Tyler Christopher is on his way out, but are Adrianna Leon & Rebecca Herbst headed with him? The cast of General Hospital will see itself short one major legacy character very soon. Late night reports of Tyler Christopher’s firing came out on Saturday night from the Soap Opera Digest twitter account. According to reports, Christopher was rumored to be fired on Friday.
The actor has been vocal in the past few months about not wanting to re-sign his contract when it was up this summer and it is widely known that he already has his next post-GH gig lined up. Still, fans remained shocked when the ABC Soaps in Depth twitter account confirmed the news yesterday. Christopher has landed the recurring role of Detective Matthews on the new ABC Family series The Lying Game set to debut on August 15th.
The Lying Game stars ex-As the World Turns actress Alexandra Chando as foster kid with heart, Emma, who finds out she has an identical twin sister, Sutton, living the life of luxury with wealthy parents, that is, until she goes missing and Emma sets out to find her. Chando will pull double duty playing both roles. The series is also written and executive produced by former All My Children and General Hospital scribe Charles Pratt, Jr. This marks the third time Pratt and Christopher have worked together. They first worked together from 2003-2006 on General Hospital until Pratt exited his co-head writing job he had alongside current GH head writer Bob Guza, Jr. In 2006, Christopher starred in the pilot for ABC’s Secrets of a Small Town, which Pratt wrote and executive produced on as well. The pilot was not picked up, but Christopher and Pratt will reunite once again this summer on ABC Family. The series, based on the novels by Sara Shepard, has been picked up for the standard 10 episodes, or a half season for ABC Family. Fans assumed that Christopher would be able to pull double duty if he wanted to, since it’s an in-house job. Well, you know what they say about assuming… Though the show has yet to debut, a full first season pickup for another 10 episodes doesn’t look out of the question already. ABC Family’s summer hit last year, Pretty Little Liars, is also based on series of novels by Shepard, and the fans of the book have supported that show in record numbers. It’s expected that The Lying Game will face the same kind of support.
Today, Digest confirms their weekend rumor and states that while no final airdate has been released, it is expected that Christopher will make a quick exit. General Hospital has been in turmoil this year since their production budget was slashed to a rumored 50%. The first firing came with Rebecca Herbst, but fan outrage quickly reversed Herbst’s fortune and in an unheard of move, the show rehired the ousted actress. Rumor has it that two soaps have extended enticing offers to the dissed actress despite her current status with GH. Could Herbst be lured away from the role she’s played for 13 years? This time last year, we’d have said no way. But in light of this winter’s behind the scenes drama with Herbst’s firing then subsequent rehiring, anything is a possibility. Sonya Eddy was bumped to recurring status as hospital mainstay Nurse Epiphany Johnson. Now comes the firing of Christopher, and it doesn’t look like there is an end in sight. With such a significant budget slash the show can’t ignore, the casting cuts will keep coming.
Christopher originated the role of the dark prince Nikolas Cassadine on General Hospital in 1996, where he remained until 1999. The role of the legendary Laura Spencer’s (Genie Francis) first born son, was recast with Stephen Martines (ex-Tony, Guiding Light) until Christopher reprised the role in 2003 where he has remained ever since. Christopher was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Younger Actor in 1998, and Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2005 and 2006. Christopher has been sharing screen time as of late with Adrianna Leon (ex-Colleen, Y&R). Nikolas and Leon’s character Brook Lynn Ashton have found romance as Brook has been employed as Nikolas’s escort to business functions in a nod to the film Pretty Woman. The two characters recently consummated their relationship and have been working to defend it to naysayer Elizabeth (Herbst). Sources tell us that the recurring Leon too has been let go. Will Nikolas be saying goodbye to Brook Lynn soon? It sure looks like it.
In this fan’s point of view, it’s time for General Hospital to take note of what rival soap Days of Our Lives went through a few years ago. Days shocked fans when they fired superstars Deidre Hall (ex-Marlena, Days), Drake Hogestyn (ex-John, Days), Stephen Nichols (Tucker, The Young and the Restless; ex-Stefan, GH; ex-Steve, Days) and Mary Beth Evans (ex-Katherine, GH; ex-Sierra, ATWT; ex-Kayla, Days) under a similar budget cut. Fans balked at the firings but the show persevered and even showed creative rejuvenation, which has resulted in a three year pickup for the sudser by NBC last fall. Instead of telling the same tired storylines, Days went back to telling classic soap and weaving what characters they had left in and out of each other’s storylines. Friendships and family ties became important again. Instead of telling stories that were 100% not grounded in reality, the show started telling corporate storylines again, which gave them the opportunity to feature previously underused powerhouses Joe Mascolo (ex-Massimo, The Bold and the Beautiful; Stefano, Days) and John Aniston (Victor, Days).
It’s no secret that GH has an overly saturated cast which the show consistently fails to utilize and tells the same storylines over and over again. Yes, there will be initial shockwaves felt if the show takes a page out of Days‘ playbook. But with rumors of ABC cutting a soap from it’s daytime lineup, the time is now. How many more stories can we watch where the mob kingpins of Port Charles are under attack by a madman? Rivera, Moreno, Sorel, Alcazar, Alcazar, Sandoval, Ruiz, Karpov, Zacchara, Jacks, the Tin Man, the Balkan — all the same character with a different face. Fans don’t want to see firings, but they also want to watch realistic storylines they can enjoy. Compartmentalizing characters into storylines where they only interact with the same handful of characters isn’t working. GH is just coming off of a stellar February where they saw Sonny & Brenda get married and they were able to utilize virtually the whole cast in the story. And the ratings reflected their triumph with GH beating the virtually unsinkable B&B for the #2 spot in households. By making some casting cuts and refocusing the show, General Hospital can give itself the shot of adrenaline it so desperately needs. It’s time to get back to basics. Christopher is out, we’re hearing Leon is done, and sources tell us Herbst has had two offers she may not be able to refuse. The cast is clearly undergoing some shakeups. Here’s hoping that GH makes some good decisions to take this show past it’s 50th anniversary in two years.