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‘General Hospital’ Head Writer Ron Carlivati Answers Burning Questions in new TVGuide Interview

Ron Carlivati attends the 65th annual WGAE Awards on February 17, 2013 in NYC. Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images North America

No one can get a direct answer quite like TV Guide’s Michael Logan. The veteran journalist recently interviewed with General Hospital head writer Ron Carlivati, who addressed some burning questions and subjects that some might not have expected. Find out what the scribe had to say about storylines being put on hold, rewriting Franco’s history and the importance of social media!

Below are select excerpts from Ron Carlivati’s interview with Michael Logan:

On rewriting Franco’s history

[textblock style=”9″]Changing his parentage really solved a problem for us. We brought Roger back onto the show and he had great ties to GH history — Alan Quartermaine is Franco’s father, Susan Moore is his mother and Jason Morgan is his twin brother — but they’re all dead! So, after the dust settled, Franco had no real ties. We needed a richer, deeper well to draw from. This will tie Franco to two great legacy characters still with us today and now Scott’s the D.A. with a son who’s a reformed serial killer. It means Steven Lars is Franco’s brother, so who knows what we’re going to do with that some day? [/textblock]

On Genie Francis’ abrupt exit

[textblock style=”9″]I had to write her character off the show because it’s my job, not because I wanted to. I don’t make the contracts. I sit in New York and write the show. As I understand it, Genie came back to us on a short-term contract, which is what both she and ABC wanted. I was given her dates and worked with them the best I could. Genie had made another obligation before she returned to us, one that meant there were several weeks during the summer where she wasn’t available to us.[/textblock]

On fans’ anger regarding lack of storyline for Elizabeth

[textblock style=”9″]I never watch a show just for a character or a couple. I watch it for the story, but I understand that’s just my way of appreciating a show. There are people who are watching just for Liz. Sadly, you’re putting yourself in a difficult situation if you’re watching GH that way because you’ll end up disappointed. Liz becomes very important as the Sabrina-Patrick wedding draws closer, and she’ll figure in the A.J. trial, which will start soon. I’m sorry people are disappointed when their favorite is not in story. You can’t please everybody.[/textblock]

On their new production model and the resulting disappearance of characters

[textblock style=”9″]It’s really a constraint when you have a big contract cast and they all have their guarantees that need to be met. You end up putting people on screen just because they’re getting paid, not because they have something important to do. And the result is audience boredom. Not only does this new way work better with our tighter budget, it makes for a better show when you have the freedom to rest a character.[/textblock]

On whether he’s overly sensitive on Twitter:

[textblock style=”9″]People have different ideas of what constitutes criticism and, to me, “This show sucks” is not criticism. I will listen and respond very thoughtfully to someone who says, “I had a problem with this because of such and such…” That doesn’t mean I’ll change my plans, but that’s completely valid. But, yeah, call me sensitive when someone says, “You’re the worst writer and human being on the planet!” There are some very angry, very hateful people out there and who needs that in your life? I would never talk about people the way some of them talk about me.[/textblock]

Carlivati addresses why the AJ storyline was put on hold, whether the show improved as a result of the legal snafu with Prospect Park, offline fan response and more. Head over to TVGuide.com for the complete interview.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC, weeknights on SOAPnet and anytime on ABC.com.

About the author

Omar White-Nobles

Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TVSource Magazine. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.