Over the weekend, General Hospital fans were shocked by the news that their beloved daytime star, Genie Francis, has been demoted to recurring status. New information revealed what happened when Francis was told about her status.
Genie Francis, who portrays Laura Spencer, was reportedly told she was out of full-time contract the day she taped the scenes aired last Friday, January 19. Soap Central and the Daytime Confidential Podcast said Francis asked to speak with General Hospital Executive Producer Frank Valentini but was told she could not. The move made Francis feel “devastated” and “blindsided,” Soap Hub reported.
The management decided not to renew her contract for another year, but left the possibility of Francis’ return “if the story and timing are ideal.” Her agent Arthur Toretzky confirmed that Francis is now off contract, but told Entertainment Weekly that it was not her choice to leave as a series regular.
“She did not want to leave the show as a series regular. It was not her choice to leave.”
Later, Valentini reportedly approached Genie Francis for brief appearances, but sources said the actress has chosen not to speak with him. Valentini or anyone in ABC has not released a statement regarding the issue. The TPTB has remained silent about the fans’ demand for an explanation. Valentini ignored their tweets and even tagged Francis in one of his posts teasing Laura’s big news on General Hospital.
There are speculations that the move is about money, and some are saying that the higher-paid male stars are taking up the budget. Some former General Hospital female stars recently revealed on social media that they were paid less than their male co-stars. Francis also previously left the soap a few years ago over failed contract negotiations.
General Hospital fans have showered Genie Francis support on social media. Many of them expressed their disappointment over the management’s decision, saying that Francis has made the show what it is today.
In a tweet, Francis expressed her gratitude to fans. She said, “I would like to thank all my wonderful fans for their support. It has made me feel so much better.”
I would like to thank all my wonderful fans for their support. It has made me feel so much better. ????????????❤️— Genie Francis (@GenieFrancis) January 23, 2018
Genie Francis has been playing Laura on and off since 1977. Her love team with Anthony Geary (Luke Spencer) made them a hallmark couple in the soap opera world. She returned to Port Charles in 2013 after starring in The Young and the Restless. In 2015, she made another comeback and was promised of a big storyline for Laura.