In a casting coup that no one saw coming, three time Daytime Emmy winner Jonathan Jackson is reprising the role of Lucas “Lucky” Lorenzo Spencer, Jr. this fall.
No, you are not reading a Liz & Lucky fan-fic. This is as real as it gets. Daytime Confidential first reported the news of Jackson’s return this evening. Not much longer, a now-jobless Greg Vaughan, who currently portrays Lucky Spencer Tweeted “As of today, with sad regrets, I will no longer be a part of what has been a big part of me and my [family’s] life. GH and [the powers that be] have [chosen] to take a new direction. I THANK ALL of YOU, for the many memories we’ve shared and new ones to come!!! ALL MY LOVE, & BIG HUGS to YOU the FANS!!! I LOVE YOU ALL MORE!!!!”
Vaughan joined the show in 2003 as the third actor to portray 6-time Emmy winner Anthony Geary’s onscreen son, Lucky, and is the only actor not to have earned himself a Daytime Emmy in the role. In 2006, Vaughan pulled off a gripping drug addiction storyline, for which he was snubbed by his cast and producers for an Emmy pre-nomination in favor of Rick Hearst (ex-Ric Lansing) and newcomer Jason Thompson (Patrick Drake). Since then, Vaughan has been on the backburner serving as Elizabeth’s (Rebecca Herbst) safety net and Port Charles’ bumbling police detective who just can’t catch a break. The actor has been the subject of much fan speculation since earlier in the year it appeared he had been taken off contract with ABC daytime’s flagship soap. Speculation ran wild that Jackson may return to his iconic role and Vaughan would be replaced.
ABC’s official statement on Vaughan’s departure is “Greg Vaughan has decided to vacate the role to explore new opportunities. We thank him for his years engaging our audience and dedication to the show and network. The cast and crew wish him well in all his future endeavors.” TVSource Magazine finds it interesting that they chose to state that Vaughan has decided to vacate the role to explore new opportunities. Really, ABC, really? Vaughan was obviously pushed out, just admit it. This is reminiscent of the move GH pulled back in 2003 when they decided to bring back original actor Tyler Christopher to replace Coltin Scott, who then played Nikolas, in the middle of his contract negotiations because Christopher became available again. ABC also had the spin cycle on full force back then, too.
Jackson joined General Hospital in 1993 as the son of supercouple Luke and Laura (Anthony Geary and Genie Francis). Jackson left the show in April 1999 to focus on a film career. The character of Lucky was thought to have died in a fire, but Jackson had pre-taped scenes that had been stretched throughout 1999 in which Lucky was actually seen to be held captive by Cesar Faison (Anders Hove), who was hired by Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers). This was at the height of Jackson and Rebecca Herbst’s popularity as young supercouple, Liz and Lucky.
The character of Lucky returned to Port Charles a year later when Jacob Young took over the role as a brainwashed Lucky, with a darker personality. The brainwashing eventually wore off, but the character never really gelled with the brave, strong, compassionate and loyal son of Luke Spencer that Jackson had created. When Vaughan took over the role in 2003, General Hospital had Luke Spencer’s son, who had grown up learning cons and fighting the machine, become a police officer. Fans were not pleased. The show continually made Lucky the butt-end of jokes and eventually destroyed the bond that Lucky had with Elizabeth when the two cheated on each other and she got pregnant with another man’s child. With Jackson’s return, one must wonder how all of this damage will be undone, if it can at all. Will Jackson and Herbst still have the magic?
Upon leaving General Hospital, Jackson appeared in the Michelle Pfeiffer drama, The Deep End of the Ocean. In 2000, Jackson was up for the role of Gabriel in the Mel Gibson headlining action flick The Patriot, but the part was eventually landed by the late Heath Ledger. Jackson was also a favorite to play Anakin Skywalker in the updated Star Wars franchise movies, but the role went to Hayden Christensen. Since then, Jackson appeared in the film Tuck Everlasting and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and guest starred on television shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. In his spare time, Jackson is a guitarist and the lead singer for the band Enation, with his brother Richard Lee Jackson and Michael Galeotti, husband of One Tree Hill‘s Bethany Joy Galeotti (ex-Michelle Bauer, Guiding Light).
Jackson will return to the GH set on October 1st. Jackson’s first airdate is yet unknown, and a final airdate for Vaughan is yet unknown. Lucky, who is currently engaged to Elizabeth for the third time, is unaware that Elizabeth had a one night stand with his brother Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) last month. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out when Jackson takes over the role. This month, Elizabeth and Nikolas work to keep their tryst a secret from Lucky as Helena returns to Port Charles and hold’s Elizabeth’s secret over her head.