1988-1990 (Sat.1); 1992-1994 (Kabel 1). US Daily-Soap von Doris und Frank Hursley ("General Hospital"; seit 1963). Von der erfolgreichsten täglichen Seifenoper in den USA liefen im Nachmittagsprogramm von Sat.1 und Kabel 1 zusammen etwa 800 Folgen aus den 80er Jahren. Im Mittelpunkt steht das Personal eines Krankenhauses in der fiktiven US Ostküstenstadt Port Charles und deren Privatleben mit ihren Familien. Zu den Hauptfiguren gehörten Laura Vining (Genie Francis) und Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary), deren spätere Hochzeit der Höhepunkt der Serie war (in den USA erreichte diese Episode die höchste Einschaltquote, die je eine Sendung im Tagesprogramm hatte). Wie in jeder Daily Soap wechselten Charaktere und Schauspieler beständig, doch im Gegensatz zu den meisten anderen Soaps fanden sich in dieser durchaus prominente Namen unter den Hauptdarstellern, so z. B. Richard Dean Anderson als Dr. Jeff Webber, Sammy Davis jr. als Eddie Phillips; Rick Springfield als Dr. Noah Drake, Elizabeth Taylor als Helena Cassadine, Demi Moore als Jackie Templeton, John Stamos als Blackie Parrish und Emma Samms als Holly Sutton. Einige von ihnen wurden freilich erst durch bzw. nach ihrer Mitwirkung in der Serie bekannt.
Ab Ende 1998 liefen weitere Folgen als deutsche Erstausstrahlung im digitalen Pay TV DF 1.
Deutsche Erstausstrahlung: 03.10.1988 Sat.1
Fortsetzung als General Hospital: Night Shift
Besetzung: John Beradino Dr. Steve Hardy
Emily McLaughlin Jessie Brewer
Peter Hansen Lee Baldwin
Kin Shriner Scotty Baldwin
Denise Alexander Dr. Lesley Williams Webber
Genie Francis Laura Vining Spencer
Anthony Geary Luke Spencer
Christian Robinson Dr. Rick Webber
Richard Dean Anderson Dr. Jeff Webber
Leslie Charleson Dr. Monica Webber Quartermaine
Shell Kepler Amy Vining
Robin Mattson Heather Grant Webber
Susan Brown Dr. Gail Adamson Baldwin
Lieux Dressler Alice Grant
Gerald Gordon Dr. Mark Dante
Richard Sarradet Howard Lansing
Lucille Wall Lucille March
Stuart Damon Dr. Alan Quartermaine
Jane Elliot Tracy Quartermaine
David Lewis Edward Quartermaine
Anna Lee Lila Quartermaine
Angela Cheyne Dorrie Fleming
Christopher Pennock Mitch Williams
Bob Hastings Captain Burt Ramsey
Jacklyn Zeman Barbara Jean Spencer
Tristan Rogers Robert Scorpio
Rick Springfield Dr. Noah Drake
Emma Samms Holly Sutton
Eddie Ryder Slick Jones
John Stamos Blackie Parrish
George Gaynes Frank Smith
Thaao Penghlis Victor Cassadine
John Colicos Mikkos Cassadine
Elizabeth Taylor Helena Cassadine
John Martinuzzi Stavros Cassadine
Jeff Donnell Stella
Frank Maxwell Dan Rooney
Gail Rae Carlson Susan Moore
Kevin Bernhardt Dr. Kevin O'Connor
Steve Burton Jason Morgan
Greg Vaughan Lucky Spencer
Kirsten Storms Maria Maximilliana 'Maxie' Jones
Alicia Leigh Willis Courtney Matthews Quartermaine Morgan Jacks
Lindze Letherman Georgianna "Georgie" Jones Quartermaine
Erstausstrahlung 1. April 1963 (USA) auf ABC, SOAPnet
Deutschsprachige Erstausstrahlung Oktober 1988 auf Sat.1
Besetzung John Beradino: Dr. Steve Hardy 1963–1996 Rachel Ames: Audrey Hardy 1964–heute Denise Alexander: Dr. Lesley Webber 1973–1984, 1996–heute Chris Robinson: Dr. Rick Webber 1978–1986, 2002 Peter Hansen: Lee Baldwin 1965–1986, 1992 Susan Brown: Dr. Gail Adamson Baldwin 1977–1985, 1992 Kin Shriner: Scotty Baldwin 1977–1980, 1982–1993, 2000–2004, 2007–heute Genie Francis: Laura Baldwin 1976–1982, 1983–1984, 1993–2002, 2006 Anthony Geary : Luke Spencer 1978–1985, 1991–heute Jacklyn Zeman: Bobbie Spencer 1977–heute Stuart Damon: Dr. Alan Quartermaine 1977–2008 Leslie Charleson: Dr. Monica Quartermaine 1977–heute David Lewis: Edward Quartermaine 1978–1993 Anna Lee: Lila Quartermaine 1978–2004 Renee Anderson: Alexandria Quartermaine 1980–1981 Douglas Sheehan: Joe Kelly 1979–1982 Loanne Bishop: Rose Kelly 1980–1984 Emily McLaughlin: Jessie Brewer 1963–1991 Norma Connolly: Ruby Anderson 1979–1998 George Gaynes: Frank Smith 1980 Lisa Marie: Jennifer Smith 1980 Brooke Bundy: Diana Taylor 1977–1981 Susan Pratt: Anne Logan 1978–1982 Richard Dean Anderson: Jeff Webber 1976–1981 Robin Mattson: Heather Webber 1980–1983, 2004 Shell Kepler: Amy Vining 1979–2002 Lieux Dressler: Mrs. Alice Grant 1978–1983 Gail Ramsey: Susan Moore 1978–1983 Jane Elliot: Tracy Quartermaine Williams 1978–1980, 1982–1993, 2000–2004, 2007 Christopher Pennock: Mitch Williams 1979–1980 Sarah Simmons: Zelda Bernstein 1979–1980 Bianca Ferguson: Claudia Johnson 1978–1987 Todd David: Bryan Phillips 1978–1987 Frank Maxwell: Dan Rooney 1978–1990 Sharon Wyatt: Tiffany Hill 1981–1984, 1986–1994 Tristan Rogers: Robert Scorpio 1980–1992, 2006–heute Jeff Donnell: Stella Fields 1980–1988 Rick Moses: Hutch 1980 Rick Springfield: Dr. Noah Drake 1981–1983, 2005–2007 Kurt McKinney: Ned Ashton 1988-1991 Sebastian Roché: Jerry Jacks 2007–2009 Tuc Watkins: Dr. Pierce Dorman 2004
Die US-amerikanische Seifenoper General Hospital spielt in der fiktiven Hafenstadt Port Charles bei New York. Die Fernsehserie wird in den USA vom Sender ABC seit 1963 ausgestrahlt und hat dort im April 2002 die 10.000er Marke an Episoden überschritten.
Hintergrund Gedreht werden die Folgen in Hollywood (im Prospect Avenue ABC Television Center West und den Sunset-Gower Studios). Die ersten Episoden waren 30 Minuten lang, 1976 verlängerte man auf 45 Minuten. Seit 1977 ist jede Folge eine ganze Stunde lang. Die Sendung steht im Guinness-Buch der Rekorde, da sie weltweit die am längsten produzierte Sendung ist.
Die Autoren der Serie sind die Seifenoper-Spezialisten Frank und Doris Hursley. Sie setzten mit diesem Klassiker viele Standards, die das soap opera-Genre beeinflussten. Auf den Anfangserfolg der ersten Folgen von General Hospital folgten bis Mitte der 1970er Jahre sinkende Einschaltquoten, was 1978 beinahe zur Absetzung der Serie geführt hätte. Eine neue Produzentin, Gloria Monty, brachte die Wende, und während der gesamten 1980er Jahre führte die Serie quasi vor allen anderen die Liste der Serien mit den höchsten Einschaltquoten an.
General Hospital wird oft als eine typische Krankenhausserie beschrieben; dies stimmt allerdings nur bedingt, da das Krankenhaus lediglich Angelpunkt der dort arbeitenden Ärzte mit den ihnen anhängenden Familienclans und deren Probleme und Affären ist. Um Patienten und Operationen geht es allenfalls beiläufig.
In Deutschland wurden 1988 erstmals Folgen von Sat.1 ausgestrahlt, es folgten diverse Wiederholungen auf unterschiedlichen Privatsendern (u.a. auf dem Pay-TV-Sender premiere), die allerdings immer wieder zu unterschiedlichen Zeitpunkten abgesetzt wurden. Die in Deutschland gezeigten und synchronisierten Folgen wurden in den USA zu den Original-Ausstrahlungsterminen von Februar 1980 bis August 1983 gezeigt. Die Serie wird in den USA nach wie vor produziert und ausgestrahlt.
Die Serie erhielt 1981 auch einen Emmy. General Hospital ist außerdem diejenige Daily Soap, die in der Kategorie „Outstanding Drama Series“ die meisten Daytime Emmys erhielt und zwar insgesamt neunmal in den Jahren 1981, 1984, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005 und 2006.
Strukturierung General Hospital spielt in der fiktiven Hafenstadt Port Charles nahe New York.
Jede Folge der als Familienserie angelegten Seifenoper ist parallel strukturiert. Das heißt, es laufen mehrere unterschiedliche Handlungsstränge nebeneinander, die meist an verschiedenen Örtlichkeiten spielen. Zwischendurch wird zwischen den einzelnen Szenen hin- und hergewechselt, so dass es auch innerhalb einer Folge zu klassischen Cliffhanger-Situationen kommt, was der Erzeugung von Spannung dient. Die verschiedenen Handlungen sind in der Gesamtstory miteinander verwoben und treffen immer wieder aufeinander.
Die ineinandergreifenden Handlungen sind unterschiedlich gewichtet. So gibt es meist einige wenige Haupthandlungen, die sich über Monate oder Jahre erstrecken können. Ein Großteil der Serie besteht aus Gesprächen und Diskussionen an unterschiedlichen Örtlichkeiten; diese befinden sich meist im Inneren von Gebäuden. Vieles muss der Zuschauer sich dazu ergänzend vorstellen, Außenaufnahmen sind relativ selten und finden meistens nur dann Anwendung, wenn zu einer besonders spannenden Handlungsentwicklung hingeführt wird.
Interessant ist die soziale Gewichtung der Hauptakteure. So gibt es außer dem äußerst reichen Familienclan (den Quartermaines) und den gut verdienenden Ärzten auch die durchschnittlicheren Charaktere aus dem Hafenviertel, deren Leben ebenso beleuchtet wird. Alle diese Figuren sind schicksalhaft miteinander verbunden und treffen früher oder später aufeinander.
Folgen der 1960er und 1970er Die ersten Folgen spielten fast ausschließlich im Krankenhaus von Port Charles und drehten sich um den Arzt Steve Hardy (gespielt von John Beradino) und die Krankenschwester Jessie Brewer (Emily McLaughlin).
Deutsche Synchronisation Ab 1980 wurden insgesamt 884 Folgen ins Deutsche synchronisiert. Die Synchronisation wurde bis Folge 384 („Ein Hintertürchen“) von der Arena Synchron Berlin übernommen, danach änderten sich teilweise die Synchronstimmen.
Handlung Die beschriebenen Handlungen beziehen sich auf die in Deutschland ausgestrahlten Episoden.
Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) betreibt in Port Charles eine gut besuchte Diskothek, die „Campus Disco“, in welcher Laura Baldwin (Genie Francis) als Bedienung arbeitet. Luke, der eigentlich von seiner Schwester Bobbie nach Port Charles geholt wurde, um einen Keil zwischen Lauras Ehemann und Laura selbst zu treiben, verliebt sich schließlich in Laura, was diese wohl ahnt aber nicht wahrhaben will. In einer Nacht, als beide in der Campus Disco allein sind, bittet Luke Laura um einen Tanz – und vergewaltigt sie. Laura flüchtet aus der Disco nach Hause und erzählt dies ihrem Ehemann, ohne den Vergewaltiger zu nennen. In dieser Nacht lief ein ganz bestimmtes Lied (in den in Amerika und in Deutschland ausgestrahlten Episoden sind es verschiedene Lieder), der Song „Rise“ von Herb Alpert, welcher vor allem in (romantischen) Szenen zwischen Luke und Laura, aber auch in völlig überraschenden Momenten wieder eingespielt wird (für den Zuschauer und/oder für die Darsteller hörbar).
Letztlich war diese Nacht für Laura der Beginn ihrer Liebe zu Luke.
Laura ist verheiratet mit Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner), einem erfolgreichen jungen Anwalt, der nach dieser Nacht kaum mehr eine Beziehung zu seiner Frau aufbauen kann. Durch einen von Laura geschriebenen Liebesbrief, der eigentlich an Luke gedacht war, erfährt Scotty ausgerechnet am Tag der zwischen Luke und Jennifer Smith (damals gespielt von Lisa Marie, später in anderen Besetzungen), Tochter von Frank Smith (George Gaynes), geplanten Hochzeit von der Vergewaltigungsnacht und der Liebe zwischen Luke und Laura. Es kommt auf dem Schiff, auf dem die Zeremonie geplant ist, zu einem Streit mit Handgemenge, bei dem Luke mit Kopfwunde über Bord geht – und für tot gehalten wird... Allerdings wird dieser später in den Docks von Laura gefunden. Beide flüchten.
Frank Smith ist der Kopf einer Verbrecherorganisation und im Besitz eines „schwarzen Notizbuches“, welches wohl – codiert – alle möglichen Transaktionen und Machenschaften beinhaltet und Mr. Smith und seine Belegschaft hinter Gitter bringen könnte. Luke weiß um dieses Buch und verschafft sich Zugang zu diesem und entwendet es in Zusammenarbeit mit Laura aus Mr. Smiths Büro. Frank Smith bemerkt den Verlust seines „schwarzen Buches“ sofort und hetzt Luke nacheinander drei Auftragskiller (Vic, Hutch und Max) auf den Hals; Luke verlässt fluchtartig mit Laura die Stadt, ohne dass diese ihrer Familie Bescheid geben kann. Ihr zurückgelassener Mann Scotty wird in der Zwischenzeit von Barbara „Bobby“ Spencer (Jacklyn Zeman) getröstet, der Schwester von Luke. Diese ist schon seit Jahren in Scotty verliebt, hatte mit diesem auch schon eine Affäre und ihm eine Schwangerschaft vorgegaukelt... Die Tatsache, dass Laura „ihr“ ihren Scotty weggeschnappt hat, ohne diesen wirklich zu lieben, sorgt zwischen Laura und Bobby Folge für Folge für Unstimmigkeiten, da Bobby durchaus bewusst ist, dass Laura und Luke ineinander verliebt sind.
Nach einer romantischen Nacht im Kaufhaus fliehen Luke und Laura weiter (immer den Auftragskiller an den Fersen) und kommen im kleinen Ort Beechers Corners bei einem netten Pärchen unter, sie geben sich hier als verheiratetes Paar Lloyd und Lucy Johnson auf Hochzeitsreise aus.
Weitere Fluchtaktionen folgen bis zum Showdown (in der Folge Killer killt Killer) in dem Ort Fair Oaks zwischen Luke, Sally alias Max, Hutch und Laura, bei dem Luke und Laura die Flucht gelingt. Kurz zuvor hatte Luke herausgefunden, dass der „Linkshänder“ (ein Codename, der in der Vergangenheit mehrfach genannt wurde), eine Statue ist, deren Spruch die Entschlüsselung des schwarzen Buches erlaubt und in deren Sockel die Goldbarren sind, hinter denen Hutch her war.
Bevor Luke und Laura nach Port Charles zurückkehren, verbringen sie ihre erste gemeinsame Liebesnacht in Beechers Corners, in welcher Luke Laura eine Zigarrenbanderole an den Finger steckt als „Heiratsversprechen“.
Nach ihrer Rückkehr nach Port Charles am nächsten Tag übergeben Luke und Laura das Schwarze Buch der Polizei, Frank Smith sowie auch Hutch, der angeschossen wurde, werden verhaftet. Bedrängt von Polizei, der Baldwin-Familie und einer Reportermeute verleugnet Laura Luke und betont, noch immer die Ehefrau von Scotty Baldwin zu sein und diesen nicht betrogen zu haben – und bricht den Kontakt zu Luke nach einem wunderschönen Sommer ab. Dieser ist fürchterlich gekränkt und blockt in den nächsten Episoden sämtliche Versöhnungsversuche von Laura ab.
Dr. Rick Webber (Chris Robinson), Vater von Laura Baldwin, hat eine Affäre mit seiner Kollegin Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson) und lebt in Trennung von seiner Frau Lesley (Denise Alexander), die diesen aber immer noch liebt. Monicas äußerst eifersüchtiger Ehemann Alan (Stuart Damon) kommt hinter die Affäre und versucht mehrfach Rick und Monica zu ermorden. Ein Kind kommt zur Welt, Alan jr. und wird zum Zankapfel. Sein Anspruch auf das Erbe des Quartermaine-Treuhandfonds steht in Frage, da lange Zeit für alle Beteiligten nicht klar ist, ob dieses Kind aus der Ehe von Monica und Alan oder aus der Affäre von Monica und Rick stammt. Letztendlich ist das Kind von Alan. Dieser wiederum beginnt später eine Affäre mit Susan Moore (Gail Ramsey), welche dann ebenfalls von Alan schwanger wird und seine vollste Unterstützung genießt.
Alexandria (Renee Anderson), die Lieblingsnichte des Familienpatriarchs Edward Quartermaine (David Lewis), kommt für einige Zeit nach Port Charles. Jedoch fehlt eine wichtige Lieferung mit einer Kiste, die einen wertvollen Gegenstand erhält, die „Eisprinzessin“, ein riesiger, künstlicher Diamant, schwarz angemalt und auf einem Sockel als Kunstobjekt (in der Serie immer nur „die Statue“) getarnt. Also heuert Alexandria Luke Spencer an, um dem Verschwinden der Kiste auf die Spur zu kommen und herauszufinden, ob die Gebrüder Cassadine (einer hiervon Exliebhaber von Alex) sich in der Stadt aufhalten und möglicherweise die Kiste gestohlen haben. Luke arbeitet in dieser Zeit zeitgleich für Alexandria sowie auch für ein kleines Café als Koch und Bedienung und wird von einem Agenten namens Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) beschattet. Zu allem Überfluss ziehen unbewusst Laura (die einen Job als Empfangsdame bei Alexandria angenommen hat) und Luke auch noch in ein und dasselbe Haus. Alle sind schließlich auf der Suche nach der sagenumwobenen Eisprinzessin, die am Ende auf einer Auktion wieder auftaucht... Luke und Laura kommen sich bei einem Festumzug in Port Charles in Lauras Wohnung wieder näher – und werden schlagartig durch eine Nachricht im Radio über einen Todesfall in ihrer Bekanntschaft gestört.
Dr. Jeff Webber (Richard Dean Anderson), der Halb-Bruder von Rick Webber, verliebt sich in die Krankenhausschwester Anne „Annie“ Logan (Susan Pratt) und beginnt eine Liebesaffäre. Anne ist alleinerziehende Mutter eines Jungen, Jeremy, zu dem Jeff eine sehr herzliche Beziehung aufgebaut hat. Anne wohnt im Haus der Hardys. Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino) ist zeitgleich Leiter des General Hospitals und Vater von Jeff, Dr. Audrey Hardy (Rachel Ames), ebenfalls im Krankenhaus tätig und gute Vertraute von Anne. Letztendlich trennt sich Anne von Jeff und dieser landet nach einem gemütlichen Abend wieder mit Diana im Bett.
Diana Taylor (Brooke Bundy) wiederum ist ebenfalls alleinerziehende Mutter eines kleinen Jungen, doch nur sie kennt sein Geheimnis...
Jeffs Frau Heather (Robin Mattson), die versucht hat, Diana Taylor mit LSD zu vergiften und dieses versehentlich selbst schluckte, befindet sich im Sanatorium. Allerdings ist sie längst aus ihrem katatonischen Zustand erwacht und spielt nun krank und täuscht eine immer noch anhaltende Amnesie vor, um einen erneuten Mordanschlag auf Diana zu verüben und gleichzeitig ihrer Nebenbuhlerin Anne eins auszuwischen. Geschickt benutzt sie dabei ihre kranke Zimmergenossin Sarah, um heimlich das Sanatorium zu verlassen, indem sie Sarah kaltblütig erpresst und psychisch terrorisiert. Heather gelingt es eines Nachts mit einer Schwesternuniform des Sanatoriums und einem geklauten Auto einer Mitarbeiterin das Gelände zu verlassen und gerät bei ihrer Rückkehr in ernsthafte Schwierigkeiten, da sie zufällig an einem Autounfall vorbei kommt und hier natürlich, aufgrund ihrer Uniform, für eine Krankenschwester gehalten und um Mithilfe gebeten wird... Schließlich gibt es eine Tote...
Mit Sicherheit kann die Beziehung zwischen Luke und Laura im ersten Teil der Serie als „Stammhandlung“ bezeichnet werden, da im Grunde genommen fast alle Personen mit den beiden zu tun haben und involviert sind. Die beiden heiraten im November 1981 noch im Kreis von Familie und Freunden. Auf dieser Hochzeit taucht auch nochmals Exmann Scotty auf, der zu allem Überfluss auch noch den Brautstrauß fängt. Luke und Laura haben später zwei Kinder, Lucky und Lulu Spencer. Genie Francis verließ nach mehreren Unterbrechungen am 22. November 2006 die Serie, was diverse Fanclubs dazu bewegte, regelrechte Aufrufe – auch an den Sender – zu starten „den Engel nach Hause/zurück zu bringen“ (we want our angel back home). Anthony Geary spielt weiterhin die Rolle des Luke Spencer.
In Deutschland wurde die Ausstrahlung der Serie an verschiedenen Stellen abgebrochen.
Weitere Darsteller/Besetzungen und ihre Rollen Lee Baldwin (Peter Hansen), Rechtsanwalt und Adoptiv-Vater von Scotty Baldwin. Dr. Gail Adamson Baldwin (Susan Brown), Frau von Lee Baldwin, Psychologin im General Hospital. Beide ohne große erwähnenswerten Affären.
Amy Vining (Shell Kepler), die Cousine von Laura, arbeitet als Lernschwester im General Hospital und ist dafür bekannt, dass sie alles, was man ihr anvertraut, ausplappert.
Dr. Noah Drake (Rick Springfield), spielte zwei Jahre bis 1983 im General Hospital und stieg 2005 wieder in die Serie ein. Ex-Alkoholiker. Beginnt schließlich eine kurze Beziehung mit Bobby Spencer, der Schwester von Luke.
Alice Grant (Lieux Dressler), Mutter von Heather, die als Einzige zusammen mit Diana Taylor um die Wahrheit des Kindes weiß und ebenso um die gefährliche Unberechenbarkeit ihrer Tochter Heather.
Joe Kelly (Douglas Sheehan), Stiefsohn von Rose Kelly (Loanne Bishop), mit welcher er vor deren Hochzeit mit seinem Vater eine Affäre hatte. Guter Freund von Luke Spencer. Heimlich verliebt in Anne Logan.
Trivia In der Fernsehserie Dr. House wird General Hospital fallweise thematisiert, weil House sich des Öfteren General Hospital ansieht. Die Soap-Ausschnitte, die auf Dr. Houses Fernseher zu sehen sind, stammten nur in der Pilotfolge tatsächlich aus General Hospital, anschließend wurden eigens gedrehte, fiktive Szenen benutzt. In einem Playboy-Interview erklärte Hugh Laurie (alias Dr. House): „Wer auch immer General Hospital erfand, wollte uns die Rechte nicht geben, also mussten wir unsere eigene Seifenoper erfinden.“
This article is about the TV show. For the type of medical facility, see Hospital#Types. For other uses, see General hospital (disambiguation). General Hospital
General Hospital intertitle (February 23, 2010 –present)
Alternate titles GH
Genre Soap opera
Creator(s) Frank and Doris Hursley
Senior cast member(s) Leslie Charleson Anthony Geary Jane Elliot Kimberly McCullough Steve Burton John J. York John Ingle Jacklyn Zeman Rachel Ames Denise Alexander Vanessa Marcil Maurice Benard Jonathan Jackson
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 12,352 (as of July 1, 2011)
Production 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) Head writer(s) Garin Wolf (July 2011-present)
Theme music Dave Koz
Running time 30 minutes (1963–1976)
45 minutes (1976–1977)
60 minutes (1977–present)
Broadcast Original channel ABC
Original run April 1, 1963 – present
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. Concurrently, it is the world's second longest-running soap opera currently in production after British soap opera Coronation Street. General Hospital premiered on the ABC television network on April 1, 1963. 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.
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. General Hospital was only the second soap to air on ABC (after the short-lived Road to Reality, which aired for several months during the 1960-61 season). Currently taped at The Prospect Studios, General Hospital originally aired for a half-hour. The series was expanded to 45 minutes on July 23, 1976, and then to a full hour on November 7, 1977. It holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, with 10 wins. In 1964, a sister soap was created for General Hospital, The Young Marrieds. It ran for only two years, and was canceled due to low ratings in 1966. 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.
General Hospital 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. In 2003, TV Guide named General Hospital the 'Great Soap Opera of All Time.' In 2007, General Hospital was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME." On September 17, 2010, General Hospital became the oldest American soap opera when As the World Turns ended its run.
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 that will air on the network after January 20, 2012.
Show history Main article: History of General Hospital 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.
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.
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.
Production summary Start date End date Time slot (eastern) Run time
(minutes) Network Filming location Notes
April 1, 1963 December 27, 1963 1:00 pm 30 ABC Television Hollywood, California —
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 3:00 pm Starting September 2012, some ABC affiliates will air General Hospital at 10:00 AM and air Katie Couric's new talk show, as a replacement of Oprah Winfrey's now-defunct talk show, at 3:00 PM.
Cast See also: List of General Hospital cast members, List of General Hospital characters, Children of General Hospital, and List of past General Hospital characters 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 sequenceSince 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, the rotating staff of ABC announcers would say "General Hospital will continue in a moment"; well-known voice actor Bill Ratner was also commonly heard during this time. 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 (Jasper Jacks) 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  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 delightful, rather expansive 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  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:). 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, "Faces Of The Heart" by Dave Koz, 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. 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 Main article: List of General Hospital crew
Producers: Jill Farren Phelps (Executive Producer), Mary O'Leary, Mercer Barrows, Michelle Henry, Deborah Genovese, Robert Guza, Jr. (Consulting Producer)
Directors: Matthew Diamond, Joseph Behar, Danielle Faraldo, Craig McManus, William Ludel, Phideaux Xavier, Scott McKinsey, Owen Renfroe, Penny Pengra, Christine Magarian, Ron Cates, Peter Fillmore, Ronald C. Cates, Dave MacLeod
Head Writer: Garin Wolf
Associate Head Writer/Script Editor: Elizabeth Korte
Story Consultant: Brian Frons
Breakdown Writers: Jim Reitzel, Michael Conforti, Heidi Ploen, Sasha Cartullo, Nathan Fissel, David Goldschmid, Meg Bennett
Script Writers: Susan Wald (playwright), Michele Val Jean, Mary Sue Price, Karen Harris, Elizabeth Korte
Casting Directors: Mark Teschner, Gwen Hillier
Former Notable Crew Members: John William Corrington, Lewis Arlt , Lynda Myles , Alan Pultz, Judith Pinsker , Joseph Behar , Stephanie Braxton , Norma Monty, Frank South , Ralph Ellis , Shelley Curtis , Hope Harmel Smith
SettingMany 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'.
Awards Daytime Emmy Award wins Drama series and performer categoriesDrama Series: Gloria Monty 1981, 1984; Wendy Riche 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000; Jill Farren Phelps 2005, 2006, 2008
Lead Actor: Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer) 1982, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008; Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) 2003
Lead Actress: Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) 1991; Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos Jacks) 2011
Supporting Actor: Peter Hansen (Lee Baldwin) 1979; David Lewis (Edward Quartermaine) 1982; Gerald Anthony (Marco Dane) 1993; Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) 1998; Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermaine) 1999; Rick Hearst (Ric Lansing) 2004, 2007; Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spencer) 2011
Supporting Actress: Jane Elliot (Tracy Quartermaine) 1981; Rena Sofer (Lois Cerullo) 1995; Sarah Brown (Carly Benson) 2000; Vanessa Marcil (Brenda Barrett), 2003; Natalia Livingston (Emily Quartermaine), 2005; Genie Francis (Laura Spencer), 2007;
Younger Actor: Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spencer) 1995, 1998, 1999; Jacob Young (Lucky Spencer) 2002; Chad Brannon (Zander Smith) 2004
Younger Actress: Kimberly McCullough (Robin Scorpio) 1989, 1996; Sarah Brown (Carly Benson) 1997, 1998; Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer), 2009, 2010
Lifetime Achievement: Rachel Ames (Audrey March Hardy) 2004; Anna Lee (Lila Quartermaine) 2004 (posthumous)
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 America1996, 1998, 2002, and 2004 "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials"
Writers Guild of America1995, 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 the long-running Guiding Light (GL) over on CBS (although, it should be noted, that for a brief period in the middle of 1984, Guiding Light experienced a renaissance and became the #1 soap, dethroning General Hospital from the top ratings spot, thanks to well-regarded storylines written by then-GL head writer Pam Long). 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 Highest-rated week in daytime history (November 16–20, 1981) (Household ratings, Nielsen Media Research) 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) 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
1. As the World Turns 13.7 9. General Hospital 3.9 (Debut) 1963-1964 season
1. As the World Turns 15.4 7. General Hospital 5.4 1964-1965 season
1. As the World Turns 14.5 7. General Hospital 8.0 1965-1966 season
1. As the World Turns 13.9 7. General Hospital 7.3 1966-1967 season
1. As the World Turns 12.7 9. General Hospital 7.0 1967-1968 season
1. As the World Turns 13.6 9. General Hospital 8.8 1968-1969 season
1. As the World Turns 13.8 10. General Hospital 8.8 1969-1970 season
1. As the World Turns 13.6 10. General Hospital 8.5 1970-1971 season
1. As the World Turns 12.4 4. General Hospital 9.5 (Tied with Another World and Days of our Lives) 1971-1972 season
1. As the World Turns 11.1 2. General Hospital 10.4 1972-1973 season
1. As the World Turns 10.6 2. General Hospital 9.7 (Tied with Another World) 1973-1974 season
1. As the World Turns 10.6 (Tied with Days of our Lives and Another World) 5. General Hospital 9.2 1974-1975 season
1. As the World Turns 10.8 7. General Hospital 8.5 (Tied with Guiding Light) 1975-1976 season
1. As the World Turns 9.4 10. General Hospital 7.1 1976-1977 season
1. As the World Turns 9.9 10. General Hospital 7.0 1977-1978 season
1. As the World Turns 8.6 (Tied with Another World) 10. General Hospital 7.1 1978-1979 season
1. All My Children 9.0 2. General Hospital 8.7
1. The Young and the Restless 8.1 2. General Hospital 7.5 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!"
Famous fan sGeneral 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.