It's no secret ABC Daytime's General Hospital is in trouble. Whether we like it or not, Katie Couric is a comin', which means GH has less than a year to post a significant and consistent ratings spike, or it will be kicked off the ABC Daytime lineup like All My Children and One Life to Live before it. Considering more people have been watching those aforementioned sudsers, both of which have already been officially cancelled by ABC, something has to give and soon in regards to GH. As I previously reported, I've heard Prospect Park has licensed the off network rights to GH—a report that has been denied, but I stand by it—so there is hope, however, I don't see why GH needs to wait until 3 months before Katie debuts to try to fix what's broken. That being said, here are 10 steps to fix General Hospital:
1.) Have the hospital enter a state of financial crisis. The board (comprised of Edward, Monica, Tracy, Audrey, Sonny and a few dayplayers) have to find a new CEO capable of getting GH back in the red. Enter Carly Corinthos Jacks (Laura Wright). Carly made Metro Court a success, so she thinks she can do the same thing with a hospital. I mean, what is a hospital, except a hotel for sick people? The board comes to a gridlock over hiring her, with Sonny (Maurice Benard) casting the deciding vote. He tells Carly he'll vote for her, if she brings Morgan home.
2.) Once Carly is named CEO of the hospital, she immediately butts heads with the Chief of Staff aka Carly's mortal enemy, Dr. Robin Scorpio Drake (Kimberly McCullough). Carly wants to fire Robin on the spot, but only the board can fire the Chief of Staff. The two women are forced to work together day in and day out at GH, their stormy history always playing out in the background. Carly is focused on the bottom line, while Robin is concerned with patient care. Carly wants any patients without insurance shipped over to Mercy, while Robin balks. Robin also takes issues with Carly's plan to see the hospital cut research and teaching programs. Carly's penchant for flirting with Patrick (Jason Thompson) in front of Robin only ramps up the tension. Think the Amanda/Billy/Alison dynamic from Melrose Place 1.0, only in a hospital setting. Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Epiphany (Sonya Eddy) are also wary of Carly, while the men seem to love their new boss! Carly decides GH needs a new PR image and hires Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) for the job, facilitating many a steamy hook up for Liv and Dr. Steven Webber (Scott Reeves). Carly also hires Shawn (Sean Blakemore) as head of security, causing Monica and Robin to accuse her of using her position for personal gains.
3.) A nurses' strike, led by Epiphany and Liz threatens to derail GH and forces Carly and Robin to work together to find a solution, or the board could toss them both. Bobbie Spencer (Jackie Zeman) returns to Port Charles and is hired by GH as a liaison between the disgruntled nurses and the hospital administation. Piph accuses Bobbie of being biased, considering she's Carly's mother. Her first day back in town, Bobbie stops by Carly's house to surprise her. Using her key to let herself into Carly's place, Bobbie finds her daughter and Sean making love on the couch. Like mother, like daughter!
4.) Sean has issues with working for Carly at GH while dating her. He knows that people are whispering about how he got his job behind his back and it irks him, causing tension in his newfound, red-hot relationship with Carly.
5.) When Dr. Matt Hunter (Jason Cook) is gunned down on the front steps of GH (the bullets were meant for Jason, who was at the hospital for a post op check up), it changes things forever. Jason (Steve Burton) dives on Liz, saving her life, while Matt is cradled in Maxie's (Kirsten Storms) arms, clinging to life, as Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) looks on. A distraught Patrick vows to see Port Charles rid of the mob, causing tension between him and Robin, due to her feelings about Jason and Sonny. Patrick makes a mysterious phone call, summoning someone from Port Charles' past back to town...
6.) Mac (John J. York), Robin, Luke (Tony Geary) and the rest of Port Charles are rocked when Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) returns to solve the Matt Hunter shooting and rid Port Charles of the mob once and for all. Robin is particularly taken aback when she learns it was at the request of her husband. Patrick knows Robert's health hasn't been the best in recent years. Why would he ask her dad to put himself at risk like this? Patrick knows what it was like for Robin to grow up without her parents because of their line of work. Patrick tells Robin it's because of all the stories she told him about her dad that he called him. If anyone can make the streets of Port Charles safe for Emma to grow up there, it's Robert Scorpio. Robert calls in a favor from the governor to set up a special anti-mob task force that has jurisdiction over the PCPD, royally hacking off his little brother. Robert tells Mac he's had years to clean up the town, but couldn't get the job done. Their dads being at odd, also causes tension in Robin and Maxie's relationship. Mac's good friend Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) can't seem to place Robert, but she wonders why he looks so familiar to her? (Cue flashback to a teenage Natasha at the Cassadine compound in Greece. A 19-year-old Cassadine henchman, Umberto, catches her attention. The two share a forbidden, teen fling.) Could Robert be Sam's (Kelly Monaco) father? The first person Robert recruits for his new task force is someone who has just as much a vested interest in seeing Sonny Corinthos taken down as Robert — Jagger Cates (Antono Sabato, Jr.). Jagger begins seeing Liz, hoping he can get information on Jason. He also targets Sam, creating an electrically charged quadrangle between Jason/Sam/Liz/Jagger.
7.) Dr. Noah Drake (Rick Springfield) returns to repair his relationship with Patrick and a paralyzed Matt. When he's rejected, Noah finds himself at Jake's about to take a drink, when Bobbie walks in. Bobbie and Noah reminisce about their past and Bobbie shares her own stormy history with her kids. After making love, Bobbie convinces Noah to go to an AA meeting, where he runs into none other than Dr. Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson), who agrees to be his new sponsor. How will Bobbie and Monica's friendship be impacted when both women start to fall for the tortured doc?
8.) Bobbie and Epiphany square off, when Bobbie decides to stay on at GH once the nurses' strike is resolved. Bobbie isn't a fan of Piph's gruff bedside manner, explaining to her how it's senior nurses responsibility to nuture the next generation, the way Nurse Jessie Brewer had with Bobbie when she was a young nightingale. Piph returns that, with all due respect, she's been managing the nurses at GH just find without Bobbie's help for quite some time! Their conflict reaches a head as a new class of student nurses starts at GH. After helping to successsfully nurse Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) back to health, Lulu (Julie Marie Berman), at the urging of her aunt, contemplates a nursing career. She enters the progam, as do Abby (Andrea Bogart), Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) and bitchy heiress Serena Baldwin (Wishful Casting: Meredith Hagner). The trust Serena's late mother Dominque Taub Baldwin set up for her stipulates she can only gain access to her funds prior to her 25th birthday, if a.) she's happily married or b.) gainfully employed. Thinking nursing would be an "easy gig," Serena opts for the latter. She hasn't met Epiphany! Serena quickly takes an interest in Kristina's boyfriend Ethan (Nathan Parsons), creating a nasty rivalry, reminiscent of a young nurse Bobbie Spencer's epic wars with Laura Baldwin (Genie Francis). When the new GH student nurses aren't being put through their paces by Piph, Bobbie and Liz, they're mixing it up with a new crop of intern doctors at GH, including Tommy Hardy, Jr (Wishful Casting: Lawrence Saint-Victor) and Lucas Stansbury Jones (Wishful Casting: Blake Berris). Unfortunately for the ladies, Lucas only has eyes for his new patient, a parapelgic, angry Dr. Matt Hunter.
9.) When Skye (Robin Christopher) returns and clues Johnny (Brandon Barash) in on what she's been holding on Tracy (Jane Elliot) and Anthony (Bruce Weitz), the game changes and Johnny is holding all the cards. Johnny marries Skye to protect her from his father and the two blackmail Tracy into divorcing Luke to marry Anthony. If Tracy doesn't comply, they'll reveal her mob secrets.Tracy has no choice. The Quartermaines are comically stunned as they attend a wedding for Tracy and Anthony, the bride wearing black. Johnny commends his father on his plans to launder their money through ELQ, but says he'll take it from this point on. Luke threatens Anthony's life at his and Tracy's wedding reception in front of the entire town. Later, in their honeymoon suite, Tracy is stunned to wake up next to a slain Zacchara! Both Luke and Tracy are suspected of the murder and flee town with Robert, Lucky, Dante, Jagger and Sam hot on their trail. ELQ's stock plummets, as the CEO is being investigated for murder and her mobster past is screamed across the blogs and newspaper headlines. An unseen man, at a bar in Los Angeles is seen looking at the headlines on his laptop. "Mother, what have you gotten yourself into?" he asks as the camera zooms out to reveal Ned Ashton. Of course I'd prefer Wally Kurth to reprise the role, but if he were to decide to stick it out in Salem, Grayson McCouch would work in a pinch! Ned returns to Port Charles just as Skye and Johnny are about to be appointed co-CEOs of ELQ and steals the job from their grubby hands.
10.) With her family in turmoil, Laura Vining Webber Baldwin Spencer Cassadine Spencer Spencer (Genie Francis) finally makes her way home to Port Charles. Laura reveals she couldn't fly, because of her medical treatments, explaining why she's missed so much of her childrens' lives, but now she's been given a clean bill of health. Laura's ex-hubby Scotty (Kin Shriner) isn't far behind. Scotty has been selected as the special prosecutor in the Anthony Zacharra murder case and plans to put Luke and Tracy on death row. A highly volatile Tracy/Luke/Laura/Scotty quadrangle takes center stage.
Photo credit: ABC