For nearly six years, General Hospital has had the same opening credits. Actors whose characters have long left Port Charles are still featured prominently in the opening.
12,000 episodes. Twelve thousand.
In and of itself, the number doesn't seem that impressive in a world where budgets and salaries top the millions and billions. But consider this: since General Hospital debuted on April 1, 1963, the ABC soap has produced an average of 260 original episodes each year. A typical primetime series may produce just 22 or 23 episodes each year. In order for a primetime show to reach the 12,000 episode mark, it would have to be on the air for more than 545 years. Television's longest-running primetime series, The Simpsons, is currently in its 21st season.
"In any climate, it is amazing that we have the opportunity to celebrate such a momentous occasion," says Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps. "This milestone honors the strength of the daytime drama and looks to the future that General Hospital will continue to air many, many more episodes."
So what does a show do for its 12,000th episode? Well, the fallout continues for Sonny as he comes to terms with the fact that he shot Dominic, the son he never knew he had. Meanwhile, Dante and Lulu's relationship is at a crossroads, and Elizabeth learns who fathered her unborn baby.
During its 46 years on the air, General Hospital has been named Outstanding Drama Series by the Daytime Emmys on ten different occasions -- more than any other soap.