TV Guide's Michael Logan reported exclusively on Mon., Mar. 17 that Sean Kanan, who has played veteran "General Hospital" character AJ Quartermaine on and off for the past 20 years, is leaving the sudser and returning to his role as Deacon Sharpe on CBS's "The Bold and the Beautiful."
"General Hospital" airs weekdays on Riverside affiliate KABC channel 7.
In the TV Guide interview, Kanan tells Logan that the decision to leave was a mutual one with executive producer Frank Valentini, but it was his unhappiness with the writing that spawned his decision to leave.
"I was utterly thrilled to be brought back to GH for the 50th anniversary and really enjoyed working with [executive producer] Frank Valentini, but I was not over the moon about the writing," said Kanan. "Doing stories about panic attacks and relish was not what I thought I'd signed up for. I feel I brought everything I could to the character yet it was obvious they weren't going to give me a great love story, which I found very disappointing."
Sean Kanan was nothing but honest in the interview, making no personal attacks, yet in what is becoming a habit of abusive and insulting comments on his Twitter feed, head writer Ron Carlivati decided to make it personal with an acerbic Tweet on Monday. Addressing interviewer Michael Logan and Sean Kanan directly, he Tweeted, "@TVGMLogan @seankanan @GeneralHospital His comments are like school in the summertime. No class."
Fans immediately came to Kanan's defense, calling out Carlivati on his own classlessness in making such a comment, telling the scribe he should concentrate on what many consider to be poor writing for the show of late.
If Carlivati believes Sean Kanan is the only one disappointed with the writing, the comment section of the TV Guide interview prove he's far from the only one. A barrage of upset comments show fans are greatly angered by the direction of the show of late with Kanan's exit being just one in a long line of problems.
Fans were thrilled at the prospect of an on-screen romance between AJ and Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst), but it was over almost before it started with a downward spiral for AJ and lack of screen time that seemed to completely fly in the face of the way his return began. The character of AJ, a long-time alcoholic and constant loser in life, business and love, returned last year strong, sober, ready to form a relationship with his son, whose growing up years he missed out on, and stoked to take the helm of his family's company, ELQ. In the course of a few months, however, he was saddled with panic attacks, ridiculous storylines about poison relish that resulted in AJ appearing on ABC's "The Chew" in one of the most painfully-awkward episodes in recent memory, and eventually losing ELQ and returning to drinking.
Long-time fans of "General Hospital" have expressed anger for years over the systematic demise of the Quartermaines, one of the core families of the show's 50-year history. With the return of screen time for AJ's mother Monica (Leslie Charleson), a good, solid fight over leadership of ELQ between AJ and his Aunt Tracy (Jane Elliott) and a real bond forming between AJ and his son, Michael (Chad Duell), it seemed the powers that be were finally making strides to bring the Quartermaines back to their former glory.
But as the months went on, the strong start began to take a definitive nosedive as AJ was seen on screen less and less with the show focusing on pointless new characters and storylines fans cared little about. The hopes for a solid storyline for AJ seemed all but lost.
AJ isn't the only legacy character being sorely misused. The show is also doing very little with legends Finola Hughes and Ian Buchanan, who play fan favorites Anna Devane and Duke Lavery. In the 80's, the two shared one of the greatest love stories in the show's history, yet they have done nothing to rekindle their romance and have saddled them with uninteresting stories and scant screen time.
With ire not only among viewers but now with the actors, along with Ron Carlivati's less-than-subtle and very public insults over the discontent, one has to wonder how many more stories of "mutually-agreed upon exits" will be reported in the coming months.
AJ is currently in critical condition after a gunshot wound to the chest, but it's currently not known if they will kill off the character, recast or have him leave town. The actor confirmed to TV Guide that his last day of work will be Mar. 28 with his first on-screen appearance as Deacon Sharpe on CBS's "The Bold and the Beautiful" on June 13.
How do you feel about Sean Kanan's "General Hospital' exit and Ron Carlivati's Tweet? What would you like to see happen on "General Hospital?" Which characters are you tired of and which ones do you want to see get front-burner stories? Share your comments below!
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