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It’s no secret the genre has been in trouble, with a plunge in ratings. After “As the World Turns” airs its last episode on Sept. 17, “General Hospital” will become American TV’s oldest continuing soap. Despite this, ABC seems committed to its soaps, especially “GH,” and is trying new things to drum up interest. This summer a series of webisodes called “What If,” featuring characters from the different shows encountering each other, has gone viral.

Film star James Franco appeared in two story arcs on “General Hospital” in the past year, playing a psychotic artist named Franco. Efforts like these seem to be working, viewers say.

“‘GH’ has been great lately, especially with James Franco, so I have high expectations for how Marcil’s character will tie into current story lines,” Philadelphia resident Tricia Ebarvia says.