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Jacklyn Zeman Returns to ‘General Hospital’

Photo: JPI

Welcome home Bobbie Spencer! Jacklyn Zeman announced today on Twitter that she is returning to ABC’s General Hospital!

The veteran actress tweeted, “Bobbie Spencer is coming back to GH. [I] am so happy to be invited. Thank you for all your positive thoughts and support.” She also tweeted executive producer Frank Valentini, thanking him for welcoming her back to the show. “Thank you for inviting me back,” wrote Zeman. “I’m looking forward to working with you. Happy day!”

Soap Opera Digest spoke with the actress exclusively about her return. “I am so pleased. Literally, every day I am getting stopped on the street: ‘Are you coming back?’ It’s a complicated question to answer because I always want to be positive and support the show, but at the same time, you don’t want to lead people [on]. So I would say, ‘Well I haven’t been invited yet.’ Now, I’m so happy that when people ask me, I can say, ‘I got invited back!'” Her first airdate is set for March 21. For more on her return, visit SoapOperaDigest.com

Zeman originated the role of prostitute-turned-nurse, Barbara Jean “Bobbie” Spencer in 1977. She was downgraded to recurring status in 2007. “After 33 years on ABC, I was advised on Friday, November 9th that due to financial restructuring, Bobbie Spencer would have recurring status,” said Zeman in a statement at the time. She would put in very sporadic appearances, with her last coming in 2010.

In a 2009 interview with TVSource Magazine, the actress commented on the state of the daytime industry. “Decisions today are all about money. The ratings are low, and yes it’s true that many people have tuned out. Many people have told me that they fast forward through the shows when they are not interested in the characters or the story. A few years ago I asked the ‘powers that be’ if we could do a romantic story line for Bobbie and was told that our audience doesn’t want to see ‘old people’ kissing. I disagree with this conclusion. So many of our GH fans have told me that they would love to see some story for Bobbie with Noah Drake, Jerry Jacks, and Scotty Baldwin. There are a lot of women over 40…even over 50…60..all ages…who are still interested in romance and great sex. And daytime is the perfect place to explore these possibilities. I know our audience would connect with this because they have told me they would.” And she was right!

Last September, the actress gave a very candid interview with SOD, discussing the marginalization of her character that began under former head writer Megan McTavish, the truth behind her firing and why she hadn’t returned to the show. “It was like a grieving process when I left the show because It was such a part of my life for so many years. I mean, I played Bobbie for over 30 years, pretty much five days a week. So when Jill Phelps decided to get rid of the character, I was one, totally unprepared and two, totally shocked, because I just assumed that Bobbie would always be there. I had this commitment to the network and I felt that the commitment worked both ways. At the time, they said ‘Oh, well, we’re taking you off contract, but we’re going to put you on recurring,’ and I thought that was the truth. So, I assumed, ‘Okay, this is great; it’ll be nice to come in and work only a couple days a week.’ And it turned out to be nothing.”

In that same interview, she revealed that she had spoken with Valentini on numerous occasions, who assured her that if they brought her back, they wanted to feature her in a storyline, not just for a guest appearance.

About the author

Omar White-Nobles

Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TVSource Magazine. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.