Soap scribe joins Shelly Altman as co-head writer.

Soaps.com has learned that Chris Van Etten has been named co-head writer of General Hospital along side of Shelly Altman. Jean Passanante, who retired from General Hospital on July 27, made the announcement on Twitter. Passanante described him as, “a lifelong fan and brilliant writer.” Van Etten hails from Rochester, New York and has worked in soap operas since 2001 when he was named assistant to the executive producer Frank Valentini of “One Life to Live.” Valentini is now the executive producer of “GH.” Van Etten went on to become a writer’s associate at “OLTL” in 2003, was the occasional head writer from 2005 until 2006, and worked as a breakdown writer from the year 2006 until 2012. He joined “GH” as a breakdown writer in 2012 after “OLTL” ended online.

Van Etten has earned several Daytime Emmy Award and Writers Guild of America Awards nominations over the years. He won a Daytime Emmy for his work on “OLTL” under then head writer Ron Carlivati in 2008. Carlivati migrated to “GH” as head writer after “OLTL,” and now is head writer at “Days of our Lives.” Carlivati’s writing at Days of our Lives began airing on July 19. Along with his writing partners, David Ozanich and David Levithan, Chris Van Etten published the Likely Story series of young adult novels in 2008 and 2009. The series included Likely Story, All That Glitters, and Red Carpet Riot.

Soaps.com will keep you updated when an airdate for Van Etten’s first material is made available.

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Photo credit: ABC

– Dustin Cushman