Terry Morrow: ABC won't talk about fate of 'General Hospital' as it adds 4 characters from 'One Life To Live'

The fate of “General Hospital,” the 49-year-old soap opera and the only one left on ABC’s schedule as of next week, hasn’t been decided yet — and, apparently, no one at the network feels terribly rushed to make it.

ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee told reporters Tuesday in Pasadena, Calif., he’s only “recently” gotten involved in what to do with “General Hospital,” whose 3 p.m. weekdays time slot has been promised to Katie Couric’s new talk show, coming in September. In recent years, “General Hospital’s” ratings have been sliding in total households and in key demographics, making it a less desirable prospect for the network that can produce make-over shows for less money.

But he said no decision has been made on whether the daytime drama will stay on the air or not beyond September.

“I don’t have a time frame” for a decision, Lee said.

With the launches of lifestyle shows “The Chew” and “The Revolution” on the daytime schedule, ABC will have no room on its schedule for the soap opera as of September.

The only hope that the show will continue will be if one of the other current programs fails.

ABC recently made changes at the helm of the soap, with a new head writer and executive producer. Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati, who helped raise the ratings and the acclaim of “One Life To Live,” are now in charge.

Valentini is the executive producer, and Carlivati is the head writer.

“I am a fan of ‘General Hospital,’” Lee told reporters.

He reminded the room of his own soap connections: Lee began his career working on a Latino soap opera.

“General Hospital” is also bringing back old favorites to lure viewers. Finola Hughes, who plays secret agent Anna Scorpio, will begin working on the show in two weeks, with her on-screen appearance beginning next month. Tristan Rogers , who plays Anna’s ex-husband and fellow secret agent Robert Scorpio, may be back soon as well.

ABC announced Wednesday that it is adding four characters from "One Life To Live" -- Starr, Todd, Blair and McBain (played by actors Kassie DePaiva, Roger Howarth, Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson) -- to the cast. Production begins later this month.

ABC plans to announce soon the names of other past favorites who will be returning.

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