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General Hospital
General Hospital (Title Card, 2019).png
Genre Soap opera
Created by Frank & Doris Hursley
Written by
  • Dan O'Connor
  • Chris Van Etten
Directed by See below
Starring
  • Present cast
  • Past cast
Theme music composer
  • Jack Urbont
  • Paul Glass
  • Steve Hopkins
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 14,961 (as of April 22, 2022)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Frank Valentini (2012–present)
  • (and others)
Producer(s) See below
Production location(s)
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Running time
  • 30 minutes (1963–1976)
  • 45 minutes (1976–1978)
  • 60 minutes (1978–present)
Production company(s)
  • Selmur Productions (1963–1968)
  • ABC Signature (1968–present)
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Release
Original network ABC
Picture format
Audio format Stereo
Original release April 1, 1963 (1963-04-01) – present (present)
Chronology
Followed by
  • General Hospital: Night Shift
  • Port Charles
  • The Young Marrieds
Related shows
  • All My Children
  • The City
  • Loving
  • One Life to Live
  • Ryan's Hope
  • What If...

General Hospital (often abbreviated as GH) is an American daytime television soap opera. It is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running American soap opera in production, and the second in American history after Guiding Light. Concurrently, it is the world's third longest-running scripted drama series in production after British serials The Archers and Coronation Street, as well as the world's second-longest-running televised soap opera still in production. General Hospital premiered on the ABC television network on April 1, 1963. General Hospital is the longest-running serial produced in Hollywood, and the longest-running entertainment program in ABC television history. It holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards for Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, with 14 wins.

The show was created by husband-and-wife soap writers Frank and Doris Hursley, who originally set it in a hospital, in an unnamed fictional city. In the 1970s, the city was named Port Charles, New York. From its beginning, General Hospital starred John Beradino and Emily McLaughlin, and both actors stayed with the show until their deaths in 1996 and 1991, respectively. They were joined a year later by Rachel Ames who remains to date the longest serving actress on an ABC soap opera, having been continuously on the show from 1964 to 2007. General Hospital was the second soap to air on ABC (after the short-lived Road to Reality, which aired for several months during the 1960–61 season). In 1964, a sister soap was created for General Hospital, The Young Marrieds; it ran for two years, and was canceled because of low ratings. General Hospital also spawned the daytime series Port Charles (1997–2003) and the primetime spin-off General Hospital: Night Shift (2007–2008). Taped at The Prospect Studios, General Hospital aired for a half-hour until July 23, 1976. The series was expanded from 30 minutes to 45 minutes on July 26, 1976, and then to a full hour on January 16, 1978.

Ever since the late 1970s, most of the storylines have revolved around the Quartermaine family and the Spencer family. From 1979 to 1988, General Hospital had more viewers than any other daytime soap opera. It rose to the top of the ratings in the early 1980s in part thanks to the monumentally popular "supercouple" Luke and Laura, whose 1981 wedding brought in 30 million viewers and remains the highest-rated hour in American soap opera history. The soap opera is also known for its high-profile celebrity guest stars who have included, among others, Roseanne Barr, James Franco and Elizabeth Taylor. In 2007, the program was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". On April 23, 2009, General Hospital began broadcasting in high-definition television, making it the first ABC soap opera to make such a transition. The serial aired its 14,000th episode on February 23, 2018.

General Hospital became the oldest American soap opera on September 17, 2010, following the final broadcast of CBS' As the World Turns. On April 14, 2011, ABC announced the cancellation of both All My Children and One Life to Live, leaving General Hospital as the last remaining soap opera airing on the network after January 13, 2012. The show celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 1, 2013.

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