‘General Hospital’: Genie Francis Set for Return

Actress Genie Francis is set to make her return to General Hospital as a series regular after being given a recurring status on the show in January, continuing her role as Laura Spencer.

Deadline reports that Francis will begin filming new episodes in September, though no airdate has been given for her first episode.

"I'm headed to Maine for the next month and then, after that, I'm back at General Hospital," Francis told TV Insider. "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."

Executive producer Frank Valentini added, "I'm really excited for Genie to be rejoining the cast and we have an amazing story for her."

On Tuesday, Francis confirmed the news in a tweet, writing, "Laura is back. Starting another new chapter in my @GeneralHospital journey. Thank you to all my fans!"

Earlier in the year, the show declined to extend the actress' contract for another year but left the possibility open for her return. Her character traveled to Europe to take care of a grandson who had broken his legs in a skiing accident, and the response from fans prompted Francis to tweet a defense of Valentini.

"It's been painful for me to see @valentinifrank receive so much of the blame for the decision to take me off contract," she wrote. "No one fought harder to re-establish Laura on @GeneralHospital. He has always been my champion & I don't believe he took any pleasure in seeing Laura diminished."

Francis debuted on the show in 1977, quickly helping to catapult the show to the top of the ratings with her character's romance with Luke (Anthony Geary). In 1981, a record 30 million people tuned in to watch the couple's wedding episode.

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She was nominated for a Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Laura Vining Webber Baldwin Spencer Baldwin Collins in 1997, and in 2007, she won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Photo Credit: Getty / Gregg DeGuire