Saturday, April 13, 2024

Soap Opera Chaos as Scientologist Actress Michelle Stafford Exits “General Hospital” As Show Does Cult Storyline


The world of soap operas aka daytime dramas is really, really crazy. Only the movies “SoapDish” and “Tootsie” have ever addressed the madness.

Now “General Hospital” actress Michelle Stafford is leaving that show and returning to “The Young and the Restless” after a not so successful stint on the former show. She was on the latter for 16 years.

Stafford is an avowed member of the Cult of Scientology, which “General Hospital” knew when she joined them. (She isn’t the only “Y&R” actress deep in Scientology. So is Sharon Case, who’s been on the show for eons.)

But here’s the soapy twist: a few months ago, “General Hospital” started a story about a cult called Dawn of Day. (Dawn of Day, not coincidentally, is a is an 1881 book by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche that would drive Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard crazy.)

The soap cult is very similar to Scientology: members are being roped in to pay big fees for “classes,” they have a charismatic leader who’s insinuating himself into various characters’ lives. This isn’t the first time “General Hospital” has attacked Scientology. For several years they featured a clinic for the criminally insane called Miscavige, obviously named for David Miscavige, the real life Napoleonic leader of Scientology. There are no coincidences here.

As the “GH” cult story grew, sources say, Stafford’s appearances on the went into decline. She has rarely been on screen as Dawn of Day was put on the front burner. Now Stafford is exiting “GH” over contract negotiations. Could “GH” have been using the Dawn of Day story to oust Stafford? It sure seems like it.

Stafford’s return to “Young and the Restless” means the much more talented actress who succeeded her five years ago, Gina Tognoni, is out. Tognoni was not in a cult, but she did win an Emmy award in 2017. She should really go to prime time TV at this point, she’s too good for this stuff. Stafford, meanwhile, will be reunited with Case, who’s been in Scientology a long time.

Only in Hollywood, kids, only in Hollywood.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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