‘The Young and the Restless’ Shocker: Michelle Stafford Returning as Phyllis; Gina Tognoni Exits

Photo Credits: (l) Michelle Stafford/ABC; (r) Gina Tognoni/CBS

A major casting shakeup is happening at CBS’ The Young and the Restless. Emmy winner Michelle Stafford (Nina, GH) is leaving ABC’s General Hospital and will return to Y&R to reprise the role of Phyllis Summers. Gina Tognoni, who’s played the role since 2014, was reportedly released from her contract.

Daytime Confidential was the first to report the news. According to reports, Stafford and ABC could not reach a new deal to keep her at General Hospital, which resulted in CBS swooping in to re-hire the fan favorite back.

Michelle Stafford originated the character in 1994, playing her until 1997. The role was recast with Sandra Nelson from 1997-1999. Stafford returned in 2000 until her exit in 2013. A year later she stunned fans when she made an unannounced debut on General Hospital as Nina Clay in May 2014.

That same month, Y&R announced the hiring of three-time Daytime Emmy winner Gina Tognoni (formerly of One Life to Live and Guiding Light). Tognoni would go on to win a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in 2017 for her work.

There’s no word at press time when Stafford is expected to hit the air, or how GH plans to address her exit.

The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS.

Ryan White-Nobles
Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TV Source Magazine. He's began covering entertainment and soap operas in 2005. In 2009 he co-launched Soap Opera Source, and led the TV Source rebrand in 2012. 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.

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  1. This, to me, is bullshit. Gina Tognoni stepped into the role of Phyllis Summers Romalotti Abbott Newman Abbott and OWNED the role. The fact that Michelle Stafford stated in 2013 that she’d never return seems disingenuous. Tognoni owned this role, made it her own and actually excelled in taking Phyllis to another level that Stafford, in my eyes, was incapable of accomplishing. Does this mean I’m not a Stafford fan? No. I like her, but definitely do not miss her in the role of Phyllis, and find that I will see myself hating the character once again upon the return of her.

    Now, people are suggesting that Tognoni replace Stafford at General Hospital, and my response is NO! That would only validate that Tognoni is capable of replacing Stafford in her roles, and she is capable of securing her own damn role. Personally speaking, Tognoni deserves more than the shaft at this point. If anything, she should join Days of Our Lives, which in all actuality, is the most stable in terms of actors.

    I am genuinely pissed by this decision, and feel like TPTB at CBS/Sony Pictures Television and The Young and the Restless are making bad decisions right now. 2019 is a mess, thus far, for this soap. Which is a shame.

  2. Really like her as Nina. Bet she flips out when she finds out when she finds that girl is not her daughter and leaves Port Charles. So much better than killing her off or creating another horror story like the twins stuff.

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