General Hospital is making some changes to its writing team. Soap Central has confirmed that Chris Van Etten and Dan O'Connor are out as the show's co-head writers. ABC has hired veteran soap scribe Patrick Mulcahey and promoted longtime GH writer Elizabeth Korte to serve as the show's new co-head writers.
This will not be Patrick Mulcahey's first time in the fictional world of Port Charles. He previously worked on General Hospital in multiple roles on the show's writing team. He was hired in 1996 as a script writer, and from 1998 to 1999, Mulcahey worked as associate head writer and breakdown writer.
Mulcahey's career in daytime began in 1979 as an associate writer at Search for Tomorrow. In 1982, he served as the head writer of Guiding Light. He was a member of Loving's writing team from 1983 to 1984 before moving to Santa Barbara from 1984 to 1990 as a writer and story editor.
After Santa Barbara ended its run, Mulcahey returned to Guiding Light, where he worked as a script writer, breakdown writer, and, in his final year with the show in 1994, co-head writer. Mulcahey joined The Bold and the Beautiful in 2005 and worked as a script and story consultant through 2019.
Elizabeth Korte has been a member of GH's writing team since 1994. She has held numerous titles at GH since that time, including a stint as co-head writer in 2001. In 2007, she co-created the GH primetime spinoff Night Shift for SOAPnet. Korte has currently been working as script editor for the show.
As for the departing writers, Van Etten was elevated to the role of co-head writer in 2017 upon the retirement of then-head writer Jean Passanante. Van Etten shared head writing duties with Shelly Altman.
Van Etten worked as a breakdown writer for General Hospital from 2012 to 2017. Prior to that, he worked as a writer for One Life to Live, where he had occasional associate head writer duties.
O'Connor was bumped up to co-head writer when Altman retired in 2019. O'Connor had worked as a breakdown writer before his promotion.
There has been no official statement from ABC regarding Van Etten and O'Connor's dismissal, though fans have been vocal on social media about their displeasure with the show's current storylines. Fan disapproval seemed to peak during the months-long work stoppage during the Writers Guild of America strike.
Behind the scenes, ABC's Nathan Varni, who until April 2020 had been in charge of overseeing production for the network, announced in mid-December that he'd returned to the GH fold.
"Congrats to the hardest working crew, producers and talent, it's a pleasure to be back with my #gh family. To our fans, thank you for sticking with us! My 2024 goal is to win back our lapsed viewers, we have a lot of work to do but we're all ready to work hard for YOU," Varni wrote on X, formerly know as Twitter.
Despite winning five Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series since 2016, General Hospital has not won an Emmy for its writing since 2009. In that same time period, GH has had eight different head writing teams.
Scripts overseen by Van Etten and O'Connor will air into March.
Fans have already started sharing on social media and the Soap Central message boards what they'd like to see the new head writers tackle. One of the common themes is "balance."
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