Deep Soap: Meredith Vieira and Lynn Herring Return to ‘General Hospital’ Today

Meredith Vieira, executive producer Frank Valentini and Lynn Herring on 'General Hospital' (Photo: ABC)

Meredith Vieira and Lynn Herring Revisit Port Charles

On Friday, two long-absent characters make their triumphant return to “General Hospital.” One is someone longtime viewers have been eagerly anticipating. The other one is getting all of the hype. Lynn Herring will reprise her role as Lucy Coe, founder of the Nurses Ball, troublemaker, and unrepentant flirt. She was one of the show’s most popular characters during the 1980s and 1990s, leaving when her character was moved to the short-lived spin-off “Port Charles.” The character of Sabrina is attempting to bring back the Nurses Ball and has spent the past week trying to track her down. In the process, she has reminded everyone what a fun character Lucy is. Herring’s stint, like so many of the returning GH actors, reportedly has the potential to turn into a long-term stay. Meredith Vieira will appear as Bree, a character she played for a day back in 2003. At that time, Bree was a madam. Now she is Lucy’s business partner on a cosmetics line. It’s unfortunate but understandable that ABC sent out a press release to tout Vieira but not Herring. Vieira is a household name. Herring is not. Mainstream entertainment sites will cover her appearance. Hopefully some of the rabid “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” fans (are there any?) who tune-in will see that GH is now the fun show that they loved in college and will stick around.

Watch Full Episodes of “General Hospital” on xfinityTV:

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I do think Bree’s career trajectory says a lot about how the show has changed . For the past decade, the show has been subtly but deeply sexist. A lot of the female characters were either literal sex workers, gold diggers or sexually exploited by men.Professional women like Alexis and Robin were backburnered and dialogue and stories implied that they were uptight shrews no man could truly want. Now, the police commissioner is a woman. There are lots of female doctors and nurses who are shown to be good at their jobs. The battle to run ELQ involves both women and men. As much as I despise the Connie split personality storyline, even the over-the-top unpleasant alter wants to keep her job as  magazine and editor. You’ve come a long way, GH.

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Casting News of the Week: Scott Reeves Leaves GH; Marcy Rylan Returns to Y&R While Michael Grazadei Departs; Two Former ‘Guiding Light’ Stars Join B&B

Scott Reeves, who plays Steve Weber on “General Hospital,” is departing the show. Wednesday night, the actor Tweeted, “Hey guys. U know how much u mean to me and I wanted you to hear it from me. I was let go from GH today and my last day should b in February sometime.” Though Steve was the hospital’s Chief of Staff and is a member of the show’s original core family, he never had much of a storyline. A plot that had him falling for his crazy mother Heather’s manipulations left him seeming a little stupid to run a hospital. Reeves’ wife Melissa stars on “Days of Our Lives.” He previously played Ryan on “The Young & the Restless” and also was part of the successful band Blue Country.

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Great news for “The Young & the Restless” fans. Marcy Rylan, who was inexplicably written off the show when new showrunners took over, is bringing her character Abby back to the show. I guess “The Powers That Be” realized how foolish it was to get rid of a talented actress whose character is a member of both the Abbott and the Newman families, giving her limitless story possibilities. Rylan reports back to work in January. She is currently working without a contract. Another popular Y&R star, Michael Grazadei (Daniel), has opted to leave the show. His last day on set was November 30. Grazadei’s departure had been rumored for months. The actor has a burgeoning prime-time career. He played Jessica Lange’s lover on the first season of “American Horror Story” and recurred on The CW’s “Secret Circle.” Leaving now frees him up for pilot season.

Finally, Kara Mosley and Lawrence St. Victor have been cast on “The Bold & the Beautiful.” The actors starred as a married couple, Remy and Christina, on “Guiding Light.” On B&B, Mosley will play Maya, a woman from Dayzee’s past. St. Victor will play Marcus’s brother. Hopefully, this means Marcus and Dayzee will finally have a storyline now that their scintillating “Don’t Text While Driving PSA” is over.

Executive Producer Paul Rauch Passes Away

Paul Rauch, who executive produced nearly every soap opera on television over the course of his career, passed away on December 10. Rauch was known for bringing high production values to daytime. His glamorous, campy version of “One Life To Live” is remembered as one of the show’s golden eras, with location shoots in Argentina and big-budget storylines like the tale of the underground city of Eterna. More controversially, he was the executive producer of “Santa Barbara” when the soap was cancelled. The series infamously ended with a shot of him putting out his cigar on the show’s empty soundstage. The expensive sets he built on “Guiding Light” during his tenure are rumored to have created long-term budget problems that ultimately led to the show’s demise.

Rauch began his career as an executive for CBS Daytime and Procter & Gamble before moving into production. He served as executive producer of “Another World” from 1972 to 1982, when it was NBC’s most popular soap. Rauch most recently served as executive producer of “The Young & the Restless” from 2008 to 2011. He was 78 years old.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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