Genie Francis will no longer be a series regular on "General Hospital."
The actress has been bumped down to recurring status on the ABC daytime soap, according to reports. Francis did not renew her series regular contract but left open the possibility of having her comeback.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Francis' agent, Arthur Toretzky, said she will only return to Port Charles if the timing and storyline were ideal. "She did not want to leave the show as a series regular," Toretzky explained. "It was not her choice to leave."
Francis has been playing the role of Laura on and off since 1976. Her character's partnership with Anthony Geary's Luke is well received, making them one of the most iconic couples in the history of soap opera. After leaving in 1984, she still made multiple appearances on the show. She also joined "The Young and the Restless" before heading back to "General Hospital" in 2013.
Given Francis' long time of being on the drama, many fans were frustrated over her reduced recurring status. Rumor has it that executive producer Frank Valentini only wanted to have the actress on the series about 12 times a year. Although that does not mean she was "fired," Francis allegedly declined to agree on that setup.
Soap Central claims Francis only found out about her new status right after filming her scenes aired on Friday. She asked to speak with the EP but was told she could not. Francis was reportedly "devastated" and "blindsided" by Valentini's decision.
Sources pointed out that Valentini has already reached out to Francis about potential appearances in the future. The TV star, on the other hand, has allegedly chosen not to speak to the EP at this moment. Francis has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on ABC.