The Revolution was televised and nobody gave a damn. ABC's new daytime lifestyle show has been cancelled due to dismal ratings and will be gone by July. That's fab news for the network's landmark soap General Hospital which has won a stay of execution and will remain on the air into 2013.
"For the last year or two we've been living on death row hoping for a reprieve, so this feels great," says GH icon Anthony Geary (Luke). "We're all breathing a sigh of relief, although we don't really know what this all means."
True enough. ABC has yet to make an official announcement about the status of GH since Deadline.com broke the news last week. While no one at the network is denying the report, it's been widely circulated that the show has been given a one-year pickup, meaning it will live to see its 50th anniversary next April. The truth is, ABC owns GH so technically there is no pickup involved here. The network can merely keep the show going a while longer as it continues to weigh its programming options. For example, The Revolution will be replaced by a nine-week summer spinoff of Good Morning America before GH takes that time slot in September. If the new, lower-cost GMA show draws strong numbers, ABC might consider giving it a permanent berth in the daytime lineup in 2013 and GH could be in jeopardy all over again.
"For all we know, we've only bought ourselves six months," notes GH star Maurice Benard (Sonny). But that's not stopping the celebration on the set. "It's a beautiful day in Port Charles!" Benard says. "Everyone's excited and we're determined to work hard and keep this thing going. Our goal now is to boost our ratings and be the No. 1 soap. Then they can't cancel us!"
Both Geary and Benard applaud the behind-the-scenes shakeup at the soap, which is now headed by exec producer, Frank Valentini, and head writer, Ron Carlivati, from ABC's recently cancelled One Life to Live. "Frank is a force of nature who is bringing great energy to the set," says Geary. "He loves this show and is fully prepared to go down with the ship, standing on the bow screaming at the top of his lungs. I can only admire that. It has made me and most of us want to work harder. Some people don't like it because they got complacent, and I'm not just talking about actors but people throughout the production. Those who don't want to work harder will not stay."
And forget those rumors that the recent influx of stars from OLTL — Michael Easton (John), Kristen Alderson (Starr), Roger Howarth (Todd) and others — has the GH cast feeling threatened. "No one is worried that Port Charles will be usurped by Llanview," says Geary. "There's just no downside to this. It makes us a much better show." Adds Benard: "Bringing in all this new blood is the smart thing to do. Let's hope there's more coming. I've been telling people we should do this for years!"