Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SOAPnet Announces First Original Scripted Drama: General Hospital: Night Shift

SOAPnet has just announced that it will air original episodes of a General Hospital spin-off soap, tentatively titled General Hospital: Night Shift. (Read the whole story on the network's Web site. ) While viewers are accustomed to catching reruns of their favorite soaps on the cable network, airing an original soap will be a first for the network.

According to the article: SOAPnet has greenlit 13 episodes of its first serialized drama General Hospital: Night Shift (working title), a storyline extension about the lives and loves of General Hospital's favorite characters during the night shift at the hospital. This is the first time a soap has extended its current story line beyond what is seen in daytime.

"We are committed to growing the soap genre and the General Hospital franchise by expanding its storyline only on SOAPnet. General Hospital: Night Shift will launch with an audience that is already dedicated and compelled to know more about what happens on the night shift at the hospital," said Brian Frons, President, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group.

"Now that we're in almost 60 million homes, the time is right for SOAPnet to launch its first serialized drama," said Blackwell. "Our continued growth enables us to give our viewers more of what they want – original series that go deeper into characters, stars and story lines and acquired series that feed their soap habit. Our new line-up will do all of that and more."

This is exciting news for the series -- and soap operas in general. If this works for GH, then perhaps more soaps can get in on the act. Imagine the new audience that some shows could attract. This could bode especially well for some shows that have been struggling in the ratings -- they could bring aboard a whole new set of fans!
Personally, I would love to see Guiding Light get into the act. (Although I don't like to pick favorites,) GL is consistently (IMO) the best-written, best-acted and best-directed show on daytime telelvision, and it deserves more of an audience. It's been around for 70 years, and it deserves at least 70 more. Maybe this is one way to do it?