"General Hospital" -- now reaping the most nominations at this year's Daytime Emmy Awards -- has gone from bust to boom.
The nearly 50-year-old soap opera (seen at 3 p.m. EDT weekdays, ABC) was nearly canceled in recent months due to bad ratings and the network's new direction toward more cost-effective programming, such as non-scripted series and talk shows.
But then, the Daytime Emmy nominations came out, and "GH" scored 23 nods, including Outstanding Drama Series and for acting. The show has been renewed for at least one more year and has a new executive producer and head writer at the helm. The Daytime Emmys will air at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday (June 23) on HLN (formerly known as the Headline News channel).
"Nominations or not, the Daytime Emmys is a great night to come together with peers and celebrate that we're still around," says Bradford Anderson, the "General Hospital" star who nabbed a Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of lovelorn cybergeek Damian Spinelli.
"I think morale (on 'GH') is pretty high right now. Our numbers are going up."
There's every reason to see why morale has been down. Even the Daytime Emmys ceremony was struggling to find a broadcaster to air it. In recent years, the show's numbers have been waning since daytime TV's ratings are decaying.
Many longtime actors on "GH" were let go; some quit because of "sinking ship" concerns over the past year.
Only four dramas remain on the networks' daytime schedule: "The Young and The Restless" (the most-watched drama), "The Bold and The Beautiful," "Days of Our Lives" and "GH." "The Bold and The Beautiful" failed to earn an Outstanding Drama nomination in favor of canceled soap "All My Children."
"We take a lot of pride in our work," says "GH" actor Brandon Barash, who plays tortured mobster Johnny Zacchara. "A nomination is a nomination. It doesn't mean you're good, bad or whatever. It's just good to see your hard work is recognized."
"GH" actor Scott Reeves, who can be seen as Dr. Steven Webber, says the daytime landscape has changed "dramatically" in recent years, with tighter budgets, heavier shooting schedules and the threat of losing your job. Feeling the love of the Emmy nominations may be just what the doctor ordered.
"It's still nice," he says, "to see your co-workers supporting your work. Hopefully, we'll be able to accommodate the network in a way so we can still be (on the air) for a very long time."
Other highlights for the week of June 17-23 (listings subject to change; check local listings):
-- "Operation Cupcake" (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel). An Army colonel (Dean Cain) returns home to his family and starts running a cupcake business -- apron and all.
-- "The Killing" (9 p.m., AMC). Sarah and Holden's investigation comes to a close in the season finale.
-- "Pyros" (9 p.m., Weather Channel). This reality series looks at pyro technicians braving the elements to put on an explosion show.
-- "Bristol Palin: Life's A Tripp" (10 p.m., Lifetime). Bristol Palin's reality series focuses on raising her son with their colorful family.
-- "Futurama" (10 p.m., Comedy Central). A new season powers up for this futuristic animated comedy. Guest stars this season include George Takei, Wanda Sykes and Estelle Harris.
-- "Snooki & JWOWW" (10 p.m., MTV). Two "Jersey Shore" girls spin off into their own adventures in this reality series.
-- Talhotblond" (8 p.m., Lifetime). Based on a true story, and directed and produced by Courteney Cox, this movie follows a gambling obsession that turns into a cyberseduction and a murder. Garret Dillahunt stars.
-- "Arachnoquake" (9 p.m., Syfy). An earthquake unleashes massive albino spiders. Tracey Gold stars.