General Hospital to go live for May Sweeps

Posted Monday, March 30, 2015 11:24:25 AM
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General Hospital to go live for May Sweeps

General Hospital went back in time for its 52nd anniversary, and the show will take another trip down memory lane for May Sweeps: it will be broadcasting live.

Everything old is new again. It's something that was commonplace in the 1960s and 1970s, but General Hospital is poised to make a little bit of history later this spring: the longest-running ABC soap will broadcast two live episodes in May.

"Taking such an iconic show as General Hospital live for two days is both exhilarating and risky," said Executive Producer Frank Valentini. "I am enormously proud of our cast, crew and staff for all their tireless dedication and hard work that will be leading up to this daytime television event. It's live television and absolutely anything can happen, but that is what's fun about this and we're absolutely up to the challenge."

In their infancy, most soap operas were broadcast live from studios based in New York City. It was akin to televising a different live stage play every weekday. By the mid-1970s, most soaps had transitioned to being taped.

In 2002, One Life to Live announced that it would broadcast an entire week's worth of episodes live. A new concept for an entire generation of soap viewers, the excited whispers began almost immediately. What would happen if an actor forgot his lines? What would the network do if there were a technology malfunction? And there was also the ever-present rumor that stars of As the World Turns were planning to crash the live broadcast by streaking in the background of a Central Park location shoot.

In the end, One Life to Live's stunt went off without a hitch -- and without any naked soap stars popping up.

primetime has recently embraced the thrill of live broadcasts. NBC has staged live musical productions of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan, and the network is already at work on its next project: The Wiz.

The General Hospital live episodes will air on May 15 and May 18.

Are you excited about the live broadcasts scheduled for May? Do you think they'll be pulled off without incident? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.

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