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GENERAL HOSPITAL Taps Patrick Mulcahey, Elizabeth Korte As Co-Head Writers

Digest has learned that GENERAL HOSPITAL has let go of its current head-writing team, Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, with Patrick Mulcahey and Elizabeth Korte set to take over as co-head writers.

Van Etten was named co-head writer in July 2017 upon the retirement of Jean Passanante, and was originally partnered with Shelly Altman; O’Connor was appointed co-head writer in August 2019 upon Altman’s retirement. Prior to working in daytime, both Van Etten and O’Connor had been longtime soap fans. The scribes began their soap writing careers at ONE LIFE TO LIVE and ultimately followed OLTL’s executive producer, Frank Valentini, and head writer, Ron Carlivati, to GH, where Valentini and Carlivati assumed the creative reins after OLTL went off the air in 2012.

In an interview with Digest early in his head-writing days, Van Etten shared, “It’s really daunting taking over any kind of leadership role on a show like this that has such a history, but also I have such a history with — apart from my professional relationship with it. Did I think of it? Sure. Did I ever really hang any hopes on it? No. I think that I was probably as scared of the opportunity as any other emotion. But I’m really excited and happy and grateful to Shelly and to Frank and to Nathan [Varni, ABC executive] and the network for giving me the opportunity, and I am really hopeful that I’ll be able to satisfy fans, because I’m a fan before I’m a writer.”

O’Connor voiced similar feelings about ascending to the head writer position in a 2019 interview with Digest, describing it as “incredibly exciting but equally terrifying. [You] recognize what a great responsibility it is. There are these iconic characters like Laura and Sonny and Alexis and Robert and Elizabeth that have been around for decades, and you need to make sure that you’re curating them. There’s a responsibility for taking care of those characters and the responsibility of bringing in the next generation of families to the show and the next generation of viewers and honoring the viewers that have been here the whole time and the responsibility of working with some real-world parameters that affect our storytelling, and hopefully in a way that the audience won’t notice. And of course, the responsibility of telling stories that honor who the characters are and moving the story forward in an exciting way. It’s a big task.”

Mulcahey and Korte have both had long associations with GH. Mulcahey last worked on the show from 1998-99 as associate head writer and breakdown writer; prior that, starting in 1996, he was a script writer. Mulcahey’s career in daytime began in 1979 as an associate writer at SEARCH FOR TOMORROW. After exiting SFT in 1980, he was hired as a script writer for TEXAS, where he remained through 1981. In 1982, he served as GUIDING LIGHT’s head writer. He was a member of LOVING’s writing team from 1983-84 before moving to SANTA BARBARA from 1984-90 as a writer and story editor. Mulcahey then returned to GL from 1992-94 as a script writer, breakdown writer and, in his final year, co-head writer. Following his stint on GH, in 2005 Mulcahey moved over to B&B, where he worked as a script and story consultant through 2019. He told Digest that year that although he was leaving B&B, “my love for TV persists, and for soaps.”

Korte has been a member of GH’s writing team for decades. She began in 1994 and has held various positions, including a stint as co-head writer in 2001, and has served as script editor since 2008. In 2007, she co-created the GH spinoff GH: NIGHT SHIFT with Robert Guza, Jr., and served alongside Guza as its co-head writer.

Scripts overseen by Van Etten and O’Connor will air into March.


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