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Still going strong after 49 seasons of romances, betrayals, and all manner of melodramatic mayhem, ABC's General Hospital is the longest-running television daytime drama currently on the air. The soap series, set in the fictional burg of Port Charles, New York, has expanded its universe over its more than four decades on the air to involve settings and characters far outside the realm of its titular hospital. What began as a daily series about the lives and loves of staff members at a large metropolitan medical facility gradually evolved into a multifaceted saga featuring dozens of colorful characters from all over Port Charles.

Such is General Hospital's cultural cachet that some of its storylines have entered the popular consciousness of even non-soap viewers. The relationship of characters Luke and Laura Spencer, played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, became a TV touchstone and inspired daytime soap commentators to coin the term "supercouple." Though it began with a still-controversial rape scene, the courtship and marriage of Luke and Laura quickly became one of the series' most popular and enduring story threads, encompassing everything from mystery/adventure plots to psychotic episodes.

Likely owing to its status as one of daytime television's most successful shows, General Hospital has seen more than its share of A-list guest stars over the years; everyone from James Franco to Leonard Nimoy to Sammy Davis, Jr. has dropped by Port Charles at various points in the series's lifetime. General Hospital also showcased the talents of several well-known celebrities before they were famous, including John Stamos, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, and Star Wars star Mark Hamill.

Though the heyday of soap operas has largely ended, and many of its television contemporaries have ended their runs, General Hospital remains a daytime TV staple. Having chalked up dozens of Daytime Emmy victories and generated a plethora of spin-offs, specials, and references on other shows, the series has firmly solidified its place in television history.

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Weekdays 3:00 PM et/pt on ABC
24 Seasons, 2805 Episodes - Currently Airing
Soaps, Drama
5.7/10
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General Hospital Full Episode Guide

  • It is Halloween and the morning of Franco and Carly's wedding.

  • It's Beggars' night in Port Charles.

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