DC #660: DC EXCLUSIVE: Ron Carlivati on Wrapping One Life to Live and Checking Into General Hospital

He gave up a career as a lawyer to pursue his true passion for writing soap operas. Now, some 15 years after first joining One Life to Live as a writer's assistant, the soap's last head writer Ron Carlivati joins Daytime Confidential's Luke Kerr, Jamey Giddens, Jillian Bowe, Regan Cellura and Melodie Aikels to dish having completed the daunting task of wrapping the iconic sudser up on ABC Daytime.

Hear from Carlivati himself on his thoughts about how the 43-year-old sudser came to a close. Would he have done things differently had he known OLTL wouldn't be moving online immediately following the ABC finale? Carlivati shares how it felt to be able to bring back such popular veterans as Jessica Tuck (Megan), Roscoe Born (Mitch), Fiona Hutchison (Gabrielle), Susan Batten (Luna), Ty Treadway (Troy), and more during the soap's "Between Heaven and Hell" arc during its final week.

He also clears up all those rumors surrounding the exits of Robin Strasser (Dorian) and Trevor St. John (Victor), the latter of whom made a surprise appearance in the series finale. Tune in to hear how Carlivati planned to bring Dorian Lord back in a story that would have had President Barack Obama watching his back! 

Is Carlivati satisfied with the way things ended for such Llanview lovers as Clint and Viki (Jerry VerDorn and Erika Slezak), John and Natalie (Michael Easton and Melissa Archer), Todd and Blair (Roger Howarth and Kassie DePaiva), Rex and Gigi (John-Paul Lavoisier and Farah Fath)? He also shares what it meant to be able to finally reunite Cord and Tina (John Loprieno and Andrea Evans).   

Then the conversation shifts to Carlivati's next gig. He and his boss Frank Valentini are now serving as head writer and executive producer respectively of ABC's last daytime soap opera General Hospital. With Howarth, DePaiva, Easton and Kristen Alderson (Starr) all following Frank and Ron to Port Charles, should fans be worried about those rumors that GH and OLTL are merging? Hear Carlivati set things straight as only he can, revealing he's been a fan of General Hospital even longer than he was of OLTL. And of General Hospital, with the almost 50-year-old, one-time supersoap fighting for its life against Katie Couric, The Chew and The Revolution, does Carlivati feel added pressure to help keep GH on the air? This is one podcast no fan of One Life to Live or General Hospital can afford to miss, that is if you want to hear the real truth from the writer's mouth! 


All this and listener’s Daytime Confidential Hotline calls on today’s episode. 




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40 Responses

  1. Profile photo of appleridge

    Thank U DC & RC For That
    Is DC still doing a Podcast reacting to OLTL’s finale?

    Ok Now I hope after people take 38 mins to listen to this podcast they realize that GH fans have nothing to worry about with these OLTL roles coming on

  2. Profile photo of Soap_Stud

    I knew there was no plans to turn GH into OLTL. I love that Ron pointed out he has been a GH fan for decades and is why Holly and Robert are returning. I am excited for GH.

  3. Profile photo of ER Writer
    ER Writer

    You guys asked some really great questions. I will definitely break by gh hiatus to check out Ron’s version of the show. I don’t care how it happens but Please give us Blair vs Carly LMAO. I also want to see if KM and ME still have it! I think things are going to get pretty interesting.

    AlSo I know its a pointless wish, but it would have been so nice if NBC would have taken OLTL.

  4. Profile photo of liason4real

    What an excellent podcast. I want to thank Ron for taking the time to set the record straight when it comes to OLTL characters moving over to GH.

    Now, if only Ron would put my Liason back together and bring home Jake then all will be right in my world!

  5. Profile photo of SwanQueen59

    Thank you DC crew for an informative podcast. Mr. Carlivati seems to be an engaging and honest individual and I appreciated his referencing GH’s history (ie-Laura/Scott, the Q’s, the Spencers, Anna/Robert, the Cassadines etc.). I also appreciate that he didn’t sugar coat the realities that “not everyone will be happy” and that story and actors’ availability as well as their desire to return, (or not) factor into decisions that have to be made. And this folding into the bigger picture of GH continuing in the daytime line up, period. Personally, as before, I’m in that holding pattern of “wait and see” as regards the OLTL contingent arriving. If they “enhance” the canvas, as opposed to “overwelming” it, it will be worth the effort to bring them on board.
    If possible, might I suggest also a podcast featuring Frank Valentini to “bookend”
    this presentation. I’d like to hear his ideas/vision for GH as well as his take on the wrap up of OLTL. Thanks again for this interview… 0:)

  6. Profile photo of doodleynoodle

    Congratulations on landing this inteview! IMO, it’s one of the most important you’ve done to date. General Hospital is fortunate to have Mr. Carlivati in their corner. I hope GH surprises everyone and comes back with a vengeance. I know that I may not be in love with all of the characters and storylines but it doesn’t even matter. If the show is written with passion & conviction…what’s not to love? I believe in Ron Carlivati’s ability to do both.

  7. Profile photo of blake3b

    Love that he cleared up with happened with Trevor and Robin. And maybe now the GH fans will ease up on him and Frank!!! I believe these guys will make the show watchable and exciting again (which it hasn’t been for at least a decade). I’m not sure I will watch it even with the OLTL characters going there, I’ll have to see what’s going on and hear the feedback.
    Listening to Ron and his love for the shows and their history it made me wish he wrote for Guiding Light before it went off. GL deserves the great send off that OLTL got but unfortunately we had the lame Ellen Wheeler exec producing and David Kreizman as the writer. Ugh.

  8. Profile photo of GHFan777

    Ron sounds like a very nice man. I am looking forward to what he has planned for GH…It definitely sounds like he respects GH and it’s fans…And I agree that new families come to soaps all the time to stir things up…so already knowing and loving the family in advance is a plus.

    I just hope he does spread air time around like he says…and all my favorite characters get their due.

  9. Profile photo of Marisa

    I loved the interview with Ron. I am new to this site/podcast. I hope that there is some way to not have Robin die. This is very sad that Kimberly wants to leave, I totally understand it,and don’t now how I’d write it. But please give us some way to get her back, even for visits. Maybe some day in the future, she night decide to come back. First, Because of Robin leavening, and second because of all the mob stories on GH which I hate, I was going to quit watching. But now that some of the OLTL characters are coming aboard, I will watch. I don’t know how they will fit in Port Charles. i hope very much that Blair will be taking her children. Does not make sense not too. And Natalie must come. That’s a must if you have john. Please. I am hoping against hope that some entity will bring back OLTL, whether it be NBC, Bravo, Discovery, I don’t care. in lieu of that, i hope that other characters can come to Port Charles. I understand Mr. C.’s problem there, the cost and the other GH stars. I do not envy him. Let’s just hope we can get One Life back and then it won’t be a problem. To be honest, I hate ABC right now, and will not watch anything except GH and Castle. If they let someone else revive OLTL, I may change my mind. Good luck, Ron. And good luck to all the OLTL actors and crew, I love you. And good luck to GH. Katie Couric, if you’re reading – no soap fans will watch you between 1 to 4 on ABC. That’s not a place if you want success and you’re not one of our soaps.

  10. Profile photo of giogio

    Wow!!!! I love what Ron said, but I must say that this had to be such an honor for DC to get this interview. I only comment on this board, but I do read others and why I have stuck with DC cause in the midst of chaos everywhere, mum is the word over here unless you really have something to say and I appreciate that. You have been very confident in yourselves over time, which makes this the place I feel comfortable, with the final word on any info. Thank you for all of this, Luke, Jamey, Jillian, Regan and Melodie.

  11. Profile photo of tealita

    Excellent interview, guys; just great! Just knowing that RC has listened to our concerns is reassuring. Here’s to him striking the right balance and maintaining GH’s unique flavor!

  12. Profile photo of golinogal

    at this point I will take just giving Elizabeth an appropriate front burner storyline, stop her from being the punching bag of the show, and recognize this is a VERY VERY popular character. She should be front and center the same as Jason, Sam, Carly, Sonny, etc
    I think my liason dreams died with Jake :(

  13. Profile photo of Cyberologist

    Thanks for asking the hard questions I wondered about its as if one of you read my posts LoL

    Well I’ve always liked Ron Carlivati because (to me) he truly loves this genre of storytelling I remember from his last DC Podcast interview he watched GH w/his sister from a young age.

    With one show left on ABC he’s trying to give it a fighting chance its no time for bickering I have to stand behind the new regime so I guess it may be a smart move to get OLTL fans who aren’t into GH (there are quite a few I posts with) to watch the show

    I’ll just wait n’ see what he does. It can’t be any worse than the damage that has been done to this once great show… Its rumored GH cast will be cut (there will be deep cuts)

    …since its not much of GH left thanks to the last two hacks I guess it will be mostly the newbies. My issue is not dealing w/GH first before pimping / promoing the OLTL cast right off the bat. Thanks again for the interview.

    PS Luke n Laura were on the cover of Time magazine? I remember Newsweek November ’81 & People I missed the Time one.

  14. Profile photo of Cyberologist

    Yep golinogal

    I agree, she’s been disrespected in writing & also not marketed/promed far too long & should brand the show “right along w/Monica /Tracy /Alexis. The past regime treated these veterans like lepers hopefully its a new day!

    I’m also tired of the favoritism of the past. It really bothered my favs never being included as one who started on this show as a teen, the same ones Sonny/Jason/Sam/Carly the ones that have tanked the show…(not even an actress who started at age seven) could be the face of GH.

  15. Profile photo of GHFan76

    If we have any chance at all Frank and Ron are the guys we need. It helps do know that Ron acknowledges that OLTL and GH are two very different shows and the he has knowledge of the history.

  16. Profile photo of cantearlizdown

    I really hope he bring back Skye so I can have a Skye v Blair throwdown. A Carly v Blair is so typical and I really don’t want to watch that. Also they look too much alike. Skye and Blair have history. I want to see that played out.

  17. Profile photo of soapjunkie88

    This interview actually gave me much needed hope. I wasn’t one of these people who jumped at the chance to have Ron and Frank over at GH at first, but I have to say after this interview I see some things in a different light.

    While I still don’t know what to make of some Llanview residents crossing over to Port Charles, I’m now confident that Ron makes GH work with it’s history and the characters we love.

    I really hope that he can win Jonathan Jackson back and maybe even Kimberly McCullough, if there was time to undo her character being killed off (because we all know that was or is the original plan). Besides these two important vets, I’d like to see more characters we cared about from the past instead of a lady in white, a few doctors we just don’t care about or a Kate that is just painful to watch.
    I wish that Ron takes on as quickly as possible and tries to make it work, because the cancellation clock is ticking loud and clear.

    Here’s believe that GH might deserve the rescue if this show is about more than depressing murderous people or lame storylines, where beloved characters are hunted by a lady in white or spend hours on a cemetery somewhere in Ireland.

    So THANK YOU guys from Daytime Confidential for this interview, in which you really asked the questions every fan has asked on message boards over the last weeks. It was an interview to really enjoy and to let hope in my soap-tortured heart.

    Just one question remains: When is Frank and Ron’s first episode airing?
    Before that I rather decide to not watch GH!

  18. Profile photo of Ms 45
    Ms 45

    Kudos, DC! This interview was a great “get” — you were respectful but also asked the questions fans wanted to hear — not softball stuff. Excellent interview! RC doesn’t walk on water, but what I always feel from him is a true love and respect for soaps and for soap history. That is so important!

  19. Profile photo of cantearlizdown

    Trevor as AJ quartermaine would be one of the greatest things ever. Next to bringing back BW. Emily is really needed now and ALan is soooo need to give Monica a d*ck down cuz she is just horrid.

  20. Profile photo of soapfan616

    Mixed feelings here. First, and I hope most importantly, I genuinely believe this man loves soaps. I hope nothing else matters.

    Second, we must all realize that ABC does nothing without intent to persuade, manipulate or motivate in their direction. They have used a long list of mouth pieces to get their message across. They lie to the mouth piece and then have the mouth piece persuade us in one direction. Don’t believe that? Go back and look at the history.

    Third and most disturbing to me is the RC had the chance to distance himself from the sexist and mob related stuff on the show and he chose to say he can’t make everyone happy. This isn’t about making viewers happy or not. It’s about telling good stories…believable ones that are not misogynistic and do not turn off the thinking viewer. This is SO much bigger than soap fans wanting Jason with Liz or Jason with Sam. This is about wanting a show where serial killer Jason is not the star! I’m not sure RC gets it. Or if he does, I’m not sure he’s allowed to write a show where Jason finds a soul, where Sonny is treated like the killer he is. In the end, whether he wants to or not, it doesn’t appear he was willing to commit to a change of tone here.

    You can’t balance serial killers with anything. You can’t tell a heart-felt story in one scene and then have Sonny romancing a stupid woman that he will inevitably put in danger in the next.

  21. Profile photo of ER Writer
    ER Writer


    I understand your frustration, and respect your opinion, the main reason I quit watching GH is because of the awful + character propping storytelling. But I will give Ron a chance, just like I tried to give Garin Wolf (bleh),
    that he won’t write it like that. I don’t think the problem with GH is the mob stories, it’s just that the mob stories were terrible.

    None of us knows how this is going to work out until we start seeing Ron’s stories on screen.

  22. Profile photo of Jack661

    Personally I cringed when hearing that story idea for Dorian about her becoming President and was glad it never came to be. It would have been another jump the shark moment. Poor Dorian has been reduced to camp especially since she’s firmly tied to the David Vickers character now. Dorian is so much more than that…. just watch those Viki/Dorian scenes in ’95 during the D.I.D. storyline or any of her scenes with Anthony Call (Herb). If you guys get a chance to talk with him again, ask him since he cleaned up the paternity mess with Jessica, if he considered cleaning up that horrid Victor Lord mess from 2003… and hopefully revealing that wasn’t the real Victor and the real one did die in 1976. Also ask him where he was going with that Viki/Dorian scene after Asa’s funeral where Dorian was talking about Victor’s death… then when Erika Slezak returned from vacation the story didn’t get picked up.

    That was great to hear he was a long-time GH fan… hopefully in his hands, he’ll get Holly back on track instead of the terrible way she was treated during the last several returns. Hey Ron, if you’re reading this, here’s an interesting story point: after Holly returned from the dead and she and Robert had decided it was best to divorce, Holly ripped up the divorce papers after hearing that Robert was now presumed dead (in ’92). It would be neat for Holly to reveal to Robert that they never got divorced! Also, the previous regime did such a horrible job of explaining the whole Ethan thing… it was so sloppy when they could have explained better that since Robert had left Holly in Australia for nearly 4 months to help Anna with the Mr. Big case, they could easily have explained how hurt and vulnerable Holly felt and that’s why she did what she did…. then they totally forgot the fact that Holly was in a coma (during the time she would have been pregnant)…. that could have been incorporated.

  23. Profile photo of acespencer


    The link above proves that Laura is so important to GH!

    I am hopeful of the new regimes attempts to turn GH around. The best way to ensure that we get the GH we want is to shift the focus off of Sonny and create balance.

    They need to take a look back at the writing in the mid-late 90’s! It was on fire during that time period. You had the MOB but it wasn’t the Sopranos like we have had to endure for the past decade or so. GUZA the LUZA and JFPUKE trashed GH so badly that it will take the campiest storyline to get it back on track and this viewer is fine with whatever pile of horse dung they shovel at us to get it there. I have always been a believer that we could see a door to a room and see Sonny sitting in a chair and looking at a snow globe only to realize that the past oh 6yrs were an illusion. That Lucky and Liz are now married. I will even take that Carly and Jax were married after the death of Courtney but I want the reveal that Emily and Alan never died and not to mention AJ faked his death. Jason and Sam can be together and Lulu could have found love in this guy named Dante and we will have learned that he is Sonny’s Son but not with Boobliva but rather Kate (in the form of Megan Ward). Bottom line is they need to fix all the bad those two idiots did!

    I loved RC’s comments about wanting to focus on the history of GH! The actors are only one factor though! Bringing back people and not writing for them the way they deserve to be will be the death of the character. We saw enough of that this past decade. For the love of all that is good in this world please bring back Brenda and write for her the way she deserves. Find a way to get Rena Sofer back and slap the stupid out of the BH knock offs!

    A truly successful and magical GH is in the writing. Take a look at the mid=late 90’s! Beautiful! Classic example the clip above at 9:00min. Laura tells it like it is and in an odd twist of fate GUZA did us one thing in that he avenged the Lucky Death Story in the troubled woos that Sonny’s kids had. Sadly the kid that had it worst was never his to begin with. I just wish that someone would actually give it to him and he would go away. How I wish that he never came back after leaving Brenda at the altar. Oh what could have been.

    A good balance of the emotional and fun stories of the 90’s and the action adventure of the 80’s would be awesome!

    Lastly please bring back the Nurses Ball and Lucy Coe!

    Wait get Mary-Beth Evans off Days and back as Katherine so Lucy has a good sparing partner!

    GH needs to be saved and the writing is the way to save it. Not gimmicks!

  24. Profile photo of SwanQueen59

    acespencer-Thanks for the link. Yes, GF needs to return to help make sense of the mess that’s been perpetrated. You can see that the fossilization that has been a trait of MB’s Sonny has already set in. Sadly, not much has changed, but that’s my view… 0:)

  25. Profile photo of mafelix86

    I haven’t watched GH since 2006 because I was fed up with the violence, character assassination, and the show revolving around Sonny/Jason/Carly(characters that I used to like, until they became the center of the show)!!

    I’m cautiously optimistic about Ron and Frank coming to GH. I’m excited that they’re bringing back Anna/Robert/Holly. If Ron and Frank can tone down the violence, take the focus off the 3 characters I mentioned and give Liz a front burner storyline, I may very well start watching GH again!!

  26. Profile photo of luverica

    It was a good interview and I for one am looking very forward to how Frank and Ron handle Port Charles, NY (please oh please bring my Genie back) but I have one issue with the interview that quite frankly baffles me a little.


    Considering all the ranting that was done on DC Confidential regarding the elimination of Oliver Fish and Kyle Lewis (Kish), all of it in which I agree with 100% percent, WHY wasn’t Ron Carlivati asked about that. I went back and listened to the interview again to make sure I didn’t miss the question because I just knew that Ron was going to be asked about one of their best storylines whose abrupt ending caused, rightly so, quite a bit of drama.

    DC Crew, I’m just curious. What was your reason for not asking him?

    I would’ve love to know, and I’m sure many others, who was the ultimate decision maker behind that. Even though we pretty much know it was Frons, it would’ve been nice for Ron to clear that up for the record.

    Was Frank and Ron in agreement? If so, why? If not, how hard did they fight for it?

    I’m posing these questions because maybe there’s another interview he did back then that answer those questions that I can be pointed to but it thought it would’ve been nice to use the opportunity of the DC interview to revisit that unfortunate decision.

  27. Profile photo of nellie-claire

    This podcast was just wonderful! I feel that it should be considered a companion piece to the last two weeks of One Life to Live, this is how important I think that this podcast is. It was so full of love for the characters and history of OLTL and also GH; it filled my heart.
    This podcast also made me feel very old. General Hospital began when I was in second grade and I remember the original stories so well; they were great! I cut school to watch the first day of All My Children; the soaps were everything to me. Ironically, I was completely disinterested in OLTL until probably the late 1970s and even then I watched OLTL sporadically. I think that this is so ironic because OLTL ended up being the only show that I have watched faithfully probably for the last 5 years. Now that it is gone, there isn’t anything that I feel the need to watch on a regular basis.
    This podcast really did make me feel very old; this is something that doesn’t happen very often. I do want to mention a book that many of you will absolutely love. The book is out of print but you can find copies online. For those of you that are interested in the soaps and the stories of the past, you should read “From Ma Perkins to Mary Hartman: The Illustrated History of Soap Operas” by Robert LaGuardia. This book tells almost all of the stories, and with amazing accuracy, although not perfect, of soap operas on television up to the beginning of Ryan’s Hope. There are many photographs and the details are terrific. For anyone who is a fan of the Soaps, you will this book and you will love the stories of the past. This is a book that you will read and refer to over and over again. I think that it should be updated and republished. I have no connection to the book; it is just something that I have loved and enjoyed for so long and I think that you would too.

  28. Profile photo of doctormo77

    This interview was a lovely topper to a really wonderful final week of OLTL. I am looking forward Ron’s run on GH (however long it proves to be). I have no problem with the OLTL characters crossing over. Hell, it would be great if John McBain decided to stick around. The PCPD is a joke. If Mac is serious about cleaning up Port Chuck, John McBain is your man. Plus, McBain would be a great foil for Sonny and Jason to go up against (tons of story possibilities there). If McBain became a regular, I would love to get a Natalie versus Carly throw down. I am already looking for the Blair/Carly matchup.

    *Does anyone know when Ron’s scripts will start airing?

  29. Profile photo of MeghannOC

    RC is such a class act, what a great interview. I loved the great questions from the DC gang! Ron seems so genuine. I think the reason he is such a good writer is because he is actually a FAN of soaps. It makes all the difference in the world that this is his passion and he cares. Sadly, that is hard to come by in daytime today. GH was my soap for years and it breaks my heart to see what had become of it. If anyone can fix GH (even if they end up only having a little time left on the air) it’s Ron. Thanks for a great interview DC! It made my snowy commute home a thousand times better today :)

  30. Profile photo of keanna

    It was a great interview, guys!! This is why I love Ron and Frank, they care about history, and to learn that Ron’s a fan of GH, too, it’s snowy here as well and that made my day.

    I hope this interview reassures GH fans, that the OLTL actors can only help GH, it is a hot mess right now and it needs a jolt, and Ron can provide that.

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