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33 May 17th, 2012 Genie Francis Interview: She Scores a Daytime Emmy Nomination for Y&R’s Genevieve & Her Former GH Co-Stars Get Noms Too!

Courtesy/Times Columnist

In an ironic twist to the 39th Daytime Emmy nominations, soap legend Genie Francis was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in her first year of work on The Young and the Restless playing Genevieve Atkinson, when it took her a few decades to even get a nomination for her role as Laura Spencer on General Hospital!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Genie to congratulate her on her recognition for her time in Genoa City.  But, what was interesting and revealing during our conversation, was finding who she is really rooting for to win in her category, and if she will show up on Emmy night.  Plus, how she chose the scenes that got her into the final round!  And, we get the answer to the burning question, “Where is Genevieve, anyway?”   Here’s the one and only Genie Francis!

Genie, congratulations on your Outstanding Supporting Actress nod for a role you haven’t play very long, in contrast to the decades it took you to get your just recognition for your legendary role as Laura on General Hospital!   Were you surprised by the nomination?  And, how did you find out?

GENIE:  Y&R’s executive producer and head writer, Maria Bell, called me at 6:45 in the morning.  I was up with the kids getting them ready for school.  It was a very nice surprise.  And the funny thing about it is; it took 31 years as Laura on GH to get the Emmy finally … crazy, right?   This nomination comes for a role that I have only been doing for a year!  I got a great text from my Y&R cast members, Daniel Goddard (Cane) and one from Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) congratulating me.  I also got a text from Herbie Weaver our stage manager, and I got calls from people at the network and at Sony.  Oh!  And I got flowers from my husband and flowers from the Hallmark Channel, too.  It was all so nice.

What episode did you choose that got you into the final five nominees in your category?

Courtesy/CBS

GENIE:   The episode I submitted was the day that Genevieve told Jack about the daughter she had that died, and that it looks like she is getting a divorce.  She talks about her relationships with men and how she has only had her husband in her life for most of her adult life.  And it ends up with the two of them making love for the first time.  The scenes were with Peter Bergman (Jack), who is God’s gift to an actress.  He is!  It’s so true.  He is not only an extraordinary talent, he is also an extraordinary human being, and his kindness and caring equals his talent.  You just don’t find that.  It doesn’t exist.  And I have worked with a lot, trust me!  So because of that, he creates such a feeling of safety and team spirit, so of course, my best work is with him.

So those scenes are where we learn about Genevieve and what makes her act out! Well, that’s putting it mildly. (Laughs)  They are sort of tragic moments, wouldn’t you say?

GENIE:  They are about what makes Genevieve harsh.  It’s the reason she is harsh. (Laughs)  It is what has made her into what she is.  Tony Morina produced that episode and he said to me, “Now everybody is going to understand why you are the way you are.”

When you watched your work in that episode what made you want to submit it, from an acting perspective?

GENIE:  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t watch it.  I just know from doing it that it was my best work.  I also know that I heard a lot of great things from other people about it.   But when they asked me what I wanted to submit because it could only be one show, I remember when I drove out of the studio that day feeling ten feet tall.  So I thought I would submit that.

That’s brave of you.  Many actors struggle with picking a reel and a performance and have to pour through lots of material to find what to submit.

GENIE:  Oh no, that would make me crazy.  I don’t think I could handle that.  That whole thing would make me obsessive!  I got such nice response from so many people about that episode, and I knew it affected people.  I just decided then to go with that.

Photo Credit: PR Photos

I remember the incredible night when you won your first Daytime Emmy.  Where is the Emmy now?  And when you look at it, do you think it is worth it in the end, after all your trials and tribulations of playing Laura Spencer on GH?

GENIE: Yes, it was worth it in the end.  Absolutely!  I am still proud of it.  It is right in my entertainment center where my TV is, and it’s right in the middle where I can see it! (Laughs)

You have some amazing women nominated in the Supporting Actress category with you.  Are you aware of their work?  I know you know Becky Herbst’s! (Elizabeth, GH)

GENIE:   I think Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe, Y&R) is a really wonderful actress.  I know Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH) she is also a wonderful actress.  But … Becky Herbst, I would love to see her win, to be honest.  She has done some wonderful work!   I will tell you the year I did win; she was nominated alongside me as well.  I have to say, she came to me with a full heart and said, “I am so happy for you, Genie.  It has been so many years and you deserve it.”  She came to me and put her arms around me and I hugged her and said, “Your time will come.  Your chance is going to come.”  You are young and you still have loads of time.”  For an actress who has just lost the Emmy to have that much of a giving heart, is rare.  So the truth is, I would really like to see Becky win this year.

And your former on-screen husband, Tony Geary (Luke, GH) is up for Lead Actor at the Daytime Emmys, and your on-screen son, Jonathan Jackson (Ex-Lucky, GH) is up for Supporting Actor!  It’s like the original Spencer family are all in the Emmy game this year!  Jonathan told me in a recent interview how exhausted he was after last year’s workload at GH, which is something you also related to me, that they worked you to death at one point.

Courtesy/ABC

GENIE:  I know!  Jonathan is my boy!  He is an amazing talent.  They ring you out at GH, they do!  (Laughs)  I am thrilled for Jonathan, and I actually judged in his category.  So I saw all the work that was submitted.  What was nice for me was that we were allowed to choose five performances, and to me there were five people that stood out.  So it wasn’t this awful angst filled moment that I thought it would be.  I have judged before, but it was years ago.  I asked to judge the Younger Actress category because it was the category added after me.  So I felt strongly to judge in that category, and I did.  This is my second time serving.

You will be attending this year’s Daytime Emmy ceremonies, won’t you?

GENIE:  No, I cannot go to the Emmys this year.  I promised my son for years that I would take him to Alaska on a fishing trip, just him and me.  And I secured the vacation time from The Young and the Restless, which is the last two weeks of June.  I booked and paid for this very amazing fishing trip for me and my son.  My son is turning 18 this summer.  He will go off to college very soon.  As much as I want to be there at the Emmys, it is more important to have this time with my son.  This is a special trip.  It is a promise I made.  The two of us have never gone on a trip together and to have an adventure.  You know when I am an old lady on my deathbed, do you think I will be going, “Oh. Why didn’t I attend another Emmys?  Why didn’t I get one more spangled dress?  And, put on my false eyelashes and go!” (Laughs)  That is not what you are going to say.  You are going to say, “Where is my time with my children?  Was I there for my children enough?”  So that is my choice.

If you do win the Emmy next month, who do you want to pick it up and accept for you in your absence?

GENIE:  I know.  I have to think of who to appoint to get it for me, if I should win.  I don’t know who is going, but if Daniel Goddard is there, my on-screen son, I would ask Daniel to get it for me.

Courtesy/CBS

Finally, is it all going the way you wanted at Y&R?  Do you still like playing the character of Genevieve at this point?  Is it living up to your expectations?

GENIE:  I am cool with it, but they dropped my story recently and put me on the back-burner.  I am not working right now.  I am popping in for one show every couple of weeks.  I hate when that happens.  I like it for a couple of weeks, cause I get the break.  But then after a couple of weeks, it’s like, “C’mon. I want to work.”  I have a feeling they won’t really have a nice story for me till the fall.  I am taking two vacations this summer.  My husband is turning 60, and as I mentioned, my son is turning 18.  There are just some family things I need to do.  But my guess is they won’t turn up the juice on my story till September. You also know how soaps are.  We have such an enormous cast.  I think that Y&R has a knockout gangbusters cast.  There is only so much air time and everybody needs to have their turn at-bat.  We have to pass it around.  What I noticed with me is; they do not play me heavily in spring and summer, but they play me really heavily in the fall and winter, which is fine.  That is when the adults are home.  Right now, the show just brought on a whole lot of young people for the summer, who are really good.  So they are turning up the juice on the younger storylines, which is the way to do it, and it’s smart.  I am a little involved in that, but not too much.  But, Genevieve will be back!

So what do you think of Genie’s chances of winning the Emmy for her portrayal of Genevieve?  Would you like to see her win two Emmys for different roles?  What do you think about what she had to say about her former GH co-stars?  Do you still want Genie to return to GH?  Let us know.

And for more Daytime Emmy nominee reactions, make sure to visit our 2012 Daytime Emmy Nominations Reaction Page by clicking here, and read what your favorite nominees had to say!

 

 

 

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  1. tim says:

    I don’t watch Y&R but,if they’re not going to use Genie,they should release her.She is to good of an actress to be stuck on the back burner.

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  2. Bart says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t even believe Genie Francis was actually nominated for playing Genevieve as a typical Maria Arena Bell-created character – shallow, one-note and with an axe to grind! Sorry, Genie – you deserve so much better!!

    I really don’t want “Y & R” to win any type of creative Emmy – the show is a former pallid shadow of itself – I just want MAB to go and take her shallow characters with her!!!

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    dg replied

    From day one Genie has shined as Genevieve and she has been a complex unpredictable character. I watched Genie’s very first day on GH as Laura and we basically grew up together. But Genie has all but made me forget Laura with her portrayal of this character.
    She has shined and the role and story have been very compelling even now when story is short for her. She has been given a strong willed, powerful character. Laura was the classic damsel in distress and victim of trauma. That was fine when Genie was an ingenue, but now she’s a mature woman. I’m glad Maria created this story for her and I hope she wins the emmy.

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  3. kristi says:

    Great interview…. I can’t believe they have backburned Genie”s storyline. I love the character of Genevieve!!!! she is not one-dimensional but has so many layers . She is a complex character and is so unpredictable . I guess I will be tuning out this summer if they are focusing on the new younger cast.

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  4. Lindsay says:

    I hope Genie wins the emmy , for her role as Genevieve. She has done a fantastic job in this role and I can’t believe they are backburning her character . She is too talented to not being placed front and center and placed on back-burner status. I do hope that when G.H celebrates their 5oth that Genie will come back for that.

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    kay killgore replied

    That’s just it I didn’t notice they had backburnered her character. And I like her too but their are a lot of veterans that have not had story in a long time. CLB might be finally getting a story after years of carrying a briefcase and following Victor around so I am confused with her statement. Sorry when I see her I just see Laura but I know she is not coming back to ABC too much drama went down.

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  5. sus says:

    I only started watching Y&R because of Genie Francis. She is one of my all time favorite actresses (along with Meryl Streep and Denise Alexander!). I will always long for her to continue her iconic role of Laura, that woman means so much to me, I grew up with her… and I so want to see Laura be the mother that Genie is (Can’t admire her any more for taking Jamo on their fishing trip instead of the false eyelashes!) Want desperately to see Genie Francis and Jonathan Jackson work together again. I am however really enjoying the depth that only Ms. Francis could bring to a character that started out like Genevieve. I really enjoy her scenes with Mr. Goddard and that whole strained mother/child relationship. You can’t help rooting that they work it out, and love how they both play that underlying bond that you just can’t ignore. (If I can’t have Laura and Lucky, Genevieve and Ethan fill the void!) I desperately want Ms. Francis to win this Emmy, though I so appreciate Ms. Herbst work too, and what a class act our girl is to be rooting for her GH castmate. It is a crime that no younger actress category existed when Genie Francis was a teenager.. and I mean a teenager… not like these people in their mid 20′s that are in the younger actor/actress category. She would have a SLEW of those little golden things in her entertainment cabinet… that blinded her when she tried to watch the Hallmark channel! Love her love for Jonathan Jackson. Had the pleasure to meet him on a few occasions and also one class act and VERY talented man.
    Thought it intereseting that she seemed to avoid the topic of her previous television husband…. but I will never stop wanting… NEEDING an appropriate continuation/conclusion to the Triple L’s. The Spencer family IS General Hospital for me, and there is no Spencer family without Laura. Good Luck with the Emmy Genie and we are SOOOO happy that you are working again. Talent like yours should not go unshared! Thanks! Great Interview Mr. Fairman, thank you too!!

    Reply

    dg replied

    Thankyou Sus! Genie and Denise Alexander are both my all time fave actresses in daytime. And I also share your love of Merly Streep. I grew up with Denise and Genie and I love Genie as Genevieve.
    As a teen I loved Laura as well. But I’m glad that with Genevieve Genie has been given a more challenging complex role so she can stretch her talents and have some fun. All of the on screen traumas of Laura and the pressures of stardom at such a young age cost Genie a very high price in her teens and early 20s. She fell into temptation with drugs because she was thrust into an adult world before she was ready. ( She admitted that in her lifetime intimate portrait).
    I’m thrilled that now she has a solid family life and a job that fulfills her. Unfortunately the ABC execs have been less than kind to her over the years. Maria Bell seems to appreciate her ( she created the role of Genevieve, especially for Genie!). So I hope she wins.

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    kay killgore replied

    Maybe I am wrong but their seems to be some tension between Ms. Francis & TG remember when they were on Oprah together and Oprah asked her about returning etc I just felt the tension and she worked with TG for years and still always praises PB. I am afraid that might be why we will never see her back at GH where she belongs.

  6. Jared says:

    I love Genie Francis. She is absolutely talented, and she deserves better than that hot mess that is MAB’s Y&R.

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  7. Michael says:

    Like Bart, I’m really hoping that Y&R loses out on all of it’s nominations this year, every last one! Should this happen, it will be the industry telling MAB, CBS, Bell-Phillip TV and Sony Pictures that it is definitely time for a change before MAB really starts covering Y&R’s casket with dirt and puts grass on top of it.

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  8. Tori says:

    Are you kidding,back burner that’s ridiculous. The show has dropped the ball with Miss Francis with the Bon debacle and the GenV/Tucker having a past storyline, this is insane. The writers develop interesting stories then drop the ball. Genie and Stephen Nichols have tremendous chemisty and to leave the fans hanging waiting for some story and nothing is insulting to say the least. If the teens rule this summer and Genie is off,I’m leaving Y&R until she returns. Not cool Y&R!!!

    Reply

    dg replied

    I agree with you guys, but Ironically it was summer teen story time that gave Genie her chance to make her mark in Daytime. She was a14yrs old when she joined GH! But I do agree that Maria Bell has made some terrible story and casting choices this year on Y+R. The show has suffered greatly because of them.

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  9. barbara t says:

    I would love to see Genie Francis come back to general hospital, If y&r isnt treating her right Ron and Frank will, Laura plays a very big role in the port charles history, That’s where she belongs.

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    Susan M. replied

    I agree with Barbara t………………….I alway’s liked her as Laura……………………..I saw her also on the hallmark channel………….The Note was alright …….She belongs on GH…………………………..And I don’t watch Y& R….. Never watched this soap………………………………….

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    barbara t replied

    I never understood general hospital letting her go so what if the magic with her and luke is over, There is always someone else, they made laura look nuts so it justified sending her away from her kids, Something the laura I grew up with wouldn’t do. so they made her nuts, Dumb move on the old writers. I would love for her to come back, now that’s general hospitals history.

    Susan M. replied

    They had given Laura a drug that made her sane for a little while…But that ended quickly…………………………………………………I don’t know why she had to continue being crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She killed someone…Can’t remember who????? Yes the writers than messed up her character…………

    Susan M. replied

    She killed someone a while back………………………………The writers ruined by maling her character a permanet wack-a-doodle……………I didn’t like that…….

  10. Christi says:

    Thanks for another fantastic interview Michael!! I only wish I had time to watch Y&R. lol I know many people who are GH fans who started watching as soon as she started there. I have watched her films, etc, and she is such a phenom actress. I adore what she said about Becky and also being a huge fan of Becky Herbst portrayal as Liz Webber on GH-I totally believe Genie when she says how Becky reacted to Genie’s win. I have heard only good things about Becky. I am thinking back to the wonderful scenes we got with Laura/Elizabeth all those years ago. So much history. I do love the sweet irony of Tony, Jon, Becky, and Genie all being up for awards together. I am so torn over who I want to win-so much wonderful talent. I got a little misty reading Genie’s comments on her son’s trip after graduation. He’s a lucky boy to have a mom like that. So sweet. Good lucky Genie!

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  11. Michael Cahn says:

    Genie is another wonderful talent that I’m glad is finally getting the recognition that she so deserved back at GH!

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  12. M.K. says:

    I am enjoying Genie very much on Y&R. it’s great to see her in this different type of role. I enjoyed Laura, but it seemed while Luke was forever living whatever kind of life he wanted with whatever woman, they always made Laura eventually mourn over Luke alone. I felt her chemistry with Stefan (Stephen Nichols) was hot and I can see the same chemistry with Tucker (though I think they will take Gen in another direction). Good luck Genie with the up coming emmys. :)

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  13. Michael says:

    Genie is an iconic talent- one of the best actresses ever, daytime or prime time. I don’t watch Y&R- really, really miss her on GH.

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  14. Chaz says:

    I remember her as Laura and felt that they ruined the character by her last run on GH. I didn’t really begin watching Y&R again until OLTL was canceled so I didn’t see GF when she started on Y&R. However, in the time I have seen her I have been impressed with her. I like how she has been mixed into several storylines and not just tied to Cain/Ethan. I know some people were complaining about beating the Beauty of Nature story to death but I think it gave GF an opportunity to make the character strong and get involved with Jack, Victor, Niki.

    It’s also nice to see an actor not bitch and moan about being backburnered. GF may end up with some additional screen time since Jess Walton is taking 6 months off. That opens up space and funds.

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  15. Mary says:

    Love Genie Francis! She’s doing a wonderful job on Y&R, but part of me will always want her to return to GH. I would love to see Laura return and reunite with Luke and their family! With Cartini at the helm now, it could be a great story.

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  16. dg says:

    Kay I think you’re way off base here. Tony and Genie do have lives of their own but they continue to cherish each other. I watched a youtube clip of Genie at a fan event recently and a fan asked her who she keeps in contact with from GH and she mentioned Tony as well as Denise Alexander.
    And also to set the record straight I believe Genie “belongs” where she decides she wants to be and at this moment in time that’s Y+R. She gave ABC every chance in the world to rehire her and they refused. Maria Bell created the role of Genevieve just for her. But before GH accepted the role she asked her agent if she should call ABC to give them one last chance to rehire her before she moved on. You may not know the behind the scenes story of Genie’s history with ABC. It’s not pretty.
    In the early 80s when the Luke and Laura phenomenon exploded Genie developed a cocaine addiction. There was no one there for her. That’s one of the main reasons she left GH at the high of her popularity. She worked around the dial but ended up on AMC. When Tony Geary came back to GH they fired her from AMC and forced her back to GH for ratings. Genie wasnt sure she would maintain her sobriety if she returned to the GH environment but she returned for her fan’s sake.
    After she had her children the brass berated her for weight gain. It took her about 30 yrs to be nominated for one lousy emmy after all of her outstanding work. And some of that is due to jealousy within the GH cast. But nevertheless she has always been willing to return for her fans sake. I spoke with her personally on Soap Central Live and she said she would be more than willing to return to GH if it was cancelled to give the fans some closure, but only if the Y+R Execs allowed her to do so.
    It bothers me that fans put their desires to see a fictional character before the well being of the real life star. Genie finally has a stable family life and she’s been clean from drugs for years now. ABC had their chance with her and they blew it. I’ll always love the Laura character and cherish her because I grew up watching her. But I love Genie the actress and human being more and I want her to be happy and fulfilled even if that means that she wont ever play Laura again. So Genie belongs where she’s happy. That’s her choice not ours.

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    1loveabcsoaps replied

    dg, I must say that everything you wrote is the truth. That is exactly Genie Francis history with General Hospital. As Genie stated, Gh will wear you down, just as they did Johnathan Jackson, and as they are doing Maurice Bernard, Sonny, which the fans are complaining that its too much Sonny. GH drains their stars of the show, rather than allowing “us ” the audience to long to see them. Gh cold get Venessa Marcil back as Brenda if they knew how to manage her, time wiz. Thanks for a truth telling post. You, like me, know your FACTS and speak them.

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    dg replied

    Thank you so much. I try to say what I know and to give opinions that are tempered with a concern for the shows, the genre and the actors. My opinions are not just about me and what I like. I want to speak out in concern for the genre, especially when it gets off track.

    kay killgore replied

    Dg I am well aware of how bad they treated her over there I also know they would not give her the vacations they give TG they also way back in the day told her TG was the show. I just felt tension and at the time two other columnists which I am not mentioned it that does not mean we were right.You can’t blame me for wanting her to get the upper hand. And I was as much as anyone else glad to see her back on daytime.

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    and1 replied

    Thanks for your reflection. I agree with everything you said. GF has always been a class act no matter how ABC treated her and for this reason I have always had great respect for her. I don’t pretend to understand or speculate what the specifics are regarding her relationship with GH or TG for that matter. I just want her to be happy at work because she deserves to be after all this time, and it appears that now she finally is. Can you direct me to the youtube clip of the fan event?

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  17. Jill says:

    I will always want her back on GH. But, I absolutely love her on Y&R. ABC/GH ruined what chances that had with her. I think that had they respected her she would have went back. There was so many chances they could have used to get her back after her Oprah appearance. But, ABC/GH showed their true colors after that appearance. I want Luke and Laura back together. But, I love Genie the actress and person more. I want her to be happy and respected by her employers. That is something that ABC/GH didn’t/don’t know how to do. Genie fans love and adore her. I’m proud to say I am one of them.

    Reply

    dg replied

    Thank you so much for being an understanding fan Jill! They are so hard to come by. I grew up with Genie and Laura. But I love Genie the person more. And like you said ABC had every opportunity to rehire her but the did not. But Genie remains dedicated to her fans. I had the thrill of talking to her on Soap Central Live and she thanked me for respecting her commitment to Y+R and for being her loyal fan for all these years. I too am very proud to count myself among her fans. And I’m glad to have found you as well. Genie deserves quality, caring fans like you and I.

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    Jill replied

    She definitely deserves to be loved and respected. That is something that ABC/GH don’t know how to do. When Oprah asked her about would she ever come back to GH and she said that she would want something more adult as it were. But, the writers at the time, didn’t know how to pull that off. Guza said that he liked her. But, I find that hard to believe when he said he didn’t like writing her. At least that is what I thought he said. Well, she is somewhere where she is happy and is loved by her fans. I love and adore Genie and Laura.

  18. K says:

    Michael, Thanks for the great interview. If you wouldn’t mind, could you comment on whether you found GF to be avoiding your question about Tony Geary? Given how complimentary she is of Peter Bergmann and how silent she is about TG as a fellow actor, did you get the impression that she may not find working with TG to be as satisfying an experience? I sense a rift, and maybe it’s been there a while and is just becoming more obvious now. While I too wish for Laura’s return to GH, I have been disappointed by the evolution of Luke’s character and find Luke to be unrecognizable. I would hope that Laura could bring out the passion and kindness in Luke’s character, but am not sure it can be revived after all of these years. Not even sure TG could replicate it any longer, but if anyone could bring it out in him, I think GF might be able to. It would take commitment from TG, which might mean longer hours again, and he doesn’t seem to want that any longer. Your thoughts?

    Reply

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