There has been much talk, rumors, and reports over the last several weeks that General Hospital star, Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) was on his way out off the lone ABC daytime soap, and today Burton officially confirmed it through an exclusive interview with TV Guide.
After 21 years, the fan favorite says it’s time to move on, reveals he has a project in the works with James Franco and Jill Farren Phelps, and discusses if he would consider a return to GH, or even head to Y&R under his friend Phelp’s regime!
Burton also reveals his last GH tape date is set for September 25th, but he told producers he could stay a few weeks longer to wrap up story which could keep him on air through October or possibly into November. Here below are a few excerpts from Burton on his departure!
Steve on the decision to leave GH: “I’ve been through 21 years of ups and downs with GH — regime changes, cast and crew changes, budget cuts, shakeups of one kind or another, and it’s been nothing but a huge positive in my life and for my family. I have no complaints, no negative feelings at all. But it’s time to go. I’m going to take some time off and do nothing but relax, just enjoy life a little bit with my wife and kids. I’ve bought a home in Tennessee, way out in the country outside Nashville. [Laughs] Probably too far out in the country! I’ve been talking about leaving GH and moving there for the last seven years. The timing was never right and then the economy crashed and I couldn’t sell my house in California. I went there many years ago when I did the movie The Last Castle and loved it. Tennessee reminded me of growing up in Ohio. The people are nice, it’s family oriented and, now that my kids are 6 and almost 9, I want to get them planted. My contract was coming up at GH so we put the house up for sale again and it went in, like, eight weeks. That opened the door for me to leave GH.”
Steve on how Jason’s exit and his own departure will leave a huge gap in GH in terms of storytelling: “Obviously, they want me to stay and I know the timing’s not the best in terms of story, but the timing for me, personally, is perfect. That doesn’t mean this is easy. It’s so comfortable for me at GH. This show has been my life, my family. I grew up there! I tried to sit down and write a statement to the fans to say how I feel and how much I appreciate them because they have been absolutely amazing and so incredibly loyal. I’m on Twitter a lot and have gotten to know a lot them. I’m going to miss doing the personal appearances and seeing so many of the same people again and again over the years. So I tried to write something and it was really, really tough. I couldn’t get through it.”
Steve on his project with Jill Farren Phelps and James Franco: “It’s looking great. Jill went off and did that telenovela Hollywood Heights [at Nickelodeon] and James did a day’s work there. Suddenly he decides he wants to make one of his own novellas through his production company and we’re like, “Huh?” So the three of us collaborated on an idea and came up with a really good one. Jill will EP it, I’ll produce and star in it and so will James. We’ll be able to get a lot of great cameos and guest stars because of James’ connections. It’ll be a fun show to do.”
Steve on if he would consider doing a role on Y&R now that Phelps is there: “Listen, Jill is one of my dearest friends. [Laughs] I’m never going to say never because , as soon as I do, I’ll be popping up over there! Here’s the thing: As cool as it was to know I had a nice, cushy place to go every day with GH, I think it’s going to be just as cool to not have a nice, cushy place to go every day. I like not knowing what’s next for a change. I’m jumping off a cliff in a total leap of faith.”
Soapers, this is a hard one for many of us. Steve Burton will sorely be missed and is one of the best guys in the business. How do you feel about the news? How do you think Jason should be “written-out”? What do you think about what seems to be a mass exodus from the soaps by many of the power players of late? Weigh-in!