The soap world was stunned this past weekend when news broke that Genie Francis has been let go by General Hospital (GH).
While the unofficial word is that she was bumped to recurring status, published reports say Frank Valentini only wanted to use the uber-popular actress about 12 times a year. While that doesn’t technically mean she was “fired,” word is she does not want to do that.
And, if you thought that Laura suddenly ripping down her campaign posters after giving an impassioned speech about women in politics and women in power in general was strange, that’s because the entire situation is reportedly strange.
According to Soap Central and the Daytime Confidential Podcast, Francis learned of her new status the day she taped those Friday scenes. She asked to speak with Executive Producer Frank Valentini and was told she couldn’t. Francis has been described as both “devastated” and “blindsided” by the move.
Jamey Giddens reported on the DC Podcast that sources have told him that Valentini has already approached Francis about brief appearances, but she has chosen not to speak to him at this time.
As Soap Hub pointed out over the weekend, along with several other soap critics, Francis is a daytime icon who helped build and save General Hospital when it was close to cancellation in the late 1970s.
She was one of the few daytime icons still on screen and now we’ll be lucky if we see her at all in Port Charles just as she was getting a major storyline–and also soon after her character married. It was a new chapter for Laura without Luke and something so many longtime fans looked forward to.
Since news broke of Francis” status change with the show, fans have taken to social media outraged, although some are blaming the move on higher paid male actors taking up the budget.
Others are hoping another soap scoops the actress up, knowing that she’s played characters on both The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives who are still out there somewhere.
While Soap Hub cannot confirm this was a money issue, Francis has left GH before over contract disputes and former several GH actresses have recently tweeted that they were paid far less than their male co-stars.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.