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TV Critics Tour: 'General Hospital' boss expects show to survive

BEVERLY HILLS -- Whether you care or don't care about soaps, the fate of "General Hospital" should be of interest (and possibly concern) to anyone who loves TV; this is the last man/woman left standing at ABC. There was a time when "GH," now in its 50th year, was one of the most important series on all of television (though admittedly that was decades ago). Will "GH" survive? Will "GH" follow "One Life to Live" and  "All My Children" to that great big soap graveyard in the sky?

There are indicaitons that ABC, which handed "GH" a one-year extension in April, still very much wants to put a new-cheaper-talkier franchise in its place. But there are also indications that "GH" does have a future beyond this year. One clue was in evidence Thursday morning, when the entire cast, along with former "One Life to Live" castmembers who have been incorporated into the show, turned up to face the press. It's rare, even almost unheard of, for a daytime serial to get a turn on the stage at one of these things.

"All I can say is, they invited us here," said Frank Valentini, the new executive producer who came over from "OLTL." "That's a great sign. [Disney and ABC] are very excited about the 50th and playing with a lot of different things" tied to the anniversary, including nice promotional moments like this one. He added that he's "confident" the show will survive beyond this year.

The word "confident," you won't be surprised to learn, hasn't been used by a soap producer in years.   

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