“General Hospital” star Michael Easton may be leaving the show due to the revival of cancelled soap “One Life To Live” on the Web. According to Soaps In Depth on Friday, Prospect Park has retained the rights to the characters played by Easton (John McBain), Roger Howarth (Todd Manning) and Kristen Alderson(Starr Manning). To complicate matters, all three actors are under contract with GH so in order for them to remain on the show they may have to resume as different characters. The legal issues surrounding the characters will have an impact on the screen as all three are involved in storylines.
When Prospect Park decided to revive “One Life To Live” and “All My Children” in early January they reportedly demanded the rights to all their characters be handed over for the use of OLTL because they now own the rights. The legal confusion comes in where ABC licensed the rights to the AMC and OLTL characters to Prospect Park when the shows were canceled back in 2011 but once Prospect Park decided not to relaunch the two shows, the company reached a deal to allow ABC to license several of the characters to ABC.
Both ABC and Prospect Park are trying to work something out where both OLTL and GH can benefit and retain value of the characters to each show.
“Everyone at ABC and on the production staff of ‘General Hospital’ understood that this was a temporary arrangement until production started once again on ‘One Life to Live’,” said Prospect Park. “So even though we are paying ABC millions of dollars to license the shows, we have been, and continue to be willing to equally share the characters with ‘General Hospital’ and ABC.”
But in the meantime, Easton, Howarth and Alderson are uncertain about their futures with either show. Legally, Easton will be unable to appear as John McBain on GH after Friday, February 8. Of the three actors, Easton would have the easiest transition to a new character as he played Caleb Morley on GH’s spinoff “Port Charles” and a current storyline is hinting at a return of the character.
Either way, the current situation between Prospect Park and ABC will demand some serious creative writing and storytelling from GH head writer Ron Carlivati who many have to find a clever way to write out the OLTL characters and write in new characters played by the same actors and have it make sense.
GH seems to be already heading in that direction with Easton’s character John McBain.