Despite Michael Easton‘s announcement early this morning, where he stated that after February 8th he would be exiting “General Hospital,” along with Roger Howarth and Kristen Alderson, due to “some ongoing legal this and that,” an ABC spokesperson tells Soap Opera Network that all three will remain an essential part of the “GH” canvas for the foreseeable future as the three are under contract with the network and not Prospect Park.
“‘General Hospital’ is excited about Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth staying on the show and we are exploring ways to allow that to happen,” read a statement from ABC, which did not provide further input on how the series would accomplish just that. Previously, the network stated, “There are on-going collaborative conversations,” in response to word that Prospect Park wanted to return the characters of Starr Manning (Alderson), Todd Manning (Howarth) and John McBain (Easton) to Llanview after formerly announcing it’s decision to re-launch “One Life to Live” later this spring. The production company licensed the rights to “OLTL’s” characters in July 2011 in a long-term distribution agreement between it and Disney/ABC Domestic Television, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group.
As part of ABC’s previous statement released to Soap Opera Network on Thursday, January 17, the network said, “We have various strategies in place depending on the outcome of these talks and of Prospect Parks’ plans.” According to sources, one of those strategies include turning Easton’s upcoming return to the role of Caleb Morley into a permanent one. It’s unclear how ABC plans to retain Howarth and Alderson in Port Charles as new characters, without causing confusion to viewers.
According to Soap Opera Digest, Prospect Park plans to recast the roles of Todd, John and Starr. It’s unclear at this time how the company plans to accomplish this as the characters had moved on from Llanview and into Port Charles for the past year. Storyline’s on “GH” involving the three characters also included appearances by Blair Cramer, Cole Thornhart (last portrayed by Van Hughes), Tea Delgado and Skye Quartermaine (previously a character on “OLTL” and “All My Children,” as portrayed by Robin Christopher). Kassie DePaiva (Blair) and Florencia Lozano (Tea) have already signed on to the online version of “One Life to Live.” In the case of Todd in particular, in its last year on the air, “OLTL” told the Tale of Two Todd’s storyline, which found Trevor St. John‘s version of Todd to have been an impostor… only for it to then be revealed that the character was Todd’s twin brother, Victor Lord, Jr.
In a posting on Twitter earlier today, Kristen Alderson said to fans, “Thank you for all of your sweet responses to the recent madness. Nothing yet to report! Praying for positive answers…”
The “characters” of Todd, John and Starr are expected to last appear on “GH” sometime in early March.
Soap Opera Network is awaiting comment from Prospect Park on the latest turn of events.