General Hospital

General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital 2010.jpg
General Hospital intertitle (February 23, 2010 – present)
Genre Soap opera
Created by Frank and Doris Hursley
Written by Garin Wolf
Shelly Altman[1]
Starring Leslie Charleson
Anthony Geary
Jane Elliot
Kimberly McCullough
Steve Burton
John J. York
John Ingle
Jacklyn Zeman
Maurice Benard
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 49
No. of episodes 12,401 (as of September 9, 2011)
Executive producer(s) Selig J. Seligman (1963)
James Young (1963–1975)
Tom Donovan (1975–1977)
Gloria Monty (1978–1987, 1991–1992)
H. Wesley Kenney (1987–1989)
Joseph Hardy (1989–1991)
Wendy Riche (1992–2001)
Jill Farren Phelps (2001–present)
Location(s) Sunset Gower Studios
Hollywood, California (1963-mid 1980s)
The Prospect Studios
Hollywood, California (mid 1980s–present)[2]
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Running time 30 minutes (1963–1976)
45 minutes (1976–1977)
60 minutes (1977–present)
Production company(s) Selmur Productions (1963–1968)
ABC (1968–present)
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV) (1963–2010)
720p (HDTV) (2010–present)
Original run April 1, 1963 – present
External links

General Hospital (commonly abbreviated GH) is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns.[3] Concurrently, it is the world's second longest-running scripted TV drama series currently in production after British series Coronation Street. General Hospital premiered on the ABC television network on April 1, 1963 and has almost always aired at 3:00pm (Eastern time) since its debut. Broadcast weekdays and currently repeated nightly on SOAPnet, it is the longest-running serial produced in Hollywood, and the longest-running entertainment program in ABC television history. It holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, with 10 wins.

The show was created by husband-and-wife soap writers Frank and Doris Hursley, who originally set it in a general hospital (hence the title) in an unnamed fictional city; this city was named Port Charles, New York in the 1970s. Upon its beginning, General Hospital starred actors John Beradino and Emily McLaughlin, who both remained with the show until their deaths in the 1990s. General Hospital was the second soap to air on ABC (after the short-lived Road to Reality, which aired for several months during the 1960–61 season). In 1964, a sister soap was created for General Hospital, The Young Marrieds; it ran for two years, and was canceled due to low ratings. General Hospital also spawned a prime time spinoff with the same name in the United Kingdom from 1972 to 1979, as well as the daytime series Port Charles (1997–2003) and the prime time spinoff General Hospital: Night Shift (2007–2008) in the United States. Currently taped at The Prospect Studios, General Hospital originally aired for a half-hour until July 23, 1976. The series was expanded from 30 minutes to 45 minutes on July 26, 1976, and then to a full hour on November 7, 1977.[4]

From 1979 to 1988, General Hospital had more viewers than any daytime soap opera. It rose to the top of the ratings in the early 1980s in part thanks to the monumentally popular "supercouple" Luke and Laura, whose 1981 wedding brought in 30 million viewers and remains the highest-rated hour in American soap opera history.[5][6] In 2003, TV Guide named General Hospital the 'Great Soap Opera of All Time.'[7] In 2007, the program was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME."[8] In April 2009, General Hospital began broadcasting in High Definition.

General Hospital became the oldest American soap opera on September 17, 2010, when As the World Turns ended. On April 14, 2011, ABC announced the cancellation of both All My Children and One Life to Live, leaving General Hospital as the only soap opera airing on the network after January 2012.[9]


Show history

John Beradino and Emily McLaughlin celebrating 10th Anniversary of the show, 1973.

Launched in 1963, the first stories were mainly set at General Hospital in an unnamed mid-sized Eastern city (the name of the city, Port Charles, would not be mentioned until the late 1970s under Gloria Monty), revolving around Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino) and his friend, Nurse Jessie Brewer (Emily McLaughlin). Steve was Chief of Internal Medicine on the hospital's seventh floor and dedicated his life to healing and caring for the sick, ably assisted by Nurse Jessie. Jessie's turbulent marriage to the much-younger Dr. Phil Brewer (originally portrayed by Roy Thinnes; lastly by Martin West) was the center of many early storylines. In 1964 the woman who would finally win Steve's heart, Audrey March, a former flight attendant came to town. Audrey's older sister, Lucille Weeks was a nurse at General Hospital. Lucille married hospital janitor, Al Weeks. Audrey married Dr. Tom Baldwin and had his son (played as an infant by the daughter of Audrey's portrayer Rachel Ames.) In 1973 Audrey married alcoholic Dr. Jim Hobart before finally realizing she loved Steve.

Other nurses that had an impact at General Hospital during the 60s and 70s included Meg Bentley. Meg was the mother to her young son Scotty and stepmother to troubled teen Brooke Clinton. Meg married attorney Lee Baldwin, Tom Baldwin's brother. Lee adopted Scotty. When Meg died Lee became Scotty's only family. Several years later Lee met and married Caroline Chandler. Caroline died within a few years then Lee married Gail.

Diana Taylor was a young nurse torn between two men, Dr. Peter Taylor and Dr. Phil Brewer. Bouncy Sharon McGillis married shy Dr. Henry Pinkham. Jane Harland was married to businessman Howie Dawson. They had a daughter. Howie's mother, Mrs. Dawson, lived with them. At one point in about 1972, Howie soon became involved with Brooke Clinton. When Brooke spurned his advances Brooke was found murdered the following day.

Augusta McLeod came to General Hospital in 1973 and set in motion events that would impact General Hospital for years to come. It was Augusta who brought Phil Brewer back to GH to break up Peter and Diana Taylor. Augusta was pregnant with Peter's child. December 6, 1974, Phil Brewer was murdered by a geode (paper weight). Jessie Brewer was on trial for her life after having been caught with the deceased Phil holding the murder weapon. She was acquitted. Augusta McLeod was sent to prison for murder. She gave birth to her son which was given up for adoption.

The end of the hour wedding on November 17, 1981 of Luke and Laura, played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, was the most watched event in daytime serial history.[6]

During the 1980s the series featured several high-profile action, adventure, and some science fiction based story lines. Location shooting at sites including Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; Niagara Falls; Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Big Bear and Avalon (Catalina Island), California; and San Antonio, Texas are just some that propelled the story.

In the 1990s, General Hospital entered a transitional phase as the action/adventure storylines of the 1980s became less popular. The show gained critical acclaim for its sensitive handling of social issues, most notable of which were the heart transplant storyline which involved the death of eight-year-old BJ Jones (daughter of Dr. Tony Jones and R.N. Bobbie Spencer) in a bus crash and the subsequent donation of her heart to her dying cousin Maxie Jones. Shortly afterwards, Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson) began a long battle with breast cancer, which led to her adopting Emily Quartermaine, a young girl who had been orphaned when her mother died of breast cancer. Her adopted daughter was later murdered by an unknown killer, leaving Dr. Monica Quartermaine heartbroken. GH was also praised for yet another storyline in the form of the beautiful but tragic love story of teenagers Stone Cates (Michael Sutton) and Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough). After a struggle that lasted throughout most of 1995, Stone died from AIDS at the age of 19 and his death was followed by storylines in which 17 year old Robin had to deal with being HIV-positive as a result of her and Stone's relationship. The storyline got Sutton a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor and won McCullough an Outstanding Younger Actress award. ABC featured an "Afterschool Special" revolving around the AIDS story.

On Saturday, December 14, 1996, General Hospital aired its one of three primetime episodes, General Hospital: Twist of Fate, which picked up where that Friday's episode had left off. The special centered around Laura's supposed death at the hands of Stefan Cassadine.

The series' 11,000th episode aired on February 20, 2006.[10]

On April 23, 2009, General Hospital became ABC's first regular daytime drama to be taped and broadcast in high definition, though the 2008 season of its primetime spinoff General Hospital: Night Shift was in high definition. This is the second daytime drama to move to high definition after CBS's The Young and the Restless.

On February 23, 2010, the series aired its 12,000th episode.[11]

Production summary

Start date End date Time slot
Run time
April 1, 1963 December 27, 1963 1:00 pm 30
December 30, 1963 July 23, 1976 3:00 pm
July 26, 1976 November 4, 1977 3:15 pm 45
November 7, 1977 February 1, 1980 3:00 pm 60
February 4, 1980 present

General Hospital has aired on ABC Television and has been filmed in Hollywood, California since its inception.


Original Cast
Character Actor
Cynthia Allison Carolyn Craig
Lee Baldwin Ross Elliott
Dorothy Bradley Susan Seaforth Hayes
Jessie Brewer, R.N. Emily McLaughlin
Dr. Phil Brewer Roy Thinnes
Angie Costello Jana Taylor
Mike Costello Ralph Manza
Fred Fleming Simon Scott
Dr. Steven Lansing Matthew S Infante
Janet Fleming Ruth Phillips
Dr. Steve Hardy John Beradino
Roy Lansing Robert Clarke

Title sequence

Since the series' debut in 1963, General Hospital has had six opening title sequence packages and five theme songs.

From 1963 to 1967, the ABC announcer said "GENERAL HOSPITAL...brought to you by [product name]"; when the show moved to color on October 30, 1967, until circa early 1970s, announcer Ed Chandler would say, "GENERAL HOSPITAL in color". During the end of each scene just seconds before commercial break, Chandler would say "We'll return to GENERAL HOSPITAL in just a moment"; that announcement was phased out in the early 1970s. During 1973 to 1976, Chandler would simply say "General Hospital". "General Hospital" was the last ABC show to move to color.

For the closing credits sequence, Chandler's original line from late 1963 to circa 1970s was, "This is Ed Chandler inviting you to tune in tomorrow (Monday) and every weekday for GENERAL HOSPITAL". It was changed during circa 1973 to "This is Ed Chandler inviting you to tune in every day, Monday through Friday for GENERAL HOSPITAL." This spiel was used until July 1976. Since 1976, the only show announcements are the daily sponsor tags by ABC staff announcers ("ABC's General Hospital, brought to you by..."), and until the late 1990s, that immediately preceded the title at the end of the opening sequence. Currently, these announcements are done on network bumpers after the first scene.

Although Ed Chandler ceased his live announcing duties for the show in July 1976, a recording of his voice was retained for the first mid-program bumper ("General Hospital will continue in a moment"). There continued to be two mid-bumpers until January 1978, when a third was added during mid-break, after station identification, representing the expansion to an hour. The latter two bumpers would have no announcement. The three-bumper format was in place until circa 1986, with only the first and last mid-bumpers remaining. Starting in 1986, a muted display of the zooming title from the opening sequence was inserted to accommodate the mandate for affiliates to run their station ID over a program's still or logo. Ed Chandler's recorded mid-break announcement on the first bumper lasted until 1989. From 1989 to 1992, well-known voice actor Bill Ratner, who was a featured primetime promo announcer for ABC at the time, began voicing "General Hospital will continue in a moment" over the mid-bumper. Then, from the fall of 1992 until late 1999, various GH cast members would voice the first mid-bumper ("General Hospital will continue in a moment", with "here on ABC" being added to the line in 1996). Also, from late 1996 to September 1999, various cast members (but most often Ingo Rademacher) would introduce next-episode previews off camera. Since the fall of 1999, mid-bumpers and previews have been done on network graphics. In 2008, due to tight budgets, ABC cut the spoiler promos.

April 1, 1963 – November 21, 1963 [1]

In the early episodes of 1963, General Hospital used a scene of doctors and nurses going about their business in the hospital, which then freezes and turns into a negative image, with the title appearing in the Craw Clarendon Condensed font (which remained the same until 1993). Accompanying this was a piano piece by Kip Walton.

Mid-bumpers and closing sequences from day one featured the show's title, in the same font and size, centered on the screen against a black background. In the closings, a second sponsor plug would be included after the title, which would then return to the black screen where the credits would start running. In the first several years, credits would be carded one at a time for the most part on Monday-Thursday episodes; after production principals, the top billing stars would be credited (during this era, they were mainly John Beradino, Emily McLaughlin, Rachel Ames, Peter Hansen and Patricia Breslin).

On Fridays, the entire credit setup would scroll, with full cast and crew. The top-billing stars would still appear in their stacked format during the scroll, as they did on carded days (with actors' name, "as" and their characters' name all on separate lines) while supporting players would appear with their characters' name positioned to the left followed by periods, with the actors' names listed below in capitals over on the right. All crew credits would be centered. The final display of the General Hospital title in all broadcasts would scroll up itself to include the Selmur Productions ident at the end of the sequence.

The last episode to use this title, on November 22, 1963, was likely pre-empted by ABC as the news of the assassination and death of President John F. Kennedy was unfolding during the afternoon.

November 26, 1963 – April 11, 1975


Nearly eight months into General Hospital's run, the nurses' station opening sequence was changed in favor of a more simple display. At the end of the prologue, the first few notes of the opening theme began playing as the scene dissolved into a black screen, with the show's title appearing on it, centered. The same visual would remain on the screen for the length of the brief opening theme tune, save for a cut-in to a sponsor plug, and virtually only as long as the network announcer's (later Ed Chandler's) spiel. This second theme package was basically an expansion of the visual format used in the mid-bumpers and closing since the show's premiere. When the program moved to color in late October 1967, the black background used for all the visuals changed to blue, but otherwise the package would go unchanged for its entire run. The arrival of this first long-running setup for GH brought a revised version of the April–November 1963 theme, in a higher pitch and faster melody, which was also composed by Kip Walton.

The same mid-bumpers and closing credits format from the first package remained in place. The Selmur Productions ident continued to appear at the conclusion of the credits every episode until 1968, when ABC bought complete ownership of General Hospital.

April 14, 1975 – March 31, 1993 [12] The exterior shot of the hospital in the opening and ending credits is the General Hospital of the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, located just east of Downtown Los Angeles (Google Street View image from outside the gate:[13]). This shot was used from 1975 to 1993, and remained relatively unchanged between those years. It consisted of an ambulance rushing through the gates of the medical center, followed by the show's title zooming outward from the view of the hospital. The sequence's theme song was led prominently by George Wright's piano theme from no later than Monday, April 14, 1975 until Friday, July 23, 1976. Then on Monday, July 26, 1976, the theme music was changed to "Autumn Breeze" by Jack Urbont, with the horns throughout the opening sequence (the 1975 opening sequence would remain the same). The graphic details of the opening would see only one alteration, in 1978, when the lettering of the show's zooming title became smaller. It is one of the longest running soap opera theme/visuals in history, with only the 1970–1989 theme/visuals of All My Children and Days of our Lives' 1972-93 package ahead of it. The sequence was used until the last episode of General Hospital with the Autumn Breeze theme aired on March 31, 1993.

The closing credits during this long era were done over nearly the same exterior of the LA County-USC Medical Center, with the main difference here being a blue-sky/cloud visual, as opposed to the opening having a clear, sunny sky. Occasionally a closer pan of the hospital was used, but it became more common in the early 1980s and was used almost exclusively from 1983 until 1993. The Craw Clarendon Condensed credits continued the tradition of carding dayplayers one at a time on most days, with the actors' name on top, the "as" on the middle line and character name below. On Fridays or during special storylines, a long crawl credits format also remained. No earlier than the start of the LA-USC Medical Center visuals era, scrolling cast credits became reformatted where the actors name appeared first in capitals, positioned to the left and followed by periods, with their character's name seen below in mostly lowercase, set on the right. Copyright notice first appeared at the end of all episodes in 1980, in a small capitalized font. By late 1981, the notice began appearing in capitalized Arial font, and would remain this way through the fall of 1982.

In the fall of 1982, the closing format was updated so that now the credits were electronically generated. The creators' credit, which had long consisted of "Frank and" on one line, and "Doris Hursley" below it, now became "Frank &" with "Doris Hursley" underneath. The end credits became smaller, and the carded dayplayer setup now used the long-crawl formatting with the actors' name followed by periods, with character name below. From this point on, the more inward shot of the hospital was used full time. The copyright notice, which currently consisted of "(c) (year) American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.", was changed to small, capitalized Craw Clarendon Condensed, on two lines. Around the episode marking GH's 20th anniversary in April 1983, "All Rights Reserved" was added below the copyright notice, in small, capitalized Arial. Between December 1983 and February 1984, the space between General and Hospital in the closing title displays was removed, so that the title was stacked together; and, "Frank & Doris Hurley" became "Frank And Doris" on one line, with "Hursley" below. At the beginning of 1985, Gloria Monty finally became credited as "Executive Producer", replacing the simple "Produced By" title which had been a standard from the early days of TV.

By 1988, the carded credits format had long become occasional, and ceased during that year. Thereafter, on days that had short closings, the credits scrolled production principals only up until the role of associate producer, which would then be followed by the closing title display and copyright. Beginning in September 1989, on long crawl days listing the cast, John Beradino and Emily McLaughlin's credits scrolled on screen one at a time before the rest of the cast was listed in the large group. This was a nod by then-executive producer H. Wesley Kenney to Beradino and McLaughlin's seniority to the program. When actress Emily McLaughlin died in 1991, Beradino was listed alone before the rest of the cast, with Rachel Ames now always leading first on the main cast list.

April 1, 1993 – August 27, 2004 Wendy Riche made her most visible change as she decided to retire the long-running 1976 opening in favor of something new. The new opening music, "Faces Of The Heart" by Dave Koz (based on the melody of the previous "Autumn Breeze" theme), debuted at the beginning of the first episode on April 1, 1993 that marked General Hospital's thirtieth anniversary. The theme begins with a heartbeat rhythm played on a bass guitar as we dissolve to a shot of an ambulance. That, in turn, dissolves into a tinted, letterboxed view of the exterior of the LA County-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. This is followed by a series of video headshots of all the contract cast members, either solo or in pairs, against a red background. After every few clips, there is an action clip from the show. At the end of the sequence, we go back to the letterboxed, tinted hospital exterior and the title of the show in Goudy Bold type. For the 32nd Anniversary week in April 1995, the theme was remixed with a longer version with a reprise at the end, also the cast montage had a major update, which several cast members received new footage and new Puerto Rico action scenes were added. On April 1, 2003, the show's 40th anniversary, the characters’ first names were added to the opening.

For several weeks into the new "Faces of the Heart" package, the end credits remained in the same Craw Clarendon Condensed type used in past years. Now, however, the long crawl was done over stills from that day's episode. In one of the last episodes to use the Craw Clarendon Condensed, the closing credits were actually turned red, experimentally, to represent the color of the show's new visual image. By no later than early May 1993, the credits resumed being white and were now in Goudy font, to match the new General Hospital title logo. Short credit sequences either ran over episode stills or a variation of the red-tinted view of the hospital seen in the opening. This exterior background had motion effects that slowly pulled outward from the LA-USC building. From March 1996 to September 1999, each end credit segment was done in smaller lettering on a separate card for each still. The separate card setup is still used in the end titles shown on SoapNet rebroadcasts, but the credits are done over a shot of the hospital.

August 30, 2004 – February 22, 2010 During the May 2004 sweeps, ABC Daytime began a significant re-branding process. New graphics and new promotional bumpers were created, and the visuals in the new promos were incorporated into new openings that were unveiled on all three ABC soaps in subsequent weeks. On August 30, 2004, GH unveiled a new opening that incorporated many of the character visuals used in a new set of ABC Daytime promos and bumpers that debuted in May 2004. The nods to the show's past seem quite minimal in this new opening as we get only an extremely brief glimpse of an ambulance and an almost equally brief upward pan of the hospital exterior. This new opening sequence ends with a shot of the male cast members clad in tuxedos and posing against a white background, with Anthony Geary walking out of the shot, followed by the title of the show. The portion featuring the male cast members remained the same throughout this version's use, in spite of the fact that most of the cast members featured there such as Ted King, M'fundo Morrison, and Scott Clifton had left the show by the time it was retired. Though departing actors continued to be removed from the main part of the sequence as needed, no new actors were added from July 2007 until the version's retirement in February 2010. Contract actors such as Claire Coffee, Sarah Brown, Natalia Livingston (who was previously featured in the opening as Emily and later returned as Rebecca) and Nazanin Boniadi came and went without ever appearing in this opening.

The title appears in white letters in a single line across the screen against a black background, which is framed by letterboxing. On April 20, 2009, this sequence was updated slightly - the open was stretched (and later cropped) to fill the 16x9 picture ratio for the show's move to HD, but the video quality of the opening was still in standard definition. It is during this era that main technical credits (including the day's producer, director, etc. and the Hursleys' creative credit (even though they had passed away years previously) began to appear during the opening prologue scene, a practice only two other soaps (The Young and the Restless, which are split between the prologue and first act in their case, and All My Children) currently utilize; One Life to Live's technical credits appear after their opening credits.

February 23, 2010 –present On February 23, 2010, General Hospital debuted its revamped, HD opening credits in honor of the series' 12,000th episode. It features brand new shots of the cast members (shot in September 2009) and features debut opening sequence shots for cast members that have joined since fall 2007 (the last time the "Sirens" opening added characters), including (in order of initiation to contract cast) Sonya Eddy, Brandon Barash, Jason Cook, Nathan Parsons, Drew Garrett, Dominic Zamprogna, Lexi Ainsworth, and Lisa LoCicero, as well as the re-introduction of Jonathan Jackson. The opening was updated in April 2010 with the recasting of Michael Corinthos III, now played by Chad Duell, proving the new opening will be prompt with updates. The opening starts out with the word "General" going left, then giving a shot of virtual Port Charles. Next there is a picture of a siren and then the cast are shown as in its former style. With each character, the actor and character names are displayed, with character-themed background footage (such as Spoon Island behind Nikolas and the Haunted Star casino behind Luke). Following the character shots, Anthony Geary is seen turning away from the camera, as in the previous opening package. The credits end with the show logo, now in Goudy Old Style font, backgrounded by another skyline shot.[11] The theme music from the previous sequence was carried over into this sequence.

With this sequence, the contract cast members' names began to appear during the opening credits, a practice only two other soaps (The Young and the Restless, though that show does not list all contract cast members, and The Bold and the Beautiful) currently utilize; all other soaps list their cast's names in the closing credits for one episode each week. The opening also utilizes character names as well, something only one other soap (The Bold and the Beautiful) does.

On May 24, 2010, a second opening debuted featuring Brianna Brown and Scott Reeves in place of Sonya Eddy and Jason Cook. Initially, rumors were rampant that the latter two had been released from their contracts but it was later shown that, for the first time, General Hospital was utilizing more than one opening in order to compensate for their sprawling cast. This remains the case as of August 11, 2010, when "General Hospital" continued to utilize more than one opening and added Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo, who had returned to the show, to the sequence. One version of the opening includes Brianna Brown, Scott Reeves, and Leslie Charleson while the other has Sonya Eddy, Jason Cook, and John Ingle.

Main crew members


Many sites in Port Charles include:

  • General Hospital is a major employer in the city, and one of the largest medical facilities on the East Coast. With contributions from Sonny Corinthos and Carly Jacks, extra wings dedicated to AIDS research and pediatric head neurology have been constructed. In 2009, a vicious fire destroyed a majority of the hospital, which was promptly rebuilt. The hospital re-opened in April.
  • The Metro Court is the most prominent hotel in Port Charles, owned by entrepreneurs Jasper Jacks and Carly Jacks. When the Port Charles Hotel was destroyed by a fire in 2004 due to faulty wiring, the Metro Court was built on its site. The hotel boasts a skyline restaurant, a world-class spa, and multiple penthouse suites.
  • Kelly's Diner founded by the late Paddy Kelly, is a vintage restaurant in the heart of Port Charles. Operated by Mike Corbin, the diner has been serving its devoted patrons since 1978. The lofts above Kelly's have been home to hundreds of tenants over the years, although the rooms are currently vacant.
  • The Haunted Star is a yacht owned and operated by Luke Spencer, who received the vessel as a wedding present in 1983. In 2003, the ship was turned into a casino by Luke and investors Skye Chandler and Tracy Quartermaine.
  • Jake's is a bar located in downtown Port Charles, just a block away from General Hospital. Since the early 90s, the bar has been a hotspot for the local nightlife. Coleman Ratcliffe has owned the bar since 2002.

Prominent families include the Scorpios, the Quartermaines, the Cassadines, the Spencers, and the Corinthos'.


Daytime Emmy Award wins

Drama series and performer categories

Other categories

  • 2011 "Outstanding Stunt Coordination"
  • 2011 "Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control for a Drama Series"
  • 2011 "Outstanding Original Song for a Drama Series"
  • 2011 "Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Drama Series"
  • 2011 "Outstanding Achievement for a Casting Director for a Drama Series"
  • 2011 "Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design for a Drama Series"
  • 2010 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"
  • 2009 "Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team"
  • 2008 "Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Drama Series"
  • 2007 "Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Drama Series"
  • 2006 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"
  • 2006 "Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Drama Series"
  • 2006 "Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Drama Series"
  • 2005 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"
  • 2004 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"
  • 2004 "Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Drama Series"
  • 2003 "Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team"
  • 2004 "Lifetime Achievement 2003 "Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing for a Drama Series"
  • 2002 "Outstanding Original Song"
  • 2000 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"
  • 1999 "Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team"
  • 1999 "Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Drama Series"
  • 1999 "Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama Series"
  • 1999 "Outstanding Original Song" (TIED with As the World Turns)
  • 1998 "Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama Series"
  • 1996 "Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama Series"
  • 1995 "Outstanding Drama Series Writing Team"
  • 1995 "Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama Series"
  • 1982 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"
  • 1981 "Outstanding Drama Series Directing Team"

Directors Guild of America

  • 1996, 1998, 2002, and 2004 "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials"

Writers Guild of America

  • 1995, 1996, and 1998 "Daytime Serials"

Broadcast history

When ABC premiered General Hospital on April 1, 1963, the network placed it in the 1 p.m./12 Noon Central timeslot against local newscasts on NBC and CBS affiliates. But on December 30 of that year, General Hospital assumed a place on the daytime schedule that, except for almost seventeen months between July 1976 and November 1977 when it ran as one half of a 90-minute bloc with One Life to Live between 2:30/1:30 and 4/3, it has maintained to this day, 3/2 Central.

During the 1960s, General Hospital earned decent ratings against the likes of To Tell the Truth and The Secret Storm on CBS, but there was a decline as the 1970s came, especially when NBC's Another World became highly popular; for two years, it also faced CBS' The Price Is Right, already a major hit. After continued mediocrity in the Nielsen ratings, ABC was prepared to cancel General Hospital, but decided to give it a second chance in 1977 when it expanded the show to a full hour, from an experimental 45 minutes. However, the expansion came with an ultimatum to the producers that they had six months to improve the show's ratings. Head writers Douglas Marland & Gloria Monty were hired as executive producers, and on their first day, they spent an extra $100,000 re-taping four episodes. A miracle occurred thanks to Monty and the show became the most watched daytime drama by 1979, marking a rare instance of a daytime serial's comeback from near-extinction. During the wedding of Luke and Laura Spencer on November 17, 1981, about 30 million people tuned in to watch them exchange vows and be cursed by Elizabeth Taylor's Helena Cassadine (later played by Constance Towers).

From 1979 to 1988, General Hospital remained number one in the ratings, competing against two low-rated soaps on NBC -- Texas and Santa Barbara -- and Guiding Light (GL) over on CBS (although Guiding Light experienced a renaissance for a brief period in the middle of 1984, and became the #1 soap, dethroning General Hospital from the top ratings spot). For the most part, however, General Hospital continued to triumph, even after the departure of popular actors Anthony Geary and Genie Francis in the mid-1980s. Although The Young and the Restless took General Hospital's place as the highest-rated serial in 1989, General Hospital continued to maintain excellent ratings.

Ever since the 1991-1992 season of General Hospital, the show has had a steady decline in ratings. On and off they would be in between third and fifth place in the Nielsen Ratings, placing CBS's The Young And The Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful in first and second place, respectively. General Hospital still remains in between third and fifth place in the ratings to this day. During the 1990s General Hospital was put up against fellow soap opera, All My Children, CBS's As the World Turns and NBC's Days of our Lives.

Ratings history

Years as #1 series
Year(s) Household Rating
1979–1980 9.9
1980–1981 11.4
1981–1982 11.2
1982–1983 9.8
1983–1984 10.0
1984–1985 9.1
1985–1986 9.2
1986–1987 8.3
1987–1988 8.1 (Tied with The Young and the Restless)
Highest-rated week in daytime history (November 16–20, 1981)
(Household ratings, Nielsen Media Research)
Serial Household rating (Time slot) Network Millions of households
1. General Hospital 16.0 (3-4pm) ABC 17.5
2. All My Children 10.2 (1-2pm) ABC 11.7
3. One Life To Live 10.2 (2-3pm) ABC 11.6
4. Guiding Light 7.9 (3-4pm) CBS 8.2

1962-1963 season

1963-1964 season

1964-1965 season

1965-1966 season

1966-1967 season

1967-1968 season

1968-1969 season

1969-1970 season

1970-1971 season

1971-1972 season

1972-1973 season

1973-1974 season

1974-1975 season

1975-1976 season

1976-1977 season

1977-1978 season

1978-1979 season

1988-1989 season

1989-1990 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 8.0
  • 2. General Hospital 7.4

1989-1990 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 8.0
  • 2. General Hospital 7.4

1990-1991 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 8.1
  • 2. General Hospital 6.7

1991-1992 ratings

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 8.2
  • 3. General Hospital 5.8 (Tied with As the World Turns)

1992-1993 ratings

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 8.4
  • 3. General Hospital 5.8

1993-1994 ratings

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 8.6
  • 3. General Hospital 4.7

1994-1995 ratings

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 7.5
  • 3. General Hospital 5.6

1995-1996 ratings

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 7.7
  • 5. General Hospital 4.7

1996-1997 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 7.1
  • 4. General Hospital 4.8

1997-1998 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 7.0
  • 4. General Hospital 4.7

1998-1999 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 6.9
  • 4. General Hospital 4.6

1999-2000 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 6.8
  • 4. General Hospital 4.0

2000-2001 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 5.8
  • 4. General Hospital 3.7

2001-2002 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 5.0
  • 4. General Hospital 3.4

2002-2003 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 4.7
  • 3. General Hospital 3.5

2003-2004 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 4.4
  • 3. General Hospital 3.2

2004-2005 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 4.2
  • 3. General Hospital 3.0

2005-2006 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 4.2
  • 3. General Hospital 2.7

2006-2007 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 4.2
  • 3. General Hospital 2.6

2007-2008 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 4.0
  • 4. General Hospital 2.3

2008-2009 season

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 3.7
  • 3. General Hospital 2.1

2009-2010 season As of ratings for November 15–19, 2010

  • 1. The Young and the Restless 5.0 (As of November 19, 2010)
  • 6. General Hospital 2.3 (As of November 19, 2010)

With the show still number one in the Nielsens, WDTN in Dayton, Ohio canceled GH in May 1983 in favor of Woody Woodpecker and SuperFriends cartoons. Later, the station would air such shows as Hour Magazine, Geraldo and Maury in GH's time slot until September 2000, when the station's new owners, Sunrise Broadcasting, canceled Maury, due to what it called "community standards", and brought GH back.

Cultural influence

The popularity of General Hospital has gained it many parodies and references in other mainstream programs. For example, in the early 1990s, some episodes of General Hospital were featured as "shorts" during the fourth season of the parody show Mystery Science Theater 3000. The series was also parodied/homaged in the song General Hospi-Tale by The Afternoon Delights, and in the film Tootsie, which took place among the cast and crew of a fictional soap opera program. In the Fox medical drama House, Dr. House enjoys Prescription: Passion, which is a poorly acted, over-the-top parody of General Hospital that he watches constantly, even when he should be working. In the season three episode, "Half-Wit", House hides his blood test results under the name, "Luke N. Laura", referring to General Hospital's legendary couple. MAD TV did a sketch on the series with actors Jacklyn Zeman, Rebecca Herbst, and Jacob Young (the second Lucky). The movie Young Doctors in Love featured a large part of General Hospital's cast from 1982. In a 2010 episode of The Colbert Report, comedian Stephen Colbert poked fun at the show, responding to a clip of Maurice Benard's Sonny shooting Dominic Zamprogna's Dante, saying "Sonny shot Dante! No!"[14]

Famous fans

General Hospital has many famous fans, including Wayne Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones, along with The Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore, who would join the show in late 2008 for a short guest stint. World renowned skier Kristi Leskinen is a devout fan of the show, along with actor Jason Gray-Stanford and singer Billy Currington. driver Mike Metzger is also a fan of the program, and rarely missing an episode. Elizabeth Taylor, a huge fan of the show, asked for a role on the soap opera and joined the cast temporarily as Helena Cassadine to be a part of Luke and Laura's 1981 wedding. Surprisingly, Princess Diana was a devout fan of the show, and went as far as to send two bottles of Bollinger champagne to Anthony Geary and Genie Francis in time for Luke and Laura's 1981 wedding. Geary turned his into a lamp.[15] Diana's wedding to Prince Charles earlier that year outrated Luke and Laura's in number of viewers. General Hospital helped launch the singing career of Rick Springfield, who had watched the show for many years before joining the series in 1981. While never having sang on the show, his name recognition brought him substantial notoriety in the music community. On the July 5, 2010, episode of The Colbert Report, comedian Stephen Colbert told his audience that being on sick leave allowed him to catch up on General Hospital.[14] The fictional diagnostician Gregory House on the popular TV series House, M.D. is portrayed as an avid fan of General Hospital.

Spinoffs and specials

The success of the long-running soap opera has had one sister soap, one spinoff in the United States, and two primetime spinoffs in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Young Marrieds (1964–1966) was ABC's first attempt at a sister soap for General Hospital. It ran for only two years, racking up a total of only 380 episodes. Despite its moderate popularity, it was put up against CBS's top-rated The Edge of Night, which it could not compete against. The series finale aired on March 25, 1966, with the show's main protagonist contemplating suicide. It ended in a cliffhanger, leaving the audience wondering if the man had killed himself or not. The Young Marrieds was set in the fictional suburb of Queen's Point, which was considered by the writers to be a suburb of Port Charles. Many fans consider Robin Scorpio and Elizabeth Webber's homes to be in this area of the town.

The .UK series General Hospital (1972–1979) did not feature any characters from the American show, but was modeled after its format. It started as a half-hour program broadcast in the afternoons, which was unusual for UK serials that normally aired in prime time. In 1975 it was expanded to an hour-long format and moved to Friday evenings.

Port Charles (1997–2003) was a daytime drama that initially featured interns in a competitive medical school program, and was known for having more action actually in the hospital than General Hospital itself. It also included the characters of Scott Baldwin. Serena Baldwin, Lucy Coe, Kevin Collins, and Karen Wexler, all of whom originally appeared as characters on General Hospital. As the show evolved, it tended more towards gothic intrigue, including supernatural elements such as vampires and life after death. It also switched formats from an open-ended daytime serial to 13-week story arcs known as "books", similar to Spanish language telenovelas.

General Hospital: Night Shift (2007–2008) is the second American prime time spinoff of a daytime drama (the first being Our Private World, a spinoff of As the World Turns). Its first season aired from July 12, 2007 to October 4, 2007 on SOAPnet, a cable channel owned by ABC.[16] The series follows the nighttime adventures of familiar and new characters around the hospital. As of March 2008, the first season of the series was "SOAPnet's most-watched series ever", with ABC Daytime and SOAPnet President Brian Frons noting that Night Shift drew more than 1 million new viewers to the channel during its first season.[17]

General Hospital: Twist of Fate (1996) was a primetime special that aired on Saturday, December 14, 1996. The episode picked up where that Friday's show had left off. The special centered around Laura's supposed death at the hands of Stefan Cassadine.

On April 2, 1998, General Hospital aired a primetime special in celebration of the program's 35th anniversary. Hosted by Anthony Geary, the show focused and recapped on many popular storylines including Monica's breast cancer, BJ's death, and Stone's battle with HIV. To date, this is the only anniversary special that was broadcast in primetime and that didn't include any of the current storyline.


  1. ^ a b "GH Backstage News Exclusive!". 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  2. ^ "Prospect Studios". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  3. ^ "Longest Running TV Drama". Arts & Media. Guinness World Records. 2009. 
  4. ^ Boca Raton News, Friday, November 4, 1977 (via Google News archive):,2284786&dq=general+hospital+expands&hl=en
  5. ^ Wolf, Buck. "Luke and Laura: Still the Ultimate TV Wedding." November 16, 2006.
  6. ^ a b West, Abby. "Luke and Laura: 17 Great Soap Supercouples". Entertainment Weekly.,,20174499_9,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  7. ^ "General Hospital Soap Opera - LoveToKnow Soap Operas". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  8. ^ Poniewozik, James (September 6, 2007). "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". Time (,28804,1651341_1659192_1652529,00.html. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ ABC DAYTIME SHAKEUP: Network Cancels BOTH "All My Children" & "One Life To Live", Replaces Them With Lifestyle Series, Deadline Hollywood, April 14, 2011
  10. ^ Wheat, Alynda (February 17, 2006). "What to Watch".,,1160337,00.html. Retrieved June 13, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "Watch GH's New Opening Credits | SOAPnet". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  12. ^ "General Hospital". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  13. ^ "Google Maps". 1970-01-01.,-118.208717&spn=0,359.988638&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=34.061173,-118.208811&panoid=PoAFHfzeyL7vOIGd6qrpKg&cbp=12,166.88,,0,-8.09. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  14. ^ a b Colbert Report 7/6/10
  15. ^ "Luke, Laura together again". USA Today. October 24, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  16. ^ "GH Spinoff Planned For SOAPnet." - February 12, 2007.
  17. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly. "SoapNet renews Night Shift." The Hollywood Reporter. May 27, 2008.


  • Gary Warner, General Hospital: The Complete Scrapbook, Stoddart (November 1995), ISBN 1881649407
  • Gerard J. Waggett, The Official General Hospital Trivia Book, ABC (October 1997), ISBN 0786882751

External links

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