Cynthia Watros Replacing Michelle Stafford as ‘GH’s’ Nina Reeves

Cynthia Watros, Lost, Guiding Light, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless
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In light of Michelle Stafford‘s pending return to “The Young and the Restless” as her iconic character, Phyllis Summers, ABC’s “General Hospital” has decided to officially recast the role of Nina Reeves with “Guiding Light” and “Lost” actress Cynthia Watros, who begins filming in June.

“It’s a bittersweet day,” said “GH” executive producer Frank Valentini in a statement. “I love Michelle Stafford and wish her all the best. I’m also excited about Cynthia Watros joining the ‘GH’ family and continuing Nina’s Legacy.”

Stafford originated the role of Nina Reeves in May 2014, less than a year after declining to renew her contract at “Y&R.” Gina Tognoni (ex-Kelly Cramer, “One Life to Live”; ex-Dinah Marler, “Guiding Light”) replaced Stafford in the role of Phyllis in August 2014 and won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2017. Late last month it was announced that Stafford would be reprising the role for the first time in six years. Tognoni was let go as a result.

In our recent poll, where we inquired as to who fans thought might replace Stafford as Nina, Tognoni was a leading contender with many feeling that the shows could have made an easy swap. Also in the running was Cady McClain (ex-Dixie Conney, “All My Children; ex-Rosanna Cabot, “As the World Turns”).

Watros, 50, won a Daytime Emmy Award for her portrayal of the devious Annie Dutton on “GL” in 1998. In a return to daytime television, the actress originated the role of Kelly Andrews on “Y&R,” a character in which she portrayed from 2013-14. She opted to leave the series after MTV ordered a full season of her series, “Finding Carter,” which followed a teenage girl named Carter (Kathryn Prescott) who discovers that the woman who has been raising her isn’t actually her mother at all. Watros played her birth mother, Elizabeth Wilson. “Y&R” hired McClain to replace Watros as Kelly shortly thereafter.

PEOPLE first reported Watros’ casting.