Daytime Emmys viewers saw soap creator Claire Labine (Ryan’s Hope) quickly in the In Memoriam montage at this spring’s awards show. The beloved scribe passed away on November 16, 2016.
Alas, time constrictions prevented a stand alone tribute dedicated to Labine who, in addition to creating and headwriting Ryan’s Hope, also head wrote General Hospital (GH), One Life to Live, and Guiding Light.
So Soap Hub sat down with former Wendy Riche and Karen Harris, General Hospital’s former executive producer and co-head writer, respectively to ask them to reflect on the legendary scribe who was the head writer at GH in the mid-90s.
Labine was behind such stories as B.J.’s death, Robin and Stone’s romance, Monica’s breast cancer, and Sonny and Brenda’s legendary romance.
Alongside a Legend
“Working with Clarie Labine was extraordinary, every moment,” recalls Riche. “Claire was clear on what she wanted, but she listened, too. She was very generous with her writers and with her stories. We had a wonderful relationship. We’d speak every day at about 5:30 to 6 a.m. Los Angeles time (Labine worked from her home in New York).
“We’d have our coffee together and we’d talk about what she wanted to do with the show and how we could do it. And we’d talk about what I wanted to do with the show and how she could do it. It was very collaborative.”
While some soaps tell social issue stories through a secondary character, Labine wasn’t afraid to throw Port Charles veterans into the deep end.
“I feel that’s the only way to tell stories,” Riche says. “Claire agreed. She was a very brave writer, a very brave person. To choose a core character was a real opportunity to explore that character in a way you’d never seen before.”
“It allows the audience to really invest in a way that they might not with a secondary character,” concurs Harris. “As soon as you give Robin HIV, it changes everything.”
Breaking Up Sonny and Brenda
Harris started at GH about four months prior to Labine joining…continue reading on the next page —>