With it looking like General Hospital could be on the hunt for a new Jeff Webber, TV Source Magazine editors decided to take on the role of casting director to highlight our picks for who we think should play the character.
Now before we go too far into this, we’re not saying for sure that GH is casting Jeff Webber. Like Soap Opera Digest, we’re simply speculating that the casting call “could” be for the role.
It’s been 35 years since Dr. Jeff Webber resided in Port Charles. So many faces have come and gone and changed since his last visit in town. Family has come and gone and come and gone, but the one constant that has remained the same is his daughter Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst). It’s no secret we’ve wanted the series to recast the role. Not having the father of an established legacy character on the canvas for someone who’s been on the show for nearly 20 years has been a missed opportunity. With the revelation Hayden (Rebecca Budig) is Elizabeth’s half-sister and Jeff’s illegitimate daughter, the product of an affair with Naomi (Robin Riker), now is the perfect time!
Let’s talk about what the addition of Jeff Webber would bring to the canvas: more doctors, rebuilding of the Webber family (and the messy dynamics that would entail) and much needed romantic opportunities for ex-flame Monica (Leslie Charleson), as well as Lucy (Lynn Herring), Laura (Genie Francis) and others.
Selecting an actor with the experience and built in- popularity to tackle a role like this is crucial. We’ve narrowed down our selections to actors who not only fit the age range, but who have the ability to go for the really emotional scenes that one might require when seeing your daughter for the first time in 20 years (soap time)!
Here’s our shortlist of actors who should be considered (in no particular order but numbered for organization sake):
Grant Aleksander (ex-Phillip, GL): Perhaps best known for his role as Phillip Spaulding on CBS’ Guiding Light, Aleksander’s also appeared on Capital and had a three-year stint on ABC’s All My Children as Alec McIntyre from 1993-1996.
During his years on GL, Grant frequently took viewers on an emotional journey involving Phillip’s complex relationships with his family and the women in his life. Grant’s ability to draw you into his character’s pain would be a major draw. We wonder what Grant might do to make the role his own should he be given the chance.
Peter Reckell (ex-Bo, DAYS): One of daytime’s most iconic and well-known leading men, Peter Reckell would be a no-brainer if he was interested in the role. At 61, he’s only five years younger than Jeff’s originator (for those saying he’s too young)! Seeing him opposite Rebecca Herbst and Rebecca Budig would be amazing.
On DAYS, Bo was always the hero, the man who put his family above everything else, one who literally died trying to save his mother’s life. Reckell had great chemistry with the actors playing his children (Shawn, Chelsea and Ciara), and often pulled greatness out of his scene partners.
And let’s be real, Peter Reckell has a rugged handsomeness that GH is missing in its leading men at the moment.
Robert Newman (ex-Joshua, GL): Guiding Light’ leading man has the looks, talent and charm to play Dr. Webber. He would pair well with a number of GH’s leading ladies. Newman has been keeping busy with television and stage work since the lights went out on GL.
Ron Raines (ex-Alan, GL): Ron Raines is best known for his villainous role as Alan Spaulding on Guiding Light. Alan was evil, vindictive, conniving, murderous; the complete antithesis of Jeff Webber. That’s why we want him for the role, we’d love to see him play a good guy for a change. Raines is an actor who has the range — he attended Julliard, has appeared in numerous Broadway plays and has kept busy moonlighting in primetime and in theater since Guiding Light ended. We can only imagine how awesome his scenes opposite Robin Mattson (Heather Webber) would be.
Michael E. Knight (ex-Simon, Y&R; ex-Tad, AMC): The popular soap veteran and Emmy winner, best known for his role as Tad “The Cad” Martin on All My Children, would be a natural as Jeff Webber. He just ended his time playing another, very different doctor on The Young and the Restless.
Knight is underrated as performer. He can play the romantic lead, the snarky jerk, the man out for revenge, the quirky. He can bring an element of unpredictability to the role, one that would certainly be needed given Jeff’s time away.
Stephen Schnetzer (ex-Cass, AW): With a soap resume spanning Days of our Lives, One Life to Live and Another World, Stephen Schnetzer was a surprising pick for us, but the more we thought about it, the more we were sold.
The most important thing about this casting is Jeff is essentially a blank slate. Not much is known about what he’s been up to since leaving town, and he’s bound to have changed over the course of his time away.
What do you think about our picks? Tell us your thoughts and share your own ideas for who should be cast as General Hospital’s new Jeff Webber.