'General Hospital' Top Scribe Shelly Altman Retires, New Co-Head Writer Announced

Michael Maloney
Exclusive ABC/Craig Sjodin


A new day is dawning in Port Charles.

TV Insider has learned that current General Hospital head writer Shelly Altman is retiring from her post. Her last day will be this Friday, August 2.

Her last material will air over the coming months.

Viewers can expect a seamless transition as the show is promoting from within to fill Altman’s spot.

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Chris Van Etten, the show’s current co-head writer, will be joined in that position by Dan O’Connor, who currently serves as a breakdown writer for the ABC serial.

Van Etten and O’Connor have been members of the GH writing team since 2011. Prior to that, the two wrote for the gone (but never forgotten) ABC soap One Life to Live.

Shelly Altman attends the 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards  (Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

“These two understand the canvas and the characters,” Frank Valentini, executive producer, says of Van Etten and O'Connor. “They also bring creativity, passion and commitment to the show’s history and its future.”

As for Altman, Valentini says, “Shelly, thank you for years of complex, emotional, intriguing story that ranged from suspense to heartbreak to laugh out loud funny, and everything in-between. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”

Cast & Crew of General Hospital pay tribute to 55th Anniversary onstage during the 45th annual Daytime Emmy Awards (JC Olivera/WireImage)

Since 2011, Atlman has had several positions on the GH writing team, most recently serving as the show’s head writer. She has also written for Young and the Restless, OLTL, Another World, and Kate and Allie.

Altman has won two Daytime Emmys for writing Y&R (2014) and OLTL (2008), and earned two Writers Guild of America Awards for writing GH (2018, 2019).

General Hospital, Weekdays, ABC