‘General Hospital’ Shifts Scheduling Of New Episodes As Filming Hiatus Continues With Coronavirus Pandemic

Josh Swickard, Katelyn MacMullen, and Chad Duell star together on 'General Hospital'
Craig Sjodin / ABC

The schedule for General Hospital has been altered a bit to accommodate the filming hiatus currently in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning on Friday, April 3, ABC will begin airing encore episodes at the end of each week instead of new shows.

As has become the case with many television shows right now, General Hospital has found it necessary to stop filming for a while. The set went dark in mid-March, and the furlough was initially slated to go for a month. While it doesn’t appear that this timeframe has been extended yet, it seems fairly likely at this point.

With the original plans to halt filming for a month, those behind General Hospital explained that they did not anticipate any issues with giving viewers new episodes each weekday over the coming weeks. Now, however, it looks like they’re working on stretching things out a bit to make their new episodes last as long as possible.

As Deadline details, ABC now will air repeat episodes of General Hospital each Friday until at least May 22. Luckily, at least for now, new shows will continue to air Mondays through Thursdays as this plan is implemented.

The network is trying to incorporate something that will entice viewers to tune in to see these encore episodes. Each Friday’s rerun will have a fresh introduction by one of the cast members who will be providing an overview of sorts for the show set to air. Laura Wright will be up first with the April 3 show.

Television networks are dealing with a lot of complicated decisions as this coronavirus pandemic continues. A number of talk shows have shifted to broadcast from makeshift home studios and many primetime series are ending their seasons early. For soap operas, however, the solutions available during this unusual time are more complicated.

It seems that ABC will be able to continue to air new episodes four days a week, with reruns on Fridays, through the week of May 22. If production is still on hold at that point, ABC will have to start airing all reruns.

At this point, it doesn’t sound as if ABC is pinning down an exact date prior to May 22 where they need production to resume. Usually, General Hospital tapes each episode about a month before it airs. It sounds as if they may have to shift that typical turnaround time for a while once the cast can return to the set until production can get some episodes banked.

General Hospital fans will surely be disappointed to see reruns on Fridays, and even more dismayed if ABC has to shift to all encore shows by the end of May. Luckily, ABC is looking ahead and trying to do what they can now to keep the show’s momentum going and fans will have to stay tuned to see when the cast can return to work.