Daytime serial spinoffs are a very tricky business, even for soaps as popular as General Hospital. A perusal of soap opera history will reveal that out of the many attempted, only three qualified as a success: The Right to Happiness, which claims Guiding Light as its parent program, aired for over 20 years on radio and two television offerings – Somerset and Port Charles – would each last a little over six years.
Many proposed spinoffs never make it outside the board room and even when they do, they typically peter out during the development process. But Port Charles wasn’t GH’s only try. Here are some proposed sister series that executives failed to give the green light.
The Young Loves of General Hospital
This series was ordered in 1982 when GH was at the top of the Nielsen ratings and an illness known as Luke and Laura Fever was still gripping the soap opera audience. The new show would have followed the lives of the hospital’s student nurses and medical interns and, if rumors are to be believed, it would have been anchored by Bobbie Spencer, a much-beloved character.
Despite having been put into preproduction by excited ABC executives, this soap never saw the light of day. If the premise sounds oddly familiar, it’s probably because the concept was reworked 15 years later and aired as ABC’s newest – and sadly, final – half-hour sudser, Port Charles.
Blue Collar Blues
Before executive producer Gloria Monty made her much-heralded return to GH in 1991, she had been working on a blue-collar soap that she had hoped ABC would purchase and air. Upon getting reacquainted with the Port Charles folk, Monty would introduce the Eckert family – Bill and his children Jenny and Sly.
Had the new family proved popular, Monty wanted to spin them off into their own program. Sadly they did not – no doubt due to the fact that Bill was played by Tony Geary whom GH fans only wanted to see play Luke Spencer – and Monty would lose her job at ABC one year later.
Heart and Soul
This proposed serial – which shared its title with a soap that O.J. Simpson had tried to interest various networks in producing – would have starred Ned and Lois Quartermaine and been set in Bensonhurst – the Brooklyn, New York neighborhood where Lois, Sonny, and Olivia grew up.
Former Ryan’s Hope star Helen Gallagher would have played Lois’s mother and the Port Charles transplants would have been joined by Ned’s mother Tracy and her young son Dylan.
The later plot point would be recycled and used on ABC’s The City which saw Tracy – with Dylan in tow – relocate to Soho and blackmail her way into ownership of the apartment building in which all the other characters resided.
Which one of these spinoffs would you have most liked to have seen? Sound off in our comment section below. General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.