Television's longest-running scripted drama currently in production has marked another milestone: its 15,000th episode.
On Thursday, May 12, 2022, the cast, crew, and creative team of General Hospital gathered at the soap's Prospect Studios lot in Los Angeles to celebrate the show's 15,000th episode with a cake-cutting ceremony.
General Hospital debuted on April 1, 1963. For comparison's sake, the network's other celebrated hospital-based drama, Grey's Anatomy, will air its 400th episode on May 26 as part of a two-part 18th season finale.
But here's an even more stunning statistic. The Simpsons, the longest-running American animated series, longest-running American sitcom, and longest-running American scripted primetime television series, both in terms of seasons and number of episodes, has aired 726 episodes since it debuted in December 1989. At its current season average of 22 episodes, The Simpsons would need to air for another 648 years to reach its 15,000th episode.
Guiding Light remains television's longest-running soap opera. It ran for a total of 72 years, including 15 years exclusively on radio and 57 on television. In total, 18,262 episodes of Guiding Light aired. Based on its current production model, General Hospital would equal that total in 2035.
Frank Valentini is the executive producer of GH. Chris Van Etten and Dan O'Connor are the show's co-head writers. General Hospital was created by Frank and Doris Hursley.
The 15,000th episode of General Hospital will air Tuesday, June 21. In the special episode, the town of Port Charles comes together when an unknown political force takes aim at Mayor Laura Collins. Valentini promises the episode will be "happy, it'll be sad, it'll be dark, it'll be scary, it'll be fun, it'll be thrilling, it'll be exciting. But most importantly it has nearly every single cast member in it."
This article has been updated to account for preemptions that pushed the air date of the 15,000th episode back two broadcast days.
How many of General Hospital's 15,000 episodes would you say you've seen? What are some of your favorite episodes of the ABC soap? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.