Friday, May 6, 2011

Dial 911: General Hospital Out for Katie Couric?

Can ABC really be thinking about replacing "General Hospital" with a Katie Couric talk show?  TMZ reports that Couric is close to a $20 million deal at ABC/Disney, which would give her a syndicated program and a significant presence on the ABC News platforms.

Don’t the networks ever learn from previous errors?

Shout out to all network executives:


In the past year alone, there has been the addition of “The Talk” while others on the horizon include Rosie O’Donnell (in the Oprah slot), and Anderson Cooper’s coming entry.  Regis Philbin is leaving “Live!” and shopping around a show of his own.  Two others, “The Chew” (about food) and “The Revolution” (about wellness) will take the place of "One Life to Live" and "All My Children.”  I don’t have to list all the others.  Who needs more chatter?

If Couric has to have a show, why doesn’t hers replace an existing program like the horrific “Maury” or the despicable “Tyra Banks Show?”  Couric doesn’t have a great track record, as evidenced by a five-year ratings slide on the “CBS Evening News,” but she’s likeable, intelligent and a good interviewer.  Any installation from her would be better than the wackiness of Povich and Banks. 

It was reported yesterday, unfortunately, that General Hospital’s ratings among women 18-49 hit a new low.  In that age group there are 676,000 people watching; the overall viewership is 2.5 million.

That’s not the best news, but it represents a great number of people.  Critically, there are still those who like the soap format and “General Hospital” remains one of that genre’s best.

GH has great acting from the likes of Maurice Bernard, Anthony Geary, Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo, Jonathan Jackson and Kimberly McCullough.  The writing is halfway decent.  There’s old-fashioned romance.  True, the plots are flimsy, repetitive and sometimes unbelievable, but is that so bad?

If someone in charge at ABC had real chutzpah, the network would move GH to a nighttime slot and make it a weekly drama.  Such an idea would be bold and it might bring back former viewers who watched back in college but had to grow up and get jobs during the daytime.  I would be among those viewers.

At the very least ABC should save an institution like General Hospital in the daytime or otherwise.

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