SoapNet renews 'Night Shift'

New head writer among reshuffled staff

SoapNet has renewed its original drama "General Hospital: Night Shift," a spinoff of corporate sibling ABC's soap "General Hospital," for a second season.

The series will have a new head writer, Sri Rao (the N's "What Goes On"), and executive producer, Lisa De Cazotte (NBC's "Passions"), for its 13-episode sophomore run. They replace Jill Farren Phelps and Bob Guza Jr., who will continue their duties at "GH" as exec producer and head writer, respectively. SoapNet said their schedules could not accommodate both productions.

Season 2 of "Night Shift" will be shot in high definition. Production begins in June, with the series returning in July and airing at 11 p.m. Tuesdays. SoapNet said the second season will feature new and returning characters as well as the return of "legacy" characters from "GH." In addition, the continuity between story lines on "Night Shift" and "GH" will match.

"Night Shift" is SoapNet's most-watched series ever, and Disney ABC Television Group daytime president Brian Frons noted that the first season of the show drew more than 1 million new viewers to the channel during its run in the summer. It also doubled its time-period viewership from a year earlier in total viewers and the women 18-49 demo.