Few television shows run for decades, even fewer run for decades and stay beloved. General Hospital, which has over 14,000 episodes under its belt, is one of these rare shows. Since premiering in 1963, the daytime soap opera has gained millions of fans and continues to air every weekday. And General Hospital fans, we bring good news: fan-favorite Genie Francis is returning!
#GenieIsGH: The Power Of Social Media
Genie Francis has been a key part of General Hospital since her debut in 1977. Francis portrays Laura Spencer, one of the most famous characters in the show’s history. In fact, Laura’s wedding to Luke in 1981 is still the most watched episode in soap opera history. 30 million people tuned in to watch Laura and Luke tie the not!
However, in January of 2018, she was let go from the soap-opera, much to fans’ dismay. “Francis will only make her way back to Port Charles if the story and timing [are] ideal,” her agent said. Thankfully, this is the time of the power of social media. Fans began protesting, using the hashtag #GenieIsGH to accumulate as much online visibility as possible. They were all hoping to get ABC’s attention and have Francis brought back.
Good news came for General Hospital fans just a few months later in July. “I’m looking forward to coming home and I am really excited about this new invigorating storyline they have for Laura – I look forward to the next chapter of this prolific and historic character,” Francis said. On her Twitter, Francis posted a picture of her with the signed contract, a smile, and a thumbs-up, writing “Laura is back. Starting another new chapter in my @GeneralHospital journey. Thank you to all my fans!”
Where Did We Leave Off?
For those of you who are a little behind, here’s a short recap of Laura’s most recent character arc. After Luke leaves Port Charles (General Hospital’s setting), Laura continues on with her life. Eventually, she finds love again in Kevin Collins. More recently, after marrying Kevin, she ran for mayor and then suddenly dropped out of the race. This was because Laura decided to take care of her grandson in France (who broke his legs skiing). Yes, even for the soap opera world, Laura’s disappearance was bizarre. That’s why we’re so glad she’ll return to our screen as Laura!
General Hospital: A Record-Breaking Soap Opera
There’s no denying that Francis is a legend, much like the show. General Hospital is the longest running American soap opera still in production. In fact, it even made its way into the Guinness World Records! It’s currently the world’s third longest-running scripted drama still in production (after the UK’s The Archers and Coronation Street).
General Hospital’s first episode was broadcast on April 1st, 1963. In the beginning, the show’s focus was on the seventh floor of a hospital in an unnamed east coast city. Since then, the stories have grown to encompass the entire, now-named city of Port Charles.
Many famous actors made cameos on the show, like Elizabeth Taylor and, James Franco. Celebrities don’t just star on the show, however, they also love it! Rick Springfield, Wayne Gretzky, and Princess Diana are just some of General Hospital‘s famous fans. As seasons go by, General Hospital’s fame continues to grow. It’s been the basis for spin-offs and is broadcast in dozens of countries around the globe.