Roger Howarth is a household soap opera name. His claim to fame came as Todd Manning on One Life to Live. What was once a small bit part that was supposed to last only a few days turned into much more for Howarth. His chemistry with his counterparts was phenomenal, and the family unit he formed on the show was one that lasted until the very end. When Howarth decided to exit One Life to Live, fans were heartbroken. Todd Manning was recast, but it was not the same. Just before the show ended for good, Roger Howarth returned as Todd Manning, and the writers made it work despite already having a Todd in place being played by Trevor St. John.
When news broke about Roger Howarth being transplanted to General Hospital after the One Life to Live cancellation, fans weren’t sure what to think. He came on as Todd Manning, but that was changed just a few months into the gig. Roger Howarth’s role was changed to Franco, which was a character initially created for James Franco. General Hospital was not the same when Howarth, Kristen Alderson, and Michael Easton left and returned as new characters. That was a few years ago and now, there are contract negotiations happening. According to Soap Shows, Roger Howarth is discussing his options regarding staying on General Hospital, but the network is playing hardball with him. If ABC doesn’t make their demands reasonable, fans could lose Roger Howarth.
The details surrounding Roger Howarth and the negotiations have not been made public. Kristen Alderson opted to exit General Hospital when her contract came up, and they recast her role. Howarth is not easily replaced or recast, so this could lead to some issues. The storyline he is engrossed with has been something different for him. Howarth’s chemistry with Michelle Stafford is off the charts, and fans were getting behind them as a couple. Now that Franco is on the edge of sanity and a complete mental break, there is plenty of material to explore. Letting Howarth walk away now would be a mistake for the network, and fans would absolutely be up in arms.
Soap fans have a lot of pull when it comes to voicing their opinions. Twice now, General Hospital fans have saved Rebecca Herbst from the chopping block. She was fired several years ago and after some serious uproar from fans, the network brought her back. Herbst was recently on hiatus while discussing her contract and when there was some buzz among fans, ABC decided to go ahead and keep Herbst on General Hospital. There is some hope that the same thing will happen for Roger Howarth. He has a huge fan base, and they will back him completely. Howarth doesn’t do social media, so his popularity has come straight from his acting ability and appearances he has done throughout his years in the soap industry.
There is hope that ABC and General Hospital will realize that Roger Howarth is a necessary actor for the show. While Maurice Benard and Billy Miller bring in the viewers too, there is a big One Life to Live fan base that jumped on board because of the character migration. It is sad that Todd Manning had to leave Port Charles and Howarth had to assume the role of Franco, but he has made it his own. Fans hardly remember the psycho originally played by James Franco, which is a testament to how well Howarth has done making the role his own. If Roger Howarth doesn’t get the terms he wants and ABC and General Hospital are willing to let him walk away, there could be a huge impact on the ratings and the show cannot afford a shakeup right now.
Update: New information has been released that contract discussions with Roger Howarth are not happening. Nathan Varni confirmed this was a rumor on Twitter, though it has been reported across various soap sites. Unfortunately, the original source has since pulled their coverage, but She Knows has more information on the origin of the rumor.
[Image via Twitter]