General Hospital spoilers tease that GH might not be done making changes to the writing team at the ABC soap. Will Shelly Altman be the next to “retire”? Did fan criticism and low ratings encourage Jean Passanante to leave the soap? The timing of Jean’s retirement announcement converges with some General Hospital rumors from ABC insiders about demands the network made about ratings.
General Hospital Rumor Said Ratings Must Improve
General Hospital spoilers and rumors teased that Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman were given until the end of July to pull up ratings or else. What’s interesting about that July deadline is that it’s the same time frame Jean Passanante listed for her last days before retiring. Perhaps Jean is truly tired of writing and wants to make pies. But then again, there might be more to it.
Anyone who has dealt with business layoffs and cutbacks knows that employers sometimes offer an employee the chance to “resign” or “retire” rather than be terminated. It is certainly better for a writer’s professional reputation if they “retire” instead of being fired. Of course, no one knows what went on behind the scenes at General Hospital that triggered Jean’s retirement, if anything.
Writing Regime In Trouble?
Under Jean and Shelly’s writing regime, there have been some major issues. First, there are many weeks of spectacularly low ratings. Second, there is fan dissatisfaction. Third, there is Jean arguing with GH fans on Twitter. As recently as last week, Jean was battling GH fans on Twitter, and it’s not the first time. A few weeks ago, Jean accused fans of not knowing General Hospital history.
General Hospital history shows Jason Morgan (Billy Miller) was never on Cassadine Island or at Helena’s will reading, but were undone by the writers. When fans stated they were changing known history, Jean essentially called fans liars by saying, “How do you know?” In reply, fans buried her in video clips and photos showing they know and she doesn’t. It was a stunning insult to GH fans.
Scrambling to Save GH
Recent General Hospital spoilers revealed the ABC soap is considering casting nearly ten new roles to try and pull up ratings. Last week’s rumor was confirmed true by TV Line, who reported that James DePaiva, formerly of One Life to Live, was cast in a mystery role and is already on the GH set. Some have speculated DePaiva will play Jeff Webber, a name from the proposed character list.
Dredging up General Hospital legacy characters won’t help pull up ratings and bring back viewers unless the storylines are well-crafted. The Chimera plot for May sweeps was a disappointment that left fans scoffing at all the build-up that came to absolutely nothing. GH has great actors already there waiting for solid scripts, so why not focus on better stories instead of adding bodies to the mix?
General Hospital Ratings Suffering
Soap Opera Network posted a roster of the 13 weeks of low ratings that served as a precursor to Ron Carlivati’s firing as General Hospital‘s head writer. During that period, GH‘s lowest rating in the 18-49 demographic was.65, and the high was.84. During the last 13 weeks under Jean and Shelly (aka “Jelly”), the lowest rating in the 18-49 demographic was.56, and the high was.73.
Whether or not you like the current General Hospital stories being written by the Jelly team, the numbers don’t lie. The co-head writers are responsible for drastically lower ratings than those that triggered the firing of Ron Carlivati, their predecessor. Whether Jean truly retired (or was asked to retire) only addresses half the problem. Shelly Altman is still at GH.
Will Altman Also “Retire” from General Hospital?
As of today, Shelly Altman is still at GH and hasn’t announced she’s leaving nor has the network confirmed the rumors that the low ratings are forcing a change in the writers’ room at the ABC soap. However, General Hospital can’t survive with ratings this low. Last week, GH tied a low in the 18-49 demographic for the fourth straight week and then Jean suddenly “retired.”
Will Shelly Altman also “retire” soon? Or perhaps Shelly will stay on but will be moved to another role when and if a new head writer is appointed. Back in January, GH actor Tristan Rogers tweeted harsh criticism of the Jelly team and fans piled on so this is something that’s been building for a while. Clearly, something drastic must be done to save General Hospital.
Check back for more on the shakeups at the ABC soap from there and other General Hospital spoilers.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]