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Breaking Down General Hospital’s Recent Cast Shakeups

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Soap operas often change up their casts, but there seems to be something in the water in Port Charles on General Hospital.

Fresh off winning a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Young Performer in a Daytime Drama Series, Eden McCoy was mysteriously replaced by Courtney Fulk as Josslyn Jacks in December 2023. Neither ABC nor McCoy addressed the reason behind her exit, but the actress celebrated her Emmy win via Instagram.

“Words can’t describe the gratitude I feel … I just want to say thank you for the best 8 years to my General Hospital family,” McCoy captioned a pic of herself with her trophy. “Thank you for letting me be a tiny FRACTION of your incredible legacy. For you mommy!!! 🧘🏼‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️.”

Similarly, fans learned that Lindsay Hartley would be filling in for Kelly Monaco as Sam McCall during a January 2024 episode. Hartley previously stepped in for the longtime star for a handful of episodes in 2020 and 2022.

Related: Kristian Alfonso, Alison Sweeney and More Shocking Soap Opera Exits

When soap opera stars leave their roles, it can be as shocking as their shows’ plotlines. Alison Sweeney surprised longtime Days of Our Lives fans in 2014 when she announced she’d be exiting the series after 21 years. “I’ve been on Days of Our Lives since I was 16 years old, and I have never […]

Scroll down for a breakdown of every recent General Hospital exit and recasting:

Roger Howarth

General Hospital bid farewell to Howarth as Dr. Austin Gatlin-Holt in November 2023 after the character was shot and killed. At the time, Howarth told Soap Opera Digest that executive producer Frank Valentini informed him that his ABC contract would not be renewed a few weeks before his final episode was filmed.

“It took a second for me to let that settle in. And then, immediately, I realized how lucky I was to have been able to do something I really love doing for more than a decade with people who I really enjoyed working with,” he told the outlet. “I’m a lucky guy. I had a great run and this was a decision made by people who make these kinds of decisions for a living.”

He shared his appreciation for the series and its fans via Instagram following his last episode as Dr. Austin, writing, “Three things that I know for sure … 1 Daytime fans are lovely and amazing and supportive and dedicated and I am deeply grateful to each sparkly one of them. 2 I enjoyed my time at general hospital and wish the cast and crew the best and continued success. It was a pleasure working with you all. 3 Life is amazing.”

He added: “We just don’t ever know what’s gonna happen. How great! Turn toward the light. Always. Huge thank you to you all.”

Eden McCoy

Without any heads-up for fans, Fulk temporarily replaced McCoy in December 2023. Given that soap operas often film episodes weeks or months in advance, it is speculated McCoy took a step back from filming following the death of her mother.

“My mother has fought an intense battle with cancer for the past 2 and a half years and has now left us physically,” she wrote in a heartfelt Instagram tribute in November 2023. “I’m not sure what to say other than she was, is, and will be the best thing I have ever known. She is responsible for every good part of me, and she took me with her when she left.”

She continued: “Mom, I expected a lot more time with you than was given, but that doesn’t make the time we shared together not enough. I’m sad that I cannot come with you, but I have to believe that wherever you’re going will be a magical experience. My one wish is that we will meet again. You carried me with you for 9 months and now I will carry you forever. I see you everywhere.”

McCoy’s recasting is only temporary as a spokesperson for the show confirmed to Deadline in December 2023 that she will return to the role in early 2024.

Kirsten Storms

Storms took a brief break from the daytime series in December 2023, with actress Nicole Paggi filling in as her character, Maxie Jones. Multiple outlets reported at the time that Storms was only absent from filming for a few days, though the reason why was not revealed.

While the recast marked Paggi’s General Hospital debut, Storms has taken several leaves of absence over the years. She was replaced by Jen Lilley in 2011 amid her battle with endometriosis and by Molly Burnett for several episodes in 2016, 2017 and 2018

Storms stepped back from the character again in 2021 to recover from brain surgery. Maxie was not recast at the time but rather went to Texas with her child until Storms returned.

Kelly Monaco

Monaco’s temporary recasting marked the show’s third in a three-week period, though it was reported she only missed one episode. The actress appeared in the show’s 60th anniversary primetime special in January 2023, in which she reunited with her former Dancing With the Stars partner Val Chmerkovskiy. (She previously won season 1 of the competition series with partner Alec Mazo in 2005 and competed with Chmerkovskiy in 2012’s All-Stars season 15.)

“I put my dancing shoes back on for the @GeneralHospital primetime special (featuring a special appearance by @valentin),” she captioned a pic of herself and the pro dancer via Instagram. “’General Hospital: 60 Years of Stars and Storytelling’ airs tomorrow (January 4th) at 10pm on ABC. Don’t miss it! #GH #GH60 #GeneralHospital #DWTS.”

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