Four-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson went public today via an interview with TV Guide as to what went down that prompted his decision to leave his beloved role of Lucky Spencer on General Hospital! Citing emotional and physical exhaustion from the continually heavy dramatic circumstances that Lucky has had to endure over the last year and half, and being front and center the entire time in story, was a major factor in Jonathan’s decision to call it quits. In addition, Jonathan reveals he went to the show’s higher-ups and asked that Lucky and Liz get reunited. In this interview, he does discuss the conversations that went down behind-the-scene with the powers-that-be at GH, and ultimately how the decision was made. Here are some excerpts!
Jonathan on if specifics were discussed to lighten his work load to acomodate his exhaustion in story: “I think — though I don’t know for sure — that they were genuinely interested in figuring out a way to make this situation workable. But ultimately it was decided that, if I was to remain on the show, Lucky is too important of a character to be put on the back burner. The writers have so much to accomplish on a weekly basis that it just wasn’t going to be possible to make a significant change like this.”
Jonathan on how his decision was made and how is exhaustion was affecting creating Lucky’s fictional life: “It’s a real energy zapper and there are days when I feel like I have nothing left to give. And in this medium where you’re dealing with a pretty insane amount of dialogue, day in, day out, the collision of a heavy workload and increasing exhaustion can make you a little crazy. I love to work hard but I’ve been at maximum capacity in terms of mental and emotional output for months on end and it has become too difficult. I am extremely thankful that they wanted to give me all those storylines with so much depth, but there’s just no balance. Usually, you might get one or maybe two really good and intense story arcs per year. There’s usually a cycle to this stuff on soaps. But this has been nonstop. There was just no reprieve. I have a wife and three kids and other things in life I have to think about. I just knew I couldn’t sustain the schedule at GH and that kind of emotion for much longer. It was just too intense.”
Jonathan on asking for a Liz and Lucky reunion in which the producers said “No”, and how he felt that would regain some balance for the character of Lucky and himself: “I was away from GH for 10 years and came back (in 2009) specifically to work with certain people. Tony Geary (Luke) was a huge reason for me to come back and so was Becky Herbst (Elizabeth). I absolutely love working with her and love it when our characters are together romantically. Even though things have gotten crazy between Liz and Lucky over the years, there’s still a deep potential for something powerful and redemptive there. So it seemed like a real no-brainer to me. From my perspective, I just assumed they’d get back together. Maybe it’s a timing problem. There have been big changes in the writing team at GH and that may have shifted the timeline for Lucky and Elizabeth to reunite. Or maybe it just wasn’t ever going to happen at all. I don’t know.”
Jonathan will last be seen on-air the week of December 19th! So after reading his comments, what do you think of Jonathan’s decision? Will you miss JJ on your TV screens? On-Air On-Soaps will!