The Mouse House finally released a statement about the masked elephant in the room. Ron Carlivati is out as head writer of General Hospital. He's being replaced by Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman.
Vicki Dummer issued a statement welcoming Passanante and Altman back to the Disney fold. The last time the scribes served as a head writing team was at CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless. They were replaced earlier this year by Chuck Pratt.
While it's swell of Dummer to give the ladies such a warm welcome back, it would be classy if at least some attention would be paid to the tremendous contributions Carlivati brought to GH.
GH skyrocketed to 8-year highs in the Nielsens on the strength of his early storylines. Veteran stars, who were shown the door during previous regimes, such as Lynn Herring (Lucy), Genie Francis (Laura), Kin Shriner (Scott) and Kristina Wagner (Felicia), were written back onto the canvas.
When the Periscope-happy network said they wanted a live show—specifically asking for a wedding and a death—Carlivati juggled his storytelling to make it happen, all the while penning the dark story twist for Luke Spencer that Tony Geary just had to have in order to be happy. No, Geary may not have specifically asked for the Fluke caper, but he did tell Frank Valentini he wanted Luke to "go dark" when he re-upped his contract one last time.
Carlivati, or "The Writer" as Geary called him in an exit interview where he also dissed fan favorite Wendy Riche, caught major flack online for prolonging the Fluke story while Geary was out recovering from back surgery. Maybe he should have just scrapped it all together in favor of having Luke go back to being a court jester stealing money from "Spanky"?
I'm not saying Carlivati was without fault during his time at GH. His penchant for putting plot before character didn't serve the show well, nor did those Twitter fights with fans. I'm one of the guy's biggest fans, and I find the "Denise"/Morgan/Kiki/Franco/Ric/Nina/Madeline farce unwatchable.
Back to social media for a second. Perhaps Carlivati, Valentini and suit Nathan Varni wouldn't have to spend so much time on Twitter if those cheapos at ABC would hire a full-time publicist? The last freelancer quit when Mickey Mouse wanted to cut her already dismal stipend even further.
The Young and the Restless has a full-time publicist, plus the backing of CBS Daytime's social media-obsessed team. The Bold and the Beautiful has both domestic and international publicists. Days of Our Lives' publicists pimp both the soap and Ken Corday's 3,722 side hustles. GH gets a freelancer and three peeps on Twitter who really should be spending their collective time more wisely, especially Mr. Varni. Um...Cristela told me to tell you to log off and go execute something!
If anything, Carlivati should get mad props for his Herculean attempts at writing story for every single The Young and the Restless actor Valentini cast at a cocktail party, while also having to promote his own stories on social media.
Ever since Jill Farren Phelps stole Steve Burton and Tristan Rogers, Valentini has tried to cast every ex-Genoa Citizen he tosses back a shot with; yet Carlivati received the lion's share of the blame when the heavyweight newcomers took time to gel in fictional Port Charles.
Certain veteran GH dames weren't fans of Carlivati's writing at ALL. I suppose they preferred the Frons/JFP/Guza era where stars their age were put out to pasture, or killed off with fictional monkey flu epidemics? Pouring some out for the homie, Brad Maule.
All I'm saying is, GH didn't end up with 13 weeks of record low ratings simply because of the head writer. Many more people were culpable; they're just a little better at playing the soap opera version of Game of Thrones. Good luck, Jean and Shelly. You're going to need it.