On April 1, 1963, ABC premiered a new soap opera involving a hospital and the people involved with it. It was called General Hospital and it was put in the 1:00 PM (EST) time slot against local news on the rival networks of NBC and CBS. Ratings in the 1960 were tight and General Hospital held its own against soaps like “To Tell the Truth” and “The Secret Storm.” When “Another World” launched in NBC in the 1970’s and the CBS hit, “The Price is Right” chipped away at GH’s ratings, ABC nearly cancelled it in 1978, but decided to do some revamping and give it another shot. Gloria Monty was hired and by 1979 GH was at the top of its game. Luke and Laura’s wedding on November 16, 1981, provided over 30 million viewers and GH has remained on solid ground.

A 46th anniversary is something to celebrate, but today’s sad news of the cancellation of CBS’s Guiding Light after over seventy years likely sends an ominous signal out to soap fans everywhere. Cable and satellite TV offers more viewing choices than ever before and advertisers are cutting back on spending during the current economic downturn. When ratings fall, so, ultimately do the shows.

So, as we celebrate another anniversary for General Hospital, let’s commit to hanging in there with the show that has brought many of us through big portions of our lives. Grumble about the storylines on the Soaps.com Message Board if you must, but keep watching at all costs!

Diehard soap fans know one thing for sure, even a bad day on the soaps beats a boring day in real life!