General Hospital spoilers promise that the ABC soap is facing trouble over its dismal ratings. GH just came off another week of troublesome numbers, and to make things worse, Jean Passanante, half of the co-head writing team at GH, is feuding with fans again on Twitter. What is Jean thinking sparking drama with fans when ratings are already in trouble? Didn’t she learn anything from the last fan feud?
Jean Passanante Fights With Fans on Twitter Again
On Thursday, May 25, GH co-head writer Jean Passanante re-tweeted a General Hospital clip of Valentin Cassadine actor James Patrick Stuart playing piano at the Nurses Ball performing Billy Joel’s, “And So It Goes.” It started with a benign tweet from Jean of “swoon” to describe his achingly emotional performance. That was nice, but when a fan snarked back, Jean went off in her reply.
A fan tweeted back that Valentin is not the scary Cassadine fans expected.
“The man has many layers. And one of them is very romantic,” Jean countered.
“Nothing romantic about murderers! Seriously? Enough propping evil, gangsters,” another fan said.
That triggered Jean to fire back.
“We don’t ‘prop.’ We aim to write chars. we inherited and those we created multi-dimensionally, w/ torment, regret, guilt, and yes, romance.”
It was Jean’s reply that set off a firestorm with General Hospital fans.
“I know characters have layers. I appreciate pulling them back. But how many of us have been sexually assaulted/violated? Was that romantic?” one fan asked. Another chimed in saying, “I disagree. You ‘prop’ half your very large and unnecessary cast.”
Jean Hits Back at Fans, But It Doesn’t Go Well
General Hospital lead writer Jean Passanante kept the argument going.
“That’s your opinion but that’s not how we work.” That’s when things went downhill rapidly. Another fan piled on.
“Um not just our opinions go check ratings for May.”
“As always, insulted by the way this is handled,” another fan added. Yet another commenter joined in, saying, “Can u address why #GH seems to want to glorify rape & domestic violence, as it were romantic?”
Another General Hospital fan tweeted a meme to Jean that read, “You sit on a throne of lies.” In the midst of the drama, one GH watcher said what many fans are thinking.
“I get you’re in this just for the money. But you won’t be cashing those checks much longer if you don’t wake up.”
Perhaps funniest of all was a General Hospital fan that tweeted Jean’s words back at her, “How do you know?”
Those words are a call back to the last big Twitter war Jean got into with General Hospital fans. When a fan tweeted to her, “Neither Jason nor Helena were on that damned island! They can’t just rewrite history!” Instead of acknowledging that they were changing history (as every fan watching the show knew), Jean snarked back, “How do you know?” launching a nuclear tirade from outraged fans. Still, Jean Passanante wants to tangle with fans on Twitter. Why?
Ratings Up Slightly, But Down Overall
Recently on Twitter, Jean was asked about the stories circulating that she and co-writer Shelly Altman face firing from General Hospital.
“Thanks but those are just rumors,” Jean replied. But what could Jean say? It’s not like a writer would admit that they’re facing a firing because of staggeringly low ratings. But all soap fans know low ratings mean heads will roll.
When ABC fired Ron Carlivati as GH‘s head writer, he had 13 straight weeks of low ratings. Jean and Shelly just finished 18 weeks of shockingly low ratings, according to Soap Opera Network, who tracks all four soaps. In the most recent report, General Hospital pulled up slightly, but in the 18-49 demographic, GH tied its all-time low for a third straight week. With ratings hitting rock bottom, a writer antagonizing fans makes no sense.
Despite Jean Passanante’s denial of trouble in the GH writers’ room, there have been rumblings around the soap blogger-sphere that the “Jelly” team has until the end of summer to rebound the ratings, or they could be out the door. Also, troubling is the leak from Daytime Confidential‘s Jamey Giddens that Michael Easton is looking to exit GH. Perhaps it’s because Easton fears cancellation.
With Ratings in Trouble, Should a Writer Fight With Fans?
Even if fans don’t share Jean Passanante’s outlook on General Hospital, it seems a strange time to provoke outrage when the ABC soap needs every viewer it can get. Clearly, GH can’t afford to lose any watchers, yet this is the second time in the last few weeks that Jean has engaged in a fracas with dissatisfied fans. Will the powers that be at ABC Daytime muzzle Jean?
Many General Hospital fans are worried that the network is letting GH bottom out in ratings intentionally so they can cancel and replace the soap with a cheaper-to-produce daytime talk show. Not every soap is dying, although Days of Our Lives is also under the gun. CBS’s two soaps, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, are thriving. Can General Hospital survive?
Watch for updates on the GH writers’ fates and other General Hospital spoilers.
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]