‘General Hospital’ Co-Head Writer Shelly Altman Retires, Dan O’Connor To Join Chris Van Etten In Lead Spots

Writer Shelly Altman attends the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards CBS after party
Angela Weiss / Getty Images

General Hospital spoilers reveal that more changes are on the way for the long-running soap opera. Co-head writer Shelly Altman is retiring, and she wraps up her time with the show this week. However, Altman’s work will continue to drive the storylines in Port Charles for the next few months.

According to TV Insider, Altman’s last day with General Hospital will be Friday, August 2. Altman’s co-head writer Chris Van Etten is staying on, and Dan O’Connor will step up as a new co-head writer. O’Connor has been a breakdown writer for General Hospital for some time now.

O’Connor and Van Etten are quite used to working together, as they have been with General Hospital since 2011, and both wrote for ABC’s One Life to Live before that. Altman has also been with GH since 2011 and previously worked on OLTL, The Young and the Restless, Another World, and the primetime show Kate and Allie.

There have been rumors swirling for almost two months that this departure might be on the way. Daytime Confidential detailed the buzz in June, and as those rumors started to circulate, it seems that O’Connor’s move into the co-head writer position was already anticipated as well.

It isn’t unusual for there to be a fair amount of turnover among key soap opera writers, and many people circulate between the different shows. Altman was co-head writer alongside Jean Passanante for a while after Ron Carlivati was replaced on GH. When Passanante retired in July 2017, Van Etten was moved into her position. Carlivati has been at Days of Our Lives since leaving General Hospital.

How will Altman’s departure impact General Hospital? Fans have been quite vocal in recent weeks regarding their frustration with the current storylines, so this may provide an opportunity to move things in a new direction. For example, viewers are anxious to see the baby swap storyline come to a conclusion, and there have been some major cast changes in recent months that have left fans feeling concerned as well.

Loading...

It’s too soon to know for certain how much Altman’s exit will affect the writing at General Hospital. Spoilers have suggested that there is significant progress coming that’s related to some of the main storylines, and additional teasers about what’s on the way should emerge soon.

Perhaps the good news about moving O’Connor into Altman’s position is that the transition should be relatively seamless. The potential downside could be that fans may feel that a more significant shakeup is needed to inject new life into the show, and that opportunity doesn’t necessarily come with these writer shifts. General Hospital spoilers should soon shed some light on any upcoming changes in storytelling, and viewers will be anxious to see what’s on the way.