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24 November 16th, 2011 Jonathan Jackson speaks on his shocking departure from General Hospital!

Courtesy/ABC

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!

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  1. ethel says:

    jonathan always puts his whole heart & soul into his acting therefore it had to take a physical & emotional toll on him and i totally understand why he made the decision to leave -
    i definitely will miss his presence on gh – i just wish things could have turned out differently for this talented actor……………

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  2. Kimberly says:

    I’m sad to see him go, but I understand his perspective. Bring back the hunk Greg Vaughn. Lucky never had enough story with Greg, in my opinion.

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  3. Eileen Hargis says:

    I dont believe they cared about Jonathan just that he continued to deliver what they wanted. He had no choice. Good for him. Hia family should come first. He will do well anywhere.

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  4. sophia3 says:

    I stopped watching GH due to the no-talent LISA – (((LOSER))). The only reason I watched was Jonathan Jackson and Tony Geary. I can’t believe Jonathan went back to GH. He is so far above that. Just keep going Jonathan…I see an Oscar in your future. You are the most incredible actor. FYI – quite certain the show wil be cancelled. I don’t know anyone that tunes in anymore.

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  5. Aaron says:

    I really thought things were going to change for the better with Garin Wolf taking over. However, the show has ABSOLUTELY been all over the place since late summer. The Quartermaines returning, the tease of Jason regaining his memory and Michael working at ELQ lasted all of what, a month? Why bring back crazy Lisa Niles? Now they are introducing “Maggie?” The firing of Lexi Ainsworth was nonsensical, as was the departure of Ingo. Jonathan Jackson just won an Emmy and they can’t find a way to ease his workload? Let’s face it, Soaps are in their dying days and need all the viewers they can get to drive up ratings and show the networks they are still a viable form of entertainment. Why would they let a major character like that walk away?

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    Joan Brigham replied

    I agree 100% with you.

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  6. SS says:

    I think JJ is way outta the loop if he thinks WE want another pairing for Lucky & Elizabeth. Personally, I have been disappointed from day 1 with his return… the over the top crying is just to much to bare. And after all these years he just didnt look right with Elizabeth anymore. I am glad he made the decision to move on from General Hospital.

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    Mitchell1660 replied

    I don’t watch the show, but on the commercials between OLTL and AMC, I saw enough of Jackson crying and emoting! An incredible actor that I’m sure will find work elsewhere.

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    myers509 replied

    I like Lucky and Elizabeth together…

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  7. Emily says:

    JJ is so incredibly talented, but I can certainly understand why he needs a break. I do hope that this is what this turns out to be– a break. Hopefully in a few months he’ll be ready to come back & they will be ready to bring him back. Of course that is my wishful thinking! With or without GH, JJ has a promising future. Sadly, it’s a huge blow to GH. I don’t think we need another Lucky recast, & the stuff written for JJ has been some of the best in my opinion. I love Steve Burton but some of the Jason stuff has gotten old. I feel in love with GH in the mid-90s, so I personally would have really liked to have seen Lucky & Liz reunite.

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  8. Matt Borlenghi says:

    Really??? In a business where so few actors are making that kind of money, this guy complains of having to earn it??
    Super. Bring in someone who is truly grateful for the opportunity and will gladly work hard for the money to support his family.
    I got shafted on my Valentin debut by Franco, and this guy cries exhaustion. Do your job, say please and thank you, go home.

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  9. iakovos says:

    i would kill for an opportunity as jackson has. many actors would. only he knows his limits and what it is too much. seems one of the bricks weighing soaps down is the lack of faith in audiences to accept recasts. yes, there are actors identified with the role so deeply, but if daytime drama is to go on and on, the storytellers and the audiences alike need to be open to comings and goings. i, for one, do not care for odd story shifts or quicktime storytelling to accommodate a big star. it seems fake. i wish jackson luck as he was amazing on GH. i miss the GH of years gone by. today’s GH is so dark and mob-based.

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  10. Joan Brigham says:

    It is so sad that the writers would rather lose an actor of this quality than to make some schedule changes, or at the very least some changes in the story line. We would all like to see Elizabeth and Lucky get back together. And for the record, I have watched soaps for 42 years, since the 1st day AMC came on, and OLTL for decades also. Watched characters be recast, come and go, and this young man, Jonathan Jackson is probably the best male actor on daytime. His emotional scenes are second to none. His decision to leave saddens me, but I totally understand that the time and the strain of having to be so good all the time, for at least the last year, would drain him. Good luck, Jonathan, and as the Irish would say, May the road come up to meet you!

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  11. Kay says:

    UGH! Why can’t the writers just reunite couples sometimes. Obviously JJ is exhausted. I think TPTB sometimes drag out a reunion so long that after awhile fans just don’t care anymore. Frankly I wanted to see L&L together because they belong together but the writers sometimes just don’t get it.

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  12. michele says:

    I started wathcing Gh again because Jonathan Jackson came back. He for me is the only Lucky but I also was getting a little tired of all the tragedy GH kept throwing at the character Lucky. Missed happy, fun and romantic Lucky which Jonathan Jackson does well also. He is an exceptional actor and will be missed. I think he has the right to but his family and his happiness first. I guess I will have to find something else to do instead of watching GH.

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  13. Chantal says:

    I don’t think everything was said here. JJ is promoting his music career on Twitter like no tomorrow. It is called Enation and they even won a contest for a board on Times Square. I think he wanted to pursue some opportunities there also. Yes, some actors would kill for his work and time on screen. But, don’t the producers realize that Lucky once a while is better than no Lucky at all???

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  14. Monica says:

    I’ll miss him. He really made me care about Lucky again, but all that crying would be exhausting. There were no lulls, just a constant stream of tragedies for Lucky. I don’t think as much happened to Lucky in the 10 years he was gone, as happened to him over the last year.

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  15. jp says:

    I never bought JJ as a cop. To me he always has looked like a boy-even with scruff- and was WAY too sensitive and weepy to be believable as a cop. Best bring back Greg Vaughan. JJ was ok as Lucky as a young man, but not as an adult. IMHO.

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  16. Jane says:

    I’m devastated! Jonathan is the onlyLucky in my eyes. He is fantastic in the role and I can’t imagine a recast that works. We’ve had recasts in this role before and they never brought the emotional depth that Jonathan does, nor do they have the connect with Becky. I don’t know what the PTB are thinking. They must want the show to be cancelled.

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  17. Alice says:

    I can say that I did not watch the show for very long before JJ came back as “Lucky”. His character is what glued me to the show. Since I did not have all the harsh feelings some people have towards “Elizabeth”, I also wanted a reunion. I believe every person is human and makes mistakes; some much larger than others. I probably will not continue watching the show after JJ’s final episode airs. I just don’t see the point after watching it for a year in the hopes of a happy reunion of what to me seemed to be two soul mates. I wish the show well for all the people employed but my tv will not be counted for ratings after JJ is gone.

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  18. Sun45 says:

    I understand Jonathan wanting to leave GH I say its a good career move for him. JJ is a talented actor I can’t blame him for leaving GH its not watchable anymore for me. This show is going to be canceled so as far as I’m concerned his getting off a sinking ship. Good luck to you JJ and thank you for the memories.

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  19. Maggie says:

    Lucky is one, if not THE,, favorite. He is an absolute genius actor, and I can understand him burning out. He gives so much to his role.

    Please tell the powers that be that we would love to see Lucky remain, with better storylines (one of which could be with Liz). I think all the actors are jumpy, waiting to see if GH is cancelled next. I am sure those who get a better deal will take it.

    Don’t let the good ones get away, or you will self-destruct your own show.

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  20. daniela says:

    He wasn’t a good actor anyway. Good riddance, too bad he can’t take Rebbeca with him.

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  21. Colleen says:

    I was just watching some early footage of Lucky and LIz….the PTB sure did destroy one of the greatest couples in GH history! What a waste! I don’t blame JJ and give Becky a break…she is playing a part and only performing what is being written.

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