the entire storyline so Victor could remain on the show.
  • Natalie (Melissa Archer) and John (Michael Easton) would have reunited sooner, probably in October after they learned that John was Liam’s father. It was saved to the final week because both Easton and Archer signed on with Prospect Park. The idea was that viewers would follow them on-line so they could see them happy together.
  • OLTL attempted to get more former cast members to return. Marilyn Chris, who played Wanda Wolek could not appear because the 80 year old actress was filming a movie. Judith Light also had a scheduling conflict.
  • Originally, Tina (Andrea Evans) was going to take all of Todd’s (Roger Howarth) money when the court ruled she was Irene’s legal heir, and Todd was going to frame her for Irene’s murder. But when he saw how great Tina and Cord (John Loprieno) were together, he decided to change courses and give Cord and Tina a happy ending. He thinks that the reason Tina’s first return, in 2008, fell flat is because ABC would not allow him to bring back Cord. Folks, here’s your proof that the network was involved in every decision on its soaps.
  • Carlivati wants to assure “General Hospital” fans that he is not attempting to turn GH into OLTL by bringing four OLTL characters onto the soap. “In no way is my goal to General Hospital into One Life to Live… I want to bring some of these characters there because it’s exciting. We have to do everything in out power to save the [soap] that’s there. If it brings any more viewers to the show, then that’s a good thing.  This is stories for the characters of Port Charles. It’s no different than if we brought in a new family to mix it up with these people…I want people to know I watched GH before I watched OLTL… I was watching before Luke and Laura when it was Scotty and Laura. It was incredibly exciting to come in and say, ‘Can I have Holly? Can I have Robert?’ [And] probably some others we haven’t announced yet.”
  • He is aware that GH’s days may be numbered. “It will either stay on the air or it won’t. There’s nothing I can do anything about it other than to write the best show that I can.”

Hillary Smith Moving to B&B

Another “One Life to Live” actress will be moving to Los Angeles. TVLine reports that Hillary B. Smith, who played Nora, will be joining “The Bold & the Beautiful” in the role of a sex therapist named Dr. Stacy. The site quotes B&B’s executive producer Brad Bell, ““Hillary is a formidable actress with a powerful screen presence. I look forward to collaborating on this new and dynamic character with her on “The Bold & the Beautiful.” No details have been released about her storyline, but since Stephanie (Susan Flannery) has lost interest in sex, and confidence in her body, due to her battle with lung cancer, it seems likely she and her husband Eric (John McCook) will be Dr. Stacy’s patients. Maybe B&B will be truly bold and address the Forresters’ fondness for borderline incestuous relationships from a psychological perspective. After all, in the past year Thomas (Adam Gregory) has made out with both his stepmother and his stepsister.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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