Six months after being axed, soap alum Michael Easton (ex-John, OLTL; ex-Caleb, PC et al) is returning to ABC’s General Hospital.
Executive producer Frank Valentini began hyping a big announcement on social media on January 31. “Big, big news for GH fans in two days…only here. #GHWildWinter Watch Monday and Tuesday for hints,” he wrote. On February 1 he followed up with another message, “BIG #GH news will be released tomorrow…are you all ready?? @GeneralHospital #GHWildWinter”.
On February 2, he hyped the “big news” would be announced during the east coast airing on GH at 2:00. He wrote in a series of tweets: “You’ll never guess what happened yesterday. Instead of telling you, let me show you…”. Valentini then linked a video showing himself running into Michael Easton in the cereal aisle (serial, get it?) of a grocery store and asked if he wanted to come back to General Hospital. Michael asks if Frank has something good or him, to which Frank responds “I got something great.” They shake hands and Michael tells him he’ll see him in a couple weeks.
Publicity hasn’t released any information regarding Michael’s character, but Current Series Executive Nathan Varni, who’s been making the press rounds in recent months, announced on Facebook that Easton will be playing “an exciting new character.”
After the news broke, Michael Easton posted a message to his fans on Facebook. “It was your kindness and support that made this happen,” wrote the actor.
This marks Easton’s fourth role on General Hospital since joining the cast in 2012. Easton initially reprised his popular One Life to Life character John McBain for a much hyped crossover event after the end of OLTL. He would eventually take on another role in a much maligned plot that saw GH briefly introduce Easton’s Port Charles character Caleb Moorely aka Stephen Clay, retconning his history as an immortal vampire and made him a delusional serial killer obsessed with Kelly Monaco’s Sam McCall, a dead ringer for his Port Charles love Olivia ‘Livvie’ Locke (who Monaco portrayed on the soap).
In early 2013, GH was forced to write out all the OLTL cast members due to litigation from the failed Prospect Park, the network announced Easton, Kristen Alderson and Roger Howarth would return as new characters after a break. In May 2013, Easton debuted as Dr. Silas Clay, the older brother doppelganger of Stephen Clay. With a third character under his belt, Easton was paired romantically for the second time (on GH) with Monaco in the controversial and subjectively popular “Siam” pairing. After that relationship came to an end in the summer of 2014, there didn’t seem to be a direction or focus for the character. After milling on the backburner for months, the show seemingly struck gold with Easton and chemistry magnet Maura West (Ava) in early 2015, but the pairing never went anywhere. Easton was let go and Silas was murdered during GH’s summer murder mystery.
No news on when Easton will first air.
Our Take: Look…I like Michael Easton. I was a huge fan of his work on Port Charles and One Life to Live, but it’s hard to muster up any excitement over Easton’s fourth role in four years on GH. Silas failed largely in part due to the isolation and lack of characterization. Hopefully GH’s current writers will learn from past mistakes and do a better job of making a well rounded character. Time will tell.