GH Writers on Chopping Block?

‘General Hospital’ Spoilers: Writers Face The Ax – ‘GH’ Rumor Says Ratings Up Or Else

General Hospital spoilers and rumors offer a juicy tidbit about the GH writing team of Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman. A new General Hospital rumor is swirling that says ABC Daytime gave Jean and Shelly, collectively known as “Jelly,” until the end of summer to pull up ratings or else changes are coming. For many fans, a change in writing regimes would be welcome if this rumor proves true.

General Hospital Ratings Continue To Struggle

Ron Carlivati was axed from General Hospital as head writer after 13 weeks of consecutive low ratings. By comparison, Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman are on week 17 of struggling ratings, and you can see the dismal turnout for GH viewership between last fall until now in this report by TV Series Finale. Compared to this time last year, Soap Hub reports that General Hospital is down almost 250,000 viewers.

When General Hospital spoilers announced Jean and Shelly as Ron Carlivati’s replacement, ABC’s Vicki Dummer said, “Shelly and Jean’s combined talents and experiences promise to continue the show’s legacy of compelling storytelling that will resonate with our impassioned viewers. We’re delighted with what they have in store for the show as they continue honoring the rich, diverse environs of Port Charles.”

Since then, enthusiasm has dimmed among viewers.

What’s Broken At General Hospital?

In a December 2016 interview with Michael Fairman of On Air on Soaps, Shelly Altman told Fairman, “You may know by now we are really fond of umbrella stories, and how this would have more global implications.”

In theory, umbrella stories seem interesting and a tool to encompass more of General Hospital’s bloated cast, but by and large, audience criticism has been harsh on these long-lagging plots.

One such umbrella story that failed with audiences regarding both ratings and feedback was the Paul Hornsby (Richard Burgi) GH serial killer storyline. When the murders began, Altman and Passanante had yet to decide who the culprit would be, so they started a whodunit mystery with no end game in mind; they even admitted it in a Soap Opera Digest interview. Fan outcry was vocal and harsh because of inevitable misalignment.

Will The Chimera Destroy Jelly?

When General Hospital spoilers introduced fans to another umbrella story, the Chimera Project, fans shuddered collectively on social media. This swollen plot brings in resurrected Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), Jason Morgan (Billy Miller), Sam Morgan (Kelly Monaco), Franco Baldwin (Roger Howarth), Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst), Jake Spencer (Hudson West), Liz’s other kids — Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart), Anna Devane, and Alex Devane (Finola Hughes) — the WSB, possibly Cesar Faison (Anders Hove), and anyone remotely entangled with any of these characters.

When a General Hospital spoilers promo showed Helena alive and on Cassadine Island, a collective cheer went up, but if GH showrunners brought back the matriarch and Spencer arch-nemesis for flashbacks only, the jeers might resonate even more loudly. If the Chimera Project plot is well-written, it could spike May sweeps ratings and salvage Jelly’s reputation. If it flops, ABC may initiate changes.

Jean Passanante Fights With Fans On Twitter

Adding fuel to this General Hospital rumor of Jean and Shelly being on the firing bubble is a Twitter war Jean Passanante sparked with fans in late April over criticism that they were rewriting Jason’s timeline to create an alternate history where he was on Cassadine Island with Helena as her personal assassin. The tweet that got fans going was in response to a fan calling out Jean on the improbable timeline that was clearly hijacked and rewritten.

The fan tweeted, “Neither Jason nor Helena were on that d*mned island! They were both frozen at Crichton Clark in upstate NY! They can’t just rewrite history!”

Jean Passanante tweeted back, “How do you know?” and then outrage erupted among long-time General Hospital fans that pride themselves on knowing the history of their soap.

Fans were insulted and piled on with responses, including these.

Perhaps Jean wasn’t expecting the vitriol and tried to temper the volatile fan response by tweeting, “Since years pass off camera, it’s possible things happen that you are never shown. Before CC. Before the Caribbean.”

That didn’t stop the outrage, and if you scroll through Jean Passanante’s tweets and replies tab for April 28, you’ll see a barrage of video clips and still shots substantiating the real history. The fans know this timeline to be true – that Jason was shot, frozen, thawed, ran away, was hit by a car, had plastic surgery, and woke as Jake Doe. There was never a free moment for Jason to be on the island, according to General Hospital history.

It would be one thing for a head writer to acknowledge they were tampering with General Hospital history, but antagonizing viewers by insisting fans’ knowledge of the timeline was inaccurate might have been a major misstep and the nail in the coffin for the Jelly writing team.

Will Low Ratings And Fan Backlash Lead To Firing?

General Hospital spoilers tease May sweeps and summer ratings will make or break Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman’s tenure at the ABC soap. If the GH rumor about this do-or-die deadline is true, there could be another writing regime shakeup at General Hospital in the coming months. It was late in July of 2015 that Ron Carlivati’s firing from GH made the news. Could a similar announcement come in July of 2017?

The same week Carlivati’s termination was announced, Soap Opera Network ran an article on the GH ratings that saw him fired. From March through June of 2015, ratings in women age 18-49 ranged from 418,000 to 503,000. Currently, ratings are on the low end of that spectrum with no signs of improvement. With these numbers in mind, this could be more than a rumor and a leak from behind the scenes of things to come.

GH won’t confirm any movement on a writer change until it’s a done deal and there are new writers in place. If this happens after the summer deadline, viewers will learn more in upcoming General Hospital spoilers.

[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]

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