Deep Soap: Why One ‘OLTL’ Star Won’t Be Coming to ‘GH’ and Other TCA Bombshells

'General Hospital' executive producer Frank Valentini (Photo: ABC)

Production company Prospect Park, which optioned the rights to “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” in a failed attempt to continue the soaps on the Internet, still has the legal rights to at least one OLTL character. “General Hospital” executive producer Frank Valentini revealed that one of the reasons that Natalie (Melissa Archer), wife of OLTL transplant John (Michael Easton), has not appeared on GH is that Archer is still under contract to Prospect Park.

Immediately following the GH panel at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour Thursday, Valentini responded to a reporter’s query about when Natalie would turn up in Port Charles. “There’s other legal issues involved with the Prospect Park deal and I can’t really talk about it,” he said. “All I’ll say is Melissa Archer is a very close friend of mine and I adore her.”

Given that Easton, and two other OLTL alums who have appeared on GH — Kassie DePaiva (Blair) and Florencia Lozano — had also signed on with Prospect Park, it’s unclear why Archer has contractual stipulations that the others do not, or why Prospect Park would consider enforcing its contract when the online version of OLTL will clearly never happen. So when will Archer be available? “I don’t know. I wish I did because I could say. I’m not afraid to say it. I just don’t want to speak out of turn and say the wrong thing.”

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Valentini promised that Blair’s rejection of Todd’s (Roger Howarth) marriage proposal was not the end of the supercouple: “Kassie will definitely be coming back.” There also finally will be a resolution to the cliffhanger from the final episode of “One Life to Live” in which viewers learned that the presumed dead Victor (Trevor St. John), was very much alive. “Yes [Todd will learn he did not kill Victor]. Absolutely. See, we have all these great surprises that can be played out. So the future is very bright. We’re really excited about it.”

Though earlier in the day, the president of ABC News revealed that the summer series “Good Afternoon America” was being considered for a permanent spot on the daytime line-up, Valentini was confident that it would not replace GH.

“I think we worry about any other show that’s coming in but I personally just don’t think they can compete with us…I think that it’s very exciting for people to talk about the end, the end, the end, so they can be the first one to predict it. If I said right now, ‘American Idol is going off the air,’ someday it will. And then I’ll be right. Five years from now, fifteen years from now, or twenty years from now.”

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ABC’s new support for the show was repeatedly emphasized during the press conference. (Yes, the network may be motivated by a desire to provide a strong lead-in for “Katie,” but so what? GH is reaping the benefits.) Said Valentini, “All I can say is they invited us here.  To me, that’s a great sign, and they’re behind us 100 percent. They’re very excited about the 50th anniversary, and we’ll be rolling out lots of different things between now and April, and past then. So I’m pretty confident. I feel like it’s very exciting. You just need to watch, how to sort of catch the energy and the momentum that we have, and the network’s a big part of that.”

Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) concurred, and as anyone who follows her on Twitter knows, she always says exactly what’s on her mind. “We were kind of like the walking dead for little while. It was like we were heading for the iceberg going, ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something?’ And they did. You know, ABC did. They changed everything… there is new marketing. There’s new publicity. [New ABC Daytime topper] Vicki Dummer seems to be, you know, a pretty great broad from what I can tell.” In other words, former ABC Daytime President Brian Frons really, truly has left the building.

GH cheekily addressed the state of daytime television in Thursday’s episode of the show. Todd expressed the views of many soap fans when he told Kate (Kelly Sullivan), “The world needs another fashion magazine like it needs another daytime chat show.”

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

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