Sunday, March 25, 2012

GENERAL HOSPITAL: The returning name game

Earlier this week, ‘General Hospital’ Executive Producer Frank Valentini tweeted that “exciting” casting news would be announced in the near future.

This got the imagination of soap fans working overtime.

Who could it be? What does this mean for the show?

As you can imagine, fans are living on pins and needles right now while they await the fate of their favorite daytime sudsers. The group of fans most worried is, of course, those of ‘General Hospital.’

As the last ABC soap standing, GH’s days are probably numbered. Still, a renewal (even for a year) would be something for battered soap fans.

In recent weeks, GH has brought back vets Tristan Rogers, Emma Samms and Finola Hughes. In addition, ‘One Life to Live’ favorites like Roger Howarth, Kassie DePaiva and Michael Easton have appeared on the GH canvas. So far, only Howarth and Kristen Alderson have been signed to long-term contracts – but I’ll eat my vintage Millenium Falcon if Easton doesn’t get signed. ABC loves him, after all.

It has also been officially announced that Robin Mattson (Heather) and Kristina Wagner (Felicia) would be make return guest spots as well – although the duration of those stays is anybody’s guess.

The soap message boards – which are an insular and passionate group – immediately jumped into action with speculation.

I thought it might be fun if we explored that speculation – if even for a weekend. I mean, this is kind of a “wish list” for fans. And nothing is more fun than dreaming that your favorite actor or actress is returning to the fold.

So, let’s play, the “What if so-and-so returned?” game.

Here are some possibilities:

1.  Jonathan Jackson (Lucky): Always a fan favorite, Jackson’s Lucky left town a few months ago – essentially abandoning his kids right before Christmas. It seemed out of character for the usually devoted dad. In reality, Jackson cited fatigue and requested that his alter ego be reunited with Rebecca Herbst’s Liz. In the interim, Jackson has been cast in an ABC pilot alongside Connie Britton, Hayden Panetierre, Eric Close and Powers Boothe.
Why it could be him: Jackson has said he wants to return and continue Lucky’s storyline at some point.
Why it’s probably not him: Jackson is tied up shooting ‘Nashville’ right now and I don’t think that leaves a lot of time for a GH return.

2. Vanessa Marcil (Brenda): The second name I heard bandied about was the always popular Marcil. Many fans cited her weak return last time as something they wanted corrected. Others say that they want Marcil back because that would mean an end to Sonny’s current girlfriend and her ridiculous multiple personality storyline.
Why it could be her: Marcil has always stated that Brenda is her favorite character of all time and she’ll always come back to the soap when she can.
Why it’s probably not her: Marcil experienced a late term miscarriage a few months back and has been battling health problems. Brenda will return – I just don’t think it’s right now.

3. Ted King (Alcazar, Tomas): King is a popular actor and he’s played a variety of different characters over the years on ABC soaps. He’s played two Alcazars on GH alone (brothers).
Why it could be him: King has ceased some of his demanding diatribes and become a team player – something ABC likes.
Why it’s probably not him: GH has a lot of men in that age group and they don’t necessarily need him. He wouldn’t have a lot to do right now.

4. Ric Hearst (Ric Lansing): Hearst is a venerable soap vet that has appeared on quite a few soaps over the years – but GH fans have been clamoring for years for Hearst’s return.
Why it could be him: Hearst recently lost his gig on CBS’ ‘Bold and the Beautiful’ and he’s looking for work. Now would be a great time for him to meet his suddenly teenage daughter Molly, and Ric always compounds Sonny’s problems – so right there that’s fun. Plus, Alexis needs some loving and if she’s not going to get it from Mac then I’d like to see her reunite with Ric.
Why it’s probably not him: With Howarth and Easton coming in to play foil to Maurice Benard’s Sonny and Steve Burton’s Jason, there’s really not a lot of room for another Sonny antagonizer right now –especially given the prominence of the Zaccara family.

5. Jack Wagner (Frisco Jones): It’s been decades since Frisco abandoned his family to become an international super spy – fans haven’t forgotten their beloved hero, though, and are still clamoring for him to return. Since onscreen wife Felicia is headed back, fans have kicked the drive to get Frisco back on the canvas as well into high gear.
Why it could be him: Wagner recently made headlines when he was cut from ‘Bold and the Beautiful’ and then announced he would be joining the cast of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ this season. A guest spot for Wagner (I doubt it would be much more) would be welcome at this time since onscreen daughter Maxie is unraveling and goddaughter Robin recently died.
Why it’s probably not him: Wagner has been sort of disdainful of his Frisco roots over the years. Currently, he’s saying all the right things, like “never say never” – but he’s showing absolutely zero enthusiasm about the possibility of returning to his old stomping ground. Still, Jack Wagner has got to eat – I just doubt he’ll be drawing a paycheck from GH any time soon.

6. Trevor St. John (Victor Lord Jr.): This rumor actually pairs St. John with Florencia Lozano (Tea), Kelley Missal (Dani), Andrew Trischitta (Jack) and Erika Slezak (Viki) as temporary returns to tie into Howarth’s storyline when he returns to the fold in May.
Why it might be him/them: GH has shown they’re more interested in guest spots that raise ratings than anything else right now. Plus, if they want to bring in more OLTL fans, St. John is a good move (especially on a temporary basis).
Why it might not be him/them: There’s a growing fatigue with GH viewers – essentially they’re getting sick of OLTL characters being foisted upon them. If the writers were going to go this route, the backlash would be terrible.

As some fans wrote on message boards, too, this all could be a ploy. Just because the executive producers says that it’s big casting news – that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. I mean, we could be getting a Natalia Livingston return as Rebecca or a Kirsten Storms return as Maxie (which would be welcome) – but neither are earth shattering.

Essentially, no one knows what the truth is, and that’s why it’s fun.

What do you think? What’s the big casting news?


Blogger Caffeinated Joe said...

I have no clue who it is, but my wish would be for Jackie Zeman, aka Bobbie Spencer. She belongs back in PC!

March 25, 2012 at 5:15 PM 
Blogger ashybaby56 said...

Trevor St. John should be on General Hospital it makes perfect sense. If Tea is on then he should return. Plus the writers showed him being alive so imagine how much the ratings can boost on GH if Tea and Victor reunite. Also since Todd and Sunny are already enemies they could bring Victor over to their side and go against Todd. Now that would be something to watch

April 8, 2012 at 9:24 PM 
Blogger Hilary Hulsey said...

St. John should be back, it's a perfect story line. He could be in ferncliff like robin is!!!! And then happily ever after for some..

August 8, 2012 at 8:59 PM 

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