Genie Francis on 'General Hospital': 'They cannot conceive a Laura who is a grown woman' -- EXCLUSIVE


Image Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC; Everett Collection

In light of the news that Genie Francis will join The Young and the Restless at the end of May, EW talked exclusively to the ex-Laura Vining Webber Baldwin Spencer to find out why she decided to join CBS and whether it feels like she’s cheating on General Hospital, her daytime home for decades.

EW How were you offered the role?

Genie Francis I got a call from [Y&R Executive Producer] Maria Bell three or four weeks ago. She explained to me that she had seen me on Oprah and liked the idea of what I wanted to play, and she had an idea of how to write that, how to incorporate that into A story on Young and the Restless. She would create a new role for me. I wouldn’t be coming in to replace someone. She called me personally to ask me if I was willing to listen to an offer, and I said, yes, I’m willing!

EW Let’s talk about your appearance on Oprah. You used the mini General Hospital reunion to say “there is nothing in me that is willing to play a victim anymore. I’m sort of done with the wounded dove in my life” when Oprah Winfrey asked whether you’d ever return to the ABC show.

Francis I guess I didn’t really think about how it would be received. I just felt like it was time to talk from my heart, and tell the people that yes, I’d love to come back to work, but I want to work in a way that uses all of me so I’m not just cheating my audience. I felt for a while with the GH appearances, they were kind of using me as a media trick, bringing me on for three or four weeks, saying I was back on the show, but not really writing for me. And then I would be gone. I just didn’t like that anymore. I guess it was me putting my foot down. I would have loved to come back to [General Hospital], but I needed them to write a real role for who this woman would be now. They didn’t respond. I didn’t hear anything. And that’s a shame. I was willing to put it out there, see what could be done. But I did receive a lovely call from Maria!

EW Do you watch Y&R?

Francis. I never watched, but honestly, that’s no insult to them. I don’t even watch the shows I’m on. I’m more into doing that than watching. And I have a hard time watching myself.

EW Does it feel like you are cheating on ABC?

Francis Yes it does, it absolutely does. I told my agent that I talked to Maria and I really liked what she had to say, but do you think maybe you should make a call first to ABC? And he said, `No Genie, just go right ahead with this.’ I’ve been living in Los Angeles for two years with the hope that I would get to go back to work. I’ve done a couple of Hallmark movies, which had been great for me, and I had one appearance on GH during a sweeps period. There was nothing being offered after that.

EW How do you think your fans will respond?

Francis What I have found is that my fan base will follow me to whatever I’m doing. They gave me a big tune-in for Hallmark. They were just happy to see me working again, and my job is not to disappoint them, not to cheat them. And I feel like the last little appearance on GH cheated them. I welcome the opportunity to do something new to continue to entertain my audience. What I loved about Laura — and what people loved about Laura — is that she is a terrific memory, but it’s just not there anymore. [GH] cannot conceive a Laura who is 48 years old, a grown woman. So that’s that. I’m a little surprised, too, since this year is the 30th anniversary of Luke and Laura’s marriage. (The wedding aired on Nov. 17, 1981.)

EW What do you think they’ll do?

Francis They can certainly get the wig out. That wig comes out every now and again. But they can’t do it with me. It certainly seems they didn’t want to.

EW So we won’t see you start on Y&R until the end of May?

Francis Right, but on April 8, I have an appearance on a new TV show called Bar Karma on Current TV. I had the most fun ever making this episode. I play someone with a multiple personality, and I think my fans will be surprised and get a real giggle out of it. It’s a new model for TV in that it is interactive with the community. They use internet ideas from the audience!”

Follow me, Luke and Laura lovers! @EWLynette

Comments (133 total) Add your comment
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  • Realangst

    I am so surprised that there has not been a more immediate response to this. Genie, you are a part of my life. While I agree that GH did you wrong, and seriously want your personal happiness, right now, the thought of losing Laura is heartbreaking! But as we have aged, those darn little realities always creep up on us. While I also am on a new path, there were little bits that were always there. You were one of those little bits. I wish you well on your new endeavor but know that as the only Laura I have ever known, you will be missed. Thanks for all the love!

    • stu

      she’s normal like the rest of the world=she admits not watching soaps.

      • Joyce

        Speak for yourself….there is millions and millions of us soap fans..and we DO watch our soaps!! We certainly DO NOT want them cancelled. I Loved Luke and Laura, the writers might have thought it was all about Luke, BUT WE LOVED LAURA!!

    • Brenda Corinthos

      General Hospital has never really appreciated Genie’s talent and contributions. It’s always been about Anthony Geary (who I love) as Luke. Genie told a story in an interview about how before she left the show in 1981, an GH producer told her during an arguement “The show is all about Tony. You could die tomorrow.” And Guza wrote her out of GH several years ago because he felt she was asking for too much time off. It’s no wonder she feels unappreciated.

  • !

    Laura and Luke was a strange love story anyway. He raped her! Even as a child I knew that was wrong.

  • Anne

    She’s right — the women on GH must be victims or harpies. It’s like a rule in the writers’ room.

    • cattyfan

      There used to be scribes for the show who wrote Laura as strong and intelligent…the anchor for her family. She kept them grounded when they were on the run…she was fierce and funny…and she was someone relatable.

      And then…Laura was Guzafied. Women are only victims and **a nasty word for women who get paid to sleep around, but that word isn’t allowed on this website**

      Guza is a hack.

    • Elizabeth

      The women on GH are mostly strong, smart, often highly educated women who risk it all to have a relationship with a criminal. There were not one, but two FBI women who wrecked their careers having affairs with Sonny. Two highly successful lawyers and two doctors/med students have had or are having affairs with criminals.
      It seems that the writers assume that not just some but every woman prefers bad boys. Brenda was a top model who threw it all away for then selfish mob king sonny. Even saint Lila Quartermaine stuck with cheating, lying Edward.
      The writers just keep recycling the same tired storyline over and over. It is extremely sexist, not to mention just plain lazy.

  • Brenda Barrett

    Brian Frons and the current hacks at GH have ruined the show’s history, core characters and legacy. It’s why I quit watching. GH is a part of my life, and those characters were like family — I will never forget the day Luke popped his head out of the water, grabbed Laura’s ankle and said, “Help me, Laura.” And so their adventure (and mine) began. I wish Genie all the best on Y&R; I’m not a regular viewer but to check in on it on holidays.

    • Just Someone

      I know, I’ve hated that they pretty much killed oof the entire Quartermaine family-they were one of the best (and funniest) parts of the show. it’s like a completely different show than the GH I used to watch.

    • Brenda Corinthos

      I obviously completely agree with you @Brenda Barrett.I absolutely loved Luke and Laura and what that hack Guza did to them is a real shame. As far as Luke raping Laura, the writers of GH originally planned on killing Luke off. But, when they saw how popular Luke was they decided to keep him on the show. Unfortunately for them they’d already had Luke rape Laura, which was supposed to occur shortly before he was killed. Since they couldn’t put the genie back in the bottle (bad pun, I know)they just had to deal with it. The only reason I’m even watching the GH is because of the new Mr. and Mrs. Corinthos. But, I’m sure Guza will ruin them as well.

      • jules

        my reply is a little late but…they’ve already ruined the new Mr. and Mrs. Corinthos. I sooo looked forward to their reunion when Vanessa returned but I have been waaayyy disapopinted. They don’t seem to have the spark they used to have. In fact, I think they are incredibly cheesy. And they’re definitely setting up for Vanessa’s exit – She does not want her son raised in Sonny’s life.

  • Marnie

    I hope she finds sucess on Y&R. She deserves it. The have ruined GH and after 9 yrs as a faithful viewer I gave it up.

    • !

      GH sucks. They stopped focusing on the hospital and made it into the Sopranos.

      • heyJude-ee

        I so agree. I started watching GH when I was pregnant with my 43 yr old. But I stopped watching a couple of years ago when the focus became all about Sonny and his messes, and less about the hospital and the families surrounding it, like the Quartermaines. Rock on Genie!! Can’t wait to see you on Y&R. Hope they do you justice!

  • Days Fan

    Come back to Days as Diana, Genie!

    • Chris

      So she can take over the victim role that Diedre Hall left behind.

    • Carrie

      No. Keep her away from DAYS. That show has the most pitiful storylines, horrible writing and no regard for its fans. DAYS is pitiful.

      • 12345

        Genie Francis was already on Days. She played Diana Colville, co-owner of the Spectator with Jack Deveraux (when he was evil Jack) and lover of Roman (before Isabella/John Black). She left the show in 1989.

  • Jones

    I was very proud of Genie Francis’s comments on Oprah. She has matured as a woman and as an actress and knows that some view her as a role model. Not wanting to rehash previous material, wanting to move on and play a grown, mature woman, made me want to follow her career more closely and I hope to watch her on Y&R!

  • sb

    No worries Genie GH has become more ridiculous than ever. Plus, one of Laura’s sons is leaving and Luke is married so there’s nothing really left. Guza would probably bring her back just to kill her and who needs that?

    • Beauty

      So true they would just bring her back to kill her!

    • Brenda Corinthos

      Robert Guza sucks!!! I’ve always believed he secretely hates Laura, as well as all the other female characters except Carly. I wish they would bring Claire Labine back. That woman knew how to write.

      • jules

        Carly and Sam. He really digs the whole Bonnie and Clyde theme of Jason and Sam. It was good once. It sucks now.

      • moeee

        IA…Goooza the Loooza never cared for Laura, or Elizabeth and Jason. He trashed the history of Luke and Laura. I think there were payoffs behind closed doors whenever he won a award, because he doesn’t know how to keep a couple interesting. He builds them up, then next thing you know they are split. That’s all he knows and his favorite boy Sonny

  • Beauty

    Good for you Genie it’s GH loss. They couldn’t care less about their vets. Go where you are appreciated!

  • Dee

    Genie was great on GH and I’m sure she will do fabulous on Y&R!

  • Cutie Carol

    I agree I hope she finds happiness at Y&R..I have been a GH watcher since Luke and Laura fell in love and I was a kid. I just recently stopped watching because I don’t care for the writers having Luke as a drunk driver who killed his own grandchild. They lost me as soon as I sae where that storyline was going. And I agree with Genie they needed to let Laura grow up. The reason people fell in love with her was her strength and GH made her a victim who couldn’t recover over and over again.

    • eyeheartnyc

      Yeah, the Luke storyline story is a sad one but, boy, Tony Geary and Jonathan Jackson are acting the h** out of their scenes. The scenes they shared on 3/28/11 had me sobbing.

      • Lia

        I agree nyc. Some of the best acting on TV from those two. Riveting!

  • em

    I am very upset. Is she saying she will never even consider going back to GH?

    • cattyfan

      It wouldn’t matter if she WOULD consider. GUZA won’t. Except for Luke and Tracy, you almost never see anyone older than 45 or 50. That generation is invisible.

  • polydegmon

    Couldn’t agree more with Genie. I will set my TIVO for Y&R – never seen it, but I’ll cheat on ABC for her.

  • TK

    I for one and super excited for this move. I think Genie is 100% correct. GH carts Laura out for ratings and every single time she’s a victim of something. And with the current mob focus on GH there just isn’t a place for her. She’s too talented of an actress to be wasted.

    For those GH fans following Genie, you’re in for a treat. Y&R, like all soaps, can have it’s problems, but overall it is much better than GH right now in developing character driven stories. Plus … Tristian Rogers is on Y&R right now!! His storyline has been a bit of a slow burn and I’ve been waiting to see when it’s going to pick up steam. Francis’s character will definitely do that.

    • cattyfan

      Y&R has become a plot driven mess.

  • sandra

    Good for Genie, as long as she’s happy, but I do have to disagree with her on one point. Yes, I am a fan, I’ve watched GH since 1976 so I’m very familiar with Genie Francis. I will not watch Y&R ever ever ever, Genie & Tristan or not. Its such a boring boring boring show.

    • Gina

      You are so wrong! Y & R Boring? GH makes me snore! it should be called General Mobsters!

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