It came down to the wire, but General Hospital star Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth) has signed a new multi-year contract that’ll keep her at the network she’s called home for 19 years.
Herbst’s new deal puts an end to weeks of unrest from the industry and fans alike, worried the popular actress would depart the show as a result of a breakdown in contract talks, first reported by Daytime Confidential last month. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time fans of the actress have felt collective rage at the mouse network.
In 2011, the actress’ firing spurred campaigns from fans and outrage from co-stars, which lead to a reversal just weeks later. Just as it was then, this situation is something that should have never been allowed to happen. Thankfully, fans rallied their support for Rebecca Herbst yet again, bombarding the studio with calls and messages on social media, decrying the treatment of the 19-year veteran. A report earlier today from Daytime Confidential stated that a deal between the actress and General Hospital was nearing. Hours later, TV Guide Magazine’s TV Insider exclusively reported that the deal was done.
In a fantastic interview with industry veteran Michael Logan, Herbst thanks fans for all of their support during the contractual ordeal. “I’m pretty lucky. They’re a very close-knit group and they’ve followed me and Elizabeth for almost 19 years. I am so grateful for that. They literally got me through the contract [talks] day by day,” said the actress. “When I was doubting myself, and thinking that I might not be able to stay on GH, I would read their comments on the Internet and feel so secure in whatever decision I made. I knew it was going to be okay, no matter what. They sent flowers and cupcakes. Everything they did throughout the last two months has been remarkable. I wish I could hug them all.”
Herbst said she felt bad she wasn’t allowed to update fans on the status of her talks with the show saying “you’re not allowed to talk when these contract things are going on. That’s just the way it is.” It was torture for sure, but many understand that’s how business works. (Editor’s Note: Some don’t)
The actress also shot down rumors that she was unhappy with her storyline, and chose the high road (unlike some others) instead of criticizing the former creative team. “I’m an actor. I go in and do what’s on the page and then I go home. I don’t believe it’s my place to dictate storyline.” She says she embraced the polarizing Jason/Jake storyline and said it was “a lot of fun.”
Herbst wouldn’t comment on the veracity of rumors of interest from Days of our Lives, but she did admit she was shown interest by other shows. She also wouldn’t comment on the issues that led to protracted negotiations, saying “I kind of equate it to this: When you work together with a company for this long of a period you become a family, and from that you fight like family. And we did fight! But a good thing came out of this. [Executive producer] Frank Valentini and I had a lot of heart-to-hearts, and I have a new found respect for him and for how much he loves the show. I walked into his office thinking nobody could love GH as much as I do, but I can see that he really, honestly, wants this show to do well. And he got to know me a little better, as well. We can now see where the other is coming from, and we had never had that opportunity. We’d never had that kind of a meeting. So that was awesome.”
As for what’s next, Rebecca Herbst says the storyline that head writers Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman have in store for her “sounds really intriguing” and though the last two months have been really stressful, she’s looking forward to her new material.
Visit TVInsider for the full interview with Rebecca Herbst.
My Take: This was the only acceptable outcome. I stand by what I said in my previous article about the impasse. I’m happy Rebecca Herbst is staying. GH would not be the same show without her.