ABC’s recent special, The Story of Soaps, would not have been complete without the input of Genie Francis. The General Hospital star began playing Laura Webber on General Hospital in the mid-1970s, winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2007.
Genie Francis: A Soap Legend
Additionally, the actress has appeared on both All My Children and Loving as Ceara, Days of our Lives as Diana, The Young and the Restless as Genevieve, and on the primetime soap Bare Essence as well as serialized mini-series North and South Books I and II.
Prior to the special airing, Francis gave an interview in which she spoke about a variety of topics, including how society has changed and if the genre can do anything to return to the heyday of soaps when everyone was buzzing about them. College students scheduled their classes around soap opera timeslots and A-list celebrities reached out to soaps about doing cameos, walk-ons, and even short-term story arcs.
“The world and our lives have changed so much,” Francis told TV Insider. “I think right now is a fantastic opportunity [to get back into soaps], to be honest. People are home in the afternoon and they want a distraction. It’s so incredibly hard. It all really changed with the O.J. [Simpson] trial. People broke the habit there. Also, we became a world in which everyone worked.”
While Genie Francis concurs that the genre has lost many pioneers of daytime, there are folks today who are carrying on in their tradition — most notably, Frank Valentini, GH’s showrunner. “[He] is a wonderful producer,” Francis raves. “He knows what this [is] about. He came up through the golden years. He knows what he’s doing. That’s what it takes — someone who knows this industry.”
GH came in first in the ratings the week the show aired its last batch of original episodes. The show’s been shining with compelling stories including Mike’s (Max Gail) Alzheimer’s condition worsening and Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and Michael (Chad Duell) fighting in court for custody of their son, Wiley (Erik and Theo Olson).
“I do think the show is great right now,” Francis concurs. “The story is great. We were on a really nice roll until [self-quarantining] happened. But we’ll pick it up again. We’ll find new ways to keep it alive. When we come back, we’ll just have to be twice as good!” General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check local listings for air times.