General Hospital: Executive Producer Talks Return Of Genie Francis’ Laura Spencer

Genie Francis is returning to her old stomping grounds, reprising her role as Laura Spencer on “General Hospital,” and the ABC soap’s executive producer, Frank Valentini, dropped hints to Access Hollywood about what’s ahead when she returns on February 11.

“She’s coming back because Port Charles is her home and there were reasons why she was away,” he told at ABC’s bash last Thursday, following the Television Critics Association Winter Session 2013. “I think it’ll be exciting for the audience to discover what those reasons are and to sort of stay with a little bit of the mystery of Laura’s return.”

Asked if Laura’s return could be related to her daughter Lulu, who has fertility issues (and whose best friend, Maxie, just lost the baby she was carrying for Lulu and husband Dante), Valentini said it will.

“It will involve that and other things. And a big secret that she’s going to return with,” he said.

Genie recently enjoyed playing a bad girl on “Young and the Restless,” and a “GH” return was an unexpected surprise to fans who learned the news of her impending Port Charles arrival last week.

Valentini said the soap legend, whose wedding to Luke in 1981 drew 30 million viewers, was open to coming back, after he pitched her on their idea to bring the classic character home.

“She’s really awesome, she looks fantastic and she’s a lot of fun and we sat down and said, ‘This is what we’re thinking,’ and she liked the idea and we’re gonna make it work,” he said.

The EP hinted that Laura could be around for a while.

“No, it’s not a guest appearance. We’ve hired her, we’ve absolutely hired her,” he said.

Genie is the latest in an increasingly long line of “GH” vets brought back under Valentini in the run up to the show’s 50th anniversary this April, including Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan), Faison (Anders Hove), Felicia (Kristina Wagner), and most recently, A.J. Quartermaine (Sean Kanan).

“It’s really exciting because they’re such good actors and they’re really seasoned performers,” Valentini said about the return of “GH” stars of yore. “Everyone that we bring back has a reason and a purpose. We brought back Felicia for Maxie, we brought back Laura for Luke and for Lulu and for other reasons to be determined… We’re constantly trying to move the show forward as well as honor its history and I think that can be done. It’s a lot of work and I’m blessed with a really smart head writer who’s been able to do it.”

“General Hospital” airs weekdays on ABC.

-- Jolie Lash

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