Deep Soap: The ‘Llanview Three’ Returning to ‘General Hospital’ as New Characters

Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson (Photo: Amy Sussman/Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

‘One Life To Live’ Headwriter Out; New Trailer Released

In just eighteen days, “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” return. The shows will debut online at noon on April 29 on Hulu, iTunes, and, through our partnership with Hulu, here on XFINITY. “OLTL” may have broken some sort of a record by parting ways with one of its headwriters before the show’s debut. Susan Bedsow Horgan has left the show. In a brief press release, The Online Network stated, “We want to thank Susie for her contribution to . She is moving on and we wish her well. We have an extraordinary writer’s room at the show and we are looking forward to fans seeing what they’ve been up to when we launch on April 29.” Soap Opera Network, which broke the story, claims that Horgan chose to leave the show for personal reasons. Her writing partner Thom Racina remains with the show.

“OLTL” released a new trailer, set to the tune of The Script’s “Hall of Fame.”

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That preview looks hot. I got a little choked up seeing Viki (Erika Slezak) and Clint (Jerry VerDorn) together again. I can’t wait to see why David (Tuc Watkins) is dressed like Tony in “Saturday Night Fever.” The Online Network is attempting to bolster the show’s buzz by stunt casting celebrities with big online followings. While J Woww  is of not interest to me, I understand why she has been cast as a bartender. She has two million Twitter followers. Hip-hop star Riff Raff will also make a guest appearance on the show. I am not hip enough to be familiar with his work, but “OLTL” gets major meta points for naming his “shady art dealer” character James Frankko. As everyone knows, James Franco hijacked “General Hospital” for months when he guest starred on the show, got his mother and his friends roles on the show, made an arthouse movie about his experience on “GH,” and wrote an editorial about what it all meant. Less known is that Franco’s current role as a hip-hop loving drug dealer in the sleazy teen drama “Spring Breakers” is considered by many to be a parody of Riff Raff. So this is basically the Mobius strip of daytime self-referential stunt casting.

I have read some concern that the soaps will be too focused on new, younger characters and attempting to attract millennial viewers. I say in order to attract enough viewers to turn a profit, the new "OLTL" and "AMC" need to appeal to both longtime viewers of the show and fans of web series who aren't familiar with the soaps. There has never been a full length, daily web series before. Nobody knows what will or won't work. I think the concept that people over 50 are incapable of streaming videos is ageist, ridiculous, and disproved by the many longtime soap fans who get the shows trending on Twitter all the time. But it's unlikely that every single person who watched the shows when they were on ABC will be motivated, or even aware of, the online versions. Soaps ended up fighting for their lives because they failed to attract the next generation of viewers. This is no different than the new teens who tend to crop up every summer on soaps, some of whom grew up to become some of daytime's most beloved characters.

The Llanview Three Will Return to “General Hospital” on May 10

The three “One Life to Live” turned “General Hospital” actors Roger Howarth, Michael Easton, and Kristen Alderson have been on leave from “GH” while ABC and Prospect Park battled it out about whether “GH’s” contracts with the actors superseded Prospect Park’s ownership of the characters they play, Todd, John, and Starr. ABC is now confirming earlier rumors that the three actors will be returning to “GH” as new characters, stating in a press release, “Kristen Alderson, Michael Easton and Roger Howarth will return to ABC’s “General Hospital” beginning May 10. Exciting storylines full of mystery and intrigue are planned to usher in the return of these actors that will lead to the answer of one of the most asked questions in Port Charles.” (Why doesn’t anyone ever stay dead? How come Sabrina got two numbers at the Nurses Ball? What is the secret ingredient in Lila’s relish? There are so many possibilities.) As seen in the newly released preview, Howarth will play Todd for the first few weeks of the new “OLTL.” Prospect Park has not revealed whether it plans to recast the roles of John and Starr or if this entire mess was just a power play. ABC has not released any details about whether the actors will be playing new characters, or will be recasts of previous “GH” characters. (Easton as a recast Jason would be a great way to enrage multiple fan bases!) Having the three debut in new roles simultaneously seems like it will either be a trainwreck or brilliant. Given how great the show has been lately, I’m willing to give the writers and producers the benefit of the doubt until I actually see the stories play out on screen.

The Nurses Ball and Its Aftermath

It's difficult to write about this week's episode "General Hospital", because there is so much ground to cover. There's the glorious first two days of the Nurses Ball and the disappointing (to me) finale. Then there's the Brenda-Michael hook-up that probably only happened in Carly's pornographic imagination. Finally, there was the unspoiled for East Coast viewers revelation that Stavros Cassadine is alive and well. Apparently, if you fall down a bottomless pit the only physical consequence will be salt-and-pepper hair. So I'm going to express my thoughts in brief bullet points.

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  • The first two days of the Nurses Ball filled me with joy. The red carpet segment was pure genius, complete with a backdrop that included logos for all of the Port Charles businesses that sponsored the event. I wish actual award show red carpet reporters would highlight who returned from the dead, who slept together, and who was a reputed criminal. The musical numbers were delightful. My favorites were the male striptease, Rick Springfield performing “Jesse’s Girl”, though I’m not sure why it was Springfield himself and not his character Noah, and Frisco (Jack Wagner) serenading Felicia (Kristina Wagner) with his 1980s hit “All I Need.” The small character moments like the too-brief scenes of A.J. (Sean Kanan) and Liz (Becky Herbst) and the hilarity of Carly (Laura Wright) and Brenda’s (Vanessa Marcil) food fight sold it for me.
  • I could have done without day three’s focus on Pretty Pink Princess Sabrina (Teresa Castillo). Admittedly, I have a lifelong hatred of saccharine do-gooder soap ingenues. But the character seems like she was based on Wikipedia’s entry on Mary Sue Characters. Having her wear a Disney Princess dress and perform a number in which she wore the same outfit and pigtails as little Emma furthered my belief that she is far too immature to date thirty-something widower Patrick (Jason Thompson). My hatred for the character, who I realize plenty of viewers like, was so extreme that I almost rooted for Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) when she took the stage to announce that she was pregnant with Patrick’s baby. I think we all believe that she actually inseminated herself with one of Dante and Lulu’s spare embryos. However, revealing that she and Patrick’s one sexual encounter was unsafe flew in the face of the Nurses Ball’s message of AIDS Prevention. I would think that after years being married to an HIV-positive woman, Patrick would put on a condom as automatically as he fastens his seat belt when he gets into a car. It would have been easy for Britt to say, “Didn’t you notice that the condom broke? They really aren’t designed for showers.”
  • Brenda claiming that she and Michael (Chad Duell) had a one night stand, Carly’s subsequent nervous breakdown, and A.J.’s mixture of shock and pride is the funniest television I’ve seen this week. I’m sure Brenda just offered a drunk, heartbroken Michael a place to crash, but lying about what happened is a return to the fun, scheming Brenda of the 1990s.
  • Bringing back Stavros (Robert Kelker-Kelly) is a brilliant way to reignite the Cassadine-Spencer war. As much as I hope I will get to see Laura (Genie Francis) get some well-deserved revenge for the years she spent as his sex slave, I am really looking forward to his interactions with his son Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) and half-sister Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn).
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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