New GH Spinoff to air on SOAPnet image

Courtesy of SoapNet

She's not on staff, but will she take a Night Shift? (ABC)

Seven years ago when SOAPnet was born, the network was a Godsend to soap fans who worked all day who hadn't yet figured out how to set their VCR's! The sudsy network has given soap fans something to do with their sick days, too, by airing primetime favorites such as Melrose Place, Dallas and Knots Landing during the typical "love in the afternoon" slot. What does SOAPnet have in store for us next? Their very first original show! And, what better show to create than a spinoff from one of its popular flagship soaps --General Hospital!

The (tentative) title of the new soap is General Hospital: Night Shift and the first 13 one-hour episodes are scheduled to debut this summer. Some of the younger GH characters (and their fans, no doubt!) will come along for the ride as Night Shift will give us a more detailed look into storylines that we don't always get a glimpse of during ABC's daytime
GH . Before you ask, there have been no announcements yet as to which characters will be used. But has learned that the new storylines will take place on the same sets that give us storylines that we've come to know�love�hate�love to hate, etc.

General Hospital: Night Shift will be very different from Port Charles � the first GH spinoff. Each episode will be self contained, in that each plotline will wrap up after just one show. It will differ from GH in that the new show will be decidedly "hipper" overall because it features younger characters and their lives. In addition to the sets we're used to seeing, there will be a lot more location shooting. Perhaps most telling of all is that it won't be necessary to know anything about General Hospital to understand SOAPnet's new show. Both shows will be completely separate from one another, although they will share head writer Robert Guza Jr. and Jill Farren Phelps, executive producer.

Brian Scott Frons, president of daytime at Disney-ABC Television
Group, called the GH spin-off a "cost effective way" for SOAPnet to
produce its first drama. "We speak to General Hospital viewers on both SOAPnet and ABC on a daily basis and we easily direct them to this special GH: Night Shift series," he explained. "Then we don't have to buy billboards, we don't have to have helicopters dragging signs across the sky." (It seems to this editor that perhaps SOAPnet could've shared their savings by offering to bolster Stuart Damon's GH salary and keep the valued vet on the show that his family anchors! But that's neither here, nor there�)

If SOAPnet proves successful in their first original programming venture, there are plans to create more shows of their own down the road � only next time it won't be a spin-off. Which only goes to prove what soap fans have lamented all along � there just aren't enough hours in our days to watch everything that we want to watch! Good luck GH: Night Shift and SOAPnet. We always want to know more about what goes on in our characters' lives!

(April 11 Update: The cast has just been anounced! Go to Cast Announced to read all about who's taking the Night Shift!)