General Hospital head writer Shelly Altman retires; breakdown writer Dan O'Connor steps in as her replacement
Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 11:52:49 AM
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General Hospital co-head writer Shelly Altman has announced her retirement, with Dan O'Connor joining co-head writer Chris Van Etten at the top of the soap's writing team.

General Hospital fans may remember news that Soap Central reported earlier this year, bracing fans for the retirement of the ABC soap's co-head writer, Shelly Altman. The time has come, with Altman formally announcing that she is stepping down from her position as top scribe for the daytime series and will be celebrating her last day with the soap on Friday, August 2.

Fortunately for GH fans, it looks like viewers can expect a rather seamless transition once Altman's material stops airing in the months ahead; according to TV Insider, GH is promoting from within and has named Dan O'Connor -- a current breakdown writer for the soap who also wrote for One Life to Live -- to join co-head writer Chris Van Etten on the top of the writing team.

"These two understand the canvas and the characters," says Frank Valentini, GH's executive producer. "They also bring creativity, passion and commitment to the show's history and its future."

Valentini also shared a goodbye message to Altman, stating: "Shelly, thank you for years of complex, emotional, intriguing story that ranged from suspense to heartbreak to laugh out loud funny, and everything in-between. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors."

Altman took on the position of GH's co-head writer alongside Jean Passanante in October 2015, replacing Ron Carlivati, who stepped in as head writer at Days of our Lives. Passanante retired in July 2017, with writer Chris Van Etten being brought in to replace her.

Some of Altman's other daytime drama head writing credits include Another World, One Life to Live, and The Young and the Restless. She won two Daytime Emmys for writing (as part of the Y&R team in 2014 and as part of the OLTL team in 2008), and earned two Writers Guild of America Awards for writing GH (in 2018 and 2019).

How do you feel about Shelly Altman retiring? What are your thoughts on Dan O'Connor being promoted to co-head writer alongside Chris Van Etten? What changes, if any, would you like to see now that the head writing team has a set of "new" eyes? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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