THE BIG CAST­ING BUZZ:

The Lat­est On A Fan Fave’s Come­back!

ABC Soaps In Depth - - News -

GEN­ERAL HOS­PI­TAL’s Laura has been off screen for months now, but might a re­cent lunch date be­tween her por­trayer, Ge­nie Fran­cis, and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Frank Valen­tini mean that the Emmy win­ner’s re­turn to the can­vas is just around the cor­ner? The In Depth Story: When word broke back in Jan­uary that the soap had bumped Fran­cis from con­tract sta­tus and Laura left town, EP Valen­tini re­ceived the bulk of view­ers’ ire. How­ever, af­ter a “lovely lunch” with the soap’s showrun­ner ear­lier this month, Fran­cis spoke out in Valen­tini’s de­fense, mak­ing her first pub­lic state­ment re­gard­ing the mat­ter. “It’s been painful for me to see Frank re­ceive so much of the blame for the de­ci­sion to take me off con­tract,” she wrote on Twit­ter. “No one fought harder to reestab­lish Laura on GH. He has al­ways

been my champion, and I don’t be­lieve he took any plea­sure in see­ing Laura di­min­ished.”

The news of Fran­cis and Valen­tini’s lunch comes shortly af­ter Nathan Varni, ABC’s se­nior man­ager of cur­rent pro­gram­ming, re­vealed — to the de­light of the beloved soap icon’s many fans — on a DAY­TIME AF­TER DARK pod­cast that GH’s writ­ers were work­ing on a “pro­lific, big story for Laura that de­serves the many ta­lents of Ge­nie Fran­cis.”

On screen, Laura sud­denly dropped out of the may­oral race when Spencer broke both of his legs in a ski­ing ac­ci­dent. While hubby Kevin has been hold­ing down the fort in Port Charles, Laura has been tend­ing to her in­jured grand­son near his board­ing school in Europe. At press time, there was no of­fi­cial word from GH re­gard­ing Fran­cis’ con­tract sta­tus or when Laura might be back on the can­vas.

“Al­ways great to spend time with the beau­ti­ful Ge­nie Fran­cis,” Valen­tini tweeted of their lunch date.

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