The first death knell of “General Hospital” has wrung: Anthony Geary, who’s played Luke Spencer for 37 years and has won 8 Emmy Awards, is out. He tells TV Guide he’s quitting, but it’s quite obvious that budget slicing finally hit the show’s highest paid actor. The show is bringing back Genie Francis as Laura, Luke’s long time love, to see him off.
And then? “General Hospital” has been on a wild ride since producer Frank Valentini and headwriter Ron Carlivati came from the cancelled “One Life to Live” and saved it. They’ve employed dozens of returned veterans on recurring contracts and balanced a zillion story lines.
But all good things must come to an end. They’ve got two highly paid popular actors– Maura West, who just won the Emmy for Best Actress in that show– and Michael Easton, who are barely seen. They’ve got two more, same situation, Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth, who cost a lot. Today they’re “killing off” one other legacy character. And so on.
ABC still wants out of soap operas. Pulling the plug on Geary is the best way to destabilize the audience. Geary lives in Holland, is not retiring, and may turn up elsewhere. And I don’t think ABC cares much one way or another. For 10 cents they could have another cooking show and be done with it. We’ll see what happens.