Soaps

‘General Hospital’ Co-Head Writer Shelly Altman Retires, Dan O’Connor Named New Co-Head Writer

Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin

Emmy winning co-head writer Shelly Altman, who has served as General Hospital’s co-head writer since 2015, will retire August 2. The news, first reported by Daytime Confidential in June, was confirmed by TVInsider.

Current breakdown writer Daniel J. O’Connor, with the show since 2012, has been tapped to replace the outgoing scribe. He briefly left the series in 2015.  

Executive producer Frank Valentini had high praise for his new head writers, “These two understand the canvas and the characters. They also bring creativity, passion and commitment to the show’s history and its future.”

Valentini also thanked Altman for her years of service to GH, “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’s resume includes writing positions at Another WorldOne Life to Live and The Young and the Restless. She briefly served as GH’s co-head writer in 2012 with Garin Wolf until the hiring of Ron Carlivati. In 2012, she jumped ship to The Young and the Restless and was promoted to co-head writer alongside Jean Passanante and Tracey Thomson the following year. She returned to GH in 2015 to take over head writing duties with Passanante. When Passanante retired in 2017, Altman shared head writer with Chris Van Etten.

She is a two-time Daytime Emmy winner and three-time Writer’s Guild Award winner for Daytime Serial.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC.

Our Take: Congratulations to Shelly on her retirement. People work hard to get to the point of retirement, and I hope she enjoys it fully. It’s nice to see new blood officially in charge of General Hospital. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to be excited about a shuffling atop the creative team when those above them are still in charge. However, I wish Dan O’Connor and Chris Van Etten the best. I would love to see how they intend to reshape the series and put their own stamp on it. GH is in need of a radical identity shift, let’s hope it happens sooner than later.

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Ryan 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.