One day, you get married. The next day, you may decide to run for mayor. The next day, you are fired, or perhaps retired. The next day, you decide you cannot retire — you quit. It is all in a week's work for "General Hospital's" Laura — aka Genie Francis, who has played the heroine on and off since she was a preteen. During those years, the character married the man who raped her. Yes, we are talking Luke. Through those years, she also was on the run and spent years being catatonic. Out of her fugue state, she learned her no-longer-legal hubby had married a high-power advisor.
The drama around Francis' GH downsizing is almost as dramatic as her character's plot lines. It is Friday. Francis notices that her just-married political activist partner has to go to Europe for several weeks. It seems her very precious grandson Spencer has broken both his legs; he cannot come to Port Charles because that would put him too close to Valentin — the man who "killed" his dad Nikolas.
The script had Francis scratching her head — maybe Laura was going to have a European adventure. Actually, she was going to be spending her time away from Spencer at the spa. It seems the show's executive producer Frank Valentini decided he wanted to have Laura reduced to recurring. That would mean 12 appearances or so a year. Set siders say Francis was stunned into silence; she would not even talk to the producer. If Francis had agreed to the change, she would join the ranks of John J York, (Mac) Kin Shriner, (Scotty) Jackie Zeman, (Bobbie) and John Lindstrom (Kevin). As a result, they become threads in a tapestry, which are important to the feature subject, but do not stand alone. Rumors are swirling that Francis could return to "Days of our Lives," where she had a short run as Diana Colville. This is likely more wishful thinking than truth based, as Days is taped six months in advance. If this were to happen, she would be reunited with Tyler Christopher, (Stefan) who played her son Nikolas on GH for over 20 years. Francis has a home in New England with her husband Jonathan Frakes. An empty nester, she loves oil painting and the New England life.
It appears that Ryan Paevey (Nathan) on GH is exiting the show for February sweeps. It is the actor's choice. He appears to be on the A-list for the Hallmark Chanel. This year, he starred in two of the oh, so popular, oh, so predictable flicks. He was present at the TCA press event last week, where stars talk to the television critics. Nathan has been very central to GH: he was Nina's fake brother, Maxie's real brother, Obrecht's son and Dante's police partner. If Nathan is killed trying to smoke out his evil biological dad Faison, Spinelli may return full time to Maxie, the mother of his child. Lulu will blame herself, as she was responsible for the article that had Nathan used as bait to lure out Faison. With mom (Laura) out of town seemingly forever, Lulu will lean on Dante, who is trying to deal with the death of his best friend and police partner, Nathan. Dante kept warning Lulu that trying to get an interview with Faison was a bad idea. Is Nathan a dead ruse? Or is it a ruse just as the show looks for a re-cast? Only soap opera time will tell.
A behind-the-scenes GH cast table read shows Ian Buchanan, (Duke) Kin Shriner (Scotty) and Anders Hove (Faison) with scripts in hand, suggesting fun times both on and off the screen.
Maurice Benard has just signed a new contract with GH. Earlier this year, he said he might leave the show; evidently the show gave the actor who plays the Don Sonny an offer he could not refuse.
To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.