Kimberly McCullough, who has played Robin Scorpio since she was eight years old, has decided to leave the show. According to Soap Opera Digest, her final scenes will air in early 2012. A show spokesperson told the magazine, “Kimberly McCullough has decided to pursue her dream of directing full time so she has decided to leave “General Hospital” as storyline dictates. Expect a poignant and must watch storyline for Robin and Patrick.”
McCullough is the second Daytime Emmy winning, former child star to quit GH this month. Jonathan Jackson, who plays Lucky, recently announced that he is leaving the show, citing emotional exhaustion after numerous depressing storylines. McCullough has always stated that directing is her longterm career goal. The actress took a break from the show to attend NYU’s film school and recently completed AFI’s prestigious directing workshop for women.
However, there are rumors that she is making the decision to leave now because she is unhappy with the show’s creative direction. A recent plot involved a crazy woman threatening to inject Robin’s husband, Patrick (Jason Thompson), with Robin’s HIV positive blood. Many observers found the twist offensive, especially given that the show had previously treated Robin’s HIV status as an opportunity to educate the audience and portray people with HIV in a positive light. McCullough also spoke out about the recent firing of Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina), saying that the Emmy nominated teen actress was let go for not looking sexy or mature enough, and that she, too, was pressured to be sexier when she was a teenager working on the show.
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GH’s future is in jeopardy. ABC has announced that it will cancel one of its daytime programs to make room for Katie Couric’s new talk show next fall. The show has struggled in the ratings recently, and the network’s comittment to daytime soap operas is in doubt after the cancellations of “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.” The departure of one of its most popular actresses does not seem to be a good omen for the show’s longevity.