THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Tired 'Hospital' set going up in flames

''General Hospital'' cast members Emily McLaughlin (left), Rachel Ames, and Stuart Damon at the nurses station. ''General Hospital'' cast members Emily McLaughlin (left), Rachel Ames, and Stuart Damon at the nurses station. (ABC Archives/Ap)
By Derrik J. Lang
Associated Press / February 3, 2009
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LOS ANGELES - The prognosis for the medical facility depicted for the past 45 years on ABC's "General Hospital" isn't good.

The daytime soap's long-standing hospital set is flat-lining as part of an explosive story line. Following a fiery crisis, producers plan to construct a totally new interior.

"This story really became an opportunity to take a shot at revising the look of the hospital and refreshing it," said executive producer Jill Farren Phelps. "It felt like the right time to update it. The style of the nurses' station has been the same for 45 years. In daytime, space is money. This new version will incorporate a lot of usable new space."

The fresh new set, created by production designer Chip Dox, will debut in April. It will incorporate several expansive elements, including a nurses' station, emergency room, hospital room, elevators and stairs. Farren Phelps said that on the show, the wealthy Quartermaine family will donate the cash necessary for the hospital's plastic surgery.

"It will have a very different look," Farren Phelps said. "We want it to feel like you are walking into a place that feels fresh and modern. It will still be inside the same hospital. It will have the same architecture, but it will no longer be that big round nurses' station we've become nostalgic about over the years."

Since the show's 1963 debut, the nurses' station set has frequently been home to soapy drama - from a visit by the evil Helena Cassadine, famously played by "General Hospital" fan Elizabeth Taylor in 1981, to last year's over-the-intercom proposal by Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) to Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) when both the doctors were on duty.

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