After over a year break from General Hospital, Stephen Nichols
) will return to the show's canvas this spring.
While neither ABC nor Nichols has immediately offered a statement, soap
has learned that Nichols will return to tape his first scenes in early May. The first airdate is uncertain, with May 5th and May 12th both being tossed around as Nichols' first day back at work.
Nichols joined the cast of General Hospital in July 1996. His addition to the cast followed a hugely popular run on NBC's Days of our Lives
as Steven "Patch" Johnson. When Nichols left General Hospital in January 2002, he expressed an interest to pursue other opportunities outside of daytime television.
"I have chosen to leave General Hospital to pursue other opportunities in both television and film," Nichols said in a statement. Following his run in the fictional town of Port Charles, Nichols drew critical acclaim for work in the play He Hunts
Prior to Nichols' decision to return to ABC, there had been rumors that CBS's As The World Turns
had expressed an interest in signing the actor. There, he could have reunited with actress Mary Beth Evans
, who had played his love interest previously on both Days of our Lives and General Hospital. A spokesperson for As The World Turns stated that it is not network policy to discuss rumors.
An exact first airdate for Nichols has not yet been announced, however, it could be as early as late May.