Monday, June 6, 2011

New Katie Couric Talk Show to Replace General Hospital? Sadly, but Probably.

It is with a heavy heart that I write of the likely demise of one of the longest running television programs in history – General Hospital.

ABC announced today that a new Katie Couric talk show will be featured in the 3 p.m. weekday time slot on many ABC stations, beginning a year from September.  The show, to be produced by former NBC titan Jeff Zucker, does not yet have a title, format or focus. 

But, according to a statement by Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, “Katie Couric is one of television’s iconic figures and we are thrilled to have forged such an exciting partnership with her.  We look forward to having Katie join the best news team in the business and to working with her to create a dynamic and successful talk show franchise.”  (Katie will also become part of the news division – look out Diane Sawyer.)

ABC did not say General Hospital was canceled.  It did say the following: "the network is set to return the last hour of its daytime network block to affiliates no earlier than September 2012 but continues to support General Hospital.”

Responding to a question by the Hollywood Reporter, an ABC spokesperson said, "The announcement does not mean the inevitable cancellation of General Hospital. Rather, it means that in September 2012, we will program our daytime block with our three strongest shows."

Translation: RIP, Luke and Laura.  Goodbye, Sonny and Carly.  So long, Jason and Brenda.  See ya, Lucky and Elizabeth.  It is sad, but General Hospital, which debuted in 1963, has probably run its course and will be replaced by more endless chatter. 

No one is watching the soaps anymore.  They’re too slow, repetitive and divorced from reality.  Reality TV has done them in.

I haven’t watched GH in awhile, but I do know that the storylines now revolve around a bunch of younger players who don’t have the chops of their predecessors.  Laura Wright (Carly), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) and Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) are no match for Tristan Rogers (Robert Scorpio), Emma Samms (Holly Scorpio) and Anthony Geary (Luke).  The writing is not what it used to be.  And, let’s face it.  The world has changed.  Viewers want more action and more drama related to the real world.

But GH has been a leader of the genre and has featured some of its best writers and actors.  When the other stops languished with stale writing, Bob Guza and Claire Labine before him were ahead of the pack.  The team continuously won the most Emmy’s in the Daytime competition. 

There is still a chance that GH will live on, if the two talk programs debuting in January 2012 to replace All My Children and One Life to Live, do worse than the soap does in the ratings.  Seriously, how could both The Chew (about food) and The Revolution (about health) do all that well?

Personally, I question the idea of bringing more talk to network TV.  Who needs more piled upon the proliferation we already have?  If Katie Couric will, as predicted, focus on the usual mix of lifestyle, health, celebrity and entertainment news, I hardly think what she brings will make a difference.  Her ratings may be better than the aforementioned Chew and Revolution, but they will hardly blow others out of the water.  As evidence, note that in the past year, The Talk on CBS and The View on ABC have ratings pretty much in line with The Young & The Restless.  Further, see ratings for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.


  1. once soaps are off the air i will no longer have any reason to tvo

  2. I hear that, but my DVR gets plenty of use for evening programs.

  3. What am I going to watch on break next year? The freedom to take my home TV with me anywhere is incredibly convenient because of my DISH Remote Access app. My job had me test out one of their Sling Adapters last year, and since then I can watch LIVE TV including my DVR recordings on my Smartphone or iPad2 (they even started a new offer for a free Sling Adapter I’m not one for talk TV, so I guess I’ll have to find another fix for my break.

  4. Please don't replace general hospital I've had it up to my eyeballs with talk katie show replacing general hospital?