|General Hospital Intertitle (February 23, 2010-present)|
|Creator(s)||Frank & Doris Hursley|
|Senior Cast Members|
John J. York
|Country of Origin||United States|
|# of Episodes||12,063 (as of May 14, 2010)|
|Spin-off||General Hospital: Night Shift|
|Executive producer(s)||Gloria Monty (1978–1987, 1990–1992)|
Wendy Riche (1992–2001)
Jill Farren Phelps (2001–present)
|Running time||30 minutes (1963–1976)|
45 minutes (1976–1977)
60 minutes (1977–present)
|Original channel||ABC/American Broadcasting Company|
|Original Run||April 1, 1963-present|
General Hospital (commonly abbreviated GH) is an American daytime television drama and is currently credited by the Guiness Book of World Records as being the second longest-running soap opera in production and the second longest running drama in television in production. It 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. 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 2007, General Hospital was ranked #31 in Time magazine's 100 best TV shows of all-TIME.
General Hospital was created by husband-and-wife soap writers Frank and Doris Hursley, and is set in the fictional city of Port Charles, New York. It 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 from 30 minutes to 45 minutes in 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 cancelled due to low ratings in 1966. General Hospital also spawned a prime time spin-off 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 spin-off General Hospital: Night Shift (2007-2008) in the United States.
On April 23, 2009, General Hospital began broadcasting in High-Definition, two weeks after Guiding Light was canceled before the September 18, 2009 ending.
General Hospital became the oldest American soap opera on September 17, 2010, when As the World Turns ended. On April 14, 2011, ABC announced that it canceled both All My Children and One Life to Live, leaving General Hospital as the network's last remaining soap opera after January 13, 2012.
On April 11, 2012, ABC renewed General Hospital for an all-new season after 49 years and canceled the third talk show The Revolution after one season. Due to the June 26, 2012 announcement, ABC moved General Hospital to 2:00 PM Eastern (the former One Life to Live home) and returned the slot of 3:00 PM Easter on September 10, 2012, same as when Katie Couric's talker Katie premiered.
General Hospital celebrated its 50th Anniversary on February 11, 2013.
On January 23, 2014, a month after ABC canceled Katie, the network once again renewed General Hospital for an all-new season.
- 1 Show history
- 2 Cast
- 3 Title sequence
- 4 Main crew members
- 5 Setting
- 6 Awards
- 7 Broadcast history
- 8 Cultural influence
- 9 Famous Fans
- 10 Spin-offs and Specials
- 11 References
- 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 1970s), 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.
The 1981 wedding of Luke and Laura, played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, was the most watched event in daytime serial history.
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 adpoted daughter was later murdered by an unknown killer, leaving Dr. Monica Quartermanine 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.
On Saturday, December 14, 1996, General Hospital aired its one and only primetime episode, 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 spin-off 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.
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Since the series' debut in 1963, General Hospital has had five opening title sequence packages and six theme songs.
During 1963-1967, the ABC announcer says "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-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 ("General Hospital, brought to you by..."), and until the late 1990's, 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 March 31, 1993, 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 1996 until 1999, various GH cast members would voice the first mid-bumper ("General Hospital will continue in just a moment, here, on ABC"). 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 22, 1963
|The Nurse's Station
 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.
November 25, 1963 - April 11, 1975
|The Definitive First Decade & Transition to Color
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 Speeding Ambulance
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 were 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 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.In 2008,It was brought back for an episode of General Hospital : NightShift as a tribute to the opening and the character of Robert Scorpio.
April 1, 1993 - August 27, 2004
|Faces of the Heart
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 actions scenes were added. On April 1, 2003, the show's 40th anniversary, the characters’ first names were added to the opening.
For a few 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 Monday, April 19, 1993, the credits resumed being white and were now in Goudy font, to match the new General Hospital title logo. Short credit sequences now ran over a variation of the red-tinted view of the hospital seen in the opening, which had motion effects that slowly pulled outward from the exterior. 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 - Present
During the May 2004 sweeps, ABC Daytime began a significant re-branding process. New graphics and new promotional bumpers were created, and the live-action 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 on May 17th, 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 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 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 one other soap (The Young and the Restless) currently utilizes.
Main crew members
- Producers: Frank Valentini (Executive Producer), Mercer Barrows , Michelle Henry, Mary-Kelly Weir
- 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 Writers: Shelly Altman and Chris Van Etten
- 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
- Main article: Port Charles, New York (Fictional City)
The series is set in the fictional city of Port Charles, New York. Port Charles is a midsized to large city located in Upstate New York. Contained within the city are popular establishments such as General Hospital, the large hospital for which the show is named; the Metro Court Hotel, a five star, luxury inn; Kelly's Diner, a popular, vintage-type diner; Jake's, a popular bar in Old Town run by Coleman. Prominent citizens include the Quartermaines, the Cassadines, Sonny Corinthos, Jason Morgan, Patrick Drake, Robin Scorpio, Jasper Jacks, Alexis Davis, Sam McCall, and Carly Corinthos.
Daytime Emmy Award wins
Drama series and performer categories
- Drama Series: Gloria Monty 1981, 1984; Wendy Riche 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000; Jill Farren Phelps 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2017
- Lead Actor: Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer) 1982, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015; Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos) 2003, 2019; Tyler Christopher (Nikolas Cassadine) 2016
- Lead Actress: Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) 1991; Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos Jacks) 2011; Maura West (Ava Jerome) 2015
- Supporting Actor: Peter Hansen (Lee Baldwin) 1979; David Lewis (Edward Quartermaine) 1982; Gerald Anthony (Marco Dane) 1993; Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) 1998, 2017; Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermaine) 1999; Rick Hearst (Ric Lansing) 2004, 2007; Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spender) 2011, 2012; Max Gail (Mike Corbin) 2019
- 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; Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis) 2012; Julie Berman (Lulu Spencer) 2013; Vernee Watson (Stella Henry) 2019
- Younger Actor: Jonathan Jackson (Lucky Spencer) 1995, 1998, 1999; Jacob Young (Lucky Spencer) 2002; Chad Brannon (Zander Smith) 2004; Bryan Craig (Morgan Corinthos) 2016, 2017
- Younger Actress: Kimberly McCullough (Robin Scorpio) 1989, 1996; Sarah Brown (Carly Benson) 1997, 1998; Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer), 2009, 2010; Kristen Alderson (Star Manning) 2013; Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina Corinthos Davis) 2017; Chloe Lanier (Nelle Hayes) 2018; Hayley Erin (Kiki Jerome) 2019
- Lifetime Achievement: Rachel Ames (Audrey March Hardy) 2004; Anna Lee (Lila Quartermaine) 2004 (posthumous)
- 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"
Template:Reflists 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 the day before New Year's Eve that year, General Hospital assumed a place on the daytime schedule that, except for eighteen months between July 1976 and January 1978 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 1978 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 writer Douglas Marland & Gloria Monty was hired as executive producer, and on her first day, she spent an extra $100,000 re-taping four episodes. A miracle occurred and thanks to Monty, 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 16, 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.
- Highest-rated week in daytime history (November 16 - November 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|
- Years as #1 series
|Sept. 1979-Sept. 1980||9.9|
Template:Multicol 1988-1989 season
- 1. The Young and the Restless 8.1
- 2. General Hospital 7.5
- 1. The Young and the Restless 8.0
- 2. General Hospital 7.4
- 1. The Young and the Restless 8.0
- 2. General Hospital 7.4
- 1. The Young and the Restless 8.1
- 2. General Hospital 6.7
- 1. The Young and the Restless 7.155
- 3. General Hospital 5.343
- 1. The Young and the Restless 7.1
- 4. General Hospital 4.8
- 1. The Young and the Restless 7.0
- 4. General Hospital 4.6
- 1. The Young and the Restless 6.9
- 4. General Hospital 4.3
Template:Multicol-break 1999-2000 season
- 1. The Young and the Restless 6.8
- 4. General Hospital 4.0
- 1. The Young and the Restless 6.7
- 3. General Hospital
- 1. The Young and the Restless 6.3
- 4. General Hospital 3.7
- 1. The Young and the Restless
- 3. General Hospital 3.5
- 1. The Young and the Restless
- 3. General Hospital 3.3
- 1. The Young and the Restless
- 4. General Hospital 3.2
- 1. The Young and the Restless
- 3. General Hospital
- 1. The Young and the Restless 4.1
- 3. General Hospital 2.6
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 in television, when the station's new owners, Sunrise Broadcasting, canceled Maury, due to what it called "community standards", and brought GH back.
The popularity of General Hospital has caused it be parodied or referred to in other mainstream programs. For example, in the early 1990s, some episodes of GH were featured as "shorts" during the fourth season of the parody show Mystery Science Theater 3000. GH 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 GH's legendary couple.
General Hospital has many famous fans, including The Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore, who would join the show in late 2008 for 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. Laura Wright, GH's Carly, was a huge fan of the show in the 1980s before joining the show in 2005. Motocross driver Mike Metzger is also a fan of the program, rarely missing an episode. 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.
Spin-offs and Specials
The success of the long-running soap opera has had one sister soap, one spin-off in the United States, and two primetime spin-offs in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
The Young Marrieds
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.
General Hospital: U. K. series
The U.K. 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
General Hospital: Night Shift (2007-2008) is the second American prime time spin-off of a daytime drama (the first being Our Private World, a spin-off 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
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.
35th Anniversary Special
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.
- "Longest Running TV Drama". Arts & Media. Guinness World Records. 2009. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/arts_and_media/tv_shows/longest_running_tv_drama.aspx.
- Wolf, Buck. "Luke and Laura: Still the Ultimate TV Wedding." ABC.com November 16, 2006.
- West, Abby. "Luke and Laura: 17 Great Soap Supercouples". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20174499_9,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-29. Cite error: Invalid
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- Wheat, Alynda (February 17, 2006). "What to Watch". EW.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1160337,00.html. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- "GH Spinoff Planned For SOAPnet." - SoapCentral.com February 12, 2007.
- 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
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