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Emma Samms Returns To GH

July 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Expect a visit to GH early in August from Emma Samms as Holly. After the actress popped in at the show’s fan club festivities, Executive Producer Frank Valentini tweeted a pic of himself on set with Samms, acknowledging that “the cat is out of the bag.”

 

General Hospital Puts Tyler Christopher on Contract — A Bad Sign for The Lying Game?

June 19, 2013 1 comment

Tyler Christopher has been put on contract at ABC’s General Hospital, where earlier this year he returned to the role of soulful prince Nikolas Cassadine — and thus a darker cloud now looms over ABC Family’s on-the-bubble The Lying Game.

“It took us a few months to work out the details, but I signed last week,” Christopher told Soap Opera Digest of his new GH status. “I love the show and I’m having a great time.”

Alas, a steadier presence on the daytime drama would seem to allow Christopher precious little time to reprise his role as The Lying Game‘s lawman Dan — who was of central importance to one of the winter finale’s main mysteries — if the ABC Family drama was on the renewal track.

As of Tuesday, the cabler’s official response remained the same: “No decision has been made about additional episodes.” (Technically, they have until July 15 to make the call.) TLG‘s future, like that of Bunheads, likely will be determined by the success (or lack thereof) of ABCF’s two brand-new offerings, The Fosters and Twisted.

The Lying Game‘s Season 2A averaged 1.3 million total viewers, with 500,000 falling in the cabler’s Adults 18-34 sweet spot. The Twisted series premiere did 1.6 mil/510K, while The Fosters‘ latest episode drew 1.7 mil/480K. In other words, ABC Family’s new series are putting up comparable demos while delivering 20 percent larger audiences. One insider tells TVLine that Twisted currently has the edge in being TLG‘s possible successor.

GH Casts New Morgan Corinthos

April 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Sonny and Carly’s son is returning in the form of daytime newbie Bryan Craig, who began taping on April 15. The role is contract. “Great first day at my new job, love it and everyone involved,” he tweeted.

It’s Official: OLTL Actors to Return to GH In May

April 13, 2013 1 comment

Three of One Life to Live‘s finest are once again General Hospital-bound — albeit as completely different characters.

As first rumored back in March, suds vets Roger Howarth, Michael Easton and Kristen Alderson — each of whom brought their OLTL alter egos to GH following the former’s swan song — are slated to return to ABC’s sole surviving soap on May 10. The catch: The trio will no longer be portraying Llanview’s Todd Manning, John McBain and Starr Manning, respectively.

“Exciting storylines full of mystery and intrigue are planned to usher in the return of these actors that will lead to the answer of one of the most asked questions in Port Charles,” an ABC spokesperson said Thursday in a statement.

Prospect Park, the production company behind the upcoming online versions of OLTL and All My Children, initially proposed sharing the three characters with ABC and General Hospital, as they were said to be “essential” to the revival’s “production efforts, and a large reason [the company] licensed the program.” An agreement, however, was never successfully reached. Howarth, for his part, is set to reprise his role as Todd for several weeks at the start of OLTL‘s relaunch, which begins April 29 on both iTunes and Hulu.

OLTL Actors to Return to GH In New Roles ‘That In No Way Resemble the Current Ones’

March 26, 2013 1 comment

Seriously, we’re approaching weather machine levels of daytime-TV twists here — and off screen, no less.

With One Life to Live set to relaunch on April 29 with new episodes on Hulu/iTunes, Michael Easton, Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson — each of whom relocated their Llanview alter egos to General Hospital‘s Port Charles after One Life‘s broadcast TV swan song — will in fact return to and stay with ABC’s lone surviving soap, but as different characters “that in no way resemble the current ones,” TV Guide Magazine reports.

Prospect Park, the producer of the new OLTL and All My Children episodes and thus the licensee of both shows’ rosters of characters, “has been extremely difficult to deal with on this issue,” a source tells TV Guide Magazine, “so GH basically said, ‘Screw it! We’ll create all-new characters!’ It’s the only way GH can get past the problem and get on with business.”

Shortly after its second bid at rebooting AMC and OLTL gained traction, Prospect Park said in a statement that characters such as Easton’s John McBain and Alderson’s Starr “are obviously essential to our production efforts, and a large reason we licensed the program. We also understand that legions of General Hospital fans have grown to love these actors and characters … So even though we are paying ABC millions of dollars to license the shows, we have been and continue to be willing to equally share the characters with General Hospital and ABC.”

GH and OLTL fans, what do you think of this seemingly official wrinkle? And is anyone fretting over the phrase “that in no way resemble the current ones”? Will Howarth dress in drag to play a Haunted Star chanteuse? Will Alderson return as a plastic-surgeried Nicholas “Domino” Van Buren?

Coming Soon: Digest’s Special GH Issue!

March 3, 2013 Leave a comment

GENERAL HOSPITAL is turning 50 on April 1 and the editors of Soap Opera Digest have created a must-have collector’s edition honoring the ABC soap. The special tribute issue, on sale March 25, features revealing interviews, backstage gossip, photos, memories and more! This full-size tribute is can’t-miss! Available on newsstands soon.

Jack Wagner Returns to General Hospital as Frisco Jones

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Make me believe it — Jack Wagner is reprising his role as General Hospital rocker-turned-adventurer-turned-spy-turned-cop Andrew “Frisco” Jones. And you won’t have to wait long to see him back on your screen.

As first reported by TV Guide Magazine‘s Michael Logan, Wagner has already covertly begun taping scenes as Frisco, whom he first played in the mid- to late 1980s, then reprised for a stretch in ’94/’95 (when the character’s daughter Maxie received a heart transplant from his brother Tony’s little girl B.J. All together now: Sob).

But is he really returning as Frisco or is it Domino in a rubber mask?! I kid. All I need…. now is to track down his first airdate.

Wagner is but the latest GH blast from the past to sign on for an encore as ABC’s sole surviving daytime sudser turns 50 this spring. In recent weeks, Genie Francis (who plays Laura) and Kin Shriner (Scotty) have booked returns, while Lynn Herring recently returned as Lucy and Jon Lindstrom is due back soon as Kevin.

Wagner’s other TV roles include the original Melrose Place, a nine-year run as The Bold and the Beautiful’s Nick, a spin on Dancing With the Stars and recent guest spots on shows such as Hot in Cleveland and Castle.

Does this news give anyone else “Island Fever”? Is the weatherman saying it’s gonna get hot in Port Charles? And does Mac, who recently reconnected with Felicia, always get the short end of the stick or what?

Genie Francis Returning to General Hospital

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, General Hospital‘s Laura is coming home.

Daytime vet Genie Francis will return to the ABC soap this February, EW.com reports.

The actress portrayed the sudser’s Laura Webber Spencer — half of storied supercouple Luke and Laura — on and off from 1977 to 2008. She most recently played The Young and the Restless’ Genevieve, a role she left in November.

Francis will begin taping GH later this week; the episodes will begin airing on Feb. 11.

Though there’s no word on how long she’ll stay in Port Charles, the site reports Francis will definitely be part of the soap’s 50th anniversary celebration in April.

Francis says she doesn’t know what’s going to happen to Laura during the upcoming stint, but she made one request of GH executive producer Frank Valentini: Come up with a good explanation for why Laura’s been away for so long.

“It’s not for me to tell them how to run their show,” she says. “But my biggest concern was that there had to be a good reason for [Laura] to stay away from [her] family.”

Wally Kurth Back To GH

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

ABC has confirmed news first reported by Nelson Branco in Soaps Uncensored: Wally Kurth, who also plays Justin on DAYS, is back at the GH studio, taping more episodes as Ned Ashton. The actor returned in November for the funeral of Edward Quartermaine, Ned’s grandfather.

New GH Character Sparks Controversy

December 11, 2012 1 comment

The introduction of Marc Anthony Samuel‘s new GH character, openly gay nursing student Felix Dubois, has been the subject of some controversy online, which Head Writer Ron Carlivati has dubbed “Lipstickgate.” (As viewers will learn this week, Felix, who brandished a lipstick on his first episode to give Sabrina a mini-makeover, works for a significant-to-story cosmetics company to pay his way through nursing school.) On Twitter, Carlivati responded to viewers who accused him of writing Felix in a stereotypical manner, noting, “I wrote at least five gay characters on #OLTL and none of them IMHO were cartoonish,” and adding, “Possessing a tube of lipstick is stereotypical and offensive? Stereotypical of what? And offensive to whom?” In response to a post about Felix on towleroad.com, a self-described “site with homosexual tendencies,” Carlivati wrote a longer defense of the new addition, saying that he is an openly gay man and “frankly appalled by the intolerance and internalized homophobia expressed in this post and in the majority of its comments. During my career, I have brought no fewer than six gay characters to daytime television: male, female, Black, White, Hispanic…all shapes and sizes. I have written coming out stories, gay bashing stories, gay marriage stories, gay parenting stories and gay love stories. I wrote the first love scene between two gay men that ever aired on daytime TV. I won a GLAAD award for these stories. What exactly is it about this character that is causing such righteous indignation? The fact that he carries a tube of lipstick in his scrubs? SPOILER ALERT: Felix sells cosmetics to put himself through nursing school. This will be revealed on Monday’s show. Not because I think gay men love lipstick, and certainly not to “establish” himself as gay. But even if that were the reason, so what? Does this make him too queeny? Not straight-acting enough? Is that the only type of gay character allowed on TV now? As far as I’m concerned, to be offended by this character is what is offensive. And just FYI, the majority of women (our core audience) I have heard from thus far about Felix have expressed to me how much they like him. The only people who seem to have a problem with him are certain gay men who are apparently afraid of a gay character who might be portrayed as a little bit effeminate.” Towleroad.com’s author, Andy Towle, posted a follow-up to his original message, saying, “There’s no question in my mind that Mr. Carlivati should be allowed the chance to develop his character more fully before judgment is passed and I regret if my commentary suggested that it should.”

Constance Towers Returns to General Hospital as Helena Cassadine

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Sharpen your daggers, strengthen your parapet railings and double check to make sure you don’t have a doppelganger, because Helena Cassadine is returning to Port Charles. According to Soaps in Depth, Constance Towers is reprising her popular role as the deliciously evil Cassadine matriarch.

Sean Kanan Returns to General Hospital

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Nearly 20 years after joining General Hospital as black-sheep boozer A.J. Quartermaine, actor Sean Kanan is heading back to the ABC soap and will hit the air Oct. 29… but what role is he playing?

A.J. was murdered (by a psychotic psychiatrist, no less!) back in 2005 when the part was played by Billy Warlock. But, hey, this is a soap! Is it possible the tortured, trouble-making A.J. is coming back from the dead? Is the popular Kanan taking on a brand-new role? Or is he a surprise recast for A.J.’s brother Jason, the role being vacated by Steve Burton? (Burton is scheduled to exit Oct. 22).

ABC is keeping the deets strictly under wraps — in fact, the network hopes Kanan’s role will stay a secret until he actually appears on air — but TV Guide Magazine did score an exclusive chat with the star. And despite all the mystery, we did find out one thing for certain. No one’s more surprised he’s returning to GH than he is!

“This is all pretty surreal and utterly unexpected — in fact, I thought it was going to take an Act of Congress to get me back on GH!” says Kanan, referring to his wildman ways and past alcohol issues that led to his ouster from the show in 1997. “GH is one of those places I never thought I’d see again and that makes what’s happened even more exciting. My life has changed completely since those days. I’m newly married and have a baby on the way. I also have an 11-year-old daughter and four stepchildren. I’m not the guy I used to be.”

But as grateful as he is to be asked back, Kanan wasn’t about to mess with a good thing. He’s currently seen in a juicy recurring role as badass Deacon Sharpe on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful, a part he has also played on sister soap The Young and the Restless. “I needed to make sure the job at GH had real legs,” he says. “I needed to know it wasn’t going to be a quick bit of stunt casting, just for ratings. Otherwise, I wasn’t about to say goodbye to CBS and the Bells, who have been very good to me for more than a decade, and close the door on that chapter of my life.”

Not only did GH exec producer Frank Valentini assure Kanan there are major long-term stories planned for him, “Frank also put his money where his mouth is and gave me a contract,” says the actor. “These days, in this environment and this economy, there are not a lot of soap contracts being handed out. So, needless to say, I’m extremely happy. I can’t wait to see what the writers come up with!”

And we can’t wait to talk to Kanan again when we can really talk!

General Hospital’s John Ingle Dies at 84

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

John Ingle, who played Edward Quartermaine on General Hospital for nearly two decades, died Sunday, according to a post on Facebook. He was 84.

Born in Tulsa, Okla., Ingle’s first career was as an English and theater teacher in California. His students at Beverly Hills High School included Nicolas Cage, David Schwimmer and Richard Dreyfuss.

After retiring from teaching, he took over the role of Edward Quartermaine on the ABC daytime drama in 1993, after original actor David Lewis retired due to health issues.

Ingle was fired from the soap in 2003, and Edward was reportedly going to be killed off, but fan support led to Ingle being rehired as the patriarch. In 2004, Ingle left General Hospital to take over the role of Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives. He returned to GH as Edward in 2006 and made his final appearance in the soap just last week.

The legendary actor’s co-stars took to Twitter Monday afternoon to express their condolences.

“John Ingle my dear friend, so full of love kindness generosity & humor I will miss u dearly love and deep condolences 2 his beautiful family,” John J. York, who plays Mac Scorpio on the show, tweeted.

Chad Duell, who plays Michael Corinthos, wrote: “RIP John Ingle. You were so amazingly sweet and big hearted. The world lost a great man, but heaven gained one.”

Ingle’s other TV credits include recurring roles on Big Love and The Drew Carey Show. His wife, Grace-Lynne, died in February of this year. The couple had five daughters, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

GH Co-Stars React To Burton Exit

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Twitter is playing home to numerous comments from the GH cast about Steve Burton’s imminent exit as Jason. “Steve leaving is like a family member leaving the house,” wrote Maurice Benard (Sonny). “I may cry like a little girl who just lost her puppy. “Scott Reeves (Steve) retweeted Jason Thompson’s (Patrick) tribute to Burton: “Steve, quitting? I’ll say this about @1SteveBurton nothing about this guy is a “quitter”. Gracious, caring, professional. And a family man!” Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) teased, “It will be weird without the smell of axe body spray permeating the halls of GH… @1SteveBurton :(” Another of his Port Chuck bandmates, Brandon Barash (Johnny), wrote, “A true mensch. The halls of #GH won’t be the same. But most of all, I’m sad the possibility of a JOHN-SON pairing is dead.” Threatened Kirsten Storms (Maxie) — in jest, we think — “I’m planning a protest….” Laura Wright (Carly) couldn’t limit her response to 160 characters and used Twitlonger to express her sentiments: “I’m sure most of you are sad about Stevie B. but I’m sure most of you understand his need to move on and have a life change. 21 yrs is a long time. Steve [is] so talented with so many interest I am happy and excited for my friend who I will miss !!” Newcomer Erik Valdez (Trey) offered, “You’ve carved a solid, tough, path to follow @1SteveBurton …I’m honored I have had the chance to work along side you, if only for a while!”

Steve Burton Quits General Hospital

August 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Stone Cold is outta here! Emmy Award winner and über-fan fave Steve Burton has decided to end his run as heartthrob hit man Jason Morgan on the ABC soap General Hospital, a role he has played since 1991. TV Guide Magazine got the exclusive scoop.

TV Guide Magazine: Word is, this is one of the most amicable soap exits ever — no money battles, storyline complaints, testy negotiations. Where’s all the drama, dude?

Burton: I’ve been through 21 years of ups and downs with GH — regime changes, cast and crew changes, budget cuts, shakeups of one kind or another, and it’s been nothing but a huge positive in my life and for my family. I have no complaints, no negative feelings at all. But it’s time to go. I’m going to take some time off and do nothing but relax, just enjoy life a little bit with my wife and kids. I’ve bought a home in Tennessee, way out in the country outside Nashville. [Laughs] Probably too far out in the country! I’ve been talking about leaving GH and moving there for the last seven years. The timing was never right and then the economy crashed and I couldn’t sell my house in California. I went there many years ago when I did the movie The Last Castle and loved it. Tennessee reminded me of growing up in Ohio. The people are nice, it’s family oriented and, now that my kids are 6 and almost 9, I want to get them planted. My contract was coming up at GH so we put the house up for sale again and it went in, like, eight weeks. That opened the door for me to leave GH.

TV Guide Magazine: They didn’t freak and offer you the world to stay? Jason’s departure is going to leave a big hole in a lot of characters’ lives — Sam, Sonny, Elizabeth, Carly. This is huge!

Burton: Obviously, they want me to stay and I know the timing’s not the best in terms of story, but the timing for me, personally, is perfect. That doesn’t mean this is easy. It’s so comfortable for me at GH. This show has been my life, my family. I grew up there! I tried to sit down and write a statement to the fans to say how I feel and how much I appreciate them because they have been absolutely amazing and so incredibly loyal. I’m on Twitter a lot and have gotten to know a lot them. I’m going to miss doing the personal appearances and seeing so many of the same people again and again over the years. So I tried to write something and it was really, really tough. I couldn’t get through it.

TV Guide Magazine: How will the show handle this? They wouldn’t dare recast, would they?

Burton: I really don’t know. Right now my last tape date is Sept. 25 but I told them I’m happy to stay for another couple of weeks if it helps wrap things up. So it looks like I will be on air through October, maybe into November.

TV Guide Magazine: Would you be open to a return visit? You could always do the Vanessa Marcil thing.

Burton: I would never say that I am closing the door to GH. But, in addition to my personal reasons for leaving, I do want to see what else is out there for me, as an actor and as a producer.

TV Guide Magazine: There’s buzz that you and James Franco and [former GH exec producer] Jill Farren Phelps have teamed on a TV project.

Burton: Yeah, and it’s looking great. Jill went off and did that telenovela Hollywood Heights [at Nickelodeon] and James did a day’s work there. Suddenly he decides he wants to make one of his own novellas through his production company and we’re like, “Huh?” So the three of us collaborated on an idea and came up with a really good one. Jill will EP it, I’ll produce and star in it and so will James. We’ll be able to get a lot of great cameos and guest stars because of James’ connections. It’ll be a fun show to do.

TV Guide Magazine: So then it’s sold? It’s a done deal?

Burton: [Laughs] Uh…actually I’m not supposed to be talking about it.

TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of Jill, she’s now over at The Young and the Restless. Would you do a role there?

Burton: Listen, Jill is one of my dearest friends. [Laughs] I’m never going to say never because , as soon as I do, I’ll be popping up over there! Here’s the thing: As cool as it was to know I had a nice, cushy place to go every day with GH, I think it’s going to be just as cool to not have a nice, cushy place to go every day. I like not knowing what’s next for a change. I’m jumping off a cliff in a total leap of faith.

GH Gets A New Police Officer

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Marshall Hilliard, best known as GL’s Hart, is joining the Port Charles ranks as a new officer on the police force. “I call him Officer Marshall,” jokes the actor. “I’ve shot eight episodes so far and I’m working with Michael Easton [John],” he reports. “And let me tell you, they run a great production over there. Frank [Valentini, executive producer] is so artistic.” His first episode will air on August 30.

Kirsten Storms Back To Work At GH

August 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Kirsten Storms (Maxie), who left GH nearly a year ago for medical reasons, reported back to work today. “Happy Back to Work Day!!!! YAY!!” she tweeted, then added, “Bag packed. Off to work. #excitement with a photo of her name on the script. Co-star Jason Thompson (Patrick) tweeted, “I’m excited about getting back to work today. A healthy chunk is because @teenystweeting is back!! (but shh, we know how her head can swell).” Storms will first air on September 5.

More GH Returns

August 4, 2012 Leave a comment

GH reveals a closely-guarded casting secret on today’s episode: Sebastian Roché is back as Jerry Jacks — and that’s not all! Soap Opera Digest has learned that his on-screen brother, Ingo Rademacher (Jax), is also returning to the show. Jax was last seen in January and will be back on-screen this month.

Jonathan Jackson on Making Music in Nashville and Remaining Open to a General Hospital Return

August 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Jonathan Jackson may be moving on from soaps with a co-starring role in one of fall’s buzziest new series, ABC’s Nashville, but that doesn’t mean he’s closing the door on General Hospital for good.

Here, the five-time Daytime Emmy-winning actor previews for TVLine his role on the country music-tinged drama and discusses why he’ll never say never when it comes to the sudser that is “a huge part of my heart.”

TVLINE | Talk a little about the transition from daytime TV to a full-time primetime series.
They are very different. It’s not a strange transition in an awkward way; it’s just interesting. I’ve been doing films since I was pretty young, so I know the pace. But I’d been doing the soap-opera pace for the last couple years, and to get a script now with the amount of dialogue compared to what I was doing is just incredible. This is a very unique show. I’ve been doing music pretty seriously for seven to eight years with [my band] Enation, and to have a show like this where I get to act and sing and explore those things is pretty amazing.

TVLINE | Will you have the chance to incorporate any of your own music into Nashville?
Sure, yeah. The producers are encouraging us to bring our original music in. I haven’t found the time yet to get into a studio and demo some of that, but I will.

TVLINE | Does that mean you’ll to veer into country music territory at all?
No. My character Avery is more avant-garde musically, so I think the audience will get to see that side of the Nashville music scene through him. I wouldn’t say he’s very country at all, really. He’s really more Americana. [Recording artist] Elvis Costello is a good example, I guess. He does a lot of different genres and uses a lot of different voices. His lyrical content is very broad and deep, so we’re excited to explore the more indie music scene in Nashville.

TVLINE | We don’t get to know your character very well in the pilot, so what can you tell us about him?
Avery has given his heart and soul to his music, but at the same time the music that he loves isn’t easily acceptable to a broad range of people; it’s not mainstream. That’s a very strange place to be when you want your music to be heard and it doesn’t fit a mold. He’s very ambitious artistically, and I think he carries all of the complexities and contradictions that [many] artists do; they tend to be very insecure people and yet also confident — which you have to be to get up on stage.

TVLINE | It would be an understatement to say that you’re missed on General Hospital. But I have to tell you that I think storylines are a bit lighter under new showrunner Frank Valentini than what was happening near the end of your run.
I haven’t been able to really watch it, but I’ve been hearing positive things, which is cool. I was also excited to hear that [former General Hospital executive producer] Jill [Farren Phelps] went to Y&R. I was excited for her.

TVLINE | Given that so much of your career took place on General Hospital, what are your thoughts on the show celebrating its 50th anniversary next season?
It’s been a trying time for daytime. It’s interesting to me that a lot of people have been calling Nashville a primetime soap opera because I think there is recognition that there’s something about the soap opera that people like. So much on television today is focused on CGI and action, but at the heart of it, people want to watch relationships and human drama and choices. And [series boss] Callie [Khouri] is amazing at that. She writes for characters. I don’t know how I got there for that question. [Laughs] Anyway, I’m really happy for everybody that General Hospital is continuing. There are so many people there that I love, not just the cast but the crew, and I’m really grateful they get to keep going. Everybody works so hard.

TVLINE | Fans are certainly hoping Nashville does well, but there’s always some hope that you’ll return to General Hospital  Do you ever see yourself heading back to daytime? Or is that door closed?
You know, years ago when I was younger I probably would have made some decisions like that. Nowadays I’ve learned to not plan or strategize as much. Life happens, and you just never know. So for me, everything’s sort of open. I would be open to doing more on General Hospital. I love the people there and I love working with Anthony Geary and Rebecca Herbst and Steve [Burton] and Maurice [Benard] and everybody. GH has a huge part of my heart. Over the years when people leave daytime and they go to primetime or film or whatever, there’s always this sense of [not returning]… I don’t feel that way about it. General Hospital has an incredible group of actors, just amazing. I’ve learned so much working there, so I feel like I’ll always be open to doing that.

General Hospital Team Talks of ‘Rebuilding,’ Plus 7 More Scooplets

July 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Some may say the future of soaps seems grim — but the mood was anything but during General Hospital‘s showing at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Several key cast members — including Anthony Geary, Kelly Monaco, Nancy Lee Grahn and Laura Wright, to name a few — and executive producer Frank Valentini took the stage to discuss the future of the ABC sudser — which is nearing its 50th anniversary — as well as preview what’s ahead for all of your Port Charles (and Llanview!) faves.

Here are eight key takeaways from the panel discussion:

ADDING NEW LIFE | At the start of the panel, Valentini was careful to note that he came in earlier this year to remodel, not rebuild General Hospital. “I think the show was in terrific shape, but there needed to be some tweaks.” And now? “It’s much more my taste and my sensibility for the show to go just a little bit faster,” he shared. “I also thought there were some key characters missing, not in terms of who they were, but certain archetypes that I thought were really important to bring on the show.” Valentini explained that his choice to bring on “some of the people from One Life to Live was a little bit of a way to honor that audience and also to create story that was good for the current cast of General Hospital.” For example, “John McBain being a police officer [on OLTL] was a good fit to merge into the PCPD.”

A SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT | As you’ve probably figured out by watching General Hospital this week, Kimberly McCullough is back, baby! “Robin is back for a little bit,” Valentini confirmed. The EP explained that while the actress had chosen to leave the show to pursue her dream of directing prior to his joining the series, they quickly bonded and after a few weeks of working together, “I said to her that this is such a wonderful thing that [she'd created], so let’s try to keep it alive as opposed to snubbing it out. She’s open to it, and we’re going to try to work together.” Added McCullough’s on-screen cohort Jason Thompson, with a laugh, “And who doesn’t want to do a story about electric-shock [therapy]?”

THINK OF LAURA | For the foreseeable future, Luke Spencer will remain Laura-less. “Unfortunately, contracts forbid us from even discussing that,” Valentini said of the possibility of Genie Francis — who is currently on The Young and the Restless — returning to her iconic GH role. “I’ll just say we’re big fans of Genie’s and we wish her all the best — but I think we’re pretty solid right now.”

CHANGING IT UPMichael Easton, who plays stalwart cop John McBain, discussed his “bittersweet” move from the axed One Life to Live to General Hospital. “It’s been exciting to come over and work with these guys. It’s been new energy for me… I was in a stupor a little bit [at the end of OLTL], and these guys have snapped me out of it. I’m really happy to be there.” And his new castmates are happy to have him. Shared Maurice Benard (Sonny), “I love that there’s new blood. They’re great… They’re bringing a different element to Sonny that wasn’t there before; maybe a little bit more vulnerable.” And speaking of Port Charles newbies that we love…

BLAIR WILL BE BACK! |  Valentini told TVLine following the panel discussion that, “Kassie [DePaiva] will definitely be coming back” as Blair Cramer. The showrunner also promised that it will “absolutely” come out that Todd did not kill his brother Victor over on OLTL. “We have all these great surprises to play out,” Valentini teased.

NO NAT… FOR NOW | On the possibility of further complicating John McBain’s love life by at some point getting his Llanview love Natalie to Port Charles, Valentini confided to TVLine that “legal issues, in terms of the Prospect Park deal [that almost gave OLTL an online home]” were among the reasons why Melissa Archer has yet to at least cameo. “I can’t really talk about it, but I will say that Melissa is a very close friend of mine and I adore her, and she’s a phenomenal actress.” (Easton, for his part, told us he’d love to reunite with Archer, since the “one-sided phone calls” between John and off-screen Nat are getting to be a bit much.)

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER | Valentini, for one, is thrilled about General Hospital‘s upcoming “great” time slot change. “I like the way that we’re being positioned with the other shows surrounding us. I know that the network is doing a big push to inform the audience about the time change.” What’s more, the soap is planning “an umbrella story” leading into the move, and has “a lot of really fun surprises [and] terrific stuff coming on in September.”

STAYING POWER | And when it comes to life for General Hospital beyond its upcoming 50th anniversary, Valentini is “confident. All I can say is [ABC] invited us here [to TCA], and to me that’s a great sign.” He added that in anticipation of the show’s big 5-0, the soap will be “rolling out lots of different things between now and April — and past then… So, you just need to watch the show to catch the energy and the momentum that we have.”

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